Shanna Compton


Still rolling with the April poetry experiment (though I haven't written one today yet), and as usual I'll probably keep some of these, discard others, or mine them for lines. It's really good to be writing something other than the long poem, I think I already said that. (Though I'll be ready to turn my attention back to that with the readers' comments in mind in another week or two.) I accidentally wrote another sonnet yesterday, meaning I didn't count the lines or try to make it a particular thing, but that's how it came out anyway. It shaped itself and I let it.

We've hiked already 6 or 7 hours this week, obviously I've been dying for the weather to turn, so now that it has I'm wanting to be out in it all the time. I guess I'll start my garden this week. We rent our house, so we can't dig up the yard. I use Earthboxes, which are great because it's all pretty much automated once you get them set up with the potting soil and the organic fertilizer, so long as you remember to water them. I even do that on a timer when we go away during the summer. I am going to plant some cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeƱos (my usual salsa garden) and also a bunch of greens: deer tongue lettuce, heirloom spinach, lacinato kale, champion collards, and some mache. It'll be my first time growing that. I may need another box.

I went to a poetry reading out here the other night and could hear pretty well. I still have trouble with very low-pitch male voices. Maybe I can get the audiologist to adjust for that when I see her in May. I guess I haven't talked about the "new ears" here, just on FB. Well, maybe later.

Oh I'm thinking we can go kayaking soon, on the Delaware. We still haven't done that here, just on the canals, or up in Maine. It looks like there are some good places though. I'm reading up on it.


Sometimes I miss this blog. I was answering some questions a week or so ago for a student who was writing about my poems for her thesis, and she asked about an old interview I gave several years ago. I don't remember what I said in the interview exactly, and have no interest in going back and listening to it, but it was about blogs and stuff. In the questions she asked me though, I had to explain how I thought things had changed, how blogs had been replaced by other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. I don't tweet. I can't even stand to read Twitter feeds. Sometimes I'll try, if there's a particular poet who isn't "talking" anywhere else. But visually I find it a mess. I get pretty instantly annoyed that (at least without my own participatory account) I can't easily follow a conversation, all on one screen. The real-time blur is the exact opposite of how I want to read anyway. This is the same reason I ignore the real-time feed on FB.

Anyway, I'm off track, something FB posts and Twitter (I guess) would not even lend me the luxury of space to do. What I meant to say was that in answering this woman's questions about the role of blogs for poets I remembered what mine used to be for me, and how it was so exciting at first, that people were reading what I was thinking about, and then how suddenly it felt oppressive to be scrutinized. I became a spectacle. This feeling had to do with particular people and the way they read what I wrote here, and how they behaved about it. It was all very weird. But there were good things about it too. Maybe I've been quiet here so long this no longer matters. Marking books as "read" on Goodreads and snapping phone pics of poem passages to share on FB is OK--I enjoy doing those things. But... Oh also then Craig Santos Perez wrote this on Harriet and it made me laugh. I post a lot of vegan food pics on FB too.

So I've been writing mostly sonnets for April, as my daily writing. I didn't go into it with a plan to write sonnets but because I'm doing this with Sandra and she did sonnets last year, I wrote one, then a couple days later another one, and I just keep doing them. For one thing, fourteen lines is definitely feeling a lot different than the long poem (which turned out to be 81 pp in manuscript in the latest version). It's cozy, but also freeing, to have a room exactly that size, fourteen lines. I'm not rhyming or measuring them, but I am keeping the turn at the end most of the time, as a sort of structure. As usual, most of them will not "make" but maybe some of them will. I worry about that later. In April the point is just to go with the experiment and see what happens. I don't know why some people get annoyed or uptight about posting drafts. I guess we're back at the spectacle. Public is a constraint that can be useful. Maybe I mean that.

I'm not going to make any effort to wrap this up, like some kind of essay, as if I have any point I wanted to make. I'm going for a hike before it rains. Then I have to finish the taxes. We get till the 17th this year, you know. I forget why.