I still remember walking across campus with my friend Stephanie as she explained to me about this new idea in the tech world: Blogging. Why would anyone choose to write journal entries that would be shared with the world? It was like leaving your journal on the bus or better yet, giving a stranger specific access to your thoughts. What a weird idea, I thought; it will never catch on I told her.
And here I am in my ninth year of Blogging at Blog Post Number 1,000. How did that happen?
The truth is, I do remember why I started. I wanted the casual and low stakes world that blogging provides. As a poet, it's too easy to fuss over each comma and semi-colon. I wanted to see what would happen if I published work that didn't need to be polished to a high sheen. I also had a very practical reason: The Alchemist's Kitchen, my third book was about to be published and I had no idea how to publicize it. Friends of mine, Kelli Russell Agodon and January O'Neil had been blogging for years and finding real connection with other poets through the process. I thought I'd give it a try.
Blogging allowed me to connect with other poets and writers, many of us just becoming familiar with this thing called Publicity. We did virtual poetry tours interviewing each other when our books came out and sharing poems that we loved from dead mentor poets (Elizabeth Bishop, Denise Levertov) as well as from work just appearing in journals. We wrote articles on how to organize a poetry reading for optimum success and shared information on favorite writing retreats. In other words, we were creating a network of poets who were neither academics or poet rockstars --- anyone with access to a laptop, with access to a library was invited to the party.
It still fills me with absolute delight to receive comments on a post or notice that I have readers in India or Ireland. And while it is true that I am no longer a seven-day-a-week blogger as I was in the beginning, blogging is still something I believe in and enjoy. How else am I going to share a new poem or poet with hundreds or thousands (usually hundreds) of people at once.
And for a poem that surprises me each time, which seems just right for the holiday season I offer you
Eggplant by Peter Balakian, originally published in the New Yorker and at the moment posted on my refrigerator with a magnet from Slovenia.
I loved the white moon circles
and the purple halos,
on a plate as the salt sweat them.
The oil in the pan smoked like bad
days in the Syrian desert—
when a moon stayed all day—
when morning was a purple
elegy for the last friend seen—
when the fog of the riverbank
rose like a holy ghost.
My mother made those white moons sizzle
in some egg wash and salt—
some parsley appeared to continue reading click here---
Until next time and blog post 1001...