Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Instead

So, instead of writing a new post, as I sat down to do, I've spent the better part of an hour clicking and updating my links section. Dead links are gone. Some blogs, though not current, remain because maybe, like me, their writers are doing other things right now but may return to blogging. I hope so. Oh, and I started a new poem based on a line from a poem by Jose Angel Araguz, from his new chapbook The Divorce Suite. When I'm not writing poems, it seems that often the way back to them is to use this springboard technique, getting a running start with another's language or image.  

Very excited to be meeting up with Jose this Thursday: coffee in Clifton, my old hangout from so many years ago. 



Edie (Whispering): Poems from Grey Gardens | Sarah Nichols

Edie (Whispering): Poems from Grey Gardens, by Sarah Nichols (dancing girl press, 2015). Saddle-stapled, unpaginated.

Transcript excerpts set into brief poems. If you're a fan of Grey Gardens (any version), you'd likely expect these poems to add some layer, however thin (it is a spare chapbook), to the Big Edie-Little Edie spectacle. I can't really say that's true of this collection, though it's nice to read some of my favorite quotes from the documentary. If you've never seen the films or play, this might be a good invitation to do so.

[Rebound with size 10 plum variegated cord.]

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Caught on a line: Christina Hutchins

Here are lines from Christina Hutchins' chapbook, Radiantly We Inhabit the Air, that I copied today into my journal as part of my ongoing project to write a poem that arises from every 7KP chapbook I've published. Several poems from this project appeared in issue 14 of Assaracus (Joy Exhaustible: Assaracus Presents the Publishers). My thanks to Bryan and Seth for reaching out to me for some poems; their encouragement convinced me that this project is worth pursuing.

Language has lingered into slow scents
-          “Between Pages of Our Dictionary”

A joyful dog barked the letters of foul words.
-          “The Music Inside”

Hairs, collected and abandoned, line the inner nests/ of unknown birds
-          “The Music Inside”

before even I was plated with a name
-          “Interregnum”

yet I craved the broken levee
-          “Interregnum”

a day already underway
-          “Interregnum”

I stole a fingernail of brick
-          “A Traveler Is Met by Touch”

there is nowhere loss will refuse/ to take us
-          “A Way Back to Life”

          I listened again to the troubles of the creek

-          “Turnstile”

Mountain of work

Wednesday. My day off. I had originally planned to visit Mom so we could try making quilt squares using the new method that LW posted online, but Mom has a bad sinus infection running into its second week now and was finally able to move her Friday appointment to today. And I am so far behind with the press, I don’t know how to catch up:
·         25 copies for T
·         23 copies for E
·         35 copies of L’s new chap, which should have dropped today
·         proofs to set for K and D
·         15 copies ASAP to A
·         many orders to fill
·         finish Ploughshares interview questions
·         get E’s proof out to her


And laundry. And bills. And throwing everything into the crockpot for tonight’s dinner. I slept till 9:30 and went out for a quick breakfast because I need time to think and write, “me” time, if only for an hour, before tackling a mountain of work I can’t possibly finish today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In haste

Wednesday. Hastily assembled a third proof copy for L and shipped it off—express mail, for $23—then treated myself to breakfast. My only day off in a week; the bonus is that I get overtime but the toll is that I was too tired to stay awake after T and I went to bed. 

God bless the animated old lady two booths away, her quavering lively voice at shouting level as she recounts her travel adventures. And someone please bring her food so she will shut up and eat.

N posted on FB a few days back a photo of his new chapbook from _____ Press, and when I clicked the link—interesting cover, hand-tied chap—I thought hmm, why haven’t I bought anything from them before? Then I scrolled through several pages and remembered: their chapbooks look pretty horrible: awful font choices and designs, no consistency. The only other title I wanted to order is by R (one of my authors). 

N's chapbook arrived yesterday and looks good, well-made, but with an odd white border (the cover is not full-bleed), about an eighth-inch wide, that I immediately wanted to trim off. Otherwise it’s quite nicely made. Congrats to N. I don’t know when I’ll have time to read it.


Today: dishes, while I put together the Summer Kitchen proofs to mail out tomorrow. And I need to get D’s proof together ASAP. I owe about fifty author copies right now, and maybe 35 orders need to be filled. Ack.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Nothing to say

So D asked, and, grateful to be asked, I said yes but thought immediately that I have nothing to share because I write so little these days. I don’t have any advice except the obvious: keep doing what works. I work in retail now, far from academia, far from colleagues who might drop by to discuss what we’re writing or reading. Has social media become my literary lifeline? A couple of years ago, I wrote 28 poems during April, and almost every poem was started in my car. Three decades ago, I went to my department chair (I was an academic administrator) and asked for writing time; he gave me a key to a windowless office with an electric typewriter, and there I composed poems on my lunch hour. It can be done.

Much of my free time is spent promoting, as much as I’m able, the work of others. Does editing and publishing prevent me from writing? I don’t think of these evenings as lost opportunities—I love working on chapbooks—but I definitely fantasize about a room without internet where I might escape long enough to finish my next book (or maybe just a poem or two).


I’m writing this at my old desk, a work table in the corner of the bedroom, the quietest spot in the apartment. The spider plant I started from two pinched cuttings has just this week sent out its first offshoot, a slender wiry arm with tiny leaves unfolding at the tip. 35 years ago a student intern told me the plant’s Spanish name was mala madre—because they throw away their young—and I grabbed that name to use in a poem. Once a man I went home with told me the secret to growing spider plants was to pinch off all those shoots, redirect the energy into the main stalk. But the new plants, if left to develop, are still attached to the mother plant; they’re not so much orphans as literal offshoots. Clones. Am I writing the same poem? Am I too attached to them? Is that why I’ve stopped? If I don’t get the poem out, do I reabsorb its potential?