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!
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7KP news: we got our ISBNs from Bowker today! Weeeeehaw!
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Thanks to Brent for the chap exchange. Great poems, buddy. This has rekindled an old idea in my head. . . more details soon. . .
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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."
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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.
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How does one discourage chipmunks from nibbling the garden greenery? They've been devouring the tops of our pepper plants all summer.
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Finally, does anyone out there have any (published or unpublished) poems by the late Randy Brieger?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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.