Mary Ann Dimands Comments
Dark with the Bright
I have always enjoyed recast folktales, with dirt in the wrinkles. And while I think the occasional mouse is really cute—those tiny clever hands!—and I trap them humanely to release
near an enemy’s house further in the country, I have experienced a plague of them, once, and it was pretty horrifying. Children are of course often nuisances unless you view them as what you’re principally engaged on.
Growing up in the Midwest in the 1960s and 1970s, the Thanksgiving meal was, in its food elements, very pre-determined. My family’s conversation was not. I learned about the kinds of recitations and expectations that were white middle-class regularities only later and, at first, with fascination. I am no longer fascinated. And I don’t like marshmallow fluff.
I don’t actually create much visual art per se, though I recently drew three bees, cacao trees with pods, a scattering of whole spices, and the Hawaiian Islands for a church silent-auction shopping bag. I do garden. I do favor creation over battle and contest and who’s-best, and it worries me that USians seem to have got hypnotized into accepting conversations based merely and dryly on victory and defeat.
A Catalog of Heroes
I grew up on The Iliad and especially The Odyssey, but it was only as an adult that I began to notice how nameless Odysseus’s shipmates are, and that The Iliad is largely about what glorious menaces heroes are in general.
Words of the Collector
When I decided to work on translating a book of the Hebrew Bible straight through, I turned to the bracing, bitter, comforting book of Ecclesiastes. This poem grew out of that book and my translation of it. Bible readers will be more familiar with a figure called “the Teacher” than any Collector. But the Hebrew word for this figure is קֹהֶלֶת, which literally means “one who gathers together.” To interpret this person as a gatherer of students or other persons makes sense, but I found that I preferred to think of them as a gatherer and sorter of ideas.
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