June 22, 2009

Snippets from Jentel

The new (July/August) issue of Poetry is making its way into the world--complete with three of my poems--but I haven't seen it yet. My subscriber's copy is sitting, forlorn, in my mailbox at home. Thanks to anyone who wrote to tell me they like what they read. I actually got a lift into Sheridan on Friday to record readings of those poems, that just might be featured in the upcoming monthly "editors' podcast" distributed through the Poetry Foundation website. Fingers crossed.


Last night there was a wicked and glorious lightning storm. We turned off all the lights in the house, sat and watched.


A big pleasure has been switching from junk-food reading to real, nourishing literature. I find it impossible to write unless I am reading voraciously. I've found the perfect leather-couched spot to sit and, when needed, rest my eyes on the mountains of Wyoming. Read or re-read so far: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, Please by Jericho Brown (a fellow New Issues poet!), The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham, Normal People Don't Live Like This by Dylan Landis, Parallel Play by Stephen Burt, Firebird by Mark Doty.


I'm embarrassed to admit I prefer the movie adaptation of The Painted Veil.


Shopping for nine days in one swoop is hard, especially if you are used to the accessible grocery stores of city life, and you're in an unfamiliar kitchen with unknown "staples." The salad greens and tomatoes barely survived six days. Our little band of artists has discovered we have too much rice, too much olive oil, and a ridiculous amount of cherries. But too few onions, and no tin foil. Or cardamom.


On the upside, I will be ready for some serious cooking when I return home. Not just stir fry!


There are no squirrels in Wyoming. There are fireflies--I think. It may just be reflection of my optical mouse against the studio window, catching my eye when I accidentally lift it off the desk.


I have found a comfortable walking path. I don't aspire to power-walking; I plug into Neko Case, or Patty Griffin, and swing my arms at a corresponding pace. I have to wear a bright orange vest so as not to be shot by a hunter, or run down by a passing truck. So stylish. On my way back home today, I came across the usual countless antelope, the alpha bull of the Daly Angus ranch, and--whoa--two dung beetles, rolling their treasure across the road. I leaned down, fascinated by the choreography of their work, the perfect brown sphere, the way they took turns rolling backwards. Took me a good two minutes to realize that I was leaning toward dung.


Today we had a random black dog on grounds. Friendly, well-behaved enough (clingy but didn't try to follow us indoors). No tags, just a flea collar. I hope he's sleeping at home tonight.


Tomorrow will be the first day I wake up with only new writing projects ahead of me. Nonfiction. Sestinas. This first week has been spent on little things, projects that followed me from DC. They're not completely off my plate but they are at rest pending feedback. Free to tackle bigger things...That's gonna feel good. And terrifying.


Lisa said...

This issue of Poetry is lovely, Sandra. My favorite issue of this year, actually. And it was a pleasure to read your pieces. I guess I find that multiple pieces by a single poet usually sing in the same voice, but yours really vary (which is good). I look forward to the new book...

nate said...


Congratulations on Poetry... I look forward to picking up a copy of the issue. Really. Wonderful. I'm so awed by everything you continue to achieve artistically. Envious, even. You're taking the world by storm (which I originally typed as "story," which may have made the adage a bit more original). Again, congratulations.

Matthew Thorburn said...

Did you get your copy eventually? It was wonderful (for me, and I'm sure it will be for you) to see them in Poetry. Congratulations!

Renaissance Girl said...

There are no fireflies in WY, by the way: too high up, too far west. congrats on poetry!