September 18, 2010

The (Art) Beat Goes On

Sweet things: Square Books just put on sale 100 signed, numbered broadsides of "The Piano Speaks," which was designed in conjunction with my stint as the 2010 Ole Miss Summer Poet in Residence. The PBS News Hour's Art Beat blog featured "Antietam" as this week's featured poem. And Shana Thornton-Morris was kind enough to interview me for the Her Circle Ezine, which resulted in a profile ("On the Road and In Character") that just went live. Often these Q&As run without much introduction, so I was intrigued to see this generous characterization:

Over the summer, Beasley was a writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi. One afternoon in July, she drove up the Music Highway to Nashville for a poetry reading, where I was lucky enough to hear her recite some of her poems live. Before the reading began, Beasley sat folded over her papers, away from listeners. She tucked her brown hair behind her ear, sneaking glances at passersby as she decided which poems to read. Certainly, she wasn’t the same poet who wrote the poem “I Don’t Fear Death” that I had listened to on YouTube. She looked quiet and much too nice to speak as an angry platypus who, in a sestina from the collection, doesn’t understand why the adjective “duck-billed” is required and declares, “A beast should be/her own best description. I deserve that.”

That's me, "quiet and much too nice." Well...up until I open my mouth and start talking. Read the whole article here.


bill said...

Antietam Day was yesterday - I didn't hear the PBS feature, but I did think about your poem, specifically:

"Nobody knew who the statues were. Where was
Stonewall Jackson? We wanted Stonewall on his horse."

Stonewall was at Antietam, of course, and commanded the part of the Confederate line that held against the early Union attacks in the Cornfield and toward the Dunker Church. But his role at the battle is not so widely remembered as in the Valley campaign or at Manassas. Indeed it is Manassas, on the Henry House Hill, that features the massive statue of "Stonewall on his horse." The poem's narrator must have taken an earlier field trip to that battlefield.

Antietam is one of the most beautiful places in the DC area, despite some development. And its present-day beauty is full of irony, since, as every schoolchild knows, it was the scene of the bloodiest day in US history.

Thank you for your poem.

Collin Kelley said...

The broadside is gorgeous!