Sunday, June 29, 2008

Music Recommendations Please

This afternoon I successfully secured the birthday ipod to my ponytails and hooped on the beach--mostly to Natacha Atlas and the Psychadelic Furs.

So, if you were into hooping, what kinds of music would you hoop to?

Or, even if you're not into hooping, what kinds of music do you think I'd like to hoop to?

I suspect that a substantial amount of music that works for tribal belly dance music would be great. I like the sound and groove of a lot of the reggaeton I've heard, but I can't stomach a lot of the lyrics. Anyone know enough about dancehall to make suggestions?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grumpy and Less Grumpy

My ESL class has 17 students--half of them are 15 or 16 year old Italians from Milan, and the other half are students in their 20s and early 30s. The younger students are basically here on vacation, and the older students are here to study. The class dynamic is not pleasant. My younger students are intelligent and reasonably well behaved, but there are many reasons why I do not wish to teach high school, ever. I'm feeling very grumpy about it.

Speaking of grumpiness and teaching, I had a job experience (that is to say, not getting one) last week that made me rethink getting an MFA. I won't rant about it too much, but come on: I have an MA, teaching experience (in creative writing and literature), a solid publication record, and a forthcoming book. That's a lot more than a lot of post MFAs have.

Less grumpy news: Mark and I booked our tickets to Vancouver for the Positions Colloquium in August. I'm not reading or presenting, but Mark is, and the list of invites includes many friends as well as people I've never met whose work I admire. And Vancouver is great--it's true that I've never been in the Pacific Northwest in the real winter, but I admit I'm quite smitten with all the cities I've been to in that region, Vancouver most of all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday Yay

The summer students are hyper. And younger. And richer.

The weather is warm. But cooler.

Lester is molting a bit.

I have a big bruise on my right leg. It is mysterious.

Started reading Rukeyser's The Life of Poetry, which came up several times in discussion at the Press conference.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


It's hot here, for once, and the water is warm.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ron Sillman has a post which I'm sure you've all seen by now about Conceptual Poetics and Flarf. I'm very good at making connections, and very bad at distinguishing points of contrast, but I do think that Ron's (somewhat lighthearted, I think) suggestion that Flarf is to projective verse as conceptual poetry is to the New York School isn't bad. Although tonally I associate recent Conceptual work more with big Olsonian epics and Flarf with a casual, energetic line and a way of recording daily or seemingly unimportant information in a Frank O'Hara kind of way.

I was also thinking about the footnote to Ron's post:

"From my perspective the great “tragedy” of langpo is that there were no other seriously contesting approaches to poetry. Actualism, which I’ve written about before, dissipated after the death-by-alcoholism of Darrell Gray, and the NY School, gen 3, was never interested in working out its relationship to other poetics, period. Everyone else was pursuing the isolate mode of individualism, still the most popular (and futile) option."

I think of New Narrative in San Francisco and 3rd generation New York School as being the other serious contesting approaches to poetry relative to langpo. But it's true that I can't think of any particular poetics statements. But it's also true that there's a lot I haven't read. Can anyone think of/point me towards something (and by something I mean a piece of writing) that might be an articulated poetics from either group?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In lieu of going to the NPF conference on the 1970s at UMO,

I am doing many handstands and drop backs. Dear readers, imagine the shock (if you can) I experienced when I learned, some years ago, that the university "near" my high school, the university I drove 1.25 hours to each way twice a week for flute lessons and orchestra rehearsals, organizes conferences that have a history of being interested in experimental poetry. The shock, the shock.Publish Post

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If you don't work hard in your 20s, no one loves you in your 30s.

Paul Bowles said that.

Ok, so today really is my birthday. And I'll stop blogging about it (so much) (after today).

My students were surprisingly sweet today--I got a little bookmark in the shape of a Korean kite, chocolate from various countries, and a bottle of very nice pinot noir (I fear that one was a bribe). One of my students kept saying "the whole world congratulates you."

My sister Michelle sent me an organic rubber, totally biodegradable yoga mat. So now that I've finished grading and work etc etc I'm going over to the studio to practice.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Sunshine Blond Girl of Death Happy

I went back to teaching ESL today. I have a group of students that I've worked with off and on for the past three or four months. Many of them are leaving in the next four weeks, so it's nice to be able to send them on their way knowing that their English is much better and none of them have gone insane. It's the first day of the session, so of course I'm happy and optimistic; but it's nice to be working with an especially great bunch of students--everybody likes and respects each other. Teaching intensive language classes is rather...intense. I work with students for 3-5 hours a day, five days a week. It's different than semester-based classes, because everyone becomes either very comfortable or very uncomfortable with each other quite quickly, and the subtle shifts and adjustments that happen in a semester class happen much more rapidly and frequently.

My new bike is a dream to ride. Today was the first day that I commuted to work on it, and I shaved more than five minutes off my ride, and I wasn't even working very hard.

After teaching I headed back to Carlsbad to get a pedicure (part of a credit from a birthday gift last year). I had time to kill and so went up to the yoga studio to chat. I'd missed the hoop dance class, but the teacher was still there, so we hung out and she showed me and the owner, who was also there, a few more tricks. Hooping is totally fun addictive--especially to anyone who used to do it as a child. Anyway, I left the studio with some very excellent and total surprise birthday gifts: a hoop and a pair of pants that I'd been eying for at least two months.

Mark and I just got back from a pre-happy birthday happy hour. I'm feeling quite happy and pleased with myself. I have a book coming out by January from an awesome press, I like my boyfriend, my work doesn't make me crazy (all the time), I live near the beach and a great yoga studio, I'm learning how to do tricks with a hoola hoop, my bike is awesome, I get to hang out with poets I like both in San Diego and outside of San Diego; I'm in good shape.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I am nostalgic in the most self-indulgent way possible.

This picture was taken in Singapore, ten years ago to the day. Actually, I'm not that self-indulgent or nostalgic. It's just overcast and the last day of my half-vacation. I'll go for a walk. Clean, organize, read more Anna Karinina, ponder deep issues such as

What kind of cake should I make?

I've always been fond of carrot cake, but I also have a recipe for an almond-plum cake with crème fraîche and a crazy banana layer cake with mascarpone frosting. However, since Mark and I can only eat so much cake (and I'll make a second cake for his birthday later in the month), I wonder if I should make something simpler, like flan (which I love but have never made). I won't be doing any cooking until this weekend.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

3 More Days Until I am 30

Not counting today. I am making a medium-sized deal out of this.

I did a medium-length asana practice on the beach yesterday. I like practicing handstand on the beach, because the sand is soft and nice to fall on.

My left hamstring/femoris is sore, but I learned a few ways to make it less sore.

I want the Celtics to win, but I don't think they will.

No one can drink alcohol legally on Mission Beach anymore. There were 400,000 less people there this past Memorial Day weekend than the one before.

I made fish stew. Yes. In San Diego in June it is still cold enough to eat stew. It is 98 in DC.

I went to a women's teachers club meeting. Yes, I did.

I'm going to attend a 2 hour training seminar on critical thinking on the evening of my birthday.

There is new construction in Carlsbad. It will be a mixed-use building. There aren't any high rises here, although there are a few in Oceanside.

Still reading Anna Karinina. She did not die in childbirth. The wedding scene between Levin and Kitty is crazy and long and ritualized and both characters are very beautiful and very dazed; neither of them has eaten very much because they are so elated and overwhelmed and in love and clueless.

T-1 day until the end of my half/medium vacation.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

There were many tourists on the beach today. I overheard a few conversations like this:

A: The air temperature is so cold. There's no way I'm getting in the water.
B: But please, we are on vacation.

Dear friends, don't come to San Diego in June for the warmth. Unless you live in the Pacific Northwest, it is probably warmer where you live than here in coastal North County.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pig Angels of the Americlypse

Excerpts from Rodrigo Toscano's "Pig Angels of the Americlypse" performed in Olympia, washington as part of the PRESS cross-cultural literary conference, may 24 2008. Thanks to Tom Orange for the video.

and another excerpt.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I, of course, have yet to post mine.

Tom has posted his pictures from the Press cross-cultural literary conference at Evergreen here and here.

Still enjoying my half vacation and vaguely following the conversation/debate over at Jasper Berne's blog about "The Liberalizing Ideology of the Internet" and this prose poem/essay thing by Stan Apps and Matt Timmons.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I've never, ever had a successful diet that didn't include alcohol, bread, and cheese.

I did three rounds of hanumanasana in my yoga practice today, and also worked on jumping up into handstand from two legs. Hanumanasana remains a challenge, but I think my hamstrings are opening up a bit. They'd better be after all those hanumanasanas! Handstand, though, was more satisfying. I managed to jump up (with two bent legs--instead of kicking up) and balance before I hit the wall. That must mean that my core muscles are getting stronger, since I have the strength to not only jump up, but also break and balance. I'm still working on jumping into it with straight legs, though.

Yesterday we went to the beach and today we also went to the beach. I have one more week left before I start teaching ESL in the mornings again. I intend to go to the beach a lot this week.

I've been looking at Mario Batali's new book on Italian Grilling. I like his recipes--they work, even if you don't have a fancy kitchen, etc. Yum. I'll still be cooking/grilling my favorite Middle Eastern and South Asian recipes this summer, but I've decided that it also won't hurt me to begin studying updated European traditions, either.

I said that today's birthday wish would be something about health and vanity. I've been reading Anna Karenina. Levin's just started his obsession with death, and now Anna has picked up on it as well. I'm not obsessed with death. I am at times obsessed with the nexus between health, beauty, and physical comforts. I spend quite a bit of time maintaining my health (through exercise, yoga, and food) and my beauty, but I'm not interested in maintaining either of those things at the expense of enjoyment.

So, today's birthday wish is that I'll practice yoga well into my 70s and beyond, that I'll never develop some weird sensitivity or allergy to cheese, wine, or scotch, and that I'll maintain my ability to stay up well past midnight.