Friday, September 30, 2016

I'm still a poet! And a teacher again! Professing writing!

Friends, Romans, frenemies,
This year: New people. New book. New body. New geology.
I need to take photos of the raw land I pass on the train in Jersey.
A track record of the Ice Age.
This past year has been whirlwindish in its fevered funneled tumultuousity. Multi-funneled, at that.

There was the final editing and input from and with my most wonderful publisher, Michael Broder of Indolent Books. And then, voila, Geographies of Soul and Taffeta, a tasty, delightful book of poems of which I am immensely proud. With which I am outrageously pleased.

Like the proper Southern belle it's not, Geographies had a debut, a coming out, as should an elegant and coy assemblage of poems. This, 3,000 miles from its home. This, at the Associated Writing Program's annual conference. This, in Los Angeles.  Along with the four other utterly wonderful books published by Indolent (by Robert Carr, Lisa Andrews, Joe Osmundson, Michael Broder), also debuting at the fete, Geographies sat upon a table, seductively fanning itself. Michael and myself and Robert Carr were behind the table, talking, selling, laughing.

Following that, I experienced a fallow period. Back in New York I felt, as they say, at odds. With myself and the world and certainly with poetry. It was what it was what it is which it was. After was-ing and is-ing ceased, I got my eyes checked and made the decision to get the operation I had feared, the second operation of my long life (the first involving appendix and an ovary).

Given my often hellish relationship with money and the fact my insurance company rep urged me to get the operation, promising they would cover it, and now is loathe to do so, laser surgery (not its grotesque predecessor, which involves cutting - cutting! - into the eye), was performed on one eye, then two weeks later, my other eye. My vision was made keener, crisper, not simply because cataracts were removed but because my surgeon surgeonated. He is a shining light and the first to be trained at Ear Eye Infirmary on laser surgery. So no matter what happens I now can read without glasses and get around as long as predators stay within five or so feet. After that, I need glasses.

And then, then being now, I begin teaching, or returned to teaching. Comp. Writing. Just comp. Just writing. Oh my gosh, my heart is open. I'm finding it so good to be with students again, and while I am teaching a ways away from my home, I am teaching, seeing new sights, commuting, helping. I am helping a group of people I want to help. I am doing service and being happy as a happy person can be.

So as of September 30, 2016, that's the deal in Sarah Sarai-world.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

BOOK REVIEWS: 2 poetry and 1 nonfiction: I wrote 'n published this year

The Cow with the Subtle Nose by Jean Dubuffet, 1954.

The three reviews I wrote and published this year (one more to come, most likely in October):
Wedlocked: the Perils of Marriage Equality by Katherine Francke, at Lambda  "Comparing African-American rights with LBGT rights is risky. Is it too strong to say that every group and individual with a grievance feels free to compare their plight to that of people-of-color’s? Everyone’s pain is real, absolutely and unequivocally, but the stories don’t always line up. My argument is illustrated by the two couples portrayed on the book jacket."
Trance by Debora Lidov, on Luna Luna Magazine                                                  "Debora Lidov’s short collection, Trance (Finishing Line Press, $14.49), contains poems of surprise, elegance, originality, wit, irony, beauty, dark humor, precision, pain, and lyricism. That is a long praise-list and could set up a reader for impossibly elevated expectations, but the high-stakes’ focus of these poems makes anything less than a full layout of its attributes a little lame."
Cancer Angel by Beth Murray, at Lambda                                                             "Murray’s is poetry that makes the body holy, that illuminates the dark. Diagnosed with advanced breast cancer when she was in her forties, Murray didn’t “struggle with it”-–a phrase often used to frame cancer patients’ experience of the disease. This sharp poet sidesteps, well, more like leaps over sentimentality or cliché. The images can be searing. In “scar,” for instance, the defacement speaks for itself, literally and brazenly: “scar across my chest says have done battle// scar across my chest says have been cut.”