Inspiration Interlude: Diane Ackerman

“There was nothing to do but wait. It is always like this for naturalists, and for poets–the long hours of travel and preparation, and then the longer hours of waiting. All for that one electric, pulse-revving vision when the universe suddenly declares itself.”

― Diane Ackerman, The Moon by Whale Light and Other Adventures Among Bats, Penguins, Crocodilians and Whales


Imagethe lagoon at Audubon Park, New Orleans / Photo by me

My Poem on Postcards: Support Small Presses!

Atomic Theory Micropress has printed up my poem “Bravado” on postcards, with art by Jon Butterworth, for purchase on their website. I am thrilled! It never occurred to me that it might be possible for my words to fly around the country (world?!) in this way. Proceeds from the postcards will help Atomic Theory finance the publication of their limited edition handsewn chapbooks. If you love poetry, small press, and/or the art of bookmaking, please consider purchasing a postcard or two.

Support poets, support art, support small presses!

Poetry Wonderment

One night in April I stumbled on the  livestream of a poetry reading program on Twitter, put together by Maria Popova, named The Universe in Verse. For over an hour and a half I listened in wonderment to a clatch of beautiful poetry read by some wonderful writers. Now the program is available as a video which I’ve posted here along with the playlist. I loved the whole thing but especially the readings by Diane Ackerman and Tracy K Smith. I hope you’ll find some time to listen to at least some of the readings. It will inspire you, I promise! Read more about the evolution of The Universe in Verse here

“Planetarium” by Adrienne Rich from Collected Poems: 1950–2012 (public library), read by Janna Levin

“My God, It’s Full of Stars” by Tracy K. Smith from Life on Mars (public library), read by the poet herself

“Power” by Adrienne Rich from The Dream of a Common Language (public library), read by Rosanne Cash

“The Venus Hottentot” by Elizabeth Alexander from Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990–2010 (public library), read by the poet herself

“Cosmic Gall” by John Updike from Telephone Poles and Other Poems (public library) read by Brandon Stanton

“We Are Listening” by Diane Ackerman from Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems (public library), read by the poet herself

“On the Fifth Day” by Jane Hirshfield, read by Emily Levine

“For Oliver’s Birthday, 1997” by Steven Jay Gould, published in On the Move by Oliver Sacks, read by Billy Hayes

“Euclid Alone Has Looked” by Edna St. Vincent Millay from The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay (public library), read by Sam Beam

“Jane Goodall (1961)” by Campbell McGrath from XX: Poems for the Twentieth Century (public library), performed by Sarah Jones

“The Habits of Light” by Anna Leahy from Aperture (public library), read by Ann Hamilton

“Address: The Archaeans, One Cell Creatures” by Pattiann Rogers from Wayfare (public library), read by Jad Abumrad

“Pi” by Wisława Szymborska from Map: Collected and Last Poems (public library), read by Maria Popova

“The Mushroom Hunters” by Neil Gaiman, read by Amanda Palmer

9 Years 8 Months

You sat at the back of the room like a glacier,
non-moving, non-blinking,
arms crossed over your chest. I chattered
on, ignoring you but sneaking a side-eye
now and then.

Thousands of days have passed, this thing moved
way past estrangement into forever-gone land
long ago. But you reappeared, hovering like fog
over shifting ground until you finally walked over,
handed me a letter,disappeared again. Fog.
The first sentence read,
I was sober for 9 years, 8 months. Now I’m not.

I don’t know what to do with this,
this unsettling psychic information. That’s the thing
about dreams, where does fantasy stop
and cries for help start?