Friday, August 01, 2008
I just got back from this Swiss-style chalet we rented for a week in the Laurentians. For us, this was as good as any writer's retreat... & a wonderful holiday, especially from our own clutter and distraction! No TV, no internet, no blogging, no telephone -- just a few books, our writing, a couple of visits from friends & a twice-daily swim in the lake to vary the pace.
For me, these few days were really productive -- revised about twenty poems and got a lot of work done on a new manuscript. Jocelyne finished the final chapters on her novel ms., although she still has a lot of drafting to do.
We brought a box of books, but I ended up reading (and re-reading) exclusively from one volume, an old textbook from University days: the Oxford Anthology of Romantic Poetry & Prose ... all of Wordsworth the book had to offer (including a generous selection from the Prelude & his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads), a number of poems by Coleridge & Blake, about a dozen poems -- all there was -- of John Clare, and, for satiric relief, most of the selection of Byron, including about 60 p. of Don Juan.
Part of this foray into the Romantics was instigated by the discussion of Don McKay's poetry & lecture below; part of it was that the context -- esp. for Wordsworth -- was just about perfect. Who feels like reading W's lengthy (at times, turgid) meditations on Nature in the city? Not me, at any rate. The only downside was that it was cloudy most of the time and rained almost every day, including several violent thunderstorms.