Words and Video: Miranda Field and Jack Gilbert

A Facebook acquaintance, Rebecca Kinzie Bastian, posted this link to a video of a reading by Miranda Field and Jack Gilbert at the Library of Congress website.

A couple things to know first:

  • It uses Realplayer, so you may have to download the plugin to view it. If you click the image, you’ll be taken to the Library of Congress page with the video.
  • Jack Gilbert is quite old in this video. It may be the last public reading he’s done (this was 2006, so someone correct me if I’m wrong). He faulters, stutters and almost gives up several times. It can be painful to watch because the process was obviously a chore for him, but his delivery is still beautiful and chilling.
  • Miranda Field–I hadn’t heard of her before, but immediately ordered her book Swallow. Her reading was amazing, especially the poems “Housefire,” which can also be found here and “Soloist.” Below is an excerpt from “Soloist”

I love the idea of a voice crawling like a vine, spilling like milk–beautiful. I’ve used a spilt-milk image myself (to describe moonlight), but this is much better.

If you’re as taken with that as I am, you can find her book here.

Vote for Your Favorite Author

As part its National Book Festival, the Library of Congress is sponsoring an online contest for America’s favorite author. You can cast your vote here.

As of this writing Diana Gabaldon is in the lead, with Neil Gaiman coming up second.  The first poet on the list is Pulitzer prize winner Rae Armantrout in the number 10 spot. I love Gaiman’s books, but he’s not even American (he does live in Minnesota).  How about more poets people? On this list there’s Ted Kooser, Dana Gioia, X.J. Kennedy, Li Yung-Lee, Linda Pastan, Molly Peacock, Charles Simic, and a few others. I cast my vote for Kooser.

So far it looks like neither Laura nor Jenna Bush have attracted many votes–but there are still those hanging chads to worry about.