Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Three Beautiful Things 01-04-21: Deborah Akers' *backward pilgrim* Arrives, Leftovers, *Silverado* BONUS Poem by Deborah

This is my 5200th post here at kelloggbloggin.

 1. About a week before Christmas, I ordered Deborah Akers' two books of poetry, backward pilgrim and partly fallen. I've been trying to figure out why I hadn't purchased these books earlier. About three years ago, Deborah and I exchanged emails after a lengthy period of time of not having had contact. I think it was around the time Mom was living her last days. After Mom died, I became immersed in moving and then the remodeling of our house and Deborah's email about her two books faded out of my mind.

But, I've been reading more poetry during the pandemic and on 12-17-20, Deborah sent me a message asking me whether I had a lasagne recipe handy and I answered her (no as it turned out) and immediately went back to the email I had saved with the information about her books and who published them.

I ordered them. partly fallen arrived first, not long after I ordered it. I decided to wait to read these poems until I had read Deborah's first book, backward pilgrim. It arrived today. Now I am ready to read Deborah's poems, from the earliest to the most recent. As I write this, I am also thinking about a poem Deborah published many years ago in The Beloit Poetry Review. Deborah gave me a copy of the issue her poem appeared in and soon I'll go downstairs and look for it. I'm not sure, but I think that in all of the times I've moved over the last 35-40 years and let go of countless books, I've kept my copy of that issue of The Beloit Poetry Review. I hope so. 

By the way, by remembering this publication, another memory popped up. Chad Walsh was a professor of English at Beloit College. He was an ordained Episcopal priest, a scholar of C. S. Lewis, a widely published writer of poetry and children's books, and one of the founders of The Beloit Poetry Review. In the late 1970s he lectured at Whitworth College and, if I remember correctly, met with creative writing students -- possibly the students in the Creative Writing Theme Dorm. I'm also thinking that this visit had a strong impact on Deborah Akers. I'm almost positive I remember talking with Deborah when we both lived in Eugene about her gratitude for Chad Walsh. 

I write what I remember in this blog, always knowing that my memory is faulty, the years blur things, and what is real to me now might not have been actual in the past. I hope there is some grain of truth in what I've recalled here. I also really hope I find that issue of The Beloit Poetry Review.  I want to read that poem again. 

Coincidentally, today Deborah posted her poem, "feast", recently published in the Alaskan journal, Cirque. I have typed out the poem at the end of this post. 

2. Having sat for a day, that cabbage salad I fixed for family dinner today was even better than last night and paired perfectly with the last bowl of Carol's prime rib soup.

3. This evening, I watched Silverado, one of the movies Bill, Diane, and I talked about on ZOOM on Sunday. Knowing the movie was written by Lawrence Kasden and his brother Mark, as it developed, I began to have an experience similar to what I had when I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. In the same way that Raiders took viewers back to serial films of the past, Silverado, to me, seemed to be recapturing the look, the mood, and the romantic heroism of older westerns. It took some adjusting for me to enter into the spirit of the movie. I haven't watched a lot of Westerns over the years, but the ones I have seen were "revisionist" Westerns, revising the clear lines of good guy/bad guy and dealing with the genre in more complicated ways.

But not Silverado. While the good guys had killed men in their past, in the present of this movie, they were clearly on the side of cleaning up corruption and that's what the movie eventually centered on: cleaning up the corruption of the frontier town Silverado.

I thought Silverado gave its stellar cast the chance to have a lot of fun -- Danny Glover, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Brian Denehy, Linda Hunt, and the others looked to me to having a blast bring this story to life and doing it in the midst of gorgeous New Mexico scenery, accompanied by a vigorous soundtrack. 


baking dish no longer stowed
                or grimed with disuse
spice bottles newly brimmed

spurs a cold day's whim --
embarking into cornbread

                folding egg and oil
soured milk and soda
into batter's warm promise

and when the bread fails
(dusty flour, spent meal)
                the grainy brick is

                cubed and thrown
to a few scavengers 
dignifying the yard

that caw and soon the street
roils with black birds
                hopping and pecking

later, we spot one
soaring blocks away
golden chunk

                cradled in claws

a traveling feast
the stuff of 
                crow legend

--Deborah Akers

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