Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mark Berube

Mark Berube is a singer/songwriter that I will be interviewing this week on the radio show. I saw him recently at a poetry event and was totally blown away--I ended up writing him a poem which, in a moment of ballsiness, I sent to him. Rather than thinking I was crazy, he agreed to do an interview with me.

All that is to say that I'm doing some research on him before the interview, and came across this poem on his website:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Standing on the edge
of something unspoken
in San Vincente Square

the words don't come easy
when your heart's been cracked open
at that critical moment
where the past means nothing
and all the words you've prepared
are the one's you've forgotten
so all you remember is
that you are....
in San Vincente Square

She pulls our your fears
and gives them each names
that really mean nothing at all

she seals them in an envelope
mails it to your childhood
where they meet their creator
and become guards that stand
at the gate to your happiness
where they strip search the shadows
you've been running from on
your way down...
to San Vincente Square

She takes your hand
and you walk to the harbour
close to San Vincente Square

Where the men of the ocean
hold lovers and paychecks
so she gives you ten dollars
and asks you to burn it
but you tear it in two
and give half to the sailor
who doesn't like the reminder
and says
go back down...
to San Vincente Square

You sit and watch the sunset
from the docks
where the sailor waved his goodbye

As the sun cuts its head off
and it bleeds on the water
the heaven you believe in
seems to feel closer
so you swallow a prayer
your tongue can't hold on to
and spit out what's left
as you think about....
San Vincente Square

Now San Vincente
is just some square
you fell upon

it was that critical moment
where time was useless
like jealousy and doubt
and the tears in your eyes
felt like cannons in water
you sank to embrace
what your happiness left you
at your feet....
in San Vincente Square

Fribourg/Barcelona, June 2007

Canadians, I'm telling you.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I feel like such a wizened old feminist...

This post is actually the reason I wanted to start writing again, but i thought of it a while ago, so ignore the temporal proximity of these updates.

I've been noticing something very peculiar in my conferences this week. We have been talking about the play A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O'Neill, which I find quite misogynistic, and there's a lot of sexual assault discourse in it that I find very problematic. Before the conferences, I thought my work was pretty much done for me because usually all you have to do in class to get discussion going is say the word "gender" or "feminist reading" and hands go shooting up into the air. Well, apparently I'm older than I thought, and I am missing a generational sea change in interest in feminist issues.

Back when I was a young one in first year (barely 6 years ago) it seemed all anyone wanted to talk about was feminism. Not having discussed it much in high school, I took every opportunity to write my papers about the "woman question" whenever there was one on the list of topics. After an illuminating conversation with my dad, I decided that choosing to focus my work on women's issues was a form of self-marginalization, and if I wanted to be successful as an equalist (as opposed to feminist?) I would focus my attention on anything BUT feminist issues. I thought this was revolutionary; turns out it's what everyone's been doing.

I brought up these issues of gender in conference, and no one wanted to say a word. They couldn't have cared less about the feminist reading of the play! In the final conference, I asked the small group what the hell was going on--"Don't you guys care about this stuff? Is feminism passe already?" Apparently they had all been over and over it in high school and found the whole thing boring. They are ready to talk about something else.

Excellent! Ecocriticism anyone? Shall we replace the woman as marginalized subject with non-human nature, an often ignored and misused subject position in literature?

No. They weren't ready to talk about that either.

I let them go home early.

I'm back!

Well, it's been a very very long time since I've updated my blog, but I figure, why not keep doing it anyway. When I'm spending all day writing and researching, I don't always feel like recording my thoughts. I feel like staring at the wall, which feels GREAT!

Of course, now it's reading week, which means I get a break from TAing and can focus on my thesis. Right. The mental switch has already started happening, and it's been all I can do today not to sit on the couch and watch movies until it's time for me to jet off to the West Coast.

That's right, I'm escaping this winter nightmareland for warm and rainy spring in Vancouver. I will also be spending a couple of days in Tofino, walking in the rainforest and chilling at a B&B to get some much needed rest and mental space from my life in Montreal.

In fact, I'm thinking increasingly that it's coming the time for me to move to Vancouver. I don't love my parents's neighborhood, Kitsilano, yuppie central (and SUV central) for Vancouver, but I think other neighborhoods will be full of the hippies and flowers that I so desperately need in my life. I have a fantasy about working at a hippie bar or cafe, doing yoga and writing all day, volunteering at a radio station, and chilling out a whole heck of a lot. Ah yes. I need a climate change, and not in the scary apocalyptic sense.