Monday, January 30, 2006
Digerati: 20 Contemporary Poets in the Virtual World
Release Date: February 14, 2006
Eduardo C. Corral
Lee Ann Roripaugh
Jake Adam York
William E. Stobb
Pre-order this title before February 14th and save 10%, shipping included, at the three candles press website.
PS: I am so tickled to see my blog moniker in the title.
PPS: In case you hadn't noticed, I have some poems in there, too.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
The Star Magnolia
Each morning when I rise, I look to the magnolia tree,
watch it billow like a lung, filling itself with light.
But I have only just begun to see it.
Before work, before the hot black coffee,
I stand at the window in my robe, clear my mind.
Each morning when I rise, I look to the magnolia tree,
limbs branching in every direction, leaf dividing from leaf.
Soon petals will fall, the fruits thicken in the night,
but I have only just begun to see it.
Amid long dark mornings of rain turned to sleet,
the frosted limbs will sway and click with ice
each morning when I rise. I look to the magnolia tree,
until the tree and I become only the tree.
Soon the velvety buds will be stippled with white —
but I have only just begun to see it.
Last night, branches full of stars. (Was it only a dream?)
Now blossoms crowd the sky.
Each morning when I rise, I look to the magnolia tree,
but I have only just begun to see it.
Friday, January 27, 2006
The bill passed by a 25-23 vote in the Senate, with a lone Republican (you go girl!) joining the majority Democrats. It had passed easily in the House earlier in the month. There is a celebration party planned at the Paramount Theater tonight starting at 6PM. Wheeee!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Meeting some friends for dinner and drinks later tonight at Cascadia. And then, tomorrow, I get to go to Bizarro Bistro with the fabu RL for Wolfgang's Birthday. Wheee!! I can hardly wait.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Here are a few excerpts:
from "Introduction: Birds-eye view: Ponoma College, 1968 — part II"
This is arithmetic. Of inaccuracies.
This begins in California. We'll add to it.
There's a young girl, call her Daphne.
And a young man, call him Jim.
Both are younger than that. Both are broke(n).
. . .
and from "Birds-eye view of the wedding: A farm near Baltimore, 1972 — part II"
Daphne and Jim got married in a bower. I was there,
under the empire waist. I was there when the vows were.
A vow was made. To me. I was part of the body to be loved.
And so I was tolerated, and so I came alive, into the story . . .
It's definitely a good read. And it tackles a somewhat controversial subject matter, having to do with a fateful bus ride (you will have to get the book to see for yourself what it is!) Oddly enough, I could imagine Daphne and Jim as a staged reading, the story acted out as the poems are read aloud. Kudos to Laurel.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I have been reading Timothy Liu's new book, For Dust Thou Art. I have been a fan of his work ever since Vox Angelica. This new book has three sections; the middle section begins with a poem titled "The Day After," and is a sequence of stunning 9/11 poems, that are so much more than just 9/11 poems. Here is one:
Hundreds of bodies identified. Others
found only in parts. A demand
for Nostradamus on the rise: In the city
of York there will be a great collapse —
two twin brothers torn apart by a third
big war to begin when the city burns —
tents from Fashion Week in Bryant Park sponsored
by Mercedes Benz now converted
into staging areas for the dead — too late
for the Emmys though Miss America
will go on as seventy-two virgins
of Paradise welcome the martyrs in —
There are his usual frank and erotic love/sex poems sprinkled throughout the book. As well as some poems that are more like lists of unrelated lines, double-spaced, that seem to be based on disjunction and randomness. I wonder if he is trying to demonstrate how trauma and catastrophe can lead to fracture and dissociation, both in individuals and in communities. I think these poems work, for the most part. And they seem easy to write. Just randomly choose ten good lines from several drafts you are working on, and shuffle them around. Because they all came from your mind, you will probably find a way to thread them together. And you may surprise yourself with the result. Here is one of Liu's:
Massive flows near falls where turbines ran.
Hate or truce it flowers from within.
As habitat to penetrate a faggot's slender hips.
Flesh on flesh no matter who insists.
Pop-can scavengers skirting up to our streets.
To survive another forty years the odds.
For sport down alleys lined with a dirt hole.
Nor understood just you weather it.
Baseball bats mere dust motes under the eye.
In limited supply the scriptures that promote.
For Dust Thou Art was an "Editor's Selection" in 2005 at Crab Orchard Review/Southern Illinois University Press. Read more about it at the Crab Orchard Series site.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I wrote: in the dark cavern of our birth.
The printer had it tavern, which seems better:
But herein lies the subject of our mirth,
Since on the next page death appears as dearth.
So it may be that God's word was distraction,
Which to our strange type appears destruction,
Which is bitter.
— Malcolm Lowry, 1909-1957
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
ENFJ - "Persuader". Outstanding leader of groups. Can be aggressive at helping others to be the best that they can be. 2.5% of total population.
I am so glad they caught these jack-asses. I hope it makes others think twice.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child must work for a living,
But the child that's born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good and gay.
Dean was a Monday child.
I am a Friday child.
What day of the week were you born?
Go here to find out.
Monday, January 16, 2006
"I asked a poet friend one time what it was that poets did, and he thought awhile, and then he told me, "They extend the language." I thought that was neat, but it didn't make me grateful in my bones for poets. Language extenders I can take or leave alone.
"Anne Sexton does a deeper favor for me: she domesticates my terror, examines it and describes it, teaches it some tricks which will amuse me, then lets it gallop wild in my forest once more."
In other news: From Eduardo's blog: The National Book Critics Circle Award finalists have been named. A much younger and more diverse list than the National Book Award list. And at least three of these are first books:
Simon Armitage’s The Shout
Blas Manuel de Luna’s Bent to the Earth
Jack Gilbert’s Refusing Heaven
Richard Siken’s Crush
Ron Slate’s The Incentive of the Maggot
Three of these were also favorites of mine: Crush, Bent to the Earth, and The Incentive of the Maggot. But all men? Hmmm . . . I can think of more than a few books by women that deserve to be finalists:
Jane: a murder, Maggie Nelson
Facts About the Moon, Dorrianne Laux
What is this Thing Called Love, Kim Addonizio
Enter Invisible, Catherine Wing
Dog Language, Chase Twichell
The Niagra River, Kay Ryan
Adonis Garage, Rynn Williams
Directed by Desire, June Jordan
Sunday, January 15, 2006
- About 100 people choke to death on Peter each year.
- Peter is the sacred animal of Thailand.
- Never store Peter at room temperature.
- A lump of Peter the size of a matchbox can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court.
- If you lie on your back with your legs stretched it is impossible to sink in Peter.
- Some birds use Peter to orientate themselves during migration.
- Europe is the only continent that lacks Peter.
- If you kiss Peter for one minute you will burn six or seven calories!
- Peter is actually a fruit, not a vegetable.
- The Australian billygoat plum contains a hundred times more Vitamin C than Peter.
Emily Lloyd's "Plummy," which opens with "She stuck her thumb in and pulled out a plum. I didn't know it was in there." And later alludes to WCW with "My wife! I said. Is probably! [tug] Saving! [tug] That for breakfast!"
Jill Alexander Essbaum's "On Reading Poorly Transcribed Erotica," which takes a standard porn passage and performs a word substitution with hilarious results: "He shoveled his duck into her posse/and all her worm juices spilled out."
Charles Jensen's "Rough Trade," a wonderful prose poem which ends with " . . . a butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing and a moving car blow-job goes suddenly, horribly wrong."
I'll be bringing it to the bedside table tonight. *wink*
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Total to date: 6.21 inches
Last year to date: 0.36 inches
Misery index: 93
Sunday: Partly sunny with a few showers
Monday: Increasing rain
Tuesday: More rain
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, showers
Thursday: Partial clearing, a few raindrops
Friday: Periods of rain
The remainder of January and February: Wet
People are getting a bit stir-crazy. Saying things like, "I really don't notice it anymore." Or, "I like the rain." Or, "But it's snowing in the mountains!" "It's what keeps everythings so green." "The garden is loving it." All bullshit.
This is too much. I'm beginning to see cats and dogs everywhere. I'm beginning to get webbed fingers. I'm turning amphibian. As I said over at Rebecca's place: Just drown me, Jesus, and get it over with.
Friday, January 13, 2006
It's beginning to feel a little Biblical here with all this rain. Very "forty days and forty nights." Very "these are the last days." It really brings out the apocalyptic in me. I drove to Tacoma yesterday for a classroom presentation and an evening reading, and it was a total white-out on the freeway almost the entire way, with all the mist from the semis and the rain and the standing water. My knuckles were actually swollen from how hard I was gripping the steering wheel.
But it was a really fun presentation and reading. Thanks to Allen Braden for inviting me. The Gallery Reading Series takes place in conjuction with art exhibits at the college's art gallery. There was a fascinating exhibit by Frank Lind, a painter, who takes works by old American artists such as Winslow Homer, and adds new characters to them, like a woman mooning us from the rocks over a beach. They were really fun paintings to look at.
I got to read with Sharon Hashimoto, and hear some of her poems from The Crane Wife, which is a wonderful book, some of the poems exploring her family's history of being interned in camps during WWII. It won Story Line Press' Nicholas Roerich book prize recently. I went out for a celebratory drink after with Allen, Sharon, her husband (the poet Michael Spence), and Patrice who works with Allen at TCC. We sat in a semicircle in front of a nice fireplace in the lounge of a Keg near the campus. And it finally stopped raining for a few minutes for part of the drive home.
In other news: four poems accepted for Prairie Schooner. I guess when it rains it pours.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Four jobs you’ve had in your life: Lab tech, waiter, lecture note taker, recording textbooks for the blind.
Four movies you could watch over and over: The Saragossa Manuscript, Paris is Burning, The Lion in Winter, The Fifth Element.
Four places you’ve lived: Ketchikan, Pocatello, Spokane, Seattle.
Four TV shows you love to watch: Women's college basketball, Will & Grace, Project Runway, My Favorite Martian.
Four places you’ve been on vacation: Venice, Mazatlan, New York, Vancouver BC.
Four websites you visit daily: Blogspot, AOL, MSN, Word a Day.
Four of your favorite foods: BLT, filet mignon, risotto, Cosmo.
Four places you’d rather be: Bareclona (this spring!), reading, sleeping, or not.
Four albums you can’t live without: Sewing the Seeds of Love, Ray of Light, Electric LadyLand, Fragile.
I tag (who can keep track of who has been tagged?): C Dale, Kelli A, Rebecca Loudon (because I know she won't do it) and Charles Jensen.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Here are some of the names I have invented for some new drugs, using the lexicon of poetry, including suggestions for what conditions they could be used to treat:
Accentia (for voice problems)
Aubadea (a pill to help you wake up in the morning)
Elegeica (grief reactions)
Haiku (a calming anxiolytic, of course)
Iambia (for improving self-esteem)
Metonomy (a placebo, of course; but it works!)
Musea (an asthma drug; to help with inspiration)
Prosodia (speech impediments)
Sapphoica (for women)
Stanzia (for ADD, helps you to be more organized)
Syllablica (gait disturbances and balance)
Virelay (an anti-viral, of course)
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Received a copy of Justin Evans chapbook, Four Way Stop, in the mail today. Justin is behind the blog Untalented Writer, and hails from Springville, Utah, where Dean's family is from. We discovered through a bit of genealogy research that he and Dean (whose mother's maiden name was Evans) are actually related: Dean's great-grand-father and Justin's great-great-grandfather where brothers. So I guess they are cousins about 10-12 times removed?
Justin is not an untalented writer, though. I am enjoying the chapbook. Here's an excerpt from section three of "Hunting Chinese Pheasants," a long poem that details a fair amount of family history:
. . .
"My grandfather's father died
when he accidentally shot himself
taking his rifle out of the closet.
One month after my great-great-grandmother
died on my grandmother's side,
her second husband, deep inside a bottle of gin,
walked onto their front lawn and shot himself with his Colt .32.
My great-uncle's first wife ironed out a summer dress,
called him at the office:
"be sure to take care of the boys,"
went to the basement to kill herself--
pulling the rifle's trigger with her toe.
I remember shoving pheasant tail feathers
into 25.06 shell casings,
crimping them tight, throwing them
at the Evening Star, trying once more
to give them flight."
Dean's side of the family also had a lot of suicides, alcoholism, and shooting, so it must have been in the genes. Dean also remembers attaching pheasant feathers to shell casings as a kid, and throwing them in the air so he could watch them fly. Fascinating coincidences.
In other news: some recent poems accepted for In Posse (on line) and Bloom (yay!). I'm especially happy about the poem for Bloom, which is a somewhat long narrative love poem. I believe the In Posse issue is going to be an all-Seattle (or all-Northwest?) issue, guest-edited by the lovely and talented Susan Rich.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
I was working much of the morning today on two new poems simultaneously. I would just go back and forth from the one to the other, which is odd, as they are very different poems. One is tentatively titled "Have I Wasted My Life on Poetry?" and is more of a lyric meditation; and the other is titled "Cambodian Dancing" or "Cambodian Wedding," I'm not sure which yet, and is more of a narrative. I think they are both keepers . . . we'll see.
“The tame version of Scissor Sisters' new video "Filthy/Gorgeous" was reportedly too hot for MTV ... so wait till you see the naughty version . . .
"Directed by "Hedwig" mastermind/star John Cameron Mitchell, the video is a nonstop thumping ride of debauchery -- hula dancers, drag queens, leather daddies, man-on-man kissing and New York drag fave Murray Hill spanking Jake Shears. The video climaxes in a frantic onstage performance by the band surrounded by the entire crazy cast of characters. In other words, Mitchell captured the glamour of a live Scissor Sisters show, with a lot of sex play and theatrics thrown in to jack up the fun.
"I first saw Jake Shears of the Scissors singing 'Laura' accompanied by a boombox in the middle of the Tennessee mountains at a Radical Faerie gathering, and I knew he was a fucking star in the making," Mitchell told PlanetOut.”
Check it out . . . it's filthy, good and gorgeous.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
These are exuberant, humorous poems, bursting with love of language, the body, and deep play. Pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering are central to Blue Positive, and here Silano's eye is especially fresh and original: "The cosmos dances, // but an embryo? I see her more / as taking up shop, blow torch in one hand, // jack hammer in the other." (from "Begging to Differ.") "Harborview" is a harrowing poem about post-partum depression, where we learn "some god's gotten hold of me." But Silano shows us how a bright and ultimately optimistic sensibility can overcome disaster. As she tells us in a delightful crown of sonnets written for her son, "I try to laugh at what I can't control." In these fine poems Martha Silano takes us "over Niagra without the barrel," to a place where "Salvaging Just Might Lead to Salvation."
Check out Martha's book at her website, here. You'll be happy.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Did anybody hear the Brian Turner interview on NPR this morning? He read two or three poems, talked about his Iraq soldier-poet book (Here, Bullet), and ended with some crucial background detail for the soldier-suicide poem that was heart-rending and angrifying (I know, not a word). What great coverage for Brian and his book, and for showing how relevant poetry can be to the world. I think you can still listen to it on the NPR website.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
What does it mean that these reality-elimination-survivor shows have so taken over the pop-cultural consciousness? And when will it end?
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
where are you
how do we reach you
will we really be safe there
what if we get lost
what if we never arrive
what if we can't find our way back
what if there is nothing there
what if this is temporary
what if you are lying
what if we need to believe you anyway
And here is one of the "Of" poems:
derived or coming from caused by away from
so as to be separated from the total or group comprising composed
or made associated with or adhereing to possessing or having
centering upon or containing before or until
during or on a specified time set aside for specified as
or named or called or characterized
or identified by with reference to
It's an interesting read. And she uses the poem series to comment, somewhat wryly, on the state of America in our time, with freedoms and liberties under attack from within, conflicted and contradictory relationship with immigrants, dumbheaded wars, and etc. Check it out here.
Monday, January 02, 2006
Walking around in women’s underwear
Most literate cities
Child stethoscope lift shirt
Wind burned my hair
Virtual boyfriend game
Rare Book Room, University of Washington
See threw (sic) underwear
What the Doctor Said
(my favorite is Pantyhose Handcuffs)
Sunday, January 01, 2006
" . . . what the medieval alchemists called solutio — the process of making something workable and transformable by making it more fluid, whether in the physical or imaginative realm. A difficult thing is "hard" we say; a mathematical answer arrived at is "solved." A good poem, then, is a solvent, a kind of WD-40 for the soul. . . . Simply to feel oneself moved creates an increase of freedom . . ."
Later in the essay, she quotes one of my favorite Walt Whitman poems:
When I heard the learned astronomer
When I heard the learned astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wandered off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Looked up in perfect silence at the stars.
I love how this poem evokes the letting-go of fact and and accuracy, in favor of ecstatic clarity and vision. Epiphany, if you will. Thank you, Walt. You were a good man. I think I'll try to memorize this one.