. . . I moved to California.
I came to out west with one goal — to study poetry at San Francisco State. One of the great legends at the time was Phil Levine who directed the fabulous Creative Writing program at Fresno State. Anyway, I was lucky enough to have taken a workshop with him once when he came to SF. What a wonderful human being!
At the time there was sort of a battle between narrative poets (me) and language poets (everybody else I knew who was writing. Okay, not all, but it seem that way. I was so young.) He made me feel a lot better. Eventually, I realized I wanted to write longer and longer narratives, really long . . . like novels, and I moved in that direction.
When I look out the back window of my office, I can see about fifty miles into the Central Valley where our new Poet Laureate lives. My home is in those silent mountain he writes about, and now that I live here, I understand this poem completely!
It’s August, and I’m waiting for that first cool wind.
We don’t see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August
You probably think I’m nuts saying the mountains
You have to remember this isn’t your land.