Friday, October 3, 2008

F.D. Reeve Blue Cats and Jazz Poetics; Astrid Gibral and Geckos

“I’ll Be Damned!”

In August 2007, long-time TV weather anchor (most recently of the CBS Saturday Early Show, 1999-2006), MFA grad and published poet Ira Joe Fisher interviewed F. D. Reeve for the New York Quarterly (Issue 63). The interview may be found at Fisher gets some of the basic questions over with early:

NYQ: When you write, is it paper and pen or computer and keyboard?

It’s everything. It’s everything. Years ago, it was just pen and ink. But now I can put it on the computer and I can actually correct it. You get so that the computer becomes invisible. But I still have to work from a hard copy.

NYQ: Is there a special where or when?

No. Riding along on these big highways [in rural Vermont] is a very good time [for writing]. You have pen in hand. You just watch the road and you think of your line and you get it. Sometimes you can get four, five, six or eight lines. And there is going to be a stop. There is going to be a red light, something to stop. There is no bad time to write. You get some good ideas in the middle of night, you should have put a pen and paper near you. You can’t write on the pillow. [If you don’t write it down] it’s gone, all gone. Like a charming dream.

NYQ: Do you remember your first poem?

No. How would you do that? It’s good we forget so much, so many mistakes, so many tries. The challenge is always to see more, know more, broaden your range, extend your themes. I began to get serious in college. My first nationally published piece was in college.

NYQ: Is the reader’s (or listener’s) sigh at the end of reading a piece, the poet’s applause?

I don’t know what I think. That’s a neat question. What’s wrong with a smile? Or just, “Holy Jesus!” Or, “I’ll be damned!” Or, “Hey! I never thought of that.” Or …whatever. It’s surprise. It’s pleasure. It’s excitement. It’s that you can go back and look at it, again. It’s being ready to look at the next thing.

Note: Poet F. D. Reeve will visit the Writers Institute on Tuesday, October 7, 2008. He will hold an informal workshop at 4:15 PM in Science Library 340, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus, 1400 Washington Ave. In the evening, at 7:30 PM [NOTE EARLY START TIME CHANGE] together with The Three Blue Cats jazz band, Reeve will present a musical setting of poems from his new collection, The Blue Cat Walks the Earth (2008) in Page Hall on the downtown campus, 135 Western Ave.

Sister to the Gecko

Brazilian poet and environmentalist Astrid Cabral was a featured poet this summer on the not-for-profit website Poetry Daily ( The site republished some translations of her poetry by Alexis Levitin in the Summer 2008 issue of The Cincinnati Review. The poems also appear in her new bilingual collection Cage (2008), about the animals of her childhood home city, Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.


Blessed be the morning
of childhood when
I found myself
sister to the gecko
On the wall of the room
utterly at ease
just like me
on the edge of the planet.

Note: Poet and environmentalist Astrid Cabral and translator Alexis Levitin will visit the Writers Institute on Wednesday, October 8, 2008. They will hold an informal workshop at 4:15 PM in the Standish Room of the Science Library, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus, 1400 Washington