Friday, September 30, 2005

Another Common Wealth reading

I'll be bopping over to Penn State for another reading by Common Wealth poets: this one's set for Saturday, November 19, 2:00 pm at the Barnes & Noble in State College. Will post an update if I get more information.

(The reading was initially scheduled for October 22 but has been rescheduled.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Pepe LePew!

Okay, we're in a pretty small town in rural PA, so it's not unusual to see (or smell) a skunk scurrying along the street. Nice, eh? Often in the evenings, a malodorous local critter wafts its lovely essence through the open windows: it's noticeably strong, enough to make us glad that Sadie has never encountered a skunk on her evening walks. (We actually did get about ten feet from one last summer; Sadie was on her best behavior.)

So tonight, when a sudden overwhelming ODOR completely permeated the living room within seconds, we suddenly realized how much worse a skunk encounter could be. O. My. God. I just about gagged. My eyes and throat started burning. Randy ran for the Lysol--it doesn't help--and slammed the windows shut. Too late.

I'm typing this through streaming tears and a wheezing, sneezing allergy attack. I think my throat is actually swelling. I cannot fucking believe this smell.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What I'm reading now

Between Camelots, stories by David Harris Ebenbach.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Weekend proofing

Spent a big chunk of my weekend proofreading the new West Branch (#57, our fall/winter issue): it's nice to come in during the last stage of this process, when literally months have passed since the work was accepted, and most everything feels fresh and not-too-familiar. I found only about a dozen errors, roughly one in every ten pages, and though I know there's probably something that we've all overlooked, I'm proud at how clean this issue looks. We've also redesigned the cover and interior, and the cover art by Ken Beck looks awesome.

Not to miss: super fiction by Joseph Bathanti and Edith Pearlman, poems by Mike Dockins, Charles Jensen, Matt Ladd & Shane Seely, and a lecture/essay on sentimentality by the incandescent Mary Ruefle.

We're reading now for issue #58, so send your fiction (to and your bestest poems (by snailmail to West Branch, Bucknell Hall, Bucknell University, Lewisburg PA 17837). (If you want me to look at poems, say so in your cover letter & mark your envelope "solicited.")

[/end whoring for my mag]

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Morning shrieking

Our entangled drowsing was pierced this a.m. by a familiar panicked shriiiieeeeeeeek! that demonstrated once more why Randy would be an excellent fireman but I (all fantasies aside) would not. He sprang up and was downstairs--following the sound--before I had even found my glasses (which had fallen under the bed). I stumbled toward the hall and gravity had its way with my bladder--no avoiding a stop at the bathroom--so I was mid-stream when R hollered up for some clothes.

It's hard to stop some things once the've started. I figured as long as he wasn't yelling for bandages, he had things under control. I hurried up and went back to grab last night's shorts and t-shirt from the floor.

He was at the foot of the stairs, holding a freaked-out chipmunk wrapped in something--a kitchen towel?--and he comically stepped into the shorts and then declared them too baggy (who you calling fat?) so I undid the drawstring and yanked it tighter. Little Chippy's beady eyes--you can't really see the "whites" of their eyes, I thought, so what makes them look so panicked, the glinting light?--took in nothing, I guess, except two GIGANTIC predators, as its one free forearm scratched feebly against Randy's grasp.

Allie was, of course, beside herself, ashiver with the constant trilling meow that looks like some kind of seizure. I picked her up and R took the chipmunk out the back door, through the laundry room, to release it. "One of your people bit me once," I heard him say quietly. Then it was over.

I love that gentle man.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mark your calendar

Mark your calendar for October 11: I'll be reading with Stadler Fellow Betsy Wheeler in the River Poets series in Bloomsburg, PA. Totally looking forward to this!

Location: Phillips Emporium & Coffee House, 10 East Main Street (rte 11) in Bloomsburg (570.387.8027)
Time: 7:30 pm.

Common Wealth release!

I'll be heading over to Penn State on Wednesday, October 5 for the launch party of Common Wealth, the new Pennsylvania poets anthology edited by Marjorie Maddox and Jerry Wemple. There'll be a reading, reception and book signing at the Pattee Library (Mann Assembly Room and Foster Room); it all starts at 7:30 pm. Come to the reading! Say hello!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fine Press Seminar for Emerging Writers

I'm passing along this e-mail from the Fine Arts Work Center; please share this opportunity:

The Center for Book Arts invites applications for our Letterpress Printing & Fine Press Publishing Seminar For Emerging Writers. The next section of this seminar is scheduled for Fall 2005. The seminar is tuition free for participants. Participants will hear lectures from various professionals in the field - printers, fine press publishers, book artists, and dealers, to get a practical overview of letterpress printing and fine press publishing. They will learn the basics of letterpress printing, both traditional typesetting and options with new technology, by collaboratively printing a small edition of chapbooks or other projects.

Each seminar will be offered to a maximum of eight students. Writers from culturally diverse backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply. Finalists may be interviewed or asked to provide supplemental information to their applications.

Applications will not be accepted from students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs during the program year (September 2005 - May2006).Application postmark has been extended to October 1, 2005.Email for more information, or download the guidelines at

Sarah Nicholls, Program Manager; Center for Book Arts;
28 W. 27th Street; NY, NY 10001;
212-481-0295; FAX 212-481-9853

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Gilligan (Bob Denver) has died. He was seventy years old. How can this be? Gilligan was older than my parents? Someone should write a poem about Gilligan. Or, better, about Bob Denver and how he never escaped that island, never achieved enough velocity in his career to escape that program. I remember seeing him once on "Love Boat"--good grief, did I ever watch "Love Boat"? Or maybe it was "Fantasy Island"--"de plane, de plane!"

The late poet Walter Pavlich wrote a whole series of poems about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Michael Heffernan has an early book of poems titled The Cry of Oliver Hardy, and now I want to find that book and see what it's about. Amanda Blake (Miss Kitty on "Gunsmoke") died several years ago of AIDS. Fess Parker (played Daniel Boone in the TV series) was, many years ago, a car salesman; I don't know what happened to him after that. When I was a boy I wanted a coonskin cap, just like Daniel Boone on TV. (I know now that I probably just wanted Fess Parker to come take me away.)

Poor Gilligan. Poor castaway. Was there life after the island?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Weekend reading

I very much enjoyed reading Eduardo Corral's The Border Triptych this weekend. Really fine poems! As much as I enjoy the convenience of reading online--and I do--this is one collection that I would love to hold in my hands as well.

Also reading Stacey Waite's new chapbook, Choke, which won this year's Frank O'Hara Award. I'm really hoping that Stacey and I can do a couple of readings together. I've never been to Pittsburgh. It could happen.

Off to teach in a few. We're gearing up toward writing our short-short stories. I have no idea where mine's going, but I have another week to pull it into shape. (Doing the assignments alongside my students is SO fun.)

On another note, my dad went home from the hospital this weekend. Thanks for the kind words, all.