Palm Beach Poetry Festival and B.H. Fairchild

I will be attending the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, January 21-26, 2013 in beautiful Delray Beach, Florida. Now besides the fact that I will be workshopping with the amazing B.H. Fairchild, which is in itself reason to travel across the country, and besides the fact that the faculty is off-the-charts amazing, it will also be 75 degrees. In January. For comparison, it is currently 25 degrees here in Milwaukee, and icy. So yeah, see you on the beach!

Festival Faculty includes: B.H. Fairchild, Terrance Hayes, Jane Hirshfield, Tony Hoagland, Laura Kasischke, Thomas Lux, Tracy K. Smith, Lisa Russ Spaar, Marty McConnell, Rives, and Special Guest, Billy Collins.

You can find more about The Palm Beach Poetry Festival here.

Here is the description of the workshop I will be attending:

In my poetry workshop participants will critique each other’s poems, followed by a critique from me. Participants should bring along four or five samples of their own work (one-page poems preferred). We will use work by master poets to illustrate and discuss certain matters of craft. I will also make a poetry assignment or two during the course of the week based on the issues raised during our meetings and discussions.

More about B.H. Fairchild can be found here

And here’s a favorite poem of mine by B.H. Fairchild:

Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest

In his fifth year the son, deep in the backseat
of his father’s Ford and the mysterium
of time, holds time in memory with words,
night, this night, on the way to a stalled rig south
of Kiowa Creek where the plains wind stacks
the skeletons of weeds on barbed-wire fences
and rattles the battered DeKalb sign to make
the child think of time in its passing, of death.

Cattle stare at flat-bed haulers gunning clumps
of black smoke and lugging damaged drill pipe
up the gullied, mud-hollowed road. Road, this
road. Roustabouts shouting from the crow’s nest
float like Ascension angels on a ring of lights.
Chokecherries gouge the purpled sky, cloud-
swags running the moon under, and starlight
rains across the Ford’s blue hood. Blue, this blue.

Later, where black flies haunt the mud tank,
the boy walks along the pipe rack dragging
a stick across the hollow ends to make a kind
of music, and the creek throbs with frog songs,
locusts, the rasp of tree limbs blown and scattered.
The great horse people, his father, these sounds,
these shapes saved from time’s dark creek as the car
moves across the moving earth: world, this world.


6 Responses to “Palm Beach Poetry Festival and B.H. Fairchild”

  1. Congrats and wish I were able to travel. Your poetry would be worth the trip–one suggestion: though elegant on black, the gray type face is nearly impossible to read. Hope you switch to white. Enjoy the beach!

    • paulscotaugust Says:

      Thanks, Michelle. The blockquote function grays out the text. I removed the blockquotes and it went back to white. Thanks for the suggestion…

  2. Barbara Presnell Says:

    Hey, Paul,
    I’m in your class at the palm beach festival. Am already in Delray, and the weather’s fine.(though a little rainy). Look forward to meeting you in a couple of days.
    Barbara Presnell

  3. We are cutting weeds and sunflowers on the shoulder, the gray man and I, red dust coiling up around us, muddying our sweat-smeared mugs, clogging our hair, the iron heel of an August Kansas sun pushing down on the scythes we raise against it and swing down in an almost homicidal rage and drunken weariness. And I keep my distance. He’s a new hire just off the highway, a hitchhiker sick to death of hunger, the cruelties of the road, and our boss hates poverty just enough to hire it, even this old man, a dead, leaden pall upon his skin so vile it makes you pull away, the gray trousers and state-issue black prison boots, the bloodless, grim, unmoving lips, and the eyes set in concrete, dark hallways that lead to darker rooms down somewhere in the basement of the soul’s despair. Two weeks. He hasn’t said a word. He’s a goddamned ghost, I tell my father. Light flashes from his scythe as he decapitates big clumps of yellow blooms, a flailing, brutal war against the lords of labor, I suppose, against the state, the world, himself, who knows. When we break, I watch the canteen’s water bleed from the corners of his mouth, a spreading wound across his shirt, the way he spits into the swollen pile of bluestem and rank bindweed as if he hates it and everything that grows, a hatred that has roots and thickens, twisting, snarled around itself. A lizard wanders into sunlight, and he hacks at it, chopping clods until dust clouds rise like mist around him, and then he speaks in a kind of shattering of glass cutting through the hot wind’s sigh, the fear: Love thine enemy. He says it to the weeks or maybe what they stand for. Then, knees buckling, with a rasping, gutted sob as if drowning in that slough of dirty air, he begins, trembling, to cry. I was a boy. The plains’ wind leaned against the uncut weeds. High wires hummed with human voices in their travail. And the highway I had worked but never traveled lay across the fields and vanished in that distant gray where day meets night.

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