Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dean Young

A letter from Tony Hoagland:

Dear Friends,

If you are reading this, you are probably a friend of Dean Young and/or a friend of poetry. And you may have heard that our friend is in a precarious position. Dean needs a heart transplant now. He also needs your assistance now.

Over the past 10 or 15 years, Dean has lived with a degenerative heart condition--congestive heart failure due to idiopathic hypotropic cardiomyopathy. After periods of more-or-less remission, in which his heart was stabilized and improved with the help of medications, the function of his heart has worsened. Now, radically.

For the last two years he has had periods in which he cannot walk a block without resting. Medications which once worked have lost their efficacy. He is in and out of the hospital, unable to breathe without discomfort, etc. Currently, Dean's heart is pumping at an estimated 8% of normal volume.

In the past, doctors have been impressed with his ability to function in this condition. But now things are getting quickly worse. Dean has been placed on the transplant list at Seton Medical Center Austin, and has just been upgraded to a very critical category. He's got to get a heart soon, or go to intermediate drastic measures like a mechanical external pump.

Whatever the scenario, the financial expenses, both direct and collateral, will be massive. Yes, he has sound health insurance, but even so, he will have enormous bills not covered by insurance--which is where you can help, with your financial support.

If you know Dean, you know that his non-anatomical heart, though hardly normal, is not malfunctioning, but great in scope, affectionate and loyal. And you know that his poetry is what the Elizabethans would have called "one of the ornaments of our era"--hilarious, heartbreaking, courageous, brilliant and already a part of the American canon.

His 10-plus books, his long career of passionate and brilliant teaching, most recently as William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas at Austin; his instruction and mentorship of hundreds of younger poets; his many friendships; his high, reckless and uncompromised vision of what art is: all these are reasons for us to gather together now in his defense and support.

Joe Di Prisco, one of Dean's oldest friends, is chairing a fundraising campaign conducted through the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT). NFT is a nonprofit organization that has been assisting transplant patients with advocacy and fundraising support since 1983.

On behalf of Dean, myself, and the principle of all our friendships in art, I ask you to give all you can. Thanks, my friends.


Tony Hoagland

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bahrain, How Well You Know Me.

I don't know if this is a Bon Jovi tribute band, or a tribute to the tribute band Bon Giovi, but does it really matter? If only I didn't have to go to a conference in Beirut at the same time.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Beneath the Radar

I spend a lot of time at school, and it can be stressful, particularly at this point in the semester, so I like to go outside a few times a day and walk around. I try to notice something that might otherwise be easy to miss. Sometimes I take a camera, sometimes not.

Here are a few things I noticed last week that many might not know exists right under our collective VCUQ noses.

This plant has sent up this ginormous stalk, probably 6 feet fall, that in turn is sending out smaller shoots that look like they are going to flower. It looks like a giant flower is going to emerge from the very top. I don't imagine this happens very often. I've been checking on it every day. I hope it's not one of those plants that creates spectacular flowers for like 10 minutes, or just on weekends.

In the desert one craves color, and I found this wonderfully colorful plant (this shot is straight from the camera, no photoshopping) near the smoking area. 

Also behind VCUQ, near pallets, sheds and giant trash bins is the "Cat Cafe" where some of Education City's cats come to eat. The cats that can be caught are taken to the vet, neutered, and then brought back to Ed City. This keeps the cat population way down, but every now and then we get kittens. There are 3 in this litter, two orange tabbies and this grey and orange tabby.  This is the boldest of the 3 and allows me to pet it so long as there is food involved.

It's back to work tomorrow. Who knows what I'll find.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'll think about that tomorrow.....

This represents my next big project. It involves 5 faculty, from two Uni's, across 4 disciplines, and 9 students from 3 majors. The proposal to get funding for it was submitted on Wednesday, so fingers crossed.

But, tonight I'm headed here.... I'll think about all those menacing stickies when I get back next week.

I'll be in St. Gallens, Switzerland for The Conference on the Book. I am definitely going here:


And here:
Not necessarily in that order.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy? Dream. Lomo? Hellya

Oh, this is going to be fun!

I love the translations on these notebooks:

Function: noun
1 .a: aeries of thoughts, langurs, or agnations
                                     occurring during sleep
2. An experience of waking lide having the characteristics
of a dream : as a : a visionary creation fo the imagination
     b:a stem of mind marked by abstraction of roicese
                                                                   from really

Function: adjective
1. tarvored by luck or torture fortunate
2. nothing thing, attractive or well adapted felicitous
                                                        to happy checkup
3.evjoying of characterized by well-being
                                        and  contentment

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Day.

My day:

6:21. Tried to sneak into kitchen so Ernie didn't hear me and start his brain piercing meowing. (Bert & Ernie are on lock-down at night in a room off the kitchen because if they are given night-time freedom they will completely dismantle the house while we sleep.)

6:22: Failed at sneaking into kitchen.

6:22--8:30: Coffee.              Dog, fish, cat, cat, patio cat feeding. Made the web rounds. Spent 45 minutes working on a short story.

9:00-4:30, or the VCUQ portion of my day.

Met with honors student about dossier essay, taught two sections of ENGL200, students worked diligently on discovery draft (<3 my ENGL200 classes) wandered around the building for awhile whining to whoever had the misfortune of being in their office about various, inconsequential complaints, worked on faculty research grant proposal, had a wonderful visit with a student who graduated last year, then ran into another student who graduated last year  (is it obvious that I wrote "who graduated last year" twice because I have no idea if it's alumna or alumni or alumnae or aluminum?) answered exactly a gajillion emails, remembered we now have a coffee shop in the building and was made happy, drank a froofy coffee drink and then talked fast for about half an hour.

5:00 to present, or the non-VCUQ portion of my day.

Picked up film on way home. Decided I'm super in love with film.

Did work I should have done while at VCUQ. Why do work at home I could have done at VCUQ? Well let me pose a question in response: Is Project Runway season 1 playing in the background at VCUQ? I rest my case.

Wondered what to do with the pile of photos on my desk.

Decided Project Runway season 1 needs my full attention.

This is the episode where the designers had to design wedding dresses for the models. Two best quotes from the episode (both from Jay, of course)

"She bangs into the room and is baaahaaaaaa baaaahaaaaaaaa."

"And Morganza want me to make a see though tank dress for the beach with flip-flops and dirty hair."

Monday, September 13, 2010

French Fry Floss

I went to Carrefour this morning. I love shopping in Doha. You never know what you might find. The above wins the truth in packaging award.

This is the cutest thing I found while shopping today. It IS very mifty!

Um, yea, french fries do count as a vegetable.

This is a shirt for a child. It reads: "My elegarico (?) Amusing life/I love all these all/Forever/Forever/Best stage." I have no idea what's up with the hands.    

I like this graphic, but for a three year old? Hmmmmm.

Best, Hope, Happy! SKULL! Fine Day, Star, Rocket, DEAD SMILEY FACE!

And, oh! My printer is now working!!  I've begun nesting.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It is glorious and sweet to die for one's printer

This is my 6th year at VCUQ, and though I would really like to reflect on my time here, there is a much more important issue I need to focus on: my printer. My printer, and why no one will come to hook up my printer so I can actually use my printer to print things that need printing. A major influx of new people and the expansion has created equipment shortages and it's getting kind of Lord of the Flies'ish up in here. Printers have become a major commodity. I know I should be grateful that I at least have a printer even though I can't use the printer making my printer a sort Schrödinger's cat, both dead and alive, but paranoia is setting in. I've heard rumblings that another department is manuevering to claim printers, to TAKE printers from those who have printers and who need printers just as much as the people who want to take the printers away. I have decided to take a stand. I will not let anyone take my printer. I am moving into my office, which will henceforth be known as bunker 162a. I will remain in bunker 162a every day, around the clock, to protect my printer, which when it was hooked up last year was a wonderful printer, and which will one day be hooked up again and go back to being a wonderful printer that prints things that need printing.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Strategery and Pooting!

This is my strategy for the 2010/2011 academic year:

Especially this:

A few minutes ago I found this in the faculty break room. I'm not sure if it causes or cures.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back and Boxed

First week back at VCUQ: chaos. After two years, VCUQ's dramatically expanded building is almost complete. It is spectacular, but getting settled in is creating major havoc. Almost everything has moved, and almost everyone is moving. Along with the expansion not quite being ready, and nearly everyone moving, add in the normal first week stuff: retreats, meetings, reams of paperwork, and scrambling to write syllabi and get course materials together. And for many of us, all this is happening a day or two after traveling thousands of miles to get back to Doha.

In the midst of this craziness as I was wandering around Facebook, I found the above photo taken of our incoming students during art foundation orientation by a lovely, talented VCUQ student. It was just the thing I needed to snap me out of the chaos. This photo reminded me why we are here, and helped me focus not on the fact that my printer isn't hooked up, or my that my text books haven't arrived, but on how lucky I am to be here, how lucky I am to be a part of our students' journey to becoming designers and hopefully, life long learners.

The second photo? Well, that's the biggest boxed lunch I have ever seen. The box could have easily have held a 22" inch round cake, or a 12 pound cat (though not, probably, for very long). It was served to us at our department retreat, and I told Lauren that I'd get the photo of this behemoth boxed lunch on my blog before she posted it on hers.

Here is Lauren's blog.

I win.

Monday, August 16, 2010


4 days ago I was here

and I was all

Yesterday the new semester started and now I'm like

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My most recent art crush: Lee Jae-Hyo

(1965, South Korea)

Lee Jae-hyo was born in 1965 in Hapchen, Korea. He graduated from Hong-ik University with a degree in Plastic Art. He assembles natural materials such as wood pieces, branches and leaves, or iron nails, into three-dimensional works which have elegant forms and also convey a strong contemporary mood. He has had many solo exhibitions in Korea, Japan, China, the United Kingdom and the United States. He has won a number of honours, including Grand Prize of Osaka Triennial (1998), Young Artist of the Day presented by the Ministry of Culture of Korea (1998) and Prize of Excellence in the 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Contest. His works are widely appreciated and adored by art collectors in Asia, Europe and America.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy as a freshly washed kitten laying in the sun on a pink towel!

This has been a grueling summer. In fact, it can't even be called summer, because it lacked the essentials of summer goodness: increased melanin, naps, marathons of the TV variety, reading, reading, reading, boredom, travel. Instead, this has been the summer of toiling on the anthology and being pasty. But relief is in sight! We'll be in Galle, Sri Lanka from July 23rd to August 6th.

We'll be going here:

And staying here:

And how do I feel about this?

(This photo was taken by a very talented and wonderful VCUQ student.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Build Your Poetry Apps Without Breaking a Sweat!

Hi, my name is Patty and I'm addicted to Apps....

I love me some apps, but when it comes to poetry apps it's pretty slim picking. I downloaded Instant Poetry HD last night. It's only different from magnetic poetry in that it won't stick to a fridge. Oh, and you can change the background by using a photo. It basically gives you words on tiles that you can arrange to your heart's content. I made this gem:

I suppose it's possible to write some keepers with this, but unless Paper Toss and Angry Birds disappear from the App world, I probably won't be spending too much time with this one.

Poetry Daily has an App. It opens right to the poem-of-the-day, and you can move forward or back one day at a time. It doesn't seem to offer access to searching or browsing the archives though, and that's kind of a bummer. Two nice features are that you can move poems to a favorite list, and you can email poems.

Poetry has an App that lets you browse by mood or subject. The moods are pre-set: joy, grief, etc., so I couldn't enter "predatory recumbent," or "exanimate irate." Shame. If you're curious, "Advent" by Donald Hall is, according to Poetry, in the insecurity mood category. The most dynamic feature of this app is that if you shake your Iphone or Ipad (I have it on Ipad) it will spin through all the poems and then stop at a selection of poems by theme. I'm not sure what purpose this serves, but I suppose you could use the Poetry App as a Poetry 8-Ball. Dear Poetry 8-Ball, will I be rich and famous? Shake, shake, shake. Poetry 8-Ball gave me 11 poems on Pessimism. So, yes! I will be rich and famous! (It's all about the interpretation.) I had to shake the Ipad pretty hard to get it to spin, hard enough that visions of the Ipad sailing across the room came to mind. How would I feel if my Ipad went sailing across the room? Shake, shake, shake. Poetry 8-Ball offered me 19 poems on Frustration & Work and Play. So there you go.

The American Poetry App is pretty good, and since the description of it from itunes does the trick I'll copy it here:

American Poetry is a fully searchable compendium of 5,000 poems by 50 of America's greatest poets, each poem is displayed in its entirety. The collection contains poems of Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Stephen Crane and many other famous poets.

Feature Highlights:
* Collection of 5,000 poems by 50 well-known American poets
* Fully searchable by title and first line
* Type size is continuously adjustable
* World famous poems by Frost, Thoreau, Dickinson, Sandburg, Emerson, and more
* Email poems from within the app

All the poets are good and dead, but there's a nice mix from Gertrude Stein and Slyvia Plath to Weldon Kees and Hart Crane. It's an incredible bargain at .99 cents.

There are a few other poetry apps out there, but they didn't look download worthy.

Back to important work: Glee App!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Almost sand storming, close editing and wish shopping on etsy

Very windy day in Doha. It looked like we would get a sand storm for a minute, but then we didn't. Sand storms are our main source of weather excitement. I kinda wanted some weather excitement.

When I first got to Doha I used to walk down to the Al Waab construction site everyday to feed a pack of dogs. One day, we had a sand storm. A true palm trees-parallel-to-the-ground sand storm. Everyone hunkered down inside. But me in my novice desert living naivete thought "what's the big deal?" It's just wind. And sand. I shrugged into my backpack and headed to the construction site. After about 20 flesh flaying yards I turned back from the insane howling, and complete body dermabrasion. Sand was actually driven through several layers of clothing into my skin. I think I may still have sand embedded in my skin. Exciting!

In addition to wishing for a sandstorm I started close editing the anthology which is now close to 350 pages. I'm working page by page, line by line. I won't go on and on about it, but let me just say this, Arabian Gulf poets are amazing. Super, super amazing.

When I needed a little breather from editing I pretended I could have anything I wanted from etsy. This is on the top of the list:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear Blog, it has been 5 years since my last post....

So, I had this other blog. It was supposed to chronicle my big adventure of moving from Richmond, VA to Doha, Qatar in 2005. I started it a couple months before I left, posted a smattering of dog photos and personality quiz results, and finally announced that I was off to Qatar! Then I pretty much stopped blogging. I didn’t have Internet access in my house for the first six months I lived in Doha, but that’s not the main reason I stopped. To say the least, the move was overwhelming. I used to adjust to change at a sloth like pace, and moving from RVA to Doha was a major chunk of change. I’ve gotten better at dealing with change, and 5 years of living in this fast-forward, light-speed paced country may have even made me a bit of a change junky, but 5 years ago: sloth. Everything was happening too quickly for me to reflect on so all my posts would have been some version of: aaauuuuuggggghhhhhh! Another issue had to do with privacy. Doha is in many ways like a small town; a little over a million people live in this whole Connecticut sized country. Plus, everyone at my Uni lived in the same compound. Not being able to be anonymous took some getting used to. Now, I like the familiarity and security, the small town-feel of my Uni and of Doha, but back then a blog felt like more public than I could handle.

Why am I back to blogging? I dunno, really. I’ve been circling around it for a long time. I have numerous class blogs, a poetry workshop blog, a couple private blogs for projects I’m working on, and I started a blog for Diode, but never kept up with it. So the blogging impulse is there, and now here I am pecking away…

To blog or not to blog is a question that interests me in general, particularly when it intersects with negotiations between the public and private self. Why do people start/stop blogging? Some blogs are suddenly abandoned, some go from frequent text postings, to sporadic postings with apologies and promises of more frequent postings. Sometimes more frequent posting occurs, but other times the blog goes dormant. Sometimes blogs limp along, text posts give way to photos or link postings. Sometimes the blog is reinvented and the blog is moved to a new site. None of this is criticism, by the way, after all I abandoned a blog just when it had the potential of actually being interesting. How blogs live and die just sort of interests me.

It’s deep summer, 118 degrees, the palm dates are ripening and most everyone is gone. I’m working. I’m dragging an anthology to the finishing line. It’s solitary, difficult work, and though I love this anthology more than anything I have ever worked on I’m sad that every day a little more summer is gone. So maybe I’m here to just whine a little. That’s okay, right?