I have a poem, "The Reckoning," in Best of the Web 2010 (Dzanc Books), which I just received in the mail today. God do I love mail. This book is big and insane and filled with people I like and am thrilled to be in the company of (Chris Bachelder, Elizabeth Crane, Mary Miller, Ander Monson, Aaron Burch, Sasha Fletcher, Matt Hart...). It also has the kind of matte cover paper I love caressing.
I wrote "The Reckoning" after reading Wisdom Sits in Places by Keith Basso for a linguistic anthropology class. The book is about the Apache, and their concept of place-naming, or place-making, which is tied to history and storytelling. Some place names: Two Old Women Are Buried (a hill), They Are Grateful for Water (a small flat close to an arroyo), Lizards Dart Away in Front (the eastern face of a mountain), and She Carries Her Brother on Her Back (a steep slope). I was writing after the financial crash in October 2008. I was imagining what would happen to me and all my friends if we really all fell to ruin and had to live off the land or something. I don't know how to do anything useful as far as survival goes. I don't know how to cook or farm or skin an animal. The only thing I would really excel at would be walking around, naming the landscape.