05 April 2010

Poetry in the Making, So what do you think, Heaven?, and Frozen bagels are so not "Bagels!"

I am working my way through Ted Hughes's book, Poetry in the Making, and trying not to want to go to Habitat and buy new sheets, as I made the mistake of going there the other day and saw some lovely robin's egg blue ones. Actually now I am NOT going to buy them, I have now officially determined this, as I just searched for an image and found habitat.co.uk, which is on-line-order friendly and has tons more stuff than the store here in Brussels. Now I am thoroughly disgusted with Habitat Belgium, and will get my fix from the UK thank you very much. I don't see how commerce survives in this country sometimes, I really don't. You can only buy so many croissants.

And speaking of breakfast foods, the other thing that pisses me off here is the "Bagels!". More and more often, I see signs featuring "Bagels!" at little eateries and cafés, so I get all excited until I go in and discover that the "Bagels!" are frozen. Don't they understand? It's so not really "Bagels!".

But Ted is good, Ted's a poetry god, and his little "handbook for writing and teaching"

sorry the image is crap

is really the first thing anyone should look at if they're thinking about writing poetry. I've jotted down several quotes in my journal but I don't think they'll mean very much out of context to anyone else, so instead I'll leave you with a quote from Lorrie Moore's story "Dance in America", from her collection Birds of America. I had lost faith in Moore a little after reading her latest collection Like Life; the impression I was left with, to be honest, is that those stories were written by someone who's just a little too hung up about living in Wisconsin. As though she had to prove something to the world because she lives in the mid-West, or more precisely, doesn't live in New York City. But her back catalogue revived my opinion -- Self-Help in particular. Birds was published in 1998 and feels a little dated, when I read it now, but when you find a quote that you're moved to write down, well, that's pretty significant, no matter when the piece was published. So here's the quote – the narrator of the story is talking about dancing, what she calls the "dancing body":

This is how we offer ourselves, enter heaven, enter speaking: we say with motion, in space, This is what life's done so far down here; this is all and what and everything it's managed – this body, these bodies, that body – so what do you think, Heaven? What do you fucking think?

OK now, back to the grindstone....

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