Diana Raab’s latest poetry collection is Lust, including recent verse like “The Wave” and “Shivering.” In this guest essay for Beatrice, she recalls two of her friends and colleagues, and the love they shared.
Many of us are hard pressed to identify the most important influences on our literary lives. For me personally, there is a core of poets whose works have always inspired my own, and who I simply cannot get enough of. They include Billy Collins, Stephen Dunn, Charles Baudelaire, Sharon Olds, Rumi and Pablo Neruda, to name a few.
Other influences are like special friends—their warm words enter into our lives at just the right time, when we crave a special sort of transparency. Sometimes a personal encounter with an admired poet can initiate a sense of interconnectedness—meeting them face-to-face, hearing them read, listening to their nuances, and watching their facial expressions.
Most times, a poet’s works stands alone, but sometimes there are power poet couples who should be honored together. Not only are they wonderful individuals, but together they inspire and motivate so many people in so many ways. For me, this power poet couple is our beloved Kurt Brown and his beautiful wife, Belgium-born Laure-Anne Bosselaar.
I had been living in Santa Barbara for about seven years before first meeting Kurt Brown. We met through a mutual friend who said he and Laure-Anne were relatively new to town and needed an extra printer that I happened to have had in storage. The timing was right and before long Kurt pulled up in my driveway. Shy, gracious and appreciative, he loaded the printer in his trunk, expressed his deep gratitude and well wishes and drove away. Both of us predicted that in this small town of poets, our paths would cross again before long.
15 April 2014 | poets on poets |
In this episode of Life Stories, the podcast where I talk to memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, I’m talking with Arlo Crawford about A Farm Dies Once a Year, the story of how he quit his job at 31 and moved back to his parents’ organic farm in Pennsylvania, his girlfriend Sarah soon to follow. As we discuss during our conversation, it’s not a permanent move—Crawford couldn’t wait to get off the farm when he was growing up, and though he gained a new respect for his parents’ accomplishment, it’s not the direction he wants to take… nor would Sarah (now his wife) be inclined to follow if it were. I’d also wondered if there were any other books about farming or farm life that had been models for him; he told me about explicitly not wanting to do another story about the vital role farms play in our modern world (“Deeply Rooted,” as he jokingly refers to them), citing writers like William Maxwell and Geoff Dyer instead:
“When I think about the writing that I want to do, it has that edge, it has that irony. That’s the sort of writing that I think I want to produce. And then I sat down to write this book, and it sort of ended up being the exact opposite book than I had in my mind when I started… There’s not a lot of irony in it, for better or worse, and I was surprised about that… The writers that I start with, and I really love and appreciate, is not necessarily what I end up producing myself.”
Listen to Life Stories #67: Arlo Crawford (MP3 file); or download this file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click). Or subscribe to Life Stories in iTunes, where you can catch up with earlier episodes and be alerted whenever a new one is released. (And if you are an iTunes subscriber, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast!)
10 April 2014 | life stories |