Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Leaving New York, Never Easy

Not much to report here at OENY -- it does, of course, appear that JJC is edging out the other human cobloggers in the polls at ITM (asking readers which co-blogger they most identify with), but that doesn't really matter, given that the Tiny Shriner has a lead that will be nigh impossible to overcome (despite certain well-intentioned threats).

Tomorrow morning -- well, actually, in a few hours now -- I'm heading to Penn Station, where I will catch the Carolinian, a train which will take me to Greensboro, NC, where my sister (the budding medievalist and UNCG honors college poster-child, rather than the one who just played Carnegie Hall with the National Wind Ensemble...) will pick me up, and take me home to Winston-Salem. Blogging has been light for me in the past month, for a variety of reasons, including Kalamazoo (which I really will eventually blog about), grading, travel, a plague (not THE plague, just a really evil cold), and the ever present dissertation chapter I'll be spending the summer revising. And those are just the ones that are worth mentioning on blog! Suffice it to say, I'm grateful for May's ending, I'm grateful for June's beginning, I'm grateful for the summer, and I'm grateful for travel. Travel opens horizons, even if it's a return. Perhaps especially when traveling is return.

With me on the train will be a newly bought copy of Andrew Zawacki's Anabranch, which I've mentioned on this blog before. I'm excited: I've read the whole thing twice now, but I'm hoping to write something about it. There's something very...well...Old English about it, that I don't quite know that I understand. It has to do with light -- and I think that's what the writing I do on this will end up being about. It's worth noting that at a poetry reading about two years ago, I heard Zawacki read with Mark Strand. Zawacki read a beautiful long poem that I'm not sure has been published yet, but one of the lines was "fidelity to a language faithful only to itself." I've been haunted by that line ever since I heard it -- it resonates in that way certain lines do which end up echoing in my mind long after I hear them. In fact, it's become a bit of a mantra for me. At any rate, I think that the time in transit -- between places I sometimes call home -- will be a good place to consider Anabranch.

I'm also bring work books (of course!): Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature by Stephen Harris, History and Narrative in Early Medieval Europe, and a few others I can't seem to remember offhand. And of course, the dissertation chapter. Some fragments, no doubt, will end up both here at at ITM.

In the meantime, I leave you with poetry from Zawacki -- and there are very few better ways to end a blog post.

from 'Viatica'

5 (Vertigo)

There are things I would settle
with myself. Why, for instance,
as autumn unravels, I cannot mortar

myself to myself, nothing but sunlight
littered from here to the sun. By I
I mean a window, redness grazing the lake

at dawn, or an echo winnowing out
along a wall, hard pressed to hide itself
and straining for the voice it vanished from.

I mean so many windows. So much red.