Monday, May 28, 2007

Epistle

Students in the Angst to Art Seminar explore the connections between life, death, and art in this video. The poem is "Epistle to Be Left in Earth" by Archibald MacLeish, recited by Archibald MacLeish. This is one of my favorite poems in the world. The video footage of the snow was taken from office window at the university. The images of the books, Walt Whitman and the Kennedys were taken in my office. The hair flying around in front of the camera is my hair! The players are Molly, Liz, Patrick, Libby, and Frank. Jimbo was absent that day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What Does Writer's Block Feel Like?

Imaginative Writing students explore what this common malady feels like. They also find themselves in the company of some famous counterparts.

One Story

There's just one story and one story only. Patrick discovers this during a class outing to the campus cemetery where we'd planned to read poetry. Patrick is eating a piece of cake, brought to the class by classmate Libby.

The question for my blog readers to consider is: What's the story?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More Photos of the Seminar Students




My Totally Awesome Seminar Students



From left to right: Jimbo (in hat); Patrick; Molly, Frank, Libby, and Liz

I wish there was some way for me to express how much I loved being with this group for the seminar "From Angst to Art." These students worked hard. Their magnanimous participation is something I'll never forget. I think the biggest challenge for us all was to bond as a group. This was necessary in order for us to talk about highly personal things about our lives. Each student chose a writer and became close to that writer. He or she reported on that writer. (Jimbo did John Berryman; Patrick did William Blake; Molly did Walt Whitman; Frank did Theodore Roethke; Liz did Dorothy Allison; Libby did Anne Sexton.) I was specific in saying that I did not want a conventional report. And they delivered. We got to hear music and poetry, and we got to view original movies and slideshows created by the students. This was not your run-of-the-mill "and he/she was born...and he/she wrote...and he/she won this or that prize." Perhaps someday I will do this seminar again; the next group, though, will have some awfully big shoes to fill.

*A note about the YouTube videos: Some of you have said you can't get the videos to play. I understand that you have to be logged on to YouTube in order to use the player. It is an easy task that will just take a minute. I hope that all my readers will log on; I plan to be putting a lot more videos on my blog in the future.

*I'm making great progress on the novel!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

THE OPEN ROAD: Writing is a Strange Adventure IV

This video is all about what it means to be a writer every day and about what it means to let your thoughts of being a writer invade everything that you do. You can hear me laughing during the "motorcycle" part of the video, and you can hear me say: "I'll provide the bumps." I think one of the most stunning aspects of this clip is the journal footage.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Sweet Pea Report


Sweet Pea is getting along just fine in her new home. She is growing and putting on weight. I wanted this photo of Allen holding her like this because the way she is eating and growing, he will not be able to hold her like this long. We took her to Marblehead about a week ago. She growled at a woman who wanted to pet her. I had to explain to the woman that we'd had Sweet Pea only a week and she'd come from a place where she wasn't very well taken care of. She will get more sociable as time goes on. She has already graduated from sleeping in her cage at night to sleeping in our bed. I'd say that's about as sociable as it gets.


I'm about to launch into my new novel in ernest. I've been thinking and taking notes the last few days. Now I must see if things go as well on paper as they do in my mind.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

THE REAL THING: Writing is a Strange Adventure III

This is one of my favorite video clips that I made with the Imaginative Writing class this semester. They considered the questions: What kind of writer am I and Why do I write?

Sweet Pea

We hadn't planned on getting another dog, but when Allen found this one, skinny and neglected, he couldn't resist. We named her Sweat Pea, of course! She has been skittery the last two days, which is understandable. But she is starting to come around. She has lots of energy and moves fast! She is also very loving. Buddha doesn't quite know what to think yet. He's had us all to himself for two years. He has been sulking a bit. So far she must be kept on a leash at all times. When she gets frightened, she runs and runs and just doesn't stop. Buddha never did this, but I've read and heard stories about other Boston Terriers that have done this. Well, welcome, Sweet Pea. I hope you like your new home!

Friday, May 04, 2007

This is a really calming poem...


School's out for summer: turned in my grades yesterday afternoon. I've committed myself to finishing a draft of my next novel by the end of summer. Oh dear! Happy summer, everyone!

Surf Buddha

by Matthew Lippman


There is a sandalwood Buddha on the desk that has my stomach
and I don't suppose to call myself a Buddha
or even pretend to know much about Buddhist whirlings
but Rachel gave me the thing and it's got my belly
the one my father has got
and the one his father had
and I know this bulge the way I know my name,
and can't believe I've become the language of fat
that the boys in my family have kept quiet.
So I encourage my stomach out into the world,
rub it on a daily basis and thinkth
at if I ever become a religious man
there would be god and glory to find there,
my rib cage distended,
my love of ice cream as sweet as my love of Rachel
who put the Buddha in my palm a month after we met and said, have this,
and I said, I already have this,
my hands in motion around my belly button and then today
noticed for the first time that the little bastard has got some serious
nipples on him,
thank god, and breasts too,
he's the perfect kind of godlike statuette
even if I am a Jew
but the days have been glorious and people die in truck crashes
and men beat their wives and flowers bloom purple
and the cardinal I've named Jack always comes around my way at this time,
4:40 in Baldwin on the Island,
Wes Montgomery on the Sony
and I don't know if it's his song Cariba or the wind on my swollen toes
that makes me pick up the little guy, stick him in my mouth,
swirl him around between teeth and cheek,
place him on the edge of my tongue and let him surf there,
through the neighborhood of my white heat,
on the curl of my pink waves.
from The New Year of Yellow,
published by Sarabande Books

Thursday, May 03, 2007

GOAT MAN: Writing is a Strange Adventure II

This is part II of my video project "Writing is a Strange Adventure." The students were having fun with a required text, THE DRIFT OF THE HUNT by poet Craig Paulenich.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Waking

Here is a video clip of my Angst to Art Students visiting our campus graveyard to read poetry. These clips are accompanied by Theodore Roethke's reading of his poem, "The Waking." I took the video footage with no plan in mind and have simply been arranging it in ways that suit me.

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Dreaming

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Northwest Ohio, United States
"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

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Epistle, by Archibald MacLeish

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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
by Albrecht Dürer

From the First Chapter

The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

My Original Artwork: Triptych

My Original Artwork:  Triptych

Wishing

Wishing

Little Deer

Little Deer

Transformation

Transformation

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Forward, Looking Back

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