Saturday, December 22, 2012

Some recent poetry

Dean and I had a lovely 3 wk break in sunny Mexico recently, and I was able to catch up on my reading. In addition to the latest Jo Nesbo "Harry Hole" crime thriller, The Phantom, several recent books of poetry caught my eye:

Touch, by Henri Cole.  The book has three sections, and the poems are mostly all loose sonnets (14 lines, but no rhyme scheme or strict meter). The first section's poems explore his mother's death, and are incredibly moving and poignant, without being maudlin. The second is a mishmash of poems, some regarding photographs, paintings, some regarding recent current events, wars, casualties, as well as observations of the natural world. The third section was the most memorable for me -- intense, erotic, painful, arresting, violent and sad poems about a failed relationship, with a lover who was a drug addict. Here is a taste:


Thrown on the carpet with your legs awry --
broken, scalped, microwaved -- a receptacle
of love, you make me think the soul is larger
than the body. He lay like that the last time
I saw him, inhaling powder through a straw.
Studies show monkeys prefer it to food
in their cages; this happens even when the monkeys
are starving. "You are all darkness," he used to say,
"and I am light." Though I understood this alertness
as compassion, it wasn't. // It's March now;
the light is brittle, hard, frozen.
Experience seems to come from a distance.
Waiting for spring thaw, I throw you
in a box with the others.


Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin, Patrick Donnelly.  I loved Patrick's first book, The Charge, and this book seems a fitting next step in his work. It is a mix of translations of Japanese classical poems (done with his partner/husband Stephen Miller), as well as more narrative poems that expand on themes from The Charge. These are hard-earned poems about memory, confronting mortality, living with AIDS, dealing with the body's limits, and ultimately survival:

 . . . But because a bitter powder
burns my blood sweet every day,
the weird wages of sin in my case
has been life, unprepared-for life,
a stumbling-block for the makers
of sermons because the punishment
we expected never came. Instead

some harsh mercy
(cunning, intricate) emptied
my tomb, prolongs
my days, swells
my account, wreathes
my neck, anoints
my feet, fattens me
on sweetmeats, publishes
my words, magnifies
my bed and husbands it
into outrageous flower.

(from "Sentence.")

Gin & Bleach, Catherine Wing.  Another wonderful second book. I especially admire the poems with medical themes, titles: "Vitreous Humor," "Self Medication" "Still Murmur." As well as the funny and playful Tom and Jerry poems.

The Middle Ages, Roger Fanning.  The author's note states that this is "an unusual book in that the poems written before the author's break with reality are markedly different from those written after . . . see if you can tell which poems are which." And certainly, there are poems that are more sedate and formal, and then, wow-- poems that really are a roller coaster ride, much looser in form and content, and, frankly, more fun. I assume the later came after the break?  Who knows.


Rough Honey, Melissa Stein.  I especially enjoyed the poem "Galileo."

The Selvage, Linda Gregerson.  Ekphrasis seems to be trending lately. I especially enjoyed the series "From the Life of St. Peter."

Theophobia, Bruce Beasley.  Dense, word-rich, musical poems exploring scripture and language and the idea of God (or fear of God, as the case may be). Even includes a bit of science, which I like ("Genomic Vanitas").
Happy reading!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Copper Canyon 40th Anniversary!

For You & Everything Alive Inside of You: Readings by Copper Canyon Press Poets James Arthur, Mattew Dickman, Ed Skoog and Friends

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 7:00pm
Featuring: Holiday book sale! Poetry reading! Behind-the-scenes stories from the Copper Canyon Press! Silent auction! More!

Who am I writing for?
For you and everything alive inside of you.
-Vicente Aleixandre
Translated from the Spanish by Lewis Hyde

The right poem makes us feel alive and, as Vicente Aleixandre suggests, written-for. Join Copper Canyon Press and Richard Hugo House for a celebration of the gift that is given between the poem and the poetry reader.
Meet author James Arthur, who will be reading from his debut book of poetry. Hear him describe the path his poems took from his feet to your ears, as well as CCP poets Matthew Dickman and Ed Skoog. Listen to local poets and performers interpret great works by Copper Canyon poets including June Jordan, Hayden Carruth and Dean Young. Allow us to introduce you to books of poetry you may not have heard of, or reintroduce you to poets you'd at one time rejected as not your type. Let us play matchmaker as you search for the poem that will light you up, or the collection that will make the perfect gift for the reader on your list.
To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Copper Canyon Press, the first 100 RSVPs will receive a complimentary book of poetry at the door, and all guests will receive a special gift.
About the event
7-8 p.m. Meet the press. Doors and bar open. Receive your special gift at the door, and join us and Copper Canyon Press poets and Richard Hugo House staff for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Chat with Copper Canyon Press staff and friends, bid on poetry-related auction items, and browse our holiday book sale before the crowd arrives.
8-9 p.m. Meet the poems. Copper Canyon author James Arthur will read excerpts from his new book, "Charms Against Lightning." Local poets Ed Skoog, Matthew Dickman, and special guests including Amber Flame, Arlene Kim and Elissa Washuta will pay tribute to Copper Canyon authors past and present. After the reading, staff will play matchmaker, taking requests from those who seek a particular kind of poetry book; we'll pull just the right volume for your personal collection or for someone on your holiday list.
9-10 p.m. Everything alive inside of you: Copper Canyon celebrates 40 dynamic years, and you help us kick-start our shared future in publishing. Stick around to talk with each other about what poetry means to you and how it betters your life. Describe the poem you wish someone would write. Sit and read a while. Fill up on hope. Get a book signed. Get a book gift-wrapped. Raise your glass to another good year in poetry.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Southeast Seattle, We're Covered!

Southeast Seattle, We're Covered!

I love living in Southeast Seattle -- diversity, community, eclectic restaurants, light rail -- It's getting better all the time.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Going to the Chapel?

Today, December 6th, is the first day same sex marriage licenses can be granted in Washington state! By coincidence, it also happens to be Dean's and my 26th anniversary.  We are in Mexico at the moment, so will have to celebrate from afar this very big step (one of many to come) in the expansion of human rights and social justice. Plus it is just so romantic, isn't it.

see article and pics at link below (I love what Dow Constantine had to say):

Dozens Receive Gay Marriage Licenses as WA State Legalizes Same Sex Unions

SEATTLE (AP) — Two by two, dozens of same-sex couples obtained their marriage licenses in Washington state early Thursday, just hours after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a law legalizing gay marriage.
King County, the state’s biggest county, opened the doors to its auditor’s office in Seattle just after midnight PST to start distributing marriage licenses. But hundreds of people had lined up hours earlier, snaking around the downtown Seattle building on a chilly December night.
“We knew it was going to happen, but it’s still surreal,” said Amanda Dollente, who along with her partner, Kelly Middleton, began standing in line at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Asked whether the middle-of-the-night marriage license roll-out was necessary, King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “People who have been waiting all these years to have their rights recognized should not have to wait one minute longer.”
In Seattle, the mood was festive. Volunteers distributed roses, coffee and fruit. Couples canoodled to keep warm. Champagne was poured. Different groups of men and women serenaded the waiting line, one to the tune of “Going to the Chapel.”
“We waited a long time. We’ve been together 35 years, never thinking we’d get a legal marriage. Now I feel so joyous I can’t hardly stand it,” said 85-year-old Pete-e Petersen, who with her partner, 77-year-old Jane Abbott Lighty, were the first to get a license.


Friday, November 16, 2012

What fiscal cliff?

from the wonderful folks at MoveOn:

  1. The "Fiscal Cliff" Is A Myth. As Paul Krugman put it, "The looming prospect of spending cuts and tax increases isn't a fiscal crisis. It is, instead, a political crisis brought on by the G.O.P.'s attempt to take the economy hostage."1 Republicans are manufacturing this crisis to pressure Democrats to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and accept painful cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

  2. The Bush Tax Cuts Finally End December 31. If Congress does nothing, the ax will fall onall the Bush tax cuts on New Year's Eve.2 Then, on January 1, the public pressure on John Boehner and House Republicans to extend the middle-class tax cuts (already passed by the Senate and waiting to be signed by President Obama) will become irresistible.3 So the middle-class tax cut will eventually get renewed, and we'll have $823 billion more revenue from the top 2% to do great things with.4

  3. The Sequester. The sequester is another political creation, forced on Democrats by Republicans in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling last year to avoid crashing our economy.5 It's a set of cuts (50% to a bloated military budget and 50% to important domestic programs) designed to make both Republicans and Democrats hate it so much that they'd never let it happen.6 And the cuts can be reversed weeks or months into 2013 without causing damage.7 

  4. The Big Three. Nothing happens to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits on January 1—unless Republicans force painful cuts to beneficiaries in exchange for tax increases on the wealthy, which are going to happen anyway if Congress does NOTHING.8So, there's literally no reason benefits cuts should be part of the discussion right now.

  5. We Should Be Talking About Jobs. The real crisis Americans want Congress to fix is getting people back to work. And with just a fraction of that $823 billion from the wealthiest 2%, we could create jobs for more than 20,000 veterans and pay for the 300,000 teachers and 52,000 first responders, which our communities so desperately need.9 That's not to mention jobs from investing in clean energy and our national infrastructure. 
Please share this with your friends and family—and talk about it at the dinner table next week. The first step to winning this showdown is making sure we're all armed with the facts.
Thanks for all you do.
–Ilya, Emily, Mark, Tate, and the rest of the team

Saturday, November 03, 2012

4 More Days, 4 More Years!

This election is so important. It's all about moving FORWARD, not backward.

And in WA State, can you believe we will probably legalize pot, approve gay marriage, pass charter school, and elect a Republican governor. Go figure!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

from today's Poem a Day, how apropos . . .

The Hurricane
by William Carlos Williams

The tree lay down 
on the garage roof 
and stretched, You 
have your heaven, 
it said, go to it. 
Reprinted from The Collected Poems: Vol. II, 1939-1962. Copyright © 1944 by New Directions Publishing Corporation. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
About this poem:
The Hurricane names slotted for 2012 include: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, and William.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Things They Googled

I just loved reading this essay by Marion Winik in the latest issue of Utne Reader, reprinted from The Sun (and, it looks like, an earlier version appearing in the Baltimore Fishbowl -- this essay has legs!). I love all the places it goes.  Though the version from The Sun ends a bit differently (and better-ly) than the one below. It's really a prose poem, isn't it? Enjoy!

The Things They Googled
by: Marion Winik

If they were young, they googled the things they didn’t know. Some were things they were supposed to know, like the habits of the hammerhead shark. The perfect squares under 100. The phrase “rite of passage.” When they got bored, they googled images of peace signs, photographs of rainbows, a video of a girl singing about Friday and another of a baby laughing and laughing. They googled Anne Hathaway. If they were boys, they googled how to build a bomb. If they could get on the computer when their parents weren’t home they googled things they weren’t supposed to know, things like sodomy and lesbian and boob. Then they cleared the search history and googled hammerhead shark.

If they were old, they googled the things they had forgotten. Names of actors and movies, old sports scores and hurricanes, the vice president under Carter, the ingredients in a Manhattan. The hours of the liquor store, liquor stores open Sunday, directions. They googled things that had escaped them: the definition of “feckless,” a synonym for “regime,” most of the answers to the Sunday crossword puzzle. They googled remedies for burns and bee stings.

If they were lonely, they googled sex. They googled phone sex, cybersex, and sex xxx. They googled long-lost lab partners, old boyfriends, the name of their ex-husband’s new girlfriend. They googled cute pictures of baby animals. They googled the word lonely. They googled “distended stomach” “nosebleed that won’t stop” “numbness” “insomnia” and “cancer symptoms.”

The things they googled were determined by forgetfulness, by need, by desire, by curiosity, and by the endless availability of googling. In fact, there was no point in remembering anything except how to google. They didn’t even have to remember what they were googling: When they googled “When does G,” just that much, Google knew the question was when Glee Season Three would begin. When they googled pleonism, Google quietly looked up pleonasm. Google never made them feel bad about not knowing.

So they googled how to lose weight and pictures of psoriasis and checklists for diagnosing ADD. If they were pregnant, there was no end to their googling. They googled when it would rain and how much it would rain and when to plant their gardens. They googled the tides and the seasons. They googled sunrise and sunset. They googled births and deaths. They googled themselves, which was sometimes unsettling, turning up Boston Marathon times and class reunions and even obituaries not their own.

How did they live before Google, they wondered. How did anyone know anything? How did anyone remember, while driving through Mohntown, Pennsylvania, the name of the young blond actress in the movie Witness who was from that town?

When they were hungry, they googled. They googled “recipe chard cannellini beans” “recipe apple gingersnap” “recipe rice noodle salad.” How to freeze tomatoes. How to peel and seed tomatoes. Can you add grated zucchini to cornbread mix? What is that smell in my refrigerator? How can you tell if an egg is rotten? If one egg is rotten, are all the others rotten too? Best no-egg cornbread. Best no-egg omelette.

Best restaurant brunch.

Plagued by the disturbing familiarity of an essay they had read, they googled The Things They Googled, and again Google was there before they finished typing. It was the short story “The Things They Carried” they were thinking of, the beautiful, heartbreaking Vietnam story by Tim O’Brien. Google showed them where to read it online, and some of them actually did read it, which stopped them for a while from their googling.

Now put down that iPhone and I will tell you:

The actress is Kelly McGillis.

Pleonasm is the use of more words than necessary to express an idea.

You cannot find the best restaurant for brunch on Google, though Google confidently pretends otherwise. But this search works better the old-fashioned way: on foot, by hand, with your mouth. First, you will have to leave the house.


Marion Winik writes “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a column about life, love, and the pursuit of self-awareness. Check out her heartbreakingly honest and funny essays twice a month on Baltimore Fishbowl.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Four More Years!

The home stretch -- and where we stand now. Get out and VOTE! (map courtesy of Real Clear Politics)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Seattle Center & Jack Straw Productions present Unexpected Arts
Kathryn Hunt & Peter Pereira - reading from Jack Straw Writers alumni
10/6/2012 10:30 AM

Come join Kathryn Hunt and I, as we read new poems (and old). In the Poetry Garden! And thank you to Jack Straw - you've been there since the beginning. *

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Check out the photo stream of people sending in pictures of themselves holding the "I Do" sign in support of marriage equality.  It is so moving to see all the support from all walks of life:
or here:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

another good one from Poem a Day:

Big Game
by Brenda Shaughnessy

        —after Richard Brautigan's "A Candlelion Poem"

What began as wildfire ends up
on a candle wick. In reverse,
it is contained,

a lion head in a hunter's den.
Big Game.

Bigger than one I played
with matches and twigs and glass
in the shade.

When I was young, there was no sun
and I was afraid.

Now, in grownhood, I call the ghost
to my fragile table, my fleshy supper,
my tiny flame.

Not just any old, but THE ghost,
the last one I will be,

the future me,
finally the sharpest knife
in the drawer.

The pride is proud.
The crowd is loud, like garbage dumping

or how a brown bag ripping
sounds like a shout
that tells the town the house

is burning down.
Drowns out some small folded breath

of otherlife: O that of a lioness licking her cubs to sleep in a dream of
savage gold.

O that roaring, not yet and yet
and not yet dead.

So many fires

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I love this poem from today's Poem a Day:

The Future is an Animal
by Tina Chang

In every kind of dream I am a black wolf
careening through a web. I am the spider
who eats the wolf and inhabits the wolf's body.
In another dream I marry the wolf and then
am very lonely. I seek my name and they name me
Lucky Dragon. I would love to tell you that all
of this has a certain ending but the most frightening
stories are the ones with no ending at all.
The path goes on and on. The road keeps forking,
splitting like an endless atom, splitting
like a lip, and the globe is on fire. As many
times as the book is read, the pages continue
to grow, multiply. They said, In the beginning,
and that was the moral of the original and most
important story. The story of man. One story.
I laid my head down and my head was heavy.
Hair sprouted through the skin, hair black
and bending toward night grass. I was becoming
the wolf again, my own teeth breaking
into my mouth for the first time, a kind of beauty
to be swallowed in interior bite and fever.
My mind a miraculous ember until I am the beast.
I run from the story that is faster than me,
the words shatter and pant to outchase me.
The story catches my heels when I turn
to love its hungry face, when I am willing
to be eaten to understand my fate. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Let's Have a Kiki

Check out this "instructional video" from Scissor Sisters. Such a hoot!

And while you are at it: this live performance of "Only the Horses" is pretty hot. Even Tom Jones was giving them a standing O.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Love this poem from today's Poem a Day. So fitting for the end of August (though we are not to the end yet!):

 Mist Valley
 by James Longenbach

At the end of August, when all
The letters of the alphabet are waiting,
You drop a teabag in a cup.
The same few letters making many different words,
The same words meaning different things.

Often you've rearranged them on the surface of the fridge.
Without the surface
They're repulsed by one another.

Here are the letters.
The tea is in your cup.

At the end of August, the mind
Is neither the pokeweed piercing the grass
Nor the grass itself.
As Tony Cook says in The Biology of Terrestrial Mollusks

The right thing to do is nothing, the place
A place of concealment,
And the time as often as possible.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Sounds like Argentina has a good thing going (from Atlantic Cities online): "Another installment of: Literary Laws that Will Never Exist in the United States. This week we turn to Buenos Aires, Argentina, home of the late Jorge Luis Borges, where aging novelists, poets and playwrights are eligible to receive government pensions. The New York Times reported Sunday that the recently-established program is now distributing pensions of up to $900 a month to over 80 writers. One of those recipients, Alberto Laiesca, told Romero that “the program is magnificent, delivering some dignity to those of us who have toiled our entire life for literature.” The requirements for the pension are strict, according to the Times and the Argentine news blog Occidentes: 15 years residence in the Argentine capital, a continuing commitment to the arts, and the publication of five works of literature, poetry, essays or theater, barring some other extended engagement with literature." full story here:

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Romney VP pic coming soon. Who will it be? . . . and while we are waiting, here's a funny bit of reminiscence from today's Huff Post: "Meanwhile, the ghost of Sarah Palin continues to loom over Romney's decision. Only two days ago, former veep Dick Cheney, 2008 loser John McCain and La Palin herself engaged in a mud-slinging ménage a trois over whether or not Palin was up to the task of riding shotgun on the Republican ticket four years ago. The ever-dour Cheney asserted that she was not. Ya think? McCain, who will forever bear the Palin stain on his political legacy, played Sir Walter Raleigh-on-Geritol yet again and bashed Cheney on her behalf. The half-term governor, who now appears as a bobblehead doll on Fox News, tossed an incoherent (and duplicitous) word salad in her defense, reminding the world yet again why Cheney was right." Ya think? *

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Guide for the Poet Within‘The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets,’ by Jeffrey Skinner

I love the tongue in cheek of the title -- sounds like this might be an interesting book! "Halfway through Jeffrey Skinner’s new book, “The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets,” he quotes W. H. Auden: “Form looks for content, content looks for form.” It’s a pithy bit of near tautology that also happens to neatly describe Skinner’s thoughtful and genre-defying book." --from NY Times review

Sunday, July 08, 2012

This looks to be a real fun evening, and for such a good cause. Hope you can come!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Such a delightful, heartwarming movie. Multiple interwoven stories, all coming together at a rundown but beautiful old hotel in India, that an unrelated group of British ex-pats have landed upon in their retirement years. A wonderful ensemble cast, including faves Judie Dench, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Smith. And a surprising (and quite moving) plot line involving an Englishman who grew up in India, returning now to look for a lost love (also a man). The movie had so much going on, I am sure they left out a lot of the novel. In fact, this is one of those movies that makes me want to go back and read the book it is based upon: These Foolish Things, by Deborah Moogach.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Such an amazing journey: a magic carpet ride from Istanbul to Venice, and everywhere in-between.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Visit to create your own personalized photobook.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sharon Needles Wins!,0,2716191.story But what was that thing she was wearing on her forehead?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day

Remember to love your mother today (Mother Earth, that is!).

For Earth Day, Dean and I have been spending the lovely sunny weekend tending our garden. So satisfying to be getting our hands dirty, digging and planting and weeding and pruning. Almost nothing could be better . . . .

Friday, April 13, 2012

I love this poem from Poem a Day, and what it says about language, and memory-- as well as the nod to WCW.

Untitled [A house just like his mother's]
by Gregory Orr

A house just like his mother's,
But made of words.
Everything he could remember
Inside it:
Parrots and a bowl
Of peaches, and the bright rug
His grandmother wove.

Shadows also—mysteries
And secrets.
Only ghosts patrol.
And did I mention
Strawberry jam and toast?

Did I mention
That everyone he loved
Lives there now,

In that poem
He called "My Mother’s House?"


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

RIP Adrienne Rich

Wow. End of an era. End of an era. So sad. so sad.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Poet Adrienne Rich, whose socially conscious verse influenced a generation of feminist, gay rights and anti-war activists, has died. She was 82.

Rich died Tuesday at her Santa Cruz home from complications from rheumatoid arthritis, said her son, Pablo Conrad. She had lived in Santa Cruz since the 1980s.

Through her writing, Rich explored topics such as women’s rights, racism, sexuality, economic justice and love between women.

Rich published more than a dozen volumes of poetry and five collections of nonfiction. She won a National Book Award for her collection of poems “Diving into the Wreck” in 1974. In 2004, she won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for her collection “The School Among the Ruins.”

She had first gained national prominence with her third poetry collection, “Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law,” in 1963. Citing the title poem, University of Maryland professor Rudd Fleming wrote in The Washington Post that she “proves poetically how hard it is to be a woman — a member of the second sex.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Face to Meet the Faces Anthology reading!

Hope to see you there! It's a really wonderful anthology, almost 400 pages of Persona Poems, written from a variety of perspectives and points of view.

Readers include Luke Johnson, Matthew Nienow, Kathleen Flenniken, Susan Rich, Martha Silano, Marge Manwaring, Jeannine Hall Gailey, and others. Wednesday night, April 4th. 7 pm Richard Hugo House.


Monday April 2nd at 7pm Elliot Bay Books

Kathleen Flenniken and Martha Collins!

Visiting poet Martha Collins, the author of numerous collections and for many years an esteemed professor at Oberlin, and Seattle poet Kathleen Flenniken, an editor with Floating Bridge Press and the newly named Poet Laureate of Washington, read together this evening from new books. For Martha Collins, it's White Papers (University of Pittsburgh Press). "White Papers is praise song for the truth. It bravely pulls back the covers of whiteness to offer us precious views of racial privilege. Martha Collins has laid bare the more complex dangers of America's central trauma in a book of innovative craft and startling honesty." – Afaa Michael Weaver. Kathleen Flenniken's Plume (University of Washington Press), newest volume in the UW Press' Pacific Northwest Poetry Series and her second, full-length book, draws on her unusual (for a poet) background as a civil engineer and hydrologist, one who worked at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. "moving deftly between haunting lyric and disturbing documentary, Kathleen Flenniken packages recent history in a wide variety of poetic forms and styles. Plume raises the bar for documentary poetry, moving us with its timely and important subject matter as well as the meticulous craft of its poems." – Martha Collins.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I like this poem from today's Verse Daily!

Where the Hero Speaks to Others
Dear mailbox. I have abandoned the task. There is no more glory
to resurrect, spoils of the marriage to pick over. She finds me burdensome and has moved out into the guest house.
I don't remember building a guest house.
Many nights I have stumbled out into the unwilling streets and fallen
to my knees before you. O, mailbox. Your throat is swollen
and refuses to sing for me. You no longer bring me news of a timeshare abroad
which I might consider. You draw up from your long, black stomach papers
I will not sign. O, lamplight.
You are equally no friend. Beside you I deliver a monologue
correcting previous scholars about the usefulness of tulips. O, useless tulip.
There is so much I want to say to you when grinning, you mock me
for watching you from the window. I feel ashamed
for wanting you. For sitting quietly in a chair especially
to miss her. O, musty library flooded with sun. To rub her name
from the faces of your books.

-- Wendy Xu

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sarah Palin's Secret Plot to Capture the White House in 2012

I thought this was a fascinating, well-thought out article on Huff post, written by Geoffrey Dunn, suggesting that Sarah Palin may try to steal the Republican nomination at a brokered convention (or run as a third party?)

"In the aftermath of Santorum's sweep of Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, a brokered GOP convention is a very real possibility. The Republican Party has become a fractured mosaic of fringe constituencies -- from Tea Partiers to evangelical anti-abortion activists, from libertarians who support Ron Paul to white supremacists who despise the fact that there is a black man in the White House. It is an unruly lot. The days of a GOP elite framing the presidential selection process are over. Charisma trumps experience; celebrity trumps substance; and, perhaps most disturbingly, anger trumps reason. Mama grizzlies, especially those who have been wounded, don't go down easy."

Check it out here:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I love this poem from today's poem a day, and the way it explores the word "economy."

by Sandra Beasley

After you've surrendered to pillows
and I, that second whiskey,
on the way to bed I trace my fingers
over a thermostat we dare not turn up.
You have stolen what we call the green thing—
too thick to be a blanket, too soft to be a rug—
turned away, mid-dream. Yet your legs
still reach for my legs, folding them quick
to your accumulated heat.
                              These days
only a word can earn overtime.
Economy: once a net, now a handful of holes.
Economy: what a man moves with
when, even in sleep, he is trying to save
all there is left to save.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Dems Owe Rush a Thank You Gift. Of Sex.

This editorial from Huff post was just a hoot - offering to award Rush Limbaugh with a special cache of Viagra:

"I'd like to clarify here that in no way do I mean to suggest that Mr. Limbaugh is a sex tourist. I'm simply saying it because it sounds good. And anyway, it's not personal or anything. And furthermore, I apologize."

see full story here: link

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hugo House Poetry Class

This sounds like a fantastic class. Elizabeth is a terrific poet, and teacher. Check it out!

Poetry: The Practice of Revision. Wednesdays from 7 to 9p March 14 to May 23 (no class May 16). Registration is open online at Richard Hugo House or via phone at (206) 322-7030.
$360 general public/$324 Hugo House members.
Class description: You’ve got a first draft. Now what? How do you revise toward a richer, more compelling poem? We’ll work with a variety of craft elements including image, music and form in order to develop strong, flexible tools for revision. We’ll wrestle with the distinction between mystery and confusion, and experiment with making bolder, riskier choices. In-class exercises, take-home assignments and and reading will prompt you to dismantle and re-assemble draft poems with gusto and a sense of inquiry. You’ll leave with a clearer sense of your own aesthetic and tools to sustain your development as a writer. Required books: Next Word, Better Word, by Stephen Dobyns and Art and Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland.
Elizabeth Austen is the author of “Every Dress a Decision” (Blue Begonia Press, 2011), and the chapbooks “The Girl Who Goes Alone” (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and “Where Currents Meet” (part of the Toadlily Press quartet Sightline). Her poems have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily. She was the Washington state “roadshow poet” and is the literary producer for KUOW 94.9 public radio. She has an MFA in poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles, and was part of the 2009 Hugo House Literary Series.More info at

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I love this poem from Poem a Day. And such sweetness and light, from Ezra Pound, of all people!

Come My Cantilations
by Ezra Pound

Come my cantilations,
Let us dump our hatreds into one bunch and be done with them,
Hot sun, clear water, fresh wind,
Let me be free of pavements,
Let me be free of the printers.
Let come beautiful people
Wearing raw silk of good colour,
Let come the graceful speakers,
Let come the ready of wit,
Let come the gay of manner, the insolent and the exulting.
We speak of burnished lakes,
And of dry air, as clear as metal.


Having a great time in Palm Springs. Not quite as sunny as we had hoped. But lovely to see friends, and the Mid-Century Modern homes, and Tennis and golf and spa places. Tomorrow we'll go to Joshua Tree. And Monday, Bingo at the Ace with Linda! Fun fun!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

WA Poet Laureate!

Yay Kathleen!

State names Richland native its poet laureate for 2012-14

This past week, Kathleen Flenniken, a Richland native and Washington State University alumna, was named Washington's poet laureate for 2012-14. She lives in Seattle with her husband and has three children.
full story here

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Class Warfare? Get Real.

I love this quote from Al Franken, that I read in the current issue of The Sun:

"In her book A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight, and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with the children still watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her dead husband and then killed her.

That is class warfare.

Arguing over the optimum marginal tax rate for the top one percent is not."


This video about texters is too funny! Enjoy . . .

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Yee-haw. Goin' to the chapel and we're . . . gonna get married . . . !

(Probably not, but it's fun to know we could if we wanted)


from the web:

On February 1, the Washington State Senate voted to approve SB 6239, the marriage equality legislation, by a vote of 28-21. Your senator, Adam Kline , voted with the majority to grant loving, committed same-sex families equal civil marriage in the Evergreen State. Please send Sen. Kline a thank you right now by clicking here. 

The senate was considered by most observers as the more difficult chamber to pass the legislation through. Without Sen. Kline 's support, advocates would have failed to make Washington State the 7th in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

With the State House expected to vote on the measure in the coming days, it's time to take a moment to recognize the courage and conviction your senator took for standing up and doing the right thing. Thank Sen. Kline today!

Thank you,

Marty Rouse
National Field Director

P.S. Save the Date! Join us in Olympia on February 16th for Washington United’s

Are Conservatives and Racists Less Intelligent?

Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism

The study, published in Psychological Science, showed that people who score low on I.Q. tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.
I.Q., or intelligence quotient, is a score determined by standardized tests, but whether the tests truly reveal intelligence remains a topic of hot debate among psychologists.
Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology at the university and the study's lead author, said the finding represented evidence of a vicious cycle: People of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice, he told LiveScience.
Why might less intelligent people be drawn to conservative ideologies? Because such ideologies feature "structure and order" that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world, Dodson said. "Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice," he added.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jody Aliesan RIP

Jody Aliesan, poet, writer, and feminist, passed away on January 14, 2012, of ovarian cancer. She died in Vancouver, Canada, where she had received her citizenship last July. Jody lived a life dedicated to "telling the truth, and speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. My community, my culture, is our common humanity. I aspire to speak for that." (see full obit here) Her many dear friends will keep in their hearts memories of her wonderful spirit and powerful voice. Remembrances may be made to Greenpeace or the PCC Farmland Trust. "The poet is the wick in the lamp of the community. Not the oil, and not the flame; but the simple piece of cloth that unites the two so that the people can see their own light." (Irish wisdom) Sign Jody's on-line Guest Book at

from her poem "in beauty it is finished"

that day above wet islands tossed by crosswinds
in a little four-seater shuddering sideways down
shoulder first through racing clouds
desperate for a clearing
. . . . . something drew me away
from the pilot's face to the world below
and said you may die soon so look again
how wind beats the water into a silver sheet
don't miss these last few moments by being afraid

. . .

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cheap Wine & Poetry Hugo House

Cheap Wine and Poetry
Feeds the Hungry!

Thursday January 26, 2012, 7:00 PM
Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle WA 98122

(206) 322-7030

Featuring Greg Bem & Amber Flame
Martha Silano & Peter Pereira
Reading New Work

Supported by 4Culture/Individual Artist Projects

Rainier Valley Food Bank Benefit Reading
The first 30 people to bring a donated food item receive a free drink!

Donate Food: The food bank can always use donations of high protein, healthy foods, such as:
Canned chicken, tuna and salmon
Hearty meat soups and stews
Canned vegetables and fruits
Dry and canned beans (kidney, pinto, green, yellow, refried or black beans)
Peanut butter
Pasta and rice
Pancake and baking mixes
Granola and energy bars
Dried fruits (raisins, dried cranberries, apricots, apples, etc)

Friday, January 13, 2012


Check this out. A really funny version of "My Favorite Things" in the voice of uber-rich, über-conceited Mitt Romney:

White folks for neighbors because they're hard workers
Other folks for caddies and legal yard workers
Money and all of the houses its brings
These are a few of my favorite things

Corporate people for my only friends
Ron to stay in til the primary ends
More Touch of Gray so I only have "wings"
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the Newt bites, when the Rick stings
When magic Underoos chafe
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I can feel... quite safe

Here is the link to the video:

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Faux Pho!

Dean and I love Vietnamese pho noodle soup, especially on cold wintry days. I've heard it called Vietnamese penicillin, so many people swear by it to keep coughs and colds away.

But on our low carb diet the noodles are just a killer. So, this weekend I invented a "faux pho" soup, using thinly julienned yellow squash and zucchini squash for the noodles. Terrific!

Here is my general Faux Pho recipe:

Olive oil
onion or shallot or both
orange sweet pepper
white wine

chicken or vegetable broth (hot)
sesame oil
lemon pepper
red pepper flakes
lime juice
pork or prawns or both

Bring it all to a boil for a couple minutes, until meat is cooked, then add the julienned squash and/or zucchinni "noodles" and cook for about two minutes (you want the squashed cooked, but still somewhat firm) and serve.

The faux noodles are quite satisfying, but have minimal carbs. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Best Poetry Books of 2011

Happy New Year! I thought I'd look back on 2011 and give a shout out to the ten or so books of poetry from the past year that I enjoyed the most, or found the most memorable. In no particular order:

Woodnote, Christine Deavel: the long-poem pastiche "Economy" culled from her deceased aunt's diary entries was one of the most exhilarating poetry experiences of the year for me.

Every Dress a Decision, Elizabeth Austen: so good to see this important poet from the Seattle scene get her first full length book.

Flies, Michael Dickman: I loved the dream-like black humor and the reference to Emily Dickinson.

Present Vanishing, Dick Allen: Though this book came out in 2008, I didn't read it until this year. I love the Zen poems especially.

The Book of Men, Dorianne Laux: I enjoyed the nostalgia for the 60-70's pop stars. Perfect for my age demographic.

The Hands of Strangers: Janice N. Harrington's wonderful debut collection from BOA about life (and death) in the nursing home does not sound like it would be that engaging. But this book is pretty amazing. Start with the poem about bedsores.

The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands, Nick Flynn : Uneven, but what an amazing cover image, and some really devastating moments in the poems too.

The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, Martha Silano: a wonderful blending of cosmology, motherhood, and cooking. Even better that Patricia Smith's Life on Mars (which is also one of my faves for 2011, though I really didn't start reading it until the last few days).

Space, In Chains, Laura Kasischke: another book with space, cosmology, in its title. Hmmm, a theme here?

And some from 2011 I am looking forward to reading this year:

Songs of Unreason, Jim Harrison.
Head Off & Split, Nikky Finney
Dear Prudence: New and Selected, David Trinidad.

If you have a suggestion for a book I may have missed, feel free to comment or backchannel.