It's so strange, these past twelve days, which have seemed like both a dream and my entire life, mostly the whole-life, the way I've felt like I've known nothing else but this--the mountains, the fog, the conversation, the meals with small glasses and paper napkins, Ellen Bryant Voigt's coaxing yes, yes, the night-time readings, those damned mosquitoes. The rest of my life is a memory--at some point, I had a childhood, I grew up, there were fireflies and waiting for the bus and I remember, somewhere back when, wearing a big white dress and there's a place I know of as home with two floppy dogs, and it's there somewhere, I know it, but right now, all I can think of is the addictive local chocolate milk spouting from the fountain like an udder, the muffins in the barn, the streams flanking either side of the conference. These things have become everyday for me, and soon, I'll learn a new routine, one that begins with waking up in my own cotton sheets with my truncated windows and husband's soft breathing beside me.
It's been so good and I've felt so blessed; I hope I can return to my program maintaining this height of energy and passion, keeping those voices in my head, reminding me of figure and ground, of syntax and structure and line endings, of parsing and annotative lineations, of maintaining a poetic voice that belongs to me, of close examination, of essays and anthologies and reading up late into the night.
I will have perhaps one more Bread Loaf-focused post this week, one that focuses on all the photographs I took--my favorites, anyway--and a link to the flickr album where I'll dump too many photos to count.
For now: Farewell, farewell, sweet mountain.
Tracy K. Smith Visits Chinaby Harriet Staff
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