Sunday, July 31, 2005

I will be here and I promise better photo when I return.  Posted by Picasa
The Apostle Islands off of Lake Superior are the closest thing Minnesota has to the sea. It is where I will be for the next three days. I was supposed to leave yesterday but I have a horrible sore throat. Okay this may not be the best time to sleep in the woods but I need to go. So picture me here. I will be surrounded by water and sun. A four hour car ride is the closest I could get to salt. You dont understand if you think this is easy.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sometimes you are filled with so much want ____+_____=_____ and the opposite of this is what?

... Posted by Picasa

she is just dancing.....

Last night was stunning. I went out for a wonderful dinner and then went dancing till 2 am. What is about gay men which makes them the most wonderful dancers? I know this is stereotypical and so not politically correct but I was dancing with three beautiful young gay boys last night (yes all at the same time) and I have tell you, my body can move in ways with gay men that it cannot with straight men. I don’t have to worry about it though I did find the only straight man in the place who wanted to take me home. Andrew promptly took care of him. So the night was filled with pink drinks, a short black skirt and yes darling glitter. I have sparkly boys to compete with I need glitter.

I am packing up today to leave town. I am going to an island. I am going to sit by the water by myself. My cell phone is broken so I don’t even need to take that. I will just sit and be alone because this is the week I need to. Tomorrow was everything and I must grieve it in my own way. It does seem, right now my way might include dancing and drinking but here comes the quiet.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Well I am now officially 43 minutes into my birthday and just like I did when I was a little girl and my parents would carry me into my bed at midnight and lightly whisper It is your birthday Teresa. I am here and I am not whispering. Wake up everyone IT IS MY BIRHDAY.
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Happy Almost Birthday Miss Rebecca Loudon. Have the greatest day tomorrow. Oh and I mailed you a pony;) Posted by Picasa
If you are in Minnesota the State Arts Board is giving 2 to 6,000 dollar grants to writers this year for Arts Initiative. The deadline is September 15th. Here is the only money Mr. Reesce ever received for help writing A Clerk’s Tale. These grants are fairly easy to get and I think people should apply.

for my birthday Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I will be there

I am posting a letter I got a few weeks ago from the head of Palm Beach (sorry it took so long Miles) I am planning on going especially because it doesn’t seem like anyone wants me to go to AWP at the moment. Oh well drinks at the bar with my friends isn’t a bad trade.


January 19-22, 2006

(516) 868-2063





Hi Theresa,

Thanks for the publicity you provided the first Palm Beach Poetry Festival on "early hours of sky"! Posting those photos and all your positive comments is very much appreciated.
As you can see from the letterhead, we have put together a spectacular line up of poets for the 2nd festival, and this time it will be held at Old School Square ( in Delray Beach which is a lovely, lively town with restaurants, art galleries, the new public library, beaches and bars all within easy walking distance of the festival. The Crest Theatre will house the readings and craft talks providing a much better experience for the audience. And the Vintage Gymnasium will serve as our central hospitality center for social events including the gala dinner on Friday evening (now included in the price of a workshop) and a special Saturday Night Coffee House featuring Slam Competition between our poets and Delray Beach Poets.
As you can see we've doubled the number of workshops: six advanced plus two intermediate. And each of them is ten hours, twice as long as the first festival. We'll still require applications to insure good solid discussions and well executed poems in all the workshops. And we've added a Florida Poets reading as well.
I'll be sending out an e-mail to all of the participants in last January's festival, but I couldn't wait to get in touch with you to thank you for your blog!
I hope I'll see you again in January. Winter isn't Winter in Palm Beach County!
Best, Miles

tree Posted by Picasa

on my back

I end every day the same way. I lay on my back, my feet hanging off the picnic table and I stare at this tree, until everything becomes clear. Or not, the truth is sometimes it rains or some nights the moon comes and I forget the tree. But it is the only thing I can do now I can’t write or paint. I can teach and lay on picnic tables and a part of me is okay with that. I spent the last three years working so hard on Teresa Ballard the writer I forgot the person.

I am falling in love with poets I never quite understood before. Carolyn Forche was always sending me words from Akhmatova and I was like well that is nice and while I was trying to be a writer I forgot the absolute passion of poetry, that a woman living in the early nineteen hundreds can rip my heart out of my chest.

And for the first time I am truly being still, with not jumping high and if I lose everything and gain the person what loss is that? Today I read these words

It is not with the lyre with someone in love
that I go seducing people.
That the rattle of leper
is what sings in my hands

and I knew that Ana had loved someone and failed someone. And if they had picnic tables back then, she was lying on her back, she was dreaming these words.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

it's raining Posted by Picasa
I am reading Jane Kenyon’s translation of Akhmatova’s poetry. The first thing I open to after the essays:

The memory of sun weakens my heart,
grass turns yellow,
wind blows the early flakes of snow
lightly, lightly.

Already the narrow canals have stopped flowing:
water freezes.
Nothing will ever happen here-
not ever.

Against the empty sky the willow opens
a transparent fan.
Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not
your wife.

The memory of sun weakens my heart.
What’s this? Darkness?
It’s possible. And this may be the first night
of winter.

Ana is killing me. I realize this what I love about Kenyon’s work, what I love about Akhamtova’s work. It is the simple. It is what happens to us all.

Monday, July 25, 2005

sculpture Posted by Picasa
Today we made shiny sculptures to hang from trees and I had a group of six year olds work on a mosaic sink for the art school. The small things I offer to the universe b/c I can do nothing else but say, here are the ropes to string, the ropes which hold us.

I understand that if I get through this summer with all my fingers it may be a luxury, today I was holding a pipe while an 8 yr old worked the saw and I thought I love my fingers, my fingers are good fingers Tomorrow I will bring work gloves.

I have the best knife in the world, it cuts everything. It is the best knife I have ever had. It is purple and beautiful, more me than anything else in the workshop. It has flowers. It is a don’t fluck with me I am great teacher kind of knife. It will carry me to the other side of the summer.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

... Posted by Picasa

Pure Sex

When the door opens, of sensuality,
then you will understand it too. The struggle begins.
Never again to be free of it,
often you will feel it to be your enemy.
you will almost suffocate
such joy it brings.

Rukeyser 1968

The first time I ever saw an exhibit of O’Keefe paintings I gasped out loud at the pure “sex” of it. Granted I was a child girl and the pure sex of anything excited and terrified me. One of the greatest disservices we have done to art, in my opinion, is to objectify it. The O’Keefe you see on coffee mugs, calendars is not the art hanging on the wall. I have seen the difference and the space is immeasurable.

It is rumored, Millay and O’Keefe had a writing affair that the two minds interacted so well but were separated at the time by distance and convention. I have once read Millay under her paintings. I can see the attraction.

The pure sex of a poem has nothing to do, (again my opinion) with being sexy, one can see a vagina in O’Keefe’s paintings yet the painting is not truly about the anatomy of a woman’s body. When art posses the pure sex of itself it is doing nothing more than taking you to the deepest part, its origin. It moves by its simplicity. The rules are not complicated. No one has good sex by thinking about it. No one feels comfortable in their sensuality by saying, today I will feel comfortable. It is the act of being present, of allowing yourself to be stripped (no irony here) of outer layers.

There will always be those who confuse pure sex with the act. Who claim the sexuality of a poem or art has to do with the erotic. I have found the two very rarely even hold hands. When we do this, we limit our possibility. We say there can be no love unless we close the distance and modify the convention.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Kevin Kline Posted by Picasa

Yes that is Lily Tomlin and Kevin Kline with my children. Their father has been taking them to the shoot. Now both the girls want to be stars, have little trailers and cell phones and white dogs with sparkles. Lord help me. All literature is lost.
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Loudon's birthday is in 6 days....

finding my way Posted by Picasa

Baby its cold outside

I keep singing that song in my head. I keep waiting for the heat to end. I am reading “First Loves” a collection of essays, poetry where poets discuss their essential poems, the words that changed them. I have been changed by so many people, voices. Sometimes I fear it is my kryptonite, my ability to change, to become lost. I once had a fight/ discussion with an editor friend who was upset that my style was not constant. Dear God I wondered, I HAVE a style.

Was it Kunitz who talked about how one must read everything than eventually swim back to his or her own words? It is important to know who your essential loves are. It is important to know that sometimes these loves stand in polar opposite of each other. None are less valuable or important. They mark you like a compass: north, south, east, west. Sometimes I exist like that, in points. Sometimes I fall off the page.

Friday, July 22, 2005

the first day of my birthday week....

shine Posted by Picasa
Today I read Rukeyser’s words:

I want to speak in my voice!
I want to speak in my real voice!

This street leads into the white wind
I am not yet ready to go there.
Not in my real voice.

The river. Do you know where the river springs?
The river issues from a tall man,
From his real voice.

Do you know where the river is flowing?
The river flows into a singing woman,
In her real voice.

I realized today I am the singing woman. There is no need to look any further. At my new job this week the biggest issue was the question: What can I invent that lets me play baseball by myself? And I am proud to say that nine yr. old K and I produced a catapult so powerful that it matches most fast pitches, granted we almost broke a window, but these are the small prices one must pay for art.

K’s question got me thinking about what I want from my poetry, how I must continue to listen to my real voice. I had lost my way there for a while but I think I am back or at least on the right path. To play baseball alone, one must first empty the room, only then is it possible to see what you can build.

ps. Miss Suzanne I got the best baby hat all packed up and ready to go you today. Please email me your address.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Does anyone know any resources for looking up grants for writers, specifically women writers? Is there a web page I am missing, a place that will list grants and/ or fellowships in the United States?

Friday, July 15, 2005

dry season Posted by Picasa
Today is the last day of my vacation and I am so happy to start teaching again. I decided (or it fell into my lap) to spend the summer at a new art school focusing on creation, culture and invention. The building is amazing: clear walls, saws hooked up to bicycles, darkrooms, rockets flying over ahead. If I could create a Teresa’s space this would be it. So beginning Monday I am teaching a class on Indian culture, we will be making Yantras. We will henna each other’s bodies and build gods out of clay and fire them in the kiln. I am hungry to see children, to stand in a room and teach. It will be a good day.

I have not submitted anything in a month. I have not written anything new in months. This is the longest I have ever gone without writing since the birth of Isabel. Today I found myself reading again, the simple act of sitting outside and opening a book. I believe my poetry will come back and it seems there is nothing else I can do but wait.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

still Posted by Picasa
My favorite t-shirt ever

Good Girls Journal Bad Girls Don’t Have Time

that pretty much sums up my absence from the blog world, which I apologize for. The new issue of Pleiades has been one of my favorite journals to read ever. I love the first three poems by Marie Hummel so much, her conversions with god. I have “Theory of Wrists” memorized and my favorite line Even the heart can hold a nail better than this. Well that is my line. Look for poems by Jeff Bahr and G.C Waldrep. God I love reading people’s new work when it is good. I love it when their voice surprises me.

So I am offering a brand new spanking copy of Pleiades to the first person who can tell me what poem this line is from “it became all things because it was all lost” or something like that. It is about a boy losing his leg and I memorized it in fifth grade and now can’t find the poem. I want to find the poem. Oh and if you already have Pleiades, we will think of another prize. Maybe a t-shirt;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Sunday, July 10, 2005

There are some things you can’t write through—this came as an absolute surprise to me at thirty seven years of age and to tell the truth, I am not quite sure I believe it, mainly because I don’t think I have developed many other skills and when I can’t write it out I am stuck.

Once when I lived in Haiti, we were climbing this steep hill in truck. In Haiti people are transported in the back like cattle, there is a bar across the top where you stand, hold onto the pipe, like you are on a subway train. You are packed so close that it feels as if you are in the body next to you, each breath is matched. On this night I stuck two children into the back, so they did not have to walk alone in the dark. I was told not to do this. I did anyway.

We were ¾ of the way up mountain, the gear slipped. It was an amazing feeling flying backwards in the middle of the night, of watching the children fly out from under my skirts like bats, their dark feet hitting the ground, their bodies rolling with the impact and the two gears finding each other, pulling, pushing and finding the one place, the one place where everyone was safe.

I have almost died twice. The second time the car hit the wall and the semi grazed off my right side and kept moving. Both times I have said Jesus, nothing else. I was young. I believed in everything. Now that I am old I don’t know what I would say. I don’t know what I believe in. Both times I have said your name, even though I did not know you then. Funny how when you get older, belief is the thing you keep hidden.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

... Posted by Picasa

Sometimes you just need to sing

Last night I watched Callas Forever a movie about opera singer Maria Callas. It was amazing. It really dealt with some of the struggles of being a great artist plus I got to hear Carmen sung, the way it should be sung.

Lately, I keep thinking about what Elizabeth Alexander said to me when we were discussing this in between time of being a writer. She said this was my season to think about what kind of artist I wanted to be, what kind of being. I am doing that a lot lately, thinking about what kind of Teresa I am. What kind of Teresa I want to become. Sometimes it seems that easy—that all you have to do is open your mouth and sing.

Friday, July 01, 2005

,,, Posted by Picasa

Yellow Slide

Today if I had my way I would have stayed in bed with the pillows over my head and the blanket curled around me like a shroud but I have girls and these girls always tend to have a plan.

I wonder about those people, who say their mothers were so depressed they stayed in bed for days because I have to tell you, any more than five minutes, my kids are jumping on my head. They are not above that. Brute force does make a point.

Today they made me go to a water park. Today I was shot out of a yellow tube that dropped me forty feet in the air and then caught me again. I screamed the whole way down. Today I belly flipped at thirty-seven and yelled across the pool…catch me if you can. And I laughed because my daughter said, we almost drowned wasn’t it wonderful.

I was alive in a world that I wasn’t too pleased with last night, one that made me drip snot out of my nose, made me feel broken. But today like Jesus, Lazarus (and where the hell are the women that rose?) I got up and started again. Today the yellow slide saved me.