Monday, July 28
I found out last night that Powell’s was hosting the 32nd Anniversary of Calyx Press that celebrates and publishes women’s writing. Among the readers for this special event included Paulann Petersen (who I met at Fishtrap) and Ursula K. LeGuin.
I got up and got ready for work. It was my day to water the plants and vegetables on the deck. I had a lot of catch up work to do. At 1:25 I left for a manager’s meeting at the office of our business coach in Portland. We were working on business planning for the next five years, projecting up to 2013.
After, I drove downtown and went to Powell’s Books on Burnside. I wandered around and picked up two of the books on my list that I made while at Fishtrap, including:
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, which is a “primer that ‘looks squarely at some of the headaches and mysteries of poetic form’, where each chapter is devoted to each form with explanation and samples”.
Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer’s Vocation by William Stafford, a book that suggests, “a writer isn’t simply a craftsman with something to say and the skill to say it. Rather, a writer brings those attributes into a process that is filled with exciting emergencies and opportunities. In the end, something emerges that is greater than the sum of its parts”.
Then, I found these books in the poetry section:You Must Revise Your Life: Poets on Poetry by William Stafford, with a back that includes the following on the back jacket – “A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.” Which came from Stafford’s Writing the Australian Crawl.
And then The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of The Writer’s Craft by Kim Stafford which is described as “an inviting, encouraging book for writers at any stage of their development. … Guiding us from such glimmerings through to a finished piece are a wealth of experiments, assignments, and tricks of the trade that Stafford has perfected over thirty years of classes, workshops, and other gatherings of writers”.
This book begins with a poem by Kim Stafford, which I include without permission:
Kinds of Writers
Emily distilling spent days
into an attar of verse. Or Bashō: bamboo.
Or St. Francis, living the life that commands others
to tell his stories. Or a Bard with a mind like mossy
shelves heavy with tales. Or Anansi, spinning creation.
Rumi and Rama spinning spirit. Or Walt Whitman’s
mother, to bear such a child. Scheherazade, telling
stories for life, night by night. Or Homer, whose life-
work of two poems is enough. Or on the mountain,
singer of the Song of Songs. Yes, I prefer anonymous –
her naked, indelible call. Your own grandmother softly
putting you to sleep with a hum. Or best of all,
someone we have not yet read, someone wide-eyed,
big-hearted, listening among us now, whose fist
can barely hold a pen.
I also bought two literary journals, including the July issue of Calyx celebrating it’s 32nd Anniversary and Alimentum – The Literature of Food. I will submit my work to both journals. I was thrilled, focused and ready.
I climbed the stairs to the third floor and waited for the Calyx Celebration to begin. When Paulanne Petersen arrived, I went up to her to say hello and reintroduce myself since having met her at Fishtrap. I then sat down to wait. All five women readers were amazing, the highlights being Paulanne and Ursula. I felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to make it to this reading. I saw another fellow Fishtrapper, who was in Paulanne’s workshop. And Paulann’s husband, Ken, a kind gentleman who offered to email me Paulanne’s reading schedule for her new book. On my way out I introduced myself to the woman who served as Emcee, an employee of Calyx. I was even more determined to send my work.
When I left, at 8:40 p.m. I was really jazzed about the path I was on.