an image diary

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ... You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"

"Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise."

"Well it's no use your talking about waking him when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

WVKC College Radio

Driving home from the play and playing the college radio station as usual, there's Andy--I recognize his voice--announcing he will now read one of my poems for "poem of the night," his favorite poem from my collection, "That Cried to the Whole City, Sleep No More." And his reading

is beautiful, not hesitant, not uncertain, and full of his sense of the rhythms of the poem, and fully appreciative. "I hope she won't be mad at me," he says to his listeners. I pull into my driveway, sit in the car listening, and laugh and laugh alone in my car, embarrassed, thankful, I can't even

say: all day I met with students and made the usual wholehearted attempt to put myself into their work and to listen well and to trust well, and was exhausted to the usual point of despair before I'd managed to begin the first appointment at 8 o'clock this morning. But it was a good day of teaching and the rewards were rich: good,

important poems at the table first thing this morning with the independent studies, and Crackpots coffee, and a conversation about aesthetics that fed me: once at the office, a few hours to think about book orders for spring and the serenity that comes with surrendering to Norton who also makes desk copies available and easy to get to: Rachel came in with her nervous

about-to-rehearse-my-seminar-paper energy and the enthusiasm of a writer who still loves what she's written: Yele arrived like clockwork and began making photo copies for the 346 course reader and looked happier and more confident than yesterday when the world was too much with us: JoAnna stepped in to announce that she's signed up for 346 despite her self-doubt--though this kid need not doubt herself--

and can she have the list of readings in advance to get a head start: Meg brought two strong papers for her independent study, but more crucially, her frustration with O'Connor, which turns into a discussion about close-reading skills, new to her, and won't I consider teaching a class on how to close-read texts, which is

to say the world shifted for her today, if only in terms of reading, but reading is everything in my book: yes: today she discovered the value of looking up "good" in the dictionary, though everyone knows what "good" means: though she is already a damned good reader:

--then home for a bath before the play, time to soak quietly and read what Sean, my colleague, is reading tomorrow afternoon for his Knox debut, and the work is gorgeous, sexy, vulnerable: wish I could do that kind of writing:

--then the play, directed by another colleague I love, and a hard thing to pull off because it's 19th century Vienna and Freud's contemporary, so not scandalous to us: but Evan was hilarious on stage in underwear: I am a grumpy playgoer: it goes well, or not, and this thing went well even three hours in:

--a great conversation in the car with Sean about teaching and the frustrations of teaching: why police anybody into having a text in class, why insist on punctuality, presence, participation: he is nervous about tomorrow's reading, but he's going to knock their socks off: drop him off: drive home

alone: recognize Andy's voice on the radio when he clears his throat: turn up the volume: wonder what Andy plays on his show: students keep me updated on music--why I listen to their shows: and he reads my poem: also plays Rufus Wainwright, Radiohead: I call the station once inside the house, get put on the air, more embarrassment, but gratitude mostly: thank you, Andy. You made my day. You're listening too.

"and what is the use of a book...without pictures or conversations?"

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