The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Monday


Freshmen
By Barry Spacks


Full of certainties and reasons,
or uncertainties and reason,
full of reasons as a conch contains the sea,
they wait; for the term's first bell;
for another mismatched wrestle through the year;

for a teacher who's religious in his art,
a wizard of a sort, to call the role
and from mere names
cause people
to appear.

The best look like the swinging door
to the Opera just before
the Marx Brothers break through.
The worst -- debased,
on the back row,

as far as one can go
from speech --
are walls where childish scribbling's been erased;
are stones
to teach.

And I am paid to ask them questions:
Dare man proceed by need alone?
Did Esau like
his pottage?
Is any heart in order after Belsen?

And when one stops to think, I'll catch his heel,
put scissors to him, excavate his chest!
Watch, freshmen, for my words about the past
can make you turn your back. I wait to throw,
most foul, most foul, the future in your face.

--------

Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in Sunday's Washington Post Book World, a poem chosen because it "meditate[s] on a project central to any life, academic or not: mediating between what we know or suppose of the past, and the future." "Freshmen" is from Spacks's new book Spacks Street.

Today we picked up younger son from Hebrew school and went straight to Black Hill Regional Park, where we had a picnic, then went on a bird walk led by a man who runs one of the local Wild Bird Centers. It was a magnificent day, mid-70s, breezy, brilliant blue sky...we didn't see a huge number of birds (goldfinches, a mockingbird, a hawk, a turkey vulture, cardinals, a bluejay, Canada geese, a great blue heron, crows, sparrows and swallows) but there could not have been a nicer day to walk around the side of a lake and through a former apple orchard slowly growing wild.


Kids walking ahead under the trees in search of birds at Black Rock Regional Park.


Little Seneca Lake from the deck of the nature center. Sometimes eagles can be seen on the far side, though not today.


Apples on one of the trees in the onetime orchard, now part of the park.


And are these persimmons? Looks like it to me but I'm no expert!


I don't know what kind of fungus this is, either, but it's neat looking.


I was busy looking at birds with binoculars and didn't even bring the big camera -- these are the only birds I photographed!
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Watched the Emmys in part for work, in part out of the morbid curiosity that makes me watch the Oscars every year as well. William Shatner was the second person Ryan Seacrest hit called on after the Desperate Housewives, guessing who designed Shatner's tux, to which Shatner revealed that it was a little-known designer out of New York: Shmata. *giggling* Sadly, Shatner lost the second award of the night, and though I can't stand Lost I forgave Terry O'Quinn because he wore the kind of shiny shiny pink shirt that must have made Ryan Seacrest't heart go pitterpat. Shatner's roast lost to Tony Bennett: An American Classic but I didn't cry much because Tony and Christina Aguilera did a lovely duet together. Shatner presented an award and joked beforehand that his own musical number with Debra Messing had been cut, to which Debra retorted that it was because he insisted that she carry his love child and she refused.

But I am absolutely thrilled that James Spader won best actor for Boston Legal! I know he won for playing the character on The Practice and given the caliber of the competition, all people who are absolutely essential not only to their shows but to their networks, I didn't think he had a chance. He looked astonished, clearly had no remarks prepared and delighted me in his acceptance. I also liked Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee winning best made-for-TV movie; Glenn Close, Kyra Sedgwick and Mary Louise Parker getting up together to give an award and putting in a plug for shows about strong women (note that none of them are on broadcast networks); and seeing the Star Trek actors in the "in memoriam" montage.

The best bit of the entire awards show was the competition for writing for a variety, music or comedy program, for which I gather the teams in question were allowed to submit their own introductory blurbs. Bill Maher's team was playing footsie, standing back-to-front and using breath spray in the men's room; Jon Stewart's writers' names were all not recalled by Alberto Gonzales in a different denial clip for each; The Colbert Report staff took turns punching each other; David Letterman had names read while running clips of George Bush making a ass of himself. But it was Conan O'Brien's team that won after an introduction in which they piled into the back of a pickup truck so he could drive them off.

I've never been much of a Robert Jordan fan but I know several people reading this are. Condolences. As for O.J. -- man, if someone wrote this as a movie script it would have been rejected as too absurd.

And now the really important news: we are getting our kitten on Wednesday!!!
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