Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last-minute deadline reminder: Best G/L Poetry anthologies

NB: the guidelines give contradictory deadlines of 12/31/08 and 1/30/09:

Best Gay/Best Lesbian Poetry 2009 Seeking Nominations - Deadline December 31

For the 2009 editions of this exciting new series celebrating the best in gay/lesbian poetry, A Midsummer Night's Press invites submissions of poems PUBLISHED during 2008 for BEST GAY POETRY edited by Lawrence Schimel and BEST LESBIAN POETRY edited by Linda Alvarez.

Poems can have appeared in print or online magazines, journals, or anthologies; we are also willing to consider poems from books or chapbooks published in 2008, even if the poem was originally published previously in periodicals--so long as the poet has the right to reprint the poem.

We are open to all styles of poetry, from formal to free verse; we are likewise open-minded in terms of content, so long as it somehow fits (even if pushing the boundaries of) what might be considered "gay poetry" or "lesbian poetry".

We are willing to consider slam poetry, so long as it has been published in text form, not merely performed; the poem must also work on the page, for these anthologies.

We are open to English-language poetry from all over the world, and actively look to include non-North American voices.

Please title documents with the poet's surname. Please include contact information (both street and email address), bio, and where the poem was published WITHIN the .doc file, as documents will be read separately from the emails. Submissions from individual poets or queries should be sent by email in .doc format to one of the following addresses, as appropriate:

Deadline is January 31, 2009.

In each volume, A Midsummer Night's Press also plans to include a round-up of all books/ journals/ anthologies of gay/lesbian poetry published the previous year. (We also welcome recommendations or suggestions of appropriate poems from editors of journals, anthologies, or presses.) Books and journals for review can be sent to the attention of the appropriate editor at:

A Midsummer Night's Press
16 West 36th Street
2nd Floor
New York NY 10018


About the Editors:

Linda Alvarez is the editor of the anthologies Best Lesbian Poetry 2008 (A Midsummer Night's Press), Best Date Ever: True Stories That Celebrate Lesbian Relationships (Alyson) and Dyke the Halls: Erotic Lesbian Christman Tales (Circlet) and lives in New York City.

Lawrence Schimel is an award-winning author and anthologist who has published over 90 books, including First Person Queer (Arsenal Pulp), Two Boys in Love (Seventh Window), The Future is Queer (Arsenal Pulp), PoMoSEXUALS (Cleis), and Two Hearts Desire (St. Martin's Press), as well as Best Gay Poetry 2008 (A Midsummer Night's Press). His first collection of poems written in Spanish, Desayuno en la Cama (Desatada/Egales) , was published in 2008. He also edited the first (and so far only) anthology of gay love poetry to appear in Catalan, Ells S'Estimen (Llibres de l'Index). His poems have appeared in a diverse array of periodicals, from The Christian Science Monitor to Physics Today to The Lyric, and have been widely anthologized in Gay Love Poetry, The Practice of Peace, Chicken Soup for the Horse-Lover' s Soul 2, and The Random House Treasury of Light Verse, among others. He lives in Madrid, Spain.

About the Publisher:
A Midsummer Night's Press (http://www.amidsummernightspress.com/) is an independent publisher devoted primarily to poetry, publishing under three imprints: Fabula Rasa for work inspired by fairy tales or mythology, Funny Bones for light verse and humor, and Body Language for works exploring sexuality and queer subjects. The press' titles include This is What Happened in Our Other Life by Achy Obejas, Banalities by Brane Mozetic (translated by Elizabeta Zargi with Timothy Liu), The Good-Neighbor Policy: A Double-Cross in Double Dactyls by Charles Ardai, and Fairy Tales For Writers by Lawrence Schimel. A Midsummer Night's Press is distributed by SPD (http://www.spdbooks.org/).


It's been four years today since I started this blog. We still live in the same apartment, though now it's just the two of us. Back then, I was double-adjuncting at Bucknell and Bloomsburg; now, I'm about to start my last semester as a VAP at Lyco.

Some friends--or those I thought were friends--are no more, but I've reconnected with other (better?) ones and made some new friendships that I hope will last.

In '04, my micropress was just a persistent dream. Now, it's a reality, and even though it takes more time than I sometimes have to give (and even though I'm behind schedule at the moment), I find it to be a deeply rewarding project. I'm grateful to everyone who's expressed their support for the press.

And though we both love this area and feel deep connections to the landscape of central PA--the mountains, the river--it's evident that we've reached a new threshold. I'm hoping for the best, not just for us, but for all our friends and acquaintances.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Our irrepressible, irreplaceable Sadie died suddenly on December 18th. A good dog can change your life. She was a great dog.

Monday, December 15, 2008

bits and pieces

Congrats to Larry on his first publication! Check him out, along with the other fine work in the new issue of Limp Wrist. . .
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I'm racing to finish a quilt. It's been so long since I sat down to quilt, I'm out of practice. Keep stabbing my finger. There's DNA on the thread. I licked my other finger and tried wiping the speck of blood off the quilt, so I guess now there are two DNA samples in it.
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So warm today, I feel I should be home raking the yard. I don't rake until spring. Even in April, I'm reluctant to "clean up" the beds--they dry out so quickly if I don't replace the compacted leaves with mulch immediately.
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Trying to catch up on some 7KP projects as well. Thanks for all the well-wishes on our newest project, the ReBound Series. The submission deadline is Dec 21. I won't get the final submission data posted until 12/28 (sorry about the lag time but I'll be out of town).
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I'll be out of town, and most likely away from internet access, from 12/18-12/28. If I don't get back to you immediately, that's why.
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Mark your calendars

Thursday, March 12
7 pm
Reginald Shepherd Memorial Reading
New York University, Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
58 West 10th St. (between 5th and 6th Avenues),
New York City

A beloved and admired poet, critic and teacher, Reginald Shepherd (1963-2008) inspired many with his passionate commitment to poetry, an art he viewed as inextricably connected to history, politics and everyday life. Raised in housing projects in the Bronx, he went on to publish five collections of poetry, two anthologies and a collection of essays, Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry. An impressive roster of poets will read, including Timothy Donnelly, Marilyn Hacker, Timothy Liu, Kevin Prufer, Evie Shockley, Susan Stewart and Yerra Sugarman.

Free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by Poets House and the New York University (NYU) Creative Writing Program.


--my sincere and public thanks to Andrew Demcak, who has recently shown interest in my poems, and to Grady Harp, who has generously reviewed my book, which I had thought was dead and buried after four years. I'm genuinely touched.

A link to Grady's review appears in the right side column.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Lavender Languages Conference: follow-up

passing this along from Bill Leap, the conference organizer:

Volunteered papers in two areas have been submitted:

1. Some papers use textual materials and other forms of linguistic evidence to retrieve issues in lgbtq history.

2. Some papers look at lavender implications of politeness, quotatives/intensifiers, and other features of language use in face-to-face conversation.

If your research falls in one of these areas, the program committee is pleased to receive a proposal for a presentation at Lav Lgs XVI. Please share this message with a friend who might share similar research interests.

Thanks, Wlm Leap www.american.edu/lavenderlanguages

Call for poetry mss by ethnic minorities

Steel Toe Books selects manuscripts through open reading periods. Our next open reading period will be January 1-31, 2009. In an effort to diversify our catalog, during this reading period we will only be considering manuscripts by ethnic minorities and first-generation immigrant, non-native speakers of English. During our October 2008 open reading period, we received 52 manuscripts, from which we selected one for publication (Domestic Fugues by RichardNewman).

Guidelines: http://www.wku.edu/~tom.hunley/steeltoebooks/submit.htm

CFS: The Still Blue Project

The Still Blue Project : More Writing By (For or About) Working-Class Queers

Writers are encouraged to send their work for possible inclusion in theStill Blue Project. Writers of any and all genders are welcome! If your writing illuminates our realities, our struggles, our resistance to assimilation and mental gentrification, and if it's well written, I'll consider it respectfully. (Submissions of previously publishedwork, as long as you hold the copyright, are also welcome.) Please *do not* submit erotica, as I cannot use it. Send submissions as an email attachment formatted in Word to me at: editor (at) everythingihaveisblue dot com . [If your server doesn't like that address, try me at wendell.ricketts at gmail dot com.] Be sure to include a biography. There is no deadline, as the Still Blue Project is ongoing.

Like Everything I Have is Blue: Short Fiction by Working-Class Men about More-or-Less Gay Life (http://everythingihaveisblue.com/), theStill Blue Project is a showcase for our imaginative writing: short fiction, essays, memoir, work that doesn't fit the categories.

Coming soon: work by John D'Emilio, Patricia Nell Warren, and others.
Many thanks!
Wendell Ricketts
Currently online:

Fiction: Keith Banner - Lowest of the Low; Sally Bellerose - National Blank Book; Allen Conkle - Day by Day; Louie Crew - Ben's Eyes; Amber Dawn - Melhos Place; L. A. Fields - Walls; Donal Mosher - The Werewolf; Sarah Nolan - Whybeblue

Poetry: John Gilgun - Counting Tips; John Gilgun - What Work Is; Kevin Shaw - End of Shift

Essays/ Memoir/ Life Writing: Going from ZERO to SEXY on High Caloric Queer Overdrive - An essay onbeing fat, queer, and radical by CAConrad; Anton Veenstra - Finding Home, Going Home

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Call for papers

passing this along--I am not on this panel, nor do I have any further information about it; please contact the moderator directly:

Michael David Franklin ( U Minnesota Twin Cities) is circulating this updated version of his call for papers for the session he is organizing for Lavender Languagess XVI. If interested, please contact him directly at mdf@umn.edu.

Language, Difference & the State of 'Queer'
How do we recognize when a subject is queer? How do social differences such as race, class, nationality, and dis/ability factor into our calculation of queer formations? And in what ways can an examination of language illuminate the emergent ways in which we understand queerness under global capitalism at the start of the twenty-first century? Taking its cue from the growing body of queer of color critique scholarship (including but not limited to Roderick Ferguson, Jacqui Alexander, Gayatri Gopinath, David Eng, and Chandan Reddy), this panel seeks papers that consider the current state of 'queer' with attention to the uses of language. By approaching queerness as an instrument of knowledge production and/or as a vector of daily life, papers can approach how language contributes to the relationship between queer and difference by using a variety of methods: ethnography, oral history, textual analysis, the archive, policy analysis, etc.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What are the odds?

So this evening, passing a car in an uphill passing lane, Randy drove over part of a deer that had been struck sometime earlier tonight. This doesn't quite qualify as "hitting a deer" in my book; still, one gets much of the gruesomeness without the attendant damage (to car, anyway). So on returning home, he takes the car through the car wash. And on his way home from the car wash, as he proceeds into an intersection at Market and Third, the car is hit--splat!--by an egg. Thrown by a stupid teenager. Belonging to a group of four stupid teenagers, who are promptly apprehended by borough police, who spy a cache of unbroken eggs half-hidden at the intersection and who conclude that the four teens, and their eggs, need to be taken in for fingerprinting. And R has to go back to the car wash a second time. What are the odds?
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Today's my dad's birthday. When I called tonight, the gang was having pizza. Wish I could have been there.
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dream journal: June 20, 2000:

Back in the green house on Oakland Road (where we moved to the summer Rue died, the summer I was ten). There is a boy, about 14, dark hair, who fascinates me. I feel responsible for him, connected to him in such a strong way, though he seems independent and not particularly needy of anything I have to offer. It is I who need to be with him. He plays with other boys his age—Tae Kwan Do, running around, climbing trees—and some of them are staying in the house.

Some kind of open house or party: whole families that I don’t know come into the house through the back door (living room) to talk and socialize. A black woman and her two daughters, all dressed in pink, find me in the kitchen—I am hungry and can’t find anything to eat except a slice of chocolate cake in the refrigerator, and I’ve just broken off a sliver of cold icing and popped it into my mouth—they are asking where is their gift? I’m confused. I realize I am supposed to give them something; it’s part of this whole "open house" tradition. I say I’m not part of this tradition, nor this religion: I’m sorry, but I have no gifts for them.

I casually ask the boy if he wants to see my room, which is a mess and pretty much as it was when I lived there as a teenager: books everywhere, bed unmade. We are in my room talking when my sister D finds us—thin and haggard, with dark circles round her eyes, she has been crying. She asks if I will please go to McDonald’s to get three different meals. She forgot to bring them and now people have arrived and there’s nothing to give them. She offers to pay me $20. I say I’ll do it, I’ll pay for it, but she insists on paying me. The boy (what is his name?) says he’ll come along.

We drive in a very odd boxlike car (like an old VW Rabbit but smaller and open). When we’ve gone some distance and are climbing a small hill through a parking lot, he tells me to stop and let him out: he’ll get the meals and meet me back here; I should just circle around and wait for him.

I make a left, planning to go a few blocks and circle back, but the car is moving much faster than I want it to—I am pushing hard on the brake but I'm going too fast to make a left turn. I pass several street intersections. I try gearing down, and that slows the car somewhat. By this time I am in a market area. I get out to look around. Long sidewalks bordered by shop stalls. People talking. I have a bundle of papers, all sizes, some folded, some thin receipts, and I need to make copies. The machine keeps jamming because of the varying weights of paper and I am trying to hurry and finish so I can get back to where I need to be.

The boy walks up and says he’s taken care of the meals, that at first he made a mistake and just got three, then realized Diana meant three different—as in distinct—meals, three different kinds. We start walking together back to the car.

[note: I am so attracted to this young man and I don’t know why. It’s as if his safety, his development, are extremely important to me, and I feel like he is someone who needs to be a part of my life. I also get the sense that I will meet him again later. I want him to like me. I want him to be with me. Who is he? I think I have dreamed of him before.]
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painting by Glenn Brady. For more of his awesome work, click here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I heart Grant Faulkner

I just happened across a wonderful blog by Grant Faulkner, Lit Matters, that linked off of his review of Dean Young's Skid on Goodreads. Very enjoyable reading. I recommend it.
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Our Thanksgiving dinner: chicken & dressing, French cut green beans, fresh Brussels sprouts halved and sauteed with broccoli and a smidge of bacon, homemade gravy. Oh and pecan pie, of course. Simple and delicious. I can't believe R has me eating Brussels sprouts after all these years of loathing them, but they were good.

Happy holiday to all y'all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm back

I'm back. The new laptop is speedy and sleek, and I have already spent way too much time checking out the new features instead of grading papers, but I promise to be more blogular in the coming days and weeks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pondering . . .

Hey now. Just a quick query to all you well-read folks out there: I just leapt at the opportunity to teach a "Topics in Literature" course next semester. With a scant 48 hours' notice, I drafted a course description, got it approved by our chair, and sent it off to the registrar. Now I'm faced with the predicament of finding and selecting appropriate texts, and I hope that some of you have some suggestions.

The course is English 215, and the only prerequisite is composition, so it's not a full-on literature seminar, but rather an introduction to reading, thinking about and writing about literature. The course may be tailored as I like, and I chose to focus on "working class literature": poems, prose, and a couple of plays that exemplify what we mean when we think of the working class.

I'm wondering (a) what texts (poems, prose, plays) come to mind for you? Some examples spring immediately to mind: Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," Susan Glaspell's Trifles, poems by Lucille Clifton, B.H. Fairchild, Richard Blanco. But I've only just started to think about the readings. I don't even know if there's a textbook out there that would fit in with this kind of introductory literature course. We'll write a couple of short essays, and we'll explore a few critical strategies (reader-response, political, new historical criticism). We'll talk about the basic elements of fiction vs. poetry, fiction vs. nonfiction, and so on. I'll spend a good chunk of my winter break putting this course together, but I need to order books very soon.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

lap top bust

My laptop has suffered a series of seizures. It's not quite braindead, just very s-l-o-w and confused. E-mail and blogging will be spotty for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I'm so excited.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Featured chap: DJ Dolack: The Sad Meal

The Sad Meal The Sad Meal by DJ Dolack

rating: 4 of 5 stars

This chapbook exceeded my expectations: too often, I'm more won over by the aesthetic appearance of a limited-edition chap than by the poems within. Call me a last-century curmudgeon, but I still believe that good poems should engage the reader somehow. These poems are loose and rangy enough in their imagery to feel "edgy" without falling off that edge into clever obscurity. Dolack's work here is well-crafted and rewards the reader on multiple visits--at just 18 pages, it's not a long read. Good poems. I hope to see more of his work soon. Here's a sample poem:


All of it. Sand on the heels of my jeans
picked up from Coney Island and tracked
back through Jersey into the country.
My busted headlight trilling through the dark
like an aching fighter. Brother paralyzed in bed,
cancer's acid vanishing his stomach.
His spine twisting like a joist: a house
growing over itself. His hips: a pier buckling.
At times I have introduced myself
as an only child. When he dies, I will shave my face
and follow him until he is put in place.
My one eye closed to mimic the car,
I drive off the road
and into a tree three miles from home. It's nothing.
The two of us sing together in the time
before someone finds me.
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Thanks to Brent, I'm addicted to goodreads. No, I mean I'm really addicted.
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Head smack to Aaron: I left a message on your blog a month ago. Be nice and respond.
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We're making crabapple jelly this weekend. When I got home on Thursday, I picked a grocery bag full from our tree. It was cold and windy; I'd shove one hand in my pocket to warm up while I picked with the other.

Randy just found his recipe, which calls for five pounds of crabapples. I picked twenty pounds' worth.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stuff (and nonsense)

Many thanks to the folks at Verse Daily for running Deborah Burnham's poem "Baseball" last Saturday. I didn't know the poem was going up, and as you can see, I'm catching up on this week's poems.
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And then there's this: an odd little book that arrived in the mail from "No Tickee/ No Washee Enterprizes" in Chicago. . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Po nite

Eduardo gave a lovely reading tonight with Mia Leonin in Bucknell Hall.

I'm up!

My poem "Sleepers" is up today at qaartsiluni!

Friday, October 17, 2008


This week has been a blur: I won't bore you with the particulars. Yesterday, on the drive home, I pulled off to the side of the road for a moment to watch the sun breaking through heavy lead-gray clouds. Should have taken photos. Instead, here's a glimpse of the fantastic autumn foliage on the mountain, as seen by my camera through the passenger window. This evening, after classes, after the last meeting, I'm driving home slowly with the windows down. I'm going to breathe.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Angel on a shoestring

I dragged Eduardo off to Lyco on Saturday night for our campus theatre department's production of Angels in America. I've seen the play before--in Houston, at the Alley--and knew the plot well; I've also watched the HBO version at least twice. It was, of course, hard to suspend those experiences during the evening's production: the special effects were basically nonexistent, and some of the performances were jarringly one-dimensional, but Kushner's script (though small parts seemed to be missing) shone through.
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Earlier on Saturday, R & I drove out to the Montour Preserve and walked around the lake. It was a beautiful, warm afternoon: honeybees were prolific in the goldenrod; a single-engine plane climbed and dove in tight loops high above the fields; the sky was streaked in every direction with huge mare's tail cloud formations. The maples are turning quickly now--lots of amber, orange and red--and even though I got too much sun, I was happy to set down all my to-dos and just enjoy the incredible day.
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My stapelia plants are both about to bloom: the indoor one on the dining room window sill has one star-shaped bud about to open, and the outdoor one (which I moved into the laundry room for two cold days last week) has six or seven buds, all sizes. I'll get photos. The flowers are fascinating, lovely in a surreal, otherworldly sort of way. Unfortunately, they stink: one of the common names for stapelia is "carrion flower." I think it's propagated by flies.
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Off to bed. The to-do list resumes bright and early in the morning.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Just one more Wordle

Just one more. I'm printing this one out for my office wall: it's art. I love the font, and I love connecting the words and reexperiencing Clinton's endorsement of Obama:

[click to see a larger version at the Wordle site]


Following Anne's lead, I Wordled my book:

We do love a good simile.

More good news

More good news: I got word yesterday afternoon that Dave and Beth are taking my poem "Sleepers" for the upcoming "Journaling the Apocalypse" edition of qaartsiluni. I'm terribly pleased.
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As I was packing up from a visit with my folks this past April, I realized I didn't have room in my bag for my winter jacket. So I left it. When I visited in August, again there wasn't room in my bag (I do try to pack well, but also to carry as little as possible--hence a smallish bag). Looking back on the August visit, I recall that books were to blame as well.

So anyway, when I phoned home yesterday evening to let Mom & Dad know that the barium swallow (sounds like a futuristic species nesting on the wall of--what, a nuclear cooling tower?) had gone well (read: without incident) (I was afraid I might throw up during the procedure), Mom said she'd just mailed my jacket. Good timing, as we've had two consecutive freeze warnings--on Monday evening, along with dragging numerous plants into the apartment and laundry room, I also cut big bundles of basil and white sage. Gave some of the basil to the neighbors: this a small-leafed tricolor variety we'd never grown before: because it doesn't flower, it's stayed quite leafy all season. Smells wonderful in the kitchen (in a vase). I should have bought olive oil at the store. Need to whirrr up some hasty pesto, or if nothing else, run the basil and olive oil through the processor and freeze it like that.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


This morning, we did a procedure called a barium swallow: it basically involved rearranging myself in various non-fetching poses on an x-ray table while simultaneously sipping and swallowing heaping mouthfuls of a noxoius, chalky "barium shake" and dutifully holding my breath as various pictures were taken. It was nothing, really--the digital prostate exam, for example, is much worse in my opinion, even though it lasts less than a minute. Still, as I lay there, sans glasses, staring at the blurry cold arms and gauzy (out-of-focus) green lights of the diagnostic apparatus and wondering just how many x-rays and scans are too many, my overwhelming feeling was of relief: in the six years I worked at BU, only two included really good health insurance (some years I had none at all), and I've been fortunate to have insurance in both my years at Lyco.

Barium, aquarium, solarium. "Hold your breath--" Opium. Sodium. "Okay, now breathe--" Ammonium. Harmonium. Euphonium. "Now hold your breath--" Is that all? That can't be all. There's a ton of chemical names, like molybdenum or however it's spelled. Oh--Symposium!

So, thinking about that. And playing rhyming games. And so passed the time.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Sitting down to watch the candidates' debate with a mug of chamomile tea. It may take something stronger to calm my blood pressure, doncha know fer darn sure?

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Update: Okay. When the moderator put forth the "Achilles heel" question, this is what I saw: Palin did not dodge it. She dodged lots of questions all night, yes, but those evasions were transparent. In this case, she behaved as though she were responding directly to the question. You know what I think? I think she doesn't know what "Achilles heel" means.

I'm going to go distract myself with some of those many magazines I've read all of over these many years.

Call for Chapbooks: Eric Rofes Center for Multi-cultural Queer Studies

Passing this along from Reggie Harris' and Christopher Hennessey's sites:

Call for Chapbooks: LGBT/Queer/SGL Chapbook Archive

The Eric Rofes Center for Multi-cultural Queer Studies announces that it will house the largest collection of LGBT/Queer/SGL chapbooks. Eric Rofes was a longtime educator and activist who worked on a wide range of progressive social and political justice issues. Since his untimely passing in 2006, many of his colleagues have worked to continue this legacy. The Eric Rofes Center for Multi-cultural Queer Studies is one among many of the way his legacy is materialized and continued. As a Visiting Lecturer in Ethnic Studies at Humboldt State University for Fall 2008, and Faculty advisor to students operating ERC, Tim'm West, one of Eric's colleagues, has been working to mark the center with a unique collection of chapbooks. Chapbooks honor works published outside of the traditional publishing industry-- books bound by staples, tape, or string, collections printed at copy centers, and creative works that mark writers who have long been told their works are not worthy of being published.

We are working to ensure that all chapbooks submitted receive a call number in collaboration with the Humboldt State University library, though the collection will be housed at ERC. This collection remains a way to ensure chapbooks are preserved. If possible, we would prefer that all chapbooks submitted be signed to "Eric Rofes Center". While students everywhere are working to explore the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, among other identities, we invite all writers to participate in our attempts to mobilize a collection that validates the experiences of writers both published and unpublished. We are especially interested in older collections, or phases of books before more traditional bound versions were created. In the service of including works by community members and our allies, we will be taking a broad approach to collecting LGBT, Queer, or SGL chapbooks. Contributers may submit if their collection has related content, even if the author does not idenfity as LGBT, Queer, or SGL.

Please distribute widely.
Submissions can be sent to:

HSU- Multicultural Center
c/o Eric Rofes Center Chapbook Archive
1 Harpst Street
Arcata, CA 95521

All submissions will receive receipt of their contribution, as a list of all works is being compiled, published, and updated regularly.

Thanks for your attention,

Tim'm T. West
author, Red Dirt Revival, chapbook BARE, and Flirting
Visiting Lecturer, Humboldt State University
(707) 826-3826
artist website: www.reddirt.biz

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another fine poem by K.A. Hays

"All of us, every one,
will be dissolved not long from now.

Meanwhile we tuck away the winter's claims,
put photos in a box, look elsewhere."

[Read the entire poem here]

Three poems find homes--

--or rather, one home, and a wonderful one at that: just heard from Patty Paine that three of my new poems will appear in the January issue of diode. I'm absolutely thrilled.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Familiar lines in a Thomas James poem

Tripping along from link to link, I ended up at this poem by the late Thomas James, whose manuscript has been resurrected by Graywolf. The last stanza contains two lines which should be recognizable: line three of the stanza contains the title of a book by Rigoberto Gonzalez; line one of the stanza recalls the title of an excellent book of stories by the late Allen Barnett, who died much too young in 1991.

I'm not all that well-read--the "gaps" in my reading are more like great glacial expanses--but I'm struck by the resonance of both these lines and by the fact that they reappear in two separate book titles 25 years apart. Were both writers familiar with James' poem?

I also find it heartening that a "lost" manuscript has found new life and a new readership. It's something I'm trying to do, in my small way, with chapbooks. But more than that, it strikes a chord in me as a gay man who survived the '80s and '90s in a city where dozens upon dozens of talented, witty, artistic friends and acquaintances vanished in their prime. The weight of their unspoken potential haunts me to this day, and I feel that I, personally, have not yet done enough to bring that experience, those voices, into print. I hope to do more about that.

And so I was both amazed and delighted to hear back from my query a while ago, asking if anyone had poems by the late Randy Brieger. A college friend of Randy's sent me a copy of his complete manuscript, Ink Pajamas. I read through it slowly, remembering some poems (he'd just started publishing widely before his sudden death), encountering others for the first time, recalling some of those Houston moments and mourning the loss of yet another talented queer writer I wish I'd had the chance to know better.
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For our own private reasons
We live in each other for an hour.
Stranger, I take your body and its seasons,
Aware the moon has gone a little sour

For us. The moon hangs up there like a stone
Shaken out of its proper setting.
We lie down in each other. We lie down alone
and watch the moon’s flawed marble getting

Out of hand. What are the dead doing tonight?
The padlocks of their tongues embrace the black,
Each syllable locked in place, tucked out of sight.
Even this moon could never pull them back,

Even if it held them in its arms
And weighed them down with stones,
Took them entirely on their own terms
And piled the orchard’s blossom on their bones.

I am aware of your body and its dangers.
I spread my cloak for you in leafy weather
Where other fugitives and other strangers
Will put their mouths together.

Let's all play Caption!

Anybody wanna play Caption? Click on the image to see a larger version, then give it your best shot.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Reading table

On my reading table--where I hope they don't simply gather dust:

Katie Ford, Deposition
Sandy Longhorn, Blood Almanac
David Hernandez, Always Danger
Jake Adam York, A Murmuration of Starlings
Mary Jo Bang, Elegy
Mark Ameen, The Buried Body
James Allen Hall, Now You're the Enemy
Peter Covino, Cut Off the Ears of Winter
A. Van Jordan, M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A
Ada Limon, Lucky Wreck
Diane Wald, The Yellow Hotel
Jon Pineda, Birthmark
Lisa Lewis, The Unbeliever
Lisa Goett, Waiting for the Paraclete
G. E. Patterson, Tug
Jean Valentine, Little Boat
Stephen McLeod, The Borgo of the Holy Ghost
Vandanna Khanna, Train to Agra
Michael Dumanis, My Soviet Union
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The other night, on the way to the hospital, I grabbed Paul Guest's Notes for My Body Double. It wasn't just the morphine: these are awesome poems.
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Click here to read about the McCain/Palin haiku contest at The Nation. What fun.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Woke at three this morning in severe pain. Long story short: the E.R. doc diagnosed a gall bladder problem. We were released at about nine; I crashed around ten after e-mailing my students to reschedule some appointments and slept until four. I'm okay.
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We're sitting in the living room tonight and in walks a white cat--maybe five months old?--utterly silent and suddenly there. She was very friendly and walked from room to room. We followed her to the kitchen where she poked her face into Sadie's food bowl and water bowl, then went up to Randy--purring, friendly--and for a few moments, I thought of how much I missed having a cat around. She could catch the mice! She could remind the squirrels and chipmunks to leave us a few peppers. . . then, of course, Sadie came tottering into the kitchen. I don't even know if she saw the cat. But the cat saw her. And was gone into the night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mice and men

It was such a pleasure to hear Adam Zagajewski read this evening--it's been years. Adam was this year's Sojka Poet at Bucknell. He read several poems from his new book, Eternal Enemies, including two in both English and Polish, and a series of four "self-portraits" written over several years--I thought the third poem was just stunning, achieving the kind of incantatory liftoff that's characteristic of his best longer poems.
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Coffee with Eduardo was fun this afternoon. I'm not naming any names.
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We caught a 4th mouse this morning, larger than the other three. I'm really hoping this is the last of them. I'm starting to feel really weird walking down the alley with a mouse in a paper bag, scoping for a place to set it free. . .
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A man carries his door,
the door of his house,
because when the war is over
he is going home

where he will hang it
on its hinges
and lock it, tight,
while he tries to remember
the word for welcome.

If his house is gone
when he returns,
he will raise it from rubble
around his door.

If he cannot return,
the door will remember
the rest of the house
so he can build it
again, elsewhere.

And if he cannot go on,
his door can be a pallet
for his rest, a stretcher
to carry him, his shade
from sun, his shield.

:: Richard Hoffman, in The Literary Review (2005)

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Congrats to Greg Wrenn on his chapbook win: Greg's a wonderfully talented poet; I've been hoping and waiting to see a collection and can't wait to get this one.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Meeting the parents

This morning I headed up to campus to participate in our Faculty Open House, a one-hour event in which (presumably) all the faculty are corraled and nametagged into a central area into which visiting parents (with and without their enrolled offspring) are poured. It's a civilized kind of fracas: each department has a small table and identifying sign around which we cluster as parents wander around in search of Junior's professors. . . This year, nearly half the parents I spoke to had no real details of their kids' actual schedules--either the students had neglected to provide this basic information or had failed to show up at the appointed hour of ten AM--and as a result, we were forced to send the parents along the line, from one of us to the next to the next, until someone (hopefully) brightened with an "Oh yes! Your daughter/son is in my class!" It was sad.

The few parents I was *hoping* might turn up (and provide some clues, consciously or not, about why, for example, Junior just can't stop rocking back & forth and muttering softly in my class) (I made that one up but some of the behavior is just as disconcerting) did not, alas. But I quite enjoyed chatting with the nine or ten who sought me out (because I teach first-year composition, I tend to get the longer queue). The drive home reminded me that it's nice to be out of the house on a Saturday morning.

Randy, meanwhile, had offered to take the car to its 1:00 appointment for new tires, so I was able to get cracking on a fresh stack of essay drafts. It's nice to have the Saturn running again; I hope it lasts us another ten years.
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My folks finally had their power restored on Thursday, though it's still out at Dad's shop, and Mom says he's starting to get "sour" about it. They're in Cincinnati, where the remnants of Ike tore down quite a number of large trees.
__ __ __

Number of very small mice captured and released since last week: three.

Number of blocks I walked the second mouse before releasing: two.

Number of times Randy reminded me that mice don't find their way back all that easily (they do, after all, need to be trained to navigate mazes: thankfully only one (he really could have rubbed that in for a while).
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I hear geese. Summer ends tomorrow. Our crabapple tree is loaded this year; we're planning to make jelly again. Last time, it turned out wonderfully.
__ __ __

E-Z Borrow books on my reading table: Peter Covino, Cut Off the Ears of Winter; Sue Owen, My Doomsday Sampler; G.E. Patterson, Tug; Eric Gamalinda, Zero Gravity; Greg Orr, Concerning the Book...; Jon Pineda, Birthmark.

I'm trying not to go overboard; I can only keep each book for 4 weeks. Thank you, Penn State and Carnegie Mellon, for your poetry libraries.
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Back to work--

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New York stuff

I've mentioned before that Chris Torockio is a terrific fiction writer. I just heard that he has a reading in Brooklyn next Tuesday, September 23. If you're in the area, do check it out. Here are the details:

Readings by Louella Bryant & Christopher Torockio
Where: The Perch Cafe, 365 Fifth Avenue, in Park Slope, Brooklyn
When: 7:30 PM, Tuesday, 9/23

Louella Bryant will read from While In Darkness There Is Light, her nonfiction title about the life and disappearance of Charlie Dean during the Vietnam era. Christopher Torockio will read from Floating Holidays. Both titles are publications of Black Lawrence Press.
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Also, check out the new play by Leo Cabranes-Grant: Modified Affections starts this weekend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Say hello to ma leetle friend

So cute. So tiny. Really, my thumb is larger than this miniscule mouse. Such cute whiskers. Such tiny perfect ears. Such pink little hands--err, paws. If not for the shiny black droppings. . . eww. I mean, double eww. Ickity eww.
How far from the house is far enough to release Miss Mousie?

A rat in the house may eat the ice cream. . .

but will the wee mouse we saw upstairs go for the cheese/ peanut butter/ kibble treat inside this plexiglass box?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Welcome to Whispering Pines--err, Shrieking Pines--uhh, Twisted--err, Windfelled--oh, screw it

Hard to believe, but the remnants of Ike ripped down two enormous white pines at my parents' house in Cincinnati. They--and many others--are without power, but okay.

During my visit in August, a large hickory tree fell from the woods behind their house. We were lucky that it had broken halfway up: only about fifteen feet of it landed in the yard.

One plants a tree, it's been said, for the next generation. . . We expect them to outlive us. I know--knew--these trees. They could be seen from a half-mile away. They marked the turn into my parents' driveway the way three church steeples here in Lewisburg, seen from across the river, mark the block where I live now. One of the first trees I ever climbed as a child was a white pine: the "short pine," we called it, because its top had been blasted away by a storm.

I'm going to miss those trees.
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This week's featured chapbook, Joshua Poteat's Meditations, was published in 2005 as part of the Poetry Society of America's chap series. Joshua doesn't need me to laud this collection--his work is hip-deep in accolades--but I have to say that I love reading and re-reading these poems.

Here's part six of "Meditations in the Margins of the 1941 Catalogue of Dover Books":

vi. The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book

Today, the sky is the color of a pigeon's throat,
not the roof of wild pear. And the light
a sluggish vellum that gauzes the mountain
and the fields below it . . . the cow pond
cowless, weighted with leaves that are turning
the water slowly black, so when winter comes
the ice knows where to go.
This is what I'm talking about.
All that decrescendo, from sky to ice,
isn't going to get us anywhere.
There's no passion in it, no star
to navigate the pyre of wasp nests
in the orchard. I remember my sister, years ago,
furious at the piano, her small hands cramping
the notes meant for a four-hundred-year-old
harpsichord. Morley, Byrd, Bull, Gibbons.
Names that would haunt her all summer
with notes only ghosts compose,
names that swarmed our house,
until the 17th century fell deep into
the dog's mouth, the goldfish bowl,
in the red-headed woodpecker
hammering on the shingles.
Our father, who feared nothing
but sleep, escaped to the pine bower
to soak his ears in sap.
There are songs that have saved lives,
and songs that have ended them.
These were neither.
I'm not complaining.
I want the air, for once, to clear
and the night to come down to me as it used to,
there under the pines, as I watched
my father close his eyes against the evening,
the piano a distamt wind over the marshes,
but close enough to hear the blossoms
of my sister's arms wilt and crumble.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Clark's Big Ball

Found these at the local antique shop a couple weeks back, and at a great price! Guess what I'm gonna do with them?

Solicitation & rejection

Thanks to Eduardo for linking to this post. I think the discussion has outgrown its original boundaries--in a good way--and had to throw my own two cents' worth in.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Two new chapbooks!

Over at Seven Kitchens, I've just posted the announcement of our first fiction title: Dan Jaffe's One-Foot Lover, with gorgeous cover art by the incredible Brian O'Connor. You can pre-order Dan's chapbook for only $5 postpaid until the release date of November 21. Why not double down and nab a copy of Judith Barrington's forthcoming chap as well? Lost Lands won the inaugural Robin Becker Chapbook Prize, and comes out on October 1.
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Stay tuned for an announcement about our new fall reading period. Any day now. I'm just dotting the i's and crossing the t's.

[9/15 update: The news is up. Please spread the word!]

Friday, September 12, 2008


I did take time yesterday evenng to harvest a nice bunch of Sweet 100 tomatoes (from Sasquatch, who's slowing down but still loaded with greenies) and Fish peppers. A nice tang in the air this morning as I drove to campus through rain and fog: autumn approaches.
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SEARCHING FOR TATS: I'm looking for images of tattoos--specifically, on males--to consider for the cover art of a poetry project. Please direct me to your ink!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

First cold

First cold of the season: I woke this morning with a sore throat; this evening I'm a phlegmy mess. Oh, well. Best to get it out of the way early.
__ __ __

Very sorry to hear of Reginald Shepherd's death. It's hard to imagine such a light extinguished. I have vivid memories of his short stint on the faculty at Vermont College. . . I'll keep those to myself for now.
__ __ __

It's a little freaky to see Ike bearing down on Houston. Hope everyone's okay in the old neighborhood.
__ __ __


Sons gone,
my parents quiet
in their mountain kitchen.
A last tomato quartered.
A long time ago my mother
ran up the mountain
trailed by yellowjackets
like the train of a dress.
A groundhog
squeezes into the garden.
In the valley a building
goes up in smoke.
They call the smoke a scarf.
They know better.

:: Peter Waldor, Door to a Noisy Room

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jobs and po-news: great source

I hope by now that everyone reading my wee blog subscribes to Allison Joseph's CRWROPPS-B list. If not, here's how:

Instructions for joining the list: Go to http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/crwropps- b and click on "Join This Group." Follow the on-screen prompts to join. Or: Send a blank e-mail to crwropps-b-subscribe(at)yahoogroups.com (replace (at) with @). You will be sent an e-mail message with further instructions on how to join the list.

And here's a job posting from today's digest:

creative writing job: Iowa State University: Assistant Professor of English in creative writing. Tenure-track. Beginning August 2009. Accomplished writer in one genre with the ability to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in a second genre for our newly-formed MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment. We seek a colleague whose work demonstrates an ecological perspective and who has an interest in place-based, environmental literature, and in writing about the natural world. Applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to environmental thought and action in tangible forms such as publication, research, and/or fieldwork experiences will be given preference. Successful candidate will be asked to bring fresh perspectives and take an active role in helping to shape our unique and growing MFA program. MFA or Ph.D. and record of substantial publication required; one book and teaching experience preferred. 2/2 teaching load to begin. Interviews with selected candidates may be conducted at the AWP Conference in Chicago. Applicants are invited to apply online at http://www.iastate.edu/jobs by November 1, 2008. AA/EO Employer. Women and members of historically underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

CFS: Asian American writing: Kartika Review

Kartika Review is accepting submissions for upcoming issues of our online Asian American literary magazine at http://www.kartikar eview.com/. We accept: fiction, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, poetry and visual art by Asian American artists.

We are a quarterly journal and read submissions all year. Simultaneous submission are okay, but please notify us immediately if your work has been accepted elsewhere. Full submission guidelines, including the email addresses for submitting work, are available at our website: http://www.kartikar eview.com/ submit.html

Kartika Review serves the Asian American community and those involved with Diasporic Asian-inspired literature. We scout for compelling Asian American creative writing and artwork to present to the public at large. Our editors actively solicit contributions from established virtuosos in our community in hopes their works here will inspire the next generation of virtuosos. We also want to promote emerging writers and artists we foresee to be the future powerhouses of their craft. Ultimately, Kartika strives to create a literary forum that caters to and celebrates the wordsmiths of the Asian Diaspora.

Call for applications: The Stadler Fellowship at Bucknell

Call for applicants: The 2009-10 Stadler Fellowship at Bucknell University's Stadler Center for Poetry offers professional training in arts administration & literary editing in a thriving, university-based poetry center, while also providing the Fellow time to pursue his or her own writing. The Stadler Fellow assists for 20 hours each week in the administration of the Stadler Center for Poetry and/or in the editing of West Branch, a nationally distinguished literary journal. The Fellow also serves as an instructor in the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets in June. The Fellowship stipend is $20,000. In addition, the Fellow is provided a furnished apartment in Bucknell’s Poet’s Cottage & health insurance, as well as access to all campus academic, cultural, & recreational facilities.

To be eligible, an applicant must be at least 21 years of age, must have received an advanced degree in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry (i.e. MFA, MA, PhD) no earlier than spring 2004, & must not be enrolled as a student during the period of the Fellowship. (Persons enrolled in a college or university at the time of application are eligible.) The Stadler Fellowship is potentially renewable for a second year.

Submit the following items by postal mail: letter of application, curriculum vita, three letters of recommendation, a poetry sample of no more than 10 pp., to: Stadler Fellowship, Stadler Center for Poetry, Bucknell Hall, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837. No materials will be returned; please do not send originals. Postmark deadline: December 6. Notification: late spring 2009.

For more information on the Stadler Center for Poetry, see the website: www.bucknell.edu/stadlercenter.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A poem by Maria Flook


Inside his serious desk,
the black cardboard silhouette
of a fourth grader maintains
its crisp profile.
One blue valentine
from a teenager on probation
is turning violet.

If we take a colored slide
and hold it up,
the little girls inside
show us how far we have gone.
The lamp behind, cool white--
some call this cruelty.

Remember the grassy hill
where a father
made the movies.
Two daughters
somersaulted single file
until they rolled out of view.

And if he called them back
they did not listen,
it was better to keep tumbling.
Pink seersucker deepened
a blood-like green.
Into the dark
they fell.

:: Maria Flook, ReCKless Wedding

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Stayed up late a few nights ago to work on a new poem: that tingly buzz when the language starts to click.

Up past my bedtime tinkering with another new one. Hope it looks as promising tomorrow as it feels tonight. Grateful nonetheless.

Monday, September 01, 2008

In a perfect world . . .

. . . more English departments would do nice things like this.


Happy Labor Day to all, & esp to those of us who labor away. . . Traffic was nonexistent this morning as I drove up to campus; heading down one long hill, I drove into a bank of fog: from the hilltop, it looked like a cloud resting its belly in the valley, the sun warming its back. Another reminder that the days are turning. Soon the maples will flare.
__ __ __

A public Thank you to Kathy G, who not only answered my query about Randy Brieger, but mailed me a copy of his manuscript! I've been reading it in small increments, accompanied by memories and ghosts from those Houston days. . .
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I'm continuing my practice of reading a poem each day at the start of class. Not sure yet how my students feel about this, but they do sit quietly and appear to listen. Today's poem is by Lynne McMahon, from her 1993 book Devolution of the Nude:


Do you know, the fortune-teller asked him,
that one of your children is slow? And he, stricken, said
I don’t know that yet. And it was no longer a carnival
gaiety. I can help you, she said. But nothing more
about the baby. There was still the arcade before us
and the ferry with its lights. But he had answered
yet. The still-to-come.

I’m not a believer. I’m not afraid. But I write this
anyway, as an exorcism or countermagic, that if he’s slow,
he’s slow to anger or despair, slow to see
a mortal correspondence in those heavens
where he carries water from one god to the next.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Featured chap: Justin Goldberg: Speaking Past the Tongue

Justin Goldberg's Speaking Past the Tongue was selected by Henri Cole as part of the Poetry Society of America's New American Poets Chapbook Series in 2004. Here's a sample poem:


I was told as a child that my ancestors
had been chased from their village in White Russia,
follwed from their homes by a fallout of ash
to a dark bog on the outskirts of town.

I stand with them as they turn to look back from
the water's edge, their neighbors drawing
close enough for us to make out their features
twisted, unfamiliar, before we wade in together,

hide underwater in a tangle of limbs.
Refracted through the surface, they curse
as bullets make the severed, blood-stained
reeds dance in mid-air. We hold our breath.

A few reach the far shore, swim entire oceans.
The others cry out in bubbles, the last light
of their faces flaring as their throats burst
and betray them. I search the darkening water

for a face that is mine. Those who hold out longest
scold me with their eyes before giving in
for the line of air that binds me to my body.
I go on breathing, speak with my mouth full of mud.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Go Read This

I would call it unbelievable, but it's all too true--and it makes me sick to my stomach.

Go read this.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vintage moi

Is that a little potatohead or what? Found some neat old photos at Mom & Dad's on my last visit; I've been scanning and printing new copies. Above: circa October 1960--my sis and brother, with Mom holding fat little me.
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I had a delightful meeting with Eduardo yesterday afternoon--chatting over coffee, plotting our revolution (naah, but he is gonna help me put some chapbooks together). I'm so glad he got the Roth Rez.
__ __ __

Early to bed. Classes start tomorrow. Wishing all my hard-working colleagues out there a great semester.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Here are some of the morning glories that have all but invaded the laundry room--we keep tying the vines up and away from the back door, but they're growing like crazy. . . I'm not complaining.
(Attempt at an artsy shot--floating the blossom in a bowl of water.)
This one intrigued me: I think the rain plastered it against the window glass, where it stuck as it dried, like a pressed flower.
* * *
Worked on two new chapbook covers--very exciting--and spent a couple hours folding & cutting, folding & cutting, folding & cutting pages.
* * *
Oh--and we went out this weekend to buy my new school shoes. Found a pair I liked: waterproof, scuff-resistant, super comfortable. (I'm really hard on my shoes.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


--aaaaaand we're back. I keep reminding myself to get back to the blog, but days (and weeks) pass. When classes start in two weeks, I'll be navigating a major speed bump: it's not *all* about time management, but organization definitely helps. My dreams are all about teaching. . .
* * *

At the press: 1) Assembling covers (and full copies) of Deb Burnham's chap. It looks good. 2) Narrowing down the cover art options for Judith's chap. 3) Typing up our first fiction title, to be announced any day now. . .
* * *

Matthew Hittinger seeks advice regarding the apparent implosion of the press that was to have published his chapbook. . . Click here to read all about it and send support, advice, well-wishes. . .
* * *

In the garden: the morning glories have covered half the back dooryard and are now scrambling up into the trees. Three nice colors: an almost-sky-blue, a rose pink, and a small white with pink "star" markings. I've taken pix but keep forgetting to load them. Soon, soon. . .
* * *

Time to help with dinner. I'm making the tomato/basil/mozzarella salad [chop cherry tomatoes into quarters; mince fresh basil; cube a few ounces of mozzarella; toss with fresh cracked pepper, splash of lemon juice & two or three splashes of balsamic vinegar] [= yummy garden goodness]

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Back from Ohuckiana

I'm back from Ohuckiana, where I spent a super week-and-a-half at my parents' house: weeding and mulching some of the old flower beds, Canasta with Mom & Sandy, fabric- and book-shopping with Mom, lots of quilt chatting but not much actual progress on our respective projects, though I did help "square up" Mom's blocks for the quilt she's piecing. . . Flew home yesterday, on my burfday, and fell asleep during the flight--woke as we descended through big blobby white clouds over the hills and farmland and past the two active/two dormant stacks of the Three Mile Island plant (practically next door to the Harrisburg Airport).

Lots of correspondence to catch up on, as well as lesson plans for my fall classes. . .

The garden! Four o'clocks are just starting to bloom; white and purple phlox are in full show; the first nicotiana sylvestris has started blooming (nowhere near the 3-4 feet tall that we expected, and I haven't gone out at evening to check the scent) (raining tonight); the morning glories are HUGE and threatening to sprawl into the laundry room; all my wee impatiens plantlets, set out from rooted cuttings last month, exploded into full bloom while I was away; the buddleia bushes have finished their first round of flowering and need deadheading; the rudbeckia and echinacea are completely loaded with blossoms; the cactus-flowered zinnias I started late from seed are sturdy but no flowers just yet. I picked about 30 tomatoes from Sasquatch--just the ripest, though tomorrow there'll be as many again to pick. And the crabapple tree, absolutely loaded this year, is sagging even more under the weight of so much fruit. (We'd noticed this before, of course, but after several days away, the progression is evident. May need to brace some limbs before this is all over.)

Glad to have rain tonight.

Thanks to D & S for the birthday wishes!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

high ratchet

High ratchet: the sound of cicadas in our back yard. Once, in my first creative writing class at Houston, I wrote a (bad) poem that included oily blue-black grackles and cicadas, their ratcheting parabola. A couple of years ago, I read a poem somewhere that also used parabola to describe that sound, and I thought yes!
* * *

7KP news: we got our ISBNs from Bowker today! Weeeeehaw!
* * *

Thanks to Brent for the chap exchange. Great poems, buddy. This has rekindled an old idea in my head. . . more details soon. . .
* * *

Kudos to Zachary Harris, whose three poems appear in the new West Branch. I just got a copy today. I heard him read both "Old World Monkey" and "New World Monkey" last summer--good poems! Curiously, the WB web site lists him as "Zachary Harris Willett."
* * *

Our tomato tower toppled last week in a rainstorm. New neighbor propped it gently against a patio chair. When I noticed the felled greenery, I went out in the rain. Neighbor joined me. We agreed that the chair was the best option for the moment. Many green marble-sized tomatoes were scattered across the patio; we picked them up and set them on the table. . . Later that afternoon, I drove a stake into the ground (doo-dah, doo-dah) and tied down one corner of the tottering tomato tower's cagey infrastructure. It stayed upright and has continued to deliver tasty tiny tomatoes, one or two per day. Today: more rain, but just before it arrived, we screwed giant cup hooks into the patio beams and tied down two more cage corners, hopefully securing our vegetal fountain.
* * *

How does one discourage chipmunks from nibbling the garden greenery? They've been devouring the tops of our pepper plants all summer.
* * *

Finally, does anyone out there have any (published or unpublished) poems by the late Randy Brieger? I knew him back in our Houston days, and I know he was circulating a manuscript before his untimely death. . . I contacted Angela Ball, his undergrad mentor, a few years back but we couldn't come up with an address. (For his family, I mean. I am hoping that someone out there can put me in touch with Randy's family.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Intermittent rain

Intermittent rain much of today, which has been nice because we needed it. Early this afternoon Randy hollered from the back yard Your tomato's fallen over! and I hurried out to help him set it back up. It's actually three tomato plants (Sweet 100) in a great big plastic tub planter, big and rangy and absolutely loaded with clusters of mostly-still-green fruit. We started out with one steel wire tomato cage, then wired a second on atop the first; now we're using cotton twine to secure the various errant limbs. It's loaded. It's top-heavy. It's seven feet tall and shows no sign of stopping. It sucks up all the moisture in the soil and must be watered each day. A strong gust of wind knocked it over. I braced the bottom with two heavy bricks, but I'm thinking now that maybe the bricks should go in the planter, not against it.

* * *
Three days to go: submissions for the Keystone Chapbook Prize must be postmarked (or received via e-mail) by July 15, and they're coming in steadily. Thanks to everyone who's helped to spread the word, or bought a chapbook, or sent well-wishes. Our wee press is having a good year. Next week, I hope to post the cover image for our second title, Deborah Burnham's Still--the final proofs were mailed out on Friday, so I'm just waiting for the go-ahead--and our publication date is set for August 15th . . . I just heard from Robin Becker that she's ready to announce the winning manuscripts in that competition (I don't know yet, but I'll post the news on the 7KP blog as soon as I've been in touch with the authors) . . . Also, we're planning to announce our first fiction title this fall, hopefully in September, if all goes well: more on that in--well, in September, I guess. Do check out the Seven Kitchens blog for all the offical newsy updates.

* * *
Special thanks to Louis McKee, who's been kind enough to let me pick his brain about some publishing questions, and who graciously sent me some chapbooks, including an early one by Harry Humes, and a beautiful hand-letterpressed broadside, No War by Stephen Berg, produced by Banshee Press.

* * *
Heading off to Cincinnati at the end of the month to hang at the family homestead (thanks again, Sis, for the plane tix). Then it's all about gearing up to teach: classes start the last week of August. I'll be ready, but I'm sooo glad I have a month to prepare.

Oh, oh! And Eduardo rolls into town in late August. He'll be living at the Poet's Cottage. We'll dish. We'll put some chapbooks together. We'll maybe get back to writing some collaborative poems. Looking forward to it!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Time flies--

--when you've stacked up so many summer projects, yet I somehow managed to get into a nice groove today and worked on several--five or six?--revisions of poem drafts. All had earlier versions--some pretty rough--but I've been thinking about them, or checking in on them (You still okay back there? In that little-used corner of my brain? Need anything?) or maybe neither, just letting them be, letting them chill out while I stayed busy with other stuff. Anyway. Finally heading up to bed after putting 31 pages of poems together. I'll print them out tomorrow, cut a few, move the rest around, cut some more. Goal? To have a new chapbook manuscript, one I feel solid about.

We'll see.

Lots happening over at Seven Kitchens. Stay tuned . . .

Saturday, July 12, 2008

CFS: Imagination & Place Anthology

passing along another call for submissions:

The Imagination & Place Press seeks poetry, fiction, essays, and images for the first book in a new series to be published annually. This first book will be titled, "Imagination & Place: An Anthology". We encourage writers and artists to think, feel, dream, and imagine place in complex and innovative ways. Submit no more than five poems, fiction and essays of no more than 7000 words, and images in JPG format to laciandpress@sunflower.com.

Include a cover letter with a brief biography. If submitting hard copy manuscripts or images, mail to Imagination & Place Press, Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire, Lawrence KS 66044; enclose a cover letter with a brief biography and a self-addressed, stamped envelope for reply; no more than ten images, if sent in an envelope. No manuscripts or images will be returned without proper postage and packaging materials. No previously published works are acceptable, although we will take simultaneous submissions with the clear understanding that if work sent to us is accepted elsewhere, we will be notified immediately. Deadline: August 1, 2008.

CFS: New journal: Collective Fallout

passing this along:

Call for submissions: Collective Fallout: A literary magazine of queer genre fiction & poetry.

Collective Fallout is a literary magazine dedicated to queer-themed sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and mystery fiction and poetry. It will be a print journal published 2 or 3 times a year. The Collective Fallout blog is where readers will find reviews, interviews, and other editorial content, and is where readers are encouraged to comment on and reply to the forthcoming print journal.

We welcome submissions for our premier issue.

~Submit content for the print magazine electronically to collectivefallout at gmail dot com.
~Please attach files in DOC, RTF, or PDF formats.
~Short Story submissions must be queer-related, and fall into one or more of the the science fiction, fantasy, horror, or mystery genres. Stories may not be longer than 10,000 words.
~Poetry submissions must be queer-related, both form and free verse, and of a surreal, metaphysical, or similar nature. Up to 5 poems per submission, no more than 450 total lines.
~Simultaneous submissions accepted.
~Collective Fallout will print one full-color image per issue as its cover. Digital image submissions should be submitted via email as an attachment with a minimum 300dpi resolution.
~Contributors will receive one contributor copy of the magazine.
~Collective Fallout acquires and retains First North American Serial Rights.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New (old) quilt (layout)

Here's another quilt I'm working on: this is a classic nine-patch, made with a wide assortment of antique fabric scraps--double pinks, indigo blues, chrome yellows, cheddar orange, grey "mourning" prints, various shirtings--I'll take some close-up photos once the whole thing is actually constructed. Right now, I've only finished the nine-patch blocks and have them arranged (and rearranged) on my flannel wall. I'm pretty satisfied with the current layout. Next step: cutting and adding the setting blocks (in between the colorful ones) and deciding what kind of border(s) to add. I'm piecing this one by hand, and each of the squares in the nine-patch blocks come out to just under an inch across. It's great fun to play with all these wonderful old fabric scraps (many are at least 100 years old) and to try to construct a quilt in much the same way that it might have been done a century ago.

Good poem

Click here to read Bruce Bond's "Horn" in Linebreak.

Monday, June 30, 2008

CFS: AIDS Project Los Angeles Anthology

Call for Submissions: APLA Writing Project 2009 / Co-editors: Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy.

Our world is at a crossroads. We daily witness economic meltdowns and uncertain job markets, boiling religious fundamentalism, issues of immigration as borders melt or collapse, age-old and brand new manifestations of racism, and the exploding spread of AIDS in communities of color. But we’re also at a crossroads of enormous possibility, resistance and revolution. It’s an opportunity to create new definitions and terms of success, of blackness and gayness / queerness / same gender lovingness. It’s a crucial moment for reexamining our visions and expectations of self and community.

At this crossroads, we are collaborating with AIDS Project Los Angeles to publish the fourth in their series of book-length collections of writing and images that grapple with the questions of what it means to be, know and love gay men of African descent in the 21st century. Where have we been? Where are we going? What’s on the horizon?

We want to share your responses to these questions with the world. We seek poetry, short stories, essays, articles, excerpts from novels / plays / screenplays, dreams, journal entries, photo essays, blog posts, collages, manifestoes, or email exchanges that imaginatively contextualize black gay men’s lives in connection with your own. Give us some sharp focus portraits, lingering close ups, long-range views, backwards glances of who you’re looking at, where you’re coming from , and what matters most in the worlds you make and imagine.
We especially seek works that explode conventions around racial, sexual, religious or regional identities, that challenge, provoke, are brave and unexpected. All submissions will be seriously considered, from straightforward and linear stories of lived experiences, political activism, and cultural criticism, to experimental pieces that toy with language and cross boundaries of genre and form. What we want, what we need, and what we believe in is your unfiltered but masterfully rendered truth.

Text entries: 1,200 words maximum. Poems must be two (2) pages or less.

Graphic art: B&W, hi-res 300 DPI, TIFF file format. Color art that can be published in B&W will also be considered.

Deadline for submissions – July 30, 2008

Text must be emailed as a very clean (proofread) attachment from a word-processing application, formatted as intended for publication, and must include, your name, title of work, type of work (essay, article, poem, visual art, etc.), length (word count), email address; and a 50-word bio and photograph of writer/artist.

The subject line should read, Book Submission (genre), e.g., “Book Submission (Fiction)”

PAYMENT: $100 for your submission and 10 copies of the book.

Address all correspondence, including queries to, tiscern@gmail. com

Press release

For Immediate Release: AIDS Project Los Angeles Releases third in series of publications focused on Black Gay Men and HIV/AIDS

Los Angeles, Calif., June 24, 2008 – AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) today announced the publication of To Be Left with the Body, the latest in a series of publications created by and for black gay and bisexual men to explore the impact of HIV/AIDS on their lives. Co-edited by Cheryl Clarke and Steven G. Fullwood, the collection features contributions from 16 writers and poets, and a series of photographs by New York artist Artis Q. "AIDS Project Los Angeles is committed to a robust and relevant conversation with black gay men about HIV risk," said APLA Director of Health and Wellness Programs Vallerie D. Wagner, who wrote the book's foreword. "We have a responsibility to take action, stand firm and stem the tide of this pandemic."Gathered into four sections, the essays, poems and stories of To Be Left with the Body pose provocative questions ("Who is the HIV/AIDS virus pushing us to become?") and offer accounts of "bodies . . . at war with themselves; bodies aging, being positive, holding illiness; and seeking and finding their grace." Throughout the book, Artis Q.'s series of seven photographs, "Me and My Shadow," shows well-known New York City landmarks layered with an ever-present black male silhouette. As Ms. Wagner writes in her foreward, To Be Left with the Body aims to expose the "hidden face of AIDS" and begin to conquer the "silence, stigma and denial" that have become the "inevitable result" of the spread of HIV into communities of color. A 2005 study in five major U.S. cities found that 46 percent of black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the study were infected with HIV, compared with 21 percent of white MSM and 17 percent of Latino MSM. Since that time, APLA has engaged a wide network of writers and artists to help drive conversations about HIV/AIDS among gay men of color through cultural production. To Be Left with the Body follows APLA publications Think Again (2003) and If We Have to Take Tomorrow (2006).

To place orders for the book, please contact Patrick Hebert at 213.201.1537. To download a copy, visit http://www.apla. org/publications /publications. html.

Title: To Be Left with the Body
Date: June 2008
Editors: Cheryl Clarke and Steven G. Fullwood
Contributors: Samiya Bashir, Raymond Berry, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Ramsey Brisueno, Jewelle Gomez, francine harris, A. Naomi Jackson, Ana-Maurine Lara, Dante Michaeux, Conrad Pegues, Kevin Simmonds, Pamela Sneed, Terence Taylor, Marvin K. White, james witherspoon, avery r. young.
Publisher: AIDS Project Los Angeles
Graphic Design: Patrick "Pato" Hebert
Images: Artis Q and Steven G. Fullwood
Pages: 84

AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. Marking 25 years of service in 2008, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach. For more information, visit www.apla.org.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One-day deadline

The postmark deadline for the 7th annual Oscar Wilde Award is tomorrow, June 27th.

Full details from the publisher:

The 7th Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award

Deadline: June 27, 2008 (postmarked) Our dates never change. If the date falls on a Sunday, then Monday becomes the default postmarked date.

Focus: This award will be given to the best previously unpublished original poem written in English (of any length, in any style, typed, double spaced on one side only), which best relates gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgender life by a poet who is 18 or older.

Submittal: Entrants are asked to submit their poems in the following manner: (1) without any kind of identification, with the exception of the title, and (2) with a separate cover page with the following information: name, address (street, city, and state with zip code), telephone number, email address, if available, and the title of the poem submitted. (3) A short bio should also be included. Poems will not be returned, so poets should keep copies of their poems. A short bio may also be included.

Reading Fee: Poets must submit a reading fee of $5.00 (USD) for each individual poem submitted, regardless of the length. Checks or money orders drawn on American banks, routed through a USA address, such as Bank of America, should be made payable to Gival Press, LLC. Overseas money orders are not acceptable. Mail to: Robert L. Giron, Editor; Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award; Gival Press, LLC; P.O. Box 3812; Arlington, VA 22203.

Notification of the Winner: Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for notification of the winner or visit our website (http://www. givalpress. com), where the winner and finalists will be announced. The winner is usually announced on or before September 1.

Prize: The winner will receive $100.00 (USD), and the poem, along with information about the poet, will be published on the website of Gival Press (http://www. givalpress. com). The winner will be asked to sign a release form for payment. In addition, Gival Press hopes to publish an anthology of the winners of this award along with the best poems submitted to the contest over a period of several years.

Judging: Poems will be judged anonymously by the previous winner of the award. The decision made by the judge will be final.

Discount Offered to Entrants: Anyone who has entered a Gival Press contest may purchase any books published or distributed by Gival Press at a 20% discount off the retail price, with free shipment. Credit cards are preferred. Kindly either call us (703.351.0079 - leave a message if we can't answer when you call and we will call you back) or send us an email with your phone number and we will call you, as we only accept the credit card information by phone.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"After the River Crests"

I've admired Taylor Graham's poems for several years--she publishes widely--and was happy to buy a copy of her 2005 chapbook, Under the Shuttle, Awake, from Dancing Girl Press.

Nice sepia-tone cover photo byAlaina Burri-Stone; adequate construction (crooked stapling, pages not trimmed) (sorry, but these things matter); pretty good poems. Here are three:


The ones who drowned no longer believe
in luck, the random confluence of details
whereby small, intricately-shaped parts
not intended for each other suddenly fit
together and function. They know
everything is intended: the singing of whisks
and the snick-snick of bolts, the shush
of broomstraws, slip of reels, ratcheting
of gears. They’ve learned how everything
draws to this organ-swell, the everlasting
gravity of water. Their eyes have gone
moist as if with joy as, one by one, they
jump to the hooks, amazed as fish.


Bad dreams pasted the moon upside-down
on the inside of the window.
A sliver moon sharply cut from black and gray
shines above the ancient suck of waves
along the beach, expanses of sand
that once covered dead horses washed up
and left eroding in their natural furrows
as the surf keeps wasting it away.
How terrible the horses with their long necks
pointing out to sea, their snakes of necks not moving.

How can anyone speak of going out
for dinner? Some pricy place
where palm trees hold up the ceiling
and the servers are greasy with prawns.
A tongue is nothing but living muscle
for all its taste of salt.
Here’s this dark box
full of possible pictures. Outside,
the deep sea strikes its light.


Who are you
anyway? he wants to know.

Never answer in your own voice.

The yellow rose unpetals
in its vase.
The table reflects your own
face in its polish. It admits
nothing of itself except
plain wood-grain.
So much is moving underneath
a dinner plate—

in all the world
so many hungers.

Let him talk.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"After the Long Party"

This week's* featured chapbook is a collaboration between Stephen Dunn and Lawrence Raab: Winter at the Caspian Sea was published around 1998 by the now-defunct Palanquin Press, and it's a pleasant read. Dunn & Raab explain their collaborative process--a sort of modified "exquisite corpse" with a few other parameters thrown in--in the introduction, and confess that their wives, as first readers, were usually dead-on accurate about which prized lines belonged to which writer. I've read much more of Dunn's work (most of it, going way back to Full of Lust and Good Usage--still a great title!--in the mid-80s) than Raab's (though I still feel more drawn to his early work--The Collector of Cold Weather, for example--than the last two books), but found it was easy enough to forego the game of who said what? as I read through the poems, enjoying instead their sometimes surprisingly recursive qualities (surprising because, for me, one of the joys of writing collaboratively is--well--the surprise, the unexpected territory into which the poems sometimes leap--or fall).

The book is handsomely produced on heavy papers with nice cardstock covers. It's saddle-stapled, alas, but I was lucky enough to get a copy signed by both authors. Mine is #88 of 300.

Incidentally, I tried a couple years ago to reach someone at the press when they were still housed at Aiken (USC); I wanted to teach John Repp's Things Work Out along with several other chaps in my poetry class. I left messages by phone and e-mail but never heard from anyone; I heard just today from someone that the press relocated but went under after that. A shame. Maybe somewhere out there is a box with a few extant copies? Why don't a few independent presses step forward and take on the service (because it is, after all, purely that) of distributing these (presumably) remaining copies, or at least piggybacking a small press's backlist onto their catalog or web site? I don't know all that much about such things, but it seems to me that this could be done.

Anyway. Here's a poem from Winter at the Caspian Sea:

After the Long Party

Silence once again was looking to conceal itself
as if there weren’t enough of it to last until morning.
I looked up at the stars, their vague invitations,
and you came out to join me, your words tremulous,
hanging in the stilled air. Then neither of us spoke.
I felt something was burning up all over the world,
reducing itself to ash. Maybe it was language itself,
its misuse, its tendency to adhere itself to power.
You said you didn’t want to be like some circus elephant
made to stand tiptoe among the din of children.
Yes, I agreed, better to throw a tantrum and destroy
the big tent, trample a few of our tormentors.
Things would really get quiet then, I said,
everything so fragile, suddenly small, and desperate.

* - After trying to keep up with my "Friday chap" and then failing even faster with a "weekend chap," I'll do my best to feature a chapbook once a week. Somewhere in the week. Or weekend. Or even Fridays. But don't hold me to it.