Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Real Thing or Urban Myth?

State Police Warning


Police officers working with the DARE program have issued this Warning:
If you are driving after dark and see and on-coming car with no headlights on, DO NOT FLASH YOUR LIGHTS AT THEM! This is a common Bloods member "initiation game" that goes like this: The new gang member under initiation drives along with no headlights, and the first car to flash their headlights at him is now his "target.".

He is now required to turn around and chase that car, then shoot and kill every individual in th e vehicle in order to complete his initiation requirements. Police Depts across the nation are being warned.

Their intent is to have all the new bloods nationwide drive around on Friday and Saturday nights with their headlights off. In order to be accepted into the gang, they have to shoot and kill all individuals in the first auto that does a courtesy flash to warn them that their lights are off.

Make sure you share this information with all the drivers! in your family! Please forward this message to all your friends and family members to inform them about this initiation ritual.

SR Dispatcher Tracey Sharber
Kentucky State Police
Post 3 Bowling Green
P.O. Box 0068
Bowling Green, KY 42102
Phone: (270) 782-2010
Fax: (502) 564-3507

Another One Bites the Dust


I am sure there will be many dancing upon Botha's grave. He was an evil racist sham of a leader, and held South Africa back for too long.

Biko, Biko . . . Posted by Picasa

Blue Fifth is Fresh

I have some poems in the new issue of Blue Fifth Review. One of them, "Body Talk" is forthcoming in What's Written on the Body. Below is a glimpse of the table of contents (I love the section titles!). Are some of the names familiar? Some good stuff here. Thanks to Sam for all his hard work on this.

Blue Fifth Review, Fall 2006
poets & artists

Tattoo of Love by Ernest Williamson III
Featured Poet: Robert Lietz

I: Kneaded
[ Grenside, Dodge, Piercy, Britt, Sato, Persons,
Ballard, Taylor, White, LeWinter, Diaz ]

II: The Dust of Worry
[ Hudspith, Thompson, Roby, Pereira, Woodcock,
Shockley, Stempleman, Bruno ]

III: Windy Vowels, Consonant Doors
[ Chaffin, Elbe, Williamson, Johnson, Losse,
Hamm, Krok, Potos, Lineberger, Frost ]

IV: To Carry Emptiness
[ Allen, Vidrine, Carrington, Kalbasi, Illich, Petrakis,
Thompson, McGlynn, Engler, Timm, Henning ]

Featured Artist: Leslie Marcus

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Dean and I saw Running With Scissors last night. What a weird and wacky movie! I had not read Augusten Burroughs's over-the-top memoir of the same name, but it didn't matter. Annette Bening is terrific as his narcissitic, therapy-addled, poet-wanna-be mom, who gives Augusten up to her nut-case therapist and his family to adopt and raise as their own. The scenes of her meeting with her poetry group, fantasizing about reading in Carnegie Hall, decopaging her rejections slips from the New Yorker, are hysterically funny. Joseph Fiennes as Augusten's 33 year old gay lover (Augusten is 13-17 years old in the timeline of the movie), with his Village People handlebar moustache, is just a revelation. Jill Clayburgh as the nutty psychiatrist's dogfood-eating wife is the surprise light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Sounds like Augusten Burroughs turned out fine in the end, anyway. So is his "traumatic adolescence" all just a wash? Or is it what made him who he is, and he wouldn't change a thing? You can see the poetry of his real life mom, Margaret Robison, here.

The 70's' music soundtrack was a hit with this viewer. The movie had me at "Benny and the Jets."

 Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 27, 2006

My Next Runway Fix . . .

But will Jeff, Uli, Laura, or Michael be there? Or just Kayne and crazy Vincent?

I.N.C./Project Runway Fashion Show with Tim Gunn

Macy's Downtown Seattle
1601 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98181

International Concepts® and ELLE magazine are taking the winning designs from Project Runway's third season on a tour of seven Macy's stores nationwide. The event will also feature an I.N.C. fashion show hosted by Project Runway co-host Tim Gunn. Your Macy's is on the tour, so stop by the I.N.C. department for your Runway fix.

RSVP: 206-506-4FUN

Hot off the press from Oregon State University, Long Journey, Contemporary Northwest Poets, edited by David Biespiel. Includes the work of over 80 poets, including: Bruce Beasley, Linda Bierds, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Sam Hamill, Christopher Howell, Richard Kenny, Dorianne Laux, Heather McHugh, Suzanne Paola, Peter Pereira, Lucia Perillo, Stan Sanvel Rubin, Martha Silano, Clemens Starck, Joan Swift, Mary Szybist, Nance Van Winckel, David Wagoner, Ingrid Wendt, and many, many more. Get your copy here or here.

PS: There is not a single heron, salmon, or Doug Fir in the entire book.

 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Miss Project Runway

  Posted by Picasa

Perhaps the thing that has stuck with me the most is Nina Garcia saying, of Jeff, that he "has a point of view." Even though he overdoes it at times, or it doesn't work at times, what made him a good designer was he knew who he was, what he was trying to say, and the work flowed from that.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Deep Play

"The notion that inspired play (even when audacious, offensive, or
obscene) enhances rather than diminishes intellectual vigor and spiritual
fulfillment, the notion that in the eyes of the gods the tight-lipped hero
and the wet-cheeked victim are frequently inferior to the red-nosed
clown, such notions are destined to be a hard sell to those who have E.M.
Forster on their bedside table and a clump of dried narcissus up their ass.

"Not to worry. As long as words and ideas exist, there will be a few
misfits who will cavort with them in a spirit of approfondement--if I may
borrow that marvelous French word that translates roughly as "playing
easily in the deep"--and in so doing they will occasionally bring to
realization Kafka's belief that 'a novel should be an ax for the frozen seas
around us.'"

-"In Defiance of Gravity" by Tom Robbins, Harper's Magazine, Sept

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A LARGE GROUP OF PICNICKING CHILDREN is struck by lightning. Four girls and four dogs are killed. Twenty-three children suffer burns, cataracts, macular holes, tympanic membrane rupture, and skull fracture. At the church service, the pastor organizes his eulogy around the trope of being called. God reaches down with a finger of light, etc. But the positive charge originated in the ground and climbed an invisible ladder of electrons skyward.

— Ben Lerner
from "Angle of Yaw," in Angle of Yaw, pg 36.

Some news you can use

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Some doctors might improve their bedside manner by honing their creative writing skills, a small study suggests.

Yale University researchers found that medical residents who completed a creative writing workshop felt the experience helped them better view their patients as people, and not just medical cases.

The effect, according to the researchers, seems to stem from the fact that the residents not only reflected on their own emotions and the experiences of their patients, but also wrote it down as a story.

full story here.

Thank you, Pamela, for the link

Monday, October 23, 2006

It's been unseasonably warm and sunny this October. We have a poppy in the back yard that is blooming again, a dozen giant buds! It's a little disturbing, a little manic and out of place, these bright orange flowers I'm used to seeing in June-July (I wonder if this feeling is what Plath's poem, "Poppies in October," is refering to?).

Spent much of yesterday working in the yard with Dean, planting about 100 bulbs: daffodils, tulips, crocus, allium. We sprinkled red pepper flakes with them, so the crazy squirrel in the neighborhood doesn't dig them all up, like he did last year. We'll see if the hot little surprise when he bites in to one is enough to ward him off this year.

Went to a terrific poetry reading by Martha Collins, from Blue Front, at Open Books. Amazing stuff. A pleasure to meet her. Then off to my nephew Brett's first birthday party. Which was a hoot, until he got some cake in his eyes ~grin~.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


The Primary Care reading went pretty well. There were six of us reading, including Jack Coulehan, one of the editors of the anthology. (Which is a beautiful book, btw, Iowa does a great job). We kept it short and sweet, read for about ten minutes each, which was plenty, really (remember: leave them begging for more, not begging for mercy). We had a fairly large attentive audience (about 50 people). And some good questions at the end. Some of the highlights, for me, were: Ted McMahon's powerful "Silver Fork, American River," about being on a team to salvage a rafter's body from where he had drowned in whitewater; Arthur Ginsberg's (no relation to Allen, hahaha) poem about pushing chemo in the pediatric ward as a resident; Jack Coulehan's poem "The 600 Pound Man" and how he finds him beautiful in the end; John Wright's funny as heck "Blue Helper" poem, about post-prostate cancer use of Viagra; Karl Weyrauck's poem about being on the receiving end of a cardio-version. Good stuff. I read Bonnie Salomon's (yes, there are women physician poets!) "Call It," about calling a code in the ER, and a couple from Saying the World that are in the anthology, as well as a couple new pieces that are in What's Written on the Body, and was pleased with how the new stuff went over (one of them read in public for the first time). A party of about 14 of us went out for dinner afterwards at Trattoria Mitchelli. What fun!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

This man is my new hero:

David Kuo was on Bill Maher's show Friday night, and I was totally impressed by what he had to say. He's a Christian Conservative, who was head of Bush's "Faith-Based" programs for several years. He has come out with a book exposing all the lies and hypocrisy of the right wing "compassionate conservative movement," and how they used evangelicals to their own ends (surprise, surprise). His strong advice was for all Christians and Evangelicals to STOP giving money to right-wing political organizations (who only use it for their own ends), and instead to actually GIVE IT TO THE POOR (really!). It was pretty amazing. A call to the religious to get back to their true path: one of humility, of caring for the sick, the disadvantaged, the suffering. Rather than supporting these power-mongering neo-fascist Republicans. You go girl!

Here's a quote from online, about his book Tempting Faith:

"He says some of the nation's most prominent evangelical leaders were known in the office of presidential political strategist Karl Rove as "the nuts."

"National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as "ridiculous," "out of control," and just plain "goofy," " Kuo writes.

In fact, when Bush asks Kuo how much money was being spent on "compassionate" social programs, Kuo claims he discovered the amount was $20 million a year less than during the Clinton Administration."


We are still in withdrawl from Project Runway's stunning finale . . .


We now return you to your original programming.

Friday, October 20, 2006

In production . . .

I turned in my Page Proofs yesterday for the new book. It's so exciting to see how the poems are going to look: how they fall page to page, what the font looks like. And I really like the work, I'm happy with all the poems (hopefully that is not a bad sign). I just shuffled the order of a few of them, one last time; made an edit here and there, and it was done.

I believe I get one more chance to review before it goes to the printer. And I should have books in time for the ASU/Piper conference, and AWP (if I go). The cover is very different. I'm not sure I cared for it at first, but now I love it.

Stay tuned . . .

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Note to current administration:

Iraq is NOT Iwo Jima.

Autumn is really here

The cold dark gray weather has moved in. The garden is going dormant and making glorious colors. I woke up in the night to rain falling against the bedroom window and couldn't fall back asleep. I love the fall weather. I really do. And what's best: I usually write more in the fall.

our fothergia . . . Posted by Picasa

Our neighbor's apple tree in fall. Doesn't this just scream "Ode to Autumn" to you? Posted by Picasa

Downtown Seattle in fall (note the male couple). Posted by Picasa

Seattle's Japanese garden in fall. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I'll be reading with a few other doc-poets this Saturday at Elliott Bay, to celebrate the release of Primary Care: More Poems by Physicians (U of Iowa). It's interesting to see that there are five of us representing Seattle (Arthur Ginsburg, Ted McMahon, Karl Weyrauch, John Wright, and myself; along with editor Jack Coulehan), the largest contingent of any city represented in the book. Why so many poet-docs in Seattle? It must be the coffee? (And why all men? But that's another thing . . . don;t get me started). Come on down.

Elliott Bay Book Company
Saturday October 21st, 2006
5:00 PM Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

from the abandoned poems file . . .

Moving Through Him

Perched on the throne
early mid-morning hoping
for a good loaf — dithering
between pages of Sartre’s Being
and Nothingness
, Schultz’s
Who Do You Think You
Are, Charlie Brown?
He imagines
instead Rodin’s chin-fisted
Thinker: Oh — how he
shapes his next


Saturday, October 14, 2006

  Posted by Picasa

Pontoon Nine Reading
1:00 pm
Sunday October 15th
Richard Hugo House
1634 Eleventh Avenue, Seattle

Please come out to celebrate with the Editors of Floating Bridge Press the publication of Pontoon Nine. More than a dozen poets will read on the Cabaret Stage. The wine and snack bar will be open. A great place to meet and reconnect with poetry friends and buy your issue of this beautiful anthology.

Some of the readers: Terri Cohlene, Laura Snyder, John Whalen, Esther Helfgott, Joseph Powell, Kathy Whitcomb, Katy McKinney, Tatyana Mishel, Priscilla Long.

See you there!

I've been reading in Tony Hoagland's new book of essays, Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poery and Craft. I'd seen many of these over the years in APR and Poetry and elsewhere, and it's nice to have them all collected in one place (some, perhaps, revised?). He's a very accessible, straightforward essay writer, with a light touch and a good sense of humor and the absurd (just like his poems!). Here's a quote from his essay about the "Dialectical Use of Tone:"

"Tone is such an ambient, fluid, and internal quality, one constructed from so many shifting elements (diction, music, pacing, image, syntax), that to define it is an elusive, probably impossible task. The baseline definition that one encounters most often is that tone is 1) the attitude of a writer toward her subject or 2) of a speaker toward her audience. But even in such a general definition one sees omissions: What about the speaker's attitude toward the speaker? What about the speaker's attitude about her way of speaking?"

He then goes on to do a close reading of the layers of tone in Louise Gluck's poem "Purple Bathing Suit," demonstrating how "tone conducts plot." It's all really very well done.

Other essays explore topics such as image, compositional strategies, materialism, and "meanness." Highly recommended. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 13, 2006

Get Your Vote On

Democratic and Liberal and other forward-thinking people everywhere who are sick of the current Presidential administration: Remember to vote this November. If Democrats can win back both houses, then we can impeach Bush's sorry ass. The shock will make Dick Cheney keel over with a heart attack. And then Nancy Pelosi (who would be Speaker of the House in a Democrat-controlled congress) would become our first woman President!

Don't laugh. It could happen.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Go, Ben!

The National Book Award Finalists for 2006 have been announced. In poetry:

Angle of Yaw by Ben Lerner
Averno by Louise Gluck
Capacity by James McMichael
Chromatic by H.L. Hix
Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey

I have only read one of these, Averno, and thought it was one of Gluck's better books of late. I heard Ben Lerner read from Angle of Yaw before it was published and thought the poems were terrific. Here's a sample:

"If it hangs from the wall"

If it hangs from the wall, it's a painting.
If it rests on the floor, it's a sculpture.
If it's very big or very small, it's
conceptual. If it forms part of the wall,
if it forms part of the floor, it's
architecture. If you have to buy a
ticket, it's modern. If you are already
inside it and you have to pay to get out
of it, it's more modern. If you can be
inside it without paying, it's a trap. If it
moves, it's outmoded. If you have to
look up, it's religious. If you have to
look down, it's realistic. If it's been
sold, it's site-specific. If, in order to see
it, you have to pass through a metal
detector, it's public.

It'd be fantastic if he won.

Re: McMichael, Hix, and Mackey; it looks like I have some reading to do.


In other news: I know the Yankees did poorly in the playoffs this year, despite all the multi-billion dollar stars on their roster. But did one of their players have to vent by flying into a building? I'm just saying . . .


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

  Posted by Picasa

Received my copy of Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home from No Tell Books, via Lulu, in the mail today. It's a lovely chapbook, 34 pages, saddle-stiched, with a gorgeous cover painting by Stacy Elaine Dacheux. In this sequence of short lyrical poems Loudon (who is no stranger to all things aeronautical, having worked for many years on Boeing jetliners) virtually inhabits the mind and soul of Amelia Earhart, in the days after her plane crashes at sea, or perhaps washes ashore on a deserted tropical island. These letters home appear in the form of lists, rants, love letters, memories, and diary entries. Pieced together they give us a stunning portrait of Amelia surviving by her wits on the island, perhaps sleeping under the wing of her plane.

"Dear Seamstress Pidge,

I have mended my trousers 117 times
using the needle in my emergency kit
and black thread until black thread
emptied into spool . . ."

pg. 18

"From the missing diary:

Open-cockpit biplane
Kinner "The Canary"
Tri-Motor Fokker "Friendship"
Lockheed Vega
Lockheed Electra 10E . . ."

pg 20

"To Miss Visser my one and only piano teacher,

Hell mouth
Cunny lip
Waddle hip
Purse face
Cow ass
Pinch eye
Shit shoe
I wished you dead then
I still do.

Amelia mary Earhart"

pg 25

"Where are you Fred?
. . .
I want to tell you how it felt
falling and knowing
what a bad idea it was
to have decided against parachutes

ha ha"

pg 34.

It's a good read (and I'm not just saying this because RL is my friend!).
Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Susan Rich, reading at Open Books

  Posted by Picasa

Our hosts, Kevin and Bob, in the kitchen.

  Posted by Picasa

Dean and his sister, visiting from Utah

  Posted by Picasa
USC 26 UW 20
We were robbed! Isaiah was on a roll. We were gonna score for sure. But the timekeeper was a little too quick on the trigger, and we never got a chance to run that last play. It was excruciating. Dean and I and his sister Myrleen were driving on Vashon Island listening to the game on the radio, and I almost hit a tree I was so pissed at the refs.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Meeting Taha

Went with SR to a wonderful reception last night, for Taha Muhammad Ali, at a home in Laurelhurst. About 40-50 people gathered, a light buffet, wine. An amazing full moon rising over Lake Washington. I was able to chat a little bit with Taha, and his translator, Peter Cole, and Taha's biographer, Adina Hoffman (?). And then they gave a short bilingual reading. It was pretty amazing how they work together this way, an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Arab. Their reading voices are very different, but complementary (you have to hear it). And it's really stunning work. They finished with a new poem (not in the new book) called "Revenge" that had us all almost in tears. I gives me hope to know a man who has suffered so much, seen so much oppression and war and death, can still write so optimistically about the world. It gives me hope (I know this sounds really pollyanna) for peace someday in the Middle East.

Picked up the beautiful broadside below at the reading. It's by Stern and Faye. (The format was too large for my scanner, so I scanned it in two pieces, ugh.) I think they'll have them at the reading tonight. Only 300 copies!

Posted by Picasa
  Posted by Picasa
  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Looking Forward to This

  Posted by Picasa

Palestinian Poet
Taha Muhammad Ali

October 7, 7:30 pm
St. Mark’s Cathedral
Seattle, WA

"Taha Muhammad Ali is a self-taught wonder, a man who sold souvenirs during the day and who, at night, studied classical Arabic texts, American fiction, English Romantic poets, Chekov, and Maupassant. Born in Saffuryia, the Galilean village at the heart of his poems, Taha and his family escaped to Lebanon during the Arab-Israeli War. He returned a year later to live in Nazareth, one painful mile away from the ruins of his former village.
A relative latecomer to poetry, Muhammad Ali has published short stories since the 1950s in Arabic and Hebrew publications. Now, having presented his poetry at the Jerusalem International Poetry Festival, the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival, and at colleges and universities across the United States, Taha Muhammad Ali is a beloved Palestinian poet. Audiences around the world have been powerfully moved by Muhammad Ali’s poems of political complexity, bittersweet humor, and—above all—humanity. Muhammad Ali has turned over the management of his souvenir shop, near the Church of the Annunciation, to his sons and spends his days writing, traveling, and conversing with friends over Turkish coffee." (from the Copper Canyon Press website)

See you there?