Workshop # 3, Exercise

28 02 2008

2/27 Again, our tutors came up with a great exercise, this one meant to push us towards some of the considerations of writing creative nonfiction.

Prompt: The glass voted on word as topic chosen from a list of five. They chose GLASS. List:
1. Memories associated with glass
2. Facts about glass
3. Feelings you have about glass
4. Questions having to do with glass.

In five minutes, write a piece (whatever form whatever genre) entitled “A History of Glass”
using one from each column.
My result–

mainebottles
“A History of Glass”

How many layers of history are contained within a glass bottle? Why didn’t they break when they were first heaved into what then was the edge of the forest but now is deep scraggle? We found them in early spring before the new leaves sheltered their traces and the loamy needles sank them deeper into their blanket. When my father and I hunted around between the shallow roots of pine trees, we were like farmers searching for truffles, I suppose, though our treasure was sighted not sniffed: bottles over a century old, clouded and thick, the color of watery sky. Some had slender, sloping shoulders and elegant necks as though modeled after a lovely woman and containing water, elixirs, potions, snake oil remedies but mostly, probably, whiskey, as the house up the field was a tavern from the Revolutionary War until mid 19th century and a trading post before that for trappers from way up the Penobscot, which we could see sparkling through the leafless branches as we worked, hunters, my father for traces of history and me for the scent of stories.





ENAM 170 Workshop Exercise

28 02 2008

2/24 New York School of Poets Exercise (inspired by former 170-er and now faculty and poet, Stacie Cassarino) This exercise was dreamed up by our course tutors.

Prompt:

1. Write a question.

2. Write down the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the following:
Day of the week
Time of day
Painter
Color
Fruit
Body part
Room
Means of transportation
Shape
Article of clothing
Plant
Country
Song lyrics
Street name
Emotion
Animal
Children’s toy
Historical event
Rock group
City
Saying
Landmark
Element
Metal
Smell
Thing you find in a hardware store
Musical instrument

3. Another question.

In five minutes, write a poem opening with the first question, closing with the second question and including as many of the responses to the words as possible. Think about how to get from the first question to the second.
My result:

Camus to Sisyphus

Why does the owl sit in our tree
on Tuesday at 3:00
of all things, in the day

Why does Klimt
throw teal grapefruits against the window
in Prague
while he rides the train to visit
his mother?

Why does the street sign
hit your shoes with sadness as you push
your burden up Elm Street?
Hey, don’t walk on the grass,
it’s cheating.
Rather, play the viola with burning tires.

Why does Canada’s arm
slap down across the border
as though it holds some kind of rosy oval
yardstick?

Does it know something we don’t?





Desert Dreams, An Image-Only Story

19 02 2008




Into the Storm

13 07 2007




BG’s New Anti-bog Blog

8 07 2007

Here’s the post fron bgblogging, marking the opening of this here new blog:

Lately we’ve had a slew of those listless pre-storm afternoons when even the dog doesn’t want to go out and the cats can’t be bothered to mess with no-brainer prey.storm settling in
And I wrestled–for days– with a chapter I promised for a worthy book project. My mind wandered.
intothewoods

This kind of weather brings some of the languid ease of the South across our fields, I imagine, because the storm never materializes, just teases with its barking tantrums well to the South (how a Northern New England girl of Irish ancestry can set her imagination on overdrive). I worried a bit about the state of this blog, that I was running out of gas, my brain too sticky, too taffy-ed, too, well, too distracted.
vermontsummersky

How can you live in a place of such intense physical beauty and have something to say that isn’t charged with poetry, bad poetry at that?
harlequin hollyhocks

You can find yourself slinking slowly into a somnolent bog. (See?)

But then we went to New York. That place always slaps sense back into me. A weekend spent wandering the streets and galleries and eateries of Lower Manhattan picks me out of my nature-addled daze. The stunning range of human story and culture and reality are an antidote to my lush woods and big skies and green mountains and small villages of Vermont. It’s good to be thrown into something different. And it’s good not to overplan those visits, to take them slow in a New York buzzy sort of way (if that makes any sense), to look around and let the city’s odd magic do its thing.
westvillagefacade

The only plan we had was NOT to go to any Apple store during the iPhone madness and to see the astonishing Soledad Barrio dance with her flamenco company at Theater 80 (take a look at the flow of stories about the theater in the comments linked off the post), and dinner with some friends.
Lately we’ve had a slew of those listless pre-storm afternoons when even the dog doesn’t want to go out and the cats can’t be bothered to mess with no-brainer prey.storm settling in
And I wrestled–for days– with a chapter I promised for a worthy book project. My mind wandered.
intothewoods

This kind of weather brings some of the languid ease of the South across our fields, I imagine, because the storm never materializes, just teases with its barking tantrums well to the South (how a Northern New England girl of Irish ancestry can set her imagination on overdrive). I worried a bit about the state of this blog, that I was running out of gas, my brain too sticky, too taffy-ed, too, well, too distracted.
vermontsummersky

How can you live in a place of such intense physical beauty and have something to say that isn’t charged with poetry, bad poetry at that?
harlequin hollyhocks

You can find yourself slinking slowly into a somnolent bog. (See?)

But then we went to New York. That place always slaps sense back into me. A weekend spent wandering the streets and galleries and eateries of Lower Manhattan picks me out of my nature-addled daze. eastvillageshift
The stunning range of human story and culture and reality are an antidote to my lush woods and big skies and green mountains and small villages of Vermont. It’s good to be thrown into something different. And it’s good not to overplan those visits, to take them slow in a New York buzzy sort of way (if that makes any sense), to look around and let the city’s odd magic do its thing.
westvillagefacade

The only plan we had was NOT to go to any Apple store during the iPhone madness and to see the astonishing Soledad Barrio dance with her flamenco company at Theater 80 (take a look at the flow of stories about the theater in the comments linked off the post), and dinner with some friends. The rest of the two days, my daughter, my husband and I moved where our feet took us. Camera in hand of course. With changes of plan welcome.

And this time, that included more of the East Village, the West Village, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. We found open-air markets, cupcakes and graffitti and the single-most unbelievable draping of tye-dye attire on one person I have seen anywhere (and that includes Haight-Ashbury).
shoppinginny inthemirror

In Chelsea, as we feasted our way down the windows of the galleries on West 24th Street, we stumbled on an exhibit that has jarred me out of my blogging complacency. Got me thinking about a new blog, a blogger’s sketchbook of sorts. Silverstein Photography’s current exhibition, “First Contact: A Photographer’s Sketchbook” placed photographers’ contact sheets next to the image pulled to print (and in some cases these were iconic images, taken by Diane Arbus, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Man Ray and many others. What a great learning moment for anyone taking pictures, or for anyone looking at pictures– to see the creative process in taking shots–sometimes many in succession of nearly the same image, sometimes not at all. How much richer, then, the experience of seeing the selected, fully realized image selected and printed away from its neighbors.

I came away from that show thinking about how I have been slowing moving towards writing with images and text but how so many times I leave those posts undone, in draft form or sketched out on paper, or in my head because they didn’t seem to fit bgblogging as it has evolved. bgblogging explores formal learning in, sometimes, informal ways, certainly in informal spaces, but it almost always has its eyes directly on changing our educational system. Yet Twitterhas opened to me a new interest in micro-texts. Sharing photos on Flickr has pushed me to pay more attention to my images, both taken with camera and taken with words. I’m ready to keep pushing the kinds of posts I’ve been exploring.

chelseagallery chelseastreetart

I’ll still read and write blogposts. Edublogposts. But experimentposts too.

Perhaps about the mysteries of place and light and childhood.
yellowroom

During summer, then, this blog will see fallow spells as I shift into a new blogging realm, one more creative and experimental, one that engages more of my playful side than my critical, hungry-for-change side.

I want to play with Henri Bresson-Cartier’s notion of “the decisive moment” defined as “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.” (from the Silverstein Photography Gallery Press Release). I’m tired of the repetition in my feeds and in my books; I’m going to be more selective in my reading while more open in the territory from which I learn. Otherwise, just as I find happening when I stay in Vermont for too long at a stretch, I get lazy, complacent, and dull.

I’m in search in the summers for the poetry of blogging, the poetry in blogging, and will do so over on bgexperiments. I’ll move between the blogs, hoping the tension between them will prove useful. We’ll see how it goes…

fuschiaintherain

(image by Sondra Stewart The rest of the two days, my daughter, my husband and I moved where our feet took us. Camera in hand of course. With changes of plan welcome.

And this time, that included more of the East Village, the West Village, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. We found open-air markets, cupcakes and graffitti and the single-most unbelievable draping of tye-dye attire on one person I have seen anywhere (and that includes Haight-Ashbury).
shoppinginny inthemirror

In Chelsea, as we feasted our way down the windows of the galleries on West 24th Street, we stumbled on an exhibit that has jarred me out of my blogging complacency. Got me thinking about a new blog, a blogger’s sketchbook of sorts. Silverstein Photography’s current exhibition, “First Contact: A Photographer’s Sketchbook” placed photographers’ contact sheets next to the image pulled to print (and in some cases these were iconic images, taken by Diane Arbus, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Man Ray and many others. What a great learning moment for anyone taking pictures, or for anyone looking at pictures– to see the creative process in taking shots–sometimes many in succession of nearly the same image, sometimes not at all. How much richer, then, the experience of seeing the selected, fully realized image selected and printed away from its neighbors.

I came away from that show thinking about how I have been slowing moving towards writing with images and text but how so many times I leave those posts undone, in draft form or sketched out on paper, or in my head because they didn’t seem to fit bgblogging as it has evolved. bgblogging explores formal learning in, sometimes, informal ways, certainly in informal spaces, but it almost always has its eyes directly on changing our educational system. Yet Twitterhas opened to me a new interest in micro-texts. Sharing photos on Flickr has pushed me to pay more attention to my images, both taken with camera and taken with words. I’m ready to keep pushing the kinds of posts I’ve been exploring.

chelseagallery chelseastreetart

I’ll still read and write blogposts. Edublogposts. But experimentposts too.

Perhaps about the mysteries of place and light and childhood.
yellowroom

During summer, then, this blog will see fallow spells as I shift into a new blogging realm, one more creative and experimental, one that engages more of my playful side than my critical, hungry-for-change side.

I want to play with Henri Bresson-Cartier’s notion of “the decisive moment” defined as “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.” (from the Silverstein Photography Gallery Press Release). I’m tired of the repetition in my feeds and in my books; I’m going to be more selective in my reading while more open in the territory from which I learn. Otherwise, just as I find happening when I stay in Vermont for too long at a stretch, I get lazy, complacent, and dull.

I’m in search in the summers for the poetry of blogging, the poetry in blogging, and will do so over on bgexperiments. I’ll move between the blogs, hoping the tension between them will prove useful. We’ll see how it goes…

fuschiaintherain