Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Now it's a week at my parent's house, but I'm already feeling all cabin-fever restless.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I was about to say I've sworn off poetry this week, but with the above, I realized I haven't really. Though at this point it's just alot of cutting and pasting stuff I've already accepted. I just won't be writing any, or reading any, or thinking/obsessing about it over the holiday. Though I AM smuggling some books and journals into my luggage for that dreadful week-long lull between Christmas and New Years.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
But publication in general..how can one NOT associate success with publication...of whatever kind? I've only seen this attitude with poets, mind you, rarely with fiction writers. Like poetry is pure, above all this rabble. Yes, there's a kind of success when you write a beautiful poem, but that's only half the equation. It needs a reader..ideally many readers...It has nothing to do with CV filler....and like any art or profession, one wants to make a name for oneself with good work, and to do that, it needs to get it out there. So unless you start writing poems on the side of city busses, journals are a necessary evil. And, yes, some are corrupt and incestuous, but some aren't.
Outside of trying to convince myself that I'm in league with other good writers (which is not ALWAYS the big big-name journals, but sometimes smaller, but well esteemed ones like diagram, or Cranky, or Melic Review where poets I love appear,) sometimes I submit places where I like the journal's name, or vibe, or website. I tend to do it all rather scattershot, not really with any grand organized plan. I have a list of places I want to submit to, that I think will be open to my work, and as things come back from other places, I send them back out elsewhere, sometimes with newer stuff. I don't really simulataneously submit, unless it's been like six-months and no word,then I'll send stuff out again. I have a tendency to fidget with poems over time, so there's rarely a finalized version of anything, even after it's been published. There's a poem called "Nebraska" that appeared in one version online, another in print, another in The Archaeologist's Daughter, and now, another revision in the fever almanac. People have seemed to respond equally well to all versions, it's just me and my neurosis at work...how I never leave well-enough alone (akin to my weird habit of re-arranging furniture and artwork in the middle of the night). But then there are those poems that haven't changed a letter since they were concieved. Usually these are those rare,rare moments of brilliance when I'm so ON, I scare myself. Most of the time I'm just trudging along. I DO tend to work on a poem by poem basis. Revise it until it's how I want it, or damn close enough and let it go. Files of unfinished poems set me ill at ease. This summer was the first ever mass revsion project on the book and it felt odd and chaotic to me.
Monday, December 19, 2005
It's still damn hell cold here. I was just in the laundry room downstairs where I swear I could see my breath.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Regardless, I have managed to finish shopping. I decided this year that I was going to simplify, getting everyone a combination of yummy bath accoutrements and/or gourmet goodies like chocolates and flavored coffee, and books according to various interests. The only exception being my mom, who's present was already taken care of--and incredibly pricey at that (and much bigger than that pic now.) I'm not however that much of a masochist to show up completely empty handed.
Friday, December 16, 2005
They'll never again dream
of that other mother
who smells like cherry Pop-Tarts
toasting, not yet burnt.
Good stuff. The poetry that is. Not the pop tart.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
The Animal Husband / Christine Hamm (April)
How to Study Birds / Sarah Gardner (May)
Vestigial Portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls / Robyn Art (June)
Failed Star Spawns Planet/Star / Lina Ramona Vitkauskas (August)
The Traffic in Women / Kristina Marie Darling (October)
Parapherna / Donora Hillard (December)
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
It's also getting to be at least ten minutes after class is slated to end and people are starting to fidget, put on their coats talk among themselves, to which we get a stern reprimand from the instructor while she continues to argue with this the poet who keeps replying "I ain't gonna change it.." and "But in the serial poems class, yadda, yadda..." The rest of us are all staring at the floor and trying to get out as quickly as possible I imagine when the instructor says rather pissily and abruptly. "People just go. That's it." Stands up and walks away. Afterwards, we all sort of filed rather silently out of the classroom. THAT was how the semester ended. We know the student is a joke, but I think the professor might have handled the situation a bit better and with a little more authority, and just let it the fuck GO....for gods sake, say "Alrighty then." and dismiss the class a little more politely and less childishly. It seems since she was frustrated with this particular student she chose to take it out on the rest of the class.. And not like we were engaged in any sort of real discussion at that point. Basically we were all sitting there watching the two of them argue about work that's so bad it's pretty much hopeless. Thank you for confirming, on a final explosive note, why workshops fucking suck. And here, given the feedback at least from my fellow students the past couple, I was thinking they might be helpful on some level. Stupid me.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I had a dream last night I came into posession of a beach house somewhere where it was winter but not snowing, not sub-freezing. Probably the Carolinas. It had old oak floors and a porch, and was painted a delightful grey blue. For a lark I looked at the UNCW website, which was where I did my first semester as an undergrad back when I wanted to be a marine biologist. They have a library assistant position open at like a 5,000 per year paycut. But then I remembered I have to finish my degree before I can go anywhere. And I don't want to leave Chicago, not really, not most of the time. Besides, not like I could afford a beach cottage, and if could, Wilmington gets hit by a hurricane like what? every other year? Still it's nice to dream...
Monday, December 12, 2005
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Maybe the landscape holds them,
water on three sides and the dead
too many to count. A profusion
of clotheslines and baseball diamonds.
How the streetlights dim as the third
shift kicks in.
The waitress at the diner
has no tongue but says enough
with her eyes, her beautiful limbs.
Maybe her dreams are treeless.
Every car wreck a broken cassette
tape rattling in her trunk. Every
Her husband keeps
a roadkill deer in the freezer,
hits her only when he needs to.
Calls his mother cvet.
The telephone poles have her name
all over them,the foxglove grown
over in the ditch.
Friday, December 09, 2005
She’d gone near dizzy in the dressing
room. All capelet sleeves and velvet piping.
Shoes akimbo and gathered tulle fuzzing
the chandeliers. Much too cold for organza
anyway. The crème chiffon. The bias silk.
And this fringe, so last year. Her friends
glittered and glossed as pearl pocketbooks.
And her, slipping into each gown like some other life.
This one with enough flounce to forget her mother
sewing buttons, French ones, for 5 cents a bit.
To forget the shop girls. Their sad, tidy lunches.
(a Marshall Fields inspired poem)
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Five years ago, I’ve just moved back to Chicago after a year and a half away post-grad school. I’ve recently obtained the first job that will actually allow me to support myself somewhat. My new apartment is clean and empty, furnished only with a couple of living room chairs, my bed, a small table, and a Christmas tree. I’m euphoric and in love with the city, which is already covered in snow that year. I probably haven’t written a poem in months, but have notebooks of short stories from the summer before that need revision.
One year ago, I’m plugging away at the errata poems. I have just finished the complete, though hardly final, version of the fever almanac and am lamenting my sudden bout of book fever. (that dubious affliction akin to baby fever that strikes women writers over thirty). I am procrastinating as always on my Christmas shopping. I’m STILL somehow in school and working against deadlines. Plus I’m nursing a nasty sore throat. I’m thankfully not as depressed as I was the year before at that time, but nor as ecstatically in lust as I was two years before.
Today, we go on a writing field trip for Chicago Poems to the worst place possible to venture into three weeks prior to Christmas. Marshall Fields. The masses of retail-crazed women in appliqué sweaters from the burbs gives me a headache. We do not, as planned, eat at the famous Walnut Room, but in the food court after deciding the two hour wait is not worth it. I buy a discounted tree ornament, and go home, skipping workshop. It’s ridiculously frigid outside and I want to sleep until spring.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
You can see our lawns are lovely.
Their fences precise. No shoddy stones
or wilting gardenias. See how well
the steel mill provides. The highway.
The misstep and tidy sickness.
Our angels line up row by row.
Almost god. Or close to it.
And ghosts.? No ghosts.
Only nightshift gin and kids
fucking in the bushes.
See how our marble shines.
Even the pigeons love the dead.
The vernacular of plots and greening.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Perhaps they are, after all, godless.
Licking the finials and mothering
strange black dogs. The boxwoods
alone accumulate thousands,
precarious as jukebox lovesongs.
All of them enamored with objects.
In love with birthday cake and
the backs of stamps. See how they
rhyme in couplets, how their
shoes don’t match their skirts.
And velvet. Yes, velvet.
As if any of us have enough.
As if the low-watt gleam
of silver guardrails doesn’t charm us.
How even the road bends to meet them.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The tail light put the dark
in her mouth, this rubied gleam.
Black lake beneath her nightgown
littered with sparklers and roman
candles. At home, the stockyard filth
in her mother's kitchen sullies
the mended bedspreads.The bleached
bones of peaches. She breathes
a little sometimes. Swallows a silver
locket lifted from the thrift store.
Not the real girl with the dress
rehearsal and the geometry of sixes.
But the one gone musty in the throat.
Gone deep in the milk white.
Monday, November 28, 2005
I have an essay and a book review to get revised and turned in, but then it's just working on the Archer Road thing, which I've been neglecting the past couple of weeks. And then the semester will be over, blissfully before Christmas this year unlike before. That means no nasty papers hanging over my head, no projects.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
When I get back after the holiday, its on to weeding through wicked alice subs and getting the winter issue up.
Tomorrow I shall be heading out to Rockford as per usual for double thanksgiving duty--my mom's side of the family Thursday, my dad's on Saturday. Enough Turkey to make you puke. I've been getting notalgic lately for waking up and watching the Macy's parade with the house all yummy smelling. (This actually is still possible providing I could haul my tired ass out of bed that early, which hasn't happened the last few years.) And call me crazy, but I sort of like black Friday window shopping expeditions. It's sort of the first time I allow myself to really think about Christmas--despite the crap in the stores since October. I have been known to buy decoration-type stuff--ornaments, lights, wreaths--on such trips, but then what fun is buying actual presents if you don't wait until the last frenzied possible minute? When I was younger, my dad used to take me and little sis shopping for our mom at SEARS on Christmas Eve sometimes. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
Once the house has emptied
of its birds, the water holds
the shape of her. Buckets,
bathtubs. A landscape of rusted
locks and falling brooms.
She counts fourteen fence posts
and finds a knothole big enough
for her wrist. Melts the Sunday
candles in her mother’s best
kettle and still nothing.
Last night Ava and Anna
must have hidden the red scarf
beneath the breakfront.
The husband game,and each
of them a ribbon, a rosary.
Nothing under her plate but its shadow.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Today I decided to refrain from exposing my classmates to my sniffling and sneezing and stayed home. I felt a little guilty, but I finally got around to folding and putting the laundry away I did nearly a week ago which had taken up permanent residence as a pile on the chair. Took my new assembly required bookshelves out of the box breifly, but then realized I needed far more tools than I actually had. Like an appropriately sized screwdriver and ideally someone gullible enough to put them together for me. So I shoved them back against the wall. I'm still waiting for the larger ones that were backordered and should be here in the next few days.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Am feeling a little passive agressive in the workshop department with my selections for the next class--three poems that are probably the most fragmented pieces I have, the ones that depend least on an understandable narrative. I'm tired of being asked what the poems mean. Poems don't mean. They just are. (I saw a quote somewhere about this recently--can't remember where.) My typical response, when asked is just to mumble something about a story I wanted to tell--but that's not it. Maybe just a vibe I wanted to convey through a story. Or, hell, I dunno know. I like futzing around with words these days and seeing what shows up. At one time I would start with a definite idea and shape the poem around that, but so many poems in and you run out ideas it seems. So maybe you're writing the same poem over an over again, trying to get it right. I like letting whatever I put together lead me where I'm going. This might be the influence of all the visual collages I've been doing over the past couple of years. It works on a similar principle when I really think about it.
I'm feeling much better today, having fortified myself with oddly tasty herbal cough drops and peppermint tea. Let's hope this cold is gone as quickly as it appeared.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Speaking of which, by now it seems every window display is now decked out for holidays. The other night, I saw a man carrying a giant elf in front of Watertower Place nearly skewer another man walking by with it's pointy hat. And despite my vow never to eat candy again after Halloween, the campus bookstore now has those yummy mint KitKats. I had two today for lunch...
Who needs health care when you can still watch Jerry Springer.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Today I got and speedily signed the contract, and have withdrawn the book from everywhere else… Had to refrain from gushing in my e-mail to the editors—saying rather professionally how glad I was they chose my book and so on, though what I really wanted was to tell them about how this was all so unbelievably AWESOME for so many reasons. That I sometimes felt somehow that this thing may never get published no matter how much I wanted it.That I feel like this unbelievable weight almost has been lifted. That I feel so terribly lucky that I apparently submitted to the right place at the right time. And incredibly fortunate that it’s only taken a couple years from that first incarnation of the book to it’s acceptance, and not like 10 or more which I feared. And that the press just seems so damned cool—their books, their website, even their name…okay I AM gushing now…
Seriously though, it has somewhat restored my faith in po-biz. The fact that this all happened so old-fashioned—practically over the transom (well, I did query them first) to a press that caught my eye because they were publishing someone else’s book I’d heard about. I liked their website and thought they might be of a similar taste in poetry. Sometimes I get the feeling that book publishing in particular—po-biz in general—depends so exclusively on who you know, that it’s all sort of incestuous unless your lucky enough (and/or spectacular enough to really stand out) in a contest, which is such a craps shoot anyway. This is the way it’s supposed to be somehow, how when growing up I thought it would be. I’m not quite so bitter these days…
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
He meets her in a bar or along the road. It’s raining. Snowing. He has a blue coat. A yearning. A father with the silence and all. A friend of a friend. It happened. He didn’t see her come in. Asked for a dance. Asked for directions. It’s always like this. The distance and the tiny purse. The jazz and the dizzy light. Earlier, the gin fizz. The giggle. He tells a lie. His mother is dead. Or his wife won’t listen. She places a hand on his wrist. Against his cheek. The road is always slick. The snow comes early or it doesn’t. He drives with one hand on the wheel. One hand on the mirror. On her thigh or her throat. She’s distracted. Lives nearby or close enough. When he kisses her. When he leaves her at the gate. When they approach the cemetery, she disappears. She cries. She sets the car on fire. Sets off on her own. Walks right through the gate. It was late and he doesn’t remember. It was dark and her dress was stained. Things like this happen all the time. Her mother is a thin woman with a Polish face. Her mother is dark-eyed and heavy. When he knocks on the door. When he hesitates at the gate. When returns the sweater left in the backseat. He’s shown a lock of yellow hair. A photo. A girl in a white gown, an orchid corsage. She’s smiling or she isn’t. Been gone for years. Just a month. It happened in December. It happened in June. She liked dancing, or smoking, or cussing. She was a flirt. Or fast. Or too shy for her own good. It happened here, or somewhere else downtown. Outside the cemetery or in the parking lot dark. There was a fight and a swerve and the wind knocked out of her. There was a wreck. A tree or a truck. Carelessness. Her name was Anna. Her name was Maria. Her friends called her Mary. No one remembers. She was buried in an unmarked grave. In her ball gown. Or something lavender, tea length. It was all over the papers. I read it myself. Her parents moved away and never spoke of it. Her date swore he went looking for her. Swore he was never on that road. Swore he never saw it coming.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
In one last attempt to save my bookshelves in the living room, I threw a coat of white paint on them, hoping to cover up the shoddy job I did three years ago, but they're still stucturally unsound, tippy and bowing shelves, none too sturdy. I finally succumbed to ordering new ones. Since I couldn't find any that were narrow enough that two could fit where I have them now, I wound up getting three skinny ones that when placed together, equal the same number of inches.
Also two matching 3-shelf ones for the other room. They won't exactly give me more any more space really, which is beginning to be a problem, but I won't have to worry about being crushed by them.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
In the past couple of days, I and little sis have managed to hook up my sexy new laser printer, which with it's hefty size and large capacity, will save me a little money and function as the dgp official printer...no more dealing with the walking-dead at kinkos.(except for the color covers) It was a tidy sum to shell out, but it'll pay for itself hopefully after a few runs. And the quality appears just as good as what I've done at print shops. And now I can spend more on paper.. (Whee!!)
Yesterday, I created an art page on my website, which collects a few of the collages I actually have scanned. More to come.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
I started thinking about my education up to this point. As an undergrad, my coursework centered largely around 19th and 20th Century American Literature. I had a lot of drama and theater history classes in line with my minor, and my senior sem focused on Paradise Lost (not by choice), some Shakespeare, some survey courses in British Lit in general. For my MA, in addition to the various period requirements --medieval, renaissance, enlightenment, victorian, modern--I took a number of electives in women's literature in particular, mostly American (actually as an undergrad as well.) Now, here at Columbia, my craft coursework has tended toward the twentieth century's more innovative writing by and large, (Karen Volkman's radical poetics class, hybrid genres, new media poetry), and my lit classes have thus far fallen into more recent American stuff. I've always had a strong interest in the early 20th century and modernist women writers--Mina Loy, Anais Nin, Dorothy Parker, HD, Millay. And there are others I've never given due attention to like Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gertrude Stein. So it occured to me this morning that perhaps I should find a focus there, something in that era. I did some research couple of years ago into some of the French women surrealists--might be a way to go. Or maybe something on Loy.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
free for a limited time
dancing girl press
a series of rich, strange poems exploring the tensions between Victorian femininity and literary genre.
E-mail me at wickedpen74 at lycos.com if you'd like a copy.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Suddenly, we seem to have plunged headlong into fall, the trees bursting into full color almost overnight, the park district pushing the sand into piles further up the beaches to stop them from eroding completely. Soon those orange drift fences will go up. Last week, late, they were putting lights in the trees along State Street. I have so much work to do that's taking me away from writing time it's pathetic. I do have three days off next week (a canceled weekend out of town) so I hope to knock off all the extraneous crap I have left this semester in one fell swoop, the craft seminar paper, and a review of one of Naomi Shihab Nye's books. Then I can concentate solely on the creative project.
resemble murders. Or daughters.
Slender pickets of crosses
lingering at their margins.
There’s a racket in the things
left behind. Each name a handbag
or a hairpin. The forked heat
of backseats. My limbs are
riddled with sisters lurching
along interstates. Their low
lights and windshield gloom.
How they all lie down like this.
Lie down like this.Lie down like this.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
After looking at a couple of different apartments yesterday, I'm tempted to stay put. Both had tiny kitchens, and overall, were sort of small and cramped, the living rooms not even as big as my current bedroom. Tiny nook-like dining rooms and a serious lack of closet space. I did realize what a deal I'm getting now for what I pay, even if they DO up the rent every year. My opinion on moving fluctuillates daily, so who knows what's gonna happen.
Yesterday, in the mail, some very cool horseless press chaps that I may one day have the free time to read. Also, the latest Poets & Writers, with a short article on how poets, even when faced with the alternative of a wider readership via other means, still would choose a book, even if it meant only a few people would read it. I wonder how much our fetishization of the book as object plays into it. I know it does in my case, though I'd probably opt for the other if I had to choose. Still part of me can't quite love a webpage the way I do a book.
Monday, October 17, 2005
For my first five years in school, the library was in the center of a "pod" that lovely 1970's idea of arranging schools. (Incidentaly, Hillman, where I worked, had a similar arrangement and basically sat out in the middle of a big octagon of classrooms divided by partitions or shelves, or whatever worked.) It had orange carpeting, squat shelves, and a sunken floor. My favorites were a small section of tiny Peter Rabbit books, largely becase the pages were glossy and smooth and the books looked old and schoolish. On the shelves, where the teacher materials were, was a pickled pig in a jar that disturbed me beyond belief. When we moved as I was going into fifth grade, there was an actual library with taller shelves and a ratty green rug for storytime. We weren't allowed to renew and all the high demand books--then Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary--were hard to get hold of anyway. As were the Shel Silverstein's (Incidently, twenty years later it was still the same.)
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Plus, the manuscript, having been freshly reordered and gussied up even since that version went out in the spring, along with several other contests the jury is still out on, is WAY more polished now. Maybe my decision to ditch contests entirely after the batch from the spring comes back was a little too hasty....(see, throw her the tiniest bone and she always comes back...)
It's blissfully mild here in terms of temperature, mid-seventies, clear. I'm just waiting for that early October darkness descending after the time change. Today, another Saturday in the library. I'm going to do some further research for the Archer Avenue thing, whose prologue I have finally whipped into shape. Plus formulating some questions for my interview/oral history project. If I AM in act moving at the end of the month, there's a whole lot of stuff for classes I need to get wrapped up before the chaos.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
On the dgp front, I tweaked the website, which now sport basic black until I find something else I like. Also, began working on laying out the next chap, Marissa Spalding's What it Meant, the very snazzy cover design of which I just procured from its designer. That one should be out near the end of November, and then it's on to next year's lineup, which I'm still making some decisions on for the the final two books of the year, but which already includes Rebecca Cook's The Terrible Baby, Christine Hamm's The Animal Husband, and Kristina Marie Darling's The Traffic in Women.
I did finish my book review this afternoon on Susan Wheeler's Source Codes --begrudgingly--but I did finish. Also readied the inventory poem for workshopping in the Chicago Poems class (an ordeal I find annoying in a craft course where we could simply show and tell and still get the same out of it, ie. how people chose to interpret the exersize,etc. and not necessarily fine tooth combing it, and thus taking less time in a rather largish class.)
Good ole Mary and the Archer Avenue project is humming along now rather nicely. I'll post more soon.
Friday, October 07, 2005
This is one of things that bothers me, being back in school after all this time. The fact that I really want to spend what precious free time writing actual poems and working on projects but instead I wind up working on things that, while I'm sure they're meant to build some sort of skill or whatever, just feel like a bother, something distracting me from what I should be doing. Case in point, workshop. A couple book reviews we need to write over the semester on books by reading series poets. I used to write reviews for fun, back when it wasn't all poetry all the time and I read alot of novels. Now...meh..I'm over it. And the fact that I HAVE to do it, instead of WANT to irks me. For the Chicago class, a critical paper of course, the bane of academia, and an interview/oral history. I have absolutlely no inclination to work on either. And didn't I fufill my quota of lame papers the first time in grad achool when I still thought they were important?
Plus, between myself and two of the student workers, we actually have three poets working in the library this semester...
Thursday, October 06, 2005
all spooks and idling chevrolets.
Amazing, the glow that finds its way
into open spaces. This mouth like a
broken reflector, a length of silver chain.
By now, I've burnt your maps.
Brown edges curl among the foxglove.
I've carved a heart in the tar
that lines the shoulder and assembled
my name in bottlecaps. In ballrooms
down the road, women spin bluish
in taffeta for fifty cents a dance.
Lucky for you, I'm easy.
My pink shoes abandoned at the turn.
I've been looking at the feign poems--the odd 30 or so that I finished in the spring and which weren't included in the other book. As that dreaded thesis project gets ever closer (well technically still a year away) I'm thinking I may just keep working on the manuscript and call that the thesis collection and be done with it. Since I'm focusing on the smaller projects--that is when I'm capable of focusing at all--it may take me a year to finish those poems. Since the whole book publication thing doesn't seem very likely at the moment, I'm not sure I even care any more about either full-length project. May just sell them for scrap and keep working on chapbooks.
Monday, October 03, 2005
We did visit the alley behind the Oriental Theater, formerly the Iriquois circa 1900 where a bunch of chicago style corruption resulted in a terrible fire that killed a whole bunch of people, many of whom ran out a fire escape exit to find no fire-escape actually attached. Bodies piling up in the alley and now it's supposdly haunted. It was hard though, to find anything deeply creepy about a well-lit alley in the Theatre District in the middle of downtown. Similarly, the Eastland Disaster site, again, upper Wacker Drive not so creepy. I always get a little freaked out about places where people have died, especially en masse, I suppose, but only becuase I KNOW that's what happened. It's mental, not supernatural. Hull House was a bust, and my least favorite stop, since all we could do was tromp around on the porch and look through windows. Not to mention it sits right in the middle of the well lit and populated UIC campus. The only other place we got out of the van was the St. Valentines Day massacre spot. Considering I used to live like a block away from it-not scary at all...(Though I was somewhat disturbed being in proximity to the awful Starbucks I once worked at.) The rest of the tour involved talking about things we were passing--like Harpo Studios (a makeshift morgue after the Eastland sank), an Abraham Lincoln Ghost Train, an unruly mummy at the Field Museum, and a CandyMan-inspired drive through the heart of Cabrini Green. Though things are supposedly much safer than ten years ago there, that was probably the scariest part.
And these are only a small sample of ones that I personally peruse, who knows what others are springing up even now. I think one of the benefits is that internet poetry IS decentralized. There are a whole bunch of different ways of approaching the genre, and you can find webzines represent just about every facet of it (which I would also argue of print journals on the whole.)There's no ruling aesthetic that alienates certain poetries and embraces others. If your poems are too out there for one journal, there's another out there you'll fit right into. And it's all more diverse and on a wider scale than print, largely because it's a whole lot cheaper to found a web journal than a print one. The poetry world, as it exists, no longer depends on funding from universities and other bodies that determine its direction. The gatekeepers are no longer quite as powerful simply because theings are roomier in the poetry world, no longer quite as tight and claustrophobic. Good thing, since you can't swing a stick and not hit a very talented poet these days. I think the poetry world is becoming perhaps a bit more like the visual arts world, which always seemed wider and more varied than poetry, small galleries and studios all over the country, not just in big cities and people doing all sorts of interesting things.
My tastes run all over the board when it comes to poetry, and I think wicked alice represents that. I'd say the majority of submissions do tend to be rather mainstream (Duh, which is why it's considered mainstream), and I think this probably true at most journals, unless you specifically promote yourself otherwise. And of course, some journals are better than others. If the internet poetry is that large, you're going to have a few clunkers. Mostly, readers will gravitate toward what they like.
As for my own writing, I always felt that online journals were more open to reading work by someone like me--as an English grad student/no MFA, tiny print journal credits. I barely knew any other poets, just budding scholars, let alone had any sort of connections in the po-biz arena. A nobody. And yet I found some sort of audience, some sort of reinforcement in my writing there. I imagine the same can be said of merely posting your work yourself, or critique boards, but I do like having an editor involved...who would most likely filter out the good from the mediocre, even among a single writer's work. And they tend to operate on a smaller basis, I at least felt like my work would be read an editor and not disregarded by slush pile readers. But then I'm most likely preaching to the choir here...
Friday, September 30, 2005
And then I started thinking about how much I really like my place overall...despite my neighbors...Why should I let a bunch of freakin adolescents force me to move? More than likely, these particular noisy ones will move out anyway. Fresh from Mommy & Daddy's shiny tract house in the burbs, they'll inevitably have issues with the noisy radiators and the cracking paint (all of which I resigned myself to long ago), the lack of parking, and the intermittent elevator issues. It sounds like a dump I know, but it's quite lovely regardless, a big towering art deco, gorgeous parquet, big rooms, huge windows. The bedrooms in those other places also look unreasonably tiny, like you'd get out of bed and run into the wall. I love the way my furniture looks in the place, the art on the walls. Even my pink bathroom tiles. And the location, 1 block from the express bus, and 1 1/2 clocks from the train, can't be beat. And then there's always the lake, a mere block over. I don't think I could move inland--it's my trade for not getting to live by an ocean.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Writing wise not much happening. But then all that seems like a hamster wheel sometimes too, submissions sent out and returned. Sent out and returned. I'm going near nuts waiting on so many things anyway. Yesterday, in a general funk all day in both classes. People did not get my art deco poem... some thought it was a building speaking, some a woman, no one had the imagination to concieve of it as both. I like it any way. Did have a really damn good sandwich at Corner Bakery while it poored buckets outside. Managed to write another section of the Archer Avenue project. The one highlight of the day. I'll take what I can get.
Saw the first mums today in the planters lining Michigan Avenue...actually they were purple. And it's cold out, the trees taking on that terrible yellow tinge under the green. I finally had to trade in my sandals for shoes this morning. I saw people wearing coats and thought they were a bit overdramatic...jacket and sweater weather yes...but a coat is pushing it. Earlier, I was giving some thought to my halloween costume and am considering little red riding hood or possibly lizzie borden. .
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Spent this morning on the circ desk critiquing workshop poems. I DO like doing groups of pieces instead of one at a time. Allows me to concentrate on four poets a week instead of twelve.
I've been thinking about moving when my lease is up in March, scoping out apartments further north in Rogers Park. I like my apartment, and for the most part, my neighborhood, but apparently the new owners have been walling off the dining rooms and making 1 bedrooms into 2 bedrooms, 2 bedrooms into 3 bedrooms to cater to the Loyola crowd (whose campus is a block and a half away). They must have offered a good rent September deal, and after five years of quiet and a lot of vacancies, the place, at seventeen stories and eight units per floor, seems overly full these days. Where one bedrooms tend to draw singles and couples, they're packing them in like rats now. The building buzzes like a fucking frat house. Not to sound like a crotchety old dame at my age, but since I like to live with other grown-ups and not in one that basically amounts to a dorm, complete with loud drinking games going on next door, I'm thinking of vacating next chance I get. If it was loud music, I wouldn't mind quite as much, but it's squealy giggly girls and loud obnoxious drunk boys. My previous neighbors on that side were a Russian family with four little boys under the age of five and were still far less annoying. In a new place, wood floors are mandatory (carpet makes me gag), as are nice big windows and high ceilings. And cat-friendly. A balcony or porch would be nice. Actually I'm fnding most are cheaper than what I'm paying--maybe because they're not as close to campus. Anyway, I did find one place about $200 above my budget, and spent hours salivating over to the moldings and french doors...
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Tonight was this fall's first opening for the Art of the Library series, which contains some of my own collages --actually the peep show box pieces without their boxes. I gave up on the boxes when they closely resembled fifth grade diorama experiments and just mounted the collages on black paper. The way they framed them, though, surrounded in black, evoked something similar.
Yesterday, for our Chicago Poems field trip we went on one of the architecture riverboat cruises. Very cool, but I was so wrapped up in listening and looking, I didn't get much writing done except a few scribbled notes. I've watched a few of those tours on channel 11 before, but it was lovely to be out on the boat on such a gorgeous day for it.
The second week of workshopping and already it's wearing on me. I have a hard time telling anyone what they should do with their work honestly--either I like it and can't see anything really wrong, or I'm indifferent it and just don't care enough to bother. Maybe this is just an area where I fall short in my workshop responsibilities. I tend to take poems on their own terms, and while I can point maybe out where the rhythm, stumbles, or something loses me, I'm not much good for anything else. Maybe this comes from editing--my take it or leave it philospophy. Lately I like the poems, which is good, but I can't come up with the required critiques.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Sunday, September 18, 2005
errata is finally ready for comsumption, after having waffled endlessly over whether to release it and when. It's not going to be to everyone's taste I imagine, nor is it neccessarily easy to promote and read from at readings. But it's there and I believe in it, so that's that. (Plus, I'm just in love w/ my cover design and the nice grey paper, despite losing a dozen sheets or so to paper jams because it was too thick.) I'm going to stop obsessing so much over whether this book or chapbook will be published and when. I'm juggling four different manuscript projects and that's where my focus needs to be, not on already finished work. What happens with the submissions and the contests be damned.
Have been doing a bit of overzealous shopping lately, ordering all sorts of chapbooks I've been meaning to get but told myself I couldn't afford. Stuff from Persephassa Press, Horseless Press, and others. Plus a couple of Amazon pre-orders. In the last couple of weeks, have only gotten a couple things, the Diagram chap which I mentioned, and Arlene Ang's The Desecration of Doves which was an iuniverse book though actually pretty nice. Also bought Best American 2005, and Anne Carson's new book, but have only given them a cursory glance thus far. I'm really liking CD Wright these days. Also Julianne Buchsbaum.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Clark Arts and Maddox Theatre are another story. Personally, I don’t think I ever experienced anything hands down paranormal that was completely unexplainable.. When I was stage managing my first show, in the Maddox booth alone, sitting at the light board when door to the booth suddenly slammed loud enough for the audience to hear. No one around. I was more freaked out about getting my cues right at that moment, but later, it bugged me . Could have been wind, but I’ve always wondered. There was also a weird music stand incident in the green room, in which utterly alone, I walked into prop storage from the green room carrying some lampshades,, turned to come back out and found a music stand in my path which hadn’t noticed before. (Not completely impossible it hadn’t been there before but unlikely since I would have had to step around it..) Tales abounded there, first hand accounts of piano music from the empty green room, the scenery lifts going up and down (this came from a faculty member and not a hysterical actress), things gone missing, lights doing odd things and once, again a faculty member, someone walking toward him in the hall, but when he looked up again, was gone, and no doors between them. I used to tread carefully when I was charged with locking up and turning out lights after rehearsals late at night. I had to cross the nearly dark stage to get from one set of switches to another and of course it felt a little creepy. The smaller theatre, in the basement of the building was even odder. In the summer, when we used to rehearse student shows, we’d argue over who had to go up to that booth to turn on the lights. I played the girl card and thus avoided going up there by myself. The basement, exposed to the outside by one set of doors, does have wind issues. The Cheek theatre doors were known to burst open when you opened the outer doors, and I sat for a whole semester in a room where one of the doors-- leading to another little stage alcove-- rattled and whistled all semester. My sister, who took a lot of art classes over in another wing, reported a general overall creepiness that made her get up and leave at least once when there alone working in the studios in the early morning. That bell story sounds vaguely familiar and sort of funny since I actually brought in a bell from home for a prop (it was porcelain white and had a flower on the side). We couldn’t find one in the cage for the show, a Neil Simon play, but I never took it back and it, along with this cheap plastic fake gilded wall mirror were incorporated into the prop collection. Maybe MINE is the ghostly bell,. oh the horror!! Here's another article featuring RC.
I’ve never been able to say either way whether I believe in ghosts, ie a spirit that has a conscious presence, and agenda, what have you. As an agnostic who’s not even sure she believes in an afterlife, it’s sort of par for the course. Not to say I don’t believe in hauntings though, maybe some sort of electromagnetic impression left in certain places, in regard to certain things. Things like violence and murder, or war, leaving some sort of residue. There was a show segment I watched once about a school in Florida that long-closed still harbored children’s voices, even though none had ever died there, nothing tragic had happened and all the kids had grown into adults and were still alive and well. And yet the school was haunted somehow. New Orleans, already filled with ghostiness according to stories, must be brimming with it now. Might be it’s being surrounded by water on almost every side makes it some kind of vortex. In the Mary stories, Archer Ave is said to be nearly surrounded by various river, canals, and small lakes and seems to be a hotbed for other spookiness besides Mary. Who knows ?
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
As someone who used to drive creepy dark rural roads without streetlights, this was a story which as a teenager set me ill at ease. Supposedly there was a similar story of a girl on the twisty riverfront road from Rockford to Byron, IL (though this one was always naked and only seen by men--wishful thinking perhaps). Since I'm both a ghost story and urban legend fanatic, I've done a lot of reading on various Chicago hauntings over the years, but this is a story that has especially interested me. Whatever the story’s validity, I’m intrigued by the legend's possibility as a subject for art. Questions of the story's origins, varying accounts of the haunting, the idea of ghost stories and urban legends themselves--how they represent the concerns and focus of the communities from which they evolve.
There's also this idea of the spectre herself, always described a young, vulnerable to the elements, and beautiful--- and the overwhelming number of sightings by men in particular (though not exclusively). The story's origins in the young girl who fought with her boyfriend, took off walking from the Willowbrook ballroom, and was struck by a car. Or a young girl killed in a drunken accident. Of certain dangers in transgression.
I’m not sure just yet what form the project will take—whether a single long poem, or perhaps a series of pieces, or perhaps a hybrid piece of some sort.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Last night's Around the Coyote reading at Subterranean was good fun. That, and a ridiculously pricey Bucktown rum & coke, cheered me up a bit after the huge clusterfuck of the preceding 24 hours in which I saw a crappy movie (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) in a theater full of packs of roaming adolescents, arrived home tired to find my Loyola student neighbors (a loud dude and two squealing giggly girls) in full swing, and then to discover my DSL wasn't working and to top it all off, I had to be up at work yesterday morning at nine, at which of course there were new hardly trained student workers and an unusual number of patrons pissing me off for a Saturday. grrr....
Friday, September 09, 2005
Chicago 's Wicker Park neighborhood will once again be filled with art from September 9-11 th for the Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival. This is fourth year the Poetry Center is partnering with Around the Coyote as poetry curator for the festival.
The Poetry Center will present two nights of poetry at Subterranean, featuring 16 Chicago poets, as well as two children's poetry programs in Wicker Park .
At 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 10th and 11th, The Poetry Center will present a diverse group of poets at Subterranean ( 2011 North Ave , Chicago , 773-278-6600). Performing poets include Tony Trigilio, Director of the Undergraduate Poetry Program at Columbia College; three poets native to Romania: Gene Tanta , Mirela Ciupag and Stella Vinitchi Radulescu ; mother and daughter Ixtaccihuatl and Ixta Julieta Menchaca; Kristy Bowen, The Poetry Center's 10 th Annual Juried Reading Winner; 2005 Prix Trillium finalist Nathalie Stephens; Bob Lawrence; Alyson Paige Warren; Chris Bower; Michael Kadela; Parnesha Jones; Joe Weintraub; Anne Holub and Belen Neira.
On Saturday, September 10 th , from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., The Poetry Center of Chicago will team up with the youth of Wicker Park to create “PoeTREES,” trees decorated by lines of poetry written on colorful strips of ribbon. Children may either write their own line of poetry, or choose lines from The 2004-2005 Hands on Stanzas Anthology . The PoeTREES project ventures to make poetry a part of Wicker Park 's children's daily activities and to provide a park beautification activity that can be done by and for the community.
On Sunday, September 11, at 1p.m., Cecilia Pinto, one of the Poetry Center 's 40 poets in residence, will lead a group poetry reading by students from Walter Payton College Preparatory High School .
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
untitled (Hotel de la Duchesse-Anne) 1957
Well, both classes seem to be off to a good start. The Chicago Poems class involves a locally themed project that already has wheels spinning in my head (more on this later) and the workshop, well, who knows how it may turn out in the end, though I'm intrigued by the idea of doing groups of three poems by each participant at a time, which I think offers a bit more perspective on each author's work than poem by poem.
We were out of the afternoon class early, so instead of hiding in the library for four hours, I decided to wander over to the art institute to get some inspiration for my J. Cornell series, which is stalled at the moment. I've been looking at pictures in books mostly and thought perhaps seeing some boxes in person again might trip something. They're just so freakin cool. Wandered through the moderns, the surrealists and the impressionists. As always, nearly got lost in the maze of galleries trying to find things. Bought some postcards on the way out. I was still way too early for class.
In thinking about my project for the craft class, I've always been intrigued by this. I think perhaps a long poem or series might be in order. Given the dynamics of it, as an urban legend and not merely local folklore, and as a cautionary tale. How the girl is always associated with the whole transgression..promiscuity, drunk driving, hitchhiking, strange men in cars, the cautionary tale....how it fits into my body of work as a whole...and the fact that I just LIVE for this sort of junk--ghost stories and urban folklore--anything that hints at the gothic.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
The official first day of school today, and the air somehow seemed redolent itself of freshly sharpened pencils and elmer’s glue.. I’m still determined to hang onto summer tooth and nail. Intend to keep wearing my shorter flouncier summery skirts and drinking iced tea. You will have to pry my damn flip-flops off my cold, freezing feet. First goddamned mums I see, I’m ripping them out of the ground.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
A couple more days and I'm back in class. I've been looking over some older work today and came to the realization that my first semester in the program I was writing mostly unsalvageable crap. There's so much that I'm not even up to trying to fix written that fall. By spring it evened out--the poems also got shorter. By the next fall, good poems outweighed the bad. I don't know if it was just a transitional thing or I was suffering growing pains or what. There are quite a few pieces written between 2001 and 2003, before coming back to school, that I decided to include in the book manuscript, but only one or two, and those heavily revised, from fall 03. Most of it is bloody awful.
Maybe this MFA thing works after all.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
The workshop requires the Poetry Daily anthology, which I’ve toyed with the idea of buying in the past, but talked myself out of it, and another, Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, which looks to be rather bland and typical. I decided to pass on buying this one, and checked out the library’s copy, an older edition with roughly the same page count, which means nothing has been added really. After two degrees in literature, my shelves sag with those sad anthologies, always replaced with a new edition every couple of years w/ a hefty price raising. They're pretty much useless, since most of the damn poems can be found online. (Although I admit I recently consulted my Norton Modern Poems to find a Heaney poem I couldn’t track down online.) The quality is terrible, thin paper and crappy spines. I really don’t need another one.