My first year of college, I had a crusty professor who taught us Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Spring & Fall.” That’s the lovely poem that begins: Margaret are you grieving/Over Goldengrove unleaving? A week later, the professor opened the class with a smirk: “Let’s revisit our Hopkins poem, which you’ve no doubt committed to memory since we last met..” Well, the truth is I had memorized that poem, had walked through the shush and crisp of autumn leaves, had grieved with Margaret over our human frailty, our collective inevitable mortality. But I slid my journal full of pressed leaves under my textbook and avoided my professor’s eye, lest he detect my sentimental heart and make sport of it.
It’s raining in Portland today, but the days leading up the rain have been so golden, so glorious, it’s like Hopkins’ poem bumped into “A Sunset of the City” by Gwendolyn Brooks, which in turn crossed paths with “God’s World” and “Autumn Daybreak” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I like to imagine those poets meeting to celebrate the fall equinox, (I know, I’m talking crazy here), opening a bottle of wine and spreading a blanket across the damp grass to soak in the last golden light.
A few upcoming events to put on your calendar:
- Powells event for our book Loaners: The Making of a Street Library. We’ll be in conversation with the writer Omar El-Akkad. [virtual event, October 5, 5 p.m. register here].
- One Page Wednesday on November 3rd at 6:30 (also virtual – I’ll post a link when we get closer to that date).
- Portland Book Festival, Friday, November 13th, an in-person conversation with the beloved Karen Russell! I’ll post more details when we have them.
- Lewis & Clark College. Finding Focus: Writing to Reclaim Our Attention During Pandemic Time This is a virtual workshop about writing and focus and will happen on two Saturdays: November 6 and December 4th. Details here.
- Soapstone Study Group. I’ll be co-facilitating a study group on the poets Dorianne Laux and Ellen Bass with my friend and colleague, the stellar poet Allisa Cherry. More information on that opportunity here.
That’s it for now. Hope our paths cross in the coming months and in the meantime, have a golden fall.