Okay, let’s not kid ourselves: these are more like occasionally asked questions, because not so very many people are falling over themselves to read new web sites by lesser-known poets. But even one question deserves an answer, so here we go. If you have a question of your own, e-mail me at my work address and I’ll do my best to answer it.
- How can you seine a parking lot? What’s seining anyway?
The seine is a large, long fishnet with a pole on either end, a weighted bottom line, and a floated top line. One person holds one pole steady in shallow water while the other muscles the second pole along the bottom–first outward into slightly deeper water, then back toward the beach or bank in an arc or curve, so that the net in between herds anything alive into shallow water, where it can be scooped up. It’s a good way to find out what kind of fish and shrimp are in a particular area, and also for collecting bait.
You can seine a parking lot only when it happens to be full of water. This line comes from one of the poems in my new book, called, guess what, “Seining the Parking Lot”, and it refers to a day when my father and I seined a flooded parking lot in Greensboro, Maryland, where I grew up, looking for carp that had come in on the flood.
I called the website “Seining the Parking Lot” not only because I’m fond of that poem, and that memory, but because this process reminds me of writing and thinking about poetry. It takes some imagination, and some help from something bigger than we are, like a river, and sometimes it sounds impossible–but sometimes, too, it happens. Sometimes we find what we were looking for; sometimes we find things we didn’t think to look for. Sometimes we’re fed and sustained by the process.
- What are your current projects?
1) A modern-English translation of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis, with Brian Gastle.
2) Still in the conceptual stage…but I’m thinking of a book of strategies, lesson plans, and assessments for 9-12 ELA teachers who want to use more poetry, or use poetry in more engaging ways and for a wider range of purposes, in their classrooms. I may post some of these to this website, once WordPress and I are on better terms.