Friday, January 28, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Loughner poetry connection

So Jared Loughner, the guy who attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, took a community college "advanced poetry writing class." Will the media soon be dissecting his poems like they did the writings of the Virginia Tech killer? After all, we're already "reading into" Loughner's favorite books. Mention of his poetry, though not flattering ones, are being reported as news.
"Several people who knew Loughner at community college said he did not seem especially political, but was socially awkward. He laughed at the wrong things, made inappropriate comments. Most students sat away from him in class.

'He made a lot of the people really uncomfortable, especially the girls in the class,' said Steven Cates, who attended an advanced poetry writing class with Loughner at Pima Community College last spring. Though he struck up a superficial friendship with Loughner, he said a group of other students went to the teacher to complain about Loughner at one point.

Another poetry student, Don Coorough, said Loughner read a 'kind of a bland' poem about going to the gym in wild "poetry slam" style — 'grabbing his crotch and jumping around the room.'

When other students read their poems, meanwhile, Coorough said Loughner 'would laugh at things that you wouldn't laugh at.' After one woman read a poem about abortion, 'he was turning all shades of red and laughing,' and said, 'Wow, she's just like a terrorist, she killed a baby,' Coorough said.

'He appeared to be to me an emotional cripple or an emotional child,' Coorough said. 'He lacked compassion, he lacked understanding and he lacked an ability to connect."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Outshined by a dark cloud

Yeah. I think having Anne Sexton as a mom would mess anyone up. Her daughter Linda already chronicled her childhood in Searching for Mercy Street. Now she's published Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide, about her grown-up life. And it's a sad one. From the New York Times review we learn that she gets super depressed. She tries to kill herself at least twice. Her husband leaves her. Nobody will publish her novel.

I don't plan to read the book. The Times review was enough for me. It ends by comparing Linda to her mom. The verdict: Linda's not as sad and she's not as good. Ouch. Read it for yourself:
"Even when she was sickest, Anne Sexton managed to create a vibrant world around herself, never losing her status as a figure to be reckoned with. But Linda Sexton seems utterly marooned when her modest dream of 'normal' family life evaporates and her writing career stalls. When she recovers, the scene expands only to include the men she meets through an online dating Web site. There is a surprising blandness to her sensibility, and her cause isn’t helped by overwrought language ('I was once again left shivering in the draft of everyone’s disapproval, dancing like a marionette in rhythm to the old black tune that had haunted my life ever since my mother first kicked me out of the house when I was 2') and hackneyed therapy-speak ('My continuing therapy with Barbara Ballinger had developed into the strong support I needed as I worked to examine the feelings I had about my mother’s suicide and to tear them apart').

But this book looks into the workings of the suicidal mind in a way that isn’t easily forgotten, raising provocative questions about how we approach and treat the severely mentally ill. Sexton paints suicide as a deadly disease mechanism: only the care of other people can save its victims, but those victims become experts at driving other people away."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Near-misses" by Laura Kasischke

I just happened upon Laura Kasischke's poem "Near-misses" from the Spring 2010 issue of Willow Springs and it's quite a fitting poem to kick off the year.

Laura talks a little about the poem on the Willow Springs site. Read it. But read the poem first. And then remember that you're lucky to be alive. "Fork + Toaster + One Second Longer = None of This" forever.

Breathe in the books

May 2011 be filled with the smell of books.

By the way, I am an avid book-smeller myself. Granted, I prefer the smell of new books, but still.

Via Book Fox, a blog I stumbled upon last night. Book nerds, rejoice.