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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Run-ins with Animals

A goat ate my dress.

A horse ate my hair.

My mother has pictures of both of these things.

Note to self:

Don't tell me what to do.

One time...

I charmed a walrus right out of the zoo!

Whoops: Last-minute reminder!

Get on down to KGB at 8:00 for the Gamers reading!

I was so busy I almost forgot to remind ya. Bad bad editor/publicist/book designer/retailer.

See ya there. Right now I gotta go kickbox.

Monday, November 29, 2004

"No Possum, No Sop, No Taters" by Wallace Stevens

He is not here, the old sun,

As absent as if we were asleep.

The field is frozen. The leaves are dry.

Bad is final in this light.

In this bleak air the broken stalks

Have arms without hands. They have trunks

Without legs or, for that, without heads.

They have heads in which a captive cry

Is merely the moving of a tongue.

Snow sparkles like eyesight falling to earth,

Like seeing fallen brightly away.

The leaves hop, scraping on the ground.

It is deep [November]. The sky is hard.

The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.

It is in this solitude, a syllable,

Out of these gawky flitterings,

Intones its single emptiness,

The savagest hollow of winter-sound.

It is here, in this bad, that we reach

The last purity of the knowledge of good.

The crow looks rusty as he rises up.

Bright is the malice in his eye...

One joins him there for company,

But at a distance, in another tree.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Link to the Boston Globe piece up on the Gamers page.

What a week!

Whew--that was fun. The reading last Tuesday, then off for five glorious days, with turkey in the middle and friends last night. Lovely time. And my house is CLEAN.

This week is gonna be killah.

Tuesday, November 30 at 8:15*

GAMERS launch at KGB Bar

Nic Kelman, Roland Kelts, Whitney Pastorek & me

(*Note later start time than usual 7:30 for KGB.)

Friday, December 3 at 7:00

LIT 9 launch at the New School

John Hennessy, Sean McNally, Amy Sickels & Christopher Tonelli

Saturday, December 4 at 9:00

GAMERS launch at the Bowery Poetry Club

Katie Degentesh, Drew Gardner, Shannon Holman, Luis Jaramillo, K Thor. Jensen, Mark Lamoureux, Daniel Nester & Maureen Thorson

Video-game sound effect music by Drew Gardner and by game-themed covers by Gene Cawley & Daniel Nester

Game-themed art by Charles Orr

And Saturday afternoon is also Karaoke + Poetry = Fun at Frequency!

I will post reminders for each, and also send an email to my list.

Contributors: GAMERS went out to you before the holiday. Expect it soon. LIT 9 will go out this week!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

If nobody bought poetry I would not have a job.

And I would not have a 7ft bookcase filled to overflowing with the stuff.

Update: Photos, as requested by Ivy. (Actually, didn't somebody else recently propose everybody post bookcase photos?) These are snaps from my ancient Kodak digital, infinitely shitty compared to the Canon, which I have purposely neglected to mention was lost/stolen in a flu-haze deplaning incident back in September. But it's being replaced. What was my point? Oh, yes...the poetry!

The poetry shelf is the one on the far left,. As you can hardly make out because this damn photo is so crappy, it is actually 2, sometimes three deep, both vertically and horizontally. So if properly shelved, this would be more like three cases.

Top shelf: Highlights from shelf one include the New York School majors, Wallace Steven's entirety, and some random recent browsing in front.

Second shelf: Lots of standard poetry collections on this shelf, stacked horizontally in front of the entirety of Pound, Bishop, Neruda, and Charles Wright, actually, plus assorted. I note a stray BAP in the rightmost column and a children's novel in the leftmost. Hmm.

Third shelf: Yikes. What a mess. This shelf is hardcovers in the back--rare first edition of Delmore Schwartz's In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and ditto Robinson Jeffers' Medea, the entirity of James Merrill (got the omnibuses and gave away the older paperbacks), and a bunch of collecteds. The bio of Edna St. Vincent Millay. A tarot deck. And that box in the front is my chapbook collection--most of it. (Ivy--yours is right smack center, and that's Aaron Tieger & Mark Lamoureux beside you!) Two dead cell phones I keep meaning to donate and a stack of random paperbacks.

Fourth shelf: Oh lord. It just gets worse from here. This shelf is all double-deep horizontals. Mostly hardcovers in the back, paperbacks up front. No wonder I can never find anything.

Fifth shelf: Highlights include the Oulipians, John Cage, Shannon Holman's MFA thesis, a double-deep horizontal stack of random paperbacks.

Sixth shelf: The bottom shelf is supposed to be for anthologies, but since I pull those out so much it's often a catchall. All the BAPs live here, except the one I'm missing: 1995. Also random paperbacks in front, plus an antique Mark Twain I really need to send back to my mom. Whoops--also some comics in that plastic envelope.

On top: The literary journals that are not on the desk, on the floor, or under the bed live on top of the poetry case and have spilled over into top-of-the-fiction-cases territory.

The poetry case is one of three bookcases in my office. There is another one in the bedroom, and about four cases' in Shawn's office awaiting the new bookcases. And a cookbook case in the kitchen. And yes, they are all this bad. We are impossible. And possibly crazy. As my father-figure says, "Y'all got shit everwhare!"

UPDATE: Yes--the someone who asked was Zachary Schomburg. And he and Tony Robinson have posted photos of their top shelves [and they are linked at right]. Why not post yours too! I'm with Zachary--it's the first thing I want to see when I go to someone's house. Right before the pet(s) and kid(s).

Yes. That photo is real.

Last night

...at Kili was fun. Thanks to everybody for coming out, to Tracey for having me, and to Chris for putting on a great show! Everybody always wants to know who was there poetwise, so I will tell you: [expurgated], Sharon Mesmer, Boni Joi, Amy Holman, David Cameron, Aaron Kiely, Brendan Lorber, Miss McTague herself, and probably some others I am accidentally omitting, plus a small crew of my beloved regulars.

I chose to read poems from the middle section of the book, those not from either of the chaps, from which I've been reading a lot lately. In retrospect, this might not have been such a hot idea. I didn't want to bore the regulars who have heard "Elegy for a Fictional Strongman" and etc. no less than 20 times, but it was actually mostly not a regular crowd, so I could have mixed it up a bit more and been a tad smoother and less nervous, I think, if I'd read poems that were better practiced. But that's neither here nor there, really, except being nervous I twanged worse than usual and aw shucksed a little. Apparently I went a wee bit apoplectic on the preznit, whom I loathe more each day, when I mentioned that despite drooling on himself all through the debates, people voted for him anyway, and he's taken this to means he no longer needs to bother to zip his fly. Yeah, I don't remember that.

Am I making this sound like it was not fun? But, it was fun. Chris did a mixed set of rap and regl'ar poems, dedicated to his childhood friend who was in attendance. I remember in particular being so struck by his syncopated rhymes like one with fetid and bed. It... and several other amazingly cadenced phrases though I think I am unused to listening to such recitations and need more exposure because I am so caught up by the sound I often lose the sense due to sheer sonic delight. And Kili is a beautiful place to read with a receptive and attentive bar crowd and everybody is so nice and the fire is wonderful and the food smells delicious and the couches are so soft and I traded Chris for a copy of his chapbook The Day Reagan Died and Erica made it and it is fantastic.

Recipe swap

Remember those peppers I just received from Texas? They are going to be playing starring roles in tomorrow's feast.

I've dried some and am toasting them and grinding them for chile powder today, which goes in the Mexican corn tortilla stuffing for the turkey [tofurky or pumpkin*] and also the basting oil.

I'm roasting others for the kabocha squash soup (would also be great with butternut or pumpkin). Some roasted poblano peppers also go into the stuffing.

And some fresh jalapenos provide the kick to this cranbery salsa, from my sister's favorite restaurant--the Peach Tree Tearoom in Fredericksburg, Texas. She gave me the cookbook a couple of years ago for Christmas.

If you need to take something to dinner, this is super easy and everybody loves it. Also, here is a link to my Pawpaw's bourbon pecan pie.

Cranberry Salsa

3 oranges, seeded & quartered
2 jalapenos, seeded*
2 cups sugar*
1 bunch fresh cilantro
8 cups fresh cranberries

Makes 6-8 cups.

Chop the oranges, jalapenos & 1/2 cup of the sugar in the food processor (not too fine--you want a little texture for this). Put this into a large bowl.

Chop cilantro and half of the cranberries with another 1/2 cup of the sugar. Add to the bowl of oranges and peppers.

Chop the rest of the cranberries with 1 cup sugar [this is where things get a little too sweet for me--but maybe you'll like it] and add to the mix and stir.

Chill or serve it at room temperature. The jalapenos will develop the longer it sits, but the tart cranberries cut the heat nicely. (Removing the seeds makes the peppers milder, and for the mildest peppers, choose the bright green ones without the white, crackly seams). Serve the salsa in place of traditional cranberry sauce, as a dip for tortilla chips, with goat cheese on bruschetta (or with cream cheese on a bagel), or even splash a little dollop in your vodka cocktail--it's beautiful! I bet it would also be a great topping for vanilla ice cream.

*Personally, I cut the sugar in about half (depending on how tart the berries are) and add another jalapeno.

*[This post has been modified because I have since gone vegan.]

Hearty cheering...

for Ivy Alvarez, who's been awarded a residency at the MacDowell Colony!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Beep beep!

I have just been interviewed by the Boston Globe for a piece on GAMERS that will appear in this Sunday's paper.

I'll post a link that day. But it will be here.

Game over

Sunday, November 21, 2004


Adding Robin Reagler's beautiful Big Window. [Later: I just read the entire blog.]

Also adding Lyn Hejinian's My Life.*

And Suzanne Frischkorn's Lit Windowpane.

*Note JD's theory in the comment box. Whee.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Chuckling to myself

I have been working on Jerome Sala's forthcoming book Look Slimmer Instantly! today and I'm cracking up over here.

This book is just freaking delightful.

Four examples, for example.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The FSA-OWI photography of John Vachon

Beaumont, Texas. Miss Helen McCabe, a bus driver. John Vachon. May, 1943.

People always ask about the lady bus driver on the cover of the chapbook version on Down Spooky. I found this photo in the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress, which is an astoundingly cool and extensive online collection of photographs, sheet music, printed adversiting, ephemera, oral histories, and more.

The photographer, John Vachon, was unknown to me when I selected this image for the chapbook. According to his biography at the Farm Security Administration (FSA) Photography Project online, "John Vachon (1914- ) was originally hired in 1936 by the FSA as an 'assistant messenger' and one responsibility was to catalogue the pictures which were being taken. The more photos he catalogued the more his interest in photography grew. He was hired as a photographer in 1938. His contribution to the FSA Arthurdale collection consists of one photo. He later became a professional photographer for Look magazine, under Rothstein, and produced feature stories for almost twenty years."

The goal of the FSA Photography Project was to document American life--and from 1935-1943, a troupe of photographers directed by Roy Emerson Stryker did just that, amassing more than 270,000 negatives and 77,000 prints. In 1942, facing wartime budget constraints, the project was transformed into an extension of the Office of War Information (OWI). The FSA-OWI project also employed Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, and others. Rothstein & Vachon would go on to work for Look magazine, and of course, everybody knows Evans.

I'm particularly attracted to Vachon's work for the project because he was stationed for a while in Texas, capturing the "war wives" and women working jobs vacated by men who'd gone to war, in Beaumont (where hubby was born), Lufkin, and Amarillo. Here are John Vachon's photos from the project. I just love them.

I am thinking about all this because I am trying to come up with a couple of paragraphs for the designer who's been assigned my book! Not because I want to use this image, but because I am trying to articulate why I chose it, hoping that will help me articulate what I'd like. I feel lucky to be asked (another FANTASTIC thing about independent presses), but also tempted to simply point to the poems as the best articulation.

But I'll get it!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Can you feel it?

I have holiday fever.

Now there are lots of things about the so-called Holiday Season I dislike, but the food isn't one of them. Planned the Thanksgiving meal and placed the Fresh Direct order this morning. Yum. I can smell Pawpaw Compton's Boubon Pecan Pie already.

Also REALLY looking forward to a little downtime to focus on prepping the book for Winnow (it's changed quite a bit since I submitted it back in April or whenever), making some new chaps, and also writing some new poems for the other MS.

And reading! For long periods at a time! None of this subway poems only and bit of novel or nonfiction before bed!

So forget the windows, and definitely forget the parade (I freelance for M@cy's--already sick of it), and forget the shopping (hate shopping--am making all gifts that aren't books or plants), and bring on the turkey with Mexican corn tortilla stuffing, cranberry jalapeno salsa, cilantro mashed potatoes, and chile-spiced kabocha squash soup!

That adorable cartoon comes from fabulous Sara Varon, whose comics you should collect obsessively.

In Style, indeed

I would like to give a little shout out to Deirdra McAfee, prose editor of LIT 9, who won the In Style Weekly fiction contest with her story "Age of Iron."

My, aren't we an accoladed bunch, lately?

The down low. Too slow.

Well, I was just about to blog about last night's Million Poems Show with Jordan, Lee Ann, Eddie & Gary, but both the Robot and Amy Holman have beaten me to it.

However, I am happy to do my part as a viral marketer and say that the Million Poems Show is a very pleasant way to spend a Wednesday evening! And it also coincides with happy hour at the BPC.

I am also adding Amy to the blogroll. Where have I been?

Brand new congratulations...

to Katey Nicosia, for her Pushcart Prize nomination from 32 Poems, and Tony Robinson for his Pushcart Prize nomination from No Tell Motel. (Both linked at right.)

Here come the helicopters / And I have never felt sexier.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Heidi's got photos...

from Saturday's Frequency here.

Real monkeys ARE good people. Preznit is a fake monkey, to clarify, lesser than monkey-man. So he don't count.

LIT 9 party!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

GAMERS pages...

are going up over here.

This is just a preliminary page--will get refined and less bloggishy as I go. About to add events details, contributor info, and a section for announcements and links.

So, send me your video game-related poems, stories, art, etc. Anything really at all, as long as it's geared to the general gamer and is entertaining in nature. I will be using these as web-exclusive features, called "Power Ups" and/or "Extra Men" as a way to make the site something beyond just info about the book.

ALSO, t-shirts are now being ordered from Custom Ink (about which I've heard nothing but praise) and should arrive in time for the events 11/30 and 12/4 and will also be available online. (Book contributors get a free tee of their choice, on me!)

But before I order, I'm trying to get a sense of how many in each size I should start with. The options are:

1) Men's Hanes Beefy T, Short Sleeve: S, M, L, XL

2) Women's American Apparel Girly Cap Sleeve Tee: S, M, L, XL

And if there is enough interest in hoodies, either pullover or zip-front, I can do some of those.

All will be black, all cotton, with red cover Invader and maybe a tagline on the back.

Feel free to comment below, and if, for instance, you don't want anyone knowing you wear a girl's small despite being Daniel Nester, it's fine to do it anonymously.

Thanks! And more soon!

Very very best wishes and thought-prayers

...going out toward the father of Tom Hop today and ever after.

Chiles are mood boosters!

And I just received a 5-pound garden-fresh box from Texas! Thanks, Darryl!

It's true: "In a nutshell, capsaicin [the ingredient in chiles that gives them their heat] can reduce pain, minimize blood glucose and cholesterol levels, lower high blood pressure, raise metabolism, and trigger the release of endorphins and seratonin, brain chemicals that counteract depression and mood swings."

I haven't read that book, but I know chiles are higher in vitamin C than citrus, capsaicin boots my mood (and is devilishly addictive), spicy stuffed chiles or salsa is THE best hangover cure, and damn it, they are also beautiful to look at--and a delightful surprise to get in the mail!

There are orange, yellow, green, red habañeros, jalpeños, anaheims, bells, and serranos. I'll be making hot sauce, chili powders, and stuffed chiles this weekend for sure. Yum.

Monday, November 15, 2004

This red color is to alert you to announcements.

Like, Hilton Obenzinger's reading with Nelly Reifler tonight at Housing Works. Get the scoop from Lauren Cerand (who's been added to the blog roll too--thanks, Lauren!), over at Maud's. You might also notice another event or two worthy of red announce status, such as next week's Pete's Big Salmon Reading, Jordan's Million Poems Show, or me & Chris Martin reading at Kili next Tuesday.

Beaver-Busted Burglar Bemoans "Dam!"

Caught on tape

Unbeknownst to the readers at Frequency on Saturday, I recorded them on my trusty iPod.

I'll need to edit down Maggie Nelson & Heidi Peppermint Staples--their readings are just a tad past my server limits. So I gotta find some software for that. Suggestions?

In the meantime and with her kind permission, here is Maureen Thorson's stellar performance, including Navy-base poems, Calamity poems, mistranslations, and monster love flarf! [File size: 9.8 MB as an mp3, so patience my pretties.]

It gets a little loud/staticky when the audience is hooting and clapping, but otherwise you can hear just fine. Most of the giggles are provided by the center-table crew of me, Dan Nester, Jen Knox, Sean McNally, the hubby, and Useless Jackoff Christopher Connelly*.

Gary Norris, in town from CO, might just have some photos to supplement later.

And Frequency ran to 4:45ish + schmooze time, so we missed the Robot & Moon show, alas. Report please!

* A name he suggests as an alternative to Nester's coinage, "Deep Image Poet CC." We aim to please.

But but...

I don't want to go to work today.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Good Poems about Food (Part 5)

"Olives" by Tim Botta just went up at Unpleasant Event Schedule with a Maine-a-licious lobster photo by little old me.

*[This post has not been modified, but I have since gone vegan. Today I would not have a lobster carcass on my plate to photograph so fetchingly. Actually, that's totally gross.]

Tony Robinson is on a roll.

Go see his new poems, and then solicit him for your journal, dudes. I'd do it, but he's got poems in LIT 9 already (out this week)!

"Tumble in November," courtesy of Paul Goyette at Locus Solus.

Thanks, Paul!

And thanks to to superfab poet Regie Cabico, for providing that title.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Age of Sinatra does it again.

Another kickass review, this time from the LA Weekly!

Rock. I'm telling you folks. Political satire mixed with speculative farce is better than eating glands. (Sorry, that's a ref to the book, which while not for weak stomachs, is still my current fave Soft Skull novel.)

Poetry party weekend--woohoo!

Frequency is abosultely MUST-SEE-POETREE this SATURDAY, featuring Maureen Thorson, Heidi Lynn Staples, & Maggie Nelson. That's at 2:30.

Afterward, at 4:00, hop on over to see Jordan Davis & Stephanie Young at the Bowery Poetry Club!

I have been working away on Maggie's Jane, which is two of my favorite indulgences in one--poetry & true crime--though M handles the crime in question so respectfully and personally it is powerful and not-trashy, which is even better, and wowee is it amazing stuff. Also crossing fingers that Heidi's Guess Can Gallop arrives today or tomorrow so I have a chance to read it first.

See you there!

Dear everybody,

LIT 9 will be in the house next week, with the contributors' mailing to follow as soon as I am humanly able to manage it.

Same goes for Gamers. We had two early cases of that, but they all went to publicity contacts. Even my very own copy, which I didn't even get to scan for the Inevitable Stupid Typo®. Should have more in "five business days."

Let's wire the preznit.

They had it misplaced under the jackkit in the deebates. His spine felt fantabulous but mouthy no worky.

Mebbe if he talked gooder, more people would understand he's badder.

Crag Hill calls it what it is.

BAD: Bush Affective Disorder

That and the sun slamming down before 5:00 P.M. I always forget I hate this part up north.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Now, I know you peeps read the Verse blog...

but I wanted to specifically point to this review of the latest Skanky Possum (see sidebar), because it features some commentary on the work of Catherine Kasper. Catherine's book Field Stone also (!) won a Winnow Press prize and is coming out in January.

More here and here.

Sorry, everybody.

Friday, November 5, 2004

See that little blue speck in the middle of Texas?

That's Travis County, where Austin is. Blue Texans are extra blue. If only we'd been able to stop him way back when.


UPDATE: Some maps by Robert J. Vanderbei of Princeton, taking population density into account here. From Tenacious T (aka Tom Hopkins).

I'm such a tease.

Watch this space for some big news regarding, well, me. I should be able to announce it late tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Delmore Schwartz on the Stevenson/Eisenhower election, 1952

"A significant topic in the fall of 1952 was the candidacy of Adlai Stevenson, whose urbane intelligence appealed to many writers and academics. Delmore was convinced the Stevenson's election would pave the way to power for intellectuals, and that he himself would be among the first to benefit. Responding to the question 'What groups might be interested in knowing about your book?' on a New Directions questionnaire, Delmore noted: 'I was told that Adlai Stevenson said to a reporter during the campaign that he was particularly interested in my work as a poet, storyteller, and critic.' He took to signing all his letters 'Long Live Adlai!' and produced improbable commentaries on American politics.

"...it does seem as if we may be living through the last days of the Great Republic [he wrote James Laughlin] for if Eisenhower is the megalomaniac some say he is, it will be Julius Caesar all over again, and even if Thomas E. Dewey plays Brutus and assassinates him, and tries to take power himself, one of Eisenhower's nephews, Octavius Augustus Eisenhower (now a student of Blackmur's at Princeton) will win out after Dewey falls madly in love with Lana (Cleopatra) Turner (Topping!).

"Delmore's enthusiasm was echoed by his friends. One night at a dinner party given by the Schwartzes, everyone was shouting tumultuous praise of Stevenson to the accompaniment of Dwight Macdonald banging a chair on the floor. 'I don't want Stevenson to be President,' [John] Berryman shouted, 'I want him to be King.' When Stevenson lost by a landslide, Delmore was inconsolable."

From Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet by James Atlas (FSG, 1977)

Weldon Kees on the Stevenson/Eisenhower election, 1952

"After all his, they found a small but 'delightful' duplex apartment near the Berkeley campus, at 2713 Dana Street, which had room for the piano and generous built-in bookshelves. Having such a new home raised their spirits--almost as much as the presidential candidacy of Adlai Stevenson, something Weldon had started to count on, like many of his peers.

"It was one thing to count onself among the tiny readership of the Nation, reading its 'ammunition' on what would happen if there were a Republican victory. Now the polls, though, were beginning to point to a Stevenson victory. The network commentators had even picked him to win by a good margin. This even seemed possible to Kees:

"Caught S. on his appearance here in Berkeley at the West Gate of the UC campus. Bogart, Bacall, Fred Clark, Mercedes McCambridge & some local politicos also appeared. Stevenson had a remarkable sense of his audience & the speece cd. scarcely be construed to be a vote-getting one in the ordinary sense of campaigning activity. The charm is enormous & the wit, combined with an ad lib ability scarcely second to Fred Allen's, is a bit breathtaking. There seems to be such intelligence here that he scarcely needs to try: just scoops out little bits & these suffice. I cannot say I was moved, but enormously impressed & touched by the man; anyway, considering a lot of things, I'd just as soon not be moved by politicians.


"Kees, [Delmore] Schwartz, poets, and much of the rest of America's intelligentsia awoke after Election Day expecting their candidate to have won. Kees had even put a small wager on a Stevenson victory. John Berryman was so high on Stevenson that he did not want his liberal hero and champion to be merely president, but king. Instead of a coronation, though, Stevenson's supporters discovered Republican landslide. Eisenhower's victory, which had developed during the early-morning hours, ended the hoped-for chance of an administration that would be generous to writers, painters, and intellectuals. Stevenson's defeat now assured a more banal Dark Age than the one they had already imagined around them. For Kees, this setback was another thing he would have to wait out, like the circumstances preventing his book from being published: 'To me it was a fairly graphic demonstration of Gresham's law all over again, a triumph for the soap-opera & singing commercial boys; and the campaign was probably the last one within our lifetimes that a Presidential candidate will conduct himself with even a modicum of honor & intelligence. Even so, I think I have steeled myself sufficiently to take it for the next forty-eight months, although I hope people won't hold it against me if I gag a little now & then at Dick & Pat.'"

From Vanished Act: The Life and Art of Weldon Kees by James Reidel (Nebraska, 2003)