Archive from June, 2007
Jun 21, 2007 - Nibbles    No Comments

Elegance overcome

We were up bright and early to head to La Spagna in pursuit of Keats apartment while in Rome. Several of us met at Caffè Greco (where Keats once went to write) for cappuccino. A tour of Keats place followed, I should come back to note the highlights at a time when I might better focus.

Since we didn’t have any time to actually enjoy Antico Caffè Greco before the tour, I quietly asked a few of the girls if they would be interested in joining me for tea. One turned to the entire crowd and invited them. They were confused by the idea, they had never been to tea before and weren’t sure what that involved. I held my hopes that the experience wouldn’t be marred by the open invitation. A moment later I slipped away with Nicholas and down the street to the cafè. Finding a seat I saw Melissa and nodded to her with a smile. Then I turned to see a group of about ten filing in and loudly filling in the tiny tables. The alcove we were in was suddenly not so quiet but now bursting at the seams. Melissa looked a bit horrified. I gave a sad and somewhat apologetic look, after all this was my fault. I was Spartagus, I had unwittingly led them here. I gave her a confirming motion, she should escape, and was sad to see that she chose to leave altogether rather than to find another, distant, table.

Thankfully the wait staff was not at the ready. I apologized to Julie with whom I could no longer hear over our small table, and moved over to another location in the restaurant. Over the period of about ten minutes—”They have Coke!”—the group failed to find anything to their liking, and my companion and I were horrified to see the entire group then leave in a long string, having ordered nothing, and adding even less.

The atmosphere was again peaceful and I did find a moment to write. The tea was terrible, but then again, who orders tea in Italy?!

We returned to the Campo that evening for our first lecture, this one by Kevin on Keats.

Pitch:

Natural Magic, verses read by Keats

My Sketch:

A look passes
Understanding shared

Clinking of teacups, dainty
Humming of the grinder

A moment shattered
Elegance overcome


Alternate Sketch I:

The city sits on your skin.
A new layer of awareness…
Reflective,
Introspective.
The city sits on your skin.


Alternate Sketch II:

Church bells set the tempo
My hearts beats with the click
of Italian heels on the Campo

Concepts:

Give your senses over to the city
Velvet kisses of cappuccino
Melodic church bells
Tepid skin (tepid like the biblical waters, neither good nor bad but indifferent to be spat out)
Mmm… mozzarella!
Squawking birds
Espresso coursing through my veins

Jun 20, 2007 - Nibbles    No Comments

And all wrote of the bird.

On Wednesday our pitch “Aperture” and the task was to Crucify the City, this is to say that we would before days end cross the city from south to north, and west to east.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m really bad with names, dates and places. I can tell you whether or not I’ve seen something before… I can lead you from here to somewhere else with a great sense of direction. But well, I was excited to go to the Pantheon because I thought it was one place I’ve never been before. As we arrived this morning I laughed at myself to realize that not only had I been before, I’d passed by several times in the past few days while out and about. There was a bird circling the ceiling closing in a little slower and slower on the aperture—God’s eye in on earth from heaven—until finally it tired and perched. I could vividly picture rain pouring through the oculus, but I think this was just my mind’s eye as I can’t recall being in Rome with it ever raining…? (Raffaello was buried here: “Here lies Raffaello who, when alive, Nature was afraid to be won by him, when he died, she wanted to die herself.” Distichon written by Pietro Bembo.)

Next stop was Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola a beautiful baroque design set off against a piazza designed seemingly as a “Commedia dell’Arte” stage set with a bit of “trompe l’oeil” thrown in for perspective.

Moving through the harried streets to the Marco Aurelio column offering just a quick gaze. Onwards to St. Maria Popolo. There I was in awe of the Caravaggio’s and captured some very cool photos in black and white while the lights were out. They really show the amazing illumination that comes through in his paintings.

Then we step out of the Porta Flaminia Gate and back through as visitors and Romans alike would. I still appreciate the ancient roman gates and wall far more than the Renaissance’d ones. Next we climb to the Pincio with the first panoramic view of the city that day. Break for siesta.

Meeting again at 17.00 at the UW Rome Center, we broke then for the west to east portion of the crucifixion. We trooped out of the Campo skirting the Ghetto headed for Trestevre. Ultimate destination to climb the Passeggiata del Gianicolo. Winding narrow harrowing streets and steps which tested the limits of my skirt’s ability (hiking up my skirt a little more… Roma, show your world to me?). Atop we came to the monumental source of Rome’s water at the Fonte Acqua Paola. It is an amazing concept to think of how we worry about water resources in other areas in the world and Rome has aqueducts that flow so very freely supplying the entire population with refreshing, clean, cool water.

Continuing on we approached the Piazza of the Spanish Accademia. Inside is the Tempietto San Pietro in Montorio by Bramante which is illustration of the very image of a perfect Renaissance building.

We officially ended our walk on Gianicolo’s Hill with a class photo. Courtney, Lauren, Laurie and I wandered off then in the Villa Borghese. I still need to find that magical spot with the monument in the middle of the pond.

Pitch:

Aperture

My sketch:

Shackles fall away
The wide-eyed weary traveler
Enters the Eternal City
One cycle of the moon
Non basta una vita!

Jun 19, 2007 - Nibbles    No Comments

Woe to Rome, the Poets have arrived!

So it turns out that we do indeed have wi-fi access from our apartment. I discovered it during siesta. Apparently someone turns it on during siesta and off again after. Oddest thing, but I’m not complaining! It is also strange because it sometimes allows me to access chat, but only some websites and not others.

This evening we met for conversation and a stroll into the heart of the city. It was the first moment that we met together forming an identity and a bond as writers and cohorts. Paraphrasing Kevin eloquence, we tossed a few poems off the Tarpeian Rock, to let our forebears know that some poets and writers had arrived.

We broke for dinner; I asked Lauren to join Courtney, Laurie and I, and we had a wonderful meal with lavish dessert at a restaurant just slightly off the well traveled tourist path. It was as I always seek, we were the only tourist desecrating the place.

Jun 19, 2007 - Nibbles    No Comments

“Unflagging Good Humor”, or Getting Lost

Last night I led the new found troupe to Mamma Angela’s where I had eaten last time. It was really far walk, and we were like the little Annie orphans trekking down fifth avenue (remember that scene?) but we finally made it. Somewhat disappointing because there were more American voices than ever, and the food wasn’t nearly as good but whatever. Left about 23.00 and started walking home, but veered off course and that’s when Laurie stepped up to help navigate.

Can I say, I love my roommate. We’ll be friends when we return to Seattle.

Other notes, our apartment is tiny but right at the Campo. Can’t say on the Campo because another group has one actually on the Campo (that’s gotta be noisy at night!) the Campo de’ Fiori is THE spot to be. Oh and the main point—tiny apartment BUT AIR CONDITIONING!!! I am happy. Gladly trade the free wi-fi (the ones above Joe’s http://www.joerivetto.com/ can pick up the signal from their apartment) for the air. Joe’s is so close anyway.

Speaking of Joe’s I’m special. Of course you knew that already, but it’s nice that they noticed. I think I’m the only student that they’ve decided to give a special 20% off card too. Every purchase—Love it!

OK, I feel bad being in the computer lab with others waiting when I have a laptop. Going to go find a SIM card today. No assignment today (first official actual day, yesterday was ‘get lost alone, and find yourself’) just to meet again at 17.00.

Ciao!

Jun 17, 2007 - Nibbles    No Comments

Arrival in the Eternal City

I got in safe and easy yesterday. Luggage took forever to come off the plane, but I had a lovely American woman monitoring it’s progress (read: complaining) the entire time so really it was just fine. I always love it when there is a guy waiting to pick YOU up. Located the guy with the sign with my name with no problem, then was off. Once again forgot how close Rome is to the beach. It’s just a 25 minute Metro ride.

Got to the hotel, Albergo della Lunetta on the Piazza del Paradiso, a lovely little place filled with American students and a few other tourists. I showered (hadn’t since the previous day, before staying up all night then riding planes for another day!), then knocked out on my bed. It’s six am now, so I did okay on getting onto time zone. Went to bed last night at about midnight.

After having lunch in the café Magnolia in the Campo, I end up back in the room. And just waited for Courtney to arrive. I didn’t have to wait long (I had already napped away most of the afternoon) and after getting her things situated in the room we went out. It was back to the Campo to check out Joe’s for gelato. We lingered for the rest of the evening, until about nine. Had waters, then I had a gin & tonic. They brought us a lovely antipasto plate. We strolled off to see the sites as it was Courtney’s first time here in Rome. My sense of direction is just amazing. I walked us directly to the Trevi fountain, and from there to the Spanish Steps. We arrived just in time for the Carabinieri to chase us away (11pm is curfew for the stairs). Grabbed another gelato on the walk home, and crashed in the room. I grabbed prosciutto, mozzarella and bread from a café on the corner to tied me over in lieu of the dinner we never had. The mozzarella was, of course, to die for.

Jun 17, 2007 - Nibbles    No Comments

University of Washington Creative Writing Program, Summer 2007

“JOIN a band of ink-stained writer-adventurers for a month of concentrated exercise and conversation in and about the Eternal City. This is Rome from a generalist’s perspective: history and geography, art and architecture, language and literature, the color and vagary and flavor of daily life all constellate in the writer’s notebook. Following in the footsteps of those poets, painters, saints and soldiers who for some two and a half millennia have traveled where all roads lead, we’ll sack the city word by cobble, in conversation, practice, and stride.”

Of note, Rick, or Professore Kenny is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Award”.

Here’s a link to my photo album for this trip. Will be updated daily or so. Check back often for updates! Ciao!

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