Adjectives are a perfect point for the question of what is most important. How important is the specificity (or historical truth) of the image, in relation to the amount and kind of attention it asks from the reader? Where is the focus/how deep is the field? If all the details are in focus, the poem will feel crowded and busy: the reader will have to sift and determine for herself what the thread is. If you allow some details to recede (stripping them lightly of historical truth or of some specificity) then the ones that matter most, which retain their precision and specificity, will stand out and will attract the reader’s eye/mind. The question of how to apply this idea is a question in part of the individual poem’s erotics-ethics: what does it desire, and how does it live with us?


What room does your poem belong in? Be honest about the architecture of language, form, image, allusion, tone, diction. A kitchen can be a fine and rich site for a poem. A drawing room, rarely. Why? Because manners inhere in drawing rooms, and manners require and allow only certain kinds of art. Meaning for the most part, polite art. You can extrapolate from there.

gaze / bird


They move so quickly it’s difficult to focus the camera. The rose clippings I took from a compost heap (fulfilling further my reputation among the Belgians as a lover of all things discarded) have begun to grow leaves. What is happening these days: I’m trying to get a grasp of all the editing and administrative work my various projects require. How it feels: roughly like the horse is bolting, I have the reins and am running alongside trying to keep up/trying to slow it down. When I next anticipate a long stretch of time without the (self-chosen) demand of others’ work: [?]. A hare was in the yard this afternoon, first time since living here. I scared it away before letting Piep out.

rose hips

new year

Sissinghurst, December 2015


I wanted to begin again in this space (where I have been keeping some kind of a record since 2007). I felt like I was dragging something heavy along with me, something I had outgrown and no longer liked. So I have made it lighter. And am going to try a new kind of posting, one that resembles the mind I have now instead of the mind of 2007. Form following function. Happy 2016.

soft things

almost in focus

November light. I was in Antwerp yesterday and although the temperatures are unseasonal (65°F/19°C) the light drained out of the day around 4:15 p.m. and by the time I got on the 5:07 train home it was dark. I walked through Deinze and realized I really do live here and in this way.


These are some of my favorite things. We rarely have candles here (in part because with residents I forget or just don’t; in part because there’s so much light I don’t feel the darkness the way I did in our very dark house in Ghent).


My desk has entered full-on chaos. Right now it’s serving multiple-duty as a stationery factory, the repository of all my planned/hoped-for reading materials, my teaching space, and the home of the editorial side of MIEL. Speaking of which, if you’re interested in working with me on some books next year, would you get in touch? I am looking for an assistant editor.


Gathered on Thursday. The meadows are mostly cosmos and calendula now, but still pretty full. (See temperatures, above.)

stationery production facility

A closer glimpse of the stationery factory. Calendars for 2016 are in the shop now (two versions!). Cards coming soon.


My beautiful things make me happy.

unauthorized use of couch

This is certainly one—I saw this couch in the thrift shop in Deinze (we had a super fun outing with our last three residents this past week), and I loved it and expressed that love quite freely. And then yesterday I wen to Antwerp for the day, and, unbeknownst to me, Jonathan went out, bought this, and brought it home. (€30!) He left the tiny white Christmas lights in the living room on when he went out to pick me up, so when I came into the living room this, in the lights’ subtle glow, was the first thing I saw. Perfect.