Sissinghurst, April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

It is about four hours from here including the train under the Channel. We went in December and went back on April 30 with a pair of Jonathan’s classmates.

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

This return reminded me how much I enjoy learning things, studying things, and in particular how pleasing looking at and thinking about plants is for me. And how that has fed my other interests—making me want to make clothes, write, make music, make spaces, etc.

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

When we were here in December there were rosehips and other berries in the vases. I took home an information sheet with the names of all the bulbs (planted in containers) blooming that week.

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

I loved this primrose.

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

Sissinghurst, 30 April 2016

And of course the fritillaries. A long time ago I made friends with someone by accident and she taught me many things about plants. She loved these flowers and now I do too, and when I see them I think of her. Even though our friendship ended and ended imperfectly, I am grateful for the ways she enlivened me to art and plants.

It’s poetry month

…in the US right now, and this is the first year I haven’t tried to do something as part of it: write poems. Or write prompts. Or read them. The truth is that lately (a long lately) I feel less and less drawn to poetry. Drawn to fewer books, excited by fewer books. Might be that I’m getting pickier. I have a sense of what I value (innovation. Justice. Honesty. Directness. Spareness. Exorbitance) and maybe I don’t find that everywhere. Or it could be that I’m less and less part of the community in which I learned to read (and love) it and therefore just plain outside of it, left without many co-readers and outside of the daily, occasional, accidental encounters with others’ passion for the total work (reading+writing+) that fuels my own. An unexpected consequence of migration, maybe. And of the PhD. Migration: brain energy goes to thinking new language, trying to find a place, struggling with all the tiny balances of living far from where I’m from. PhD: ‘creative’ writing isn’t ‘real’ work; ‘oh are you still writing poems?’; lots and lots of theory-reading changed the way I read.

But most of all: being far from people who have put poetry at the functional center of their lives; who read it and breathe it; who have, from a young age, immersed themselves in it; who think about their writing and reading as writers and who see the indispensability of reading-writing-talking-being-together to the practice of writing. I miss feeling the visceral thrill that poetry was to me for so long, in the company of others. (I value what has come into the spaces poetry filled, but I miss it anyway.)

Dear SY, dear LD, dear JW, dear MJ, dear MO, dear JW, dear RM, dear APS, I’m with you in Rockland!

Datura

Daturobsession

I got a little obsessed with Deer and Doe’s Datura blouse pattern, and have made three since getting back to Belgium. (Another is ready to be cut out, and then I’ll stop.) I really like the neckline and hem, and will wear these a lot this summer. I do wish the pattern had a sleeve option; I would wear it with cap or 3/4-length sleeves and will draft some eventually so I can make a wool version for winter wearing. I also found the proportions a little off. I made the 36 based on my measurements, but it is a good 2-3″ bigger in the bust than necessary. I fixed this in part by adjusting the seams, but for longer-term fixes I will have to redraft the darts and back bodice. I’m also planning to see what this would look like as a tunic/dress and with ties sewn into the side seams to create more of a waist (under a cardigan this is not a problem, but I felt a little bulky without something to cinch the sides in a bit, especially in the heavier (linen) version.

3

  1. No shame in returning to the position of beginner (over and over). Emulate the work of a writer I love (begin by copying out their words) and I’ll transform my own.
  2. Moving my hand moves my mind.
  3. Form is not separate from content. From letterform to line to page: all of these are elements that offer and create meaning on the page. Neglect at my peril (only a minor peril).
  4. Why do poems adore the left margin?