Friday, November 30, 2007

I Want to Go See This

Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art, is a traveling exhibition organized by the China Institute under the guidance of Wu Hung, professor of Chinese art at the University of Chicago. Featuring 31 works by 23 artists, this exhibition examines the impact and notion of the book (shu in Chinese) in the artists’ upbringing and in their art.

In contrast to traditional artwork, contemporary Chinese artwork is inspired by the book—and, by extension, knowledge— in an almost perverse way, because many book-related artworks parody the purpose and power of the book. Some artists create unintelligible books with blurred characters, or books devoid of a logical sequence or narrative, thereby nullifying the authority of the text. They create meanings without words and words without meaning. In addition to distorting the content of the book, they critically examine and reinterpret its format. Nevertheless, these works should not be understood simply as defying the authority of the book. In many ways, they echo other forms of contemporary art in the ways they challenge conventional wisdom and perceptions. (from the website)


Also looking forward to this: The first four books in the new VQR Poetry Series!

Field Folly Snow (The Vqr Poetry Series) by Cecily Parks (Author)

Hardscrabble (The Vqr Poetry Series) by Kevin Mcfadden (Paperback - April 1, 2008)

Boy (The Vqr Poetry Series) by Patrick Phillips (Paperback - Mar 1, 2008)

The History of Anonymity: Poems (The Vqr Poetry Series) by Jennifer Chang (Paperback - April 15, 2008)

All available now for pre-order on Amazon!

(Thanks to AB for the heads-up)


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yay Helio! I think the best dancer/entertainer won.


I had a great time reading at Highline yesterday. A fairly large number of students showed up (I think there may have been some "extra credit" involved? *wink*). But they really seemed to get into the reading. I called it my "poetry-prose sandwich." I read a few poems, then a short story, then a few more poems. The short story seemed so long! It was only 6 pages, but compared to reading poems, it seemed endless, a marathon. But the few people I talked to said it was good, didn't seem overly long at all.


Looking forward to a week off next week. We're gonna get away to someplace sunny. Like this:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Go Helio!

Dean and I watched the Dancing with the Stars final last night. What a show. Thank god we will have Project Runway to watch once this one is over. (How else get through the long winter nights?).

Here is my take:

Helio (the racecar driver): was hot hot hot! Vrooom! I am getting a major crush going on that fella. My money is on him to win it all. (And then come out as the first openly gay NASCAR driver).

Mel (the Spice Girl): she danced well, but what was going on with her boobs? Did she get them inflated with extra silicon this week? Honestly, she seemed more stacked than usual. It was unnatural.

Marie (the Osmond): what in the hell was she thinking!? Her "Dollmaker" routine was just awful. Crazy bad. Whatever-Happened-to-Baby-Jane scary. I think she must have warmed up for the final by going off her meds for a week. She is just looney-tunes. If she makes it to the final I will puke. Or turn Mormon, I can't decide which.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mika: Love this

and this

He has it all: the looks, the voice, the range, the smart lyrics, the international appeal. He'll go far.

Is *this* for real?

THE CHALLENGE (from Best Am Po):
When deciphered, the anagram below represents the title of a book of poems by a past guest editor of "The Best American Poetry." Solve the puzzle, then write a two-stanza acrostic poem in which the first letters of the lines spell out the name of that poet.

[note: I solved this part pretty easily; let me know if you want a hint.]


Your poem must be typed in Times New Roman 12 pt. Send it as a Word attachment to an e-mail to Write "Poetry Contest" in the subject line and the title of your poem along with your name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number in the body of the e-mail. The title of your poem should be in the body of the e-mail and on the attachment with your poem . Do not put your name or other identifying information on the attachment. Any submission that reveals the poet's identity on the attachment will be disqualified. The deadline for entry is midnight, eastern standard time, December 31, 2007.

The winning poet's name will be announced on the Best American Poetry website homepage and the winning poem will be posted on the site. The winner of the contest will receive a cloth bound copy of The Best American Poetry 2007, autographed by the guest and series editors and several contributors, as well as other books.

The winner will also receive a broadside of the winning poem, designed by artist Jeremy Thompson.

Any U.S. resident age eighteen or over can enter, except employees of Scribner, the Best American Poetry website manager and designer, the contest Judge (s), and faculty of The New School Writing Program, previous contest winners, or any member of their immediate family. Entries that are lost, late, misdirected, garbled, or incompletely received, for any reason, including by reason of hardware, software, browser, or network failure, malfunction, congestion, or incompatibility at the website or elsewhere, will not be eligible. The contest sponsor in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process, the operation of the website, or otherwise in violation of the rules. It further reserves the right to cancel, terminate, or modify the contest not capable of completion as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, force majeure, or technical failures of any sort.

The winner will be notified by e_mail or telephone. If the winner cannot be reached or does not respond within three (3) days, an alternate winner may be selected, at the sole discretion of the Judge(s).

Subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and where prohibited.

The Prize is not transferable. There will be no substitutions of the prizes except by the Sponsor and at the Sponsor's discretion.

All entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.

Haiku Blogging

I thought this was an interesting article:

What is Haiku Blogging?
Think about the haiku — the Japanese form of poetry of three lines and 14 (sic) syllables. It’s an extremely limited form of poetry, and yet it can be among the most powerful. That’s because the haiku poet is forced to choose only the most essential words to the concept or image he’s trying to convey. Only those words that will do the most for his purpose. The essential words.

So let’s apply that concept to blogging: limit what you do, to force yourself to make choices, and to choose only the essential. Set limits for everything you do.

Here's a haiku blog post:

Bird feeder swinging --
those god-damn squirrels, Dean!
BB gun targets.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The reading at Benaroya Hall was fun. Thanks to everybody who came out. Susan and I each did a short set of poems, (some recurring themes: students/patients, third world health/holocausts, lovers, word play, dead fathers) and then signed books for a little while in the lobby.

Though I was glad to be invited by Artist Trust and Seattle Arts & Lectures, I'm not sure Benaroya is the best venue for a "pre-event" poetry reading like this. It is WAY too large. It seats 2500, and we had an audience of about 50 (who were all sitting in the first 5-10 rows). And so it felt a little like reading inside an empty tin can. Everything I said seemed to reverberate off the walls, and it made it very hard to read poems. Friends in the audience said the same thing, it was like an echo chamber.

Still, it's a fabulous setting. And if they could get the sound right, it might be OK for small poetry readings like this (don't they have a recital hall that is a little smaller?). There are very few poets who can draw a crowd of 2500 these days.

The after-party at Hotel W was tres chic. So, all in all a good time.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Hummingbirds, Babies, and KG

Dean and I put out a new hummingbird feeder yesterday. It's amazing how quickly those little dynamos found it. You'd think it was a pitcher full of cosmopolitans. (Hmmm . . . looks like that, doesn't it?)


We saw L & S and their new baby Anika yesterday. Mucho congrats to the new parents. She is so cute!


Kathy Griffin was a hoot! It is fantastic she sold out three shows in Seattle. We were way up in the mid mezzanine level, and we could hear all her bits just fine, but I missed being able to see her facial expressions, and body movements. Especially when she was imitating Orpah, and Paula, and Britney. Hahahaha.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Reading at Benaroya Hall

If you are in town, come on down! (And don't miss the Happy Hour at Hotel W following the reading.) Here is the scoop:

Seattle Arts & Lectures & Artist Trust are pleased to co-present readings by some of the state's most accomplished poets, essayists and novelists, who will share their work prior to Seattle Arts & Lectures Literary Lecture Series events in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium of Benaroya Hall. Readings are free of charge to all ticket holders. Non-ticket holders may attend these readings with a suggested $5 donation.

Monday, November 19, 2007 5:30 PM - Physician-poet Peter Pereira interweaves the worlds of the body, medicine, word play, and domestic gay life. A founding editor of Floating Bridge Press, his books include The Lost Twin, Saying the World, and What's Written on the Body. Susan Rich is a poet, traveler, and activist. Author of two books of poetry, including the recent volume Cures Include Travel, she has also worked as a staff person for Amnesty International, an electoral supervisor in Bosnia, and a human rights trainer in Gaza.

Happy Hour at the W: Adding to your evening's luster, the W is offering Seattle Arts & Lectures/Artist Trust attendees a relaxing interlude between pre-lecture readings and the lectures themselves. Join friends, pull up a chair near the fireplace, imbibe a specialty cocktail, and sample an appealing array of appetizers. The W is steps away from Benaroya Hall, located on the corner of 4th and University. This no-host Happy Hour will take place in the ground floor Living Room lobby of the hotel from 6:15 to 7:15pm. Identify yourself as a Seattle Arts & Lectures/Artist Trust patron and enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dean and I have a date with *this* fabulous redhead on Sunday. I can hardly wait!


Had a great time with Ian and David at the World Dance series at Meany last night. An interesting group from France, doing a mix of hip-hop and modern, with projected video and taped music. My favorite parts were when they moved in this freaky slow motion, or when they did "popping" (it looks like there is a strobe-light going, but there's not, it is just the dancer breaking their movement into almost saccade-like bits).

We discovered I & D have been reading Offerings, the exact same coffee table book as Dean & I, of gorgeous photos from Tibet, paired with Buddhist sayings, one for each day of the year. Talk about twins.

Also heard about a fascinating Virtual World called "Second Life." But I dunno, my first life (plus this *virtual world*) is complicated enough.



Friday, November 16, 2007

Dean and I watched the Democratic Presidential Debate in Las Vegas last night. I thought Hillary Clinton did very well. I also liked Barak Obama. Edwards was a little disappointing. A surprise for me: I think Biden would make a good president.

Did anyone else notice the little love-fest going on between Biden and Clinton? I am predicting it now: Clinton-Biden as an eventual ticket.


I worked for a couple hours yesterday on a poem in the shape of a washing-machine agitator. I think I have lost my mind.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Season Four!

Last night, I should have been attending this reading at Open Books:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 07:30 PM

(from the website)
Modern Life ($14 Graywolf), Matthea Harvey’s third collection, lives up to its title with a vengeance. This is “modern life” at the intersection of mythology and genetic engineering. Her writing is surprising: wild, lovely, and lyrically descriptive (“I marveled at the maple syrup moon –- / it had a luster unlike any linoleum”), yet grounded in the confusing nightmare of an on-going apocalypse. Harvey’s poems and prose poems are neither simple nor sweet, and, oh, they get under the skin. In the sections “The Future of Terror” and “Terror of the Future,” the poetry takes place in the decrepit aftermath of some off-stage conflict. The speaker in those poems survives in a surreal landscape, a survival certainly requiring wit – “I even invented / a motto for myself: Never Say Mayday / When There’s Still Marzipan.” Sadness, fear, pitch-dark humor, and the drive to soldier on through grim and tedious mayhem come to life in this startlingly singular collection.

Instead I was watching this:


I am sure there is a circle in hell waiting for the likes of me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I *Heart* Helio

Did he drop her, or was it part of the dance? Either way I loved it.

You decide:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For Veterans Day

A poem by Marvin Bell first published in 1965 in Poetry, and a poem by Brian Turner (who was born in 1967), from his 2005 Here Bullet:

Things We Dreamt We Died For
by Marvin Bell

Flags of all sorts.
The literary life.
Each time we dreamt we’d done
the gentlemanly thing,
covering our causes
in closets full of bones
to remove ourselves forever
from dearest possibilities,
the old weapons re-injured us,
the old armies conscripted us,
and we gave in to getting even,
a little less like us
if a lot less like others.
Many, thus, gained fame
in the way of great plunderers,
retiring to the university
to cultivate grand plunder-gardens
in the service of literature,
the young and no more wars.
Their continuing tributes
make them our greatest saviors,
whose many fortunes are followed
by the many who have not one.


Is the world safer? No. It's not safer in Iraq.
--Hans Blix

An Iraqi northern brown bear mauled a man
on a streetcorner, dragging him down an alley
as shocked onlookers cried for it to stop.
There were tanks rolling their heavy tracks
past the museum and up to the Ministry of Oil.
One gunner watched a lion chase down a horse.
Eaten down to their skeletons, the giraffes
looked prehistoric, unreal, their necks
too fragile, too graceful for the 21st Century.
Dalmatian pelicans and marbled teals
flew over, frightened by the rotorwash
of blackhawk helicopters touching down.
One baboon even escaped from the city limits.
It was found wandering in the desert, confused
by the wind and the sand of the barchan dunes.

--Brian Turner


This story is so bizarre. Watch out for those "foxy knoxy" creative writing honors students from UW. Especially if you are in Italy.

Sitting in a prison cell with an English-Italian dictionary by her side, Amanda Knox writes down her latest version of what happened on the night her flatmate, Meredith Kercher, was murdered.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Had a fun time reading in Tacoma. Susan and I met up with Allen at the Mandolin restaurant beforehand. We had an engaged and attentive audience (except for the girls text-messaging in the back ~grin~). Gorgeous Mexican artwork in the gallery, including an amazing painting by Alfredo Arreguin. And a special appearance by RB in the audience (so good to see you!).

I read a few new pieces that went over OK, I think. I also read some poems from What's Written on the Body that I don't usually read, including "Crossing the Pear." (Susan and I were on a dead father theme for part of the evening. But there was also a good amount of humor and levity.) I love trying out a few new poems at the beginning of the reading. After reading them to an audience, I can sometimes tell if they are "done," or if and where they still need some tinkering (or major surgery).


Ron Slate has a review of the Primary Care anthology up on his website, and talks about a poem of mine that is in that anthology. (yes, I was self-googling, I confess).


I have today off before returning to clinic Saturday. Perhaps I'll get some writing done? One can only hope.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Back from Orlando, jet-lagged, but happy to be home. I crashed after dinner last night and slept the sleep of the dead. I now feel almost alive today.

Lots of errands to do. And I am reading tonight in Tacoma, with Susan Rich. If you are in the area, come on down. I'll be reading some new stuff, as well as from the new book (which is not so new anymore).

Here's the info:
Gallery reading series: THU Listen to excerpts from "Cures Include Travel" by Susan Rich and "What's Written on the Body" by Peter Pereira. 7 p.m., Tacoma Community College (Tacoma Campus), 6501 S. 19th St., Tacoma; (253-566-5382 or


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

If somebody says "Have a Magical Day!" one more time, I think I will scream.

'nuf said.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This conference is humongous.
Lots of hype about the new release versions of the EMR program, that look terrific, almost to good too be true. We'll see when the actual update arrives how it functions in the real world, in clinic, with live patients.


One thing I thought I would never need to know as a doctor: tables and relational databases. Oh my. It's just endless.


Still sunny and warm. There was an evening social after the sessions yesterday, out on "the beach" (a stretch of white sand near the pond in the center of the complex). Hundreds of people in "conference casual" suits and loafers or skirts and high heels trying to navigate the sand, while excessively loud hip hop and disco played. Huge lines for the free drinks. It was all a bit much. And then, a fireworks display with the logo of the company appearing in lights. Egad.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Orlando, Coyotes

Orlando is sunny and warm and gorgeous. This hotel is a bit of a disappointment though. No wifi except in the lobby and pool areas. Essentially one restaurant (the concierge tells me: No one really eats here"). Buses come every 20 minutes and take people to "Downtown Disney" which is a pretty awful "family friendly" place, jam-packed with tourists, and a lot of chain-type restuarants. A group of us went to Portobello, and had a decent meal, and great company. But DisneyWorld is really just not my cup of tea.

The electronic medical records company that is putting on this conference is in ultra-hype mode. I am hoping to get through the hype and figure out how to use this program's reporting tool. We'll see . . .


A strange email from a neighbor today, about being woken up in the middle of the night last night, by some strange noises in their backyard. What they thought was a dog turned out to be *three* coyotes, who were dining on their neighbor's cat. The coyotes were not at all scared by their flashlight or shouts, and kept feasting. So they called the police, who came with their squad car and lights, and chased the coyotes away.

Amazing. Coyotes. In the middle of the city. Though we do have some large open space areas nearby, it is really not very *wild* here.

But now Dean and I have a good reason to go tell some "other" neighbors to keep their cats (who are always shitting in our garden beds) indoors -- so they don't get "coyoted."


I brought some notebooks along, so I could maybe work on poems while I was here. I dunno. I am not in a poetry state of mind. These kind of conferences are kind of mind and soul-numbing.