Monday, January 28, 2013

Rooster In A Flower Bed

Neil Dignan, "Rooster in a Flower Bed",13''x10'', Colored Pencil and Pen on Paper  
"Image courtesy of Visionaries + Voices."
I'm super stoked to announce that my poem "Rooster In A Flower Bed" (originally published in YB Poetry) will be included in the Bird Show at Visionaries + Voices. V + V is a stellar organization based in Cincinnati that works with artists with disabilities. One of their rad artists, Neil Dignan, created this awesome piece to accompany my poem. The show opens on April 25th. Major thanks to Neil, Jennifer Franks, and everyone else there for asking me to be a part of this great project.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another Info/Link Dump

"Many young writers, I think, are drawn to what is unkindly called 'purple prose,' and most find themselves pilloried for their efforts. This kind of lavish, ambitious language is easy to fail at and easy to make fun of. Almost all of my own early work was met with rejections, dozens and dozens of them, that began with the chilling phrase 'The prose is beautiful, but...' The typical response to this barrage of criticism seems, sadly, not to continue trying to write better, richly metaphorical, muscular prose, but to retreat into something flatter and less adorned. For fiction writers there's no way round having to write some fairly serviceable sentences—'Nina had spent the night in the living-room' (Alice Munro), or 'The house wasn't clean' (William Trevor)—but that isn't a reason to give up on the excitement and the possibilities of language. The notion of a painter who isn't interested in paint is baffling, but many writers (I exclude poets) don't actually seem that interested in language. They are convinced that the interest of their work lies in characterization, plot, and theme." —Margot Livesey

Anonymous telling Westboro to chill out.

Laura's cool Field Guide to one of my favorite prose writers, Blake Butler. 

OMG. I missed the Word on Wayne White. But I'M HERE NOW. This dude is a stellar artist.

This is from the next book on my To-Buy List: Methland by Nick Reding. 

  On a cold winter night, Roland Jarvis looked out the window of his mother’s house and saw that the Oelwein police had hung live human heads in the trees of the yard. Jarvis knew the police did this when they meant to spy on people suspected of being meth cooks. The heads were informants, placed like demonic ornaments to look in the windows and through the walls. As Jarvis studied them, they mumbled and squinted hard to see what was inside the house. Then the heads—satisfied that Jarvis was in fact cooking meth in the basement—conveyed the message to a black helicopter hovering over the house. The whoosh of the blades was hushed and all but inaudible, so Jarvis didn’t notice the helicopter until he saw the heads tilt back on their limbs and stare at the cold night sky. By then, Jarvis knew he had to hurry: once the helicopter sent coordinates to the cop shop, it would be only moments before they raided the house.
Sam Harris with a Real Ideas piece on gun violence/laws.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

An Ice Bowl By Any Other...

Around the fire, the disc golfers passing out bowls of chili, sipping whiskey, scratching their beards, Andrew looks at me, says, "This is your Heaven." Heaven being that place one goes to feel eternal, in the heart, in the mind, some chapel of security. Aren’t we constantly escaping our fears and responsibilities, our madness and uncertainties? I believe this is why these 52 people came to these woods to play disc golf on January 1, 2013—the simple joy of knowing, of being there. This place covered in white, the body pulsing with warmth, the body attacked by cold, the pleasure of finding the answers.

This was the bring-your-own-partner, worst-shot, doubles tournament held by the Indy Disc Golf Club at the stellar Mohawk Disc Golf Compound. This was a format set for massive scores (of the + variety), long hours in the cold, the jarring nature of taking the most punished, most punishing, worst shot. This was the condition of inches of snow, of lost discs, of frozen fingers, of searching for any warmth one could find. And that’s how Andrew and I emerged, 24 holes, six hours, later—punished and jarred, frozen and searching for warmth.

But yet, despite the mathematical difficulty of adding up our hefty score, despite the iced pant legs and numb fingers, there’s a joy here. The on-lookers of my disc golf life—parents and friends, lover and coworkers—question the trek in the snow. Spring sure to come soon enough. Every sport has its season, right? So, why this day, post-mini-blizzard, new year’s day? This was the only way I wanted to start my year.

I am not like some, some of my Elwood friends playing still 4-5 days a week in the snow and cold. I am not like some, who stand steady and strong in the icy conditions. But I will play, do play, occasionally in the snow because it’s a test of how much the sport actually means to me, how much the simple act of tossing a disc through the sky, no matter what it might land in—rain or water, snow or grass, or oh joy chains!—of how much all that matters. I spend plenty of time indoors being warm, asking my questions, fumbling my answers. Disc golf, anytime of the year, is my chance to let it go, see what happens.

(Side chatter about Mohawk: What an amazing course, sprawled through thirty acres of woods and farmland, someone’s private property nonetheless, complete with a couple creeks and a pond, it truly is a disc golfer’s dream. Ace runs and punishing spots. Varied shot selection and innovation. See: hanging basket over a creek. See: a basket with no pole, sitting on the ground. See: island basket in the pond. Probably not our smartest move playing it the first time in the winter. But this course is a beauty.) 

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