Words become us. Occupying our words.

On my calendar next week:  Go to Zuccotti Park when Jan Clausen is there.

On Cara Hoffman’s blog today Jan writes:

A. I’m at Zuccotti Park, where I go every day, wearing a sign that says BECAUSE THEY’RE TRYING TO DRIVE OUR PLANET OFF A CLIFF. Cold rain is blowing sideways and I fight with my umbrella while reading Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America.” Looking up, I spy a tall young man clad in excellent rain pants, standing a few paces away. He pronounces each line as I do, with such assurance that it’s clear he knows the entire poem by heart, all the way to the famous ending (“America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel”). We talk. It turns out he’s one of the Occupy Wall Street librarians. “We have a whole Allen Ginsberg section in our library!” he exults. For the rest of the day, I feel more alive, because poetry lives.

And she also writes, about an anthology of essays about writing and the writing life, about the “the ragged edges and torn borders that truly invite creative motion”:

I’m certainly not saying word artists don’t need to spend lots of time alone, wrestling with their materials. Or that we shouldn’t be paid. Or that we shouldn’t study craft. I’m saying that art is more than the sum of these things, that the central impulse comes from elsewhere, from someplace webby and tentacled. What if the artist’s vocation as prophet simply isn’t compatible with being a profit center? Although Alchemy of the Word can be put to fine use, it is not a ‘useful’ book. It’s a bountiful array of forking paths leading back into the thicket where one person’s imaginative language always reverberates with the languages, purposes, visions of human others.

It is “our offering.”

Read her full essay here.

Find the anthology Alchemy of the Word here and here.

Truth Telling

From an interview on Cara Hoffman’s blog:

“When I went to Japan, I was looking for the textural details of the atomic bomb experience for a novel. Three months into my visit, September 11th happened, and the testimonies changed. The atomic bomb survivors were shaken by the attacks, just as the rest of the world was, and as a result, they began to remember differently – which is to say, they recovered buried details of loss, of pain, and of love. At that moment, the tables turned. I was no longer seeking them out for their help; they wanted to talk to me so that I could be a witness to their experiences and a repository of their memories, their lost family members, their suffering. It was an incredible honor, and I do feel like I wrote the book, in part, for them: as a testament to those moments of connection and their trust in me. That is the closest I come to political.”

For the whole interview, click here. And look out for Cara’s debut, So Much Pretty, coming from S&S on March 15th.

For links to all articles and essays, check the sidebar.