a wandering woman writes

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Billy Collins' Long Bebop Solo

I will leave you one more treat, before I drift away to pack my bags. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to hear Billy Collins read at a private school here in Chicago. He had spent the day working with the schools' young writers and he finished the evening with this poem. With this poem Billy Collins introduced me to Johnny Hartman, a new friend I am just beginning to get to know. If you don't know Billy Collins, listen through. He is seldom headed where you expect.

Sundays with El Pais, continued

When I lived in Spain, my Sunday joy was a cover-to-cover, leisurely walk through El Pais, one of Spain's national newspapers. I waxed poetic about it here one luxurious Sunday in Salamanca.

I still try to spend part of every Sunday with El Pais, although these days we meet online. I like to read the international news section, which covers the world with a depth and a breadth even my preferred American paper, the NewYork Times, doesn't match. But I spend most of my El Pais time these days in the culture section. There I read the kind of lengthy,  lyrical and literate pieces --about books and writers and poets and photographers and musicians and artists and languages - that made my Spanish Sundays such a treat.  More than once an essay discovered during a Sunday El Pais outing has sent me running to Amazon in search of an English language author, or poet or book. I've learned of the death of an American jazz great only through the pages of El Pais more than once as well, alongside rich retrospective articles and essays about the artist's work.

Most recently, the pages of El Pais have helped me plan an upcoming trip to the home base of my "other newspaper", the Times. The New York Public Library, my Spanish paper let me know, is hosting "Back Tomorrow", an exhibit of Lorca's New York photos, notes, letters and drawings --even the passport that brought him to New York. Also on exhibit is the original manuscript of Poet in New York that had been missing for many years, a manuscript Lorca left on  his friend and publisher's desk in Madrid in 1936, with a note that he would be "back tomorrow". He never returned, and the book was published posthumously after his death at the hands of a group of fascists in Granada.

I am most excited about a letter he wrote to his sisters on an autumn birch leaf he had picked up in Vermont. I remember writing letters to a cousin on autumn leaves, though I doubt they matched Lorca's.

I visit the exhibit tomorrow afternoon, for a long overdue artist's date with me, myself and, of course, yo.  Talk amongst yourselves (all three of you, yes, all three of you, Di, Laura, Alex) and I will report on the Lorca exhibit on my return.

The El Pais article  that brought me word of the exhibit is here.