Tuesday, February 27, 2007


--to AWP in the morning. The past week has been a blur of preparations and extra conferencing with my students. I may post from Atlanta. If you're coming to AWP, stop by the West Branch table!
[photo: Bucknell, Night Series]

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky gave a wonderful reading on campus last night. I've corresponded with him via e-mail a few times over the years, but we'd never met. He's delightfully engaging, warm, and surprisingly funny. He ran up and down the aisles in the Stadler Center, passing around copies of Dancing in Odessa and asking everyone to share. It was an experience: folks in the old wooden pews, heads bent over their shared books, following along as Ilya read, now hushed, now galloping dramatically through the language in a style that could only be described as religious fervor.

He's giving a Writers at Work talk today at noon. I've urged my students to attend.

[photo: Blue Wall, Night Series, 1/11/07]

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I bet he can swim reeeeeeeally fast

Gotta love the four-legged duckling. See the full story here at CNN.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Gate of Heaven: Two Hour Delay

Among the scrolling list of school closings this morning, this one made me chuckle. It's a cold walk to campus these days. And a two-hour wait at the big gate.

* * * * *
Thanks to Charlie for the Sally Ball pages! I owe you.

* * * * *

[photo: drifting snow against the West Branch office window, 2/15/07]

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


It's been snowing steadily all day since early this morning, when there was talk on the local station about 12-18 inches' accumulation. I haven't checked the weather report since. It's nice. I like it. I'm happy I can walk to work.

* * * * *
For all you eBayers out there, I'll be listing a few books--mainly poetry--over the next couple of months, partly to ease the clutter, but mainly to raise a little cash toward a new project: Seven Kitchens Press will launch this summer with the Keystone Chapbook Series (for Pennsylvania poets). If all goes well, we'll read this fall for a new G/L/B/T chapbook series. Wish me luck. Buy some stuff on eBay to help support the cause: the seller ID is 7kp and the prices are cheap!

* * * * *

Monday, February 12, 2007

Help! (I need somebody)

Not just anybody, but someone who has a copy (or quick access to a copy) of any of the following books:

  • David Rivard, Sugartown (Graywolf)
  • Sally Ball, Annis Mirabilis (Barrow Street)
  • Wyn Cooper, Postcards from the Interior (BOA)
  • Brian Barker, The Animal Gospels (Tupelo)

If this is you, and you're willing to scan and e-mail or fax me a couple pages from the book(s), please contact me ASAP. I'll make it worth your while: I'll send you a free signed copy of one of my books, or, if you have those already (of course you do), two free copies of West Branch.

Please pass this along to anyone you know who might be able to help. Thanks, y'all.

* * * * *

The cold water line to our washing machine has finally thawed! Hooray! No more sharing the laundromat with students! No more T-shirts from the 80s cutting off the circulation in my arms!

* * * * *

I'm still working out every morning on the elliptical machine. Doing my ab crunches and leg lifts and whatnot. Randy says he sees a difference, and I definitely feel better, though I will prolly look like the same old Ron to all y'all when we meet in Atlanta. What's the weather going to be like in Atlanta? Can I wear shorts in March in Atlanta? I haven't been to a decent-sized city in a year. Can you tell I am getting excited about Atlanta?

[photo: zygocactus in bloom, January '07]

Thursday, February 08, 2007

CO so not cool

Well the neighbors' pipes froze, so our dolt of a landlady had a kerosene space heater cranked full blast in their part of the basement, which, oddly enough, runs beneath our kitchen (though we can't access it). Result: Randy goes to the emergency room with carbon monoxide poisoning. By the time I saw the message taped to my office door (folks were trying to find me but I was in the library and had forgotten to turn my cell ringer back on) and headed off to the ER with a friend (thanks, D), R had already been released. There's more to the story--after throwing open the doors and windows (it was waaaaaay cold) to air things out, I called the fire department to make sure the apartment was safe for us to sleep in--but the main news is that R is okay. What a scare.

* * * * *
I hope they set Ms. Nowak's bail appropriately high . . . umm, can you say flight risk?

Ba-dump bump tssssh! (Thank you, I'll be here all week.)

* * * * *

Monday, February 05, 2007

(not taking) the Plunge

Bitter cold this weekend, which caused us to wonder how many brave or reckless folks would take the annual Polar Bear Plunge (the Susquehanna is so shallow at Lewisburg that it's more like taking the Wade; one has to wade thirty feet out just to take a good dip in the water). We were amazed to see about 75 folks dash, in small groups, into the river. Much whooping and cheering from the 250 or so townfolk gathered on the bank, bundled tight against the freezing wind. A paramedic unit was parked on the ramp, and blue-uniformed recue workers chatted nonchalantly. A local restaurant offered free hot chocolate to participants. A man in a thickly padded red wetsuit--he looked like a Spandex-encased walrus--stood in the water tied to a heavy rope; he'd stoop every now and then to pluck a chunk of ice from the river and toss it aside with a splash.

Great fun. This was also the weekend for the local ice festival--carved ice sculptures set up along Market Street, with a great big one in Hufnagle Park. At least the ice will keep a while this year: during last year's festival, temperatures were in the forties and the sculptures melted quickly, toppling, forlorn and misshapen, to the sidewalks. [Check out "The Ice Festival," a wonderful poem by Katie Hays in issue 32:1 of the New Orleans Review which is set during last year's festival here in Lewisburg.]

[photos: Polar Bear Plunge, Lewisburg, 2/3/07]

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Well the budget worked out, and I am going to Atlanta. I can't believe it's February already. We met this afternoon with the two delightful student interns who'll help staff the West Branch table at the AWP Book Fair. I just printed out the conference schedule to decide which events I'll try to attend.

Taking home the new issue of Crab Orchard Review to browse this weekend. Browsing, grading, and helping Randy plan out a new quilt design: it's supposed to get mighty cold, so we'll be staying cozy.

Almost six--time to pack up and head out.

Betsy gave me a clementine. I love clementines.

[photo: snow falling on euonymous hedge, 1/28/07]