Okay. So I missed last Friday’s notebook entry because (a) I had nada in my notebook, and (b) I was working like a madman to get my two classes in place for University College, where I teach off and on. One of the classes is new and conceptually difficult to construct for online delivery; the other is a poetry writing class I’ve taught for several years but which I’d become unhappy with, and so I decided to restructure it for this quarter’s face-to-face iteration. (I also teach it online, so I decided to create what is called the “online Course Companion” now to make things easier when the time comes to convert it to the actual online class.) The upshot of all this is that I’ve been immersed in poetry but writing almost nothing of my own.
The one exception to that “nothing of my own” has been a revision pass at a long (40 page) historical narrative poem that I began in 2004. There was a lot of historical reading involved, is my excuse for why it has taken me so long to get it to where it is now—that is, almost finished. My revision (the last or maybe penultimate revision) was inspired by my friend Sandy Sajbel, who suffered through the damned thing with her critical eye peeled and her pen-tip dancing down the margins. Being a fine poet and a generous reader, she uncovered all manner of nits, conundrums, confusions, sophisms, and flatfooted articulations—so many that I felt compelled to do the revision in the midst of all my other (paying) work. I can’t thank her enough. But my blogging has suffered, and now this post will have to stand in for my usual Friday Notebook entry. Selah!