alice notley y la playa

Lucy K Shaw

Okay I’m sitting here with my gin tonic after my second ever surf lesson and I’m blogging, because I have things to share. I want to tell somebody my thoughts about this Alice Notley interview that I relistened to over the past couple of days.

I listened between the classes I was teaching, while I was making breakfast, etc. And I also listened to it a year ago, alone in my apartment, while I was painting furniture. The way she asserts herself makes me feel emboldened and I love it.

I want to share a couple of quotes:

'Poetry is for reading. You just sit down with a book and read it. You don't have to beat your head against the wall about it. You just read it.'

‘Pleasure’s good, and it isn’t emphasised enough in the way people talk about poetry, but it isn’t important to talk about what poetry does, I mean, we know that there’s poetry, we know that we want this art, it’s a really ancient art, it’s not going away, it’s completely necessary to us, even if we have the most miniscule culture, we still need it. The conversation about what it is is ridiculous.’

I’m smiling and my face is hot.

Surfing is really intense and I want to do it forever.

Though I also feel nostalgic for this time last year when we read Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson and The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley and If Not, Winter by Sappho, in the book club, and I had all of that time to learn everything about those authors and books and to sink really deep into them, even if I didn’t get them or like them at first, because I couldn’t do anything else, like learn how to surf, or go outside after 6pm.

What are we going to read this year? What are we going to learn?

When I listen to Alice Notley talk about her work, I feel excited to live a long life of writing things that nobody asked for.

Wow, my face is really alive with heat!


Okay, one more quote from the interview now:

‘I don’t advocate anything. I think people should stop working so hard at their jobs and stop earning so much money and stop being interested in objects and just take it easy, read a few poems.’

Okay, me too.

photo credit demanded by Oscar d'Artois