Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The giggle of eyelashes*

In graduate school I learned to sing the body electric. The program I attended was more about souls and songs and art and heart and expression than it was about lectures and footnotes and appendices and theses. We created and explored. We put font to music. We made books and paper and poetry.

At first, I balked at the artsy fartsyness of it all. I wanted to be a serious student, with serious success, large textbooks, late nights at the library over microfiche, bibliographic complexity. Instead I got professors who encouraged us to open class with an African blessing to the dawn, who wanted artistic presentations on feminist gods, who expected me to dig, dig, dig deep into wells of pain and self and remembrance and hope to create art. It was all so much kumbaya and not enough cross-referencing. At first. But gradually, with eye-rolls and exasperated huffs and hesitant inchings toward release, I succumbed to the power in their poetry, the worth of their wonder. And I'm a better writer for it.

Today's blogger reminds me of that time in graduate school, when I sloughed off some of that rigid academia to embrace the tickle of words. Maya at One Paragraph at a Time is a poet who would have fit in nicely with my crowd of wordmongers.

I hesitate to tell you her blog is almost entirely poetry. But wait! I know. I thought the same thing at first. A whole blog? Over four years of posts? With nothing but poetry? Pass. But stick with me here because Maya can write some damn poetry. I actually like it. Kind of a lot. Her writing is contemplative and introspective and deliberate and lovely and tactile and thoughtful. She writes about nostalgia and sex ("he was all hers, one locked muscle of utter fealty") and lies. Her poetry is honest and mature and revealing. Every word is revered, precisely chosen, and treasured.

I just read an entire blog of poetry. I can't believe it, either, but I did. And I loved it. Oh, the template is boring, and Maya could stand to roll up her archives. But the template doesn't even matter because her artistry is on the screen, in those words I want to roll around on my tongue, those words that delight my eyes. This is not some angsty teenage blithering with rhymed, insipid dreck. This is real, this is art, and this is good.

*My title is stolen from Maya @ One Paragraph at a Time.


  1. I need to read this every morning for the rest of my life.

    The writing is beautiful. It would be easier for me to read if she used the same font, of the same size, every time. And, corrected the spacing between the pictures and the text, which can be distracting.

    Maya's words deserve a cleaner, more beautiful frame to present them to the world. She should consider a different, better, template.

    But, the words sing.

  2. I love her words, I'm a sucker for good poetry and Maya, your paragraphs are gorgeous.

  3. Man, I hate it when they're good and I can't think of anything awesome to say.

  4. I think this is the nicest that keywork has ever been.

  5. Yeah, LB, but I'm sure it won't last. But we can all bask in it for now I guess.

  6. I'm basking in the glow of your niceness, Key.

    For this blogger, I like this template. Let's play a game and matchmake this awesome blog with an equally awesome template.

  7. Basking is nice because it doesn't involve semen.

  8. LB: I'm sure I can find away to involve semen to that action.

  9. That won't last long either, LB.

  10. The reviews and the IFLY's on here are like a writing master class that regularly adds new instructors. I can write somewhat decently for the most part and occasionally I thought I did pretty darned well but the way a lot of these writers, including today's reviewee, weave words together - man, mostly I just plain suck. :-) Great review, Calamity. Thank you.

  11. Match Maker, Match Maker, send me a match! You're cute with all of that template match making, LB. And Key is being nice. And it goes right along with that poem/paragraph she has posted today. I liked it. I loved it. I needed it.
    Here's to kismet.
    And here's to the cum and crow bars and iron fists and pumpkins of tomorrow.

  12. goodness gracious. thank you, Calamity. and thank you readers. and thank you template-wise people. I'm going to look into a new one, promise. because I'm tired of what I've been working with. now isn't that a great metaphor...

    in humility and gratitude,


  13. I think we're sick around here. Seriously? 15 comments on this fabulous review and lovely reviewee (she said 'goodness gracious' for goodness gracious sake!)?
    Oy vey. And yet? And yet I cannot wait to threaten massive pumpkin muffin baking as soon as possible!

  14. I love reading and being left with the feeling of a thoughtful and relaxing float.

    Thats the only way I can describe what Maya's work does to me.

  15. Generally, to enjoy poetry, I need to be in a place of quiet and solitude and peace. I don't have that right now. No where.

    I'll need to evaluate after the shitstorm I'm in dies down.

    I'll bookmark now so I remember to do it next month.

  16. I agree, Lil. I'm feeling quite humbled about now. I realize there are superior writers that exist out there and it inspires me to strive for something better from myself.


Grow a pair.