Thursday, July 19, 2012

Joy Harjo (Women's Focus, KUNM, Sat. 7.21 noon 89.9) Carol Cellucci, & me

A guy just tightrope walked over Niagara Falls.  They made him use a safety line cause they didn't want him to plunge to his death on a major TV network, not even cable. Poets usually work without a net, and we don't even need one cause we're usually sitting down.  But these two women definitely have saved the day.

I once went to Aspen since I had won, against all odds, a National Endowment.  The wonderful and cranky poet who happens to share my hometown, Jerry Stern, taught me a lot.  But we had also sent manuscripts and I sent him my messed up poems to help me sort them out.  Little did I know that everyone else brings the cream, it's Aspen after all.  He hemmed and hawed, asked me what I was willing to sacrifice, and told me I had "sort of a voice."  I was devastated, after all I had just won an NEA and the next stop was a Pulitzer for sure.  So I wandered the streets of Aspen, bought nail polish,  weeping.  I happened to run into Joy Harjo in the grocery store, she was teaching also, and I told her my tale.  She offered to meet for dinner, and we did, hours later, she toting her saxophone which she was learning to play.  Her kindness was the safety net for that two week event.

Listen to her on KUNM radio on Saturday, Women's Focus, July 21, 2012 at noon with the ever wonderful Carol Boss.  If you miss it on Saturday it is streamed for two weeks. Joy is also reading at Collected Works at 6:00 on Sunday July 22. She reads from her memoir, Crazy Brave and what a perfect title.  It makes me feel a little braver, as she did in Aspen.

Then, as if life isn't good enough, today I had cheese enchiladas with Carol Cellucci, my amazing writing teacher from the 1980's.  In her class I met so many dear friends, Judyth Hill, Katherine Shelton, Jonelle Maison, Janet Holmes, Sarah Kuth, and David Treeson to name a few. And we all learned so much about poetry.

 We had a near three hour lunch event, poetry history being made as we ate. This is another sweet example of weaving the loose threads back in, not quite the safety net at Niagara Falls, but a necessary delicate net of connection. I wrote two poems for her and gave her the PoemHolders.   We shot poetry ideas back and caught up on everybody we knew and some we didn't remember.

So, the moral of this story is, Listen to KUNM and Joy Harjo, write your memoir and don't forget me, get in touch with the old dears from you past and make them a non-funcional pot-holder.

The only thing I can download is this, from my Poets Laureate Mixer with Hakim Bellamy, the new ABQ PL and very urban hip. He will shine the poetry stars even shinier is what I said.

I wish I could show you how great Carol Cellucci looks after all these lapsed  years.  Trust me,
she's beautiful.

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