Saturday, October 28, 2006

On the Road

Steps at Machu Picchu - May 2005

Twice a week I drive from Columbia to Florence: east on I-20 to I-95 and then south on 327 to Francis Marion University. It takes about 90 minutes door to door. Thursday the blue sky was furled with rippling clouds, formations in giant Vs narrowing eastward. In this season the route takes me past vast stretches of unpicked cotton, boles exagerratedly bright against the brown shriveled stalks, seemingly reflected in the bleached sky. I wore a black shirt over a white undershirt. I listened to Uncle Tom's Cabin, the section in which Tom, in shackles is being taken down the river by the cruel slave trader Haley, who sells a young child belonging to the slave Lucy. Just before I reach campus, the despairing Lucy hurls herself overboard in the early morning. Meanwhile, Eliza and her child are for now safe in Ohio, having crossed the icy river to at least temporary freedom.
"Forget all the posturing--the poetry industry is made of regular folks like you and me. Get your poems off the page and in the mouth, ear, and body. Know your voice will change and that this is no cause for embarrassment. Support your fellow poets in any way you can. Wait. Know that persistence is the truest form of art."
-- Susan B. A. Sommers-Willett, author of Roam, quoted in Poets and Writers (Nov-Dec 2006)

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