It’s been hard to keep up with blogging the past few weeks because of computer troubles, and a new kitty who got dehydrated and had to go back to the vet on Wednesday after her spay on Monday. And Bo, who decidedly doesn’t want to share me with Tyg. And other annoyances.
I work as a nurse practitioner at a rural family medicine clinic. Although I call myself a poet, I have worked all of my adult life in the health care system. We had a staff retreat yesterday, which turned into an emotional event, changing (at least my own) irritation at having to go to a early meeting on Saturday morning to gratefulness that I have a job that matters and work with people who matter to me. It could have been a gripe session– as medical providers we are, of course, very privileged economically, and yet find plenty to gripe about in our work settings. So it was heartening to find that our strongest consensus concerned asking leadership to be more generous and more committed to our support staff– the nurses and medical assistants, the front desk and call center staff– without whom nothing would happen at the clinic. There has always been something family-like about working in health care, whether in the ER at Beth Israel Hospital in NYC; doing abortions in Tallahassee, Florida; providing care to HIV positive women in the South Bronx; or providing palliative care to trauma patients at Harborview in Seattle. There is the sense that we understand what’s at stake and therefore, are able to look beyond our differences and actually care about each other, take care of each other.
So unlike the way the world seems to be working these days.
On the poetry front, I have a review of Robin Becker’s The Black Bear Inside Me up at the Rumpus.
Here’s a teaser:
I seem to have a lot in common with poet Robin Becker, who recently released a new poetry collection, The Black Bear Inside Me. We are both Jewish lesbians, post-war baby boomers, raised in large East Coast cities (Becker in Philadelphia, me in Washington DC) who knowingly present with “East Coast Jewish” attitude. One difference: Becker is strikingly butch, and I lean femme.
Things I think I know for sure: I'm voting against tyranny and hatred. I'm working, at least until I retire, which I expect to do in 2020 when I turn 70. Poetry has saved my life. More than a few times.
I don’t know Becker, really, but as an almost-local to Penn State, where she teaches, I’ve been privileged to attend many of her readings over the years. All-American Girl definitely felt like the book where she came into her own. I’m especially excited to read her new book because of the title poem (having met so many bears over the years, and of course written a passel of poems about them).