Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A reconnection!

I'm very excited to reconnect with a teacher I had at U of Colorado, Lorna Dee Cervantes. She is the poet I've worked most closely with, well, ever, and I lost touch with her when I moved to Chicago. I found a link to her blog from Ron Silliman's blog, which I read when I have time. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she writes quite frequently there, and more importantly, that her new book is coming out in the fall-- a book that has been many years in the making. I was thinking about her this morning as I was running, and this is surely a really exciting time for her. She has all sorts of release parties for her book and is releasing a limited edition chapbook as well with edited versions of her most famous poems, "Bananas" and "Coffee" (some other cool poems Here) which I think is really cool. I read somewhere that she has been anthologized in over 200 books, which is a true testament to her talent in more than one way- she has become an important symbol, not only for Latinas but for American poetry in general. Her voice is super authentic, in a desperate active way that I really admire--listen to me, she seems to be saying-- in a way that is hard to ignore under any circumstances. One of the things I remember about how she read my poetry and helped me with it is that she was interested in ME as a person, poet, and future poet in a way that most others teachers neglect. I remember her attention to the way the rhythm of my running pace often entered my poetry, which I still believe even now. That's just cool. But I think so important, and I've really tried my best to incorporate this into my teaching practices as well- I mean, we teach poetry for god sake. And we're not new critics. Anymore. And even though Joe Amato likes to rave about how there is no such thing as voice, I think he's wrong, even in the context of Langauge Poetry. I think in many ways, voice is all we have. It's the mechanism through which we use language, and Lorna's poetry is a testament to this. I made a comment on her blog that the best way to experience her poems is to hear her read them, and I do believe this. Another thing I remember about Lorna is that she would host all graduate poetry workshops at her house. She would have these great spreads of food and drinks, and TRULY open her house to the students. How amazing. And our discussions in those workshops were so focused and rigorous, amybe even more so because we were comfortable and relaxed.

I'm excited, especially because I'm moving to Boulder in the next year and now will have someone to talk to about poetry!


brandijay said...

Mackenzie, you are FIRED! I heard you mention looking for a new place at poetry group on Sunday and meant to ask you about it, but I didn't think it meant you are leaving! No more poets are allowed to leave our group!

Frank said...

Congratulations on reconnecting with such an important teacher and friend. Also, congrats on the move. That poor poetry group IS losing poets left and right. For my part, I'll miss pouring the drinks.

poetzie said...

Relax. . .it'll be a year before we go anywhere. Most importantly, I have to finish my exams before we go anywhere, and that could be a decade. For my hubby's sake, I hope not. He hates Chicago more than you can imagine.