A La Carte

Poet in Residence Judith Bowles

October 22, 2019

We share a first name diminutized willy-nilly, and a backyard in the woods. Before I learned she is a poet with a brand new book, I knew her as the lovely master gardener who gifts my windows with their lush view. 

(Photo by: )

 

Published in August, Unlocatable Source is Judith Bowles’ second volume. As she did with The Gatherer, Bowles selected an Edward Hopper painting to illustrate her work. Friend and teacher David Keplinger explains, "I have long felt the poetry of Judith Bowles was the counterpoint to Hopper. In her new collection, we find the same lone figures staring out of windows and gazing from front porches, narrated by a poet whose influences could be traced in a lineage from Merwin and Strand, to Stevens and the Symbolists of the 19th century."

 

Following a recent reading, I had a chance to sit down with the poet, to learn more about how she leads us with grace and clarity through those seminal moments of her life, turning the isolation she felt as a child outward. To friendships, acting, the theater, family, a career teaching English. Then, armed with an MFA in short fiction, to poetry, a medium she says, “makes me feel witnessed.” And, “it’s also taught me how hard it is to learn about what matters to me.”

Judith Bowles reads from (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Judith Bowles reads from "Unlocatable Source"

About her parents, from: 

The Neurosurgeon Teaches

My father taught like someone who remembered

not knowing. This had its comforts.

His efforts to be with us in the dark.

He handled brains in his hands.

Mother held babies like that.

 

About the loss of hearing, from:

White Morning Light

Are there still people 

who knew us as as we once were? Even at night

my good ear hears light. My deaf ear still waits

for the window to open.

 

About empathy:

My Father Explains

A blind man came for dinner

in our house. My father described

the plate that sat before him

as if it were a clock.

 

Chicken would be at 3, potatoes

at 6, peas at 9. The man shut his eyes

and smiled at a lesson so clearly stated

that you would almost have to

 

be blind to imagine.

I wondered when the man shut his eyes was he picturing

my father blind

 

to give himself company

in the world where he lived.

I shut my eyes and so did my brother

and we tried to eat without seeing.

Judith Bowles (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Judith Bowles

For her daughters:

Santa Barbara Morning

All crowded today

like an overgrown meadow

alive with color, 

with swaying, with sand.

It makes a case for the heart

to open its fist and receive

 

like they do, the dolphins,

now lifting, wheels turning

their rhythm of breath.

 

The send and receive

in equal measure.

Sound is their light

 

that beams through the water, 

meets matter that’s dense,

copies it home to the brain —

 

revising, moment

to moment, their place

to soft constellation.

 

And this, to be published soon, so sadly right for these times:

All In

In the 70’s things were so good

we could laugh at bigotry 

as if it were just an act

it was Archie Bunker representing

an endless joke which everyone got

but him and this made the gag richer

and deeper  he smoked a cigar

when he was sure the cliché 

he believed was true  puffed it past

all possibility and wailed up his eyes

at the ignorance of Edith of Gloria of Meathead

and you may remember how we laughed

we were all in on the joke and it was a good one

 

that could never come true


Click here to share your thoughts.


Mouse Slayer Extraordinaire

October 14, 2019

The actual crime scene photos are too graphic to share, and I’m seriously considering therapy.

 

But. 

 

We’re six down and counting. Thankfully, Baci, who at 13 had never even seen anything with fur except Calin, another giant Maine Coon cat, has been my hero! 

 

Big cat genes kick in. If it moves, make it stop.

 

For those of you who have never had a feline friend, know that except for body mass, they are indistinguishable from Bengal tigers.

 

No more 2:00 am feedings because she’s very BUSY. Good because I’m too scared to walk to the kitchen in the dark.

 

I prepare myself for coffee runs at daybreak. The perp walk. The carnage in the hallway. It’s difficult to unsee a dead baby mouse.

Please make it stop.


1 Comment   Click here to share your thoughts.


Celebrate Georgetown's Little Folks at Annual Gala Nov. 1

October 13, 2019

The Little Folks School, an arts-focused preschool in Georgetown is marking their 47th anniversary with an Annual Gala on November 1, 2019.

Head of the school, James Gilroy tells The Georgetown Dish, Little Folks is an extraordinary school for our youngest learners. I'm fortunate to be a part of a teaching community that puts the child at the center of their work each and every day.  The warm, safe, and engaging classrooms are vibrant with enthusiasm, laughter, and curiosity.  I have the pleasure of welcoming our students, parents, and care givers each morning with a hug, handshake, or high-five, a true highlight of my day. We stay true to our philosophy of allowing children to learn, play, create, and explore." 

(Photo by: Little Folks School)

 

The Gala helps raise money to support facility upgrades and maintenance, financial aid, and professional staff development. Recent improvements include new flooring in the classrooms, repainting of the building, and new windows.

 

The school’s philosophy is rooted in commitment to the needs of the whole child and follows a curriculum focused on students developing a sense of independence, cooperation, and responsibility. Through their mixed-age classes, they support an atmosphere where students learn from one another, explore the world around them, and solve problems creatively while discovering their unique interests, talents, needs, and skills. 

(Photo by: Little Folks School)

 

You may often see little ones walking up Q Street to Volta Park or up Wisconsin Avenue to the library. With their students coming from all over the DC Metro area, their community continues to grow and extend past their walls on Q Street. 

 

To instill a sense of greater community, Little Folks has established a tradition of giving back through community service as part of the school curriculum. These efforts include: a monthly “Sandwich Patrol,” providing food for the homeless, an annual food drive through So Others Might Eat (SOME) and creating 100 holiday gifts bags for homeless children through the Early Learning Center at Martha’s Table in Southeast, DC .

Little Folks School at 3247 Q Street in Georgetown (Photo by: Little Folks School) Little Folks School at 3247 Q Street in Georgetown

For more information, to purchase tickets and/or make donations, visit Little Folks School.


Click here to share your thoughts.