Once upon a time, this blog was going to be all about my pet bird, when I got one. But I never did get that bird. So, now this blog is about the beautiful, curious things that keep me in a near-constant state of happy distraction. Ironically, many people find these writings when they wonder what "peristerophobia" means. It's a fear of pigeons. I've made a bird blog after all.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I have a pile of poetry books growing massive in my living room. I am gathering together all of my poetry, all of my volumes. Partly, I want to see how much I have. Partly, I want to try moving it all to a set of shelves where it can all live together. But now, I am feeling staggered: there is so much. I don't know where to put it. And not knowing where to put all this poetry leads me to a bigger problem, which is that all of my poor books are simply shelved wherever they landed when I moved here. And to another problem, which is that my intellectual leanings all pile onto one another, refusing to separate out cleanly: I don't know whether to pull all of my nineteenth-century poetry--all my Oxford Authors volumes, all of my Cornell Wordsworths, all of my anthologies--off the shelves so that they can reside with the twentieth-century poetry.
I always know that big things are afoot when I start to move books around this much, this intently. Now, given that tomorrow we robe up and welcome a new class of students to this place, and given that I made a run to town for snacks and coffee and tea with which to stock my office for the beginning of the semester, and given that today was an even more populated day than yesterday (every time I turned around, another student I haven't seen since May had materialized, often with parents in tow), I don't really need this personal symptom to figure out what's up. And so, while I'm stacking poetry volumes, I'm also screening version after film version of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, preparing for one of my classes. (The Polanski version (2005) is worth seeing, I can tell you.)
Annie Dillard could have been writing about me when she said (of herself), "I like the slants of light; I'm a collector." Or Willem de Kooning: "I'm like a slipping glimpser." And don't forget Brenda Ueland: "I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten--happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another." But the Beastie Boys might have said it best: "When it comes to panache, I can't be beat." There's a reason I wear a ring that says Badass.