I wrote these things down during the Raul Zurita reading/panel at AWP. most are his. and some are mine and one is monica de la torre's (i think):

1. poetry is an act of compassion for every detail of the world.
2. polyphony
3. the limits of poetry are the purgatory of words
4. language is like me like a skin and not a like a stain.
6. the lyrical subject is shifting but identifiable
7. at the moment one is writing everything is being written

zurita's reading was terrifying. it was comforting to be able to contemplate the differences between words like golpe and blow-- and thinking about how i would have translated golpe to hit. blow being too soft a word. anything to distance myself from all those rotting bodies flying across the sky. it was rough. i couldn't let the language in me. wait, i could only the language in me-- not the meanings. not the essence. gosh-- this is embarrassing to say-- but i guess i was zoning out a little bit.

perhaps this addresses some of Kristin's concerns, in an odd way. I didn't find myself saddened by the reading and i should have been-- it was powerful and moving and horrific and beautiful. The language creates a distance tho. It is a distance/distancing. So when I read a "sad" poem or hear one, I am more in Susan's camp-- seeing the poem as an anchor for a type of connection that exists more on the level of construction rather than content. this might be a sickness.

i feel implicated by this statement-- like i'm avoiding a substance. but any way in, right? or am I taking a way out.


when i finished my thesis last year, several of my readers said they felt assaulted by the work. this was a hurtful thing to hear. it was hard to think of my writing as a weapon. and i denied it.

when you enter a text, you are coming into an understanding with its writer. what are the boundaries there. how can i negotiate not letting myself lay down and die. lately, i read as writer and find this easy. consumptive. self-indulgent. i guess this is what i did during the zurita reader. i need to be more people and less writer?

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