I had to cancel my juried intensive poetry workshop that I hold every year in Wellfleet in mid-June. First I postponed it for the first time in ten years because of Covid19. Everybody except two of the poets agreed to meet in October. I added one of the alternates but the other couldn’t do October. Eleven was fine with me.
Then Governor Baker declared that only residents or travelers from a very few states that met strict Covid control measures and incidences could freely enter Massachusetts. Travelers from all the other states had to quarantine for 14 days; failure could cost $500 a day fine. This meant all but three of the poets who were signed up for the workshop would not to allowed to come. In addition, I failed to find a venue where twelve of us could socially distance. I thought I had one, but they told me they were still shut down and the building was still closed. It was disappointing and a big loss of revenue for us.
So far ten of them think they could come next June, if the pandemic is over by then.
Here where Covid was well under control and we had one death and no new cases since April, now we’re getting a small spike on the Cape and in Wellfleet. People here through the spring wore masks and social distanced, including the people who had come to their summer houses and never went back – because it was so much safer here. But now we have an influx of tourists and summer people who don’t think this is a real place and that they can collect freely on the beach or in groups. The young people who come to work in restaurants tend to do what they’ve always done, get together after work and party. Thirteen people caught the virus at an after hours party in Chatham. That’s not counting the people they may have served or been in contact with where they are staying. Nine lifeguards on the Upper Cape contracted the virus after a party together.
The goons in Portland attacking everyone on the street is terrifying and now our Goon In Chief is threatening other cities with troops from border patrol and ICE – cities who offend him by voting Democratic can have their heads busted, be gassed or thrown in unmarked vehicles and disappeared. Using tear gas domestically should be illegal as it would be if they did it abroad. I was gassed several times during anti-war demonstrations in NYC. I had respiratory problems for ten years afterward. I just recently learned that the miscarriage I endured then was probably brought on by being doused heavily with tear ga.
The beans continue to come in and get eaten and frozen. I made zucchini chips this week. Last night we had my assistant and friend Dale and his partner Stephen over for supper on the sunporch with someone in their bubble, Tosh. She is here in their family house working remotely for Dartmouth. Dale is in our house all day on Mondays, so they have no hesitation eating what I cook. I made leg of lamb from our friend in Maine, tabouli I started the night before and a Greek salad. Dale made a chocolate and sstraberry dessert. We had some hors d’ouevres first. All on the sun porch.
My poetry group met via ZOOM Wednesday evening. I’m reading Alicia Ostriker’s new collection THE VOLCANO AND AFTER to review for MOMENT. For a collection that deals a lot with aging, a subject most interesting to those who are aging, the print is very small. I can only read it under strong light and have to stop frequently. U of Pitt Press obviously shrank the type to get the book shorter as it has lots of poems and still in tiny print runs to 122 or so pages. I am glad Knopf didn’t do that to me for my even longer new collection. There are many powerful poems in VOLCANO that deserve to be read.