In honor of this new tradition that is so sophisticatedly called “Good Stuff Thursday,” I want to tell you about some good stuff that I’ve experienced or found this week.
First, last night I had the privilege of hearing Katie Ford read her work. She has recently been awarded the Lannan Literary Award for her work, which includes two books Deposition and Colosseum. Her reading last night was understated and quiet yet marked with the same kind of subtle power you can feel in the air just before a lightning strike or a big snow storm arrives. She speaks with confidence but not bravado, and it truly was a pleasure hearing her read. One of my favorite poems from Colosseum, “The Shape of Us” begins this way:
Perhaps our difficult loneliness
was not given to us
but was ours by mistake
like an early theory of the world
in which all creation was a single sun,
in which humans and trees
and the white heron bent to feed
were not forms but caverns
cutting into that light. Pompeii was discovered
beneath calcifications of ash
because certain hollows looked human.
Her work is filled with history and allusions that add richness and strata of complexity beneath the words. I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy of her work, or read some of her poems found around the Web.
While speaking of poetry, I have two other good things to share. First, my friend Piotr Florczyk just had a poem published by Slate. You can read “Omaha Beach” and hear Piotr read it here.
Also, I’ve been reading a lot of Czeslaw Milosz lately, partially because Mary Karr mentions him in her essay “Facing Altars: Poetry and Prayer.” Today, I read this poem, “On Prayer,” and was particularly struck by these lines:
You ask me how to pray to someone who is not.
All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
And walking it we are aloft, as on a springboard,
Above landscapes the color of ripe gold
Transformed by a magic stopping of the sun.
His work is so powerful and lyric, in all its simplicity. He is able to take these vast ideas and experiences and hang them on trees and in images. Really lovely work. Read it if you haven’t already.
In the world of what often goes with good writing, I have great coffee to recommend to you — Mother Earth News Organic, Fair Trade Coffee, distributed by Cuppa Jane Coffee and Tea. The coffee is organically grown, and the workers who grow and harvest it are fairly paid for their work. These are two standards I require of all my coffee now, and this coffee is not only equitably grown, it’s really delicious. I highly recommend the Peruvian blend.
Finally, I want to talk about something so lovely, something I absolutely adore, and something that I have no control of whatsoever – snow. Right now, as I write, we are getting the smallest of snow flurries . . . The air is so cold that the flakes float and dance down to the ground two stories below me. It’s like the steel gray clouds pull off tiny pieces of themselves and drop them gently down on us, sharing bits of themselves with the warm humans below. I love snow.
So enjoy these few good things; share your own on your blogs and post the links here, or simply post your good things in the comments field below. And find goodness in something today if you can. Thanks for reading.