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Kate Daniels
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Sometime early this morning, when it was still dark, a soft rain commenced here in Nashville. So we have the unexpected delight of another cool morning – two in one week is almost unheard of this time of year. I’m out on the porch again, drenched in the blessing of a cool, gray, just-barely-rainy Sunday morning… For some reason, I awoke thinking of an annual dinner party I have given each December for the past fifteen years. I call it the “Annual Sit Down, Dress Up, No Kids Allowed, Crown Pork Roast Holiday Dinner.” About two dozen friends (many of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that this weekend the CMA Fest is going on in Nashville. For those who don’t know, this is country music’s annual big ol’ time. It used to take place at the state fairgrounds, and was a marvelously tacky, up close and personal way for fans to meet and greet their favorite musicians. Long lines of little booths (curated to fit a particular image or motif) were set up within which the “artists” (that’s what country music musicians are invariably called here in Nashville) were located. Fans lined up for hours for the opportunity to pass... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
When I first moved to Nashville from Durham (North Carolina) eighteen years ago, I found myself unexpectedly delighted by many aspects of living here. I had been reluctant to leave Durham for lots of reasons. My last child was born there. I had good friends there, and I lived in a marvelous story and a half 1920s bungalow, built as a wedding present to a young woman whose father had been mayor of Durham. I had a great little job as Poet in Residence at Duke Medical Center. More than anything else, however, Durham was – is – one of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
It’s hard sometimes for writers living down South not to feel overlooked by the larger poetry community. All the editors and agents live up north, or out in California, don't they? And all the good poetry events seem to happen in New York or Chicago. (Well, as far as I’m concerned, even though I’m a Southerner who lives in the South, all good events of almost any kind happen in New York or Chicago --) So it was superb to wake up a few hours ago to a rare, cool Nashville morning in June, and be greeted by some good... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Anyone who knows anything about the literary history of Vanderbilt University where I teach – birthplace of the Fugitive Poets (Warren, Tate, Ransom), and mid-20th century English Department of choice for writers like Randall Jarrell, Peter Taylor, Caroline Gordon, Elizabeth Spencer, James Dickey, and Ellen Gilchrist – would probably assume that a creative writing program has been in place there for decades. But that would not be true. Although Gertrude Vanderbilt served as generous creative writing patron for decades (my colleague Vereen Bell recalls her giving him handwritten checks, pulled from the pocket of her full length mink coat), and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today, the 5th of June, is the birthday of three of my favorite writers, as well as the beginning of a Transit of Venus – that most rare of astronomical events. As I understand it, a Venus Transit involves a complicated conveyance of planets wherein Venus passes directly between sun and earth. Thus, trapped and illuminated, the Morning Star will take its time (today and tomorrow) moving through this celestial passage, and will appear to us here on earth as a distinct black dot moving across the massive, orange-red face of the sun. We won’t see it again until 2117.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
John Crowe Ransom] has a wonderful line: what a poet must have in the right order is the head, the heart, and the foot. That’s a physical description of a rhythmic and intellectual activity, of poetry.” Dave Smith Here at the beginning of my first attempt at blogging, I’m thinking about poetry and tennis as the French Open 2012 enters its second week of play. Some of the poets whose work I most love – Philip Levine, Dave Smith, Galway Kinnell, for starters – are, or have been, avid players, and have sometimes brought the sport into their poems. Although... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
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May 30, 2012