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Reading List 12 of 2017

November 5, 2017

Covers the period from 10.14.2017 through 11.4.17

I/we own 5 of these items. I saw 9 movies, videos in the cinema/on Netflix/Amazon/HBO/YouTube. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 10 of the books and movies; libraries in other parts of Maryland, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 8.



  1. The Blue Sky by Galsan Tschinag, translated from German by Katharina Rout
  2. The Nature of Home by Lisa Knopp {Goucher College}
  3. Writing the Sacred into the Real by Alison Hawthorne Deming
  4. [Graphic novel] Ghetto Klown by John Leguizamo, illustrated by Christa Cassano and Shamus Beyale


Visual Art:

  1. The 21st Century Art Book by Phaidon Press
  2. Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-popping Postal Art by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler
  3. Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation by Mindy Johnson
  4. Mapping It Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist


Visual Art {videos}:

  1. Painter Njideka Akinyili Crosby | 2017 MacArthur Fellow {Nigerian-American}
  2. Julie Mehretu | The In-Between Place {Ethiopian-American}
  3. Julie Mehretu: “Mural” | Art21 (2010)
  4. Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Artist
  5. In the Studio: “How to Paint like Willem de Koonig, Part 1”
  6. In the Studio: “How to Paint like Yayoi Kusama”
  7. In the Studio: “How to Paint like Agnes Martin”



  1. Beauty and the Beast, directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise
  2. Marshall, directed by Reginald Hudlin
  3. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, directed & written by Angela Robinson



  1. American Gods, 10th Anniversary Edition, by Neil Gaiman
  2. Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, edited by Sheree R. Thomas
  3. The New Moon’s Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
  4. Storyteller [apprentice bard, 6th century Wales] by G R Grove
  5. The Wonder Woman Chronicles by William Moulton Marston



  1. The Art of Flavor by Daniel Patterson and Mandy Aftel
  2. Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
  3. The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World, edited by Alison Hawthorne Deming
  4. Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World by Linda Hogan {FN–Chickasaw}
  5. [YA] I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
  6. Let’s Not Keep Fighting the Trojan War: New & Selected Poems, 1986–2009 by Edward Sanders
  7. Native American Sign Language by Madeline Olsen, illustrated by Ben Carter
  8. Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary by Juan Williams
  9. The Work of Poetry by John Hollander



Dream: 10.31.17

October 31, 2017

Had echoes of dream on 11.6.15.

A long corridor-like mall, somehow situated near 63rd & Hobson, in a marshy area. Strange encounters inside, with various beings.

Something about Makmik.


When I woke up, I immediately thought “Makmik” must be related to the Mi’kmaq people, but I had them confused in my mind with Indigenous people living in northern NY/southern Ontario.


I think some patch of land is trying to communicate with me, but I don’t know who, or where. And when might be appropriate as well.

Reading List 11 of 2017

October 13, 2017

Covers the period from 9.15.2017 through 10.11.17

I own 14 of these items. I saw 5 movies, videos on Netflix/Amazon/HBO/etc. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 11 of the books and movies; libraries in other parts of Maryland, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 6.


Ways of Knowing where you live:

  1. Knowing the Day, Knowing the World: Engaging Amerindian Thought in Public Archaeology by Lesley Green and David R. Green
  2. Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache by Keith H. Basso
  3. [Poetry] Collected Works by Lorine Niedecker


Nonverbal communication:

  1. Autism is a World, directed by Gerardine Wurzburg
  2. The Language of Light: A History of Silent Voices [Sign Languages for the Deaf] by Gerald Shea
  3. [SFF] Silent Dances by A. C. Crispin and Kathleen O’Malley



  1. A Change of World by Adrienne Rich
  2. A Stranger’s Mirror by Marilyn Hacker
  3. The Best American Poetry 2017, guest editor Natasha Trethewey
  4. Burning Bright: Passager Celebrates 21 Years, edited by Mary Azrael & Kendra Kopelke
  5. Irish Poems, edited by Matthew McGuire
  6. Oxygen by Julia Fiedorczuk, translated by Bill Johnston
  7. Poets and Dreamers, Studies & Translations from the Irish, 2nd edition, by Lady Gregory [1903]
  8. Simulacra by Airea D. Matthews




  1. The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter
  2. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, directed by Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen
  3. Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins
  4. The Optimistic Art of the Impossible – talk at University of Regina symposium, 2015, by Linda Tuhiwai Te Rina Smith [Maori ~ Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou]
  5. Unknown (stories from a anishinaabemowin speaker), featuring Cyndi Bergloff — directed by Jayce Kolinski



  1. After Long Silence by Sheri S. Tepper
  2. An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King
  3. On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis [autistic MC]
  4. Provenance by Ann Leckie
  5. Song for the Basilisk by Patricia McKillip
  6. Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
  7. Will Do Magic for Small Change by Andrea Hairston


Debut dystopian novels that I disliked:

  1. Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed
  2. Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey



  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  2. [YA] Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
  3. Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren
  4. Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren
  5. Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker
  6. Keeping Time: 150 Years of Journal Writing, edited by Mary Azrael and Kendra Kopelke [Baltimore, Md.]
  7. Signs on the Wind: Postcard Collages by Lenore Tawney
  8. The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays by Megan Stielstra



Reading List 10 of 2017

September 14, 2017

Covers the period from 8.21.2017 through 9.13.17

I/we own 3 of these items. I saw 5 movies on Netflix/Amazon/HBO/etc. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 12 of the books and movies; libraries in other parts of Maryland, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 7.


Memoir & Biography:

  1. Life Work by Donald Hall
  2. The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds by Pete Fromm
  3. The Pawnbroker’s Daughter by Maxine Kumin
  4. Poetry Will Save Your Life by Jill Bialosky
  5. The Price of Illusion by Joan Juliet Buck
  6. Red-Inked Retablos by Rigoberto González
  7. Remembering Randall by Mary von Schrader Jarrell
  8. Tamed by a Bear: Coming Home to Nature–Spirit–Self by Priscilla Stuckey
  9. Unpacking the Boxes: A Memoir of a Life in Poetry by Donald Hall
  10. Why Not Say What Happened? by Ivana Lowell



  1. Fever & other new poems by Bella Akhmadulina, translated by Geoffrey Dutton and Igor Mezhakoff-Koriakin [1969]
  2. Iep Jaltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner
  3. New York City Haiku – from the Readers of the NYT
  4. This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson [[Anishinaabe]]



  1. Amélie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  2. Gifted, directed by Marc Webb
  3. The Intern, directed & written by Nancy Meyers [in Towson]
  4. Lion, directed by Garth Davis
  5. Their Finest, directed by Lone Scherfig
  6. This Beautiful Fantastic, directed by Simon Aboud



  1. It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura
  2. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde



  1. All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
  2. Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
  3. Kraken: An Anatomy by China Miéville



  1. [Fiction] Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
  2. You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages by Carina Chocano


Reading List 9 of 2017

August 18, 2017

Covers the period from 7.11.2017 through 8.18.17

I/we own 6 of these items. I downloaded 1 e-book. I saw 2 movies on Netflix/Amazon/HBO. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 10 of the books and movies; libraries in other parts of Maryland, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 12.


Memoir & Biography:

  1. Dear Dodie: The Life of Dodie Smith by Valerie Grove
  2. Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home by Jessica Berger Gross
  3. Jane Austen: Secret Radical by Helena Kelly
  4. The Mighty Mighty Nature Crew and other true stories [sic] by Havi Brooks
  5. Morningstar by Ann Hood
  6. Rad American Women, A – Z by Kate Schatz
  7. The Secret Life of a Black Aspie: A Memoir by Anand Prahlad
  8. Souvenirs: My Life with Maeterlinck by Georgette LeBlanc, translated by Janet Flanner [1932]
  9. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie [[FN-Spokane/Coeur d’Alene]]



  1. 3 Russian Poets: Margarita Aliger, Yunna Moritz, and Bella Akhmadulina, compiled and translated by Elaine Feinstein
  2. The Face of Creation: Contemporary [1988] Hungarian Poetry, translated by Jascha Kessler
  3. From the Potomac to the Patapsco: Ingeborg in Baltimore by Ingeborg Carsten-Miller
  4. Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970, edited by Richard Caddel and Peter Quartermain
  5. Poems by Maurice Maeterlinck, translated by Bernard Miall [1915]
  6. Serbian Poetry and Milutin Bojić by Mihailo Dordević [1977]
  7. The Techniques of Strangeness in Symbolist Poetry by James L. Kugel [1971]
  8. The World Is Round by Nikky Finney


Art, Fashion, & Film:

  1. The Director’s Six Senses by Simone Bartesaghi
  2. The Dress Doctor: Prescriptions for Style, from A to Z by Edith Head, illustrations by Bil Donovan
  3. Edith Head by Jay Jorgensen
  4. Making Color Sing: Practical Lessons in Color and Design, 25th anniversary edition, by Jeanne Dobie
  5. Judy Tuwaletstiwa: Text/Subtext [[FN-Hopi]]



  1. Finding Dory, directed by Andrew Stanton
  2. I Capture the Castle, directed by Tim Fywell
  3. Sing, directed by Garth Jennings



  1. A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl
  2. Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston
  3. The Rift by Nina Allan



  1. Central by Virgilio Martínez [Peru, terroir]
  2. Citrus by Catherine Phipps



  1. Peaches for Father Francis by Joanne Harris


Reading List 8 of 2017

July 10, 2017

Covers the period from 6.20.2017 through 7.10.17

I saw 1 movie on Netflix/Amazon/HBO. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 7 of the books and movies; libraries in other parts of Maryland, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 2.


Native American/First Nations:

  1. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  2. The Land Has Memory, edited by Duane Blue Spruce and Tanya Thrasher



  1. Elza, directed by Mariette Monpierre [Guadeloupean]
  2. Jellyfish, directed by Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen [Israeli]
  3. The Royal Tailor, directed by Lee Won-suk [South Korean]


Memoir & Biography:

  1. Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner [white Australian]
  2. The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank
  3. Prince Charles… An Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith



  1. An Atlas of Countries that Don’t Exist by Nick Middleton
  2. The Silent Language by Edward Twitchell Hall [1959]


love letter and birthday retrospective

July 8, 2017


[Reflecting on having worried about ‘getting it right’ celebrating a milestone, which consumed the entire year between 49 and 50]

In January, I came up with a list of elements I wanted to be sure would be present:

  1. pretty clothes that feel pretty on my body
  2. jewelry
  3. cake (i.e., a delicious dessert)
  4. fruity drinks, nonalcoholic
  5. flowers
  6. dancing
  7. attractive setting
  8. trees
  9. interesting people


Having done several dry runs, combining various elements, I’ve discovered a few things.


Hoping to wrangle 9 elements is… stressful!

And if I somehow managed to achieve 7 or 8 of the elements, in flavor notes I enjoy… I can’t really enjoy any of them properly, because I’m overwhelmed by sensation, by intensity, and by the sheer volume of things going the way I want.

It’s unprecedented in my life to have a mass of complicated things go (anything like) the way I want.

I don’t… enjoy it. It’s weird and kind of icky.

{I wish I didn’t have to admit that.}

{I wish it wasn’t true.}


I like being someplace new, or at least different from home, on or around my birthday.

I like being able to surprise myself with discovering my setting: left to my own devices, I will never run out of things that catch my interest.

But if I have to combine those two elements with… human-social obligations, a great deal of my enjoyment dims. Even if it’s friends.

Spouse has been within earshot, or just down the path, or, in one memorable case, right there with me, when I’ve had encounters with the numinous. There’s only been one other time that I had a numinous encounter when a friend was further down the path from me. {New Mexico holds its own magic for me.} In all cases, though, for those moments, I was in my own world, me and the Other and the World.

I think it might be a special channel of hyper-focus.


I enjoy being with people I like, but human-social interactions (with people other than Spouse) drown how I want to feel on my birthday.

My birthday is about me. My birthday is for me. It’s the only recurrent day like that, and it happens every year.



This was the first ‘big’ birthday I celebrated in an autistic way, and… I liked it. Different [low-key; elements spread out over multiple days], but good.

Spouse wrote me a poem for my birthday… about me. And I recognize myself! Best gift ever.


8.22.16 A

I keep dreaming about Latvia. […] I want my poetry to be infused with joy and sense of place, and okay, loss and grief, but not… atrocities and horrors.

And yet… I’m the one in our family who feels everything. Who remembers family stories my grandparents told us when I was small. I’m the one who grew up on mythology and fairy tales, believing in what couldn’t be seen straight on. And I’m the one who became a writer and a poet.


8.22.16 B

On the — rare — occasions that someone [in my family of origin] has ‘had my back’ when I fucked up, what that meant was them saying something like, “Mea… tries hard, but you know she’s crazy, right?” Or, “Mea’s a little dim”, or “We love her — family, what can you do? — but she just doesn’t learn…”


If I was ‘doing everything right’, what would be lost?



Solving problems that matter.


Existing at edges, crossing borders.

Always being a stranger.





Meeting Others. Recognizing our kinship. Writing.



My Resolution this year is… to stop trying. Just exist, just be, just roll with what comes my way, and not ‘try to make specific things happen’. Just… learn who I am when I’m not judging myself.


Out of the car, I don’t listen to music much. I do watch music videos: Sara Bareille’s “Brave”; any version of “Call Me Maybe” with cute guys.  Captain Awkward recently introduced me to Ingrid Michaelson, whom I love; I re-watch her “Girls Chase Boys” and “Hell No” (with Deaf West Theater) videos over and over. Dancing! Sexy people wearing eyeliner and red lipstick! Body language! I also love Miike Snow’s “Genghis Khan” video. More dancing! Moral dilemmas! People in love! Joy!


Poetry for me is somewhat akin to… performance art? And those big ‘earth art’ things, usually out in deserts?             My [attempt at a visual/affiliation web] poem brings together people (nonhuman and human) and places, but ephemerally. Like a dance, it exists when experienced, it exists because I thought of it and made a record of it, but it’s not an object exactly. It’s meta-.



For a long time, a lot of my poems were, I now see, kind of self-consciously about water. Mea, and water.



I like letters because they make it easy to talk about one’s inner life. In conversation, though — face-to-face, or on the phone — I can never figure out how to make the leap from the other person’s “Annoying X that happened at my job!”/”Cool Y my dog did/friend said!” to my own “I was thinking about Z, and I realized [epiphany] Q! Isn’t that neat?”       Ime, most people care about things that other (mostly human) people do or say; they don’t care about thinking. But thinking is almost my whole life. If I can’t share that, I feel forced to mutilate myself so I can appear “normal”, all the while talking about things I can’t relate to, and have nothing of my own to contribute.


Writing poetry performs many services for me: (a) feeling my way through past traumas to arrive at making sense; (b) a laundry list of events, almost like a tarot reading, showing me what’s actually bothering me; (c) playing with sounds or with words, practicing different rhythms; (d) “sketching” with techniques I’m not sure how to make part of poetry — illustrations; folding, tearing, or crumpling the paper; topo maps; “dispersing” poems; (e) philosophically exploring my relationship to places.             All of that right-brained experimentation coexists uneasily with my left-brained love of data collection, sorting and categorizing, data analysis.