Nomad Ink

Saturday, March 31, 2007

rainy day women

well at least one woman, myself, and a soggy three-day rain extravaganza here. green things are coming up and i've no chance to pull them out of the ground, the squilla, dandelions, grass, in places i don't want them, and then other exciting things: tulip leaves, iris leaf-spears, fat fuzzy buds on the magnolias, and of course the yellow willow greening with leaf-buds. did home repair type stuff: a new bedroom shade cut a little too narrow; new batteries for the kitchen clocks and the thermostat, new black ink cartridge and pens from Office Max where a nice official looking boy approaches me in the soggy parking lot. I think i'm parked wrong, in a handicapped spot maybe, but he says, "Hi, I represent Jesus Christ and I wonder if you know the story and would like to learn about it." I told him I was Jewish, let's just split the difference. "Live and let live," I said, shaking his hand and wishing him a good day. Then off to drop lots of $$ on a black ink cartridge. And a few $$ at the dollar store, on sardines. mmm. a nice high protein, high calcium snack, high calorie too tho.
kamau brathwaite and anne waldman both visited here last weekend. Kamau read at the Loft as part of our Art as Knowing conf., sponsored by the English Dept (thanks to my chair, paula rabinowitz, who has supported all my efforts to bring groovy folks to campus); Anne as part of the Bob Dylan conference. Kamau did his shadda thing, amazing life/poetics story that always blows everybody away. He seemed to b energized by his performance and the audience response. See Aldon Nielsen's Heatstrings blog for some nice photos; Aldon was in town for the Dylan conf and had the sense to come a day early to catch Kamau. It was wonderful; immediately after the standing ovation initiated by JOtis Powell!, Douglas Ewart and I think John Wright and Bill Cottman, Kamau was surrounded by young folks –the few Jamaican students at the U, other postcolonial folks all animatedly telling him how much he was telling their stories. Then he signed books standing at the podium for about an hour. The daughter of family friends, Rachel Mordecai, one of our doctoral students who was in town to defend her wonderful dissertation on Jamaica in the 1970s, was there; they had never met but they got to meet in mpls of all places, and he read a poem he'd originally written for/dedicated to her mother, the poet Pamela Mordecai, and rededicated to Rachel for the evening. It was a marvelous event; Kamau was introduced by my lovely colleague Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley in black and white high heeled sandals and a brilliant outfit to match, both selected by her consort Kale Fajardo. She looked smashing and gave an intro that identified Prof Brathwaite as a "master drummer" in service of the "master of the drum," whose daughter she also identified herself as. After the intro Kamau nodded and murmured, "Good." After all of that KB, Omi, Kale and I went to Peninsula, a Malaysian restaurant on Nicollet –of course i got turned around and so KB and i got there late –and we had fish with a strange shrimp paste and lovely sweet mango tofu. It was a nice mellow time and i got home at midnight. The Art as Knowing conf itself was excellent; the next morning Douglas Ewart woke us all up with a dazzling multi-instrumental and multi-media musical tour-de-force. The previous day, Alan Read from England had given a highly suggestive and evocative paper and Ricardo Dominguez entertained us with his amazing virtual Zapatista nano-tech "actions" narratives. Sunday Anne Waldman read some of her Bob Dylan shaman poetry from the Rolling Thunder Revue inspired by Dylan's looking like a kachina doll in whiteface (though i think the intended effect was commedia dell'arte, but whatever), and gave an encyclopedic if somewhat nervous (though charmingly so) paper on Dylan and the Beats, which everyone was v happy with. Her performances are always masterful, as are Kamau's (at least the ones i've seen; i've seen anne far more often), though it was endearing to see her a bit insecure abt her academic creds. Greil Marcus (is it "grail" or "greel"?) also gave a good talk abt hibbing high school. I hung a bit w/ Aldon and his grad school pal Richard Flynn, but spent most of my time w/ Joanna, my pal and ex-across-the-hall neighbor, and her friend Leslie who was up from Louisiana for the conf. Later J, L and J's sweet daughter Rosemary (whom i've known since conception and thus feel a bond with) had dinner at Quang. It was really very nice; Rosemary read a book about Faerieland while J, L and I yakked and scarfed down deepfried shrimp and sweet potato balls, and sea bass soup, their sunday special. mmm.
well that's it for now; enough procrastination. i've finally started in on a prayer shawl for Eli, the youngest son of college friends in Western Mass.: he specified purple, black and silver in addition to the raw silk i get from Henry's Attic. MMMMM. i love working with silk.