Monday, November 27, 2006

This came last week from the Writer’s Almanac. I thought it was brilliant for those of you who did not get to read it. Oh may god grant me a publisher like this!!!!

It's the birthday of the publisher and editor of The Little Review magazine, Margaret Anderson , born in Indianapolis, Indiana (1886). She grew up in the small town of Columbus, Indiana, but early on she decided that she didn't fit into small-town life at all. So she moved to Chicago, which was the artistic capital of the Midwest at the time. In order to create a circle of artistic friends, she decided to start a magazine devoted to the avant-garde. She said that her plan was to fill the magazine with "the best conversation the world has to offer."

She called her magazine The Little Review , and the first issue came out inMarch 1914. The magazine had a motto printed on the cover that said, "A Magazine of the Arts, Making No Compromise with the Public Taste."

In 1918, thepoet Ezra Pound showed Anderson the manuscript for a new novel called Ulysses by a man named James Joyce. When she read it, she wrote to Pound, "This is the most beautiful thing we'll ever have! We'll print it if it's the last effort of our lives."

It took three years to serialize the whole novel, during which four complete issues of the magazine were confiscated and burned by the U.S. PostOffice. She was eventually convicted of obscenity charges for printing the novel. At the trial, the judge wouldn't let the offending material be read in herpresence, because she was a woman, even though she had published it. But she said that the worst part of the experience was just the fact that all those issues of her magazine had been burned.

She said, "The care we had taken to preserve Joyce's text intact. ... The addressing,wrapping, stamping, mailing; the excitement of anticipating the world's responseto the literary masterpiece of our generation ... and then a notice from the Post Office: BURNED."

She kept publishing The Little Review after that, but the issues appeared lessand less frequently. Her last issue came out in 1929.

Margaret Anderson said, "I believe in the unsubmissive, the unfaltering, the unassailable, the irresistible, the unbelievable”in other words, in an art of life."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I think we should all go off into the woods and make art here

The Best New Poets came a few days ago and it is truly a beautiful book. I love books that feel good in the hands, where someone actually took time to listen to the flow. Generally I HATE anthologies b/c the sound is off. The poems seem like bad dates that keep bumping into each other. It is almost painful to watch.

At the big conference last week, the speaker said that a good non profit knows what it is good at, doesn’t try to save the world, recognizes its strength, and identifies weakness.

Of course I relate everything to poetry. Last Saturday I went to a reading where the poet wrote BIG poems about bombs, the holocaust. I began to wonder if it is possible to make a big poem successful. Carolyn Forche’s few lines say more about war than this poor man did in two hours and I wonder if it is b/c she never says anything about war.

I began wondering in this reading, if by trying to be too much we loose the beauty of elements, of what is essential. I thought about the poems I love and why I love them. How I will remember Brigit Pegeen Kelly eyes of a peach until the day I die.
Little Things

After she's gone to camp, in the early
evening I clear our girl's breakfast dishes
from the rosewood table, and find a small
crystallized pool of maple syrup, the
grains standing there, round, in the night, I
rub it with my fingertip
as if I could read it, this raised dot of
amber sugar, and this time
when I think of my father, I wonder why
I think of my father, of the beautiful blood-red
glass in his hand, or his black hair gleaming like a
broken-open coal. I think I learned to
love the little things about him
because of all the big things
I could not love, no one could, it would be wrong to.
So when I fix on this tiny image of resin
or sweep together with the heel of my hand a
pile of my son's sunburn peels like
insect wings, where I peeled his back the night before camp,
I am doing something I learned early to do, I am
paying attention to small beauties,
whatever I have -
as if it were our duty to
find things to love, to bind ourselves to this world.

- Sharon Olds

Friday, November 10, 2006

Isabel drew this for me yesterday and it is EXACTLY how my day has been!!! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

my day

Today I attended a conference with all the youth development directors in the Midwest. My workshops were intergrading diversity into curriculum and creating safe spaces for children. What I’m most proud of is not spending time with adults but when I returned to school deciding to create an ezine with the kids so they can show case their art. The internet may never be the same!!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Artist Residencies

Deborah Ager had this on her blog which I thought was brilliant--I am now making plans to go to Brazil in my imaginary world without my very real children.
I am tempted to delete my long ass post b/c yesterday was one of those days when you want to write down everything, the time you wake, the texture of the apple against your teeth and when I feel like this, it is almost as if I am incased in something I don’t understand—a bird flying into plexi glass, it bends a little but does not break.

Notes came from a publisher yesterday about the first manuscript, so close and yet not. I am too busy thinking about the prose book to worry about the poems but I should. I know I should. When does a book grow up enough to take care of itself?

I am scheduling a reading for the Best New Poets Anthology in Minneapolis so if you are in the book and want to read please email me, if you’re not in the anthology and want to drink lots of wine and come hear us read, email me.

Monday, November 06, 2006

today's notes

There was a woman at the grocery store today who looked like Hazel, a woman I worked with when I was 14. My father believed in the development of moral character so he was always dumping his daughters off at the worst possible jobs. We never worked retail or in restaurants or the thousand other jobs one can get in a tourist town by the ocean but we found ourselves in the backs of trucks with migrant workers, in garages or greenhouses in all the places which smelled of people and labor.

And I think we were happy, my sister and I—we have different stories, my sister met her husband when she was 14 and I never dated until I was 16 but there was this boy/man named Little Aaron who believed b/c his father owned the greenhouse he was free to pull us under the growing tables by our ankles and feel our breasts.

I was a smart girl and knew the word harassment but there are things stronger than education, unwritten things like when a boy is 14 and you are15, how he is always younger than you and how you may have to explain to your father that there are some boys you like touching your breasts and some you do not.

I am thinking all this b/c I have been reading books about Nigeria, two young authors who are writing about class and I am always frighten how familiar all this is. How there can be a war and people can kill others who look just like them b/c they were not born with the correct ancestry and this makes sense to me b/c in Maine where I am from it matters what your last name is.

It does not matter if you have money or a good job or an education. You may come back a doctor or famous writer but you will always be someone’s son or daughter—the name no matter how many times you change it will always be with you.

We are so use to the wrong name being one of oppression but what if the wrong name is one of entitlement, one that leads you to the front of the line or the head of the classroom. When I went to interview at a private art school when I was 16 I was in love with the way the paint smelt, all the beautiful white buildings and I thought I could be safe there—fall into my art and as I expressed my fear of getting in, of being good enough the dean laughed and said, we know who you are.

But I didn’t and I ran to a state school. I ran to England, Haiti and then the Midwest and I am still not sure what my last name is. I long to exist in a culture where it does not matter, where people are not judge on skin color or by class and I try to create that culture for my children.

Is it possible? I will wonder this tomorrow when I go to vote. If the people who are voting represent my society. I will remember that when I lived in England my senator grandfather mailed me an absentee ballot with all the boxes checked and a detail letter of my rights and responsibilities.

I still wonder what this is, where it is. Are we all responsible for the life we have created or it is merely doing the best we can with what we are given. Hazel had seven children and one good eye. She always smelt of mums b/c we were both assigned to the funeral plants in the greenhouse. Hazel said I read TOO MUCH and no one would marry me b/c of the way I talked or if they did marry me they would not stay.

I wonder how much we tell children becomes true. There is a whole theory in Gestalt Therapy that a sentence uttered gives energy to its being not so unlike Voodoo which believes language is power, curses are weapons. What did the young Nigerian mother tell her son before she died, what curses or truth did she plant in his head, were these curses or blessings?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

We have a mouse in the house which I am convinced is several b/c I am a painter and I swear the bastard is a different shade of gray every time he flies across the kitchen floor. He never comes out when the girls are there or even Em but I swear he knows it is I who buys the traps and seeks his revenge.

Yes I am the same girl who carries bugs out by cups but this my friend is a RODENT!!!

Odd phenomenon—it seems various bloggers all stopped writing on the 31st of October not to be heard from again and being a mother I am pretty sure the little trick or treaters ate my dear friends.

I, Teresa Ballard being of some what sound mind pledge to blog every day this week due to that fact that the moon is full and the fundraiser which has consumed my life is now over. I will submit my book to Yale and I will bow at Gluck’s feet so you people who took me off your blog roll (you know who you are) due to my lack of personal expression please have pity on my soul I have been bringing art to the youth of America and god knows we all need it.