I drafted this poem a few days after meeting up with Eavan Boland for a happy lunch and walk in Dublin between Christmas and New Year’s 2018, and revised it over the next year or so. It felt elegiac then. And now it is an elegy of sorts. I’m grateful to the Los Angeles Review for publishing it about six weeks after she died–but I would so much rather it were still in a folder and she were still here. I will never stop missing her.
A poem about staying “safer at home” during the pandemic: “Shelter” in ROOM: A Sketchbook for Analytic Action.
The Spring 2020 issue of the Arkansas International will be online for a month. It includes some beautiful work, including translations of Iranian poet Garous Abdolmalekian by Ahmad Nadalizadeh and Idra Novey from the forthcoming collection Lean Against This Late Hour (Penguin Poets, this month). It also has two of my poems in it–the first two to be published of what is turning out to be a series called “Thousand-Year-Old Words”–words that have existed in English for at least that long. Poems in this series include “Love” (forthcoming next year in Poetry Northwest), “Shimmer,” “Spell,” and “Home.” Here you can read “Strand” and “Loss.” And here’s a link to the whole issue.
“Thirty-Year Friendship” is the third poem I’ve published so far from my third-book manuscript, which I’ve been working on for several years. It appeared this month in SWWIM Every Day, a thoughtfully and deftly curated (if I do say so myself) daily-poem site (and Facebook page, and mailing list).
I published two poems in 2018, “Yes and No” in Ploughshares (not currently available online) and this poem, “A Liking for Clocks,” in Poetry Ireland Review. These are the first two poems I’ve published from the manuscript I’m working on now, and it was really wonderful to have them appear in two magazines I admire so much alongside so many poems I was happy to discover.
I’m reading at Malaprop’s on Sunday, July 8, in the Poetrio series with Chris Abbate and Jennie Boyd Bull. (That link is a great place to purchase books and support an independent bookstore. They also have some unique book-lovers’ merchandise.)
That quotation is from Hilary Mantel’s Paris Review interview, and I quote it in this interview with Bree Tadish from the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Three more weeks until winter classes start! Here’s one question and answer:
What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
I hope that from the first day students feel that their journey as writers, wherever they happen to be in it, is honored by all of us in the workshop. This craft is never finished, no one has cracked the code, we’re all humbled by the art. If the class can serve as a welcoming, stimulating place where people can take artistic risks and receive feedback that helps them understand their own ambitions as artists better, they can keep growing as writers long after the course is over. The best classes I ever took made me both more humble about how hard it is to write well, and more audacious in my own ambitions, and I think humility and audacity make a great combination for any artist.
I’m offering a Poetry I workshop through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in Winter Quarter 2018. This is the first poetry workshop UCLA Extension is offering at their new Woodland Hills (Warner Center) location, which is making their course offerings more accessible to San Fernando Valley residents! (And maybe the Conejo Valley too?)
The course description and registration information are here. Poetry I is suitable for writers with a range of experience levels: it’s an appropriate course for those who haven’t taken a poetry class or workshop before, of course, but I also expect to welcome poets with more experience who are seeking the community and accountability of a weekly workshop. I don’t think there’s ever such a thing as a workshop where everyone is starting from the same place; always, you meet people where they are, and move on from there. You can leave me a message here or email me at nancohen at ucla dot edu if you have any questions!
I’m really looking forward to this! As you can probably tell, Carol V. Davis and I have a few things in common. It wasn’t deliberately planned to have two poets of Russian Jewish ancestry reading on the same afternoon, but since it happened this way, there should be babka and tea, don’t you think?
The Teachers Tournament is in reruns right now–last week was the quarterfinals, and this week we have three days of semifinals and then the two-day final. So I’ll wait to finish this account until the reruns are over.
Two events for your consideration:
- Chevalier’s Books in Larchmont Village here in Los Angeles presents a reading on Thursday, September 7, at 7 PM with poets Charif Shanahan and Victoria Chang and fiction writer Siel Ju.
- I am so excited to be reading with Lisa Rosenberg at Florey’s Book Company in Pacifica, California, on the beautiful Bay Area coast. 7:30 PM, Saturday, September 16. There’s an open mic, too!