Typus Orbis Universalis

Typus Orbis Universalis


I’m a writer, editor, and teacher, and I enjoy connecting with readers and other writers. On November 1, 2017, I was commissioned Alabama's Poet Laureate, for a four-year term. I grew up in Arkansas and have lived for many years in Alabama, although I’ve also lived abroad, in England and Romania, and have traveled extensively in Ireland and Greece. I’ve written two collections of poems, "Little Wanderer" (2016) a collection of road and travel poems, and "Bottle Tree" (2010), which focuses on my experiences as a southern woman. I’ve also written "Tell the World You’re a Wildflower," a collection of loosely interwoven short stories in the voices of southern women and girls. I love to put together collections as well, and I edited "Working the Dirt: An Anthology of Southern Poets," and co-edited, with Wendy Reed, "All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality," and "Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality," as well as "Belles’ Letters II: Contemporary Fiction by Alabama Women," co-edited with Don Noble. I’m currently working on a memoir-influenced book about Scott and Zelda biographer Sara Mayfield as well as a new collection of short stories.

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Below you'll find occasional blog posts, as the spirit moves me.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Two books I love

Last night when I stepped outside with the dogs, it was just dark, and the woods were lit up with fireflies, hundreds of them, from near the ground to head-high, as though someone had just turned on a light show. I think of this phenomenon as happening in the spring, and it's something I am newly delighted by every year, having forgotten it each time. There must have been a hatch of fireflies, I'm guessing, to have this sudden display. It's moments like this that remind me of the capacity of every moment to surprise, and of the possibilities of sacredness in everyday life. In the past year I've found two books, both published by the Princeton Architectural Press, that, each in their particular way, remind me to slow down, look around, breathe, and notice. I found The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings on a sale table at Barnes and Noble in Little Rock last Christmas. The cover is apricot-colored with a hand-lettered title and looks kind of like a journal. The book consists of photographs by Kaylynn Deveney and text by Albert Hastings, 91 at the time of the book's publication. Bert Hastings was a neighbor of Deveney's in Wales, and her photos of him around his house, in his garden, making scones, even taking the sun in his driveway, with his captions, are both ordinary and beautiful, saying--without outright saying it--that each life matters immensely. The other book I've recently fallen in love with is A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart, a photographic collaboration between Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes, who both live in towns called Portland, one on the east coast, one on the west. They each took a photo just about every morning for a year and posted it to a website,http://3191.visualblogging.com. The scenes are all domestic, from fruit to toast to socks to windows. The photos were taken without consulting one another, and it's extraordinary how often the two women's photos seem to converse with or mirror each other. Again, it's a reminder that, as Georgia O'Keeffe said, "Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time." Less is the new more.

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