I went to my friend Kelly Fineman's reading at Barnes and Noble in Marlton last night. She was great, and read poems from her manuscript-in-progress: a collection of poetry on the life of Jane Austen. Kelly also has an excellent blog, which you can find here.
Music: Well, the music year is already about 3/8ths over (really - figure it out!) and already there are a bunch of candidates for best albums, so it looks like another good year for music. Here are some of my early favorites:
The Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever
Beach House – Teen Dream
The National – High Violet
Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks
Drive-By Truckers – The Big To-Do
Yeasayer – Odd Blood
The New Pornographers – Together
Natalie Merchant – Leave Your Sleep
Spoon – Transference
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – I Learned the Hard Way
Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune
Vampire Weekend – Contra
Straight No Chaser – With a Twist
Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame
Broken Bells – Broken Bells
Natalie Merchant's new album, by the way, is a collection of children's poems set to music - poems by the likes of Edward Lear, e.e. cummings and Robert Louis Stevenson, along with some lesser-known poets. It's a really fine 2-disc collection with a beautiful hardcover booklet that includes the poems and bios of all the poets. Ms. Merchant will also be a featured artist at the West Chester Poetry Conference (with which my friend Anna Evans is also involved) next month.
Poem of the Fortnight: I thought I'd share my poem that got such a big response when I read it at the Celebration of Literary Journals on Sunday (see blog below). This was originally published in Up and Under: the QND Review:
The Conjoined Twin
Crown to crown, our skulls
a figure-eight, we were bound
by bone and red trees of blood.
I felt your cries, and strained to find you,
always over my head. Sometimes
we chattered in the secret language of twins.
But the doctors - so many doctors –
decided it best to cut you away from me.
In our long sleep, they carved at skin and bone,
reconnected tissue, sewed and threaded capillaries,
relieved our brains from their morbid embrace.
But while I slept, your heart surrendered.
Sometimes I look up for you, sister,
but you have not come back.
The blood we shared still runs in my veins,
and memories flicker in and out,
the loss I felt as they opened, then closed
my head to the heavens.