Monday, July 31, 2006

"Patricia Goedicke, 75, whose poetry won national accolades and whose work as a university professor helped build a nest for writers in the northern Rocky Mountain town of Missoula, Mont., died of pneumonia July 14 at St. Patrick Hospital there. She also had lung cancer.

The dark-eyed, dramatic poet wrote 12 books of verse, the most recent one, "As Earth Begins to End," recognized as one of the top 10 poetry books of 2000 by the American Library Association. A decade earlier, "The Tongues We Speak" was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Her work, rich in emotion, memorable rhythms and human relations, attracted a following of younger poets at the University of Montana, where she was first a poet-in-residence and then took poet Richard Hugo's academic position after his death in 1982."

I met Patricia only briefly, a few years ago at the Skagit River Poetry Festival. She was a lovely woman and poet. A loss.

full story at Washington Post dot com.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Arrgh Arrgh Arrgh, Matey.

Dean and I saw Dean Man's Chest at the Triple-C (Columbia City Cinema)tonight. It's a long movie. A bit tedious. But worth it for the chance to see J. Depp swish and sway and swashbuckle across the Caribbean again. The three way sword-fight in the water-wheel is worth the price of admission. Scene stealer: the black-mouthed voodoo princess, who looked strangely like Meg Ryan.
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Saturday, July 29, 2006

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Happy Birthday to Rebecca Radish King Loudon!
Stop by and wish her well!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

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BBQ Time!

Busy work week with call, patient care, electronic health records stuff. Whew!

Looking forward to having my friend Joe and his wife Aspa and their kids over for a little summer back yard BBQ this evening: hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, beer, ice cream, maybe a little whiffle ball. How American is that!

Poetry group last night was fun: got to see J & J's new baby. Poems about Japanese quail month, fever dreams, autopsies, and channel surfing. Good stuff. But we missed K, who was not there to celebrate her new book.

Have been reading in the latest issue of Parnassus. Some great essays this issue: Langdon Hammer on the work of Richard Howard (whom Cocteau once advised: "what other people reproach you for, cultivate: it is yourself); Jay Ladin on Heather McHugh and academia ("Before we've read a word of her poetry, she wants us to be sure we see her as a thinker thinking about how other thinkers think of her); Garth Greenwall on Frank Bidart as a "lyric poet:" Robert Hanh on the difficulties and surprises of translating Charles Wright into Italian; Peter Campion on James Wright's "classicism." Great summer reading! I hope to take it to the beach this e-weekend.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's Not You, It's Me

Nature abhors a vacuum
but God loves a good vacuuming.

The garden was strewn with petals
and those whimsical helicopter seeds
so God created woman and watched
as Eve unwound the cord, plugged it
into the slot between good and evil
and tidied the foot paths
while all the animals sat there, dumb,
and when she was done

somebody got out the apple juice and spilled
somebody opened a box of crackers
somebody trimmed his nails without a thought
for collecting them in his palm

and after however many days of consecutive Eden
Eve said I gotta get outta here and she did
and the cord snaked after her.

— from Famous, by Kathleen Flenniken
winner of the 2005 Prairie Schooner Prize in Poetry

The Village Idiot Speaks

"Read my lips: No new stem cells."

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

We're dying here . . .

It's not the heat it's the humidity.
It's not the feat it's the humility.
It's not the meat it's the virility
It's not the seat it's the civility.
It's not the fleet it's the liquidity.
It's not the sweet it's the insipidity.
It's not the cheat it's the stupidity.

Summer Basements

It was so frigging hot last night, Dean and I decided to sleep on the fold-out sofa bed in the basement, where it was cool. We hadn't used the sofa-bed in years, but it was actually quite comfortable. And it was kind of fun to sleep among the shelves of books, and our desks, and such. It's supposed to be 90+ again today, so we are probably gonna live in the basement for the duration. Seattle wasn't made for this kind of heat: we don't have things like air-conditioning, our fans are little puny things that hardly move the air.

It's already too warm this morning: I am having ice cream for breakfast.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

*Famous* is Here!

Congratulations to my good friend and "poetry-lunch" buddy Kathleen Flenniken, whose first book, Famous, winner of last year's Prairie Schooner Prize, is hot off the press! You can order it at Amazon and all the usual on-line places, or directly from University of Nebraska Press. I can hardly wait to get my grubby little hands on my autographed copy. Here's a sample poem (one of my favorites). I love how it portrays the marriage relationship as hot & sexy, and full of wild abandon:

Map of the Marriage Bed

Some nights he wants directions
and she tells him which crossroads,
where to idle, where to drive fast and hard.

It's instinct, and the route into those mountains
wanders — on the back of an elephant,
on the lip of a milk jug, jangling, jangling.

Some nights only half-way there he pulls
into a motel hidden in a grove of Douglas firs
because they're lost — they're always lost,

but some nights on those unlit highways
it hits him hard — and he takes charge,
produces a key, a chair, a lamp, and the Puritans

who live inside them nod at the trim hospital
corners, the porcelain ewer and basin. They
take their places, grip and grimace in the dark.

And a few times one has hauled off
and clapped the other flat on the head,
hijacked their moving vehicle and driven overland

until the nettles and tumbleweeds put a stop
to this craziness. They crawl out the passenger
window, they weep, they say a little prayer

and cling to each other in the grass and the dirt.
Once she found a knife in the field where they lay.
And once she found a ruby ring.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

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Had a wonderful meeting with Michael W. at Copper Canyon. I'm really excited about the new book, and the ideas for the cover. The designers they work with are great, truly unsung heroes of the publishing biz, and I know they will come up with something fabulous. Stay tuned! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Groper in Chief


This is so embarrassing. Our president, acting like a drunk frat boy, getting caught on video groping a woman at a party. And this woman just happens to be the President of Germany, who was having a conversation with someone else at the time, when out of the blue Bush walks up behind her and gives her a quickie neck massage. Her reaction is classic "eww, ick, leave me alone you creep," and Bush schlumps away with his head down. Watch the video, it's all over the internet. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Kwame Dawes' Wisteria is one of the most interesting books I have read all year. It's a collection of persona poems, in the voices of black women who lived in the south during the 20th century, and survived segregation, the civil rights movement, economic and social upheavals of all sorts. It's a fascinating history, mostly of the relationships these women had: with husbands, lovers, children, employers, white neighbors, etc. It's really quite moving. Highly recommended. (And what fantastic cover art).

I gave my copy to a friend in Port Townsend, who let me stay in her lovely writing studio/guest house Sunday night (thank you, K!). Now I'll need to buy another copy. I'll be going back up to PT on Thursday, to attend some more of the Centrum Writer's Conference. I love it up there. And it always gets my creative juices flowing. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Can you guess what this is?

And what do you think Dean and I are using it for?

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A: It's a little tiny nylon, also known as a "footie" that women wear at the shoe store, when trying on a new pair of shoes.

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Dean and I are using them to cover our pears, to protect them from codling moth, and other pests. We used about 200 of them this afternoon, on one tree. They look oddly erotic, don't you think? But we hear it works amazingly well. Read more about it here.

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New Pets!


"Celebrating 20 years since the release of their debut LP, Please, the Pet Shop Boys’ ninth album musically references the ’80s while addressing contemporary concerns. It’s at once essential Pet Shop Boys and a contemplation of a world where fundamentalism shapes wars and threatens personal freedom. Trevor Horn—the quintessential ’80s producer who helped fuse hi-NRG dance beats and new-wave rock for Frankie Goes to Hollywood—shapes the Pets’ effusive orchestrations, which contrast smartly with Neil Tennant’s understated vocal ache and arch lyrics. “I’m With Stupid” characterizes Tony Blair and George Bush as lovers with peculiar chemistry, while “Luna Park” paints America as a theme park where fear generates thrills. The album’s most explicit ’80s flashback, “The Sodom and Gomorrah Show,” celebrates the personal salvation in what zealots would consider sin, and does so with the aural equivalent of a Busby Berkeley extravaganza. Mixing ambitious art with dance floor entertainment, Tennant and musical partner Chris Lowe venture beyond their trademark synth-pop while retaining its playfulness."
— Barry Walters, for Out Magazine

Friday, July 14, 2006

When I came home from work this afternoon, look what I found in the back yard.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Salon 4

Thursday, 13 July 2006 @ 7pm

Rafael Campo
Poet / Physician
Evan Adams
Actor / Physician

Adams, star of the films Smoke Signals and The Business of Fancy Dancing, and Campo, who uses poetry in his teaching at Harvard Medical School, discuss the synergies of artistic endeavor and medical practice. Audience dialogue strongly encouraged.

Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers
208 First Ave S. | Seattle, WA

All tickets are just $10!
Ticket information: (206) 282 · 2677

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Syd Barret RIP

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom, blown on the steel breeze.
. . .

Nobody knows where you are, how near or how far.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Pile on many more layers and I'll be joining you there.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
And we'll bask in the shadow of yesterday's triumph, and sail on the steel breeze.

Come on you boy child, you winner and loser,
come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine!

31 Groundbreaking Books

From the Acadamy of American Poets website, where you can read more about each book, including a nifty essay. Have you read every one of them? (I am only 18 out of 31, and some of those incompletely). Are there some books you would have added to this list? I am thinking perhaps Gluck's The Wild Iris or Forche's The Country Between Us, or Graham's The Dream of the Unified Field or Merrill's The Changing Light at Sandover or Hejinian's My Life.

Leaves of Grass
by Walt Whitman
"One critic noted in an 1855, 'If Walt Whitman's premises are true, then there is a subtler range of poetry than that of the grandeur of Homer or Shakespeare.'"

The Complete Poems
by Emily Dickinson
"Only eight of her poems were published during her lifetime, primarily submitted by family and friends without her permission."

North of Boston
by Robert Frost
"The poems are marked by modern themes and concerns, dark impressions of early twentieth-century rural life, and the nature of tragedy."

Tender Buttons
by Gertrude Stein
"Simultaneously considered to be a masterpiece of verbal Cubism, a modernist triumph, a spectacular failure, a collection of confusing gibberish, and an intentional hoax."

by Wallace Stevens
"An unusual first book, partially because it didn’t appear until Stevens was 44 years old, representing the cumulative poetic works of his life up until that point."

Spring and All
by William Carlos Williams
"Created a new kind of American lyric, with attention toward natural, idiomatic language, sharply observed images, unusual syntax, and abbreviated, carefully wrought lines."

The Cantos
by Ezra Pound
"He privileged poetry as song, proclaiming that meaning is all tied up with sound and that beauty is difficult."

The Weary Blues
by Langston Hughes
"The poems progress at a self-assured and lyrical pace—partly because Hughes expected them to be performed with musical accompaniment in the famous Harlem clubs of that era."

The Bridge
by Hart Crane
"Physically removed from the city, Crane relied on his memory and imagination to render the numerous awesome and grotesque nuances of New York."

Selected Poems
by Marianne Moore
"While most poets either employ established meters or write free verse, Moore’s poems are built from lines of counted syllables, in patterns that she devised herself."

Collected Sonnets
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
"Millay gave her most-famous attention to the most archetypal of human concerns: love and death."

Four Quartets
by T. S. Eliot
"Eliot considered these four long poems to be his finest achievement and the pinnacle of his career."

Trilogy 1944-1946
by H. D.
"Written while she lived in London during World War II, it is considered one of the best examples of civilian war poetry."

The Waking
by Theodore Roethke
"The collection’s intimate, personal quality—"my secrets cry aloud" and "my heart keeps open house"—heavily influenced later Confessional poets."

Howl and Other Poems
by Allen Ginsberg
"The 29-year-old Ginsberg unveiled an early version of his poem, Howl, to a mesmerized audience whose relentless cheers of "Go! Go! Go!" brought him to tears by the end of the performance."

Life Studies
by Robert Lowell
"Inspired by his battle with mental illness, his marital problems, and the Vietnam War, it demonstrates a dramatic turn toward deeply personal work."

The Bean Eaters
by Gwendolyn Brooks
"Written during the early years of the Civil Rights movement, during which the Brooks's interest in social issues deepened and found expression in her work."

The Maximus Poems
by Charles Olson
"Taking up local issues such as preserving the wetlands and documenting the history of fishermen, Olson's poems are widely read as political, but they also contain deeply lyrical and personal passages."

A Ballad of Remembrance
by Robert Hayden
"The poems demonstrate the narrative ease and compelling character development that mark Hayden's best work."

For Love
by Robert Creeley
"The breath-determined lines, unusual syntax, and rhythm of Creeley’s plainspoken minimalist lyrics were a remarkable break from the poetic landscape."

The Branch Will Not Break
by James Wright
"A startling mix of careful detail and surprising leaps of thought and structure in loose and open verses."

77 Dream Songs
by John Berryman
"Many of the poems are narrated by Henry, Berryman’s alter ego, who speaks as if from dream world, among uninterpretable, but strangely familiar dream symbols and situations."

Lunch Poems
by Frank O'Hara
"his easy and conversational tone camouflaged an attention to formal detail, present beneath the pop-culture references, melodramatic declarations, and quick successions of perfect images."

by Sylvia Plath
"The darkly lyric poems address motherhood, sexuality, marriage, and her own experiences with depression."

Live or Die
by Anne Sexton
"Encouraged by her doctor to pursue her interest in writing, Sexton enrolled in a poetry workshop at the Boston Center for Adult Education in the fall of 1957."

Bending the Bow
by Robert Duncan
"Duncan set off for New York where he became involved with the vibrant downtown literary coterie that followed the works of the Abstract Expressionists."

Of Being Numerous
by George Oppen
"The title poem, widely considered his masterpiece, is a sequence of forty sections that examines questions of singularity within a diverse and crowded world."

Diving into the Wreck
by Adrienne Rich
"These poems speak quietly but do not mumble, respect their elders but are not cowed by them, and do not tell fibs."

The Lady in Kicking Horse Reservoir
by Richard Hugo
"Hugo encourages younger poets to recognize their true subject matter beneath the surface, but above all, to ignore advice about writing and find their own way."

Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror
by John Ashbery
"I tried each thing," begins this inimitable volume, "only some were immortal and free."

Geography III
by Elizabeth Bishop
"She focused her precise and carefully crafted lines on subtle impressions of the physical world."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I Know the Answer: Do You?

From Word a Day:

"What's common among the five words (scintillescent, vetitive, rapparee, bilabial, froufrou) featured here this week? If you know the answer, send it to (replace AT with @). The first person to identify it wins an autographed copy of the book "Another Word A Day".

-Anu Garg ("

Hint: think of Noah's Ark

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Yay Amelie!


Mauresmo wins Wimbledon over Henin-Hardenne 2-6 6-3 6-4.
I am so happy for her, I am skipping inside.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Strangers With Candy

We are going to see Strangers With Candy opening at the Varsity Theater tonight. I can hardly wait to hear Amy Sedaris' character, Jerri, referring to her naughty bits, say: "I'm moist as a snack cake down there."

Alphabet Meme

From Pamela:

Accent: none, they say Pacific Northwesterners have "no accent" (except that we say "Warsh-ing-ton.")

Booze: vodka, cointreau, lime, a little fruit juice, shaken with ice, poured up in a chilled glass.

Chore I hate: ironing

Dogs/cats: nada

Essential electronics: PDA with Scrabble

Favorite perfume/cologne: None please, I like a man to be a natural man

Gold/silver: matching gold wedding bands

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Insomnia: Nope

Job title: Family Practice Doc, Community Clinic

Kids: nada

Living arrangements: 1904 little box of a house, the first house built in our neighborhood.

Most admired trait: silliness/sensibleness

Number of sexual partners: I lost count (was I supposed to keep count!)

Overnight hospital stays: hernia operation age 5, chest pain GI scare 2004

Phobia: roller coasters

Quote: "Dreams lost to waking, days undone by sleep."

Relationship, longest: 20 years this December, with Dean. My oh my.

Siblings: 4 brothers, 4 sisters, one sister who is deceased (age 5, diabetes).

Time I usually wake up: 6:00, 6:15, 6:30 at the latest, 6:45 at the very latest, 7:00 at the very *very* latest (Dean is dying laughing right now)

Unusual talent: anagrams and crosswords

Vegetable I refuse to eat: sweet potatoes (is that a vegetable?)

Worst habit: Perfectionist

X-rays: rapid CT of my chest last year: no heart plaque!

Yummy foods I make: I am the King of Risotto.

Zodiac sign: Cancer

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

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Ken Lay, the Enron thief and former close buddy of the President, dies of a heart attack. Yeah, right. What a coincidence. Poor guy. I bet it was Bush and his cronies who offed him, so that his jail sentence and other falderal wouldn't look bad on the "family."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It's the Fourth of July and like clockwork the clouds and the rain and the THUNDER have blown in to Seattle. It is NEVER sunny on the Fourth of July here. Oh well, at least those little bottle rockets the kids next door are lighting won't catch our roof on fire this year.

Dean and I sat out back and ate ribeye steaks for dinner, with grilled baby bok choy, garlic and portabello mushrooms, as it rained. We were protected by the table umbrella, and it was actually kind of delightful, to watch the rain coming down, yet not be wetted by it. NPR was playing on our hand-cranked emergency radio. A red-breasted finch was sitting on the telephone wire, watching us, and flapping his little feathers.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Congratulations to Annette Spaulding-Convy, winner of this year's Floating Bridge Press Poetry Chapbook Award. In the Convent We Become Clouds is hot off the presses, and includes a gorgeous letterpress cover designed by Jules Remedios Faye. Read more about Annette and her chapbook here.


My friend, the Carmelite, could only wear white
non-bikini panties, laceless bras,

but my Order was progressive — red satin, cut
to show some hip, a midnight-blue Wonderbra

hidden under my habit. The fathers were perceptive, not priest
fathers, but men who flirted with me

while their daughters lit Virgin
of Guadalupe candles in the chapel alcove,

men like the firefighter, who ran into my bedroom
the summer night I slept nude, flames

in the cloister attic. I pulled the sheet around my body
as he looked at black lace on the floor —

I need to feel your walls to see if they're hot.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

On This Day In History

1937: Aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific while attempting to make the first around-the-world flight at the equator.

"We must be on you, but we cannot see you. Fuel is running low. Been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet."

"We are running north and south."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dean and I went out for dinner at Ray's Boathouse last night. We sat in a window seat and watched the boats putt-putting through the ship canal and out to Puget Sound, probably heading out to the San Juans for the 4th of July weekend. It must be fun to have a boat, especially this time of year, or to be able to "summer" in the San Juan Islands. We will never be rich enough to have a summer house, so I guess the best we can hope for is friends with summer houses (*wink*).

After dinner we drove out to Golden Gardens. The beach was packed! Families having picnics, kids playing volleyball, kids being drunk and disorderly, lovers holding hands and walking the beach. The sun was setting still well past 9pm (or so it seemed) and the light was glorious. We walked up to the railroad tracks and watched a train go by through the canopy of forest, then drove back home through Ballard, which has really changed a lot in the past 5-10 years: a brand new high school building, numerous low-rise condos, lots of new shops and restaurants. We want to try this new Spanish tapas place called Matador, decorated with a bullfight theme (it sounds hokey, but it's really cool), and wrought iron railings and candles and outdoor seating close to the street.

This morning we put in several hours on the yard. We pruned wisteria, trimmed back tomato leaves to get air to the fruit, dug up nasturtiums that were crowding the Walla Walla onions, staked up the huge and leaning towers of crocosmia lucifer, filled the stone bird bath, watered and weeded. It's hot enough for sunstroke! Looking forward to having some friends over for dinner tonight, one of the docs I work with and his wife. We're gonna grill something and eat outside. Fun fun!