Li-Young Lee is perhaps the single most influential poet/spirit on my writing. I have written elsewhere about how remarkable an achievement I consider the first poem ("Furious Versions") from his second book to be. You can imagine, then, how thrilled and truly honored I was to receive a letter from him upon our return from Guatemala on Thursday night. He gave me this blurb, for which I am deeply and sincerely grateful (as I have written to him in a return letter):
On This Many Miles from Desire:
"The universal sadness, almost Sufi-like, and the timeless compassion these poems articulate make it possible for a reader to believe that any "I" must include the whole world, inside and out, bliss and pain, broken and whole. I love these poems."
-- Li-Young Lee, author of The City in Which I Love You and Book of My Nights
We had a great time in Guatemala. Antigua, despite its growth in the five years since our last visit, remains a magical town for us. We had breakfast each day at our favorite cafe, walked and walked with our daughter (who turned two in July!) as she learned to say hola and negotiate the cobbled streets, and people watched in Parque Central, the locale of great slowness and beauty. I begin teaching on Monday, so hopefully I will have shaken off the dust from the long trip home and regained my teaching mindset.
I am looking forward to teaching from, among other books this fall, Allison Jospeh's Worldly Pleasures (poetry), Barry Glassner's The Culture of Fear, and Paulo Freire's Education for Critical Consciousness (critical thinking). If you have taught these books and have any particular anecdotes to share, feel free to backchannel me.