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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Recent & recommended: March

(Posted retroactively because I fell behind. I picked up so many book & mags during my trip at the end of the month that I spent most of the last two weeks with my nose in everything EXCEPT the ones I was supposedly reading. So no very thorough notes on my impressions, though I scribbled away while reading the Rankine.)

The Gibson book knocked me out--I liked it almost as much as The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (the Murakami novel I read recently) and Gibson is a new minor obsession. A v. perceptive, fascinating look at online conspiracies and fads, chat rooms, and cultish behavior--uh, obsession. As a part-time mostly reluctant fashion copywriter I loved Cayce Pollard's aversion to logos and am seriously thinking of adopting some "units" of my own--a few key pieces of clothing in multiples that combine for any occasion. Gibson's futurist stories are awesome, but this not-quite alternative present proves he's just a great writer whatever genre you feel inclined to assign. Anyway, reading the Gibson and the Rankine together was really pretty amazing. They are both set right around the time--or really some months after--of the World Trade Center attacks and set at least partially in New York. I was feeling those books, you might say, in a personal way. All kinds of little resonance explosions. I'm sure the conjunction of the two colored my experience of each. As for Ilya Kaminsky's book, that was a reread and it is still as good as it was the first time. Hardly a mistep--and he seems to feel no anxiety, doesn't try too hard or overreach (which, granted, can for some produce extragoodness), doesn't fall into the easy zany groove. He is sure but not pat, if that makes sense. Also read most of D. Bouchard and E. Myles in March, but I'll save them for the April wrap up because I am not quite finished with either (and they also are making a nice pair).

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Where were you March 30, 2005 when a great poet died?*

Dear Robert Creeley,

I regret never writing you that letter. I just bought If I Were Writing This at Elliott Bay the other day in Seattle. I've been reading it every night before bed.

Thanks. So much.

*To borrow a title from CAConrad.

O Canada!

Hi. We've been offline a few days...in one of the most gorgeous places on this green earth, I swear. If you are planning a honeymoon or something, head for the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, Washington.

JUST arrived in Vancouver and am relieved to find that Earthlink provides local access numbers. Dialup is cramping my style, so no photos yet, but perhaps early mornings or late nights with lowish res and I might can show ya something.

For now, we're settling in. AWP kicks off in the morning!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Damn fine coffee. (UPDATED)

Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Inn a.k.a. the exterior of the Great Northern from the Twin Peaks opening credits.

The Double R Diner, now known as Twede's. The diner was set ablaze by a robber/arsonist a few years ago, so it had been renovated inside (though Donna's booth and the curved counter were in the same place) and the Twin Peaks mural once on the side had been painted over. But they had souvenir mugs and t-shirts, and the back hallway is basically a shrine to the show, with cast photos (somebody seems to have had a little crush on James Hurley), clippings, and memorabilia. Actually the coffee was pretty awful compared to the amazing Seattle standard. But the cherry pie would have had Agent Cooper licking his hunky lips.

We drove by the spot where the mill used to stand, but only one chimney remains. Passed the high school, which has been renovated and looks completely different. Also spied the hotel where Ben & Catherine had their lusty rendezvous. Since it was raining and so foggy, I didn't get a good shot of the peaks themselves, but the whole area is gorgeous. And yes, we cued up the soundtrack as we drove into town.

Seattle is a beautiful city and even the burbs are gorgeous. Evergreen State, indeed. Hoodies a must.

In the morning to Elliot Bay Books and the Rem Koolhaas-designed liberry before heading up to Anacortes to catch a ferry to island paradise.

Get your elbow macaroni on

As usual, David manages to make me guffaw despite waves of nausea.

Happy Easter. Let's hear it for the undead.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The trekkie confesses

Arrived in Seattle after a two-hour airport delay and six-hour flight (though in the leather-seat goodness of JetBlue--so it could have been much worse) at 2:30 local time (5:30 in our bodies). So we slept in this morning and woke to grey skies and rain. The Space Needle from the hotel window and from the base in person looks about the same. The Gehry-designed Experience Music experience is worth a gawk--styled, he says, after the curvaceous shapes of electric guitars. But we opted to do the Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame instead. We did see so what some rapper's custom camo, Kurt Cobain's thrift-store sweater, and more interesting to me as a lifelong fan one of M. Jackson's sequined gloves, along with the original costume from the TV series Superman. The fashion copywriter in me is required to note that Superman's garb was sweater knit, not jersey. The Batman & Robin costumes were jersey tho, with satin elastic-waist bloomers. They look even dorkier on the mannequins than on the shows, if that's possible.

The SFM exhibits were really pretty cool. The original costumes from some of our fave SF films (like Charleton Heston's sleeveless spacesuit from Planet of the Apes and a Fremen still suit (uh, from Dune!) were neat. A display of rayguns and space-age weapons from the Terminators to the Matrix, and several models of Klingon disrupters, etc. A whole section on helmets that included Darth Vader's visor (!) and a spread from Women's World magazine, circa 1953, with instructions for creating "space helmets" for your (male) children using colanders, kitchen utensils, foil and other household items. A display re: the evolution of the robot--from toys to life-size Danger Will Robinson models. (Sorry, I really wanted to take a pic, but no photos allowed.) The history of SF is covered pretty well, I guess, with a timeline hailing Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley as a precursor (among Poe, et. al) and a really interesting little section on feminism and gender-identity in SF. I could read that dissertation if not write it. Octavia Butler is not (yet) on the Wall of Fame, nor W. Gibson, but Samuel R. Delany is along with the usual big-dog suspects. First editions of SF classics throughout, including The Man in the High Castle, The Martian Chronicles, Slaughterhouse Five, 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, etc. And many of these were displayed next to their original cover paintings. The SF illustration exhibits were some of my faves--scantily clad space babes wrapped in the tentacles of alien creatures, tranquil spacescapes, the red sands of somebody's idea of Mars. (Charlie woulda loved the 40s stuff, particularly.) Neal Stephenson's entire handwritten MSS of all three books of his Baroque Cycle formed impressive twin towers nearly three-feet high! He used fountain pens and blue ink, so the empty cartridges and ink bottles were there too. My favorite part was the SF convention/SF fandom exhibit: some of the best known SF writers today began as fans and their own novels and stories grew out of their obsession with the genre. Ray Bradbury, for instance, began writing stories for a mimeographed fanzine, and published pretty awful illustrations there too. Several examples of zines and early pieces made me think of the po-biz equivalents of chapbooks and small mags. In an interview snippet Bradbury (large squarish lenses perched on his nose with wilder-than-Bly hair but minus Asimov chops) said he felt SF writers were the closest-knit group of literati; they are fans of each others' work, less competitive than mainstream novelists, and cultivate community. Well, that's a paraphrase. One early zine was The Star Trek Compendium, compiled by fans bent on convincing the network not to cancel their beloved program after its first two critically floppish seasons. Another was an alphabetic directory of SF fans--see fans are almost as important as writers in some circles, and the zines were a way for them to communicate with each other and then the conventions grew out the need to swap zines and memorabilia, etc. Like a SF AWP. Best of all, was the props and costumes from the original Star Trek series. I might sound like a dork, but the Lurex® sheen of Captain Kirk's mustard tunic and the captain's chair and control panels (inexpertly welded metal boxes with buttons and knobs affixed haphazardly, really) were cheap and gaudy and absolutely spellbinding.

Yep, I'm a nerd.

Friends waiting in the hotel bar. Gotta run.

Friday, March 25, 2005

98% of bugs and robots agree

Gillian Conoley is fantastic. (And she's a Texan, you know, disguised as a Californian.)

Haven't yet read the new one, but after catching her at KGB a few years ago I have read and reread Lovers in the Used World about a dozen times.

(And BPK's The Orchard is so on my bookfair must-have list, along with Susan Wheeler's Legend.)

Here is a poem from Lovers in the Used World for you to enjoy while I spend the day panicking because I'm afraid I'll forget to pack something. She read this one at KGB and I remember her introducing it with a remark about grammar that is intentionally (I did not have s3x with that woman) or unintentionally (misunderestimate) covert, and about a multiplicity of voices. I wish I could remember it better for you.

[She uses some very long lines, so I've used the pre tag & reduced the pt size.]

The Violence

We must try to rid evil of our character, the president says.

The president is paling, another mouth of extinction, suggested the Fox.

I said over here, goddamn it, and not in the garage. I was

and learning to drive,
I knew that beloved must not be a monster in the head.

And so, the world sins, it is exhausted, ministering to the misbegotten.

And so, shuttered in the subway, a murderer
rides between the cars, so that he is before the wrong,
and the dead wrong, brother.

I was far from home. He held up a blank sign and I let him in the car. I did not want to tarry.

My beloved is not
a monster in the head, my beloved is either
God's vengeance or his love,

entrails or insight,
I can only give you my word, though the fire in my eyes
is almost
his fire.

Genet: "A miracle is unclean: the peace I was searching for
in the latrines and that I' m seeking
in the remembrance is a reassuring and silky peace."

Heraclitus: "Come in, there are Gods here, too.
Don't be a stranger at the threshold."

In the tear of a pattern
no fleece shall cover you.
no seed-time, no unguent, no mythical birds, no eternal variant, gentian, algebraic,

alcohol, in the tear of the pattern,
no weed-grown

trail where a person could rest
in one
of a few mutilated copies--

Our no God sitting low on the other half of the tree, her shroud drawn over her hair--

Then take the cloth up again, the president says.

In the tear of the pattern, the wolf is whole, suggested the Fox.

And you are most vile.
You are a threshold spikily
gone through.

So this is your winter body, so this is your summer ass.

Sunlight glints over the breasts and in the early evening newspaper, God's vengeance,
or his love,

whose voice
so lightly come of wounds

who loves this way--

Thursday, March 24, 2005


My poor little site needs a massive overhaul, but I am going to use the blog page to experiment before I redo everything. Bear with me. Comments welcome, etc.

Some of the pages (like "books" and "poems") aren't live yet...

First thing I notice is this nifty new navbar is missing a button...for BLOG. Duh. Fixed now.

Stay tuned...

We're leaving tomorrow for a few days of vacation in Washington State before AWP in Vancouver, BC.

Saturday through Wednesday we'll be doing the things like catching a Denis Johnson play, visiting the Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame, touring some of the locations from (the best show ever on television) Twin Peaks, and kicking back on San Juan Island.

Wednesday to Saturday, I'll be reporting from the AWP conference in Vancouver, like last year, for those who want in on the virtual action. (And I'm packing my battery charger this time, so can snap more than three measley pics.) Panel & reading notes, limo rides, the bar scene, and what have you. My conference schedule has so many events highlighted it almost hurts to glance at its neon goodness.

Very excited to meet some of you for the first time and say hello again to those of you I met last year. But I am equally excited about the bookfair. Just look at all those presses. There are usually great deals (especially on the final day) and I have already planned to check my carry-on suitcase on the way back to make room for bag(s) o' books on the plane. Soft Skull & BOMB Magazine will be at table 188, so be sure to drop by!

And here's the invitation to the indie-press party next Thursday night:

More on the Lamplighter Pub here. It's inside the second-oldest hotel in Vancouver, the Dominion. It's located in the Gastown district and apparently was the first establishment in the city to serve alcohol to women. Way to go, Lamplighter!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Last night hubby cut himself on a wine glass. It kind of just exploded in his giant hands. The stem simply snapped off and sliced through the tip of his right index finger, deep and long. From the couch I heard the crashing and looked up to see his face drained of all color (and he's pretty colorful, usually) and blood leaking all over the kitchen. Rushed to the medicine cabinet but found only useless Band-Aids and medical tape, no gauze. Calmed him, wrapped him up in some TP like a teenage rival's house and ran to the pharmacy up the street (which was about 10 minutes from locking up). Located the bandage aisle and found the butterflies, some sci-fi aqua bandages that seemed so futuristic they were bound to come in handy, and more tape but no rolls of gauze which is what I was really after. Asked the dude at the counter Do you have rolls of gauze. He produced a ladder and climbed to the top shelf against the wall and brought down an unmarked box. Gimme two of those, please. Went to front of store to check out. Was sent back to pharamacy counter because that register had been closed already for the night. Girl at pharmacy counter chatting to dude who'd climbed the ladder for me. I waited waited waited. She glanced down at what I was trying to buy. Uh, can you check me out. Still talking. Vaguely reached hand toward first item. Gauze was not marked with price. Turned to ask ladder dude How much is this? Finally I had to say Can we hurry? Someone is bleeding!

Hubby is fine, though he might need a stitch and can't really type since it's his "writing finger." Also we are between health insurances.

Today is our 4th wedding anniversary (which coincides with our 12th real anniversary). More than happy to apply steady direct pressure for you anytime, honey.


Me and some dudes were in a gang of evil-fighters spreading healthcare and etc.

And also in the dream I read a blog that characterized my poetry as "metrically formal" and "overly dependent on the iambic pentameter line."

Woke up indignant, then laughing.

Monday, March 21, 2005

How to Save Poetry

In honor of World Poetry Day (or whatever) here are half a dozen things you as a poet and/or poetry lover can do to save poetry:

1. Buy poetry books. Buy them new if they are still in print whenever possible (used books don't make zip for publishers or authors). Give them as gifts, particularly to people who wouldn't otherwise buy them (see #6). If your budget doesn't permit frequent purchases, you can encourage your local library to order new titles. Most libraries will purchase a book if it is requested by a low minimum number of patrons.

2. Subscribe. Subscriptions (as opposed to newsstand and bookstore sales) keep magazines afloat by funding issues in advance. Choose 1-5 poetry journals a year (as your budget permits). Split a subscription with a friend or reading group. Give subscriptions to your favorite journals as gifts (see #6).

3. Write reviews, even if they are just on your own blog or site. A good word from a sympathetic reader works better than any ad (which many publishers have trouble affording). (See also, #6.)

4. Support independent publishers, nonprofit publishers, and small magazines with volunteer work or donations. If you can afford it, give something back to the people who work for peanuts (if that much) to get your work and work you love into circulation. In the case of nonprofits, these donations are usually tax-deductible. Volunteering for some hands-on experience will teach you tons about how submissions are evaluated, etc.

5. Start your own reading series, chapbook press, publishing collective or other poetry-related venture with like-minded folk. Encourage community.

6. Teach somebody else to read and love poetry. Kids are great, but any age will do.

If poetry is important to you, be an advocate not just a protester. Here's a big round of applause for all of you who do these things.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Simply Sunday

Got my office back. Duck confit and crusty french bread with a little wine in the late afternoon kicking back with some Dreamweaver tutorials and anticipating the upcoming vacation and trip to Vancouver. Who cares about rain?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A wand, staff, baton, or rod

Deborah Ager & Katey Nicosia & Laura Carter have all passed me the stick. (Sorry for the delay--sister was still in town.) So here goes:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
If I'm going to burn, I might as well really deserve it. Does the Patriot Act count? Hubby takes exception and thinks I should "play right" and decide which book I would like to memorize and become in order to save, as the characters in the novel do. Fine. That would have to be one of the top two deserted island books below. I personally couldn't make it forever without either of them. Since I first did this this morning I have changed my answers 300 times. I'm just going to be selfish about it.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Everyone I've ever had a crush on has turned out to be fictional, except my husband, who is the real deal. But to be serious: Spiderman.

The last book you bought is:
Ilya Kaminsky's Dancing in Odessa (autographed, my second copy)

The last book you read:

What are you currently reading?
Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely & William Gibson's Pattern Recognition--which are resonating with each other in powerfully odd ways. More on this in the monthly wrap-up, maybe.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
One thing this question leaves out is how long I would be there and if my stay would be of a stranded or vacation type. I'm assuming I would be stranded, like forever. So I would hope to have these books--a mix of favorites and a couple things one major novel I haven't yet made time for but really want to get to. Seems like I'd finally have the time. The first couple of weeks where I'm wigging out without my intenet connection are really really gonna suck. Culinary essentials that I would otherwise always want near to hand are best left at home, I think, lest I drool myself to death. No matter what I packed, as soon as I got there I'd want something else. I really hope this never happens.

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara
Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein (that big Vintage paperback--with Tender Buttons, The Making of Americans, Melanctha, AND The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, plus etc.)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, trans. by Grossman b/c I already read the Smollet (I love it, but since I decided to take a Stein omnibus, don't need it.)
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Tristam Shandy by Laurence Sterne

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
D. Murlin Nester, because I love him but also like to irritate him. UPDATE: Daniel was also sticked by Katey. How popular he is.
Vincie, ditto. (Note that Miss Millay has moved to new digs!)
Reen, ditto. (Plus she's posted the MacNeice poem she actually read from the other night.)

Friday, March 18, 2005


Set list from last night, as far as I can recall it and perhaps not quite in order, for your reading pleasure:

Me: Mairead Byrne's "Pitch"

Jennifer Knox: Seamus Heaney's "Otter"

Alison DeFrees: Shoot. I can't remember the fellow's name; he was new to me and she read a few by him that were quite nice.

Susan Brennan: William Butler Yeat's "The Second Coming"

Maureen Thorson: Something by Louis MacNeice--maybe "Prayer Before Birth"? Oh pints.

Rachel Shukert: The Cranberries' "When You're Gone"--I think? She didn't sing it, she read it, complete with breathy Dolores gasping and all the "doo doo doo doos." Hilarious.

Sean McNally: An excerpt from Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman, which Sean spent so much time explaining was circuitous and rambling and digressive that he never actually read. Brilliant. Shafer flung him over his shoulder and removed him forcibly from the stage to guffaws.

Marion Wrenn: Nick Flynn's "Listenerland" from PBQ. Marion noted that she wasn't sure if he was actually of Irish descent, but that on St. Paddy's Day everybody is a little bit Irish so... No arguments from us; Miss Marion is universally adored.

Shafer Hall who forgot to read until we reminded him: Mairead Byrne's "Headlines"

The music was also fantastic--covers of Sinead O'Conner's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, particularly the woman (one of the duo representing the Have Nots?) who sang "Nothing Compares 2 U" and the twangy country version of "I Am Stretched on Your Grave" by the Dream Bitches. And Erica is right--Bethany of Feverfew is terrific. I was wowed. Thanks & applause for our host DAK and Boog City. Look for that Sean Cole book when it's out!

Then we went to sing karaoke up the street. Much raucous behavior and a fiesty chair that kept spilling its occupants.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Lucky & charming

Ok, our half-Irish asses are heading out the door for this party thing.

I think I am going to read some Mairead Byrne.

See you there...

Ghost on teevee

If you have a copy of Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely flip to one of the section divider pages with the staticky television. Look closely under a good light source. See him? I think it's the Preznit.

If you do not have a copy, run don't walk to the link over there ----------->

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

REMINDER: St. Patrick's Day Boog City Party Tomorrow!

Thursday, March 17
BOOG CITY presents Irish-Themed Madness wherein
poets attempt to read works by Irish writers
(after an all day bar-crawl led by Shafer Hall)
Details: Boog City's Classic Albums Live presents a St. Patrick's Day Party
Sinead O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" performed live
for the 15th anniversary of its release by Dream Bitches * The Feverfew *
Serena Jost * Rachel Lipson * Christine "Sharky" Murray * Peggy Rubin
-Irish poetry and prose readings, curated by Shafer Hall, featuring Shanna Compton *
Allison DeFrees * Andy Friedman * Jennifer L. Knox * Sean McNally * Rachel Shukert *
Christopher Stackhouse * Marion Wrenn * Etc.
-More Irish music performed by I Feel Tractor and Joe Maynard
(This event is a fundraiser for our Boog's upcoming book by Sean Cole, The December Project!
Hosted by Boog City editor and publisher David Kirschenbaum
7 PM / $10

Shafer sez: Meet at the Turkey's Nest in Williamsburg at 2:00, or the Abbey at 4:00, or Galapagos at 6:00ish for your customized amount of bar crawling beforehand.

Also, I hear now that our Irish poetries are supposed to be humorous. Still working out what I will be reading...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

All signed off and (no)where to go

Hello. My name is Shanna. I am a poet without a manuscript.

Signed off on the final final final cut of Down Spooky last week and am expecting sample pages from the designer in a few weeks. (If you are keeping score, there were four more cuts since my last post on this topic: "Cherry" (that one hurt), "Avalanche," "Non-Ultra Joy" (had waffled on both of those) & "Uberdesigned Happy Juice" (oh well). "Under This Umbrella Is Another Umbrella" was almost cut, but I just couldn't stand to see it go. So it's down to a lean, mean 45.)

All that's left to do is look at page samples, then proofs, then they'll print some galleys for potential reviewers, and then they'll print the book itself. Next week and during AWP and beyond I will be back to booking the reading tour planned for October. Wait for the remaining blurbs.

The MS formerly known as Brand New Insects is still intact, mostly. But I haven't been sending it out. That beauty queen is retiring. She's waved enough. She enjoyed her status as a runner-up and is now getting out of the pageant game gracefully. She's said this is what she wants, and who am I to argue? She's the one who has to endure body tape and hairspray fumes and the constant trotting out and twirling on the runway. I'm just the stylist.

So I'm entering new territory. For the last dozen years or so I have been actively revising one or two manuscripts--or more properly, as Nester would call them, Word documents. Suddenly, there's nothing left to tinker with or reorder.

I've got plans for the next big project (that I don't feel quite ready to start yet) and some new collaborations working, and some chapbooks by other people to produce, and naturally other books still to edit and design for Soft Skull. I'm retiring from LIT with this issue too. But I don't really know what will be next. It's liberating. It's unnerving. Page one is blank.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Weekend with reading reports

Little sis Camron and her boyfriend Ben arrived Friday. They are drama nerds, by which I mean, they both have degrees in drama--Ben with an emphasis on playwrighting and Camron with an emphasis on puppeteering. They're both just out of undergrad and thinking about grad schools. Ben's checking out playwrighting options and Camron is looking into a puppet program in Connecticut. They're casing neighborhoods and thinking about jobs, and might move up around September or so. We'll see. They have friends here, plus us, so a move would be a hell of a lot easier on them than it was on us! (We laugh about that first year now, but it wasn't too funny at the time.)

Friday night we hit Maggie Nelson's party for Jane at Pete's Candy Store. The book is chunky in an impressive way, and it looks great, with a photo of Jane at 15 on the cover. Maggie read for us a little bit and received hearty congrats from all kinds of poetry peeps including Reen, [expurgated], Brandon Downing, Anselm Berrigan, Erica, et al. Tennessee looked hunky and happy and I realized while we were talking that his book is finally out; gotta pick that up pronto! (One of the stories is forthcoming in LIT 10.)

Saturday I took the Cammi & Beeyun sightseeing--Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy, the East Village, Tribeca, the West Village. I thoroughly wore them out. We must have walked 12 miles.

Squishing the Statue

Hudson River Park

Ben shopping for hats

We stopped for a couple of pints at the Ear Inn, where we made fine art of our butcher-paper covered table and took in the poems of Justin Marks & Malachi Black & finally finally finally I got to hear Ilya Kaminsky after missing three recent readings, including Frequency in the fall. His performance style is somewhat akin to recordings I've heard of Dylan Thomas--musical, almost singing--except of course his accent is much different. He seems to be purposely bucking the natural stresses of the lines--if that makes sense--a syncopated gallop of sound that reflects and at the same time reinterprets/improvises the "score" on the page. Some of that lies in the way he pronounces -eds--danced, loved, etc. He really seems to be enjoying his own poems and enjoying reading them to you--and the effect is completely charming. I'd forgotten to take my copy of Dancing in Odessa with me, so I bought the copy we'd been using to follow along so I could have a signed one.

At the Ear

Last night Camron & Ben saw Avenue Q (and recommend it), while we went and did the Zinc Bar series. Haphazardly and plain hazardously, Shafer led us in a ramshackle round-robin reading that included pirate poems, Mini Kiss poems, Big Confettis, and 8-way free-for-all email collabs. Lots of fun, and nice to see everybody after several weeks of homebody behavior.

Also, we met Emily. Hi Emily!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Collaborative poems

Ok, well, I had to give up on the poem I was trying to make--but I will keep working on it. I think it will be at least two different poems. I'm just not "on" today or something. (Plus we have houseguests, so things are kind of off-kilter.)

But we're heading out to the reading. So here is another collab instead.

Saucy Walrus
by Maureen Thorson & Shanna Compton


[Our poem to come]

[If you are watching this space
to see our collaborative poem appear
it may be a while. I have been shuffling
lines and adding and editing but haven't
come up with much worth a dagnabit yet.
However, even if the results are of
questionable value, I will post them
to complete the experiment.]

Friday, March 11, 2005

REMINDER: Maggie Nelson's JANE launch reading and party!

TONIGHT! Friday, March 11, 2005
6:00pm-8:00 p.m.

Don't miss the reading and release party for Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson @ Pete's Candy Store next Friday! Robert Creeley loves Jane. Fanny Howe loves Jane. I wildly adore Jane. And you will too! Plus, the party is your first chance to pick up a copy (and have it signed) before the book even hits the stores.

Pete's Candy Store
709 Lorimer Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(718) 302-3770
L or G to Lorimer/Metropolitan

So, see you there, yes?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Do the locomotion with me.

UPDATE: Received several great lines below and via email. I will be collecting them through Friday afternoon, quitting time--so keep 'em coming. Then I'll post the completed poem sometime over the weekend, perhaps as an evolving post so you can collaborate on the revisions too? THANKS.

Hello darlings.

Would you like to write a poem with me? I will post the finished poem here and also read it at the collaboration-themed reading this Sunday at Zinc Bar (see "Reading Rumors" below for details), along with collaborations I've done with Shafer Hall, Ada Limon, Jen Knox, Daniel Nester, Maureen Thorson, and other goodly poetikal peeps far and wide. We may or may not be doing live collaborations on stage too, and perhaps I will arm myself with your lines in my pocket, at the ready, for that portion of the evening, for fear I am less extemporaneous than my peers.

If you would like to play, email me a line: shannacompton at earthlink dot net.

If you prefer, you may leave your line in the comment box below.

I will do my very best to use all donated lines, and have only one request: please sign your name so I can properly credit you as coauthor of our soon-to-be-fabulous collaboration.

Hearty cheering

Congrats to Eduardo on this wonderful news!!

44 Sonnets

Mike Snider's handsewn chap arrived a couple of days ago, along with--surprise!--a delightful CD of his band The Salamanders.

Haven't had a chance to read all of this hefty chap (it's 44 poems after all--only one fewer than in my forthcoming nonchap!), but this one jumped out at me (and I think I recall it from a blog post some time back). It's a fitting song for almost-spring.


I had a crush on Liz because one night
She danced real slow with me and every beat,
Since she was lame, her hip slipped tight
Across my hardon--Christ, but it was sweet!
And Gina, who broke every hippie's heart,
Her famous shorts she'd cut so short the hair
Would glisten while she sat, those thighs apart
To show she knew you knew, and didn't care--
Truth is, I was in love with everyone,
But most of all with Ronnie--when he'd sing
His "Stranger Things" I'd almost come undone
To hear him cry out "Mikey, do that thing!"
And everything was in my mandolin,
More than he wanted of all I'd ever been.

Now that is a dang fine sonnet. Line up for yours over at the Sonnetarium.

Cheers, Mike!

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Hey, hiya Jenny!

Whaddaya know? Jenny Davidson has a blog.

I had the pleasure of working on Jenny's excellent novel Heredity. Of course, I am biased.

Blogger is being uncooperative, but when it straightens out, onto the blogroll she goes.

Monday, March 7, 2005

Miss Miss, that's me.

Dang it all, I have missed everything and everybody lately. How are you? I miss you.

Josh Corey's written a grand report of the PSA festival that I missed last week. And yes I do feel that selfish about it: how dare they continue without me! Ha ha. Still, now I feel almost as if I were there. But I am still sorry to have missed the chance to chat with him again. (Next time!)

Ilya Kaminsky is reading yet again this coming Saturday at the Ear Inn (see Broder's site--linked at right) with Justin Marks (of LIT--you shall be left in fine hands). Hoping to catch that, since I also missed IK at Frequency. But with sister & her boyfriend coming Friday, you can just never tell what will happen.

In other news: I spied daffodil points breaking ground surrounded by snow in the park on the way to work this morning. Come on, spring!


Winnow Press is making these for me to take to AWP. Wowee. Looks great, no?

They're also making a bookmark, with the cover image and their website address. Very nice.

Starting to feel real.


I dreamed I was a stand-up comedian, playing to a large crowd at some kind of outdoor festival. I was supposed to do two sets, with a short break between them. The first set went really well--even I thought I was funny, and it felt comfortable, everything clicking. But after the break I returned to the stage and the mic squealed and hollered. I couldn't think of a single joke. Afterward, I had to sit through a performance critique, which I didn't take very seriously, choosing to blame the failure of the second set on the technical difficulties. "They've forgotten about my stellar first set!" I kept thinking.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Reading list update

Neglected to post the February reading summary before. It's appended to the last day of the month now.

Saturday, March 5, 2005


Another rejection (on a cold sub to a top tier mag).

But a terrfic new blurb too. (That's three down, three to go!)

Next yikes: the author photo.

Friday, March 4, 2005

Miss Partymisser

That's me. Happy birthdays to Brendan & Seanie.

Your future Ashbery

The Sunday NYTBR will feature a piece on John Ashbery.

Mildly provocative? Wildly scandalous? Vaguely interesting? Nice photo? Summary: Reading Ashbery gives the former editor-in-chief of the NYTBR a headache! And his first book wasn't his first book it was a chapbook--see you can't fool the NYTBR. Except with language poetry; language poetry is truly incomprehensible. John Ashbery is old. And difficult. But he's a genius. And everybody knows it. And so does the NYTBR.

Thanks NYTBR!

Don't get me wrong; I was glad to see him there.

So, oh ok, thanks NYTBR.

Get your Freq on.

The Frequency page has been updated with new info from host Shafer Hall. (Stay tuned for more updates, very soon!)

Thursday, March 3, 2005

In case you find this heartening

Received: one form rejection (on a solicited submission--and pretty speedy too)

Sent: another solicited submission



...the PSA reading last night. Just too much to do. My sister & her boyfriend are coming next week, so everything important has to be accomplished before they arrive.

Also, if you have recently seen a play in NYC you'd recommend, holler. She's a puppeteer/actress & he's a playwright--and there's so much to choose from. Found some good candidates, but personal recs are always super. Thinking about the new Richard Foreman at the Ontological, but we will probably do a couple.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005


I think I read somewhere that "one" cannot read or write in dreams. This is horseshit.

Anyway, this morning I woke up from a dream in which I was revising a poem. I mentioned this to hubby.

"Do you remember the revision?"

"Yes, but the poem doesn't exist."

"Well, what was it?"

"The last line was changing from whatever it was to 'I'm going to see the Wizard.'"

I think I write better poems when I am awake.

Fickle Me Elmo

Ok, so much for the blizzard. That was useless. But somewhat pretty at times.

You know what I could really use? Some May. How 'bout some June? Gimme some sunshine there, pops.

Northeastern winters are hard on us transplants from nearer the equator.

In other news: book is in, again. Shorter, but better I think. Overflowing with gratitude for all the help. I guess there may be a final shift or two yet, but it's going to the designer any day now. As they say in those stupid approximation-of-English business meetings, our "learnings" i.e. our "takeaway": no two readers are alike. When the author is both the most generous forgiving and most critical reader of his book, he is sorely confused.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

My life's soundtrack

Lots of steel guitar, for sure.

PSA Festival of New American Poets

Wednesday, March 2nd & Thursday, March 3rd 7:30 p.m.

Two evenings of ten poets each

Eric Baus, Mark Bibbins, Sherwin Bitsui, Oni Buchanan, Dan Chiasson, Joshua Corey, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Miranda Field, Cathy Park Hong, Ilya Kaminsky, Adrian Matejka, Chelsey Minnis, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Srikanth Reddy, Spencer Reece, Dorothea Tanning, and the new PSA Chapbook Fellows: K.E. Allen, Andrea Baker, Justin Goldberg, and Joshua Poteat.

$10 for both nights / $7 PSA Members and Students. $7 for one night / $5 PSA Members and Students.

Co-sponsored by JetBlue Airways and the New School Graduate Writing Program.

Tishman Auditorium
The New School
66 West 12th Street

(Dear Josh, which night are you reading?) UPDATE: Josh is tomorrow. In fact, he posted a nice little breakdown: if you can only make one night or the other, take a peek.

Also, LIT 10 will contain a special PSA feature with poems from each of these folks, so if you miss the festival, you can get a taste of it when the mag comes out in May.