Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Reevaluating my facile relationship with Nature, or: The first few baby spiders in the laundry room looked so cute until I glanced up--
It's really us or them.
And here is the block variation that she came up with:
The problem is with the first block: she needs more of the center blue to finish off the outer points on that block. We think that maybe I gave her the blue that she started out with, so I've been searching to see if I have any more of it--so far, without any luck. Does anyone out there have a 6 x 8 inch piece of this blue fabric? Here's a closeup, and thanks very much:
Thursday, November 26, 2009
These photos were taken October 10th. I'll post another pic soon that I took on November 10th. Making slow but steady progress . . .
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I liked your poems "Michael," "We Are Seven,"
and "Idiot Boy" very much, even when
the teacher read them aloud and cried
and blew her nose. "Tintern Abbey" is really neat,
though I don't understand it. I did a walk-
athon for March of Dimes once. I hate your poem
"Daffodils." Ha-ha, that's just a joke,
I just don't know better because of television.
Seriously, why did you become such a crusty,
old poo-poo? Professor Borck at the university
says you got tired of not being rich. My
dad says poor people are happy being poor
because God loves everyone--even poets. I
think it would be romantic to have a French
girlfriend and a dopefiend for a best friend.
I can hardly wait until my creepy sister
goes to college and I can have her room.
My best friend is Veralee Broussard and I can
talk about anything with her. I wish you
could tell me what it's like to be dead.
It would feel neat to lie in a cozy coffin
underneath the flowers and know everything.
Really, you rot and go to heaven or hell.
Well, this is almost two hundred words, so
I have to go. Tomorrow we read Amy Lowell.
Mrs. Curtis says she smoked cigars!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Well, I shopped around a bit online and then went out tonight & blew a gaping hole in the 7KP budget, an act I hope I don't regret. We needed a printer, a good, dependable, total-access laser printer. So now we have one. It's still in the box: a Canon something-or-other. I'll clear space for it this weekend. And yes, we'll gladly accept donations (of any size) to help replenish the budget. Buy a chapbook! Buy two! Support our independent micropress!
We're still tinkering with the cover, but Erin Bertram's Inland Sea is on schedule to come out this month. Can hardly wait: wonderful poems.
Ugh, midnight. I'm a pumpkin. Night night, y'all.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
And there the last three or four of them clung
like pock-marked green moons in orbit
across the muddy sky of the garden slope.
We had to get out the hatchet
to chop the woody stem off the one I wanted.
And then I pulled off leaf after leaf,
each rubbery jacket bull's-eyed
like cigarette burns on an unfortunate table,
where slugs had tried to burrow in.
Before I brought it inside for a good scrub
I hacked off
half-a dozen leaves with my pocket knife
and flung them onto the compost heap,
flicking slugs off,
lacking the zeal even to deprive
them of their disgusting lives.
Autumn is here, and where
is the gardener's thoroughness
that would have been mine in March or May?
The essence of cabbage
as I chopped through its crunchy thickness
on the kitchen counter
was what the word October
That pure white-and-greenness
that filled my head
with what grows and keeps on growing
was what I had needed all this
short and getting-shorter day.
:: Richard Tillinghast, The New Life
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
By this spring, the milkweed had spread, sending up eight or nine shoots! I had to stake them (they're planted right at the corner of a raised bed where the neighbor's downspout overflows constantly, and in heavy rain anything growing there can get shredded) but they thrived, blooming heavily and sending out a half-dozen warty outer-spacey seed pods:
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
"As a biennial publication, Kweli plans to publish Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer editions. We encourage new and emerging artists, as well as established voices, to submit their work for consideration. Kweli is particularly interested in short stories, poetry, and excerpts from novels that are self-contained. We seek high quality literary work that is beautiful and sustaining, profound and powerful."
Click here for complete submission details.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
"It's our E-Z Borrow guy!"
Yeah, it's me. I brought my own tote bag. Fill 'er up.
Also fiddled with the cover(s) of our next 7KP title. Not so much "fiddled" as took advantage of a super-fast, super-loaded library computer to tweak my cover designs, save them as PDFs, and print out a color copy to stick on my wall for inspiration as I move into the assembly stage of this project. Will post the cover images over at Seven Kitchens sometime this week.
Picked up a print job on the way home: covers for the second printing of Judith's and Steven's chaps. Which look just like the covers for the first printing. But now we're in the second printing.
Some hammock time with At Work: The Art of California Labor before dinner--tandoori chicken, grilled shrimp, basmati rice, curried vegetables, naan, and an ice-cold beer. Oh hell, yes, Randy can cook. And leftovers in the fridge.
Upstairs, what I mistook for a book on the chair in the bathroom. Upside-down, on its spine, the title HEAVY DUTY. I pondered the sound of the words, flicked through a mental list--honoring our parents' wishes, being truthful, burying the cat, signing the DNR form all came to mind before I realized it wasn't a book. It was the cardboard packaging around the new shower curtain. But even then, even after mentally shoehorning the words back into their purely utilitarian place, they echoed with a deeper resonance.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Subito Press of the University of Colorado invites submissions to its annual book competition. We will publish two books of innovative writing, one each of fiction and poetry:
- Submissions will be accepted from June 1 to August 15, 2009 (postmark date).
- Submit manuscripts of up to 70 pages of poetry or up to 100 pages of (double spaced) fiction along with a $20 reading fee and an SASE for notification of results.
- Manuscripts should include two cover sheets: one with title only, the other with title, author's name, address, e-mail, and phone number.
- All submissions will be judged anonymously by the creative writing faculty at the University of Colorado; friends, relatives, and former students of University of Colorado creative writing faculty are not eligible.
- Simultaneous submissions are ok; please notify Subito immediately if your ms. is accepted elsewhere.
- Winners will give a reading at the University of Colorado in the Spring of 2010.
- Notification of winners will occur by January of 2010.
- Send mss. to: Subito Press, Department of English, 226 UCB, Boulder CO 80309-0226.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Fast forward to last year: the wee cactus has been steadily growing in a narrow wall pocket (planter) in my bathroom and has four or five arching stems. Then, finally, it popped: seven or eight tiny flower buds that opened nearly all at once, after growing and growing for a couple weeks, into gorgeous shaggy multipetaled crimson blossoms. Such a nice surprise.
That was last year. This year, the cactus is a bit larger, though still on the smallish side, and still growing in the same planter. There's finally enough of it that I felt comfortable removing a three-leaf section to root for a friend. And it's blooming again, only this time one bud will appear, grow and swell for a couple weeks, and finally open--expanding open during the day and half-closing at night. Each blossom lasts about a week before closing up for good and eventually dropping off. Meanwhile, a second bud starts to develop on another stem, and then another, each taking its turn. It's a nice extension of the blooming period, but I don't know why it's behaving this way: the plant has been in the same location for years now.
Really fun accordion-style construction, such that you can read both titles by continuously turning the pages right to left--when you reach the end of one book and close the cover, you just open it again and read the other book. I totally owe the construction specs to Michele, one of our spring interns, who figured out how to make what I had tried to describe with my hands in the air by taping little two-inch squares of blue paper together.
Will try to post a pic or two.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The 3rd Annual Hotmetalpress Chapbook Contest
http://www.hotmetal press.net/ PoetryPrize. html
Our prize is $350 and 20 free copies. We also want to send every entrant a copy of the winning collection.
- Page Limit: 32 pages
- Fee: $20.00
- Deadline: extended to Wednesday, July 15, 5 PM
- If you are looking for clues as to what we look for a winner, we wish you luck because our selections are unpredictable and eclectic. We like to take risks if the poems interest us. We do not know what poems will interest us either until we see the poems. Sometimes we request poems from the manuscripts for our magazines.
- Please make out a check for $20 to Hotmetalpress.
- Send it to Carole Towers; 1173 Sea Eagle Watch; Charleston SC; 29412.
- Judged by the staff.
- Please send a copy of your manuscript in a word document to:sea7@comcast. net.
- Your work will be read upon receipt of your check.
The entry rules:
- Single spaced poems in 12pt Courier.
- Attach title page with your name, address, telephone, and email.
- 32 page maximum limit including title, content page, acknowledgements, and pages.
- Anything with more pages will be eliminated.
ENDED DEADLINE - Journal of Lesbian Studies Special Issue on Black Lesbians- Call for Proposals
Call for Contributors— please consider and let your friends and colleagues know!
Thematic issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies on LESBIANS OF AFRICAN DESCENT: CONTEMPORARY perspectives by Bianca D.M. Wilson and Verlena L. Johnson
The Journal of Lesbian Studies will be devoting a thematic journal issue and book on the topic of LESBIANS OF AFRICAN DESCENT. This journal issue will focus on some of the contemporary topics being discussed among lesbians of African descent, including creation of community, resisting oppression(s) , intersectional identity politics, sexual culture, negotiating family life, etc. Pieces that locate their work and perspectives in the current historical, political,20cultura l, and/or social context will be given preference. We welcome several forms of work, including personal essays, empirical papers, theoretical papers, poetry, and visual artwork. All work should have been written or developed in the last ten years. Authors may use a pseudonym if they prefer.
If there is a piece you published more than ten years ago, you may want to submit a commentary on your own work regarding how things stand now.
For written pieces, please send a one-page abstract of your proposed contribution. For visual art proposals, please submit five images maximum for consideration and a 250-word artist statement/bio. Send all proposals to Bianca D.M. Wilson at bwilson@csulb. edu or Verlena Johnson at verlenasroom@ yahoo.com by July 3, 2009. Abstracts will be evaluated for originality, diversity of experience, and writing style. Please keep in mind that selected 1-page proposals will need to submit full drafts by mid-September, 2009.
Please let your friends and colleagues know about this project. We are limiting submissions to authors who identify as lesbian or same-gender loving women of African descent.
All thematic issues of the Journal of Lesbian Studies are simultaneously reprinted in book form by Taylor and Francis. We hope that the resulting book will be used in social science and humanities studies courses and will be available in feminist and Black community bookstores.
We hope you will consider writing about contemporary topics relevant to lesbians of African descent, so that important aspects of our communities receive the attention they deserve!
Bianca D.M. Wilson and Verlena L. Johnson
Guest Editors, Journal of Lesbian Studies Special Issue
Friday, June 05, 2009
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Check out these delightful short films!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So imagine our surprise, two days ago, to find a carpenter knocking loose some of the rotten wood from above the door. He poked, he prodded. He sent around a worker to start yanking out the ruined wood.
Today, the full extent of the damage is visible: a massive crossbeam, 150 years old, was completely rotted through and had to be removed. Temporary supports have been jacked into place to keep the bricks from collapsing. We can see daylight through holes punched through the plaster. The door casing itself is partially rotted; I don't know if they'll remove the door and replace this or try somehow to work around it. But all I can think is that 90% of this could have been prevented.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Pilot Books will hold our first open reading period in May of 2009 to select a manuscript to be published in our new Meddling Kids Series. Please submit 2 printed copies of your original poetry manuscript (10-25 pages of verse) postmarked between May 1st -May 31st , 2009. Include two cover pages--one with manuscript title, your name, address, email and phone; another with manuscript title only. Manuscripts will be logged in by an impartial third party, and read anonymously by the editors and a panel of outside readers. A selection of finalists may be asked to submit their manuscript electronically. No SASE necessary; we will communicate via email. Post your entries, along with a $10 reading fee to the address below. (All entry $$ will fund the production of the selected manuscript.)
39 Lilly Street
Florence, MA 01020
Thursday, April 30, 2009
__ __ __
Still grading essays. My final exams (take-"home") were due at 4PM today; a few trickled in until 5:30. I'm actually glad the weather's turned rainy: less distraction. But the garden (and lawn) is a riot of luscious sweet violets, the lilacs next door are opening, the ferns have unsprung. I completely missed seeing the crabapple in bud. Suddenly it was in full bloom. We had such odd hot weather for a few days--everything went into overdrive--hurry, hurry--. So much nicer to have mild days.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
More than my sixteen rented houses and their eighty or so rooms
held up by stone or cinderblock foundations,
most facing north, with useless basements,
wrought iron fences to the curb,
beat-up black mailboxes--
eagles impaled through breasts to edifice--
or set like lighthouses
some distance from the stoop a thousand miles inland,
or close enough to sea the sea gulls
settled mornings in the playing fields I passed
on this continent and others
as I walked my sons to school or to the train--
more than the kitchen door frames where is carved the progress
of their growth, one then the other on his birthday
backed against a wall, almost on tiptoe--
and more than the ruler
I have laid across their skulls
where the older's brown hair like my own,
or the younger's blond like his father's, covered abundantly
what was once only a swatch of scalp
I'd touch as they slept to know their hearts beat--
more than the height at which, and in this house,
the markings stopped like stairs leading to ground level,
and they walked out into the world,
dogged, no doubt, by the ghost of the man, their father,
and the men who tried to be their fathers,
father their wildness--
and more, even, than the high sashed windows
and windows sliding sideways
through which I watched for them, sometimes squinting,
sometimes through my hands cupped on cold glass
trying to see in the dark my men approaching,
my breath blinding me,
the first born surely the man I would have married,
the second, me in his man's body--
more than the locks left open and the creaking steps,
the books left open like mirrors on the floor
and the sinks where we washed our faces
and the beds above which our threefold dreams collided,
I have loved the broom I took into my hands
and crossed the threshold to begin again,
whose straw I wore to nothing,
whose shaft I could use to straighten a tree, or break
across my knee to kindle the first winter fire,
or use to stir the fire,
broom whose stave is pine or hickory,
and whose skirt of birch-spray and heather
offers itself up as nest matter,
arcs like the equator
in the corner, could we see far enough,
or is parted one way like my hair.
Once I asked myself, when was I happy?
I was looking at a February sky.
When did the light hold me and I didn't struggle?
And it came to me, an image
of myself in a doorway, a broom in my hand,
sweeping out beach sand, salt, soot,
pollen and pine needles, the last December leaves,
and mud wasps, moths, flies crushed to wafers,
and spring's first seed husks,
and then the final tufts like down, and red bud petals
like autumn leaves--so many petals--
sweeping out the soil the boys tracked in
from burying in the new yard another animal--
broom leaving intact the spiders' webs,
careful of those,
and careful when I danced with the broom,
that no one was watching,
and when I hacked at the floor
with the broom like an axe, jammed handle through glass
as if the house were burning and I must abandon ship
as I wept over a man' faithlessness, or wept over my own--
and so the broom became
an oar that parted waters, raft-keel and mast, or twirled
around and around on the back lawn,
a sort of compass through whose blurred counter-motion
the woods became a gathering of brooms,
onlooking or ancestral.
I thought I could grow old here,
safe among the ghosts, each welcomed,
yes, welcomed back for once, into this house, these rooms
in which I have got down on hands and knees and swept my hair
across my two sons' broad tan backs,
and swept my hair across you, swinging my head,
lost in the motion,
lost swaying up and down the whole length of your body,
my hair tangling in your hair,
our hair matted with sweat and my own cum, and semen,
lost swaying, smelling you,
smelling you humming,
gone in the motion, back and forth, sweeping.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
For Immediate Release
We are excited to announce a wonderful event upcoming on April 23-25 in New York: A Celebration of the Chapbook, a three-day festival featuring panels, workshops and a bookfair. For a full schedule of events, visit http://centerforthehumanitiesgc.org/festival .
This festival celebrates the chapbook and highlights its rich history, as well as its essential place in poetry publishing today, as a vehicle for alternative poetry projects and for emerging authors and editors to gain entry into the literary marketplace. The festival hopes to forge a new platform for the study of the chapbook inside and outside the academy.
We invite you to visit the fair and attend the panels and workshops, all of which are free of charge. Please note that the workshops require registration, and will fill up fast, so reserve your seat now. Visit http://centerforthehumanitiesgc.org/festival for instructions on how to register.
We are seeking volunteers for the festival, and there are still a few spots available in the bookfair. If you’re interested in volunteering, or if you are a chapbook publisher and want to participate in the bookfair, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us for A Celebration of the Chapbook – we hope to see you there!
The Asian American Writers’ Workshop
The Center for Book Arts
The Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center, The Office of Academic Affairs, and MFA Programs in Creative Writing of the City University of New York
Poetry Society of America
A Celebration of the Chapbook
Thursday April 23rd, 2009 - Saturday April 25th, 2009
~ Thursday, April 23 at The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue & 34th St
Chapbook Fair - 10:00am-6:00pm, The Elebash Recital Hall Lobby
Brief History of Chapbooks - 3:00-4:30pm, The Elebash Recital Hall
With Isaac Gewirtz, Curator of the New York Public Library’s Berg Collection; Eric Lorberer, Editor of Rain Taxi; and Michael Ryan, Director of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Columbia University. Moderated by Richard Kaye, Hunter College, CUNY
Chapbooks in the 20th and 21st Centuries - 4:30-6:00pm, The Elebash Recital Hall
With Michael Basinski, Assistant Curator of the Poetry/Rare Books Collection of the University Libraries, SUNY at Buffalo; Anne Waldman, Chair and Artistic Director of Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program; and Kevin Young, Emory University. Moderated by Ammiel Alcalay, Queens College, CUNY.
Keynote Reading - 6:00pm, The Elebash Recital Hall
Readings by Lytton Smith, Gerald Stern, Judith Vollmer, Kevin Young and others, with an introduction by Kimiko Hahn.
~Friday, April 24 at The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue & 34th St
Chapbook Fair - 10:00am-4:00pm, Rooms 8301/8304
Chapbook Now: Producing Chapbooks-A Workshop for Poets - 10:00-11:30am, Room 8400 With Rachel Levitsky (Belladonna*); Sharon Dolin (The Center for Book Arts); and Ryan Murphy (North Beach Yacht Club). Moderated by Alice Quinn (Poetry Society of America). To register, call (212) 817-2005 or e-mail email@example.com – registration is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Chapbook Now: Producing Chapbooks-A Workshop for Publishers - 11:30am-1:00pm, Room 8402 With Jen Benka (Booklyn); Matvei Yankelevich (Ugly Duckling Presse); and Brenda Iijima(Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs). Moderated by Rob Casper (Poetry Society of America). To register, call (212) 817-2005 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org – registration is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Friday, April 24 at The Center for Book Arts, 28 West 27th Street, 3rd Floor
Bookmaking for Writers: A Studio Workshop with Susan Mills and Karen Randall - 2:00-5:00pm
To register, call (212) 481-0295 or email@example.com – registration is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. There's a $20 materials fee for each workshop.
Bookmaking for Publishers: A Studio Workshop with Susan Mills and Karen Randall - 2:00-5:00pm
To register, call (212) 481-0295 or firstname.lastname@example.org – registration is
offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. There's a $20 materials fee for each workshop.
RECEPTION at The Center for Book Arts, 28 West 27th Street, 3rd Floor - 6:00 pm
All are welcome! Visit the exhibitions at The Center for Book Arts: \’fl \:art, text, new media, Roni Gross: Zitouna at 20, and Spotlight: 2008 Artists-in-Residence.
~Saturday, April 25 at The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 16 West 32nd Street, Suite 10A
Collector’s Show-and-Tell: The Secret History of Asian American Literature Patricia Wakida - 2:00-3:00pm
Publishing from the Margins - 4:30-6:00pm with Tan Lin; Dawn Lundy Martin (Third Wave Foundation, Black Took Collective); and Bushra Rehman. Moderated by Ken Chen (The Asian American Writers’ Workshop). Followed by a brief reading from the Workshop's Postcard Poetry Project.
RECEPTION at The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 16 West 32nd Street, Suite 10A - 6:00 pm
Participating Publishers: Achiote Press :: Belladonna* :: Booklyn :: Book Thug :: Cuneiform Press :: Dancing Girl Press :: Diagram/New Michigan Press :: dusi/e-chap kollektiv :: Flying Guillotine Press :: hand*held*editions :: Interlude Editions :: Noemi Press :: North Beach Yacht Club :: Octopus Books :: Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs :: Rain Taxi :: Sarabande Books :: Slapering Hol :: Small Fires Press :: TinFish Press :: Toadlily Press :: Ubu Editions :: Ugly Duckling Presse :: Web Del Sol's World Voices :: X-ing Press :: and others
For more information visit http://centerforthehumanitiesgc.org/festival
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Potscrubber completes a cycle
so vigorous the knives were rattling,
and pauses, waking Evan Michael,
who finds all silences unsettling.
There's no resemblance. It's too early.
Everything is still so round.
But we've occurred to him as surely
as silence has occurred to sound,
and when he's finished sharpening
into himself, and when we've blurred,
we're going to go on happening
in silence like he's never heard.
I wore him like a broken arm
all summer, slung
from my right shoulder in a paisley hammock
so deep the sides closed over him.
When I walked he swung, and slept,
kukked by the time his body kept
against my stomach.
When I stopped I had to sing.
"Larkin at Sixty"
I did the South Bank Show today. It went
no worse than I'd expected, though they spent
rather too much time talking
about four-letter Larkin for my liking.
What will survive of me will no more live
than an appendix in preservative,
and now it's clear to me
"They fuck you up" will be my Innisfree.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
The Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series is currently accepting applications.
- WHEN: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Washington, DC’s Rock Creek Park, Picnic Area Number 6, during June and July.
- WHAT: Two poets are usually featured. The outdoor programs held next to poet Joaquin Miller’s Cabin are sponsored by The Word Works, and the National Park Service.
- WHO: Kathi Morrison-Taylor, Rosemary Winslow and Deborah Ager are the co-directors for 2009.
- IF SELECTED, you will read your work at the cabin and receive a small honorarium. Copies of a poster/flyer (self-mailer) will be available for you to send to friends and colleagues. If you have books published, you may sell them at the reception. If you live out of town and need a place to stay, we’ll do our best to help you find a place.
TO APPLY to the series, send the following:
- 5 poems, typed, one poem per page. No one poem longer than two pages.
- Name, address, telephone numbers, email on first page of the submission. Name on every page.
- Brief biographical note, including publications, readings, literary studies, prizes.
- Stamped, self-addressed envelope for reply (for return of poems, add sufficient postage as needed).
- NOTE: All manuscripts must be typed. Any form or style of poetry will be considered; selection is made on the basis of the poems submitted. The biographical note is for information only. The director is assisted by a panel of writers in choosing poets.
- SEND TO: Rosemary Winslow, Co-Director; Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series; Department of English; The Catholic University of America; Washington, DC 20064.
- DEADLINE: Postmarked on or before March 31 of each year.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Oh, and there's a new Mary Ruefle poem on their site: "Helium." Who else but Mary could say, to helium, "They gave you/ a dibble. They made you wrists."
[I have a dibble. I'm delighted to see one appear in this poem.]
Monday, March 02, 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
_ _ _ _ _
Went to a reading last night by Erinn Batykefer and Katie Hays. Very much enjoyed the second half.
_ _ _ _ _
It's nearly spring break. I can hardly wait.
_ _ _ _ _
Look at the amazing cover we're doing for Steven Riel's new chapbook. We were so lucky to get permission from Sean-Michael Rau to use his image. More on artist and author will be posted soon at Seven Kitchens . . .
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
to see the curtains move above
the radiator, stirred by unseen
fountains, unseen drifts from warmed sweet
metal, showing the air alive
and rising in an oracle,
the lift within each calorie
and molecule, each element,
the fabric troubled by ghosts of
excitement so even emptiness
when touched by heat or pain becomes
breath, becomes aspiration to
convey across the difference change,
the clear trembling flower of haunt.
:: Robert Morgan, Wild Peavines (Gnomon Press, 1996)
Thursday, February 05, 2009
The neighbors' house is on fire. The next door neighbors, the ones who drink and fight in their back yard all summer. Is on fire. Right now.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
A Wordle made using the text of The Icarus Sketches, forthcoming this summer: http://www.wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/500396/The_Icarus_Sketches_manuscript
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
- 2/04 was with Tom, my first boyfriend back in college
- 2/03 was with David, and it marks the night he phoned me from Houston (I was still living in Cincinnati) to ask me to marry him. I was at a pay phone. It was after midnight and I was on break from my night shift job. With horror, I realized that it was actually February 4th, the date of my first anniversary, which relationship (I) had ended (badly). Suddenly, the answer: "What time is it there? Right now?" "Err. . . 11:43." And I accepted on Central Time.
- 2/23 is my anniversary with Randy: coming up on fourteen years.
Monday, February 02, 2009
[Eww. That word looks too much like "republican." But ANYWAY--]
. . . I still feel very strongly about this series: I think it has enormous potential, and I'm doing what I can to better get the word out this year. Even though there were less than ten entries, the decision was not easy, and in the end I had to just set the top contenders aside, not look at them for a few weeks, and then see which one had sustained the strongest impact in my memory. Then I re-read them all again, just to verify that yes, this was the right choice for this year's title.
Which I will announce over at Seven Kitchens as soon as I've heard back from the author.
For now, a message of appreciation to everyone out there who's running a micropress or journal or reading series on an insanely tight budget; who's taking the time to encourage a younger writer; who shares his or her knowledge and resources freely, generously, constantly, all for the collective advancement of poetry. We're doing good work. I'm proud to be one of us.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
When an illegal radioactive waste dump caused the death of a Colombian child who'd been playing there, villagers refused to bury her in their cemetery, and her body was classified as hazardous waste.
King Midas sits admiring his wealth
of burnished apples. It will be a long time
before hunger interrupts him,
a long time before he misses
the squeals of his childish daughter
who finds the dust
so lovely, so luminous, she streaks
both her arms with it. She paints her eyelids
and makes two bright antennae of her braids.
She can't wait for the dark.
How she will flit for him, lanky, radiant moth.
She doesn't wash for dinner.
And he hasn't noticed, not yet.
It will be a long time
before he comes around.
He will have to bury her in lead,
his fondest hope, this isotopic waste
over which the kingdom must rise
against him. Though he will swear
he only wanted the best
for them, for her, his golden girl,
who can barely contain herself just now--
look how she glows
anticipating his delight.
:: Jody Gladding, Stone Crop
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Through the open window, a confusion
of gasoline fumes, lilacs, the green esters of grass.
Edward Waite rides the lawn mower.
Each summer his voice is more stifled. His emphysema is worse.
"Three packs a day," he says, still proud of the fact.
Before he got sick, he drove semis across the country.
Every two weeks he drives his small truck up the mountain.
He mows in long rows fitting swath to cut swath, overlapping the width.
To please me he saves the wild paintbrush along the edge.
Stripped to the waist, I see he has hung his blue shirt
on my clothesline to dry out the sweat.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Start here. Poor Meryl. "Oh honey, no" indeed.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Be still, my heart.
He disappeared in the dead of winter.
—W. H. Auden
To greet the perfect stranger.
Heart’s February: fill it in as bleak
and lonely. But today a warming flood
of color stains the calendar’s pale cheek.
The eve of your return I give my blood.
Picture a glacier bruising into bloom.
I let it all hang out and drain from my
right, my writing arm: the silent room,
morning and evening’s empty bed. I lie
between two bodies, palping a red ball,
flushed to pallor, gazing at the ceiling,
as hollow days are dammed into a crimson pool
soon to be sealed and channeled to a stranger
and even more precarious life. I’m filling
a loving cup to raise to mortal danger.
What the eye, seeking, fails to penetrate
the ear awaits. Presently a cry
(baby waking, tomcat, beaten dog,
or floating rage caught raw between the walls)
shrills from the street. No, from the locked
interior whose study window, bright
with strained attention, now winks suddenly
from a blank surface. You’ve turned in the light.
Beyond the potted palms in some remote
anteroom the beaded curtains stir:
so I must sense, must pluck from winter air
the snatches of that song, or let the link
between our skulls (now stretched; now tighter) loosen.
I shut my eyes and almost hear you think.
I read much of the night. Ineptly woo
some shabby cousin of oblivion
out of the garish hours after two.
Having locked the secret inmost door,
stretched, and remembered once again you’re gone,
I wander to the kitchen for a swig
of milk, and creak back down the corridor
to a ghost bedroom, chilly and too big.
No, but the necklace! Burst
and scattered agates sprayed apart and rolled
under the furniture, and it was lost,
a labyrinth of winter, overnight
and not to be recovered. Somehow scaled
in those cold globes was a whole summer’s wealth of light.
I lean my ladder on
the beautiful, the flawed
handiwork of God
and turn to spy my son
busy way down there
patching a balloon,
filling in the moon.
The whole world needs repair.
Broken! he calls the moon
if it is less than round.
These syllables resound
as lightbulb, pencil, tile
get broken. His decree
Fix it! shows faith in me
that prompts me first to smile
and then suppress a sigh
and fetching tape and glue
climb up to mend the blue
disasters in the sky.
I lean my ladder on
the beautiful, the flawed
handiwork of God
and turn to spy my son.
Time to tunnel deeper into winter.
Broken! the boy cries, pointing at the moon.
Agates roll downhill into the river.
I stretch my chilly legs awake and wonder
whether this absence will seem warmer soon
and, sighing, rise: another day of winter.
It’s not as if I’m lonely. I’m a mother,
busy with fixing—pop went that balloon.
Agates roll away into a river
opaque with ice. So walk across the water,
so fix the brownouts of a cloudy sun?
No use. We’re heading deeper into winter.
What has been lost is gone and gone forever:
such knowledge is what forty winters mean.
My agates (yours?)—they vanished in the river
like last year’s snows. The only ever after
is what’s already written in the rune
of losses deeply etched into the winter
while agates settle blackly at the bottom of the river.
Something terrible is going to happen.
Something terrible has already happened.
Up from the dark words of authority rise,
anger, affection. Lights
gleam a minute till the door is slammed.
Easier to instruct anyone else in the truth of feeling
than try to span the awful gap yourself,
yourself to search for stones to leapfrog on
across the—is it water or a tunnel?
And in. And shut that door.
I don’t hear or listen well these days.
Did you say your new poem about your father
was to be called “Lines Found in a Bottle”?
I think I got it wrong. This bottle had
milk in it, bourbon, apple juice—not words.
It plugged three generations’ mouths to dumbness.
Weaned to a cup, my son escaped the bottle
and now eats sugar by the spoonful. I chew gum.
Faces stuffed, we slam right out of this
impossible world, propelled at speed
by terror, rage, loss,
and enter the shadow room of mourning.
Now it is multiplied as in a hall of mirrors.
Unpeeled of memory, ranks of men leap up
leaving lighted rooms with a start to go
in search of those lost lives:
precious particulars of how and when,
not whether, something terrible has happened.
“Both my fathers have cancer,” you said once.
I think you said it. Asymmetrically
you had two fathers, I had none. I had to
run upstairs one summer, slam a door,
and cry about my father: not that the loss was fresh
but that downstairs a woman also wept
whose ripened loss matched mine.
Two wounds touching start to bleed again.
Wetness is blessed: fountain stubbornly tumbling
to rise again over dust, shit, shards of glass.
“Now I want to kneel at a stream and drink,
or drink from a cup”; words flow from you
the week I’m teaching water, dipping deep
in Walden Pond, cursing aridities.
It had been said before as praise: “Recovered
greenness”; as prayer: Send my roots rain.”
Subterranean fathers hollowly
boom at the bottom of their empty cistern
Drink me. My son’s new interest in drains
and water fountains (mountains, as he calls them):
he squats or lies face down to peer below
the grating; stretches up to touch the water.
Mountain of water, shine another spring
so we can drink from you and wet our lips
or raise a chancy cup
and across the rim salute each other’s
continued greenness. But the wind blows fresh
and filthy from the river.
Fix what is broken. What is scattered gather.
Easy to say. Not far from here, a woman
looks up to meet her eyes in the mirror
and sees a death. Her own?
Something terrible is about to happen?
Something terrible has already happened.
Not in the dead of winter
her father went, but one day before Easter
he walked the green, the warming earth, then vanished.
Pieces of his shirt still lay on the rug that night
where they’d cut it off to try to start his heart.
The tick, the march, inexorable. She touches
her own heart. It’s beating.
Wait. There are children sleeping.
There is unfinished music on the table.
The rest of a life waits on the other side of the mirror
and also somewhere invisible a limit.
A wall. If it were only painted black,
if she could see dark glass, it would be clearer.
She would be able to turn away from light
awhile and walk the room of the dead and say
it again: Something terrible has happened.
Fix what is broken. What is scattered gather.
Love’s gift of agates sown on the barren winter:
find them, restring them in another order.
And news of the lost father—
bottle bobbing, contents still unread,
toward a nameless destination,
perhaps a country where there are no fathers,
far out across the black and oily water.
Swoop of a bird swung between high walls.
Cry of a child rising from the house of darkness.
Up, uppie, says the boy, and holds his arms
up to be lifted in a world where sink
and table, chair and crib are still so tall
they have to be looked up to. Uppie, up!
The small bones lengthen, stretching in his sleep.
He is growing up. Our idiom features
cosily preposition-ended phrases
as well for aging, as slow down, dry out,
finally shrivel up.
Withered, a bush blows hard in autumn wind,
bald of petals now but still upright,
obeying the commands of appetite.
:: Rachel Hadas, Pass It On (1989)
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The sky cracks along
a branch of sycamore: its fault.
The sidewalk, split in jigsaw-
puzzle pieces by the roots,
lifts, oblique to itself.
The foreground--leaves and bark--
collapses like a sinkhole
while the sky's crazed blue
bulges like heavy crockery.
Everything seems to have two
sides. I could be wrong.
:: Joan Larkin, A Long Sound (1986)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
In 2009, the Stadler Center for Poetry will conduct the twenty-fifth annual Seminar for Younger Poets. Held for three weeks in June, the Seminar provides an extended opportunity for undergraduate poets to write and to be guided by established poets. Staff and visiting poets conduct writing workshops and offer lecture/discussions, present readings of their own work, and are available for individual conferences. In the past, such poets as Robin Becker, Denise Duhamel, Linda Gregg, Terrance Hayes, James Harms, Mary Ruefle, Gerald Stern, David St. John, Michael Waters, and Kazim Ali have served as visiting poets. Numerous readings provide the participants with the opportunity to hear and be heard by their peers. Applicants compete for ten places in the Seminar, all of which come with fellowships. Fellowships include tuition, housing in campus apartments, and meals. Accepted students are responsible only for their travel to Bucknell and a modest library deposit. A limited number of travel scholarships are available on the basis of need.
For the 2009 Seminar, visiting poets Kwame Dawes and Dana Levin will join director G. C. Waldrep and staff members Deirdre O'Connor, Erinn Batykefer, and K. A. Hays.
The dates of the 2009 Seminar will be Sunday, June 7, to Sunday, June 28. The postmark deadline for applications is Friday, January 30. Click here for complete application guidelines and here for a program FAQ.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Shape of a Box, YouTube's first literary magazine, accepts submissions year round but we'd like to announce a special request.
- Are you going to AWP? If you are and want to submit work between now and February 1st, and it is accepted, the Editor of Shape of a Box will be available at AWP to record video or audio of you reading your piece for publication!
- Our guidelines are available here or here, but in short, send 1-6 pieces (at about 500 words, although we have worked with 1000 word pieces) pasted into the body of the email.
- Any genre is welcome (poetry, non-fiction, fiction, stage/screen, graphic novel type work etc).
- Look forward to reading your work at AWP!
- One-year appointment, beginning August 2009, for a creative writer who plans a career that involves college-level teaching, to teach three courses per semester, including Introduction to Creative Writing and an advanced course in the writer's genre, as well as to assist with departmental writing activities.
- Mentorship for teaching and assistance in professional development provided.
- M.A., with a concentration in creative writing, M.F.A., or Ph.D. with creative dissertation required. Teaching experience and literary magazine publications are essential.
- Competitive salary.
- To apply, send letter of application, c.v., the names of three references, and a 5-10 page writing sample to Emerging Writer Lectureship; Department of English, Box 397; Gettysburg College; 300 N. Washington St.; Gettysburg, PA 17325.
- Applications must be postmarked by January 30, 2009. Electronic applications will not be accepted.
- Gettysburg College is a highly selective liberal arts college located within 90 minutes of the Washington/Baltimore metropolitan area. Established in 1832, the College has a rich history and is situated on a 220-acre campus with an enrollment of over 2,600 students.
- Gettysburg College celebrates diversity and welcomes applications from members of any group that has been historically underrepresented in the American academy. The College assures equal employment opportunity and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, and disability.
- A prize of $1,000 and publication will be awarded by Finishing Line Press for a chapbook-length poetry collection.
- Open to women who have never before published a full-length poetry collection; previous chapbook publication does not disqualify.
- All entries will be considered for publication, and the top-ten finalists will be offered publication.
- Submit up to 26 pages of poetry, PLUS bio, acknowledgments, SASE and cover letter with a $15 entry fee by Deadline: Feb. 15, 2009 (POSTMARK).
- Carol Hamilton will be the final judge.
- Winner will be announced on our website.
- Send to: New Women's Voices Chapbook Competition; Finishing Line Press; PO Box 1626; Georgetown, KY 40324
- Visit website for further entry instructions.
Applications must be received by April 15, 2009, to be considered. Decisions will be announced by July 1st. For further information about applying to Writers in the Heartland, see our website or contact us by e-mail.
The Elma Stuckey Liberal Arts and Sciences Emerging Poet-in-Residence starts August 2009.
Poets from underrepresented communities and/or those who bring diverse cultural, ethnic, theoretical, and national perspectives to their writing and teaching are particularly encouraged to apply.
Successful candidate will teach one course per semester (undergraduate workshop, craft, and/or literature seminars), give a public reading, and possibly supervise a small number of graduate theses.
Qualified candidates will have received an M.F.A. in poetry, or Ph.D. in English (with creative dissertation) , or other relevant terminal degree in past five years; demonstrate excellence and experience in college-level teaching; and will have strong record of publication in national literary magazines (but will have published no more than one full-length poetry collection).
Salary: $30,000 for the year.
Send cover letter, curriculum vitae, 5-page sample of published poetry (photocopies are fine), sample syllabus for undergraduate or graduate-level poetry workshop or literature course, three letters of recommendation (at least one should address teaching), and statement of teaching philosophy to: Tony Trigilio, Director, Creative Writing - Poetry, Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60605.
Postmark deadline for applications: February 15, 2009.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
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A truly comforting e-mail from Robin (Becker) today, regarding our loss of Sadie. I should publicly thank all of you for your condolences. And for those who can't imagine being *that attached* to a dog, well I send you my own condolences for the emptiness where your soul would otherwise be.
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I'm not attending AWP this year, but for those of you who are, tell me: which of the panels or related events are you most looking forward to? You'll feed my vicarious hunger, and hopefully provide some good tips for folks who are trying to decide what not to miss.
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We had homemade pizza for dinner last night, loaded with broccoli, zucchini, garlic, onions, baby bella mushrooms, and turkey sausage. I wept, eating my crust: Sadie always loved the pizza bones.
[photo: me working on a mini quilt (photo by R Barlow)]