Some tufty bird is cawing at the edge of the kingdom. He has a boombox playing Fugazi covering that difficult third album by Blly Ray Cyrus. He has a cigar rolled on the cheerful thighs of a Tasmanian astronomer,he holds one claw to an indistinct sky and mutters something about the Norman Invasion. Should we let him in the castle gates? But of course! More on Mr.Hoagland later....
On a more sober note:
Well, School may be out, but it looks like the first year course may well be full by the end of this month, we only have a few places left. the website will get a little update next week, with new info and photos, but in the meantime here are the dates for both the first and second year courses:
Westcountry School of Myth Year Programmes 2009/10
All Weekends £165 (limited concessions availible).
We have tried to keep all price increases minimal.
THE FIRST YEAR PROGRAMME
9-11th Oct Blytheswood
27-29th Nov Blytheswood
8-10th Jan Heathercombe
12-14th March Heathercombe
7-9th May Wildwood
THE SECOND YEAR PROGRAMME
16-18th Oct Blytheswood
19-21 Feb Heathercombe
11-13th June Wildwood
ALL WEEKENDS RESIDENTIAL CENTRES AND HELD ON DARTMOOR, DEVON.
No, the wood isn't named after Robert Bly. My hands are clean.
Myself and five others are preparing to venture up to the moors next weekend to begin a week long rite-of-passage: for four of those days they will be completely alone, without food or fire, just a tarp and water. Rumour is that the weather may be lively too....
The summer is moving along at dazzling speed it seems. I've noticed the surreal site of leaves starting to curl and brown-i havn't even made it to the beach yet. Well, not quite true. Me and the girls ended up in Whitstable last weekend, and a hip little place it was too.An Oyster and Beer festival, a gallery selling proper paintings (this is a rare, rare thing) and a great breakfast joint. They even had something called a 'reggae roast' at Sunday lunchtime-the mind boggles.
I'm back over in Minnesota this September with Robert Bly and Daniel Deardorff telling the story of IRON JOHN at the Minnesota Mens Conference 25th Anniversary
and then onto Providence, Block Island, and an Equinox show in New York with Coyote yelper Caroline Casey-which should be going out on her radio show, so please grab a swanfeather cloak and tune in. Easy to google. We havn't quite dotted the I's on these last dates but i will get them out there asap. I am also incubating some news about a MYTH SCHOOL FEST of workshops and events the very end of October and beginning of November. This is hugely exciting with some wildly brilliant international teachers, coming-some big hitters and new tigers. Scratch that week in your diary NOW Oct 30th-Nov 8th ish.
I wanted to throw in some Tony Hoagland. One of our great poets and a man who tickles the nose of certain mythic energies that live in the rims of spectacles, lunatic dance moves, unexpected forgiveness and black, heavy birds that sometimes sweep through a picnic.
If you are lucky in this life,
you will get to help your enemy
the way I got to help my mother
when she was weakened past the point of saying no.
Into the big enamel tub
half-filled with water
which I had made just right,
I lowered the childish skeleton
she had become.
Her eyelids fluttered as I soaped and rinsed
her belly and her chest,
the sorry ruin of her flanks
and the frayed gray cloud
between her legs.
Some nights, sitting by her bed
book open in my lap
while I listened to the air
move thickly in and out of her dark lungs,
my mind filled up with praise
as lush as music,
amazed at the symmetry and luck
that would offer me the chance to pay
my heavy debt of punishment and love
with love and punishment.
And once I held her dripping wet
in the uncomfortable air
between the wheelchair and the tub,
until she begged me like a child
an act of cruelty which we both understood
was the ancient irresistible rejoicing
of power over weakness.
If you are lucky in this life,
you will get to raise the spoon
of pristine, frosty ice cream
to the trusting creature mouth
of your old enemy
because the tastebuds at least are not broken
because there is a bond between you
and sweet is sweet in any language.
Leap over the irritable nay-sayer that lives in your wallet and buy this mans work today! Taliesin himself will slip a coin under your pillow to get you started.