It’s the start of my very favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather, the smell in the air, and the feeling of “fresh start” that’s all around. I know some people feel that more in the spring–rebirth and all that–but I guess I’ve been forever imprinted by the school calendar. Others leave that schedule behind as they get older, but teachers never do. Give me a cool day, a vista of changing leaves , and a new notebook any time.
Last week I had the overwhelming pleasure of attending Concordia College’s symposium, The Role of the Artist in Society. It was one of the most thought-provoking and inspiring things I’ve attended in a long time. I went with artist collaborator and friend Tiffany Besonen, who had a piece in the exhibit (Dis)covering the Veil: Visible and Invisible Spaces. The exhibit is an offshoot of a larger show that includes a piece of Tiffany’s work that incorporates my poetry. We were able to spend some time with the exhibit’s curator and general force of nature, Jennifer Heath, who is one of the most generous and creative people I’ve met. We also fleshed out the plan for our next, much more complicated, collaboration. Very exciting!
Today, I’ll be attending the book release party for The Talking Stick, a Minnesota Literary Journal. This is volume 20. Hard to believe! I became involved with The Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, which publishes the journal, many years ago. I’ve had quite a few poems in the book over the years, and actually designed the layout for a few of the early editions. I’m so happy to see it still going strong. I’ll be especially proud today to be there to hear one of my best student-poets, Ashley Ziehm, read the poem she had included in the book. She’s only the second high school student to be published there.
I’m just about to finish the class on ekphrastic poetry that I’ve been teaching at the Nemeth Art Center. It’s been a wonderful experience. I’m always so gratified by the generosity of the participants in classes like these. They bring such careful attention to the work–their own and their classmates’. My little secret is that I always learn more than they do. This class will culminate with a reading at the Art Center on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2:30 pm. The class participants and possibly a few of my high school students will be reading poems written in response to the artwork currently on exhibit. Hope to see you there!
Week after next, I’ll be starting to teach Writing the Short Poem for The Loft Literary Center. It’s an online class, and it will be very interesting to see how it all comes together. I have a wonderful group of students, a few of whom I’ve worked with before in one capacity or another. It will be a dynamic group! Registration closes next week, so if you’re on the fence, you’ll have to decide soon.
Finally, this is what I’m dreaming about this morning…a little writer’s shed in the back yard. Maybe someday.
Quote for the week: The difference between the right and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug. Mark Twain