Saturday, August 14, 2010

From Napa Hills to Pt Reyes Bookstore

Nothing quite like starting the day contemplating poetry and ending it with a reading. (Conferences are good for that!) Trying to do the former as often as possible, and always on the lookout for the latter.*

Here's a morning-kickstart poem from Brenda Hillman's "Cascadia."

The Rise of the Napa Hills

The sea has receded a little. Mild layers stack up
without panic, like e-mail.  Twin frenzied suns watch the ocean
sediments settle under Oakville Grocer. Flittery
strings tied to the tops of young vines shimmer two versions of 
the actual: red, white. The curfew vintner walks below,
tapping smooth metal vats with a spoon. He asks them the twelve
questions: Did you love your life? How 'bout now? Can you recite
the table of sunsets? Did the weather wait for you? Did
you wait back? When he shook before the world did you shake too?
Did you fall in the milky sunshine? Do you hear their
gritty theories still? Would you like a drink? Can you live in 
two directions with border guards? You're not answering. 
Why didn't you fight more? Didn't you love being bad?

Love the 12 Questions! and "flittery strings...shimmer two versions of the actual"

Talking as we were about Lab Lit, it's cool to note that  Brenda's work is rich with all aspects of science, primarily geology in this poem. Yet "two versions of the actual" lead us to contemplate what is beyond the tangible world. 

* as for an evening reading, Brenda Hillman and Bob Hass will be at Pt Reyes Bookstore on Sept 4th, at a benefit for West Marin Review.  So ... supporting the local arts, and hearing the great poets of our age.
What's not to like?
I'll be there, foursquare. 

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