Tuesday, July 31, 2007

From A Word a Day (one of my favorite sites):

This week's theme: words with double connections.

didymous (DID-uh-muhs) adjective

Occurring in pairs; twin.

[From Greek didymos (twin). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dwo- (two)
that also gave us dual, double, dubious, doubt, diploma, twin, and between.]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"Shakespeare portrays the didymous functionaries as if they were
a unit comprised of two parts."
Peter Usher; Hamlet's Universe; Aventine Press; 2006

Monday, July 30, 2007


Our local NPR affiliate, KUOW, will feature excerpts of my reading from WHAT’S WRITTEN ON THE BODY (Open Books, March 11) on "The Beat" at 2pm on July 30. It will be archived on the site after the live broadcast. You can go here or here to listen. They actually did some fascinating analysis of the poems. I am in awe.



At 2:05 p.m. - Peter Pereira
Primary care physician and self-described Scrabble junkie Peter Pereira reads from his new collection of poetry, What's Written on the Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2007). Today he reads poems that explore how the way we perceive a thing shapes how we experience it. Peter Pereira is a family physician at High Point Community Clinic in West Seattle. His previous books are The Lost Twin and Saying the World. Recorded March 11th, 2007 at Open Books: A Poem Emporium.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Water for our Troops!

from poet Anne Caston:

"Dear friends, colleagues, and acquaintances,
I am writing to tell you that I have just learned from my son (a medic in Iraq, in Baghdad) that there is a shortage of potable water there now: the troops are having to ration water...and there are more troops arriving every day. He works nights and has to sleep days - in a tent that often reaches into the low 100s during the day. While there is probably nothing the current administration can do about the desert heat, I suspect that it does have some ability to get drinking water to the troops. So please, if you are so moved - by your heart or by your conscience - send a letter to the President and ask that he acts immediately to insure that our soldiers have sufficient drinking water.
I am currently begging the local Postmaster to allow us to send bottled water to our son's unit, though the USPS has a policy which prohibits the mailing of liquids. Perhaps if I can convince them that I will ship it in styrofoam coolers, well-taped to avoid leakage, they will allow it. So, if you don't feel comfortable sending a letter to President Bush, perhaps a letter to the Postmaster General would be more amenable for you?
Thank you for your time and attention. Let us pray that "staying the course" doesn't mean our sons and daughters overseas go without drinking water for much longer.

Anne Caston"

Happy Birthday you-know-who.


Dean and I spent about 5 hours pressure-washing the front and back decks yesterday. What back-breaking work! If they dry out enough today we'll reseal them this afternoon. It's a lot of work, but so worth it.


What I posted on a red state blogger's blog the other day, re a disparaging post about the new Tommy Lee Jones movie "In the Valley of Elah":

You don't have a clue, do you?

This war was wrong. It has ruined the lives of countless Americans and Iraqis and more. And to what end? So Cheney and his crew can get oil revenue. It has done nothing to protect us from terrorism, and has only served to make us more enemies in the world. When will you and your ilk wake up?

I can hardly wait to see this movie. I *heart* Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon. They both have integrity for being a part of this important film.

the comment was subsequently deleted . . . (by me, of course; I'm a chicken flamer)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

To Simplify and Enlarge

Annie Dillard was on NPR this morning, talking about her new novel The Maytrees. Apparently it went from 1200 pages down to 200 in the process of revision. She said her primary goal in revision is to "simplify and enlarge." I *love* that idea. How it is important not just to make the story (sentence, poem, paragraph . . .) shorter, but to simultaneously make it bigger, in its impact, its resonance, its universality.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

It has been raining and muggy for three days straight. Very unseasonable weather here. They say it is from a typhoon in Japan that moved our way. I say it sucks.


Had an old med school friend over for dinner last night. She and I were the only two gay people in our first year class (or so we thought!). She is now at the CDC and partnered and has two boys. It was so fun to hear about where her life has taken her. Though we hadn't seen each other in almost seven years, it was as if no time had passed.

She does pottery and ceramics, and is thinking about trying stained glass. Check out this very cool site, for the process she wants to use. Here's an example:
This is too freaky -- 1500 inmates in a Philippine prison, one of them dressed in drag, performing in unison the dance for MJ's "Thriller."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Been to Oregon Lately?

I have five poems up at Oregon Literary Review.
They are all from What's Written on the Body. It's an interesting selection of poems, and I didn't know they would be appearing at OLR, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them there today. It looks like a lovely journal, all on-line content, including artwork, interviews, essays and reviews. Check it out, if you are so inclined.

Friday, July 20, 2007


WASHINGTON (July 20) - President Bush will have a routine colonoscopy Saturday and temporarily hand presidential powers to Vice President Dick Cheney, the White House said.

Press secretary Tony Snow told reporters Friday that Bush will have the procedure at his Camp David, Md., mountaintop retreat.

He last had such a colorectal cancer check on June 29, 2002.


I bet they'll find he is still full of shit.



Had a fun time at the Soulfood Books reading. A group of us went out beforehand for dinner at Spazzo in Redmond Towne Centre (great restaurant, but it is so bizarre how it is located in a mall -- "Towne Centre" is really just a giant mall). Great food and coversation. Dean and I shared a flight of Pinto Grigios.

Soulfood (also located in a mall, there is a theme here) has a nice large stage, well-lit, with a good microphone. Michael and Lana were gracious hosts. And there was a decent turnout (though thank god the people playing noisy dominoes at the front of the stage left before the reading started ~grin~). There was a lot of open mic at the end, including drumming and chanting and teen angst and performance pieces (one woman reading her poem/song from some sort of hand-held PDA or blackberry or something).

I had fun reading some newer work, as well as some pieces from WWOTB that I had not read in public before.

Nancy Pagh's reading from No Sweeter Fat was terrific. I just love that book, and if you have not heard of it you should really check it out. The poems in the voice of the "Fat Lady" are just so poignant and moving and funny and real.

Nancy also read a poem she had written recently in response to a poem of mine in WWOTB, "Ravenna at Dusk." She did her own riff off on it, using some of my lines/phrases, but making it all her own. (I believe this is called po-jacking?"). I was very honored. Don't they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Anyway, here are the two poems, hers first, and then mine:

Whatcom Falls Park Today

Today when I looked in the road
I saw the gray squirrel’s viscera
trail from its body and thought
is that why we call them entrails.
I like walking alone in the park.
One can be happy in cotton shorts
even though synthetic dries faster.
Dogs do not understand personal boundaries.
There are such things as red dragonflies;
I saw five rest on this iron bridge last summer.
What can you do about a creosote stain?
Rabbit! no rabbit: white grocery sack
handles tied up as ears. What’s with
the used doggie poop bags, twisted
and set on the trail like wrong dim sum?
I have always found that garter snakes
remind me of zippers, but not known why.
I would have cared more
if it had been a native red squirrel.
I know what that says about me.
That’s a thrush. It sounds
how I felt to fingerpaint when I was six.
Now I am glad I chose the caffeinated tea.
Haruspicy is the word I almost thought.
I will cook the rice in chicken stock.
I am thinking: will I cut the yellow squash
in rounds or cubes and
not of you, sorry man. Not you.


Ravenna at Dusk

Today when I looked in the mirror
I saw my father looking back.
I like walking alone at night.
One can be happy not only without love,
but despite it. It’s best to fertilize roses
in March, plant gladioli bulbs in October.
I love the sound of thunder before rain.
Country Western dancing can be fun.
Oak floors with a Swedish finish last longest.
Espresso after six will keep you awake
past two. Antique floor lamps are cheap
at Capitol Hill garage sales in summer.
What can you do to give your life meaning?
It’s useless to repair socks once the heels are out.
My married friends make babies because they can.
Bath towels stack best when folded in thirds.
I have always found the lives of mystics
and clerics more appealing. I still read
the funnies and sleep in late on Saturdays.
Life is not so much invented as composed.
In high school I loved my English teacher
and wrote my first poems for him.


Kinda fun, huh?
I need to try this now.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Come to Soulfood

I am reading at the Soulfood Books poetry series in Redmond tonight, with Nancy Pagh of No Sweeter Fat fame.
If you are nearby, come on down! (Especially all you Microsofties, you know you need a break). The reading starts at 7pm. Directions here.


From Webster's Daily:

Abyss, n.

That which is immeasurable. That in which any thing is lost.

After three days and nine chapters of writing ficiton, this is where I feel I have been.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I wrote three more chapters yesterday (all very very rough), and have planned 14 total. Almost 15,000 words so far. Eeeesh. It flies by when you are in a zone, and it is excruciatingly slow when you are not. I hope to get three more done today. We'll see.

I've been reading Littlefoot, Charles Wright's new one. The cover is all white, with just the title and author's name, and the words "a poem." Sort of like the Beatle's White Album, I thought to myself yesterday. And this is Wright's White Album, in a sense. (BTW, Littlefoot is the name of a horse, as far as I can tell).

The book is one long poem in 35 sections. And it is all the same. All exactly the same one endless poem that Wright has been writing over and over for the past 25 years (or more). The one poem of keen nature imagery and lonely observation interspersed with a Southern whiskey drawl and Zen koan-like insights about life, death, memory, the work of the poet. It would get old if Wright weren't so damn good at it.

Here's one section that grabbed me while I was having dinner at Fins last night:

We've all lead raucous lives,
some of them inside, some of them out.
But only the poem you leave behind is what's important.
Everyone knows this.
The voyage into the interior is all that matters,
Whatever your ride.
Sometimes I can't sit still for all the asininities I read.
Give me a hummingbird, who has to eat sixty times
His own weight a day just to stay alive.
Now that's life on the edge.

pg 65


Happy reading . . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Having a productive time in PT so far. I cranked out three chapters of the novel yesterday. We'll see if I can keep the momentum up today. It's cloudy and cooler, and I think it may have rained in the night.

Saw S and J briefly at lunchtime at Siren's. Then later I met up with K and G to go to the evening reading at Centrum. Barbara Sjoholm read from her memoir about traveling with a girlfriend in Spain in the 70's (when she was in her 20's), very insightful, touching, and funny. Arthur Sze read from Quipo and from new work. One long poem was in the form of the I Ching, I believe.

In between I've been reading the novel The Attack, by Yasmina Khadra. It's the story of an Arab-Israeli surgeon in Tel Aviv whose world comes crashing down after a terrorist suicide bombing. It is discovered his wife, whom he had no idea was even remotely involved with any kind of thing, is found to have been the bomber. He sets off trying to find out why she would have done this. The story is riveting.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I have the week off and am up in Port Townsend to attend some of the Writer's Conference, and to do some writing. I actually have an idea for a novel and I want to get going on drafting it out. I am really curious how it will go . . .

I was talking with a poet friend about it the other day. She said whenever she takes a break and writes fiction for a while, the poems inevitably come screaming back at the front door, demanding to be let in, as if they were saying "You two-timing bitch, how dare you!" We'll see if I end up writing more poetry than prose . . .

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sharon Olds: Sayin No to the White House

I got this from PapaDuck and The Buffalo Report. I love how she ends the letter with the images of war juxtaposed to clean linens, knives, candle flames.

Laura Bush invited poet Sharon Olds to take part in this year's National Book Critics Circle Award in Washington. Here is Olds' letter declining the invitation to read her poetry, have dinner at the Library of Congress, and have breakfast at the White House.

Dear Mrs. Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House.

In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, and in terms of the desire that poetry serve its constituents--all of us who need the pleasure, and the inner and outer news, it delivers. And the concept of a community of readers and writers has long been dear to my heart.

As a professor of creative writing in the graduate school of a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of some magnificent outreach writing workshops in which our students have become teachers. Over the years, they have taught in a variety of settings: a women's prison, several New York City public high schools, an oncology ward for children. Our initial program, at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely physically challenged, has been running now for twenty years, creating along the way lasting friendships between young MFA candidates and their students--long-term residents at the hospital who, in their humor, courage and wisdom, become our teachers.

When you have witnessed someone non-speaking and almost non-moving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and essentialness of writing.

When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely non-speaking and non-moving (except for the eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person's unique story and song.

So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the wish to invade another culture and another country--with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain--did not come out of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top" and forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths. I hoped to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny and religious chauvinism--the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and diversity our nation aspires to.

I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its writing--against this undeclared and devastating war.

But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.

So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.



Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ugly Mug Reading

Had a great time reading tonight with Rebecca and Susan at the Ugly Mug in Renton, a suburb south of Seattle. A great diverse audience, many of whom participated in the open mic: a secretary from the local high school, a couple church ladies, a black diva named Peaches (accompanied by her BF on drum), a nice transexual with a poem about prison, an angry white guy with a post-9/11 rant, a financial planner reading Bukowski-like poems.

I thought Susan and Rebecca and I read very well. And I actually enjoyed the round-robin format (each of the featured poets reads 2 poems, then a round of one-poem-each for the open mic, the the featureds read 2 poems each, followed by another round of open mic, and so on for about 5 rounds. It was fun to be able to change and rearrange what I was going to read based on the feel of the audience and what the people before me had just read.

Susan read some wonderful poems about her time in Bosnia, and about love and heartbreak. Rebecca read from Radish King and new work from Cadaver Dogs and a devastating new new poem about that 12 year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered on July 4th. I closed with "Twenty Years After His Passing, My Father Appears to Us in Chicago, at Bobby Chinn's Crab & Oyster House, in the Guise of Our Waiter, Ramon" (I know, it is a really long title). I think it went over fairly well.

Thanks to Chris J for having us!


The Girls Who Went Away

I was needing to do some research for a character in a piece of fiction I am working on, and found this amazing book by Anne Fessler. It uses hundreds of interviews with women who became pregnant as teenagers, and were forced to relinquish their babies back in the 40's, 50's and 60's (pre Roe v. Wade era). Amazing stories of the neighbors being told the girl was going to live with an aunt, or the girl having to hide out in her own room until after the delivery, or lying down in the backseat of the car until they got out of town for weekly doctor visits.
My favorite story: one father who would go and visit his daughter every week at the home for unwed mothers (the mother would not visit or speak to her) and take her and three of her pregnant roomates out on the town for ice cream. She still laughs when she thinks of it: her father and four hugely pregnant teenage girls, sitting at the ice cream shop together, laughing and carrying on. She wonders what the townspeople must have thought.

It's a terrific read, and an important history to know.


My nephew, throwing out the first pitch at last night's Mariner's game.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Webster's New Words 2007

1. agnolotti
2. Bollywood
3. chaebol
4. crunk
5. DVR
6. flex-cuff
7. ginormous
8. gray literature
9. hardscape
10. IED
11. microgreen
12. nocebo
13. perfect storm
14. RPG
15. smackdown
16. snowboardcross
17. speed dating
18. sudoku
19. telenovela
20. viewshed

My favorites are
nocebo: : a harmless substance that when taken by a patient is associated with harmful effects due to negative expectations or the psychological condition of the patient
ginormous: extremely large, humongous

New Search Begins for Amelia Earhart

NEW YORK (July 13) - Hoping modern technology can help them solve a 70-year-old mystery, a group of investigators will search a South Pacific island to try to determine if famed aviator Amelia Earhart crash-landed and died there.

Perhaps they will find those letters?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Following His Hero, Man Takes to Skies

This is an amazing story. I think there is a poem here.

Attached to the lawn chair were 105 balloons of various colors, each 4 feet around. Bundled together, the balloons rise three stories high.

Destination: Idaho.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I *Heart* Michael Moore

"Absinthe, the spirit of imagination to many, and the devil incarnate to the U.S. government, is being approved on a case by case scenario by the Feds. Banned since 1910 due to unproved health dangers from the substance thujone, found in wormwood, an ingredient in absinthe, it has been the subject of controversy for centuries. Many folk tales and rites and rituals have grown around it and its supposedly hallucinogenic properties." More here and here.

"How to drink: Pour 1.25 - 1.5 oz of lucid into an appropriate glass. Place a sugar cube atop a flat, perforated spoon that rests on the rim of the glass. Using the sugar and spoon are optional. Slowly drip 4-5 oz of ice cold water on top of the sugar cube (or directly into the glass), which slowly dissolves into the Absinthe. The cold water causes lucid to louche ("loosh") into an opalescent cloud as the herbal essences emerge from the Absinthe and perfume the room."

"Lucid is formulated by world renowned absinthe expert T.A. Breaux, and is distilled in strict accordance to traditional French methods. lucid is crafted in the historic Combier distillery, founded in 1834 and designed by Gustave Eiffel in the fabled Loire Valley of France. Each bottle of lucid is carefully prepared by skilled craftsmen, using ancient copper absinthe alembics. Unlike most contemporary imitators, lucid is distilled entirely from spirits and European herbs, and uses no artificial additives, oils, or dyes. lucid recalls the rich tradition of Absinthe, and is crafted using a full measure of Grande Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), Green Anise, Sweet Fennel, and other fine European herbs traditionally used in making fine Belle Epoque absinthe."

Monday, July 09, 2007

White House Debates Iraq Pullout

From the NY Times article this morning.

It's about time.
Pull it out George. We've all been screwed enough.


And in poetry news: this prize-winning German book of poems(written by an South African-born poet) sounds interesting.

"'I only started writing poetry around 1996. When I was at university I always used to laugh at these guys with their silly little poems in little books and magazines. But then my life really crash-landed when I was in Germany. . . . I discovered Raymond Carver [and] everything changed.'
" . . .In 2005 he was nominated for the DaimlerChrysler Award for Poetry; last year Tafelberg published his debut, for which he won the Eugène Marais Prize; now he’s in Holland taking part in Europe’s biggest poetry festival."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The "New" Seven Wonders of the World

. . . were announced today.
I have not yet been to see any of these live and in person. Sad but true. How about you?

Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer
Peru's Machu Picchu
Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid
China's Great Wall
Jordan's Petra
Italy's Colosseum in Rome
India's Taj Mahal.

Happy 7-7-7 Day!

I remember the last one, July 7th, 1977, very well. I was working as a fry cook at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Aurora Avenue in Seattle, the summer before my first year of college. It was a gorgeous morning. Sunlight was streaming through the front windows as I watched the waitress mix me a strawberry milkshake by hand (my breakfast).



I’m seeing sevens everywhere.
Not just sins, virtues, wonders, rolls
of the dice — but holes
in the head, castaways, dwarfs, naked-eye
planets. What does it mean? Notes
in a musical scale, colors of the rainbow,
the number of dirty words you
can’t say on the air. Most people
choose seven when asked for a number
between one and ten. No coincidence there are
seven nuclear powers, seven heavens, seven
spots on a ladybug wing. There’s Beckham,
Mantle, Bond. Seven Vivian Sisters, seven
points on a sheriff’s star. Yes, even Libra,
September, left field. Continents, seas, days.
Habits of the highly effective,
hills for a city, years to an itch.


Poetry and Healing at Harborview

From an article by Carol Smith at the PI.

The poet laureate of Harborview steps back and admires his handiwork -- a box tacked to the wall of the ICU waiting room. He stuffs it with a sheaf of poems. "Room to Room" is this particular poem's title. It's nominally about his dog, Walt, a 9-pound poodle who might as well weigh 1,200 pounds, for the way he rules the lives of his owners.

But "Room to Room" is really about love, about attending to the present. About anticipating death.
. . .

Friday, July 06, 2007

I saw this on Wompo yesterday. What a fun sestina! (and I usually don't care for sestinas).

Boy Wearing a Dress (by Dan Bellm)

On the way home he asks me, If we cut off our
penises then we'd be girls wouldn't we Dad,
my little boy in cowboy boots and a long black dress
walking home from Castro Street playing
blue fairy and wicked stepsister and lost princess as he
walks, the people and store windows whirling by

as he twirls only figures in fairy stories he knows by
heart, though what he doesn't see yet is that our
neighborhood's a kind of fairyland for real--still, I hope no one heard him
ask me that, and hope my Dad
who is dead hasn't heard, who would never have let me play
boy and girl with this frightening freedom, dressing

up in public or alone in a four-dollar thrift-store dress
we bought because he asked for one. A drunk careening by
asks, Why who are you some kind of superhero, son, and from a display
window video porn stars sweating under harsh light smirk in our
faces--I don't have to tell them who I am now do I dad--
No it's a dress, the guy's friend says, I've seen him

around before, that boy's always in costume, he
must be a little fag. Ken dolls in white satin dresses
and angel wings and hairless Barbies done up as leather Dads
are climbing a Christmas tree inside the card shop by
the pizza store, some queen's fantasy scenario of what our
mothers and fathers should have let us play

back where we come from, but my little boy likes to play
the girl part of stories for reasons of his own, he
likes their speeches and their dresses and shoes, we tell ourselves
it's harmless, wanting to wear a dress,
harmless as my nervous laughter to passersby
and what do I apologize to them for, Dad--

When I was a child I wanted to wear my Dad's
work shirts, I liked the smell of his Army uniform, I didn't play
girl games, don't look at me. My little boy is getting distracted by
the dildoes at the sex shop I try to hustle him past. Soon enough he'll
learn to leave his dress at home, will hear somewhere that a boy in a dress
cannot be beautiful. Once inside our

house he undresses by the mirror to be naked under the dress,
and lifts it up to display what most of us keep inside our
pants, and he asks me, a little afraid for the answer, Am I beautiful, Dad--


Thursday, July 05, 2007

I just finished reading Aria, the debut novel by Nassim Assefi. What a wonderful book! It is a story told all in letters (epistolary form) about an Iranian-American oncologist in Seattle named Jasmine, whose 5 year old daughter Aria (hence the title) is struck and killed by a car. In her grief, Jasmine takes off on a round-the-world journey, first to Guatemala, then to Tibet, and finally back to her home country of Iran, where she reconnects with the culture of her ancestors. One of my favorite characters is Jasmine's best friend Dot, who is an achondroplasic dwarf and an archaeologist. I also admired the character of Jasmine grandmother, who Jasmine discovers is more like her than she thought. An inspiring debut!

Does the best poetry come from the heart or the mind?

Read the debate posted at Helium. Vote for your choice, or write a response.

As usual, I say: both. You need heart and mind -- as well as a little nerve, guts, and a funny bone.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Grub Street Book Prize -- so close!

"We are thrilled to announce that Linda Gregg has won the first Grub Street Book Prize in Poetry for her collection In the Middle Distance (Graywolf Press, 2006). Gregg is the author of five previous poetry collections, including Things and Flesh and Too Bright To See. A poet of international acclaim, Linda Gregg has taught at the University of Iowa, Columbia University, and the University of California at Berkeley. She currently lives in New York and teaches at Princeton University.

This year's contest attracted many excellent and worthy submissions, and we were honored to read so much great and varied work. We would also like to congratulate our two wonderful finalists: G. C. Waldrep for Disclamor (BOA Editions, Fall 2007) and Peter Pereira's What's Written on the Body (Copper Canyon, 2007)." (from the website)


Have a Happy and Safe Fourth!


Thought for the day: Why follow your bliss when you can follow your folly?


Monday, July 02, 2007

Spent most of the weekend working (Saturday clinic), sanding and varnishing the back door, puttering in the garden, and seeing "Sicko" (terrific movie) at Pacific Place.

I've also been reading Marvin Bell's new book of poems. I especially admire how he is unafraid of including the political in his poems. From Vietnam to Iraq, and more.

Here's a sample poem:

Homeland Security
by Marvin Bell

Two owls have perched at the property line,
and a scraping on the porch means the postman
is wiping his shoes before continuing
across the yards, three homes’ worth of catalogues
and ads, and the occasional letter, all cradled
in the crook of one elbow. I’ll be getting an offer
of money, a map to riches, a new future
that has come out of the blue. Today I finger
each envelope before opening, and I admit
I feel for wires and beads of plastic explosive
amid the saliva. The daily rags speak
of a dirty bomb. The government tells me live
in a wooden house with a hurricane lamp,
a gas mask, and flares, while it arms
an impervious underground temple from which
it can map the surface, choose a site
anywhere on the globe, and call down the rain.