Monday, June 30, 2008

Pastor Marcia's Journal

My friend, Rev. Marcia Ricketts, is working in a refugee camp in Mai La, Thailand on the border of Burma/Myanmar. She's there under the auspices of the American Baptists, teaching English and doing whatever else she can find useful to do.

Because Web access is sporadic at best in third-world refugee camps, Pastor Marcia has no blog of her own. But she's able to send e-mails on occasion to her friends in the States, and she's given me permission to post them for her.

So I've started up Pastor Marcia's Journal. I'll be posting the letters already received over the next week or so and I'll update it as the letters come in. Check it out. Should it inspire you to do likewise ... well, there's no shortage of good causes out there.

You probably thought I didn't know people like Marcia. Well, I do. We've been pals for years. There's a perfectly innocent explanation for why she refers to me as "the Prince of Darkness."

Oh, and also . . .

. . . the latest poem du jour, this one dealing with glistering and glittering.



HANNAH'S DAD said...

Just a note that your poetry link is a dud again - this time to the nonexistent

Is this an intelligence test? Am I passing?

And on the subject of poetry, I'm a big user/timewaster of "Stumbleupon", which takes you to random but purportedly worthy websites. Just seconds ago it took me to this poem: and shortly thereafter I went to the associated comment page, which is overwhelmingly approving.

Have I truly become such a curmudgeon that I cannot share these people's admiration?

Michael Swanwick said...

Well, if it is an intelligence test, I appear to be failing it...

I checked out "The Invitation" and all I can say is wow. "I want to know what you ache for"? There can't be many lovers of language who liked that poem. Or friends of logic. Or people who have lead rich, full lives.

So no, you are not a curmudgeon.

I'm put in mind of the only time my mother-in-law ever asked me a literary question. Her book group had chosen a very bad book to discuss and she was prepared to elucidate its faults -- and it turned out that everybody else absolutely loved THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. So she said nothing but, later, asked me why they'd all liked a book she thought absolute drivel.

"Well," I said. "Without knowing the ladies and not meaning to insult them, I have to suspect that none of them have had a great passionate love of their life, so they think that what the book described was what one actually was like." Leaving unstated what seemed obvious to me, that her marriage to the late Bill Porter had indeed been a great and passionate love.

She thought about that and agreed that I was probably right.

Very similarly, "The Invitation" feels to me like life described from the outside, rather than experienced from within. If I can say that without covering the two of us with mounds of self-congratulation.

If I were still writing the Poem du Jour, though, I'd definitely include this one. Just to show the difference between real and artificial poetry.