Monthly Archives: November 2013

Nov 25, 2013 Les Grandes Baigneuses

Dear readers,

we embark on a handful of poems and related material, related to MV members! Dalia mentioned that she was currently living in Australia, but not that her husband is an award-winning Australian poet! Of course, who would spontaneously utter such a thing to a big group? She disclosed it to me a while back and thought it would be OK to look at a poem or two of Luke Fischer’s. He recently won the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and I’ll paste a link to that announcement and some poems at the very end of today’s selection. But today’s selection (from a very recent Mascara Literary Review) needs an attachment of its own, to the Cezanne painting from which it takes its title.

 

The modernists and the American post-war masters were also fascinated by the interplay between poetry and the visual arts, and often took a single painting or sculpture as their inspiration, as this lyric does. I’ve always loved the approach, because it takes me to paintings I haven’t seen before, or isolates details that were previously hidden to me. In this case, because the light on the bathers is so bright, sensuous, and lovely, I never would have noticed the darkness of the background without Mr. Fisher’s use of the words “serious” and “dusk.” And I’m all for any poem with a dark cat.

 

It’s not so often that a poet gets to hear audience feedback, so I’m sure any responses–personal, short, immediate, long, art-history-informed, what have you–would be relayed and welcomed. Congrats to Mr. Fischer and thanks for the (3rd person) permission! NOTE: If the painting does not appear in the body of this e-mail I’ve pasted a URL for it as well. This was the only size reproduction [linked] I could find.-ed

 

Les Grandes Baigneuses

Cézanne, 1900-1905

The serious blue of dusk
pervades the forest and figures.
On the further shore a dense cypress
spires. To the left of the group
arranged as a chance constellation,
a woman with a trunk-like frame
trails a river of towel, the source in her hand,
while her head is submerged in blackened foliage.
Two women, kneeling on the bank like deer with
folded legs, watch a naked girl as she slowly leaves the water,
unembarrassed and contained. Her iconic profile,
ringed by a cumulonimbus steeped in twilight.
To the right a tomato cheeked farmer with ample breasts
relaxes in cushioning arms and a sturdy physique
inclines with a tree. A seated woman between them
is feeling the texture of the earth while a russet head,
still bathing alone, rinses a shoulder, looking on.
Their skins shimmer––a moonlit lake
composed of refracted sky, woods, shore.
Beside the dark cat on a table of grass:
a cane basket of fruits and a watermelon half.

 

Nov 18, 2013

Readers,

Sharon Olds’ anagram–“hard on loss”–is apt when you consider some of the chief topics of her poetry. The homonym for said anagram is apt if you consider the title of a certain Sharon Olds poem we’ve read twice before. Well here’s a piece of hers that I heard on the radio this weekend, and is timely for anyone expecting a family reunion of sorts over Thanksgiving. Two memories presented here, tied neatly with a simply metaphor and a wonderful closing image. I guess if you hold a bee by the wings enough times, sooner or later you’re gonna get hurt.

Sharon Olds was born in 1942 and has won a handful of American literary prizes. Those still toiling away in obscurity will be heartened to learn that she published her first book of poems at age 37. For every reader who loves her poems, there is a reader who condemns them as self-indulgent and sensational. She lives in New York. -ed.

First Thanksgiving
When she comes back, from college, I will see
the skin of her upper arms, cool,
matte, glossy. She will hug me, my old
soupy chest against her breasts,
I will smell her hair! She will sleep in this apartment,
her sleep like an untamed, good object,
like a soul in a body. She came into my life the
second great arrival, after him, fresh
from the other world—which lay, from within him,
within me. Those nights, I fed her to sleep,
week after week, the moon rising,
and setting, and waxing—whirling, over the months,
in a slow blur, around our planet.
Now she doesn’t need love like that, she has
had it. She will walk in glowing, we will talk,
and then, when she’s fast asleep, I’ll exult
to have her in that room again,
behind that door! As a child, I caught
bees, by the wings, and held them, some seconds,
looked into their wild faces,
listened to them sing, then tossed them back
into the air—I remember the moment the
arc of my toss swerved, and they entered
the corrected curve of their departure.

-2002

Nov. 11, 2013: Monday’s Verse: special anniversary edition

Hello everybody!

Happy Veterans Day out there, to veteran readers and readers who are veterans.

Now that we’re into November, we can note that October was a milestone of sorts: Monday’s Verse’s 16th anniversary, roughly speaking. Our readership now stands at about 85. I honestly have no idea of how much of that is active membership, because folks don’t respond too often, some never reply, and I don’t even know if all of these e-mail addresses are still functional.

Anyway. You may have gotten an e-mail recently from a friend of MV, seeking some basic biographical data and a description of your history with MV. First—it’s not too late to respond! Write to me or to your ombuds(wo)man, or respond to this week’s edition. Second, the idea for the poll was Pat Beidelman’s. Pat then went on to never respond to his own poll. So I don’t mind telling you that he’s one of my oldest friends and lives right here in Indianapolis, and that he’s been with MV from the beginning, and that he makes his living by continuing to pretend, and to convince the social security administration, that he has a serious mental disability. But his true passion is making teenagers feel bad about their skin. Pat’s idea, which I thought was a really good one, was that knowing whom one is talking to might create a better environment for group responses. Friends, do not ever be afraid to hit “reply to all.” We don’t all have to be geniuses like Sara and Jay and Nydia and Patrick (Holmes, not Beidelman) to add our 2¢. Even knowing that someone else kinda likes it, too, will change and maybe enhance your experience with a particular poem.

The responses that we did get I will print below in no particular order, followed by the names of other members. I think in the interest of my time, but also in the interest of equal treatment, for the remaining members I’ll just print a name and a location, if I know it. I may just know the member’s e-mail address and nothing else! I’m sure we were introduced and corresponded at some point, but there are also a solid 10-15 people I’ve never met face-to-face. And if I am forgetting things, please, please, don’t be offended. Same goes if a poll reply happened to slip through the cracks–please accept my apology. I’m getting old myself, and I’ve decided not to do tons of archival research here.

The written responses were only edited for length, and perhaps if the person said something embarrassingly kind—or, more likely, just embarrassing—about me.

I started subjecting some of my college friends to poetry-by-e-mail in 1996, before I even had my own e-mail address and I would occasionally cop Judy’s. I formalized the practice in October 1997, when I had just begun formalizing my own study of literature by enrolling in Boston College’s grad program for English. I can recall a major, several-month hiatus in about 2006, and there have certainly been shorter breaks, but we’ve been going more or less strong since then. It’s a fun part of my week, and probably the most important of my reading habits. And I genuinely thank all of you for participating, and for reading! Your editor,

Matthew J. Lamberti

Monday’s Verse membership, by self-description, name, and/or e-mail, 11/11/2013:

****************************************

Jim Breen

Evanston, IL

I am a software developer at Groupon in Chicago. Before and after work, I do what I can to help my wife Jen keep our daughters Una(6) and Dorothy(4) fed, clothed, bathed and alive.

I had the pleasure of being Matthew’s roommate in college where he made the case for the importance of poetry as a form of expression. As far as I know, I was on the initial list when he started up Monday’s Verse. I’m pretty sure he sent it to everyone whose email address he had. I like to read each week because it’s usually a very different break from all my other email. When I can I like to take some early advice from Matt and read the poem out loud.

****************************************

My name isEstelle Davis, and I went to law school with Matthew.

About a year and half ago, I got a job with the NYS DOL and moved from

Brookyn to Buffalo, which is a pretty great former industrial city

obsessed with past glory (the War of 1812 comes up a shocking number

of times), turn of the century homes in various states of repair

bordering empty lots, start your own business supported by buy-local

movements, and a lot of poverty with its accompanying assault and

despair.

Working with immigrants has been my passion for a while, and my

current position is to educate agricultural employers and workers on

labor law, and work toward compliance. Some days I’m standing in an

apple orchard under blue sky explaining Worker’s Compensation, some

days I’m listening to vitrol about how the government is destroying

family business.

For the non-work life, no kids, but I’m “Auntie” to at least three

toddlers, and it’s been a laugh watching them learn to sit, play ball,

tell stories, and get loopy. I spend time visiting friends in

far-flung places, at art shows (Turrell at the Guggenheim was

perfection), and local farm bike rides, and just started tutoring

reading at my neighborhood school.

My Dad had a poem for many occassions, to answer “What time is it?” or

for dinner table manners, or the view from the top of a hike, but my

repetoire got stuck pretty quickly. In law school, when I was

introduced to “Poem in Your Pocket Day” and Monday’s Verse, I

remembered my original love of the art of words. I enjoy reading the

poems, occassionaly out loud, and forwarding the words that every now

and then, crystalize something, touch something, or make me laugh.

Plus, being very wordy myself, I’m impressed with being able to use a

few words to say a lot 😉

*

What is your name? Sara Cohan

Where do you live? Nashville, TN

What do you do with your time (job, perhaps, or main commitments outside of work, great passion in life, etc)? Human rights education on good days, Genocide Studies is my passion. Tennis is my frivolous passion. I love reading and knitting as well.

When/why/how did you join Monday’s Verse? What keeps you coming back? I have been friends with Matt for over twenty years. I was an original member and look forward to reading it every week. Matt is a riot and I am so happy that he continues to share his love of poetry and thoughtful insights with us on a weekly basis.

*

I’mRichard Murphy; I live in Spartanburg, SC, where I teach modern British and Irish literature (and comp) at USC Upstate. Hobby these days is hurling–no, not that kind: the Irish field sport. I went to grad school with Matt, and I like him and his writing. Some weeks MV slips through the cracks, but it’s one of the few items in my Yahoo inbox that are not spam. I also like to read poetry when it’s not my job.

*

Sean O’Brien

My wife Felicia (also ND ’95) and I have been living in South Bend since 2005, when we returned to take positions at Notre Dame. I direct and teach in the law school’s master of laws program in international human rights law and my wife helps run the summer service learning program (SSLP) at the Center for Social Concerns. We have four little ones (Sophie 9, Lucia 7, Seamus 5 and Issa Grace 4 months) who keep us busy and fill our days with endless wonder and laundry. I’ve been a member of Monday’s Verse since the beginning (Matt and I were glee clubbers together at Notre Dame), but my main interest in the listserv is really Matt’s weekly anagram (nag a ram).

*

I am Patrick Holmes, patent attorney currently living in Dallas. I had to marry Matt’s sister in order to get on the list. But I don’t want to play up the size of that sacrifice, which I made purely for the sake of poetry, because she might read this. We have twins (Alexander and Zelda Clare, aka “Zeldita”) that are just a few months old, so that is what I do. All. The. Time. The kids are not into poetry yet. Their interests include sleeping, drinking milk, yelling, and not sleeping. And ruining 20+ diapers/day.

*

What is your name? Theresa Sullivan (nee, and joined list as Haney)

Where do you live? Boston

What do you do with your time (job, perhaps, or main commitments outside of work, great passion in life, etc)? Job is “Systems Specialist, Knowledge Management Systems” for Bain & Company – the search and content management specialist for KM. I returned to Bain part time after an extended 2 year maternity leave, and I still think of myself as a stay-at-home Mom who tries to hold down a job. I have two boys, ages 5 and 6.

When/why/how did you join Monday’s Verse? What keeps you coming back? Joined in 1997 when Matt and I were in grad school together at BC. While we both earned an MA in English there, I rarely take the time for any literary pursuit these days. I really appreciate Monday’s Verse giving me that opportunity once a week.

*

My name is Jen Ulichny and I met Matthew when living in Boston – some time ago now! One of my undergrad degrees was in Literature and I absolutely dork-out at the opportunity to analyse language… joining MV was therefore a must for me and has truly been a weekly look-forward-to through the years.

I now live in Brisbane Australia and I am absolutely passionate about progressing well-being and prosperity through sustainable development; my daytime crust working in healthcare sees me identifying strategic development opportunities and implementing change policy while my side-business works more personally with individuals in life-coaching and writing.

*

I’m Nydia Shahjahan, also known affectionately known as Nyds by some, if not most. It’s pronounced “Nadia”, so I always find it shocking when someone pronounces it right on the first try. I live in New York City, in Manhattan, very close to the United Nations. I am a lawyer, 4th year litigator doing corporate and commercial cases. I don’t foresee me staying at my firm much longer…either by my choice, or the powers that be at the firm. But it is a blessing to have a job, even if it’s one that is a struggle at times. I too hope to transition into a legal position that allows me to implement good change. I feel very passionately about civil rights discrimination. I’m still working on it.

I met Matthew first year of law school (I think, maybe it was 2nd year…can’t quite remember). Even if I can’t remember the exact timing, I distinctly remember the where because we had gotten together an impromptu touch football game (me, Maureen Kats, Noah Marmar, Leon Jacobson, and Danon Singh). We’ve been really close ever since 🙂 I consider him one of my best friends from law school and a kindred spirit (who knows if all of that is one-sided, but it’s how I feel!).

I’m not sure why I joined MV in the first place…could have been Matthew making an off-hand comment about being an editor of this blog, and me wanting to read non-law stuff. I did not study literature in college (degree in Foreign Service), but I basically grew up in the library, huge bookworm and was in all the AP English in high school. So I have a love and enjoyment for the literary arts. Being on MV helps me read things that are not legal. I think because I’m a lawyer, and we have to analyze what we are reading all the time, it’s nice for MV to get my brain to do a different kind of creative thinking. And the poems resonate with me…I usually like them 🙂 And who can beat the Valentine’s Day special….god I love that poem. SO MUCH.

Anywhos, in my free time, I’m trying to read more. And also I run. I am currently training for a marathon in November. My ultimate goal is to one day qualify for Boston. We shall see when the stars align to make that so. My great passion in life is dancing. I haven’t been able to get around to it much recently because of work and running. But I love to dance. I’m not classically trained, but danced hip hop and various folk dances in college (South Asian/Bollywood-style, Filipino, Tahitian, etc.). I’m hoping to get to go to some classes in the wintertime, after my marathon hard core training is over.

*

To answer your questions:

***I’m Patrick Donahue, an old friend of Matt’s from graduate school at Boston College and I live in Berlin.

***I’m a correspondent for Bloomberg News covering German and European government and economy, mainly chasing Angela Merkel around but various other things

***I think I’ve been on Monday’s verse since its inception, though I can’t quite be sure. When was that? Matt was a year ahead of me (I got the MA in 2000) and we did a pretty good job keeping in touch for years, though I haven’t heard from him for a while aside from this list. I do still enjoy receiving them, though I confess I can’t get around to reading the poetry every week — and weigh in only very occasionally.

*

· So, who are you and where do you live?

My name is Maureen Kats & I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

· What do you do with your time (job, perhaps, or main commitments outside of work, great passion in life, etc)?

I am a lawyer. I spend my time biking and hiking, reading about politics, thinking about or petting my dogs, and eating and traveling as much as possible. I would say my great passion, however, is spending as much time as possible with great friends — like good old Matthew Lamberti!

· And when/why/how did you join Monday’s Verse? What keeps you coming back?

Matthew & I went to law school together & when I learned from him about MV, I immediately wanted to be included. I love to rely on friends exposing me to new things – be it music, movies, restaurants, hobbies, etc., etc. — including poetry!

*

Meg (Hervey) Harry

*I met Matthew at Boston College when we were doing our Master degrees together. We took Irish Studies classes together and he was one of my very favorite people in Boston. I now live in the Seattle area. I married an English guy I met in Ireland, so we spend time in both England and Ireland every year or two.

*I am currently a stay at home Mom to a 5 year old, George, and 17 month old twins, Alexander and Grace. I work as a tax accountant 12 weeks each year (yes, in spite of my degrees in English lit). I serve on the Board of Directors for the Arboretum Foundation in my spare time to support a great local place of beauty.

*I think I joined Monday’s verse at the very beginning, then lost track for a while, then got back in touch with Matthew and rejoined a few years ago. I love keeping in touch with my literary side, and always enjoy Matt’s commentary, and the perspectives of others near and far.

*

Jay McGillen

Where do you live? I currently live in Newbury, MA.

What do you do with your time (job, perhaps, or main commitments outside of work, great passion in life, etc)? I am an Algebra and Geometry teacher at Danvers High School, in Danvers, MA. This is my 13th year on the job, and I continue to find it challenging, rewarding, and new.

When/why/how did you join Monday’s Verse? What keeps you coming back?” The precise details of my membership are hazy to me, but the details, thankfully, are irrelevant to the story. I think I remember hearing about MV while I was living in Cambridge, a year or two after I finished my English grad work, having known Matt Lamberti for about three years total. Matt was either living in the apartment below me or was about to move in there. One night, Matt and I were socializing with another friend, probably Katie McCormick, who was already a member of MV. They were discussing the most recent poem as well as the resulting email chatter, and so I asked about it. Anyway, do you know the expression he/she doesn’t have a jealous bone in his/her body? Well, all of my bones are jealous. I didn’t really have a clear picture of what MV was all about, but I knew that I liked poetry and (more importantly) I wanted to be and feel included in the group, so I basically invited myself to become a member. Matt obliged.

I’m thankful, too, because I’m always fascinated to read the responses. I tend to be stubborn in my interpretations of things, and I’m grateful for differing views and thoughtful questions that challenge my reading. The poems, too, finding their way into my inbox as they do, provide a welcome blast of culture into my life–especially when, during 4th period say, I might have been watching an Algebra 1 student remove a tick from his hair.

*

Brittany Manns, Pittsburgh

Cheri Colburn

Bernadette Barnes, Sacramento, CA

Jamsheed Siyar, Pittsburgh

Shana Komittee, NYC

Adam & Heidi Sleper, Wheaton, IL

Adam Davis & Hana Layson, Portland, OR

Mr. Ali Najmi, NYC

Amy Lancaster, San Diego

Anne Marie Quast

Angela Bowman, Chicago

Arwen Blayney… Texas

Brian Kubicki, South Bend, IN

Brandon Som, Los Angeles

Charlotte Lin, Bend, OR

Chris Railey

Chris Bolman, Boston

Colleen Shean, Chicago

Tara Czechowski

Dalian Nassar, currently Sydney, Australia

Daniel Heacox, NYC

Dave Coleman, NYC

Denise DelSignore, NYC

Dawn Grogan, Indianapolis

Diana Bieber-Locke, Lancaster, PA

Jenny Wu, Hawaii

Elizabeth Lamberti, Zurich, Switzerland

Francis Storrs & Stephanie Tyburski, Boston

Jen Gaze, Singapore

Maria Goodspeed

Greg Falkner, Chicago

Harvey Leo, Ann Arbor, MI

Jeff St. John & Tara Donoghue, San Francisco

Jen Breen, Chicago (See entry for Breen, Jim, above)

Jonelle Lonergan, Boston

Kevin Sullivan & Jenny Nam, Boston

Katie McCormick, Tallahassee, FL

Katie Proulx & Ryan Dooley, NYC

Lauren Richey

Lisabeth Buchelt, Omaha, NE

Leah Richards… Leah, fe-mail me, I’ve lost track of where you live! (but last check, NYC)

Lise Wiseman, Chicago

John & Lizabeth Bradshaw, Indianapolis

Mark Engel, Chicago

Rod O’Brien, Colorado Springs, CO

Scott Liebertz, Tallahassee, FL

Steve Bailey, Boulder, CO

Su Hwang, Minneapolis, MN

Tammy Beams, Clinton, NJ

Thomas Mariadason, NYC

Tristan Scott, Missoula, MT