I am temporarily parking archived blog posts here while I redesign my site and change servers. For current content, please visit blog.shannacompton.com.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Maureen rhymes with aubergine...

and she's also designed a chapbook cover.

Gonna clean up the blogroll this weekend...

so, Noah, are you coming back or what?

Will also be adding some new folks. Hi. How are ya?

For those of you keeping score...

I am still working on the cento. It's a booger bear.

Two great tastes that taste great together

And from the anagrams of my gangsta name, Threepac Melon Balls...

Repellent cab? Oh, slam! [All New Yorkers have done it.]

Lope beach, smell tarn. [A lakeside to-do list.]


I'll stop now. More coffee. Less coffee?

More anagrams...

You know, if you play around a little, you can find more than the generator gives you. And with punctuation, it's even more interesting.

From my first, middle, and last names:

Non Tan Madcap Shown [A news article about a whimsical albino artist's gallery premier]

Nod, O Watchman. Span. [A burglar's prayer.]

A panda shown ant. C'mon! [A frustrated naturalist's note.]

No want? Posh can't damn. [Almost Buddhist, no?]

Thursday, April 29, 2004

My new favorite sport?

Outdoor blogging!

Sitting on the stoop waiting for Hal to come pick up his proofs, when I suddenly realized I could. So I did. There.

Ah spring.

My best anagram...

from my first and middle names:

Handsaw Ann


Purple Heart


and Eugene

went walking through


back of

the house with


ideas of

time and loving.


they bore

through tangles more


like than

domestic, more weedy


true forest.

A spring day


fresh, blue

and so yellow


their thoughts

upon the green


bright blossoms

of contentedness. When


she stood

stock still, hand


to make

him stop short.


“Shh. Shhh.”

“Oh! Bear! Gene!”

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Let's also send 'em to the Yale Review.

For J. D. McClatchy


eggplant. the

word does nothing


me. not


Since you asked,

Reen, I write in notebooks first. As I mentioned in the post below, I have several. Usually a small spiral bound that I carry in my bag or pocket. This is for stray thoughts, "poem ideas," chapbook concepts, overheard snippets, accidental poems*, phone numbers and email addresses, ad hoc business cards, reading notes, etc.

I started two other spiral notebooks in the class I had with Harry Mathews. One for freewriting, and one for assigments, the latter of which has evolved into a notebook for drafts. The freewriting notebook is steno sized, the draft notebook is large format--whaddayacallit--ledger sized. I'd always had a notebook for drafts, but never a freewriting notebook. To be honest, it doesn't get used much now that that class has been over almost 6 months. But it's nice to know it's there.

I have two hardbound blank books right now. One for notes on poetry I'm reading (I've always had something like this, but moved to hardcover when I started a poetry journal for David Trinidad's class in 2000). One just for titles. In the one for titles, I also slip in articles or newstories, etc. that might inspire me to write something. Like an article on the history of the wire coat hanger Shawn sent me a couple of weeks ago. There's something permanent about these hardbound books (and they are usually so pretty) that I don't like to use them for anything less than "finished." A title, a good one, when it comes, seems worthy of preserving this way. As do my thoughts on other people's poems, or lines from those poems, or whole poems by other people. I think this spiral bound/hardbound thing must be telling. Spiral for me equals messy process. Hardbound equals more self-assured, or not myself at all!

In the hardcover category, I have a bunch of handmade notebooks and gifts and even purchases that truly seem too gorgeous to blight with my marks.

I also use a secret blog as a notebook to catch stray lines and poem ideas. Right now Shafer & I are using that blog to post poems for our collaborative chapbook. That way he & I can check in on each other and read the poems from wherever we happen to be.

Once I get a draft down, I move to my computer, where I type the poems into whatever manuscript I'm working on. New poems from the Shafer/Shanna collaborations, for instance, go in to the MS for Miracle Fortune Fish (my new MS) and into the MS for Big Confetti (the chapbook MS).

(Did I even show you my typewriters?) We collect them. And between us we have about 14. They don't all work. We each have one that's been cleaned and serviced and the others are objets d'art that will be torn down for parts as necessary. Shawn wants to strip one of the Letteras down to the naked steel as a variation on the turquoise. And I have two plastic Letteras, a Valentine, and a Spanish made dark turquoise one. The rest are steel 22s or 32s, most in shades of turquoise, one lime green, and one brown. Most are Italian, a couple are Spanish, and one is from Mexico. I think. I had a Smith-Corona that couldn't be repaired. And a small Skywriter (also Smith-Corona, but travel sized) that I gave to Debbie Benson with love.

Anyway, I move to the typewriter when I'm working on revisions, which I type from the computer printouts. This is my favorite part. I type more slowly than on the computer and generally screw up alot. By the time I get a perfect copy, the poem has likely wriggled out from under me a few times, some words and line breaks have been moved or replaced. And sometimes the stanzas take new shapes. My hands are occupied, I'm reading the poems while retyping them, and my attention is concentrated on the physical task of typing. When the attention's away, the poems do play. The damn things straighten themselves out, or seem to.

Once I have the clean typewritten revision like I want it, I file it and retype it into the computer, updating the MSS.

Occasionally I will work directly into the computer, skipping the notebook stage. But usually not. I seem to "write" best when I'm not in front of the damn thing. On the fly.

All of this applies only to poetry. If I'm working on a prose piece, I'll take notes and photocopies and keep them in a notebook or folder, then work directly into the computer. There it's about speed. Getting the sentences down before they get away.

*My favorite kind.

That first page is the hardest.

"Maybe [he] was thinking, this new notebook, this is the one. It's the golden notebook, even though it's red. And this new pen. It's the one. Now, finally, I will write. I will write every day."

In my office, blank books in stacks. Writing as defilement. Uselessness is worse. Blank they are potential. Filled they are used up. Abandoned are they hopeful yet?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Monday, April 26, 2004

I couldn't resist...

this, so now you must all refer to me as Threepac Melon Balls.

Did I happen to mention...

that Maureen Thorson makes a mean muffin? Chocolate chips & orange zest! We ate the rest for breakfast. Nester had 2. Yum.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Party report...

In a word, delightful. Everyone raved about the books and I promptly forgot the afternoon. Jane Freilicher's paintings were full of blooms & beachy light. The gallery was buzzing with talk & laughter. Jeffrey Leppendorf from CLMP and Shana Liebman from HEEB now have faces to go with their names. Discovered Kenward Elmslie in the flesh is an imposing figure (he's very tall with large, strong hands) but has a ready grin. Charmed by the fabled editorial disobedience of Mr. Ron Padgett (a story for another time). Met the much chronicled James, riding Jordan's hip. Winked at Paul Violi for no good reason. Received Erica Kaufman's chapbook (more to come) as well as her company. Toured the room on David L's elbow. Laughed with Luis when I recognized his friend from the J. Crew catalog (she models there, I used to write it). Passed along kind words to Stacey Harwood whose poems are a big hit in LIT. Partied down with Matt Madden. Took a moment to soak up the historical essence of the Tibor de Nagy gallery. Sold loads of books. And of course corner-hugged a bit with Charlie and Chris and Shawn.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Today I suffered for my art

1) Trip to Chelsea to pick up 150 CDs.

2) Trip to Downtown Brooklyn to pick up 75 books.

3) Trip to Fort Greene with 75 books, 150 CDs, 1 laptop, and misc. junk weighing 65+ lbs in rolling suitcase.

4) Suitcase wheel broke within first block; 12 blocks to go with not-so-rolling suitcase.

5) 80 degrees (though it is gorgeous!)

6) Flight of steep stoop steps

7) Flight of curvaceous indoor steps

8) Whew!

TONIGHT: The Art of the Possible launch party!

Tibor de Nagy Gallery

724 Fifth Avenue

55th and 56th Street, 12th floor

RSVP (required): 212-572-2104

6:00-8:00 p.m.

The Art of the Possible: Comics Mainly without Pictures is a collection of poetry comics written, illustrated, and lettered by Kenneth Koch, the Bollingen Prize-winning poet. Carrying the wit and tenderness of his poems into a genre which, if he did not invent, he certainly made new, The Art of the Possible includes puzzle pages, guides to different kinds of guys, gals, onions and Easter, not to mention observations on eating snails in Wales or looking for a locker in Cuernavaca. Anton Chekhov, Willem de Kooning, a Russian Socrates, Gabonese leader Omar Bongo, and the Dead White Man all make appearances. Both fulfillment of a childhood wish and the product of fifty years' experience in the worlds of literature and art, The Art of the Possible is a unique book by one of America's best-loved poets.

"Kenneth Koch's first ambition in life was to be a comic-strip artist. As a child he was inspired by the surreal comic strips Smokey Stover and Krazy Kat. In the sixties and seventies he enjoyed underground comix, particularly those of R. Crumb. Kenneth's own nonpictorial comics published here make words perform the function of both drawings and their verbal balloon accompaniments. These hilarious and beautiful assemblages are like the raw materials of Koch's superb narrative poems, such as Ko, or a Season on Earth. Thus they are a must-have for any lover of Koch's poetry." --John Ashbery

This party is your first chance to obtain one of the 100 limited-edition hardcovers with a CD of Koch & Larry Rivers performing the comics at the Benton Gallery in Southampton in 1992. Remaining limited-edition hardcovers will be available through the Soft Skull site, along with the hardcover without the CD, and the paperbacks will shortly be available in fine bookstores everywhere. The party also celebrates the release of Koch's two new Knopf paperbacks.

Today is a day I truly love my job.

I love Powell's.

Isn't this cool?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Anabranch by Andrew Zawacki (Wesleyan, 2004)


The preludes to morning were only a decoy: lemon trees

rinsed in sidereal drowse, black swans and jasper reprising

each other, the map a space for inventoried charades. Rorsch-

ached to a po-faced noon, we tinkered with an engine that

wouldn't catch, while the selves the sun repeated for us, aslant

and appareled in zinc, unrehearsed their agitated angles of


*Note: From "Masquerade," a poem in 26 sections. These lines should wrap like prose and be right justified. Does anybody know the tag for that?

Also purchased:

Graft by Brian Henry (New Issues, 2003)

Wow! WPS1 Internet Radio...

is here. They just launched Monday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Miss Meghan reports on the Canary reading...

over at her place.

Speaking of deep fashion, I love all the shoulders and knees I sees. Spring has arrived!

The Art of the Possible!

The books have arrived!* I'm trembling with excitement but can't get to the office till this evening. Anticipating glee.

*Note to self: Update the Soft Skull site with final cover art!

11 poets in 3 days...

so it feels like National Poetry Month or something.

Last night's reading for Free Radicals was unequivically WONDERFUL and the party afterward was too. Congrats to Jordan & Sarah for putting together such an awesome collection. It's a treat--like receiving a present really--to find so many good new-to-me poets conveniently in one place. Check it out. It's fresh outta the box--so new I can't even find a place to link to it yet.

Perhaps I'll report more fully later. Gotta hit the freelance gig today.

UPDATE: Jordan's report is up, so attend vicariously. As he mentions, the reading will be broadcast on BrooklynHeightsRadio.com at some point.

Monday, April 19, 2004


Father figure reports they caught nearly 100 lbs of trout at the farm this weekend. 4 on Saturday...and yesterday 47! Damn. That's lotsa fish.

Writing music

Your plans for this evening:

Go to this!

Launch party and reading for

Free Radicals: American Poets Before Their First Books

edited by Jordan Davis and Sarah Manguso.

Readers include Jen Knox, BJ Atwood-Fukuda,

Chris O. Cook, Katie Degentish,

Tonya Foster, Alan Gilbert, Tim Griffin

Tanya Larkin & Max Winter!


Big Confetti...

will be the title of the new chapbook Shafer Hall & I are writing, which will be ready for our reading next month at Cornelia Street Café.

I was across the street from the Four-Face Liar having lunch, when I looked out the window and witnessed the inspiration hit Shafer has he was sweeping the sidewalk.

Josh writes Joan.

Check it.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Reminder: two stimulating readings today

At 2:30, it's Frequency with Ada Limon, Brendan Lorber & Marion Wrenn. Details here.

At 6:00 I will be hosting the poet editors of Verse, Brian Henry & Andrew Zawacki at the Bowey Poetry Club. Details here.

In between we will be perched at the Four-Faced Liar in the care of Shafer Hall. Please do come join us.

I mean...

contemporary architects use AutoCad, but they still rely on the good old hammer to get things built.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

What a groovy site.

Go visit Word Photo.

Excellent, strong coffee

"It is about whether there is an expectation that one is ever suppose to feel that they are abiding within their own duration, even for a small stretch. In the culture of NYC this feeling would be taken as a sign of weakness."

The Baby, the Bath Water, Hemlines & Hairstyles

I don't guess I understand why the experiments must be new.

The poets are new. The language is renewed (has evolved, grown appendages of slang). Pop culture is everchanging. I believe in these vitalities.

Borrowed Jargon: Thanks for playing

Working on the p. 23 cento now, with sentences provided by Tony Tost, Maureen Thorson, James Meetze, Josh Corey, Laurel Snyder, Matt Shin, Katey Nicosia, Kasey Mohammad, Stephanie Young, Shafer Hall, Marcus Slease, Mark Lamoureaux, Jilly Dybka, Michael Snider, Del Cross, Tim Yu, Ivy, Greg, Robert Flach, Adam Clay, Noah Gordon, Aaron Tieger & Alli Warren.

Not only have I learned some new words (lots of folks were at work, so we turned up some jargon), but I have found new blogs to read too. Thanks!

Did I miss you? Let me know.

Friday, April 16, 2004

What I just yelled at myself in my office:

Stay focused, lady!

Obviously I am not getting any work done today. Perhaps I should just quit pretending.

Überdesigned Happy Juice!

The Sofia web site! "Without inspiration there can be no poetry."

Update: And they have a virtual-magnetic poetry kit under SHARE. Goodness me.

So I wrote one for you.

Can I get extra Tost with that?

"If the experimental community were a person and that person were applying for a job..."

I am grateful to find so much to be excited about today.

And if you are not already following Reen Thorson's NaPoWriMo project, dammit, you should be.

West Coasters, invite Hannah Tinti to read for you!

She is about to embark on her tour for Animal Crackers and is looking for gigs to supplement the West Coast leg, namely in Seattle, Oregon, San Francisco, Los Angeles and anywhere in between. She says:

"I will travel anywhere. I will guest teach a class, or simply come and read—whatever way you think would be most helpful to your community. My goal is to introduce people to my writing, and hopefully sell some books. If you know of any schools or programs or bookstores that might be interested in hosting me, please forward this email along. I gratefully appreciate your time and attention."

Hannah is a darling person, and a terrific reader, and her book is simply smashing. And I don't employ such superlative descriptions for just everybody. If you'd like to get in touch with her, lemme know. I'm not sure what kind of time frame she has in mind, but her current schedule is here.

Conjuring with bad poems...

is probably not going to help.

Sofia is not a girl...

it's blanc de blancs in a can. Yes, a can! Cheers!

Oh no...

Blogspot seems to be disappearing folks. Many links on my sidebar are leading me to "404 Not Found" pages and it's terrible. Just terrible.

To the Disappeared

I hate that you’re a 404 Not Found.

I’d give it all to fill your lack.

Last night I drank Sofia

and this morning am no wiser.

Without you life is flat,

the bubbles whimped,

the telescoping straw chewed

and flexed to no further purpose.

I click at nothing

and nothing clicks me back!

Let's make a cento from the results!

Play the game, via Josh, who got it from Caterina, who got it from this fellow. See also: James, Kasey, Katey, Matt, Laurel & ...

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

The nearest book is a magazine, and it's a copy of National Geographic from October 1974.* Unfortunately, the page numbers don't start with 1, but on the twenty-third numbered page, which is page 465, the fifth sentence is a caption to a photograph:

Toiletries float in a spaceman's locker during the second mission.

Shawn's results from Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds is a line of dialogue:

"I mean, it's always been a $hithole, but it's definitely worse than the last time I was here."

If you post your results and alert me, I will collect them for a cento, to be posted here. It is very important not to select the book.

* This is the famed (in our personal two-person family lore) issue of NG which contains the story on the Big Thicket of Texas and mentions some of the H clan, kin, and nayburrs.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Dear web journal editors...

Please date your issues and archives. How old is this lovely poem? When did this interview appear and how did I miss it?

I really really want to know.

Recommended reading this evening @ 7:00...

Christopher Edgar & Jeremy Sigler

Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers

218 Bedford Ave. (@ N. 6th St.)


L to Bedford


I recently got Edgar's book At Port Royal and am enjoying it very much. Jeremy has two books, Mallet Eyes & To and To, and three great new poems in LIT.

Come with?

Ben is back!

From "Letters to Young Poets"

by David Lehman*

Dear friends. There will come a time when someone else will win the prize that you deserved, or the job you coveted, or the publication you were banking on. It might even be the person sitting next to you right now. And you will feel envy, you will feel resentment--you wouldn't be human if you didn't. But you cannot afford to give in to these feelings, because envy and resentment, if allowed to fester, can turn easily into bitterness and even spite, and these things are poison to a writer. To ward them off, you will need to go deeper into yourself, into your heart. You will need to remember that awards and publications and jobs--great as they are to achieve--are not the reason you undertook to do this work in the first place.

*Published in Teachers & Writers Magazine, Nov/Dec 2003. I have quoted this poem here once before.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Don Walser is one yodeling mofo, kids.

It took me all day to find the right music. Oh my lord.

This is the first volume of the Archive set. Volume 2 is amazing too. This man's renditions of "Long Black Veil" and "Fraulein" will make even non-Texans tear up.

More good posts on MFAs, etc....

by Reb Livingston & Michael Schiavo. Both linked at right.

How lucky am I...

to be Danielle Pafunda's editor?

The lady rocks.

$4.00 Poems by Carl Annarummo

I've been meaning to share my notes on this li'l chap for a while but have been so dang busy. Reread it last night. This is cheap entertainment, people, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Perhaps not surprisingly given the purely pragmatic title of the book itself, most of the poems here are untitled. They function as a series of overlapping and interrelated observations, notes to self, monologues, and a running list of books read and music heard. Nouns are important. Things. In the lexicon of $4.00 Poems, the most important words are little with its attendant small. Also recurring are groceries, food and their grocer, death and the flipside birth/life.


the Upton Sinclair, of

ruthless speculators on

aquatic adventures to

often-lisped landscapes

perhaps entirely made of

meats and tawdry towels of

military history, or an

iron city grocer cut off at

the heir of a thousand sorrows

in miscellaneous forms of

boxcar. the golden women of

laissez faired bedhead who

turn off car engines for

a living. a life as

This tiny poem shifts from Sinclair's The Jungle, a landscape of meat, to another landscape of meat and brutality, military history. The presiding iron city grocer (not the expected butcher) is the heir of a thousand sorrows. The tough adjectives ruthless and tawdry muscle in on the softer sounds of lisped, aquatic. The thousand sorrows seem requisite for the drifting off at the poem's end, both beautiful and quiet. The open-ended a life as resonates beyond the poem. Plus, the sort of cast-and-reel motion of the lines, wrapping the way they do, sets up a hopeful feeling, a promise of an eventual catch or nibble. I can't help but think of ED's 341:

After great pain, a formal feeling comes --

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs --

The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,

And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round --

Of Ground, or Air, or Ought --

A Wooden way

Regardless grown,

A Quartz contentment, like a stone --

This is the Hour of Lead --

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow --

First -- Chill -- then Stupor -- then the letting go --

Another favorite:

en guard! with the concierge

impossibly discussing architecture

and the novel in terms of clothes-

line-pulls and dust jackets mocked

out on supersaver coupons, in front

of a second-run movie theater and

the persuasive intrusion of touche!

we are linked by a common tax bracket!

and a solvent moustache lost in the

history of an brief after-hours duel.

and my hair, in a half hour hat is

slowly broken into little museums

of strip mall kiosks where a handsome

john wayne in a runoff of twill

sends his pelvis perusing, I thought

or, our rouse in a post office with

a man whose general dislike for

american film requires fetching.

"john wayne in a runoff of twill" is alone worth the purchase price. Contact Carl Annarummo via his blog for your copy, or at least go check out Mollusk if you haven't yet.

Lots of new info up at Rebel Edit

A letter from the AAP to the OFAC re: their pending decision on the IEEE's application for a license to edit. The OFAC's ruling on the IEEE's application. AAP's analysis of the OFAC ruling on the IEEE application. And an explanation of all the acronyms. Here.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Speaking of my dear collaborator Shafer Hall...

one of his poems (with my title) is up today at Eyeshot.

Lay your eyes on Elizabeth Zechel every Monday in April!


Ya might recognize that monkey. I know [expurgated] will.

Thanks to Todd Colby for the news.

Further thoughts while working...

1. I have been extremely lucky in the support I've received from my program, both while I was there and since graduation. I had the pleasure of studying with 4 really terrific teachers, who without exception have been encouraging & helpful, sometimes even hiring me, recommending me, publishing me, etc. I know this is not the case for everybody, even people in my class, so I'm awfully grateful for their kindness and interest. I do my best to deserve them.

2. Perhaps because I was an older student (not old! but not right out of college) when I went to get my MFA, my experience was more positive than negative. I spent those 2 years reconnecting to people who write. I never stopped writing poetry, but didn't know many people who also did when I enrolled, though lots of my friends have creative pursuits on parallel. I'd also already worked at Random House for a couple of years--years that went such a long way toward my disillusionment re: publishing and the business side of writing. What a long drop that first one is! Yikes.

3. As my darling collaborator Shafer Hall pointed out to me this morning, I have been blessed with (and sought to make) many "poetry friends" who teach me more about poetry everyday. And they come cheap!

If you are following...

the discussion re: contests/MFA programs/etc. in the comment boxes below, also see Daniel Nester, Laurel Snyder, Jordan Davis, Janet Holmes, Glenn Ingersoll, & Marcus Slease, who are posting relevant musings on their own blogs. These good folks are all linked in the sidebar to your right.

(There may be more, but I have to get some work done now!)

Media-Free Weekend was great.

But next time I think I'll ease back in on Monday morning, not jump up, run to the living room and turn on CNN. Dios mio.

Friday, April 9, 2004


Via Jordan via Laurel.

Remarks I tried to write in Laurel's comment box that were too long:


I worry about this kind of crap all the time, but like Jordan says, I should get building. Oh wait. I did that by editing first poetry books at Soft Skull.

But I've still signed books by people I know and consider friends (and I've had to REJECT many friends too, to accept manuscripts by people I don't know personally that are a better fit.) But how do I know them, and how did I get to be friends with them? Through their poems, of course. So now what?

And in LIT you'll find a healthy dose of people I'm "friends" with and Soft Skull authors (or future authors) too. But again, if I'm editing for both outlets, trends of appreciation for certain kinds of work will become apparent, right, that's natural, and if I like somebody for one thing, I might also like them for another thing, right?

And as far as submitting my own stuff, what constitutes "close friends" as in "entrants who are close friends of the judges are ineligible"? How much time do I have to spend with another small press editor at a conference or reading series or lit mag party to consider him a "close friend"? We've never made out. Does that cover me?

And what about contests that DON'T have these restrictions in their rules, like Barrow Street? I opted not to enter when my former teacher was judging out of a sense of personal ethics. What a maroon! Somebody else (who deserves a prize and many accolades!) from my program won.

When you live in NYC, work for a small press, edit a lit journal, attend an MFA program, run a reading series, and maintain a well-linked poetry blog, this is bound to become a problem eventually. I don't think there are many poets, poetry editors, or publishers left in this city (and beyond) that I haven't met or corresponded with at least once!

This is the point where my head usually explodes.

Actual phone conversation

Hello? It's me. Are you there? Hello?

Hello? What? What's going on?

I think I'm going to leave early.


I'm going to celebrate Jesus.

Oh. Ok, well are you bringing some liquor? You need liquor to celebrate Jesus.

Yeah, sure. Ok. (Pause.) Then maybe I can nail you.

Ha ha ha. And maybe stop by the market and get some fresh fish*--whatever looks good?

Ok, bye.

Are you leaving now?

Yes. Bye.


*[This post has not been modified, but I have since gone vegan.]

Here's a great article...

about Pressed Wafer.

Stupid little limerick that gets stuck in my head.

What a wonderful bird is the pelican.

His beak can hold more than his belly can.

He takes in his beak,

enough food for a week

but I don't know how in the hell he can.

A more authentic version is here.

You take it for awhile!

In yesterday's mail

"...Gala Fundraising event...Tickets are a steal at $350 per person!...Enjoy cocktails (cash bar)..."

Yeah, ok. Good luck with that.

It's not so much the mullet as the Sun-In® and the poof.

Media-Free Weekend

It's that time again. After sundown this evening until sun-up on Monday I shall not access the internet to feed my Google habit nor any other habit, not blog nor read blogs, not read nor reply to emails, not lay an eyeball upon the television news nor skim the paper, not nestle my ear in a nest of radiowaves. I shall remain free to peruse manuscripts & books, work on my computer, sew, paint, muse, walk about, cook, and listen to recorded music.

And yes, Reen, I may use light!

Inducing calm. Clearing the Ugly Warehouse of remnant uselessness heretofore saved up just in case.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Spring has sprung, people!

I've got a jug of wine, Griselda--and a yellow sarong

Finding this on my iPod just made my freaking afternoon!

It's one of the best perfect-weather day albums, ever. I used to have it on cassette (long since broken) and hubby must have recently procured the CD.

Try driving a 1995 Chevy Bel Air down I-35 between Austin & Houston with this on. Aw yeah.

Zoo snafu

Via Maud Newton's blog.

The guidelines are still up, even though the contest was canceled. They include the line "Each manuscript must be accompanied by a nonrefundable submission fee of $25.00." And later "The decisions of Zoo Press as to eligibility are final. Zoo Press reserves the right to withhold the Award in any given year."

In most of these contests, the presses reserve the right not to select a winner if the judge feels that none of the entries is suitable. For instance, the guidelines for The Paris Review Prize (coordinated and published by Zoo) also state that "The decisions of Zoo Press as to eligibility are final. Zoo Press reserves the right to withhold the Award in any given year." The same is true of the many of the contests on this list. A policy like this is really pretty standard, and I can recall other occasions where no winner was selected by other presses in other contests.

Even without the cost of producing a winning book (and paying $5000 to the winner), Zoo still had to pay their contest coordinator, their readers, the judge, and their own staff and contest-related advertising costs. They also "lost" the revenues they'd projected from the sale of the winning volume. So even if they hadn't stated their no-refund policy beforehand, from a practical standpoint a FULL refund for every entrant seems impossible.

But perhaps with the scratch from the new Jeff Tweedy book Zoo could at least pick up the shipping charges as a placating gesture? Then again, poets who don't win the other contests Zoo administers get zip, nada, nothing. Hmm.

Overheard at AWP...

by TomHop. Some gigglerific snippets.

[Sorry, no anchors, but right now it's the first post.]

Even the Gulls of the Cool Atlantic

by Joan Murray (1917-1942)

The gulls of the cool Atlantic tip the foam.

The boats that warn me of fog warn me of their motion.

I have looked for my childhood among pebbles, and my home

Within the lean cupboards of Mother Hubbard and neat Albion.

A wind whose freshness blows over the cape to me

Has made me laugh at the thought of a friend whose hair is blond.

Still I laugh and place my hands across the sea

From the farthest stretch of lands to the end of the end.

I had so often run down to these shores to stare out.

If I took an island for a lover and Atlantic for my sheet,

There was no one to tell me that loving across distance would turn about

And make the here and now an elsewhere of defeat.

In my twenty-first year to have the grubby hand and slums,

Be the small child at my knee, my knee the glistening chalk

That sails to meet the stationary boat, the water sloping as it comes,

And all the Devon coast of grey and abrupt rock.

By gazing across water I have flicked many gulls from my eyes,

Shuffled small shells and green crabs to my feet.

The day is cool; the sun bright; the piper cries

Shrilly, tempering the untouched sand in delicate retreat.

Up beyond the height and over the bank, I have a friend.

How is your winter night and your summer action?

There need be litte more than a teacup hour to make us both comprehend

A mature man's simplicity or grave child's sweet reaction.

"Here We Stand Before the Temporal World," also by Joan Murray.

Monday, April 5, 2004

Free advice:

Never ever get anywhere near Shafer Hall on an empty stomach!

Another bending of the rules...

to mention that Hilton Obenzinger's new book Running through Fire is out now.

This one's not a Soft Skull book, but his forthcoming novel A*HOLE is one I've edited, and Charlie's done a cover that's basically a visual poem. Coming this fall. Very excited about it.

Domesticated dream...


opening a

package of fresh


socks. You

brought me eggs.


does it

mean, white socks


brown eggs,

brown paper carton,


plastic grocery

bag floated aside?

Ban Is Eased on Editing of Foreign Works...

from this morning New York Times. Full story also posted at Rebel Edit.

Sunday, April 4, 2004

We Can't Believe We're Doing This JPEG...

as aptly titled by limophotographer Jordan Davis. Somewhere between the Palmer House Hilton and the 312 Gallery in the warehouse district, Chicago, Friday, March 26. L to R: Betty, Tom, Daphne, Shawn, me.

Saturday, April 3, 2004

Friday, April 2, 2004

Let's get it on, indeed.

Marvin worked so well in Chicago, to smooth me out before my reading. Counting on him again now to prep for the LIT event. Disc 3, baby.

That oh-so-fresh feeling...

My links page just received a thorough update. I'm sure I omitted tons of worthies. Email me if you're one of them.

Also, because Dan asked if I post about forthcoming poems, etc: Yes, I do. Sometimes here, but always on the current page.

Reminder: LIT 8 party tonight!

Plus Reamy Jansen!

LIT 8 features cover art by Richard Humann, poetry & prose by Jamison Driskill & Shafer Hall, Shafer Hall, Lisa Cohen, Conrad Wells, Christopher Connelly, Brian Evenson, Dan Beachy-Quick, Mark Dow, Janet Richmond, Ron Silliman, CAConrad, Douglas A. Martin, Jeremy Sigler, Joshua Beckman & Matthew Rohrer, Matthew Miller, Tracy McTague, Tara Wray, Ian Bickford, John Brehm, James Cummins, Jenny Boully, Heidi Peppermint, Noah Eli Gordon, Mary Ann Samyn, David Trinidad, Christopher Chambers, Adam Desnoyers, Kyle Dargan, Reb Livingston, Michael Robins, Douglas S. Hahn, Reamy Jansen, James Shea, Lisa Lubasch, Jay Leeming, Reetika Vazirani, Charles Harper Webb, Jason Jensen, Liana Scalettar, Edward Bartok-Barrata, Nina Forsythe, Stephen Cramer, Cynthia Nelson, Ioan Flora translated by Adam J. Sorkin & Alina Carac, Stephen Clair, Dianne Stannish, Aaron Bowie Gorelik, Michael Fulop, MJR Montoya, Jean-Paul Pecqueur, Chris Martin, Stacey Harwood, Robert H Morris, Wayne Miller, Ryan G. Van Cleave, B. C. Brown, Lisa Olstein, C. S. Carrier, James Haug, Richard Greenfield, Paulus Kapteyn, Gregory Brooker, interviews with Dani Shapiro & Krista Madsen...plus poetry comics by Kenneth Koch.

66 West 12th Street. 7:00-10:00 p.m. FREE. Closest subways are the F to 14th (exit to 14th & 6th Ave) or anything to West 4th (exit to West 8th & 6th Ave). The New School is between 5th & 6th Aves. on West 12th. Cross the lobby and courtyard to the 11th Street building and take the elevator to the 5th floor. The elevator opens directly into Wollman Hall.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Twice in a week...

I have mentioned Shannon Holman's site One Mississippi aloud. So I thought I should also mention it here. She's not on the blogroll because she doesn't update frequently, but her use of the internet's tools to display her poems is inventive and her sense of design a feast for the eyes. Especially check out her Dutch-Boy paint-chip poems (gotta use her nav bar) and her hyperlinked cento. I think Michael Helsem recently referred to her "Hobo Alphabet." One of my favorite sexy love poems is her "Evangeline." She & her girlfriend Erica also recently returned from a year-long trek through southeast Asia and her travelogue is mighty fine readin' (also on her nav bar).

Did I happen to mention that I read a little bit of German...

and that this guy looks really familiar?

Left out...

two from Shawn's stash:

The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith (Norton)

Lone Star Literature: From the Red River to the Rio Grande, edited by Don Graham* (Norton)

*I had a class with Don Graham as an undergrad in Austin. He was one of my favorite professors. I remember him saying once that "compared to Austin, I think Paris is a hick town," in his unapologetic twang. The Norton page doesn't list many of the authors, but it's all prose, from Molly Ivins to O. Henry, Katherine Anne Porter to Dave Hickey, Donald Barthelme to Kinky Friedman.** Patricia Highsmith was also a Texan, so it's seems odd she's not included here, but Norton has reissued most of her short stories in the collection listed above and in Nothing that Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories. In fact, they've designed a whole web site for her. And the movies haven't hurt. (The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train are both based on her books.)

**Thinking of Tom Beckett's recent post (03/21/04--can't get his archive anchors to work for me) on Kinky Friedman, I've been remembering his reading at the bookstore where I used to work in Austin, in like 1994 or so. Big fat cigar in his mouth, lit, despite the fact that one does not generally smoke in a bookstore. He played guitar and handed out custom Kinky guitar picks to the pretty girls. I still have one around here somewhere. He's a laugh riot.

What am I doing up so early? Can't you hear that lightning?