Tuesday, September 23, 2008

and thus we see

I'm not sure why being out of Provo makes me think I don't have to blog as frequently. And then being out of Utah? Might as well just stick a fork in me. But seeing as how Provo and Utah are both very far away, and I won't be back until December, I'm going to attempt a new mindset and I'm going to attempt to blog.

I have been away from Utah for six days now, and in Chicago for even longer. Well, not longer, but it feels that way. I feel as though I've been here forever and ever and ever, but not in a good way. That being said, here is a reckoning of my days:

Wednesday (September 17): I (meaning my mother) finished packing that morning. I (meaning me) flew away on an airplane with absolutely no leg room but a very nice man who helped me lift my over-regulation (shh! it's a secret) weight carryon into the overhead compartment. Another nice man helped me retrieve the stupid thing when the flight landed and the fasten seatbelt light finally turned off. And then the real fun began. After waiting for twenty minutes at the baggage carousel where the flight attendents and all signs directed me, I concluded that my baggage wasn't coming and then began a run around trying to locate my baggage. (No, I didn't think to check this blog.) Eventually I was directed to the lost and found, where a very small woman attempted to help me with my very large bags. I was tired and frantic and smelly and frizzy when Emily and Joe found me, led me to their car, and drove me to my new apartment.

Thursday (September 18): I woke up remarkably early, considering. Managed to get dressed and find my way to the El, which I love. I caught the Red Line to the Purple Line, and arrived in Evanston. I'm told Evanston is beautiful. It was hot, humid, and there were a lot of freshmen as lost and confused as I was. But I managed to find the Student Center, get my ID, and make an appearance at the Institute picnic, where, I confess, I was mostly there for the food. I did find out about the young single adult branch, and returned to Chicago, where my roommate (flatmate, really) Monica was kind enough to drive me to Target (blessed place) for a few essentials (like something to put my clothes in). That night I was a brave little trooper and walked the two blocks to marvel at the neighborhood market, featuring food in at least seven languages (and Kinder Bueno!).

Friday (September 19): The day I actually discovered that the Market sells Kinder Bueno, but still. . . Caught the El again, this time to downtown Chicago, where my classes are this term. Found the building, the classroom, the bookstore, the books. I love the books. And then I dragged my insanely heavy bag down the street to the Museum of Contemporary Art, where Ferris Bueller was not filmed, but where there are a few beautiful and interesting things to be seen. It woke me up a little, which I need in current condition of permanent dazedness. I actually drafted a new poem (!) and spent the night working on some other ideas that I've been playing around with.

Saturday (September 20): Saturday was a special day because (1) I used both the El and the Metra to make my way out to Rolling Meadows and Emily and Joe, and (2) with Emily's guidance and assistance, I finally figured out how I could make it to church on Sunday. I also realized that Northwestern's intercampus shuttle bus thing has a stop right behind the El station--and it's free! Finally something is free!

Sunday (September 21): I left my apartment at 9:15 a.m. to walk a mile to the Metra stop for what I thought was a 10:32 train (I was giving myself time to get lost and to not get too sweaty). It was actually a 10:52 train, so I waited for at least an hour. Made it to Wilmette, and was given a ride from the train station to church by a girl who is going back to school for her MBA. Church was nice and normal and the people were friendly. That, and I realized that I'll probably be able to take the El into Evanston and then get a ride from there--no more walking a mile to Church! (Although it would make a great pseudo-missionary story.)

Sunday gets two paragraphs, because after the adventure that was church, I braced myself for the adventure that was "Going to Prof's House for Creative Writing Opening Social." Although, I didn't realize what kind of adventure it would be. The Addison stop, where her house is, is right next to Wrigley Stadium, where every Cub fan in the world was celebrating. (I have been informed that to survive this experience, I too must be a Cub fan.) Long story short, I asked the wrong person for directions and found myself a mile away from where I was supposed to be, in bad shoes, and thick thick fog. I called in the calvary (go Dad!), got turned around, and made it to the Prof's house for an evening of talking with mostly fiction and creative nonfiction writers. Not that I'm biased, but. . . I am. I really wanted a poet or two to talk back and forth with.

Which leads me to today, even though today is Tuesday and not yesterday (Monday). I have spent the past two days on the Chicago campus, online, trying to find a job. Because I must have one. The whole money thing, coupled with the whole Sarah-must-have-a-schedule thing. Class starts in a little over an hour and where I would usually be nervous (and mostly likely will reach that point), I just want it to start. I want to talk influences and ideas and language and poetry. Because that's why I'm here--or, at least, it's a starting point to why I'm here.

Note: This reckoning does not include the many phone calls home or the few phone calls to people in the area who are supposed to be in the know. I went easy on the anxiety, the doubt, the frustration, because. . . well. . . I'm hoping I reach a point where this move is a good memory and not a "I'm so glad that's over" memory. Right now, it's sixes which way it will go.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

week week week week

Actually just "week." One week before I leave Utah. Or go to Chicago. Whichever way you want to look at it.
I have a place to live. And a roommate. And apparently a fondess for conjunctions.
Symposium on Poetics on Friday. Featuring Kim Johnson, Jay Hopler, Susan Howe, Lance Larsen, and Paisley Rekdal. In seating order, of course. And my favorite quotes. Ever.

Larsen: "All we can do is filch or fabricate [our poetics]. All lyric poems are one."

Howe: "my poetry operates cynically"

Hopler: "my poems tend to be smarter than I am"

Hopler quoting James Tate: "If you're not surprised by the poem, the reader's not surprised by the poem."

Johnson: The function of poetry is to "redeem the unrepresentable in the world".

Hopler: "the inevitable fall [down the page]"

Larsen/Johnson: The poem itself ought to be its own experience/world and follow its own rules. It casts a shadow on this world.

Hopler: Language has to be beautiful in a way the world cannot be.

Hopler: What a poem is about is the least interesting thing about a poem.

Johnson: When I start with those four words, I assume the poem is already there.

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