Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Gary Snyder read a poem about splitting timber at UAA Sunday night and my ears perked up at the word frass.  At the end of the poem, Snyder mentioned frass as a word not too many people knew.  It means, he said, the sawdust left when a beetle bores into a tree.

Click to enlarge
Snyder is something of a poet legend in the US, at least for those of us old enough to remember him as a spokesman for the back-to-the-land/environmental/zen pioneers of the 60s and 70s.  Somewhere in the clutter I have a copy of his book with a nautilus shell on the cover.  I found a king bolete on the way home from the reading and I thought it would make a fitting background to the Snyder collage. 

A good evening.  Part of UAA's Northern Renaissance Arts and Sciences.  I'm not sure what all that is about, but this looks a lot like what they used to call - something like the Summer Reading Series.  They're creative writing program has an intensive session now and most of the faculty give free readings in the evening.

Tues[Thurs]day night (July 10[12], 2012) will have three poets I've heard before who will make a great evening:
Richard Chiappone, Linda McCarriston, Zack Rogow
[UPDATE July 10 11:30pm - My face is red.  After Jacob warned me in the comments to check my facts, I posted this group to be on tonight, but it was three others.  They were ok, but I know these three will be better.  The UAA website says Chiappone, McCarriston, and Rogow will be Thursday.  I can't find a permanently posted schedule and the UAA one changes, I can't go back to see how I messed this up.  I thought perhaps I'd taken the Monday program for Tuesday, but no, they are scheduled Thursday.  Well, at least you still have a chance to hear them read.]

(Really, these three are good.  I wouldn't push this if I didn't think they were good.  For the poetry challenged, these three should make an interesting night.  You can check out a video on a post of Rogow I did three years ago. And I repeat:  it's free, if you don't like it, you can walk out without losing any money.  I found an old Linda McCarriston post with video too.)

It's at the UAA Fine Arts Building, Room 150, beginning at 8 p.m. The series runs July 9-17.

[The Arts Building - take Providence east from Lake Otis to the traffic light at the east side of the original Providence hospital building (just past the UAA library on the left) and turn left.  Then right at the first street to the right.  Then wind around to the Arts building and there's a big parking lot.]



  1. As soon as I saw the title to your blog article, 'Frass," I knew you'd gone to the Gary Snyder event. It was my first poetry reading ever, and I loved it even though it is rather exhausting to catch the words and visualize the imagery. For me, anyway. GS has now become a favorite .. I had heard of him but was not familiar with any of his poems. Time to get me down to Title Wave to get a copy of Turtle Island, at least. My favorite poems of the evening were (and I am giving my own titles here) Persimmons, Eating, and Gnarly. Snyder's face, voice, and vivacity (at 82!) were a real treat. Great evening at UAA.


    Oh, and thanks for the heads up about tonight's event ... perhaps that will be poetry reading #2 for me!

  2. Of the many nights of poetry reading at UAA this week, Jessica, tonight, based on hearing the three poets before, is one I can pretty much guarantee will be good.

    Great poetry has many levels. At one level, what you get at a reading, is the sounds of the words that have been crafted to go together almost like music. The 'performer' makes a big difference. But a first reading often doesn't expose the many layers of meaning and imagery and playfulness embedded in the poem.

  3. Went to last night's poetry reading .. now on my second ever .. and have to say I really like this stuff. Eva L. and Derrick B. were fantastic. Loved Derrick's Melt and Eva's dialogue between Cordeila and Carl Linnaeus. Funny .. I really had no intention of going to these readings (it was Gary Snyder who drew me in) .. I'd been more keen on getting to the film festival offereings. and once I attended one of those, last year, I was beyond disappointed (in fact, rather embarrassed at the poor quality of the shorts). So it's definitely poetry readings for me! More toinght! And I guess it's Thursday night that I will be able to see the trio that you recommended.


  4. Jessica, glad you enjoyed last night. Sorry the film festival didn't do it for you. I hope you give it another try. My recommendation was the animated shorts which I think were all very good to excellent. But film festivals, by definition, will be up and down as you see film makers who, for the most part, haven't made it yet. Some never will (some because they aren't good, some just aren't commercial or hungry enough to fight against the odds.) And you get to meet many of the film makers and talk to them about what they were trying to do.


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