Barrister Winery hosted faculty from local universities and colleges who read short prose or poetry to a full house. Afterwards I talked with a few of them about how they get it all done and came away with this general impression: they can balance teaching with writing pretty well. It’s the submitting, marketing, promoting and general clerical stuff that’s difficult! Apparently we all need very good personal assistants.
Or 36-hour days.
Maybe both. Yeah, both would be good.
Not that anyone was ready to quit—we love the teaching, we love the writing, we love Barrister’s amazing Cabernet Franc! And, as always, we loved GetLit!
My figurative hat comes off to Melissa Huggins and Natalie Kusz for planning and emceeing the event (actually Melissa planned the whole festival!), to Thom Caraway, Spokane’s poet laureate and Whitworth University professor, to Jonathan Johnson, Polly Buckingham, and Sam Ligon of Eastern Washington University, to Gwendolyn James of Spokane Community College, to Tim Greenup of Spokane Falls Community College, and to Erin Davis of North Idaho College. Kudos as well to Shawn Vestal, who received the EWU Outstanding Alumni award, and bowdlerized his piece about Evel Knievel on the spot in deference to the child in the audience (his own). Thanks for a great evening! Here’s one for the road--
On the highway
Every good thing is on the highway
which must be why we go
searching along the Yorkshire cliffs,
the knuckles of fisted Skye,
dodging sheep bleating outside
the curled wire fences and damp
walls. The blue paint on each misted
fleece marks its home.
Or we cross the Channel
to Juno Beach, Honfleur Harbor, ringing
with masts of anchored hulls
pulled taut against salt wind.
Dublin, Paris, London, Milan--
names like tourist stickers
on matching pigskin cases,
the kind our parents might have piled
onto brass trolleys, had they
believed that highways would provide
and had the means to prove it.
Lost on foreign roads we believe
we out-travel their failures,
to reread signs, watching
for hidden speed cameras.
Once in Umbria
we could not get beyond
a cramped crossroads, Bastardo,
with its churchyard of mourners
spilling onto the narrow road.
We laughed at the name, yet
every turn brought us back past
the clutch of black hats and shawls
and Cosa Nostra eyes.
The cassocked priest,
old men and little girls stood
in the darkening road
immobile as sheep, as once again
we passed them in our rented car,
eyes fixed on the map.