Friday, November 20, 2009

Stephanie Young

Since Blogger unleashed the “dynamic blogroll,” I’ve been culling the blogs that hit “1 year ago.” Last week, those fell words appeared under Stephanie Young’s. It won’t get culled. The Well Nourished Moon was one of the first poetry blogs I was ever aware of, and I remember how it changed my sense of connection to the events and readings I haunted back then. Things suddenly seemed more personal and significant; I thought more about phrases and more about shoes. Even slow poetry nights took on a new sense of event, felt less ephemeral and more available to collective reflection, once it appeared on her blog. Paradoxically, through a highly personal voice and angle of vision, Stephanie made poetry and the people who surround it seem like a shared and public concern, which all of us, even the lurkers, had a stake in just by being present. There was a tiny charge of celebrity, too, in seeing who’d be photographed or mentioned the next day, which friends appeared, and what aspects of a poet’s reading wound up in her reports. Nada Gordon says somewhere that she misses new entries so much she sometimes reads the archives, and looking back at the early installments calls up a world that seems already romantically distant, like a bleached-out Polaroid, simultaneously immediate and vintage. Here’s an excerpt from the first post, January 24, 2003:
“But what I want to think about and focus on is the physico-emotional part of thought—this giddiness, of which I am also a proponent, which means Nada is not alone with her idea I had better email her, after reading her blog for at least a month now without a peep of response, I am a lurker in all of my secret heart of hearts. That the state of the body is in relation to the movement of the mind isn’t a completely new idea, but it’s nice to see it reiterated or described in a new way, especially one that points up a specific condition of the body–giddiness (oscillating: one possibility might be the opposite dregs of a carbo crash)

Giddiness being one of my favorite states of being, especially in relation to the TEXT and other writers. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I like to finish a discussion of poetry drenched, slightly, in sweat, and with enough energy to run around a track at least five times.”
I miss The Well Nourished Moon.


Stanley Bishop Burhans said...

I love that first post! What a great blog. I actually wanted to write an essay about Stephanie's blog at one point, but Stephanie seemed a bit appalled by the idea so I didn't. But I love the way WNM worked rhetorically, the way Stephanie would always apologize for being unable to reach this impossible level of inclusion and representation of every detail of the scene. . . like everything deserved to be represented in minute detail. It really took generosity to the nth degree and then thematized it in terms of failure, how it was just too much work for one person to be generous enough (though obviously no one ever tried harder than Stephanie). And that was a very profound way to represent community.

Nada Gordon: 2 ludic 4 U said...

I think she's being strategic, doing the Greta Garbo thing. What better way to be a cult figure than to go into hiding after having been extremely public?

The mourning itself has got to feel good, you know, like the chance to be present at your own wake: "They cared!"

Well, I have ambivalent feelings. Of course, I miss the blog.

At the same time, though, I have a fantasy of disentangling myself from these spaces. Could I do it? I don't know: it's an extreme addiction. I don't know if breaking it would require bravery, or cowardice, or some admixture of the two.

She'll pop up here, you know, in the comments stream, rather like a prairie dog... with a little bit of the old Stephanie perk & intensity. Just you wait. Hi Stephanie!

Meanwhile, the weird spam accrues on the malnourished moon like so many cobwebs...

(Sorry for the creepy tone here. Gary just made me watch a REALLY SCARY Japanese movie: "Ju-on"....I'm shivering! It's his fault...)

richard lopez said...

young was one of the first blogs i'd read, after david hess's 'heathens in heat', too. there are some poets and bloggers that have dropped below the rader that i miss. a few nights ago i was going thru old issues of the zine, canwehaveourballback, at the internet archive way back machine. there are several poets published there that also had blogs that i avidly read what is nearly, i can't believe how the years roll!, a decade ago.

Stephanie said...

Awww! Oof. Thanks.

Nada you're so right, and so wrong: *Jordan Davis* is the Greta Garbo in this story, at least when viewed through my west coast goggles.

It's more like being buried alive, I mean, don't you all still SEEEE MEEEEE in your sitemeter logs? I'm here! I'm very public! In your log! I'm a log! With you!


Stephanie said...

Also and oh, a run on sentence, oh, the symmetry: Rodney, yours is the blog and blogroll (is that still a word/function?) I go to first nowadays.

rodney k said...

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you! I can see how the above sounds a little prematurely elegiac. I think what I'm missing (along with the Well Nourished Moon) is 2003, and the Bay Area c. 2003, since happily you're still with us, on sitemeters yes, but also in poetry books and performances and readings etc.--you know, the stuff poets do!

All the 2003 blogs I once read (was that the magic "year 1" of poetry blogs?) recall that spirit of excitement and possibility for me: yours, Nada's, Kasey's, Ron's, and many others that delivered me from the cubicle to 5 PM. Of course there are many good things on blogs now, too, and many more of them. It's just ... different. Like being 7 years older is different.

Thanks for your comments.