Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Box of Severed Lines



I had a few lines on the end of a poem that I was considering

O jagged maggot children!
I have rescheduled
My confrontation with ecstasy


but Richard Huttel thought it'd be better without them. The poem isn't working yet, but I think Richard is right, though I do like those lines. Someone in a writing class in high school (I can't remember who) said that you should always ditch your favourite lines because you're likely hanging on to them, coddling them like spoiled children. He said he had a shoebox filled with favourite lines that he'd excised. Perhaps I could sell them on eBay.

*
The Opposable Thumbs Clarinet Orchestra of Greater Knuckle Drag:

I asked my students to write a short piece about what they had learned about their instruments. One student wrote to a character in a science fiction novel that he liked. He said, "If you have opposable thumbs, you'd like the clarinet." Pretty cool from an 11 year old.

*

My family and I are going on a trip to England, Ireland, and Paris. I was looking over the "Favorite Driving Trips in Ireland" and was astounded how powerfully I responded to those landscapes. I grew up outside Belfast in Northern Ireland and came here when I was nine or ten. I've been back a couple of times. My family isn't Irish --my parents moved from South Africa so that my dad could go to school. This was the early sixties. My mom trained as a computer programmer. My grandparents were Lithuanian and Ukrainian Jews who moved to South Africa. So I don't have some ancestral relationship with Ireland. It is the landscape of my childhood. The shape of my nostalgia. The place where my imagination first was formed and continued to form when I thought back to where I'd come from. I learned to play Irish tunes on tin whistle and flute when I was 13. I really liked them, and they seemed to connect with memory, landscape, and nature. But they also had something to do with wanting to have a culture. I thought that we're all supposed to have a specific and simple culture that we're heir to. I didn't know that it was more complex than that.

1 comment:

gary barwin said...

hey Gary,

Actually the title of the blog post and the three liens would make a nice little poem..


A BOX OF SEVERED LINES

O jagged maggot children!
I have rescheduled
My confrontation with ecstasy


What do you think?


-Gary