Posts by: Mary Pacifico Curtis

Letter to An Imaginary Friend: Super-Sized Rockin’ Poetry

By

If Thomas McGrath were a painter, he would apply fat brushes to giant canvasses in complex color and texture. Gershwin’s gloss and the landscape of Copland are tame music compared to his. McGrath writes in the dissonance of Ives – American cacophony in contrasting threads of autobiography and cause, the red-white-and-blue Midwest against a vein of committed activism.

...more

Mary Pacifico Curtis: The Last Book I Loved, The Triggering Town

By

When I read Richard Hugo’s “The Triggering Town” essay some years ago, I understood it intuitively and from my own experience of writing.

In the book of the same name, an expanded series of lectures about writing and craft, Hugo smartly takes the position that, whatever scene or event inspires the writer to begin a poem, letting images sift onto the page while sounds assemble in cadences of new meaning will transform the act of writing into an act of yawning, or exhaling what started as a moment into a wholly new shape.  The inspirational scene or event is merely a trigger.  The transformation that follows the trigger can, in the right hands, become poetry.

...more

2

Mary Pacifico Curtis: The Last Book I Loved, Grief

By

Andrew Holleran’s Grief is a beautifully written book that fulfills what one liner note promises, perhaps delivering the fictional version of what Joan Didion before him did in her non-fiction Year of Magical Thinking.  I not only harkened back to Didion, but given my own relatively recent loss it was easy to parallel my experience of grief with Holleran’s narrative – and to conclude that what he wrote was absolutely authentic in every detail.  I also doubted how much of this was fiction.

...more