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Crescent Dragonwagon 
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Latest Review

Re: “K.J.'s Caribe Restaurant & Cantina

My favorite place to eat in Eureka. Now I live in Vermont... and I jones for K.J.'s food. -- Crescent Dragonwagon

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Crescent Dragonwagon on 06/06/2013 at 12:06 AM

Recent Comments

Re: “R.I.P. Miller Williams (1930-2015)

Miller: great poet, teacher, and soul. I am honored and enriched by having known and been mentored by him.

Rare is the workshop where I don't reference this, and Miller. He gave me two of the best editorial comments I ever received, from anyone. He gave them to me early, and they changed my writing and for that matter my life, for good and forever.

I was about 19, and he was about 40. Miller had kindly agreed to read and comment on a manuscript of my early poetry. Bear in mind, I was not in the U of A creative writing program. There was no reason for him to agree to do this, but he did: I asked him and he said yes.

I was already writing pretty good, hard, edgy poems. But (and this is my understanding now, at age 62) I was trying so hard to be a spiritual, nice, good, positive person who desperately believed that things would always work out. So I had a tendency to tack on happy, resolved, redemptive endings. 'Saccharine' and 'pat' might be overstating it, but my last few lines in most of my early poems certainly leaned that way.

Instead, Miller taught me, with breathtaking simplicity and directness, that if I was going to write poems and not greeting cards, I needed to join the ranks of writers who have no agenda of belief, who are tasked not with comfort or philosophy, but truth-telling. I had to become willing to let the reader (and the writer) hang out with uncertainty, discomfort and ambivalence. Had to trust that they would figure it out, perhaps, and that there was also value to letting it not be figured it out... That life was perhaps not figure-out-able.

How did Miller teach me all this, in two sentences scribbled at the bottom of two now-forgotten poems? In these words:

On one, towards the beginning of the collection: "The reader should go through the windshield at the end of the poem."

On a second, towards the end, "It's as if wine turned to Coke on the last sip."

Vaya con dios, Miller, you dear shining man. Into light. Thank you for lighting my own path while you were here.

50 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Crescent Dragonwagon on 01/02/2015 at 11:43 AM

 

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