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Sunday, July 31, 2005


The moment I made my list* the list changed.

* I mistyped lust.

Would definitely add Joe now, for instance. And Alli Warren't Hounds, which I just read.

This post is a pointer. One of those laser ones the kids across the street like to sight us with at night via uncurtained living room windows. May I direct your attention.

Or, you are about to be shot.


Other butterflies.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

DIY Class reading today...

Justin Marks will be reading from his forthcoming chapbook You Being You By Proxy and introducing his new micropress Kitchen Press.

Stephanie Nikolopoulos will be reading from a prototype of her new zine Sheepish and talking about future issues.

And we'll be sharing the stage with students from Tsaurah Litzky's class The Poet Electric.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Freshly posted at the DIY publishing blog...

Groovy new web ring banners and a brand-spanking new micropress announcement from Justin Marks!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Who's that finger for, Preznit?

You can watch the live clip (as shown on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) here.

Make it stop.

I just did.

Hope it works. Our mailman is so annoyed he just throws piles of crap mail on the floor beneath the mailboxes everyday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Storming the capital

Just added Washington, DC to the book tour. Rocking.


Finally getting around to updating the links page, which was so out of date it was still in the original Brand New Insects pink scheme.

Just magazines & journals so far, with more to add. But if YOU aren't there and should be, lemme know. Thanks.

(Presses, reading series, orgs, etc. to come.)

They Loved These Things Too

The sun the moon the stars the polar ice caps and the ice
cream cones the city streets the side streets and the small
TV the curve of flesh around the food the road maps and
November and the tiny birds and also certain people and
they loved the special chairs and also stuffed things and the
carnival and big rings and the o rings and they loved the
oranges in bags and Florida and Texas and the hotel room
and they loved the chili on the highway that they loved as if
they loved the onramp and the way that people called and
the natural forces of destruction and the sea they loved the
sea and also boats and sailing ships and whales they loved
and sea birds in varieties and then they loved the choice
of drinks to drink and also beer they loved the times that
others liked them that they loved and also they loved things
all shaped like tigers and they loved the zoo.

--Lisa Jarnot, Black Dog Songs

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Salami in Romanshorn

Christopher Middleton, from Carminalenia

That salami in Romanshorn, so
good the taste of it, so
a slice, the first, another, & the bread
white, not too much

gristle, nor smoke, a piece
of the best, a cut, she said, above
the human,
& set down the book, not

the greatest, right
there, opposite
the salami, so the book shall do some
eating too, no, I mean
be like it, kind of

admire the salami, maybe
read some. Where
was this? On the beach? Other stuff
going on
around the world? Lots, but shoot, if

anything mattered,
aside from
that salami &
the book, anything, sure why not,
she'd like to know of it

Monday, July 25, 2005

Might as well pimp it...

Conductors of the Pit might prove interesting to some of you who are participating in the Spanish-languageLatin-American and Spanish poetry conversation. (And there's some French dudes in there too, among other things, all translated by CE.)

More Middleton

"Quasizeros: 21 Miscellaneous Micropoems for Hans Vogt"
From Two Horse Wagon Going By


Walking, stopping in

Leaning on air, word on the tip
Of the tongue


In the creases of her finger pointing up
To stress not that, but this, what

Else but

Eloquent miniscule
Horizons of grime


Watch the velvet
Birdspider piano
Finger his moonlight
Sonata, eight arpeggios
To cross
Your bed


All the limbs
But not a stitch

Stretched, then, in their folding, that
Much the more naked


Level head, one hundred such,
Hardly to be seen, tilted

Imperceptibly forward, and
If cocked

Not predatory, never a
Mountain top mistily

Bloodying the dreams in it,
Might, no, not even

These might have rectified
The nasty bent

Our species took, ignorant
From desire, gungho with dread


Slow wings beating take
Motion from unharmed air

Around children who break at sunrise
Bread and will not grow old


Possum breath
--whiff of the One

Hear a mouth
Looked for unicorn (cornered
mirrors) by

Flashlight a ratlike
baldish creature

Through fresh bark mulch
Pellets, in distant
Indigo, still driven

To pick among the
Crusty spitball
Subterrene (Nast├╝rmchen!)
Nasturtium seeds



So droopingly
The roof

Tiles overhead

Red beef


Hellbent, thunderstruck
Piss-asses, locust men
Grope for popcorn, nip the beercan

Gape at screen

Face cooked
In a helmet
Stole the show for one


Head thrown back
Feet skimming the ground, who

Is this coming so fast she's
Lost from sight?


Scorched wizard
Sloped indoors, heard his babies

--A Squelch of organs--uncorked
A bottle of Ghost,

Ate his Lantern, slept, in his high
Horse head, catastrophic, nought

But song of katydid:
Darkening a mountain, shaking out

The hair of the world


God, pining for whom helps
Keep some slim

Strip from this, pray, tormented
Skeleton the wobbling

Fat rolls that make him speak
Instead of thunder, with a squeak


Heavy logistical weapons of muscle mass rush
Up front to fling
A stone

Hated squirrel
Gulps another mouth-
Ful of bird-

Seed frisks

High / lightly His tail
Melts into the trees


Not the eyebrow, its
Traject, not the gorgon

Hairmass, lady,
What is it, this

Mirrorless me
Topples them

Cracking, somehow
Into your pit?


Cuff tucked
Back, palms up to

Help you squinny at
Her cuts


A gartered swinger in the human tree
Enjoys her husbands to the tune of three

Her flesh still willing when they hit the floor
She signals for half a dozen more

Those being spent, her art not stopped, she swings
Up, to catch her breath, her heart on other things.


Glossy, not from clinging, these
Knuckles predecease her quilt--

Eyelid sliding back peels a white,
Now she called a name, joyfully, it was mine

But in the country she comes from
Girls divined their fortunes

In shapes of wax they sprinkled hot
At random, over water


Dry smell, dark yellow
tugs at heart thongs--
old leatherbound books, bays glow,
when first light stirs up
the pure fume


With cabbage
Leaf ears
Pinned back and young
Stumbling elephant steps I ran
Up to you,
Poetry, but almost
You had forgotten

Me, you
Gave me a lick,
Delicate and
Suspicious, the way
A lion, lowering
His tongue,


Hollering into the
A wild
Peony of boys
Lobs its petals


As limestone through smoke
goes amber
so goes the world

Through my slit eyes, clenched
hands, when I
write these poems


Here's a Middleton poem I talked about before.

Guess I gotta get me that Chicago Review.

Fundraising for Transcendence

Our pal Todd Holland writes from San Francisco to say his production company is sending their film to Sundance! Transcendence is an amazing documentary project, a film that tells the story of the first-ever transgender gospel choir, as well as the stories of many of the individual choristers. Find out more at the Campfire Films web site (and you can make a tax-deductible donation to help them get to Sundance, too.)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Just finished

James Ellroy's The Big Nowhere

There's a reason this book took me so long to finish, besides just being busy. I mean, this is one of the most effed up books I have ever read. That Ellroy can even imagine such crimes makes me wonder about the man's sanity. The characters are mostly vile, the racial and other supremely offensive epithets are like punches in the face. But did I love it? Yes. Did I exclaim "holy f*ck" about 30 times during the final chapter? Yes. Did I more than once wish I could get away talking like a vintage gangster? Yes. Do I feel completely guilty for letting my heart break a little in sympathy with Buzz Meeks (whom you may remember from L.A. Confidential)? Absolutely. And should you read it? I recommend it. Just keep telling yourself "this is fiction...this is fiction....this is fiction."

UPDATE: Courtesy of Charlie Orr, here is an interview excerpt I thought you all might enjoy:

McDonald: Do you read a lot of poetry? You drop these lines of poetry into interviews, articles...and I've seen you do it across a number of years. Auden, particularly.

Ellroy: You know, I've read through Auden. A lot of the shit I don't understand, and I don't like and I don't get.

McDonald: I know you read Anne Sexton.

Ellroy: Ohhh baby! Oh man!

McDonald: Hot but doomed.

Ellroy: Craig, you're brilliant. You've just defined, Anne Sexton: hot but doomed. You'd do her, wouldn't you?

McDonald: Well yeah, based on the photos I've seen of her in her prime … yeah.

Ellroy: Hah!

McDonald: Have you written any poetry of your own?

Ellroy: Naw. But I do love Sexton. "Hot but doomed."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Big old announcement email

Just sent a multipart announcement full of news re: Half Empty/Half Full, DIY Publishing Class, Down Spooky and other bits to my local and national lists. If you did not get it, but would like to be on such a list, shoot me an email. (Address at top right.)

It's just too much, I think, to post it all to the blog. The emails are not even once a month--I wait till I have at least 3 things to tell ya--though I imagine they might be a little more frequent around the time of the book launch & tour September/October.

Rock on. (And our thoughts are with our UK friends.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wall of fame?

D.I.P. Chris Connelly just wrote to alert me to the review of a restaurant called the Queen's Hideaway in today's New York Times.

"The dining room at the Queen's Hideaway [222 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn] has a winning country-punk vibe and a culinary design motif (shelves full of cookbooks, a framed ode to Jacques Pepin), but without air-conditioning its charms will play second fiddle to the backyard until cooler weather arrives."

He wonders if that "framed ode to Jacques Pepin" could be my poem "To Jacques Pepin" from Gastronomica. And so do I!

Wouldn't that be funny?

Pittsburgh was great

But I left my camera in the car during the reading and party, so I can't prove it.

You'll just have to take my word for it: 150 people (at least), tons of great food and barbecue, icy cold beer, accordian music, sculptures, live chickens, and later a polydactyl cat named Ruby. We had a fantastic time and heartily recommend that you accept any invitation from Sherrie & Nancy! (Thanks again, y'all.) And we even got to meet Dan Wickett. Here's his reading report. (He must have made either notes or a recording, because he's got complete set lists and everything, though he discreetly omitted the fact that one of us--not saying who--busted ass leaving the stage. You're the man, D.)

Naturally after Chicago/Pittsburgh/Baltimore, I am swamped with a backlog of email. But I'll get to you eventually, promise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The little flip-flops that could.

I hope Miss Meghan sells a zillion copies this week. Did you catch her on the Today Show? Tomorrow she'll be on MSNBC. And she's also in the NYTimes right this sec. (Go, M!!)

Jiggedy jig

Back from Pittsburgh...and Baltimore. Straight off the train to the freelance desk.

Squawkbox comments seem to be offline. Sometimes they do that. (I'd activate Blogger comments in the meantime but I don't like what they do to my customized template.)

Anyway, HI!

Friday, July 15, 2005

"Look for the giant King Kong."

You gotta love driving directions that end with a sentence like that.

Put the lines in the Coconut...

Check it! Bruce Covey just opened the doors at his tropicalicious new webzine, Coconut. (You'll find me there in excellent company, too.)

P-burgh, here we come!

Gist Street Series
Fifth Annual Cookout Extravaganza!
Readings by Jennifer L. Knox, Shafer Hall & Shanna Compton
Saturday, July 16

Plus barbecue, pies, potluck & a roving accordian player!

305 Gist Street, 3rd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA
$3 suggested donation
7:30 PM

We're heading out there tomorrow morning, bright and early. Expect photos and tales from the road when we return. (Though Sunday when we get back, I'm hopping a train to Baltimore, so maybe tune in for that Monday morning.)

Naturally if you're anywhere near Pittsburgh, we'd love to see you!

This will be my first reading with Down Spookies in hand. Early copies, dontcha know.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

If you're following along...

with the DIY Publishing class, take a peek at the blog. Lots of new stuff in preparation for our second week.

We spent the first week refining our project ideas and getting our manuscripts into shape, and tonight we're talking design and production basics. (And studying some of YOU from my chapbook/zine collection!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Slice of Cherry Pie

Allow me to direct your attention to this call for submissions for a Twin Peaks-themed poetry chapbook to be edited by Ivy Alvarez.

Ivy's Private Press will be doing the UK version & Half Empty/Half Full will be publishing it stateside!

Saturday, July 9, 2005

We're off to Chicago

Be back Tuesday. Might blog from the road, might not.
This is a photo from the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX for no good reason.
It does not have any xtian import.
Be good, y'all.

Friday, July 8, 2005

(Oh percapella, percapella) percapella let me go!*

...as read by Jordan Davis...

Get one here. (Or email me or Nester to swap somethin.)

* "Beelzebub has a copy put aside for you, for you, for you!**
** Here, maybe these will help.

Emerging Writers has emerged

...with this new blog. (Rock on, Dan Wickett!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Sorry for the confusion:

Yes, you do need to email me in advance if you want to attend the DIY workshop at the Bowery Poetry Club that begins tomorrow. I need to know how many people to plan for & if I haven't heard from you directly, I don't know you've registered. Thanks!

(shanna at shanna compton dot com OR shanna compton at earthlink dot net OR shanna at soft skull dot com)

In the mail...

Recently purchased/swapped for/received:

Hounds by Alli Warren
the tiny, Gina Myers & Gabriella Torres, eds.
The Shrubberies by Ronald Johnson
Radi os by Ronald Johnson
Black Dog Songs by Lisa Jarnot
The Sonnets by Ted Berrigan
Often Capital by Jennifer Moxley
1-800-Flowers by Rob Fitterman
Coming After by Alice Notley
My Life by Lyn Hejinian
The Maximus Poems by Charles Olson
Polyverse by Lee Ann Brown

As you can probably see, I am filling some gaps/replacing lost copies and grabbing up new chaps while they're hot. I've started packing my books for an imminent move (ok, fall--uh, there's lotsa books) so some alarming omissions, magically multiplied-copies, head-scratching whythehelldoihavethats, devastating losses, plain uglies, and other assorted oddities in my shelves have popped up begging to be dealt with.

Also on order but taking forflippinever: The New Sentence and In the American Tree by Ron Silliman. (I make a point of buying works-in-print by small presses and living authors NEW, or I shouldawoulda had these already. Might hafta go used though if they don't hurry!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Heading to Chicago

Saturday-Tuesday. So what should we do?

Planning to go here, naturally. And here.

Already got the reservation. (Been on the must-eat-before-we-die list for oh like years.)

If you have a fave place, out of the way or no, please holler!


YOU are a micropress...you just don't know it yet.

The DIY class starts July 7. Two weeks Three days left to sign up! (Class starts Thursday at 7:00 p.m.)

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Love (one of) my (many) job(s)

Signed off on final proofs for Jen Knox's A Gringo Like Me Friday. It's at the printer. Aw yeah.

And I'm sending first-pass proofs to Miss Pafunda for Pretty Young Thing in a little bit.

Holiday = working that doesn't feel like working.



Saturday, July 2, 2005

What is something which your peers/colleagues may assume you've read but haven't? Why haven't you?

Ted Berrigan's Sonnets. (Not all together, anyway. Though I've read individual ones here and there, off and on.)

Not sure. Just hadn't gotten around to procuring them.

Till now.

Update: It's really amazing to me how much of a poet one thinks one doesn't know that well one actually does know pretty well when one sits down to rectify the unknowing. Subbing for one and a poet. What; it's like I've already been absorbing the sonnets from the residue they've left on other poets? So soft! You're soaking in it. Or maybe I have just grazed at many of more of them I realized in my ramshackle browsing. This handy little book'll need to stay handy most of the time now on.

Update: Oh I'm not finished. Thinking or rather nothinking. (& remembering that I used to be less self-conscious talking into this thing.) You know what I mean. I mean they are comfortable instead of earth shattering, because I am not of the same moment as the book. So it is a relief to read the sonnets and also a disappointment. But it is mostly a joy.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Batshit barnacles

Lady poets
with phials
of poison
creep velvet
tried true
Tired you

Don't sigh
poetesses or
brush pretty
so dainty
Rush titty
No panty

Bum muscles
grey matters?
What fuck
you speak
jack asses
of poetesses