fine

I never know where to begin. So, I try to do what I tell my students. Be explicit about your position. 

At a symposium yesterday about writing and art, and art criticism, and artists who write about art and other artists, a whole body of work I know little about, despite its intersections with my own interests, I felt at once both moved to immediate action, taking down titles and names to look up later, and wearied, how will I ever catch up?

(The poet who asked us, what poem did you read today, and when we all looked around a little hesitant, a little confused, he said, “Well, good luck with your hobby.” The unveiled sneer in it.) 

I understand it, this desire to recognize seriousness, in self, in others. It is not that I don’t understand it. I wonder what proof is necessary. Perhaps I am asking the wrong questions. 

Perhaps I am feeling a bit antsy about my own practices these days. Since the semester started, I’ve been scattered, pressed. Several short trips that have interrupted daily routines of course, but there are other concerns lurking beneath. Doubts, uncertainty. And more often than not, the impossible question, what is the point. 

(Who said it: The work is the work is the work.)

I’ve started a new project somewhat unintentionally, but now, two months in, starting to take the faintest shape. A series of morning poems. What is starting to emerge? A notion of fine-ness. As in craft? Re-fining? Fine, as in end? As in the smallest pieces of something? Fines. In this house overlooking where the textile mill once stood. Of finery. 

These is an elegy in here somewhere.