Since Tomaž Šalamun’s death at the end of last year, I have been living with his poetry, walking around with it, running my hands back and forth across its lines, coming to find in its voice a friend, even though I never took a class with him, never spoke a word to him, and hardly even know about his life. He is the kind of poet who has this effect. Many tributes were erected when he passed. André Naffis-Sahely wrote a moving obituary at The Paris Review, in which he follows Šalamun’s poetry along its “tightrope between ecstasy and despair, the rational and the irrational, the sublime and the horrible.”
“It took me ten years to figure out how to write funny the way I could talk funny. Doing improv or standup or making people laugh at a party or an open-mic night—that kind of humor came naturally to me, but writing funny was so hard. I struggled with that balance between seriousness and silliness—I didn’t want to write myself into a corner, where I could only be silly or lighthearted. I felt like there had to be a way to have a legitimate mind and still make readers laugh, to say earnestly true things, and not just ironically true things.”
In one of the last visual narratives to grace the pages of Richard McGuire’s 2014 graphic novel Here, a woman in 1957 is depicted walking across a room over the course of several spreads. Her walk is juxtaposed with and transposed over fragments of other scenes from years ranging from 1620 to 2005, scenes that—through their shared space on the page—take place both throughout the prism of the past and also simultaneously in a static present. The woman walks across the room until she reaches for a book and, in the novel’s final frame, states, “…Now I remember.” Readers can only make sense of this phrase by returning to the book’s beginning, where the first line reads: “Now why did I come in here again?”
Since my last post, I’ve said goodbye to my twenties. One minute I was a flower opening, the next I’m not allowed to carry a children’s lunch pail or purchase fake Uggs anymore. I’m reluctant to buy into the notion that thirty is the age when you should become the person you’ll be until you die, and the age at which you should stop wearing glitter. But if the rest of the world expects age to herald change, there are a few habits I’d like to tilt toward or away from in the writing department–and not because my youthful metabolism will soon grind to a halt.
In the early morning hours of July 6, 1996, 19-year-old Dawn Sprunger was driving home from a friend’s house when she spotted an unidentified flying object hovering above her in the sky. “It looked like a vertical jet,” she later told reporters, “triangular in shape. At certain times you could see red and blue lights in it.” Sprunger remained calm and drove home, though once inside, peeked out the window to find that the aircraft had apparently followed her. She woke her parents, who upon witnessing the red and blue lights themselves, quickly called the authorities. By sighting’s end witnesses would include several police officers, the police chief, as well as the mayor of Berne, Indiana, who, fine public servant that he was, even managed to record a bit of video footage of the encounter.