Monday, July 12, 2010

Mark Strand

Jennifer and I spent most of Sunday morning and afternoon picking apart our manuscripts. Can't tell you how helpful it was to sit with her and talk about the individual poems as well as the collection as a whole.

Later in the afternoon, we went to the Longfellow House in Cambridge, MA, to hear Mark Strand read with the New England Poetry Club as the recipient of their Golden Rose Award for lifetime achievement.

More than 120 people came to hear Strand read on the lawn on a very warm July afternoon. He read a few older pieces but quite a few new, unpublished prose poems. When talking about his newer work, he quipped, "When you get older, it makes less sense to beat your head against a tiny, little poem." But we could tell he was testing these poems with the crowd, and finding patterns he didn't realize existed until reading them aloud.

Strand is still handsome, still as charming as I have always thought him to be. This was the first time I had met him, and he said, "Nice to meet you. You are the first January I have met." (I get that a lot!)

Hearing Mark Strand's words was the perfect way to end our writing weekend. I will write the revision process in a separate post.


odessa said...

oh, what a weekend! i've always loved mark strand, how wonderful that you met him. and how wonderful that you have a writing partner to pick apart your manuscripts with :)

Marc said...

jennifer and january has a nice musical lilt to it for a poetry partnership

nothing quite like having one of those books by a poet you like signed: i suppose it's a fetishism of commodity

Nin Andrews said...

Wow, I'd love to be able to hear you guys rework and re-think. I am so bad at that process . . .

Glad to hear you have a new ms.!

Jennifer Jean said...

Just want to say you are GREAT and I loved spending time with you and hearing your feedback and gossiping and going on an "Artist's Date" to cap it all. I really needed to "retreat" and I think my identy as Poet and my poetry are going to benefit immensely!!!

And Marc is right, "Jen and Jan" has a great musical lilt to it! Take care and bless bless!

January said...

Jennifer, the feeling is mutual! You are talented poet and a good friend.


Jessie Carty said...

such a wonderful poetry weekend! Mark Strand was suggested to me while I was an MFA student and I LOVE his work. 120 people to come to a reading, wow!!!


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