Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Seeing Stars

No, not at AWP, alas.

In Three Candles Journal you will find a new review of mine. This time it's non-fiction, but I prefer to review poetry. Summer is coming soon. I'd like to read a few books while watching my kids splash, and review a couple of books during my break from academics. So, recommendations and review copies welcomed.

Poorer Today

The world is poorer today. We lost Robert Creeley yesterday.

From Four Days in Vermont

Soon going day wanders on
and still tree's out there waiting
patient in time like a river and
truth a simple apple reddened
by frost and sun is found
where one had left it in time's company
No one's absent in mind None gone
Tell me the truth I want to say
Tell me all you know Will we live
or die As if the world were apart
and whatever tree seen were only here apparent
Answers, live and die. Believe.

Free Talks on Great Poets

. . .is what the postcard says that came in the mail today--with Martin Espada talking about Pablo Neruda and Eamon Grennan on Emily Dickinson up in KC at the library. The return address is Poets House, New York. It's bulk mail that actually makes me feel as if I belong, vs. only being a random consumer. Then I must ask, who sent my name there when I subscribed or submitted? But being on the "poetry reader" list isn't all that bad, occasionally I get a sample copy of a journal or a good offer for subscribing. I'm reading Poetry this year on the cheap.

Which reminds me, I need to subscribe to a few more 'zines as all of my other subscriptions have run dry. I've been buying books, books, oh, and more books recently. I am starting to feel as if I have the beginning of a good library. Nothing as good as Poets House, of course. I want to go there one day and sit with the poetry. But, everything today seems far away.

I'm actually supposed to be in KC on one of the dates of the Great Poet talks. Perhaps I can hear Eamon on ED. Can anyone make me fall for ED? I'm still waiting for the socks to be knocked off my feet.

I read H.D.'s Bid Me to Live tonight and found myself barefooted.

Plain Poems

I wonder sometimes about plain poems. You know, the ones that don't make extravagant gestures, or state grand themes. I find myself writing them now and again and being pleased by them. Perhaps only because they recall a moment in my life. This one particular moment happened last fall. Perhaps guilt? Perhaps to remind myself to bring the stale bread next time?


Four White Geese: Black duck

Morning, and the light off the park pond
blinding as I sit busy with daily worry,
papers, checks, and bills.
They swim across the ripples
to peer at me. Without a sound
they careen their long necks,
and paddle expectantly beside the shore
where I sit. When they finally give up
the implied hope of bread
I feel the breach of contract
as they drift, still looking back,
for some proffered sign
of kindness or kinship.



I'm pleased recently to note that poets whose work I follow seem to be showing up in some really nice places.

Eduardo, for example, was a "Discovery" prize winner.
C. Dale Young has a full page layout for his new book in the newest Poetry.
I ran across the Mennonite Anthology the other day in the library with poems by another friend David Wright who I heard read last year.

I'm also a bit bummed that I'm not able to go to AWP this year. But next year in Austin? A girl can dream.


Thanks to Frank I've been handed "The Stick" Hmm.

Why is this so hard? I might change my mind tomorrow!

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be:
Today: Given Sugar, Given Salt: Poems by Jane Hirshfield

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Yes? No? Maybe? I can't think of any right now. I had a crush on Pete Rose once when I was very small, does that count? I'll get back with you on this one.

The last book you bought is:
Twentieth Century American Poetry & Twentieth-Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry

The last book you read:
Good by to All That by Robert Graves

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

The Bible, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry, Complete Works of John Donne, Norton Anthology of Poetry.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons)? And Why?

Scoplaw, to see what he's been reading in law school.

Steve Mueske, since I haven't really heard from him in awhile.

Dick Jones, who I don't know, but who always posts interesting things on his website.


*Other Poet's Blogs

There seems to be a "tradition" of doing a roundup and chatting about what the other poets are up to in their own corner of blogland. And yes, if the blog is listed over there on the sidebar, I'm reading it on a regular basis. In fact:
  • Kelli won an award for a Sestina with a long title.
  • Roger Poa is listing books by Asian American Poets
  • Jeff Bahr is usually reading & commenting on his mail (and it's interesting mail) and the book he is currently reading: Spell. He's also talking about poet listings.
  • T.E. Ballard wants to be wealthy and wants more books.
  • Eduardo is at ASU listening to famous poets.
  • Hannah is concerned with watchdog groups.
  • Suzanne is trying to buy a house.
  • Glenn is working on multiple revisions of an old workbook poem
  • Dick is "dreaming in green"
  • Frank, accompanied by a trombone in a former life, is writing about wills.
  • Steve is showcasing new threecandles.org work
  • Tony has his "top ten" up and has his laundry done.
  • Jenni is following Idol and is also looking at houses.
  • Scoplaw survived spring break & is taking law students to task. Ah, and a poem to read.
  • Ron's page takes ages to download on my computer. Why? A smart photo of Jack Gilbert? Yes.
  • Mojo: hmm. Who is this? I haven't a clue. Odd thoughts, random ideas. Commented once on my blog.
  • Jennifer has a photo that will make you hope for spring, if it hasn't already arrived where you are.
  • C. Dale is anticipating AWP.

Links to your right, ladies and gents. Are there other blogs I should be reading everyday? Let me know.

Sneeze, Sniffle, & More Conference Notes

This semester is topping my all time record for time spent "under the weather" and the weather here has actually been rather nice lately. Oh Bother. (As Pooh would say.)

Here at KSU, we held our annual Cultural Studies Conference which focused on "Image, Icon, and Ideology" this year.

  • I did my bit by working to make and hand out the nametags. This meant that I actually had a good reason to chat with the attendees when I ran across them later during the panels and mixers.
  • Attendees came from all over the States, India, Italy, and Canada, too. There may have been even more countries of origin, but I don't have my program with me tonight.
  • oh my. Went to see Tom Huck. He's a woodcut artist and he'll break every single expectation you might have about the genre & what a "woodcut artist" might be or do. For example, his presentation included work that portrayed a bed of bones, Monster trucks, a greased pig contest, and much much more. His personal statement sounds so nice. ARTIST STATEMENT: My work deals with personal observations about the experiences of living in a small town in southeast Missouri. The often Strange and Humorous occurrences, places, and people in these towns offer a never-ending source of inspiration for my prints. I call this work "rural satire". My work has been influenced by an array of artists, among then the woodcuts of Albrecht Durer, the etchings of Warrington Colescott, nearly all of the German Expressionists, and the late great Frank Zappa. But go visit his website. And the stories that go along with these, well, he probably could hold his own on SNL.
  • Who knew that the "swoosh" logo was making its way into the local culture of South America? or Romania? And that it's been incorporated in many odd ways such as on gravemarkers. What does this mean? Will Anthropologists years from now think we worshipped a god named Nike? But wait, wasn't Nike really a godess?
  • What was particularly interesting was the range of people from many different types of departments: Philosophy, Art , Graphic Art, and of course, your good old English & Cultural Studies Departments.
  • Next Year's Call for Papers: Privacy. And one of the Keynote speakers is a poet. This makes me happy. Yes, I'll be at the registration desk next year too, if all goes as planned. Stop by and see me.

So much to say, So little time.

While this is of course the problem of every writer, it is my specific problem this week. I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about poetics and aesthetics, about how I ended up writing the way that I do, and why so much of my critical work points towards elegy & mourning. I thought I was a happy person. Yet, recent drafts have included a stoning poem and two lynching poems; two are set in recent day Sadr City, and one in St. Louis. in the 1917's. For me, sometimes writing is trying to make sense of the world, and sometimes it's trying to makes sense of the self. I state these as two different goals, but I wonder if they're not really the same.

Much better than listening to my mumbling: stop in and read Scoplaw's poem To My Former Protégé. Then if you're in the St. Paul area, go hear Steve Mueske read on St. Paddy's Day.