I leave Saturday, July 14 for Mendocino Woodlands for our annual Sufi Retreat. This year I will have Wendy Taylor Carlisle, my favorite poetry companion, to teach the afternoon writing class with me. We have traveled together and studied the written word since the mid-1990’s. I organized a small book tour in California for her when her second, award-winning poetry book, Discount Fireworks was released in 2008. After years of reading my prose and poetry, She edited Untold. Every word. I could not have done it without her. I am lucky. She is as good an editor as she is a poet! Wendy received five Pushcart Prize Nominations, and many awards. < http://www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com/> She just moved from Texas to Eureka Springs Arkansas.
If you are coming to Mendo for the week and plan to write, you are in for a treat. If you would like to come for a day or 2 you are welcome to join the class. It goes from 4:30 until dinner in Dining-room Right. Here is a sample of Wendy’s words, a stretchy modern sonnet: Please note that the format is not exact.
THE CIRCUS OF INCONSOLABLE LOSSThere is only one ring for those sweating horses with the preternaturally flat backs and the fat smooth rumps from which ladies in stained tights vault onto the sawdust or another horse. Only one ring for the hung-over clowns and their Volkswagen, a car so old it must be pushed into the one ring which is also the one for the acrobats and the tigers and contortionists and dogs that walk on their hind legs, then stop to scratch their necks, itchy under spangled ruffs. Above them wire walkers and trapeze guys swing, mayfly-graceful. Under them the one ring reminds the audience to celebrate, each in their own constrained and special way, the emptiness they’ve come to in the spaces where other rings should be.
–from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Wendy shows humor and skill in equal measures.Snow White reconsiders (two versions: the first became a sonnet) At first I knew nothing about him, imagined his wide shoulders, his eyes dark as cloves. My hand tightened on doorknobs; he could be in any room. On the dining table, the plates waited for his thumbprint, each single knife yearned toward his grip, I made the seven beds: I swept, a trace of aftershave seduced a napkin. The old woman brought me a coffin. I bit, climbed in, was caught and paned, a kiss galloped toward me carrying salvation. Impact. My lashes sprung, inaction was out of the question. The apple had been irresistible but what woman doesn’t later regret her appetite for fruit? An early version: After She Finds Her Prince, She Reconsiders At first I knew nothing about you, eyes dark as cloves. My hands tightened on doorknobs. You could be in any room. Every table was set for you. Each decorative platter waited for your thumb-print, every perfect cloth lacked only a trace of your aftershave I swept the kitchen, I made these seven beds. Eating an apple, my eyes widened impossibly imagining you, galloping toward me through the trees.