june 17/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls and back
65 degrees / dew point: 61

Today’s word: saturated. What Lorine Niedecker aimed for in her water poetry. Not floating or dry but sinking and soaked.

Rain off and on all day. Maybe thunderstorms starting in the afternoon.

No rain as I ran, but everything was wet or dripping. Moist. My face, more moist than a sponge. The falls, gushing over the limestone then rushing down the gorge to the Mississippi.

Evidence of the rain and thunderstorms last night all along the trail. Above the oak savanna it looked like some creature had tore through the green, ripping small limbs and leaves off the trees and throwing them to the ground.

The parking lot at the falls was packed with cars. Not the best day to be at the falls — but maybe it was? A chance to witness the falls in full cry, I guess. Also a chance to get wet or slip in the mud. I thought I might, but didn’t.

Anything else? A black squirrel sighting, which reminded me of the line from “What Would Root”: scolded by squirrels in their priestly black

Discovered the poet, Maureen N. McLane this morning and was delighted by her serial poem about Mz. N. Requested the book from the library. Possibly an inspiration for some writing about Sara, age 8?

an excerpt from Mz N: the serial/ Maureen N. McLace

The child Mz N sat on her bed
and wondered: that tree
outside her window
when her eye
shifted. What to make
of that?


Mz N and her siblings
had a dog for some time.
They went on vacation &
when they came back
no dog.
They asked the parents:
the dog?
who replied:
what dog?
And some people wonder
why others distrust the obvious.

Speaking of the serial poem — LN’s “Paean to Place” is considered one — here’s a helpful definition:

The serial form in contemporary poetry, however, represents a radical alternative to the epic model. The series describes the complicated and often desultory manner in which one thing follows another. Its modular form–in which individual elements are both discontinuous and capable of recombination–distinguishes it from the thematic development or narrative progression that characterize other types of the long poem. The series resists a systematic or determinate ordering of its materials, preferring constant change and even accident, a protean shape and an aleatory method. The epic is capable of creating a world through the gravitational attraction that melds diverse materials into a unified whole. But the series describes an expanding and heterodox universe whose centrifugal force encourages dispersal. The epic goal has always been encompassment, summation; but the series is an ongoing process of accumulation. In contrast to the epic demand for completion, the series remains essentially and deliberately incomplete.

Seriality and the Contemporary Long Poem/ Joseph Conte

I had to look up a few words from this excerpt that I wasn’t quite sure of:

desultory: marked by lack of definite plan/purpose, not connected to main subject
protean: displaying great diversity or variety, versitle
aleatory: relating to luck, depending on an uncertain event or contingency

This idea of a serial poem as “an ongoing process of accumulation” is very cool and fits with my approach to Haunts and a story in long form.