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gabrielle calvocoressi
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Time Passes Today I woke up and stretched for a bit while listening to a dharma talk on pain. How boring. Sometimes I wonder how to write these posts. Maybe that’s a way of saying sometimes I wonder if I have a right to write these posts. I’m suspicious of memoir but then I think maybe that’s more about my own lack of self-confidence and my own long term commitment to silencing myself, which I think is something a lot of us do. Or maybe it’s that it seems so long ago. Or like no time at all. It’s less... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Pain A few weeks ago my left hip gave out. Maybe “gave out” isn’t the right term. A few weeks ago the pain I’ve been having on the right side of my back for about a year inexplicably moved itself, in its entirety to my left. It wasn’t the same kind of pain. It was sharp and involved nerves and all of a sudden I had a pronounced limp. Sitting was very hard, which made writing hard. Standing hurt after a few minutes. I finally understood why people say nerve pain is the worst. I’d wake in the night and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Weight The first time I saw my mother naked I didn’t think she was beautiful. If I remember correctly I was terrified. Which is crazy because she was just leaning over to dry her calf. She was in the blue bathroom in her parents’ house and the door had been left ajar. Not even ajar. Just a sliver that I walked past and turned my head and my eye went into. She was leaning over like anyone else. She was looking at her leg. Her eyes, well I couldn’t see her eyes but I could see the way her eyelids... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Not Guilty. Full of Light. Every night before I fall asleep I say, “Goodnight, God. I love you. Sleep well.” I don’t say it out loud because it’s just between us. I realized the other day that I began saying it after my mother killed herself. I’d always prayed. Or, I’d always talked to God. Nothing big really. I didn’t ask for things so much as talk about my day or sometimes I’d ask questions. I mean, sometimes I’d beg. When I was getting bullied in middle school I remember asking God to please help me because I didn’t think... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
November 21, 2013 Dear Mom, Yesterday I couldn’t seem to do it. Well, that sounds a bit more dramatic than I mean it to. Yesterday I couldn’t seem to get myself to write this column I’m working on about you and me and suicide and why we do or don’t keep living. It’s something that happens to me. I get overwhelmed. It was a good day though. There was lots to write about. I woke up and went to acupuncture in town. I decided to take the bus instead of driving, which turned out to be a great idea because... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Detail of My Mother Many Years Before She Killed Herself This photo was taken before she knew me. Before I was born. It was taken by her first husband, Ralph. I don’t think she’d been in the hospital yet. I think she looks very beautiful. My eye first goes to the shadow under her chin and the way the light falls on the curve that leads from the top of her shoulder to the straight part of her neck. I wish she was looking at me. I mean, I wish she was looking at the camera. I don’t have any... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun The rule I made for myself most days was that I had to leave the house and smile at least three people that I didn’t know. I had to make eye contact and just say hello, which is to say even if I was shaking or had been throwing up from all the anxiety all day long I still needed to walk out on Claremont Blvd. and face the world. This was the rule on weekends but also on weekdays after I’d get home from teaching at Stanford. I was doing great... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
As a way of starting Sports Desk again, I've decided to start by continuing with some Olympic roundups, Olympic replays and Olympic reconsiderations. Over the next 7 days I'll be running pieces from The Los Angeles Review of Books Poetic/Olympics that you haven't seen yet and a number that you have. By the time I've finished I'll be in Denton, TX where I'll have some other things to say about poetry and sports and searching. First up, Pat Rosal discusses Mark Anthony Barriga. I've included his first piece and now the conclusion, "Keats and Barriga: Filipino Capability." Barriga’s Olympic Debut... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today over at The Los Angeles Review of Books Poetic/Olympics we're talking about Basketball. Scott Cunningham and Stephen Burt break it down in fine fashion and the photos will slay you as well. On Women’s Basketball PT. 2 Stephen Burt The truth is I screwed up. I got my priorities wrong. I missed out the real show. I watched the wrong games. I've been able to see my favorite players—the ones I already follow closely—on Team USA, which I do support, being American; but Team USA, which I've been watching, had exactly no close games, and about five close quarters,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today in The Los Angeles Review of Books Poetic/Olympic Coverage, Liam and Meghan O'Rourke continued their gymnastic poetic correspondence and Patrick Rosal talked about kettle bell, depression and the poem. A Gymnastic/Poetic Correspondence by Liam O'Rourke and Meghan O'Rourke Meghan, First of all, hooray for our two favorite American gymnasts, Danell Leyva and Gabby Douglas winning individual all-around medals! Fortuitously I came across the following passage Thursday afternoon, not long after watching Douglas compete so fiercely and confidently to win gold: “How so slight a woman can roar, like a secret Niagara, and with so gracious an inference, is one... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today Poetic/Olympic Coverage continues at The Los Angeles Review of Books and The Best American Poetry. We're starting a series within the series in which we consider sports that have been and no longer are a part of the Games. We're calling them Ghost Sports and today it's baseball. Here's a moving meditation by Nick Ripatrazone and some brilliant hilarity by Peter Campion. Foul Ball: On Baseball and Poetry By Nick Ripatrazone The dugouts are empty and the bats are silent: there is no baseball in the London Olympics. There will be no baseball in the 2016 Berlin games. Baseball... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today The Los Angeles Review of Books and The Best American Poetry bring you Olympic coverage of Long Distance Swimming by Jake Adam York and Tennis by Matthea Harvey. The 1500-Meter Freestyle (and The Long Poem) By Jake Adam York [blocks] This hasn’t happened yet. You won’t see this until Saturday, until Sunday, because you, like a swimmer, have to warm up to this, to build the capacity for endurance, from the gasp of the 100M freestyle (47 seconds or less) to a race that will last more than 14 minutes. 1 When the buzzers sound, there will be almost... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Olympic Fever Continues over at The Los Angeles Review of Books and right here at Sports Desk. Today Deborah Paredez on Track and Field and Gregory Pardlo on Table Tennis. The Handoff: On Track and Field and The Poem Deborah Paredez 1. The relay, at heart, is about conveyance. The body trained as a vessel. Handing off—often blindly and so seamlessly we hardly notice the moment of transfer—is the point. Perhaps that's why there seems to be less glory in it than in other events. What is carried and passed on is what matters most. Dropping the baton is the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today over at Los Angeles Review of Books our Poetic Olympians, Sarah Blake and Stephen Burt are telling us all about fencing and women's basketball. Fencing By Sarah Blake I. Picture the fencers. Picture them, without their gear, covered in bruises. All the weapons leave bruises, from thrusts, flicks, and the sabre's slash. They leave welts as well. When I fenced in high school, we were proud of the marks. Mostly, it didn't hurt to get them. Or hurt isn't the right word because it feels good to hit someone, to be hit, in a bit of flesh that gives... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today was Boxing Day over at The Los Angeles Review of Books Poetic Olympic Section. Here are pieces by Pat Rosal, Ross Gay and Jennifer Grotz. Hagler-Leonard and the Limits of Speech Ross Gay and Patrick Rosal On April 6, 1987 Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler fought, the only matchup that hadn’t happened among the era’s pantheon of boxers that include Thomas The Hitman Hearns and Robert Duran. Hagler was the puncher, known as a bruiser. Leonard was the graceful, and even extravagant, boxer. Young men—particularly—young men of color around the country watched this fight on television. For... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today, after a few hours of watching Olympic archery and beach volleyball I made my way to Abbott Kinney Blvd. in Venice, got a really perfect iced green tea at Intelligensia Coffee and felt genuinely happy to be alive. That’s surprising in some ways since over the course of the last few weeks I’ve lost my apartment, watched my laptop die not once but twice and moved more deeply into my research for a book of prose I’m writing that focuses on my mother’s suicide and the general and uncomfortable question (for me, anyway) of why she killed herself and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Manny, Summer’s Done and Gone. I was at this party in the Hollywood hills and everyone was reading poems aloud. Really. And not even a bunch of poets. There were artists and curators and human rights activists and lawyers. There was a famous actress. There was a journalist who’d been imprisoned in Iran for a hundred days. It was beautiful and also typical of this city. Los Angeles. My heart. My home. Every dream I ever had and how the light looked when I shut my eyes as a child. There was a beautiful man there. He was wearing a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Abandon, Attack, Big Ringing It, Bonk, Broom Wagon, Domestique, Grupetto, Tubular, Velo, Wheel Sucker, Lead Out, Paceline, Popped. Blown, Had it, Knackered, Stuffed, Squirrel, Velo, Wheel Sucker!Bike racing terminology! I don’t understand a word of it! Ciao Tutti! Hello from Italy. Sports Desk is back for a second season and we are broadcasting live from Civitella di Ranieri in Italy where yours truly is working on poems, essays, gaining weight and writing about all manner of Italian sports. Look at our office! I haven’t been to Italy since I was sixteen years old and I haven’t really ridden a bike... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
We were in her apartment in Manchester, VT. The one above the liquor store that she moved to after she left the house across from the junk car lot and Jimmy left to go to California and get straight. We had just finished dinner and she was showing me the cameos her mother gave her. I never understood why anyone liked cameos but I sat and looked at them. I liked the color of the background. Slate blue like the walls in her bedroom. The white face of some woman I didn’t know made me uncomfortable somehow and maybe I... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
I’ve said it before but I feel like the most appropriate author photo for a writer with a significant other is a picture of said writer doing something like sitting with their head in their hands or staring at the ceiling or lying in the fetal position under the dining room table weeping and behind them their partner staring at them with a look that says, “Really? Isn’t this what we did yesterday?” Take my partner, Penelope Cruz.* Today in Los Angeles, in between interviews and a photo shoot and doing her doctoral work, she sat down next to me... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
I. I have a VHS somewhere of Martina Navratilova winning her ninth Wimbledon. I taped every match of hers that summer and would watch them over and over. I’m not sure I knew at that point what it was I was looking for. It’s true she was amazing. Nobody played like her, nobody was as strong. The baseline is boring as a suburb and Martina left it behind and came to the net. If you watch videos of her on YouTube you can feel when she’s about to come forward. The crowd gets excited and she’s so fast and you... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Dear Tiger, Good morning from Los Angeles. All week long I’ve been watching the Olympics and thinking what to write about for my Sports Desk column. Truth be told I’m a little late. I’m falling into all of the old clichés about poet sports columnists: by the time we’re done revising it’s next season. But it’s hard. There’s so much amazing stuff to write about. Like Torah Bright. First of all, I had never watched women’s snowboard half-pipe before. Let me tell you, if I had one ounce of physical ability that would totally be my event. The speed, the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Sports Desk: Super Bowl Edition Hard to imagine a more joy filled Super Bowl than the one we got to witness Sunday night. Even with the Focus on Family ad being shown and The Who taking up space that could have been filled by lots of bands who would have better represented the spirit of Miami and the two teams playing in the game, the fact remains that we saw pretty much everything that is great about sports and the people who play them. We saw Colts guard Kyle DeVan who went from being a substitute teacher to playing in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
This past week I took a hell of a spill. It was a nice day and I thought I’d go for my usual walk as way of moving into the writing day. I’ve started playing music on my Blackberry and that is a bad idea, as evidenced by the fact that one moment I was walking across Ogden Street deciding between Coldplay and Sigur Ros and the next I was laid flat out on the corner. A nice guy came up and sat down beside me and asked if I was okay. I shook my head and said, “I don’t... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Jan. 18, 2010. Martin Luther King Day Edition. It’s a shame the Baltimore Ravens lost this week. I was pulling for them for all kinds of reasons. First, I love Peyton Manning but I’m a little tired of those Colts. I tend to be in the group that feels that team doesn’t really have it without him and as much as I love and respect virtuosity I do like to see a team where the talent is pretty equal across the board. I like some smash-mouth football. And I like Baltimore. I like the food. I like the music. I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2010 at The Best American Poetry