Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Friday, July 16, 2010

COFFEE WITH THE POETS: Jeannette Cabinis-Brewin

(Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin)

City Lights Bookstore and the NC Writers Network West now sponsor Coffee With the Poets every third Thursday of the month. Inspired by a similar gathering in Hayesville which has been in existence for a number of years, this program is only in its second month. Our first meeting featured poet Glenda Beall of Hayesville, former Program Coordinator for Netwest. Glenda read and discussed her new chapbook, Now Might As Well Be Then, published by Finishing Line Press.




(At the coffee and tea table)


Thursday's guest was Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin, who brought her beautifully rendered poetry to us, along with an intelligent and stimulating commentary. We could have talked on for hours about poetry, the mountains, environmentalism, spirituality...well, I could go on, but wouldn't you rather read some of Jeannette's poems? The ones that follow are from her chapbook Patriate, which won the Longleaf Press chapbook prize in 2007. She began with a quote from William Stafford, a voice that's been like a touchstone for her.

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

--William Stafford

Jeannette then read this beautiful poem written as if in conversation with Stafford's poem.
Still That Way
--with thanks to William Stafford

The thread I follow winds among wild plum trees
in an orchard planted by black bears. It drops

in windblown loops from nine beanpoles
lately wound with tender pods, makes a beeline

for the garnet parade-hats of sourwoods on the ridge,
their cream tassels buzzing with next year's honey.

It's drawn upstream by the gravity of the mossy altar
we call The Stone Table, and weaves a circle round it

for safekeeping of leafy fair-linen and acorn-cup
chalices. As it trails down the road, the thread takes a zig

and a zag, caught up in an exuberance of happy dogs.
While I follow it, I am not lost. The dirt names itself:

here's the sandy soil where coneflowers poke
spike seednoses this way and that; here's the sreambank

where in spring the Quaker ladies throng, feet down
in the dampness. Here the sparrow grass sleep in their bed

and parsnips lengthen their white sweet bodies down into dark.
The granite heft of the knoll lies across a hidden stream

that springs up on north and south to spread into pools,
one upwelling frequented by bars, the other by blacksmiths.

Let me explain about the thread: it's wrapped around this house
from foundation stone to roofpeak, lies across the marriage bed

length and breadth so many times, it's warp and woof
of the blanket that, sighing, we draw over our nakedness.

beneath it his heart pounds like the beater bar of a loom.
and I listen. We grow old; some things are still steady, but we know

nothing can stop time's unfolding. Like the skein for a covered basket
it pays out, soft and pliant, as I wind and count the loops

around the board. From this window I see the places it has knit
into home: vegetable patch, wild grove, flowery verge, all now bitten

black with frost. The basket's no longer full and at any moment
I may draw up the raggletaggle end, frayed out to nothingness and my hands'

surprised, scribe a final airy O




(William Everett listens as Jeannette responds to his question. He will be August's guest author.)


One of our favorites was a new poem titled Still, in which Jeannette plays on that word. Here are some lines I especially like, Randolph speaking at the outset.


My daddy sometimes was known
to weld up a still, he grins.
He’d pretend and go along
with whatever wink and purpose was given.

Still and all, that was the way
the old-timers got around and along.
And it still is today.
Some things, over time, still strong

as double-run corn. Like
Randolph’s will, like love
for the burn, that likker-spike beyond flavor.

---from Still





An exemplary quote from Blaise Pascal is tailor-made for our contemporary rushed, texting, online lives: "The sole cause of our unhappiness is that we do not know how to stay quietly in our rooms."


Jeannette concludes the poem "Pupil" with similar instructions to us and to herself.

Learn to sit still. The dark


iris of the mind,


receptacle and organizer,


opens inside, synapses making


birds, movements, sounds, thoughts,


glass and wood--a hole in the wall--


into a whole and living thing.


The cage of mullions,


a hologram of creation:


each pane entirely full


of new and repetitive beauties.





(Netwest member Ben Eller)


Afterward, we had lunch at Spring Street Cafe, underneath the bookstore. Pictured are Jeannette, Bill Everett, and Newt Smith, Netwest Treasurer.

6 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

These are lovely -- especially STILL THAT WAY. Were the nine beanpoles and the buzzing a nod to Yeats' LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE, do you suppose?

Jeanette wove an enchanting web of words with that thread.

As always, Kay, thanks for bringing yet another fine poet (the hills seem to be alive with them) to our attention!

Marsha said...

What a joy to read your poems here Jeanette. A great use for FB indeed.

Marsha

Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin said...

Vicki, I am always nodding and bowing to Yeats! -- my dance partner.

Kay, you managed to give the flavor of these gatherings very well - the conversation and poems and merriment and seriousness. Not to mention the coffee! Hope everyone will come out to the next one.

Jessie Carty said...

That sounds like a terrific event! I need to make it that far west sometime :) I especially liked the first poem that responded to Stafford.

dorisdiosa said...

Lovely, as always, though i only skimmed. just wanted you to know i came by . . . to visit & say again, i love "Hook & Eye"

Pamela said...

Poetry is a vice: I declare myself an addict! So thankfull for such beautiful poems and poets. Big hug