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Sally Ashton
Silicon Valley
Likes cake; eats it too.
Recent Activity
A very interesting consideration. I tend to think, as you've described, that poetry's loyalty is to language, while nonfiction's is to some sense of fact. It does get tricky when the two become so closely linked, when poetry is driven by memory. Do you think poetry requires this exactitude factitude, or was this just the surprise at memory's blurs? In any case, thanks for posting.
A gifted poet and a very wise man, apparently. Thanks.
Two summers ago my daughter called excitedly from Brooklyn to tell me about a wonderful white wine her Portuguese friend had recently introduced her to called Vinho Verde. Hers was our first introduction to a common wine in Portugal that is known in the U.S. as a bright, dry white wine, often with a slight but fading effervescence, perfect for summer weather drinking. The wine is more complicated than that. In Portugal, we had traveled north to Viana do Castello to meet new friends. It was an unseasonably rainy afternoon. After a generous home cooked lunch of traditional Portuguese fare... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
. . . isn’t hard to master, Elizabeth Bishop might have written were she considering travel in her famous villanelle, “One Art,” instead of love or life, however you might read the poem. When traveling, you master waiting, or it masters you. When all else fails, waiting is the one thing you can depend on. Still in Porto, we were going to get an early start into the Douro~ ~ the terraced wine region running along the banks of the Douro River respected not only for port production but for their red table wines, or vinho tinto. This time it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
After a few days in 100-degree Sevilla sight-seeing and tapas-hopping with husband, Frank, and our son who both joined me there, we sped off to Porto, Portugal to begin our wine explorations. Frank is an artisanal winemaker interested in crafting wine from grapes less common in California such as Torrantes, a white wine popular in Argentina, and Barbera, Italy’s favorite red table wine. He had heard that Portugal’s winemaking tradition is experiencing a renaissance, branching out into less traditional varieties he is curious to learn more about. While we had anticipated driving into Portugal’s up-and-coming southern wine regions, the Alentejo... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Out the open French doors of my pensione on a narrow street in Sevilla, the warm silence is periodically broken by church bells, calling doves, the clatter of hooves on cobble and the rumble of luggage being dragged by tourists to their lodging. Cars are impossible in these ancient streets. I left Lisbon. After many goodbyes, last pictures and drinks, after watching the sun set and lights come on across the hills, I awoke to a city bereft of the faces I’d become friends with, then packed up and got in a cab myself. Curving through the narrow streets then... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
The program ends. Yesterday, I forgot my notebook and pen for the first time. I teared-up reading a Pessoa poem aloud to the last workshop(see below). The heat and humidity broke into a sweet rain, opening a completely different scent, feel and view of Lisbon. Like cracking an egg, or maybe like throwing wide a window. The sky was lead and the city stood out against it as if seen for the first time. Even the tourists looked like momentary divinity. I try now to think of a way to not write a last Lisbon entry, and in spite of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
It is impossible to translate; we are always translating: Alone at a café table set on uneasy cobble under some broad-leaved tree, I wait for my lunch and enjoy a breeze. At last. At last a breeze, at last a moment to consider the past several days, the rush and press of them, memories already shifting into an unsorted memory I will call “Lisbon” before long. 10 days in and I too have shifted, easily navigating tram, metro, train and the often steep, slick cobble underfoot as I follow the Disquiet schedule of lectures, readings, workshops and events around the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
I wake up to the sound of clattering dishes coming through the open window of the room where I’m staying, the hostel’s kitchen crew getting ready for the morning rush of hungry travelers, some in for a night or two, many, like myself, part of the Disquiet program and staying for 2 weeks. The motors of morning—birds, blowers, a shower running, the air conditioner’s hum, a church bell tracking time—all familiar by now, even the filtered light that manages to slide between buildings to begin the day. What I’ve had the most difficulty becoming familiar with is the Portuguese language,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
So said Michel Foucault in Different Spaces. I arrived in Lisbon Saturday by airship—the jet—a kind of airborne floating space, “a non-place going places,” a placeless place that is at once threshold and destination, neither “here” nor yet “there,” time traveling between zones, continents, and consciousness, across 5600 miles and hours that expanded, contracted. I flew, to “—Lisbon, the Tagus, and the rest— A useless onlooker of you and of myself, A foreigner here like everywhere else, —” Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet Disquieted, I came to Disquiet: Dzanc Books International Literary Program, a brand new, two week literary... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
One thing I enjoy about guest blogging here at BAP is the company I get to keep for a week. I also enjoy the surprising synchronicity that often occurs between posts, the happy associations of ideas, themes and perspectives that seem to gather resonance as they collect. I am a collagist at heart. I love the art of fragment. I'm offering a closing poem here that seems to bring a few ideas from the week together, a familiar poem and one from the west coast where my fragmentation dwells. It has to do with food, and I have sooo enjoyed... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
I love the Macy's here in northern California. I don't know what they're up to in your community, but here they are basically giving away product. As fast as they can. Do you have any discretionary income at all? Take it to Macy's. As my mom would say, I kid you not. #1, their ads almost single-handedly keep our local newspaper afloat. They run at least one full-page sales ad in the paper EVERY day. It's far more usual to see 3-4 full pages. #2, they are constantly combining 20% off everything with an all day extra 20% off coupon,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
Outside the open window The morning air is all awash with angels. I'm imagining many of you across the country will wake up to a morning like this--snow!--from all the weather reports I've seen. Snow, and lots of it. I couldn't help but repost this couplet from the Richard Wilbur poem included at the end of yesterday's entry. But close that window! Even here in California, it's too cold for that. The solstice presses upon us and we gather our traditions close to prepare for the darkest night of the year...Cards have begun to arrive in earnest, invitations extended or... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
A good poet friend, Nils Peterson, recently lent me an out of print gem. Perhaps some remember the book since it was in print in the early 1960’s and likely has hung around in many poets’ bookshelves long since the way it has in Nils’ (along with a good many other out of print gems, that emeritus elf). The Contemporary Poet as Artist and Critic edited by Anthony Ostroff is subtitled as Eight Symposia and proves to be just that, an intelligent and revealing meeting of opinion. Each symposium is comprised of three poets’ critiques to a “recent” poem of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
Speaking as an editor speaking of rejection I will say this. Rejection involves the Golden Rule: it is better to give than to receive. You didn't really expect me to say the opposite, did you? Anyone who has risked rejection by submitting a piece of writing knows the spectacular if momentary rush of success and satisfaction that comes upon opening an acceptance letter or email. So too on the other end of emotion's spectrum when your work is rejected: deflation, discouragement, frustration. Etc. And it doesn't really help that a given editorial team "particularly admired" a certain piece. If they... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
But first—woooooooot! Just JUST finished teaching my last class of the semester. That’s the last of it for this meat grinder. Okay, okay. No more sausage. And I do have something more serious to consider today. It’s Monday, afterall. But once you get started with a metaphor, it’s so hard to let it go. As editor of a poetry journal, the DMQ Review, I must admit the first thing I read in any new issue of the annual Best American Poetry Anthology, once I’ve scanned the list of names on the back cover for my own personal favorites, is the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
I know, I know. I’m writing this at the risk of being forever categorized as the blogger of processed meat. If you spend much time here at the Best American Poetry Blog, you will typically find at the bottom of an entry the suggestion “You might also like:” with 3 links to previous entries. I always wonder what those suggestions are based on, the profile of the visitor or the associations of the current posting? Likely the latter. However, often enough the blog-gods suggest that I might also like: the M-m-etc.-mortadella entry. Of course I would; I wrote it, AND... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
Yo, bitch.
Laura-Also Dylan Thomas' birthday today, and here, a reading of his Poem in October celebrating his 30th...strange coincidence.
It sure would be nice to have a West Coast reading sometime...sigh. Have fun!
I have to say my romanticism for the process has faded. The wool looks more like what I'd expect that Scottish dish Haggis looks like, and if Grace's meatballs look anything like those shanks of wet wool, Grace please at least get some tomato sauce to cover them.
This redeems the city of Bologna once and for all! Thanks Terrence.
The duck story makes me cry. I must go to Indiana. I have never been.
I've enjoyed your posts. Thanks-
It's also sad to think how they might create a metaphor for a deflated economy; the poetry or the penis? Sad either way.