Here in mid-Michigan, it’s been the Autumn of Keats’s Ode: o’erladen, oozing, mellow-misted. On several occasions, running through Island Park, I’ve stopped because I’ve had to, just to take it in, the blaze of reds and golds, the swirling-down leaves, the leaves riding the back of the Chippewa River, so much deep blue sky, and of course those days of fall’s long dragging hem-trailing clouds. Everything feels a turning toward.
I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by so much poetry these recent days, and sometimes even of the written variety. My students continue to amaze me with their bravery to dive in and out of new territories, new forms. I’ve loved diving with them deep into the work of Vievee Francis, Matthew Olzmann, Catherine Wing, Dianne Seuss, Sean Thomas Dougherty. In recent days we were stunned by Sean Thomas Dougherty’s visit to the Wellspring Literary Series. Sean knocked us back into our bodies with his honest voice, his tough and sensual lyricism. After his reading, I had a great time with Sean and students at the Bird, shooting pool, then at home chatting with Sean and my wife late into the night.
A few evenings later, I was hugely fortunate to facilitate a reading by my mentor Thomas Lux, followed by a pilgrimage with Tom the next day to see Roethke’s museum and grave, then lunch in Saginaw, then dinner with my wife, Tom and Bill Knot back at the Fanning abode. Sitting with these two incredible American poets as they shared stories of other famous American poets from over the years, I had to keep picking up my jaw. It is an evening I will never forget.
Next, I look forward to a reading with Diane Wakoski and Patricia Clark in Grand Rapids on November 3 and a visit by Dianne Seuss to the Wellspring Literary Series on November 4.
It will be a busy fall and winter of writing new poems, of mining for some new work. In the meantime, I continue to send out my two manuscripts, hoping to secure a publisher for one or both of those. There have been a few tugs on the line and there are some silverfish out glinting in those currents.
I hope for you, whoever you are, and wherever you are, there has been such abundance, so much nectar in the hours.