Friday, March 31, 2006

We went to Casa Batllo yesterday, which is this amazing light-filled urban apartment building designed by Gaudi. Also saw Museu Frederic Mares. But the lines were too long at the Picasso Museum, and Palau Guell was closed for remodeling (we found out after taking the subway and walk there).

A FABULOUS drag show at the hotel last night, where the pair of performers did comedy chit-chat (we could hardly understand a word, but it was still hysterically funny) between songs. They had pitch perfect voices (no lip sync here). What was fascinating to me was all the songs were sung in English: ABBA, Pointers Sisters, Temptations, Madonna, etc. They asked Dean and I where we were from, and when we said Seattle, they sang a line or two from "It´s Raining Men." (I guess that is what Seattle is still most known for: not Microsoft, or Starbucks, or Space Needle, but the rain.)

I got an email from Kathleen Flenniken saying I had a poem up on American Life in Poetry this week (Column 53). How delightful. I did not know this was coming. Perhaps someone back home will save me a copy from the Seattle Times?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Black Madonna

Dean and I took a day trip yesterday to Montserrat to see the monastery there, and the famed Black Madonna. Somehow we got on the wrong train, and about an hour into the trip, when Montserrat seemed to be getting farther away, we asked the porter, who spoke no English, and just kept shaking her head "no" when we said we were wanting to go to Montserrat. Thank god for this nice Pakistani man who spoke English (and Spanish) and helped us out. We switched trains and got there easily enough (great train system here!).

Dean and I are not very religious, but enjoy seeing all the old churches and monasteries and such. Who knows, maybe in another life we were monks. We went to the shrine of the Black Madonna that Montserrat is known for. She is all encased in glass except for a black globe that she extends through an opening, that pilgrims are allowed to touch as they shuffle past (apparently she gets about a million visitors a year. Today must have been a slow day, as there were only a handful of people in line). Anyway, I touched her globe and got a little shock, which must have been static electricity, but there was no carpet, just marble floor. And I think she spoke to me.

I read later that the globe is supposed to have healing powers for the sick, and also can transmit healing powers to caregivers. How cool is that?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Everything Gaudi

Having a great time exploring Barcelona. Gaudi was a freaking genius, and his touch is all over this city. The Pedrera is just amazing: his use of forms from nature to make these architectural wonders is fascinating to me. A real blend of science and art. Apparently, he was ultra-religious, and the Catholic church is thinking of making him a saint. I wonder if he was perhaps also a little manic. He started so many projects, many of them brilliant, but left many of them unfinished, as he always seemed to be short of cash, or simply moving on to the next thing.

We went up in the towers of Sagrada Familia: very windy, but the view of the city and the Mediterranean sea is breathtaking. They hope to have the church finished by 2030 (only about 150 years since it was started). Maybe Dean and I can get married there, if we are still around then. hehehehe. Later we went to Parc Guell, but it was overrun by students, probably highschoolers, from France and Germany, and so was not as pleasant as it could have been. Time for an ice cold Cosmo in the Hotel Axel bar. ahhhh . . .

Oh yes . . . our luggage finally got here. I was almost a little disappointed. I was looking forward to Iberia buying us a new wardrobe for the rest of the trip.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lost Luggage

We made it to Barcelona fine, depite a too tight connection at JFK to Madrid. The only problem: our bags didn´t make it here with us. It´s been almost 24 hours and still no word on where they are. Ah well . . . thank goodness we brought an extra change of clothes in our carry-ons. And if our bags don´t arrive today? Well, you know the saying: when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping! *grin*

But seriously, Barcelona is a gorgeous city. Well-designed, clean, beautiful. Looking forward to exploring the Rambla and the Barrio Gotic today, maybe Sagrada Familia this afternoon.

In other news:

The 2006 Publishing Triangle Awards
The Publishing Triangle and the Ferro-Grumley Foundation are proud to announce the finalists for the best lesbian and gay fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of the year. This awards cycle honors books published in 2005 in the United States or Canada. The finalists in the nonfiction, fiction, and poetry categories are:

The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry
Frank Bidart, Star Dust (Farrar Straus Giroux)
Peter Covino, Cut Off the Ears of Winter (New Issues)
Richard Siken, Crush (Yale University Press)

The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry
Djuna Barnes, Collected Poems with Notes Toward the Memoirs, edited by Phillip Herring and Osias Stutman (University of Wisconsin Press)
June Jordan, Directed by Desire, edited by Jan Heller Levi and Sara Miles (Copper Canyon)
Jane Miller, A Palace of Pearls (Copper Canyon)

The Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction
Thomas Glave, Words to Our Now (University of Minnesota Press)
Neil McKenna, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde (Basic Books)
Martin Moran, The Tricky Part (Beacon Press)

The Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction
Tania Katan, My One-Night Stand with Cancer (Alyson Books)
Gretchen Legler, On the Ice (Milkweed Editions)
Diana Souhami, Wild Girls (St. Martin’s Press)

The Ferro-Grumley Award for Fiction: Women
Brenda Brooks, Gotta Find Me an Angel (Raincoast Books)
Ivan E. Coyote, Loose End (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Patricia Grossman, Brian in Three Seasons (Permanent Press)

The Ferro-Grumley Awards for Fiction: Men
Darren Greer, Still Life With June (Cormorant Books)
Barry McCrea, The First Verse (Carroll & Graf)
Douglas A. Martin, Branwell (Soft Skull Press)

For the first time, the Publishing Triangle will also present an award for debut fiction, named in honor of one of our most eminent men of letters, Edmund White. Men and women compete against each other in this award:

The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction
Charlie Anders, Choir Boy (Soft Skull Press)
Mack Friedman, Setting the Lawn on Fire (University of Wisconsin Press)
Katia Noyes, Crashing America (Alyson Books)

We congratulate all of our nominees on their fine work. All of these books deserve the widest possible audience.

The winners will be announced (and honored) at a ceremony on Thursday, May 11, at the New School University in New York City. The event is free and open to the public. The winners in nonfiction, fiction, and debut fiction will receive $1,000; the poetry winners will receive $250.

But why do the pooets get only $250?? Hmmmm . . . .

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Huskies lose to Huskies

What a great game: except for the finish. We had it won! If Jensen had not stupidly fouled what's-his-name, we would have been ahead by four, not three, and what's-his-name's desperation three would not have been enough to put the game into over-time. Ah well . . . it was high drama.

We are leaving for Spain. Hope to post some from internet cafes if possible. Otherwise, see you after I get back. Y'all better behave!

Listen Up!

I don’t want no lip, no sass, no guff, no bull.
No whining, no pining, no lying, no resigning.
I don’t want any bitching, snitching, twitching or bewitching.
Any whimpering, yimpering, simpering, or dimpering.
Stop your cussing, scoffing, scorning and screeching.
Your snarling, snickering, sniping, and sneezing.
Let go your blathering, blabbering, harping and hawing.
All your yammering, jabbering, yakking and yawning.
Give up your gibbering, giggling, gobbling and gulping.
All your sniffing, snuffing, squawking and squalling.
End your murmuring, muttering, mumbling and mouthing.
Your screaming, steaming, shouting and shrieking.
I don’t want to hear you stammer, stutter, trill or twang.
Don’t want to hear you drawl, drone, hoot or howl.
I don’t want to see you waggle, wobble, whirl or weave.
Don’t want to see you zig-zag, yo-yo, yaw or sally.
Put a cork in it, put a lid on it, pipe down, clam up.
Just chill out, button down, zip up, get on.
Now scram, scatter, skeddaddle, skiddoo.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


OMG. This is the hottest new song. "SOS" by Rihanna. It takes the music of "Tainted Love," by Soft Cell, and puts new lyrics & an updated beat to it. Freaking raging hot and heavy dance music. Dean and I heard it on the way to the dry cleaners today and I cranked it up full blast as we drove down MLK, nodding and tapping and swaying all the way.


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Dean and I are looking forward to leaving Saturday for a little trip to Spain. We'll spend 5 days in Barcelona, and 5 days in Seville. Half our time in the edgy arty hedonistic place of Gaudi and Picasso; and half in the old Spain of bull fights and cathedrals and monasteries. We are looking forward to a really relaxing and fun time. We have both been working too hard lately! Thanks to KW and BL who will be watching the house while we are gone.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

News from Baghdad

These letters say it better than I ever could:

From the Seattle Times:

From "Relatives, police say 11 killed — mostly women, children — in U.S. raid" [Times, News, March 15]: "U.S. forces bombed a house during a raid north of Baghdad early Wednesday, killing 11 people — mostly women and children — while insurgent attacks elsewhere left four dead, police and relatives said.

"The U.S. military acknowledged the raid and said it captured one insurgent. It took place near Balad, about 50 miles north of the capital. But the military said only four people were killed — a man, two women and a child."

As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated so clearly and so eloquently the other day, the reports of carnage and death in Iraq are continually being grossly exaggerated by unreliable sources. As he would have us note, according to the U.S. military (as we all know, the standard-bearers for truth), we didn't kill 11 people, for crying out loud — we "only" killed a man, two women and one child.

But hey, we got one insurgent!

Do the math: If we can keep the civilian death-to-insurgent capture ratio at 4-to-1, we will win this war in a relatively short period of 27 years and the new Iraq government will then have far fewer civilians to oversee, which in turn will make its job easier and increases its chances of success.

A classic win-win situation.

— Dennis Pauley, Seattle

from the Seattle Times:

Tug of war
To save the people, has it become necessary to destroy the people?

"Solid figures missing on total death toll" [Times, News, March 19] mentioned the Lancet medical journal's estimate of 98,000 civilian deaths [in Iraq]. But as stunning as that number is, there is another statistic from the Lancet, unmentioned in the article, that is even more powerful. And it turns our perception of civilian deaths in Iraq on its head.

"[The Lancet article's] most significant finding was that the vast majority (79 percent) of violent deaths were caused by 'coalition' forces using 'helicopter gunships, rockets or other forms of aerial weaponry,' and that almost half (48 percent) of these were children, with a median age of 8."

Four out of every five civilian deaths in Iraq were caused by "aerial weaponry." The insurgents do not have aerial weaponry.

That means U.S. forces applying air firepower — not insurgent bombs — cause the overwhelming number of civilian deaths. And half of these deaths are children.

What are we doing in this war?!

— Bert Sacks, Seattle


Going "Live" with the electronic medical record at my home clinic this week. It's the first of three phases: all telephone messages and medications/refills will now be done via the computer, for phase one. The patient check-in, vitals, history, physical, lab ordering and resulting, referral ordering and reporting, assessment & plan, etc., will "go electronic" in future phases.

We have a diversity of computer aptitude among staff: from those who are totally computer phobic, and don't even use one at home; to those who used electronic records in their training and are so glad we are finally joining the 21st century. It's made for some interesting side conversations.

Somehow, we are all going to need to get on the same "screen" so to speak.

There'll be pizza delivered for lunch.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ah . . . . Spring!

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On Koch

Reading Kenneth Koch's big fat Collected Poems. What a funny guy he was. A bit long-winded, at times, with his huge essay poems, like "The Art of Poetry" and "The Art of Love." I dig his funny "knock-knock" aphorism-list poems such as "In Bed" and "Aesthetics." But I see from comparing the expert's excerpts chosen at the AWP panel with the actual poems (which are usually much longer), that Koch has great lines to quote from, but rarely a whole poem that works. For instance, "The Boiling Water," seemed like a terrific short poem from what was quoted on the panel. But they just picked out the best lines: the actual poem drones on almost 5 pages, single spaced, and loses its energy. I think Koch is better when he practices brevity:

Aesthetics of Outdoor Opera

Sing as loud
As you can
At the outdoor opera —
It will never
Be loud

Aesthetics of Being Glorious

To be glorious, take off your wings
Before you fly.

Aesthetics of Feet

To move together
Even when apart.

Or as in this short section from "Fresh Air," with its parodying of Eliot's rhythms and phrasings from Prufrock.

Supposing that one walks out into the air
On a fresh spring day and has the misfortune
To encounter an article on modern poetry
In New World Writing, or has the misfortune
To see some examples of some of the poetry
Written by men with their eyes on the myth
And the Missus and the midterms, or in the Hudson Review,
Or, if one is abroad, in Botteghe Oscure,
Or indeed in Encounter, what is one to do
With the rest of one's day that lies blasted to ruins
All bluely about one, what is one to do?
O surely not complain to the President,
Nor even to the deans of Columbia College,
Nor to T. S. Eliot, nor to Ezra Pound,
And supposing one writes to Princess Caeteni,
"Your poets are awful!" what good would it do?
And supposing one goes to the Hudson Review
With a package of matches and sets fire to the building?
One ends up in prison with trial subscriptions
To the Partisan, Sewanee, and Kenyon Review!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

March Madness, Part Two

UW 67
Illinois 64

Jeez. What a game. Talk about up and down. Talk about punch up, knock down, drag out. Talk about a game of runs. We open with a 6-0 run. They answer with a 9-0 run. We build a 28-14 lead. They go on a 19-7 run to close the half down 35-33, then open the second half with a 10-2 run to go up 43-37. Illinois stretches their lead to 12 midway through the second half, but foul trouble haunts them, and puts UW in the double-bonus the rest of the way. And despite missing several free throws, we pull it out with solid defense, and a 10-2 run of our own, to win 67-64.

And to top it off, the UW women win, too. I'm in heaven:

UW 73
Minnesota 69
I saw this over on the Verse Daily website today. I just love McHugh's wit and word-play. And how it totes up. Originally appeared in 32 Poems.

Ill-Made Almighty
No man has more assurance than a bad poet.—Martial

The logos thrives, it is crawling
with bugs. The lecturers, below,

are memorific, futurized, dead-certain
they'll go unsurprised. They don't

know nows as you do, true to no
clear destination. (You can't even act

your age, it's over-understudied.) Steady
as you go. The greatest waves are barely

bearable, alive's ill-read already,
and the Skipper is sick

of the terribly lit
graffiti in the head.

Copyright © 2004 Heather McHugh All rights reserved
from 32 Poems
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Tribute to June Jordan

2 p.m . Saturday, April 8
Central Library, Microsoft Auditorium
1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle

Seattle pays tribute to poet, activist, teacher, and essayist June Jordan (1936-2002). A prolific passionate and influential voice for liberation, Jordan lived and wrote on the frontlines of American poetry, political vision, and moral witness. Readings from Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan. Co-presented with Copper Canyon Press and The Elliott Bay Book Company.

This program is free and open to the public. Tickets and reservations are not required. Parking in the Central Library garage will be available for a $5 special event rate. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m.

For more information, see here.
Very busy with work since getting back from Austin. And then I spent all day yesterday at NW Hospital with my mother, as she was getting a stent placed into her kidney (actually, into her R renal artery, to treat renal artery stenosis). NW is a nice enough hospital, located in Seattle's north suburbs. But it always weirds me out going there, because there is a huge graveyard across the street from its main entrance. Who would build a hospital next to a cemetery? The visual pun is just too much: a blue traffic sign with word "Hospital" and an arrow pointing one way, and "Cemetery" and an arrow pointing the other way.

Anyway, she did fine, except when it came time to peel off the op-site dressing from her groin, where the angio-catheter had been inserted. She was still a little rummy from the sedatives, and yelped something along the lines of "Oh! I guess you get a free bikini wax with this procedure." Yes, just what a 76 yo grandmother needs: a free bikini wax.

Huskies won in the first round against Utah State. Bring it on Illinois!

More local Seattle poets to be heard on the PRX site:
"In this series, you will hear from a range of poets that were a part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. They are: Kent Chadwick, Kelli Russell Agodon, Felicia Gonzalez, Ted McMahon, Cody Walker, Jared Leising, Peter Pereira, Kathleen Flenniken, Stephen Thomas, and Clemens Starck."

Finally a day off today. I am going to go the gym with Dean, and to lunch with KF, and then dinner tonight with Kevin and Bob. Ahhhh . . . Hopefully some time to read some poems I've been waiting to read, as well.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Cause and the Cure

. . . for Hiccups

Listen to this live recording of me reading two silly poems about Hiccups on the PRX website (Public Radio Exchange). It's free to become a member (it's like NPR) and you'll have access to all their recording archives (including one of Walt Whitman).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


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SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS Patients will present with one or many focal, hard, painless nodules in the upper or lower eyelid. They may report some enlargement over time, and there may be a history of a painful lid infection prior to the chalazion development, but this isn't always the case. Chalazia are often recurrent, especially in cases of poor lid hygiene or concurrent blepharitis.
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY A chalazion is a non-infectious, granulomatous inflammation of the meibomian glands. The nodule itself consists of many types of steroid-responsive immune cells, including connective tissue macrophages known as histiocytes, multinucleate giant cells, plasma cells, polymorphonuclear leukocytes and eosinophils.
A chalazion may be a residual aggregation of inflammatory cells following an eyelid infection such as hordeola and preseptal cellulitis, or may develop from the retention of meibomian gland secretions.
MANAGEMENT Chalazia are non-infectious collections of immune cells that require intensive steroid therapy. Because chalazia reside deep under the skin, no topical medications will be able to penetrate sufficiently. About 25 percent of chalazia resolve spontaneously. For those that don't, instruct the patient to apply a hot compress to open the glands, then to digitally massage the area to break and express the nodule, up to four times a day.
If this is ineffective, inject triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog) 5mg/ml or 10mg/ml directly into the chalazion (some practitioners have advocated concentrations as high as 40mg/ml, but this is not standard practice). Approach the lesion from the palpebral side, and inject 0.05 to 0.3ml in standard form, using a tuberculin syringe and 30-gauge needle. You may want to use a chalazion clamp and topical anesthesia, but this is not absolutely necessary. Usually the patient is markedly better one week later, but you may need to re-treat extremely large chalazia. If the chalazia persists even after a second steroid injection, or if the patient cannot tolerate the procedure, excise the remaining lesion using a curette under local anesthesia as a last resort.
Intralesional steroid injection is contraindicated for patients with dark skin, since the procedure can cause depigmentation which often persists for months, or is permanent. This is especially likely if the point of injection is on the skin, but may occur even if injecting through the palpebral conjunctiva.
Biopsy any recurrent chalazia, especially those following surgical excision, to rule out a particularly deadly malignancy known as sebaceous gland carcinoma.

Monday, March 13, 2006

. . . that greeny flower

The Huskies got a 5 seed, and get to stay on the west coast for the regional (in San Diego). I think they'll make it to the Sweet-16 again. But no way will they get past U-Conn.

Spent the afternoon working in the yard: pruning suckers from the wisteria and the pear, both of which are setting buds now. Raking leaves from under the trellis-bench in the back yard. Daffodils and crocus blooming. Hyacinths like little fists lifting out of the soil. Finches hopping around in the rhododendrons. Ahh . . . Spring!

Back to work today. It feels like I've been gone for a month. But it's only been 6 days.

Check out Kelli's project on her blog:

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Post-AWP Reading List

Dean and I got home Saturday afternoon after a layover in San Jose, where (in the foothills) it had actually snowed!

Opening our mail I was delighted to find a copy of Louise Gluck's new book Averno, that I had pre-ordered months ago. Even though I had spent the last few days inundated with books and poets, I was so excited to see it! She is one of my favorite poets, and one of the few poets whose books I look forward to reading immediately. As soon as I can get my hands on a copy. I sat down to read even before unpacking my suitcase.

Averno is a crater in southern Italy, that the Romans believed was the entrance to the underworld. The book opens with the long poem "October" and sets the scene for the myth of Persephone that will serve as the back-story to many of the poems. It's a great read (once through so far): stay tuned. And an added point of interest: the stunning cover image is an aerial view of red hot lava in the active crater of Mt St. Helen, here in Washington State, with a stoic Mt Rainier glimpsed on the distant horizon, as if to say, Watch out. I'm going to blow next.

Also on my post-AWP reading list:

On Louise Gluck: Change What You See (purchased at the same time as the above; a collection of essays on Gluck's work)
Digerati: 20 Contemporary Poets in the Virtual World (looking forward to reading the work of the other po-bloggers included here)
Legitimate Dangers (I started this before I left for AWP. It was fun to have some faces to apply to names, and I recognized more than a few of these poets at the conference)
Kenneth Koch: Collected Poems (after a fantastic panel discussion on his life and work
Bellini in Istanbul, Lilias Bever
Flying Out with the Wounded, Anne Caston (who gave a fantastic presentation on the Poetry & Medicine panel)
A Mnemonic for Desire: Steve Mueske (Gorgeous cover, Steve. Can't wait to read the poems)
Journey to the Lost City, Jonathon Aaron
Gloryland, Anne Marie Macari (from Alice James Books, who published Brian Turner's Here, Bullet, which is rumored to have sold almost 10,000 copies now)
Body of the World, Sam Taylor
American Linden, Matthew Zapruder (looking forward to hearing more about the Poetry Bus Tour)
In the Middle Distance, Linda Gregg
Here's to You Mister Robinson, Andrew Mister & Anthony Robinson (how can you resist a chapbook with a beer bottle on the cover?)
The Canary #5 (edited by Tony Robinson)
Willow Springs
Image (Art & Spirituality; out of Seattle Pacific U.)

Friday, March 10, 2006

I *Heart* Prairie Schooner

Had a great time today reading for Prairie Schooner's 80th Anniversary. Wonderful and graceful intros by Hilda Raz and Kelly Grey Carlisle. Terrific readings by Janet Burroway, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Glenna Luschei, Lee Martin, (moi), and Peggy Schumaker. An attentive and enthusiastic audience. It doesn't get any better. And to top it off: a lovely dinner at the Finn & Porter. What a delight to talk with the editors and staff, and to have them be so welcoming to Dean. And to talk with the other writers: Janet Burroway and I had a fascinating conversation about E. M. Forester. Lee Marvin and I about Six Feet Under and the episode with the blow-up dolls being mistaken for the Second Coming. Glena Luschei about medieval Spanish nuns and poetry. I feel so honored that PS asked me to join them for their anniversary. Here's to 80 more years.

It has been quite a gas to be at AWP again. I bought a shitload of books. I got to meet up (albeit briefly) with a slew of bloggers, some for the first time, others for a second or third time, including (I hope I'm not forgeting anybody): Charles Jensen (and his posse), Eduardo Corral (and Rigo), C Dale Y, Reb Livingston, Tony Robinson, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Deborah Ager (plus hubby and Olive), Neil Aitken, Jonathan Mayhew (as audience at a fantastic Kenneth Koch conference, only); but I never met Lorna or Aimee Nez. Darn.

Also met a few people who "know me" from reading my blog, and came up and introduced themselves. One of them asking me, "Now, what is Rebecca Loudon really like!" And saw other poet friends and acquaintances such as Ingrid Wendt, Kim Addonizio, Kevin Craft, Madeliene DeFrees, Chase Twichell, Jared Leising . . . etc.

I also met several doctor-poets and nurse-poets from around the country. What is it about medicine and poetry? Perhaps the Greeks knew something when they envisioned the same muse for both of them.

Anyway . . . time for sleep. An early flight home in the AM.

Good night and good luck.

AWP overload

Having a good time in Austin. The conference is jam-packed. Impossible to see everything or everyone one wants to see. Dean and I went to the "Writing for your Health" panel in the morning after breakfast. It was a good one for Dean as it discussed writing therapy, and the research and practical application (Dean's a psychotherapist, and ate it up). Also went to the "Maintaining Your Buzz" panel led by Michael Weigers and including the editors from Alice James, Ugly Duckling, and Wave Press. It was fascinating to hear them talk about different ways poets and publishers can work together to get a book out into the world. Apparently Wave Press is going to be doing a nation-wide Potery Bus Tour, where their authors, and others, will be reading in 48 states in 50 days, or something like that. My oh my.

The Poetry and Medicine panel went really well. Dean and I ran into Greg Orr getting a coffee beforehand, and were able to sit down and chat for a few minutes at the Java Jive, which helped take away the jitters. Rachel Rose began by telling how her mother was a doctor in rural Canada, and how she once helped her to a delivery when she was about 5 years old, holding the tub as the placenta plopped out, while her mother was resuscitating the infant. I did a my speil, including comments about pity vs. sympathy vs. empathy, poetry as survival, and poetry as witness. Marylyn Krysl read about her work with nurses and Mother Teresa. C Dale read some terrific new poems and spoke eloquently about how patients are not "material for a work of art" as WCW said, but that each patient "Was a work of art." And Ann Caston, a former pediatric flight nurse in the rural south, read some terrific poems, one about a syphilitic child born dead, that was just riveting. The audience was really good and asked great questions afterward.
We went out for a drink and chat later. It was so fun to meet everybody! I think our panel rocked. Thanks again Rachel for putting it all together.

Dean and I had to escape and relax in our room for a bit. It's really fun to meet people, but it is just so crowded and loud sometimes, it's a bit overwhelming. So it was a delight when Scott Hightower called and he and his partner Jose took us out for a drive around the sites of Austin, including the bridge with the bats, and the public swimming hole, and U of T, and some of the funky neighborhoods. Had a very pleasant dinner out at Judges Hill. They are really sweet guys. And it was nice of them to rescue us from AWP overload for a while. Ahhh . . .

Not sure what panels we are going to today, except that I know I will be reading for Prairie Schooner at 1:30. I think I am going to read all new stuff from the next book -- we'll see.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Dean is blown away by how big this thing is. OMG. The bookfair alone is enough.
Having great fun meeting several old friends, fellow bloggers, and others. Dean now knows these blogger poets I chat with all the time truly exist, and are not just a figment of my internet imagination. Let's just say there were many drinks and lot's of talking in the hotel bar, and then some terrific tapas at Malaga Tapas Bar down the street. Yee-haw!

The Poetry & Medicine panel is at 1:30 today. Hope it goes well!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

See You in Austin

Please don't make me laugh when I read, as it make me look really goofy.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Mail Call

In the mail today:

The new issue of Poetry, with a fascinating essay by Tony Hoagland, "Fear of Narrative and the Skittery Poem of Our Moment." Basically exploring the recent fad of the elliptical-disjunctive poem, and seeing it as possibly just another phase that is going on right now.

The latest issue of New England Review, with my poem "Nursemaid's Elbow," (thank you, C. Dale) as well as work by fellow blogger David Koehn of The Great American Pinup. Also included is a hysterically campy long poem by Richard Howard, "Eidyia: An Interview," purportedly from an "audience" with the Queen herself.

Looking forward to AWP. Looking forward to meeting up with any and all bloggers. Don't be shy, say "Hi," if our paths cross.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oscar Night

Original Score: Gustavo Santaolalla, Brokeback Mountain
Best Adapted Screenplay: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Three Oscars ain't bad. I wish Brokeback had won Best Picture, too. But I haven't even seen Crash, so I guess I should.

I love that Philip Seymour Hoffman won for Capote. And George Clooney for Syrianna.

The weirdest moment: Reese Witherspoon saying, at least three times, that her character, Ruth Carter Cash in Walk the Line, was a "real woman." A not-so-subtle dig at Felicity Huffman's character in Transamerica.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

"Oregon teen heads to juvenile detention for pinching another boy's nipple." He said it was just horse play. Read about it here.


Fascinating post on the phenomenon of "snowclone" at Language Log. Check it out here.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Notebook Page

Eduardo and C. Dale have asked us to post a notebook page. This is a recent one of mine, for a poem I am working on about that dreaded human curse, The Hangover. From this stage I usually go to the computer, to start drafting it out in lines, stanzas. The current title is "Veisalgia."

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Brokeback Spoofs

I got these from Scott Hightower. A lot of them are really funny (my fave, the bowling one). What does it mean when a movie becomes so much a part of the popular consciousness that it is widely spoofed like this?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Pink Spot in a Red State

I'm looking forward to AWP and seeing Austin for the first time. Out Traveler magazine just happens to have an article about Austin in the current issue: "Lone Star: Why Austin really is the brightest, gayest spot in all of Texas." Check it out here and see what clubs and hotels and sites they recommend.

I'd love to meet up with any blogger poets who are there. Back channel and let's set up a time. Maybe a group gathering Wednesday evening? Or at one of the many many many receptions?

Or come to one of the panels I am on (see date and times at right), and say hi! (or "howdy" if you are feeling really Brokeback). I'll have Dean with me, so you can meet my better half.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

When a poem visits in the night

you have to get up and write it down. This from a few weeks ago. With revisions coming this morning. It will disappear soon.

. . . gone now . . .