The whole damned world has gone kablooey.
Updated: Oct 2, 2017
It’s a gloriously grand, full-throated kablooey, a sonic boom kablooey, a kablooey
designed to rattle the rafters. It’s the sound of everything going on at once, and all of it
Of course, you can’t miss the new website. All kudos to the indefatigable and
notoriously creative Karissa Chen, who I believe was in residency penning a novel while
dealing with my hilariously non-technical queries, which I peppered her with every 30
seconds or so.
This is the website I’ve always dreamed—sleek, concise and electric, graced with
headshots by Rachel Eliza and torched typewriter by Ben Busch, one-stop shopping for
anyone who wants to nose around in this corner of the world for awhile.
And what happened this summer? Thanks to the gracious folk of Civitella Ranieri,
I spent six weeks in a 15-century Italian castle crafting my ninth book of poems, which I
began and finished in Umbria. I was shocked to be nominated for the Neustadt Prize in
Literature (the American Nobel—aaaahhh!!!), along wIth the heaviest of heavy hitters,
including Yusef Komunyakaa, Aracelis Girmay and Jamaica Kincaid. And just as
summer edged into autumn (did I mention that I’m on SABBATICAL for the whole
year?), I was commissioned to write a libretto for a collaboration between the Urban
League and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, featuring high-schoolers from the South Side of
my sweet home Chicago.
I’m thrilled about this blog, my very first, which I plan to update at least once a week (please control your rampant laughter). I want to talk about the challenge of the dreaded residency clique, the joys and setbacks of churning out a manuscript in paradise, and the hazards of constantly craving collaboration. All to come.
But this has been a hectic just-back-from-residency week, so for now, I’d simply like to leave you with scenes in and around the castle in Umbertide, plus a sun-drenched shot of my deliriously grateful fellow Civitellians. Eventually, I’ll tell you all about them--the short-story writer from Syria, composer from Rome, visual artists from Kenya and Istanbul, cellist from Australia, poet from London.
Enjoy the site. And while you’re at it, enjoy your life.