Loyal Readers, if any of you are still out there, I have just remembered the correct password for the Patio! (Perhaps the subconscious coughed it up because we have a new patio in real life.)
I have been battling the last bit of grad school, combined with a full load at a new part-time job, as well as the equivalent of teaching a fifth class at a second part-time job. In short, the Ph.D. has reached the point of diminishing returns. I’d like to be done by next year.
Meanwhile, I’ve been hanging out on Twitter, writing the equivalent of what we at Old CNN used to call Times Square Headlines. (I wrote ’em; they rolled in Times Square. Now it’s all giant full-color Jumbotron screens.) I’m 4/5 of the way through my Latin American Studies graduate certificate, at present immersed in Precolumbian art of the Andes and Mesoamerica. Most recently, we held a big garage sale, got rid of a ton of crap, and are fairly well satisfied with our lives at the moment.
What all this has to do with poetry is the ability (at last) to create the conditions in which I can work most effectively. No more nomadic quests for quiet study space. No more insane workloads. No more crawling over unpacked boxes of books in my office. No more imprisonment in other people’s bad energy! I feel as if I’ve been freed from prison. I love my new teaching gig and I really love my students. We have the most interesting conversations, individually and collectively. (It also helps to have a supportive boss. Supportive bosses, I should say.) I don’t drag around with this funk of negativity and harassment on my shoulders all the time anymore. I’ve gotten most of my life back and can see the rest coming.
And I’m gearing up for the dissertation, which thankfully involves travel to some out-of-the-way places.
I reiterate with confidence that much of what passes for poetry in the United States today is self-promoting, circle-jerking, po-biz crap. I’m sure you have your own opinions on this subject. Rather than rehash that tired discussion, I propose to show some examples of what I think are excellent poems, and to explain in minute detail why I think so. If this exercise helps you, enlightens you, entertains you, annoys you, please–post a well-thought-out comment. Warning: No douchebaggery or stylistic school/poetry clique flambe’ will be tolerated. Engage!