Sunday, April 17, 2005

So I'm alone and drunk.... it's probably a good time to finish my Vancouver story. First of all, Kate and I ate in good restaurants. That was my fault. We got Juliana Spahr and Peter Gizzi and some other people to go to Brix with us and well I had a really good Seafood Chowder. We also swam at the Marriot as much as possible but then there was a SoftSkull party and Kate made me get out of my swimsuit and go to the pub and meet Softskull people because well I just wrote this novel etc. And there was this great panel on the new nature poetry that was run by Josh Corey was Sally oh I forget her last name because I'm drunk Sally. Sally Keith that's it. She talked aboutInger Christensen as a nature poet. Christensen is a poet from Denmark. She wrote two books that I bought in German translation when I lived in Berlin. I saw her read at this summer poetry festival at the Literature House on Majokovsky Ring in Berlin. I didn't know anything about her but I saw this elderly woman come onto stage in a Brown skirt and balzer set with a brown handbag -- looking like every woman over 55 on the East German rail and I started to laugh because of the brown handbag. There was something about the handbag that made her seem like my grandma and the thought of my grandma reading poetry -- well it wasn't really possible -- but then this woman began to read in Danish the most beautiful sonnet sequence called The Butterfly Requiem. And the next day I went to the local bookstore and bought two German translations of her work but had no idea she had ever been translated into English and suddenly at the AWP there was Sally Keith (an excellent breathless poet) reading and discussing Christensens THE ALPHABET. It's out from New Directiona. And Josh Corey discussed Zukofsky as a nature poet and this grad student whose name elludes me now discussed Eleni Sikeleinos THE CALIFORNIA POEM as a pastoral poem and somewhere Lisa Jarnot was mentioned. It was very fascinating and now I've learned from his website that Corey is writing his dissertation about the Avant-garde Pastoral. I like his work. It brought my people to the AWP. And this idea of people and not my people at the AWP I will discuss soon when I'm sober. Love, Magdalena.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

AWP in Vancouver

After finishing my novel I joined the AWP (the association of writers and writing programs) following Kate's recommendation. Finishing made me feel like I maybe wouldn't wait tables forever and I could start dreaming of actually having a job related to my writing. And the conference this year was in Vancouver. I always wanted to visit Vancouver because of my early childhood exposure to the Kootenay School of Writing. A smattering of poets from that school came to Brown via an invitation from Peter Gizzi. Lisa Robertson came through the door carrying a whiskey bottle. Catriona Strang wore a Hockey Shirt and both postured queerly for my friends and me. This apparently is a Vancouver thing. I'll tell you more about it later. Nancy Shaw was there too. Less visually punk rock. More refined like Montreal. Of course the men figure less prominently for me (my prejudice) but Jeff Derksen and Kevin Davies were there too. I think of the group the only one left in Vancouver is Catriona but I'm not positive if she is even still there.

Anyhow, so Kate and I were off to Vancouver and it was a credit card vacation to celebrate me finishing the book. We stayed in one of the hotels recommended by the AWP and so we got the group rate for a semi-fancy businessman Marriot. We loved it. Especially the 24 hour indoor swimming pool and whirlpool and sauna etc. Mostly, I liked feeling like writing was a real occupation and it could get people to treat me well. So far it has only increased my skills and experience in the hospitality industry. It was nice to dream that it could get me room service once a year.

I like to eat more than anything so I got a food guide to Vancouver and the first thing we did after we got to the hotel was go to the Templeton Diner. On the way there Kate was convinced that people were staring at us because we were holding hands on the street. I thought maybe they were staring at us because we were babes. I don't know. You tell me, Vancouver. It was a long walk to the Templeton from the hotel but the guidebook said the milkshakes were great. When we got there it was the post-lunch hush and so we got to chat it up with the wiatress. She keyed in to our queer vibe and started talking about cute girls and everything and so we thought she was queer too. Turns out she's not. So maybe it is a Vancouver-thing this make the queer girls comfortable by making them think your one of them. I don't know. But it was extreme. Kate said the waitress was flirting with me and I have to say that maybe she was. Strange. The milkshake was good. The sandwich was good. The atmosphere was great. I went back a few days later and had a great Eggs Benedict.

OK. I'll continue this story after I get somethings done in the house...


Dear Minor Americans,

You know it's been a long time since you've visited your blog when you find out from one of your readers (i.e. your girlfriend) that your blogging partner has left your blog. I'm sorry that Ange has left, but can't blame her since it seems I haven't been able to write in nearly three months. But I am settled now. Have my own apartment and finally web access at home. And I promise to be a more frequent contributor to my own site. Despite my neglect, I have great faith in the two-person format, therefore am placing an open call for a new partner for this blog. Please send all applications to minor dot american at rcn dot com. And please tell me in 250 words or less why you would be a good blogging partner.

-- Maggie