Breeze, Burma, Baroqueify!

Glorious cool breeze blowing into the Saturday. I’ve washed my hair, eaten my oatmeal, straightened things up, cleaned the catbox. Nemo is sitting in the catbird seat (on a pillow on the bed) staring at me as I type. In twenty-six minutes I shall go to pick up the CSA vegetables and think about how to transform them into tasty comestibles. The fan whirrs.
I’ve been nibbling at different sides of the mushroom, figuratively speaking. Today I feel a bit more equilibrium than in recent weeks. It’s been a rough time, but I think I have a few things figured out. I won’t bore you with them, but let me say this: I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if in fact I do reincarnate as a human being, and if the “force” that “decides” that is “listening” to this blog post, could I maybe please come back as a less sensitive one? Like maybe the kind of person who can have a drink after work without feeling like the world is going to end? Or who can eat an egg without the body saying DOES NOT COMPUTE, ALIEN INVADER, ALERT. I mean, come on. This is ridiculous, being an HSP. If I were not myself I would mock myself.
Now Nemo’s eyes are closed. I guess he got tired of staring.
There are so many exciting things happening for me right now. One is my upcoming workshop at the Poetry Project.  There is still space in it, so please do consider joining! Here’s the description again.  
 What if more actually is more? How can we create writing that is more sumptuous, more intense, more curvaceous, more elegant, more obscure, more grotesque, and more beautiful? Let’s traverse the ornate forms of the baroque in pursuit of a more intensely ornamental language. Using others’ texts as starting points, we will supplement, enhance, copy, modify, twist, mangle, and decorate words, syntax, structures, tropes, and concepts to maximize sublime bewilderment. We will read some essays on theories of ornament (and anti-ornament) to inform our investigations.  Writers whose works we will explore may include Rabelais, Donne, M. Cavendish, Loy, Huysmans, O’Hara, Koch, and Coolidge, as well as Stacy Doris, Lisa Robertson, Brandon Brown, Adeena Karasick, Dana Ward, Corina Copp, Julian Brolaski, Charles Bernstein, and Julie Patton. “Nonpoetic” sources for poem construction will be encouraged. Not a traditional “poetry workshop,” Baroqueify! will mainly focus on analysis, discussion, and reverse-engineering of texts by others, as well as mindcurling writing exercises. Our seminar will conclude with work on performance strategies to enhance the baroque sensibilities of the writing. Come decorate this fucked-up world with me!
 It starts October 5 and runs for ten Fridays from 7-9 pm. It’s going to be amazing.
I’m also preparing another MS for publication (slated, goddesses willing, in the spring). Working title:  VILE LILT. What do you think of that title?
My students now are wonderful; I’m having a great time helping them learn English.
Most exciting of all is this: I am planning a trip to Burma in December. I have my ticket, and my hotels and domestic flights are booked. I know that I shall be one member of a massive horde of tourists descending rather suddenly on this lovely and somewhat benighted country – a horde that, indeed, threatens to overwhelm its tourist infrastructure. I’m sorry about that, but glad that it means more contact and connection for the people of Burma, and more prosperity for them, too. My desire  for the trip, though, is that it be more than just a vacation. I’m looking for intercultural inspiration exchange.
As I’ve been saying over and over on this blog, there are poets there! Curious, passionate, innovative, engaged, tightly networked poets. They seem to know a lot about the literary/intellectual world we (Western) poets inhabit, but we know comparatively little about theirs. I’m so intrigued by the vortex of energy they seem to have created that I feel I have no choice but to go there and find out more about it for myself. They have asked me to give a talk about the terrain of contemporary inventive poetry, and I’m excited to do that, but even more than that, I want to hear from them why it is that this sort of literature is exciting and meaningful for them.
I’ve had a lot of anxiety around the trip, but I think that has been more because of my general state of imbalance and fragility around health. Now that I’m starting to feel better, and so much of my effort is going toward being healthy, the anxieties are falling away.  It’s true, I can’t really afford it, but more money will come. There will be things for me to eat there, even if they don’t involve dairy, eggs, wheat, avocados, or soy. (Oy.) My nutritionist tells me there may be ways to detox from the vaccinations I guess I should have (ugh). My bookings are made. I will stretch a lot on the long flight and think more about my talk. And when I get there: such interesting people! and golden pagodas to boot! Different sounds, smells, feeling of air.
I won’t be traveling the way I did when I was younger.  Midrange hotels. Flights – no busses, boats, or trains. I’m staying strictly on the tourist path.  I’ll spend nearly a week in Yangon so that I can hang out with the poets.
Then I will fly to Bagan, the old city of temples. It’s like the Kyoto or Angkor Wat of Burma. I’ll stay there for four nights, and then go on to four nights on Inle Lake. Then two days more in Yangon before coming home on New Year’s Day. The cool thing is that since I will be flying out on New Year’s Day I shall have two of them.  That strikes me as very lucky, to have two such chances to restart the year.
Oh, OK, the CSA distribution is starting. My vegetables are calling me.

2 thoughts on “Breeze, Burma, Baroqueify!

  1. Hi Donna,

    I hear that wi-fi and internet in general are spotty there. I imagine actually that I won't be blogging while I am there, just saying yo whassup on fb now and then. I want to save up my impressions so that I can write something more ruminative. But thanks for your request!

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