There’s a firefly in the church office flashing with its abdomen little neon telegrams which I take to be auspicious. It’s the end of my first summer with The Poetry Project as Executive Director. I’ve spent my mornings and my evenings here, listening to recordings from our archives, reading issues of The Poetry Project Newsletter, The World, Telephone, Adventures in Poetry, reading missives and notebook marginalia from past directors, past editors, braced to learn how others have acclimated themselves to a way of life saturated with poetry. And in the afternoons, I’ve been the very grateful beneficiary of time in the company of friends from our community, who have filled me in candidly on history and changes, an always affectionate supply of gossip, the many ways The Poetry Project has been for them a home.
Meanwhile, the season has spun forward with eclipses and uncertainty. I can hear military airplanes peacocking on the half hour, heralding (I imagine) some elected perpetrator of violence. It has been a summer of escalating cruelty directed at immigrants, a summer inaugurated by silence in the wake of celebrity suicides, and it has also been a summer racked with much coming to terms around access and identity in the universe of poetry. What can poets and poems do in this time – a question whose permutations I have tracked across all times in our history.
This is also the summer I acquired a bicycle from Ariel Goldberg, who has recently decamped to Tucson. Both the job and the bicycle, I am finding, require that I shut the more distractable channels in my mind off, pay attention to what’s around me, and assemble all this into some sort of compass for movement. It’s fun, and it is work. I sing to myself while doing it, I have faith in the going.