Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Faculty Voices: Phyllis Root

Another residency has come and gone, and those of us who were present
at it are exhausted, exhilarated, enriched, and most of all changed.
Changed in our understanding of story, of principles and tools of
writing, of who can (and should) tell which stories, of how we read
and respond to each other’s work, of who we are as writers and who we
are in community. Our bodies may feel rusty, our joints in need of
oiling. But our brains are full to bursting with the pins and needles
of new thoughts.  We’ve been to the emerald city, we’ve paid attention
to the man behind the curtain, and (to murder a bit of grammar) we
know that he is us.

I’m glad to have been with you all, and I’m glad to be home again.
When July comes around, I’ll be eager to see you all, to hear how your
lives and semesters have been, to find out, in Elizabeth Bishop’s
words, “where are you going and what are you doing.” But on this first
morning, post-residency as I write this post, I’m also content to be
home, and I’ve scribbled a poem about it.

 Sleeping with cats

The morning after residency
I revise my life.
No one talks of point of view
or psychic distance.
No one asks about
meaning or motivation,
voice or plot or theme.
All I hear this morning,
stretched out in my own bed,
is two cats


  1. Thanks for the poem and for the post.

  2. Lovely and relatable poem, Phyllis!

  3. "our brains are full to bursting with the pins and needles
    of new thoughts" Love this line. So true. Thanks for the beautiful words!