Posting, Posting, 123

So, all my many eager ears, the long-awaited new blog from the Street Parade, that New Orleans junction of funk and soul, food and good drink and poetry, makes its debut. Indeed, you know you better second line when I’m gone. And now I can see you all leaning in toward your computers as if to listen, awaiting the word that will make it all make sense. So, here is the key: beer, music, poetry. What else I ask is so damn important? Believe me, if it’s really important, you’ll find it fits into one or more of these categories. Not to say I won’t branch and diversify, but these are the core. Love, you say? Well, it’s just poetry, music (and in my world beer is a central component of said emotion). Movies, books, art? I’ll stick with the poetry heading. Friends? Travel? Food? It’s all about the beer and music my friends. And so I offer you the holy trinity, the golden thirds, the triumvirate of meaning: beer, music, poetry. Come join my travels and travails, follow my maudlin meanderings, drift with my mind as it contemplates the important issues of our day. But I suppose I shouldn’t go on without playing catch-up with a bit of my past (where, as Derrida would ask, does a story begin? How can I presume to ever begin?). Here, then, in the spirit of a new year are a few remembrances of ’07:

Best Beer: Where god to begin? So many to choose, but I’m going with a tie on this (nothing like starting off with a bit of ambivalence in my choices, right?) and say North Coast’s Brother Thelonius, a thick, raisiny belgian style brown that had me drooling from the first foamy sip. I’ll also go with Pike’s Place IPA with its dense, creamy hoppiness, but this one’s clouded in the past and might as much be the whole experience of watching the sun go down over the Puget Sound on the last night of a fabulous trip to the northwest. So many factors in a good beer, you know.

Best New Watering Hole (new for me, that is): no question here, it’s the Hopleaf in North Chicago. The Belgian list itself is like a great wine list, page after page of delicious discoveries. The American Belgian (an oxymoron? I think not) Brother Thelonius (see above) was a winner, as was the Popering and the Toren, new taste sensations with every sip. Not to mention the incredibly wacky Cashew Butter and Fig grilled cheese on some serious sourdough bread–and the line of people waiting to get into this place offered hope and a good reminder that, yes, Americans do actually love beer! But, alas, this is in Chicago–not Cedar Rapids Iowa.

Most Fabulous new place (new for me, that is): Another tie but related, Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National forest and Ruby Beach, same forest. Great beer in Portland and Seattle with this much incredible scenery an easy drive away? What the hell am I doing in Iowa I aks ya (see above).

Biggest Adventure: Here, too, there’s no question: canoeing in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area with my American Nature Writers students in September. Day 1 and 2 found us in 25 mile an hour winds, whitecaps, snow and sleet and temperatures dropping down into the mid 20s. Sure, Day 3 gave us the quintessential northern Minnesota fall day but day 4 and 5 had then reversed and gave us temperatures in the 80s and severe thunderstorms and flooding. Hmmmm, no big deal for my students but it took a few years off of my life no doubt.

Best New Poetry (new for me at least): Yes, I’ll actually go back another year for this for a book that I discovered in 2007 just to keep the conceit of such a list together. If you have not read Ross Gay’s Against Which (Cavankerry Press), just take my word for it and read it. A stunning debut collection of hard-edged, gritty poems lit with the music of hope. Gay’s is a unique voice that I have no doubt we’ll be hearing a lot from.

Best new blog: duh! stick with me folks, and we’ll see where it goes.

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One Response to “Posting, Posting, 123”

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