To the New Year
With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible
W. S. Merwin
I asked the talented and witty John Berry to document our second resident reading, and he did a lovely job. Voilà:
Phil Palmedo, drawn by John G. Berry
Jenna McGuiggan, drawn by John G. Berry
Liz Edelglass, drawn by John G. Berry
Catherine Despont, drawn by John G. Berry
Gillian Devereux, drawn by John G. Berry
Char Wilkins, drawn by John G. Berry
I’m participating in a resident reading tonight, and a lot of people asked if I would be projecting images of the visual poetry I’ve been working on here. I immediately thought of pictures I’ve seen of Jessica reading her poems as they’re projected on a big screen behind her. I would like to be like Jessica.
But, since no other readers will be using a projector tonight, I decided to wait until the final Open Studios of the month to try and share some of my visual work. In the meantime, I promised to post some pictures of my daily Tarot card erasures here. (As always, you can click on a picture to enlarge it.)
I am less interested in the fortune telling properties of Tarot cards than I am in their origin. I like the idea that a rich Italian aristocrat might have commissioned a hand-painted set of playing cards that included extra allegorical trump cards on a whim. I like to imagine a world where people play ordinary card games with Tarot decks. I also love seeing depictions/interpretations of Tarot cards in popular culture. For instance, a particular Tarot card plays a major role in the film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. You might not know this, because you are possibly an adult person who does not read large quantities of YA fiction and/or watch a lot of television and films whose target audiences are adolescent girls. But I watched City of Bones while I was knitting the other night, so I know all about it. Those cards were hand-painted, too. Everything comes full circle.
Not the scene with the Tarot card.
Several of the other residents, mostly visual artists and nonfiction writers, had questions about The Deletionist, how it works, and how often I use it to make it poems. (I can answer that last question by saying that I experiment with my deletionist button fairly often but find I only rarely get truly interesting results.)
I promised to share another “successful” erasure created by me and The Deletionist, an erasure of a digitally annotated version of “Eurydice” by H.D. You can read the full erasure here. I’ve also included an image of one of the screenshots below.
This morning the first batch of two week residents for January left VSC, and this afternoon the residents who will be here for the second two weeks of the month arrive. It was difficult to say goodbye to new friends, especially Amanda, Laurel, and Steph, who will finish her MFA at George Mason University (my alma mater) this semester. (I didn’t even attempt to say goodbye to Lee Ann. She just needs to stay in my life forever. Burlington and Boston are not that far apart.) In Maverick, we also lost Marie, Pam, and Lisa, so right now the studio feels empty and full of ghosts.
I wore my Camp Fox shirt to protect me from lonesomeness.
Since everything here felt quiet and ghostly, I also worked a little on my private Jane Eyre project, and then I decided to try out my Deletionist button on the Project Gutenberg text of the novel. In this tiny post at The Millions, Nick Moran explains what the Deletionist is:
“The Deletionist is a concise system for automatically producing an erasure poem from any Web page. It systematically removes text to uncover poems, discovering a network of poems called ‘the Worl’ within the World Wide Web.”
I took some screenshots of some of the most interesting early pages (click to enlarge):
So far I really like the way these “deletionist-ed” pages have turned out. I have been listening to Nick Cave, and I think he agrees with me.
My knee looks much, much, much worse today than it did yesterday, so I’m elevating it while I drink coffee and poem. Poem should be a verb as well as a noun.
I am also listening to Taylor Swift. Of course I am.