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Archive for June, 2009

Having just read a review of Lynne Sharon Schwartz’ new memoir, “Not Now Voyager, I felt moved to write about my own experience with travel.
She sees travel as a way of diverting oneself…getting away from the inner complexities. I disagree. While travel, especially to places with languages other than my own, removed me from the exacting problems at home, it never diverted me from the various aspects of my self, in fact, it often brought me in touch with some that I wasn’t conscious of. Encounters with strangers, of which there were many, gave me a broader sense of who I am, and what I’ve not cultivated in myself.

Schwartz believes that only in the quiet of one’s familiar home can the self be fully experienced. I don’t think that encounters with stresses at home are enough different than the stresses in traveling, which call on the self to rise and deal. I remember on a trip to Europe with my first husband, when we were in Paris, he thought he was spitting blood. This was a year after he’d had a heart attack. We rushed to an emergency room…fortunately learned it was only his gums that were bleeding…but we were certainly inwardly challenged for a while. Life and the self go with you no matter where. I find it equally true that the peaceful, so-called “spiritual” inner self rides along on the outer journeys.

When Norm and I would go to our house at Lake Gregory, I felt more diverted from the hurly-burly than on any of our many journeys hither and thither.

I believe I’ll never forget an encounter with a woman in France, on our last trip to Europe…We needed directions, pulled up the car and stopped the woman. She immediately came over and acted as though we were doing HER a favor by asking. It pulled me into a part of myself 1) that gets annoyed at being “bothered” by strangers and 2) by the inner part that loves being of service. It isn’t only exposure to the culture and beauty of unfamiliar places that enhances us, but the personal encounters that bring us back “home.”

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This filmmaker creates a reality for the viewer to inhabit. A small French village in 1913, where it begins…A large woman, ponderously carries her basket over cobblestones, her umbrella like a guardian, pokes from the basket. We learn that she is religious, that she cleans houses, does other menial work and at night, by candlelight she paints on small boards…visions of nature which she worships. To say more about the narrative would be a spoiler. The images in this film are mesmerizing…made this viewer want to shout, STOP…I want to linger on that frame. The actress, Yolande Moreau, who plays the title role,
brings an authenticity and honesty to her portrayal, so that the viewer LIVES her reality. If this film has left a theatre near you…by all means rent or buy the DVD when it’s released.

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To know him is to love him, right? Those who do know him most assuredly agree. And I certainly do! I’m the lucky beneficiary of daily contact with a man of more good qualities than even Wikipedia could encompass. Hey, I’m not saying he’s a saint…or Mr. Perfection! What makes him so terrific is that despite a few minor flaws, like chipping dishes, leaving drawers and cabinets ajar, not drinking enough water and hating Bette Davis, he is special.

Is it significant that I’m singing his praises on Father’s Day? Probably.
He’s been father, mother, brother, lover, friend, pharmaceutical advisor to me for over 25 years. And he takes out the garbage! Does the dishes and now with my bad back even does the laundry! Oh, yes, he fixes what’s broken “break”fast. Well, that’s all he fixes…another one of his flaws…not a Man For All Repair Jobs…though he gives his best try…often ending in disaster.

I love that he spends a large part of each day with his nose in a good book (a very discerning reader) or writing his unique, perceptive poetry.
His incredibe wit keeps me young as I laugh away, if not the wrinkles, at least some of the stings and arrows of life. We sometimes differ in our tastes…for books, movies, art. That’s what gives us some grist. How boring always to agree. He never plays the Man With Superior Taste. His sensitivity to others is lived at an amazing level day-to-day with me. He loves my involvement with baseball…the Dodgers, in particular. Friends: his criteria: intelligence, sensitivity, relatedness, humor. He’s discerning without being judgemental.

Living with Norm, as you probably have gathered, is bliss! You’re right.

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Hello world!

ABOUT MY POETRY

Why do I consider myself an experimental poet? Or better still, what does that really mean? What it means to me is a willingness to trust the imagination, my intuition, my experience as a poet, and my love of original language that penetrates deeper than linear and literal language. By allowing unexpected movement in lines and images the mind becomes more inclusive, discovers connections that would not usually be seen. The mystery of the human condition, to me, can’t be adequately expressed in ordinary language. True, fiction writers tend to use it, but even they, at their best, make leaps, suggest rather than tell. Our speech is a convenience, an agreed upon device for easy communication…There are rules…and on the whole, we abide by them in order to be understood. I’m suggesting, as other experimental poets have, a different use of language. We break the rules…transgress, in a way…which is one of the things that intrigues me. That doesn’t mean, however, that a fragmented or imaginative poem will not communicate. It does mean a stretch on the part of the reader (as it does for the poet) to experience the enrichment of language, the music, and an over-all emotion that underlies the words. As Marianne Moore once said: “If a poem is work to write, it should be work to read.”
Excerpt

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