Final Post from Guest Blogger Brenda Coultas

Blog 4, Final Report

March 24.

Last class before Spring break. The room is hot and smells like the french fries that a student is eating before class begins. Probably her dinner for the night and at least a thousand calories. (I’ve seen students dump about 6 packs of sugar into their coffee).  I borrow a fan, and we start.

My classes are a mini-United Nations, In this room, students from the old Soviet Union sit in the center while the perimeter is African-American or Puerto Rican or Nepali. Still, they listen to each other, and it seems like the cultural divisions excites their curiosity.

I read from Eleni’s Book of Jon and Eileen Myles’ Cool for You, non-fiction novel.

The theme is autobiographical and fictionalizing the autobiographical.  The assigned story is W.C.Williams’ “The Use of Force.”

In class writing assignment: to write a scene about a banal conflict at work and find the drama/comedy within it by exaggerating the characters in order to fictionalize. Some were successful, most a bit boring.

March 26.

Bowery Poetry Club: Lewis Warsh read a chapter about Liz Taylor and Monty Cliff, from A Place in the Sun. his new novel. I learned that James Dean was gay, I feel stupid. Of course, he was.

Saw my former student from LIU, John Casquarelli, a Cuban American poet, who told me that he invented an acrostic sestina. Here’s an excerpt from Pardon My French

“faces in the afternoon tell a story

uttered on river banks across from notre dame.

cathedral that once embraced monarchs and nobles.

kings whose floors were perched on hilltops,

yearning for kinsmen who rest in vineyards.

once i owned a key to your home

until the sunflower fields called me away from home.

young artists peddling macaroni art, sharing a story

of towers and gargoyles and victor hugo sleeping in vineyards,

undaunted by the cry of the bell in notre dame.

families hiking through olive groves on hilltops,

urging children to sing of monarchs and nobles.”

March 27.

Grey Gallery. Downtown Pix, Mining the Fales Archives 1961-1991.

David Wojnarowicz’s Rimbaud in NY series ends this week.

Books Received or bought:

Dies: A Sentence, Vanessa Place

Cities and Memory, Barbara Henning

A Place in the Sun, Lewis Warsh

March 26.

Bernstein reading. Rumors in the air. Is it true that the actor James Franco will be the next Poetry Project director? Will there be a Dunkin Donuts flagship store in Richard Foreman’s old space?

Eating at the crowded counter at Velseka, I want to sweep out my left arm and clear all the dishes to the floor. All these beautiful people are killing me.

March 30.

Gazing at the Mouth of Hell from the Book of Hours, by Catherine of Cleves  (the Morgan). Did you know that Purgatory can last thousands of years? I guess that’s why your relatives are allowed to pray you into a higher realm. Book of Monday that features a man’s death. They buried you in a cloth, let the flesh rot away, dug you up and chucked your bones onto the pile with the other previous people.

A random thought: Sometimes I see Kiki Smith at the Y. Star tattoos exposed in the locker room.  Her presence, a good omen.

The raven flew away.