VivTown, Population: 1

text, images, poetry, miscellany, marginalia

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Elizabeth Willis

A few weeks ago, in need of a poetry fix, I wandered into the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard and heard Elizabeth Willis read poems from her new book, Address. I was glad to have stopped in. Willis’ poems struck me as austere, precise and direct, but built upon a smoldering fire. Her delivery was beautiful: pure, quiet, committed.

From the reading, the most memorable for me was the anaphora-driven The Witch. Hearing it read by Willis live was worth the price of admission (despite the fact that admission was free!).

Kathleen Fraser read with Willis, but I left before hearing her so that I could literally run up the street to hear Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben.

An inspiring night out on the poetry town.


posted by viv at 9:58 pm  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bukowski’s Depression Cure

As far as I’m concerned, Charles Bukowski was a sexist drunk with a knack for words. He was that big loud mouth at the end of the bar trying to pick up women while weaving an entertaining beer-induced commentary on, well, everything. I admit it: Sometimes it’s f***ing great to listen to that guy! I understand and appreciate his cult status even while I’m wincing and slamming his books shut (and then peeking back inside).

But Bukowski is so right in this clip: Sometimes going to bed for three days is exactly what a human being needs.  How uncomfortable our culture is with indolence!

posted by viv at 9:23 am  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sylvia Plath – (10/27/1932 – 2/11/1963)

Sylvia Plath’s birthday. Also on this day thirty-two years ago I left home and landed in Seattle with little money, my notebook, and no plan except to meet interesting people and write poetry.

In honor of Plath’s birthday and in honor of Seattle, a truly mycological wonderland, here’s her amazing poem called “Mushrooms,” written/published in 1959.


“Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.”

posted by viv at 8:50 am  

Powered by WordPress