Woo! I am happy! Woo! Adrienne Rich, my favorite poet, is being awarded a National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contribution (thanks to my sister for the link). Woo! The ceremony is November 15th and will be hosted by Fran Lebowitz. I am very much looking forward to hearing what Adrienne Rich says in her speech. Without a doubt it will be literary, thoughtful, and raise some political hairs. In her honor, here is an excerpt from one of many fantastic poems she has written. This one is in her book The Will to Change. The poem is called "Planetarium" and was written in 1968 while thinking of Caroline Herschel, the sister of William Herschel and an astronomer in her own right.
What we see, we see and seeing is changing the light that shrivels a mountain and leaves a man alive Heartbeat of the pulsar heart sweating through my body The radio impulse pouring in from Taurus I am bombarded yet I stand I have been standing all my life in the direct path of a battery of signals the most accurately transmitted most untranslatable language in the universe I am a galactic cloud so deep so invo- luted that a light wave could take 15 years to travel through me And has taken I am an instrument in the shape of a woman trying to translate pulsations into images for the relief of the body and the reconstruction of the mind.I love the line "I am a galactic cloud." And I think this a perfect example of a poem for a poet who really is "trying to translate pulsations." Woo! In other news, you may have heard that Garrison Keillor is opening a bookstore in St. Paul, Minnesota. It will open this November. Keillor promises it will be a literary bookstore and there will be lots of events. I'll be sure too check it out and report back. Woo!