- I finished John Daniel's Looking After last night, wishing I liked it better but determined to stick through to the end. In brief, here's why.
- I suspended the Free Book Friday giveaway because--well, because I wasn't getting reimbursed for the postage. Which isn't a huge deal, but could become one if it continued. May bring it back later; we'll see. Meanwhile, there's always paperbackswap.com, where I've already given away about 70 books, most of them traded for poetry or quilting books, which makes me very happy. It's like a perpetual birthday at the post office these days.
- If you're a Goodreads fan (and if not, you should be) and have any favorite LGBT poetry titles, please consider adding them to this list. I set it up late last night after searching and not finding one in their Listopia section. It's woefully incomplete, and I will add more titles, but I can only tack on about 25 more before reaching the limit and the ones I've posted already are more alphabetical than in any order of "bestness"--so please do add/vote for your favorites.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sometimes I'm a total sucker for this kind of jaunty, topical, oh-so-clever pop art. I opened this very slender item at the press table at this year's Small Press Festival in Pittsburgh, read one random poem, and had to buy it. I was not disappointed.
View all my reviews
Friday, November 12, 2010
- Los relampagos de agosto by Jorge Ibarguengoitia, a nice 1979 paperback edition purchased in Puebla, Mexico back in 1991. Great condition.
- La barca sin pescador by Alejandor Casona: first American edition, hardcover, published in 1955 by Oxford University Press. Spanish with an English introduction. Book is in good condition, but spine and part of back cover have some cloth deterioration ("scabby" spots).
- Y no se lo trago la tierra by Tomas Rivera, published as a bilingual Spanish/English volume. The translation, And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, is by Evangelina Vigil-Pinon. First paperback edition, published in 1987 by Arte Publico Press in Houston. Pretty good shape, with some edge wear to the covers.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Remember: you may claim this book for free by posting a response here, to this blog post, or on Facebook (I cross-post there after this post appears). I will ship your item(s) by Media Mail; all I ask is that you reimburse me for the postage.
Speaking of free books, if you haven't heard of PaperbackSwap.com, you should really check it out. I managed to unload eight books within 48 hours of joining, and can't wait for my "swap credits" to roll in so I can... err, get more books, yeah.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I'm also giving away an audio tape (for those of you who still use that technology) of James Wright reading at the Guggenheim on 3/20/64 and 10/28/78. This was produced as part of the Academy of American Poets' Audio Archive; I somehow have two copies and so it's easy to let this one go to a good home.
Remember: you may claim either item (or both) for free by posting a response here, to this blog post, or on Facebook (I cross-post there after this post appears). I will ship your item(s) by Media Mail; all I ask is that you reimburse me for the postage.
Because I'm a day late posting this, we'll give everyone until Tuesday morning to stake a claim. Next week I'll try to get back on my regular schedule.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Remember: you may claim either book (or both) for free by posting a response here, to this blog post, or on Facebook (I'll cross-post there once this post goes up at midnight tonight). I will ship you the book(s) by Media Mail; all I ask is that you reimburse me for the postage.
Next weekend: some Octavio Paz. Stay tuned.
Friday, October 15, 2010
This is a paperback copy, first Perennial Library edition. It has a corner cut out of the front end page where my name and the date used to be inscribed. I probably won't do that again.
Who wants it?
Some of these boxes have not been opened since I packed them in Houston in 2001. Or thereabouts. I can't remember. So it was a joy this evening to slit the yellow packing tape, open the corrugated flaps (dusty! phew!) and find my copies of William Stafford's You Must Revise Your Life & Writing the Australian Crawl sandwiched beneath the fantastic anthology Another Republic (which I bought in Houston for Garrett Hongo's undergraduate poetry course) and the hmm-why-do-I-still-have-this Roadside Flowers of Texas.
Oh, books. I love you but I can't revisit all of you. It's such a shame to lock you in the attic for another ten years. I've already given hundreds--hundreds--of you away to a couple of college libraries. Mainly poetry, yes, which takes up so little space compared to the Encyclopedia of Aquarium Fishes and the Pequeno LaRousse Ilustrado and Philip Lopate's The Art of the Personal Essay. Last night I dreamed that I picked one of you each week to give away, orphaning you one at a time to lessen the pain of parting, by setting a fresh book out on the front stoop each Friday with a little note tied around its middle: Free to a good home. This afternoon I remembered the dream and thought, Why not? I'll call it "Free Book Friday" (so original) and maybe, ooohh, maybe I can post a cover scan or a book synopsis or a sample paragraph (or stanza) online the day before so if anyone online wants the book they can call dibs before it Yes, this could turn my personal loss into a collective gain! What's not to love about this idea?
Umm . . . what about all that postage?
Oh, yeah. Crap. It would cost me an arm & a leg to downsize that way. Not all at once, maybe a knuckle or toenail at a time, but still, it's money I do not have. Books I have; money--not so much.
And then I thought about the internet, and Facebook and Goodreads and Paypal and all the readers and writers I'm linked to, and you know what? It doesn't sound that crazy to me. It could actually work. If someone really wants the book and she doesn't live close enough to nab it from my front stoop, surely it's worth the price of shipping. Media Mail is pretty cheap.
So how about it? I can post this weekend's victim--err, selection--on Friday at, say, midnight (Pennsylvania time) and the first person to claim it can reimburse me for shipping once it gets to wherever it's going. If no one wants it, I'll set it on the stoop come Monday morning.
I'm going to give this a whirl. And I'm counting on all you interconnected cyber-readers out there to help make this work. I'll post the first giveaway at midnight & cross-post on Facebook, just to get us started. Let's do this!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
- Cyndi's Catalog of Garden Catalogs - just what you'd expect.
- Johnny's Selected Seeds - an old favorite
- Richter's Herbs - located in Canada; a terrific range of herb seeds & plants
- Seed Savers Exchange - for those all-important heirloom varieties
- Thompson & Morgan - an extensive catalog with some unusual offerings
- White Flower Farm - I feel like I'm stealing from Martha Stewart's garden when I order from here
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
What makes him so special? I offered. She laughed. I told her next week was my 50th and that there might be another 35 cards coming in. My mother really should have bought stock in Hallmark in the Sixties.
Opening the cards at my desk after we got home and reading the little notes was an exercise in memory and forgetting: Remember the chestnut tree? Remember when you painted the fence and thought you'd never get done? I brought you cold drinks . . . I do remember the fence (split rail, and I painted it a dark, dark gray, and had to cut down an enormous forsythia bush) but I didn't remember the other part. How spotty is memory. Or maybe just mine?
Bright envelopes: blues, yellows, some greens. Little stickers of dogs, cats, butterflies. One with a row of baby ducks, which triggers the memory of getting six tiny ducklings as a birthday surprise for her, and trying to keep them hidden in my bedroom closet for a whole day: six peeping birds in a cardboard box. Another story, but the look of utter joy on her face when we dumped them onto the living room carpet. . . And of course I will save the cards in the same box where I keep all her letters, but I keep looking at the envelopes: What can I make of these?
--A quilt, of course. Of sorts. A paper quilt. Ohio Star? Too complicated?
And by the way, the trip to Choe's was a great success. We bought oodles of noodles, mung beans, hot pepper paste, a huge jar of kimchi . . . Then we tracked down a Vietnamese shop and got more goodies, including fresh gai lon and a big bag of the cutest little baby bok choy--I mean I wanted to kiss them, they looked that cute. Why does baby bok choy affect me the way most people respond to actual babies? Why ask why? We're eating well this weekend.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Maybe they are only visible once the site is publicly searchable? --That doesn't make sense, because I want to get everything loaded before it goes public.
I'm flummoxed. I'm walking away from it for a little while. Ah, gardening: something I'm really good at.
I mean, yes, I can always find something to do (two new chapbooks launched the same week, am I that crazy?) but I am not, I repeat not, a night owl.
We've got to stop meeting like this. I'd rather see you in my dreams.
Yes, two chapbooks: To the Refrigerator Gods by Terry Kirts came out on Monday--#8 in the Editor's Series, and on Wednesday (today) (though it's already Thursday), Guillermo Castro's Cry Me a Lorca came out--#4 in the limited-edition Summer Kitchen Series. I've been up late putting together a big batch of copies and cheating on my Red Sox by half-watching the Mets' lackluster effort to avoid being swept by the Diamondbacks. I gave up in the 12th inning: don't know, don't care.
I've spent hours every day this week typing in book & author data for Seven Kitchens' new online home. Yeah, we're jumping over to Word Press on August 1st, ready or not. I think we'll be ready. All the book pages are loaded. I need to add Paypal links (which should be easy, having just done this last week on the Blogger site) and move all the author updates to new subpages. That'll take about a week. Then a few days to let our authors preview the site and hit me back with any fixes that need attending to. Then we launch!
I should have a party. Or even better, a sale. But I wanted to have a sale this fall on our three-year anniversary, if I can figure out exactly when that is.
Slowly cutting through the pile of papers and files on my desk. There were two piles; now there's only one, and I made a good dent in it today. Progress! I want to make room for my old printer here on the desk beside the laser printer: I need it for color scanning and for printing drafts.
Harvested the first good handful of tomatoes today. We've been eating the yellow pears as they ripen, one at a time. These are thumb-sized, red tomatoes, I can't remember the name. And the yard-long beans, which I planted way too early in May, have suddenly come alive after languishing beneath the peas for months: tendrils snaking everywhere, and even a couple of flowers, though they were surprisingly dull--I was expecting more yellow or pink or even cream-colored blossoms, but these were a drab dirty-dishrag off-off-white. If I were a bee I wouldn't even stop to investigate.
There's a birthday with my name on it, and I can almost hear it slouching towards Lewisburg: the Big One. The half-century mark. I don't know what fifty is supposed to feel like, but I do admit that as I edge daily closer to this milestone, my ability to accommodate it as a tangible aspect of my reality, my identity, sheers off increasingly into disbelief.
Aaaand then I look into the bathroom mirror. No need to pinch me; I know this one is real.
Friday, July 02, 2010
. . .
Turned in my keys and ID today at Lyco. They asked for my parking decal as well. (Sure, no problem.) The only surprise was that there's no way to store & retrieve three years of e-mail, unless I go back in, have someone unlock my old office, and painstakingly forward each e-mail to myself. Umm, I could have used that information a few weeks ago; at least I'd have had time to forward some of the important stuff.
Other than that glitch, a very satisfactory three-year gig. I will miss it.
. . .
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
I've been cleaning the upstairs bookcases at the rate of roughly one shelf per day. So many books to sort through--keep out? box away for now?--and then there are the binders. Binders dating way back. Binders containing every rejection slip I received for my poems. Binders full of correspondence. Binders of journals from high school. Binders documenting people (and years) I don't even remember.
Oh, God. Did I ever buy Ziggy cards? I think I did. And smarmy pastel Blue Mountain Arts cards with insipid verses by Susan Polis Schutz. I always thought it was Schultz. But no, here's a card copyrighted 1982, all salmon and purple, and it's Schutz: When the/world closes in/and lies so heavily upon you.../ remember that I care. (It goes on. I won't.)
Oh, God. Who was I?
Sunday, June 13, 2010
July 1 is the deadline for the anthology Queer Girls in Class: Lesbian Teachers and Students Tell Their Classroom Stories, a collection of personal narratives. . . For more information or to submit work, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 1 is also the deadline for entries to the Atlanta Queer Lit Fest's Broadside Contest. The winner will receive $200, 100 copies, and a keynote reading invite at the festival. Full details are at http://www/atlqueerlitfest.com/.
[Thanks to Jameson Currier's queertype blog for this information.]
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
Saturday, May 01, 2010
1) Tara Mae; 2) Stephanie Goehring; 3) Jen Gresham; 4) Matthew Thorburn; 5) Marie Gauthier; 6) Eldritch1313; 7) Carl Palmer; 8) totalfeckineejit; and 9) zooeylive.
You've won the following books, in corresponding numerical order:
1) my book, Survivable World; 2) Daniel Rzicznek's Neck of the World; 3) Boyer Rickel's reliquary; 4) Christine Klocek-Lim's The book of small treasures; 5) Deborah Burnham's Still; 6) Kevin McLellan's Round Trip; 7) Christina Pacosz's Notes from the Red Zone; 8) Matthew Hittinger's Platos de Sal; and 9) RJ Gibson's Scavenge.
You can read more about the last seven titles over at Seven Kitchens. Meanwhile, I'll be contacting y'all for mailing addresses this weekend. Congratulations and Happy National Poetry Month!
Friday, April 30, 2010
Which I do not plan to adhere to: at least not the public part, though the daily aspect has certainly made me more consciously aware of language and its little surprises, something I thought had become part of my nature but which, I realize now, had been dulled (by not enough reading, by isolation from other poets, by--ehh, we'll leave it at that).
So here's my last offering, the only poem this month generated by an exercise--specifically, Rita Dove's "Ten-Minute Spill"--though I kept tinkering with it past the initial ten minute mark (more like an hour and ten minutes):
:: bloop ::
Thanks for reading, y'all, and for the encouragement to hang with this project.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
:: bloop ::
. . . And that's all he wrote of that one. Still grading papers here and not much time for writing, but I'll give it my best tomorrow morning and see what comes of the final--yahoo, the final!--poem-a-day post.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
:: bloop ::
Well, that's that: two days to go. No idea what I'm writing tomorrow, but this has been an awesome experience and I want to thank y'all now for your supportive enthusiasm.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
:: bloop ::
Thanks for reading, y'all.
Monday, April 26, 2010
One of my students wrote a powerful, beautiful villanelle from a line by Ned Rorem, a line I'd been carrying around in my head for a few years: Here is the boy who will breathe my air. He wrote it in response to an ultrasound image of his soon-to-be-born son. His poem was at once a celebration and an acknowledgment of his own mortality. In many ways, his poem is better than the one I finally wrote this Saturday.
I didn't post this on Saturday because I'd written something else as well, but also because it's about a particularly crushing moment in one's career and--because anyone who knows me knows where I've worked for the past ten years--I didn't want to hurt any feelings.
But fuck that. It's a poem, for Pete's sake, and it's driven as much by its form and meter and rhyme scheme as by any "truth" at its heart. And the scene it describes happened only in my head, not where I work(ed). So all disclaimers aside, here's the villanelle I have been trying to write:
:: bloop ::
Thanks for reading, y'all. See you tomorrow.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
:: bloop ::
Wow. Only one week to go.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
:: bloop ::
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I OFFER THIS POOR LIMERICK, THE SECOND LINE
OF WHICH WAS PROFERRED BY KATE HANCOCK
BACK WHEN SHE WAS KATE HANCOCK IN OUR
UNDERGRADUATE DAYS OH SO MANY YEARS AGO
An inventive young lad from Bombay
used to sit on his elbows to pray.
Though scorned and abused
he steadfastly refused
to pray the traditional way.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
:: bloop ::
Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow at the halfway point.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
:: bloop ::
Thanks, y'all, and see you tomorrow.
Friday, April 09, 2010
:: bloop ::
Thanks for reading. Back at it tomorrow.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
:: bloop ::
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Wishing everyone at AWP in Denver a great conference. Since I last went, the bulk of my acquaintance-making has been virtual (though no less "real"). Maybe next year in DC we'll all meet for realzes.
Here's this morning's poem:
:: bloop ::
Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Monday, April 05, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
So here we go, blindly:
:: bloop ::
See ya tomorrow.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Here's my poem draft for Day Two of National Poetry Writing Month:
:: bloop ::
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Congrats to Todd Davis, whose poem "The Saints of April" is scheduled for today on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. Here's a link to that file: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2010/04/01
(Thanks to Katie for the heads up!)
And great good luck to all the poets participating in NaPoWriMo this month. Here's my own first effort:
:: bloop ::
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I will be giving away one copy of my book, Survivable World, and one hardcover copy of F. Daniel Rzicznek's Neck of the World (winner of the May Swenson Poetry Award and published in 2007).
All you have to do is write a response to this blog post (this one, right here, the one you are reading right now) before midnight on April 30th. On May 1st, I will randomly select two of the comment posters; each will be mailed one of the books. (So if you post, be sure that I have a way of reaching you in case I need your mailing address.) You don't pay a thing.
Update, 4/06: I've decided to sweeten the odds. For every five persons who respond to this blog post, I'll add a chapbook from my micropress. Right now, we have fifteen comments, so I'm adding three chapbooks to the giveaway pile: reliquary, by Boyer Rickel; The book of small treasures, by Christine Klocek-Lim; and Still, by Deborah Burnham. Feel free to spread the word!
4/19 update: We've surpassed 25 comments, which means two more chapbooks are up for grabs: Round Trip, collaborative poems by Kevin McLellan and fifteen poets, and Notes from the Red Zone, by Christina Pacosz. Thanks for spreading the word, y'all.
4/24 update: Keep the comments coming! With 30 folks responding, I'm adding a copy of Matthew Hittinger's Platos de Sal.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
If you've never heard of NaPoWriMo, click here. There's still time to join us!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Friday, March 05, 2010
in the seat behind me screeches
his miniature guts out. Instead of dreaming
of stuffing a wad of duct tape into his mouth,
I envy him, how he lets his pain spurt
into the open. I wish I could drill
a pipeline into the fields of ache, tap
a howl. How long would I need to sob
before the lady beside me dropped
her fashion rag, dipped a palm
into the puddle of me? How many
whimpers before another passenger
joined in? Soon the stewardess
hunched over the drink cart, the pilot
gushing into the controls, the entire plane:
an arrow of grief quivering through the sky.
:: Jeffrey McDaniel, The Endarkenment
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Day Two of spring break:
- essays graded: 0
- chapbook review copies addressed & ready to ship: 10
- copies ready to ship to buyers (thank you!) and entrants (thank you!): 15
- new chapbook covers designed: 2
- inches of new snow received: 0
- hours till we finally get to see Avatar: 3
- spending my Sunday as I choose for once: priceless
Friday, February 19, 2010
but they brought me the message and I ran,
I ran to the phone where you were,
you were speaking, we two were speaking,
when I ran back to the room I no longer
knew we would speak again. Twenty minutes
and I was gone, there was a plane,
and another, there was a friend who took
me to you, you were asleep. I didn't know
there was still any question, I only learned
later, everything later, weeks later I was
still frightened of all that I learned.
I swear though I knew it was there I scarcely
saw the hose taped to your mouth, its ridges
that breathed in case you did not; scarcely saw
the twin tubes coming out of your chest or
the blood running through them and into the pump
that returned to your wrist, quietly, steadily,
what belonged there. The slenderer tubes
that entered the side of your neck I scarcely
noticed; not the empty ones waiting for something
not needed, not the ones drawing fluids
from three labeled bags. They had washed you,
I barely noticed the yellow stains and the blood
that remained on your skin. They had cut you,
I did not see the bandages holding the length
of the chest, they lay where I should have been
lying, I did not understand. I did not see
the wounds on your side where some scalpel or saw
had been dropped or some heated or iced tool
had burned. The monitor's chiming ws nothing,
someone would come, they would turn it off.
The slash stapling the crease of your thigh was
nothing. When the nurse turned the white valve
near the collarbones' nest before opening one
on the wrist, there was not one cell of my body
that needed to understand. I barely felt the bars
where my hand fitted into your hand, the rail
that days afterward still tracked my cheek.
The urine that drained to the sack below us must
have been warm, I must have touched it, I should
have known it was warm wih your warmth but I did not.
I waited. I knew the sweetness I smelled
on your body was powder, was baby powder, I did
not understand, but I knew they had given you back
to this world for a second time and I waited
for you to agree. I waited for you to open your eyes,
a first time, another, another. I waited until
you were sure, until every part of you stayed.
:: Jane Hirshfield, in Five Points 1:3 (1997)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
First, I've been making the rounds in my department, getting letters of recommendation lined up for the necessary and energy-consuming job application process. I'm currently in my third year of a one-year visiting contract: I love what I'm doing and where I'm working, but there's no hope of it becoming a permanent gig. Reality looms.
And second, I'm shooting PDF copies of a chapbook by one of our upcoming Seven Kitchens authors to a few folks who have generously agreed to write blurbs.
I know that writing a blurb is nothing like writing a letter of recommendation. I've done a few of both, though, and I can tell you that to me they feel much the same: in the end, I always feel that (a) I could have done a better job and (b) the friend/colleague/student should have picked someone else (because that someone else could have done a better job).
As for being on the receiving end, the truth is that I come unraveled when anyone says something truly thoughtful, positive, and supportive about my work. You might not think that a Leo should have such difficulty with praise, but I do. I lose it for a moment--a brief moment, like today when I saw the letter a generous colleague had written for me: I had myself a good, quick cry and then, with a scant ten minutes left to prepare for class, I pulled my act together like Mama Rose and threw myself into what I do, sometimes, almost as well as the man described in that letter.
As I said in a quick message to our author mentioned above, it's very good to have such good friends, mentors, colleagues. And I want to thank them--hers, mine, and yours--all of you out there, trying to do what we do as well as we can do it. My life has been so enriched, and I am truly grateful for every gesture, large and small, that all of you have made to help hold someone else up, keep someone going, keep someone teaching and trying and writing and growing.
Just that: one enormous thank you, too huge for me to accommodate in words (see above), but if I could--if I could stay conscious of this feeling and inhabit it with intention, maybe you might could imagine a thank you as constant and quiet and present as your next breath. And the next one. That's me, giving thanks. To you.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Classes started yesterday. I'm teaching three days a week instead of five--hooray--and hope to get some writing done at home on Tuesday mornings. Today I've been playing catch-up with the press. Trying to get completely back on schedule by the end of the month. It'll be tight, but I think we can do it.
We've been fortunate to have missed the heavy snows that socked so many others. I've warned my morning class to check the college's web page on rough weather days--I won't drive through that for a one-hour class--so of course they're probably rooting for heavy weather. Even in poor driving conditions, I think I can make the commute in time for my afternoon classes, though I'm still not crazy about being out in sleet or heavy snow. Of course this is all hypothetical so far--no actual winter storms yet. Even my holiday trip to Cincinnati went without delay. Lucky, lucky.
On Thursday, I'm attending an all-day workshop at the Writing Center at Bucknell, "Integrating Writing and Learning Across the Curriculum" with Katy Gottschalk and Keith Hjortshoj. Looking forward to that.
Over on Facebook, a recurring meme is making its rounds again: the one where you grab the nearest book, turn to page 54 and post the 5th sentence on the page. I'd forgotten how fun this random selection can be. Not exactly bibliomancy, but mild fun for anyone who loves language and accident's potential . . .