MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.
MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.
Monday, July 27, 2009
(On top of the world, wearing my Asheville Wordfest tee. You can barely see Mt. Sain Helen's in the distance.)
Back home. And so much to do! More cabbage to do something with (sauerkraut? freezing? eating cabbage non-stop?), beets, more chard. Not to mention a house that needs cleaning, clothes that need washing, dogs ---well, we know about dogs. All 4 of them need their flea treatments, a little ear-work, and brushing, brushing, brushing.
Let me begin to tell a little about my trip to Portland, Oregon first, though. Woman's work is never done, but the memories of travel can begin to fade, faster and faster with age.
I'd never been to the Pacific Northwest. My good friend and poet Penelope Scambly Schott had been begging me to come visit her for years, but I always had other commitments, other excuses for staying home. This summer I didn't, so I booked a flight.
I dreaded the long flight, of course. And of course my flight was delayed. There had been a huge storm in Atlanta the night before, wreaking havoc with schedules, so we had to wait on the runway before being allowed to lift off for Atlanta. On the plane I met a delightful woman in a delightful hat who has returning to San Francisco after a week of visiting a friend in Asheville. We were both carrying different issues of The SUN and discovered that we were both poets. She was worried about missing her flight, with good reason. I hope she made it.
The plane to Portland took us over a lot of this country. When I looked up at the computerized flight path on the little screen above my seat, I realized we were passing over the Colorado Rockies, so I pulled out my digital camera. I'll be posting some of those photos next time. Meanwhile, here I am above on THE summit, to which I climbed with my friend's hiking group. They call this summit axis mundi, and I can understand why. From it one can see five peaks, including Mt. Hood, Adams, Rainier, and St. Helen's.
(If you look closely, you can see Mt. St. Helen's and Mt. Rainier.)
(Mt. Saint Helen's)
Friday, July 10, 2009
Yesterday we had lunch at Spring Street Cafe in Sylva with Harold and Jane Schiffman, who spend summer and fall in their mountaintop home in Robbinsville. Harold has set my Alma poems to music in a cantata titled Alma (see sidebar with cd cover and link to Harold's website) and last year premiered in New York City a song cycle for soprano and piano based on my "Blood Mountain" sequence from Black Shawl. He also composed cello music for the cd of Wake that Spring Street Editions released several years ago.
He's interested in seeing new poems, hoping he hears music rising out of them. I'm hoping so, too. Here is one of the new poems I gave him, in the chapbook Lit by Language, published for this year's Asheville Wordfest. The theme? Azaleas. (If you would like to order a copy of this chapbook, please contact Laura Hope-Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org)
for Chris, former student
“Nothing exists I can’t azalea with a glass of water.
Should there be a three month grace azalea for sex?...
I blow smoke at the azalea and write
letters to imaginary lovers, azaleas. "
C.S. Carrier, from Azalea
I too love how azalea
makes me want more of her
coming out, debutante
no matter how many years
she has been resurrected
from mulch. What azalea desires
I can’t fathom, other
than just enough water
to suck, enough
humus to snuggle her roots
into. So, let azalea be,
kindling again atop Gregory Bald.
In the valleys’ front yards,
let her bloom white as doilies,
or Barbie-doll pink.
Let her dare to bloom gypsy magenta.
Don’t make her sell perfume
& cheap whiskey, or be a verb
curing heartburn or hangover.
Azalea bloomed overtime
in my hometown. Sure,
I took her for granted,
but that was before I climbed
Gregory Ridge and
beheld her as flame into
which I could disappear,
turning to ash on the wind.
When azalea blooms now
in our mountains, I dream
about vanishing into her
small throat, my poem
like a proboscis
rapt in the sound of azalea.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
A few weeks ago Robert Brewer interviewed me for his blog called "Poetic Asides." If you go the link http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/2009/07/07/InterviewWithPoetKathrynStriplingByer.aspx, you'll find it. Robert's site is well worth visiting for more reasons than my interview, though. He has tips, springboards, and other information for poets. If you are looking for daily prompts to rev up your writing, pay his site a visit.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
David Hopes sent me this beautiful poem yesterday and gave me permission to share it with my readers.
Independence Day, 2009
A day more perfect could hardly–
a day more purely summer-
more moving marble in the heavens,
more green, more cuddled to the
bosom of some more radiant god,
more blue crystal Carolina
could ever– well, you understand.
I will dedicate this day to Allison’s wedding,
where I will wear white,
which is less hilarious than some may think.
A week ago it was Jeff’s funeral,
where I refused to wear black
in my place at the pole
which bore the casket, refused to wear black,
but green instead,
to honor the great wheels turning
even at that moment all around us.
I will go to Allison’s wedding in a white, white shirt
and those white shoes one has for summer,
and the rest of the time
shall cook the two immense zucchinis,
forearm long, forearm thick
(an image a little disturbing
now that I think of it), most recently produced
by the energy of vine and dirt and rain
to make my dinner
on a summer afternoon, before an evening wedding.
when you know the summer Constellations–
oh! wheeling there, and wheeling–
will be as
Fireworks, so slow,
the “Ah!” drawn out into the days of God.