A post on Harriet’s poetry blog on the Poetry Foundation site has been circulating through the waves of the Internet. It’s the one written recently by Camille Rankin and titled “Do What You Do, Love What You Love.”
The post talks about how there is no money in poetry and how most poets have to have another kind of work for income. But as Camille Rankine works out her logic on the value and poetry and the value of work, she finds there are advantages to writing poetry. The paragraphs that have been most cited by poets everywhere are these:
“But I’ll keep this up no matter what. I can’t sell out, because no one’s buying. I can’t kowtow to some bigwigs waving a big check because that big check doesn’t exist. I don’t ever have to worry about fitting myself into a more marketable box, or censoring myself, or editing my vision down to something more saleable. I don’t have to compromise creatively in order to put food on the table or pay my rent. There’s little chance of making any of that happen through poetry alone.
I can do whatever it is I am moved to do, because there’s nothing to lose.”
Thanks to Camille Rankine for reminding me of this. There is a certain appeal to flying under the radar. It is one of the perks of aging too.
Another blog post that hit a nerve is Rebecca Makkai’s latest blog post on the Ploughshares site: “Writers You Want to Punch in the Face(book).” It’s pretty funny. As a matter of fact, you should check all her posts there. Perhaps you’ve heard about her latest book The Hundred-Year House.
BTW, last night I was on Twitter and learned that Rebecca’s writer friend Todd Manly-Krauss now has his own Twitter account. As of this morning, he follows me.
If you’re in the Chicago area and looking for a fun activity on Saturday, I recommend the Pop-Up Book Fair. It is in a new location, The Arts Center, 200 N. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park. It goes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Bookfair will feature featuring more than 40 independent presses as well as readings and presentation. Scheduled at noon is a Conversation with Chris Ware and Hilary Chute, presented by 57th Street Books. Other presentations that day focus on Ernest Hemingway. The event is sponsored by Curbside Splendor, 826CHI, The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, and Oak Park Public Library. After the daytime events, there is an after-party for those 21+; Words + Music is at Oak Park Public Library at 6 pm. Save yourself some hassle and dough by rsvp-ing on EventBrite.
Tuesday evening, April 8, I headed over to THENEWSTUDIO in Evanston to hear local poets Bill Seabright and Beth Snyder read their original work at the Central Street studio of artist Mel Winer. Celebrating five years of programming, THENEWSTUDIO is a creative and intellectual community that began in Evanston — and now includes Portland, Oregon — focusing on individuals of age 40 and over who desire to show their artwork, present various forms of artistic expression, and share knowledge pertaining to all areas of learning.
Also, a photograph I took made the cover of the next issue of Vine Leaves. The issue isn’t live until the middle of this month so I’ll give you all the links next week. In the meantime, here’s the cover.
Peace, love, and solace