Tuesday 2.9.10

Air. Air.

One month ago, NBBJ opened its doors to me, offered me a space to work, a supportive audience and an invitation to play. I’ve never felt so supported and welcomed in all my life. It’s been truly heavenly to work within these walls, with these alert, creative, responsive people. Now that my month is officially up (ended 5 February 2010), I'm thinking about the model we built and wondering, will other corporations support this model? Will they confirm the value of this work with a dollar amount? Having gotten so much positive feedback, I decided to ask this question while I'm still at NBBJ. No, my work is not yet finished, but is there a desire to have me stay? I composed a letter to the firm, requesting matching funding and suggesting an interest in staying on for a month. I’m waiting for the response.

Will I be granted an extension? I have so much still to do. Will my CityArtist grant be matched? At the completion of my residency, I will have received $5800 from the City of Seattle's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs for a full month of work, plus time spent organizing the residency and writing, formatting and printing a chapbook. What a boon a matching grant would b!! $5800 is half a year's salary to me. Though funding was never expected, it would set a strong precedent for the corporate-poet model and underline the kind of support a corporation is willing to give a poet, the value they place on the experience. What with corporate coaching and team-building workshops and the money spent on increased production and job satisfaction, perhaps a poet stands a chance? Rubbing elbows with innovation. And yet.. the air is tight, the economy is tough. And I have no string. See me rise and fall.


I met a poet for lunch today, Michael Schein, director of LitFuse, an annual poetry festival in Tieton, WA. I’ve been on the LitFuse faculty for 2 years, since Michael asked me to teach a Guerilla Poetry class in 2008. Michael was responsible for a new direction in me. He got me started thinking how I might foster my public urge in others. He’s come to discuss this year’s event with me.

A Poet’s Work

I spent my afternoon keying in the never-ending Blue Line. Now that it’s in my notebook, I have the job of transcribing it from there into my computer. Workworkwork. Night Is Falling has me looking for a column to address. I have an idea for a final project, for the effect of the poet's true departure which will indeed be light night is falling. I walk around observing columns. There are columns embedded in walls, corner columns, hidden columns, dead end columns and bold ones at the tops of the stairs. Which is the most lovely? Which the most secret? Which the most archival? Which the most dreamy? And which does my project want--a bold or a reclusive column? Still thinking. Still thinking.

The Houseboats Are Sleeping

It is 10pm when I row home. I wear my down jacket zipped up all the way. My hands are numb. I have no gloves. The lights in the houseboats are out. This is my latest row yet. I am hunting for food. Sniff sniff. I see an otter in the water. It’s dark, how can I be sure? The surface, at night, is rife with silhouettes. Every disruption is keen. The lights from the hills reflect perfectly on the lake, which is icy, still and crystalline. It felt like a holiday card, a Scandinavian nativity scene.

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