Saturday, April 30, 2005

Well, already the end of April, and I didn't quite end up with thirty poems. I counted and it's more like 22 and a half. But I've been legarthic and coming down with something the last week or so and barely functioning, so it's not surprising I didn't write anything worthwhile. My sore throat from last week was followed by a hacking cough this week and became a full on cold and I've been sneezing and sniffling all day. I blame the weather.

Spent the afternoon getting caught up on my craft class assignments and exersizes, since tomorrow's a wash with working til five then the radio thing. Hopefully I'll be able to breathe.

I was thinking today about all the pen-pals I had in highschool, all of whom I eventually lost touch with sadly. My 9th grade social studies teacher used some organization to hook us all up with someone, but then me and a couple of friends kept doing it all through highschool and had people all over the world we were writing to. I remember writing to folks all over the map. There was this Irish guy who was hilarious and sarcastic. A studious German stamp collector who was out to increase his collection. A wild celebrity obsessed Irish girl. And this quiet Belgian guy who inexplicably developed a weird crush on me after only a couple of letters. Others from France, Brazil and Spain. I amassed a huge collection of cool international ephemera---stamps, postcards, clippings from British Magazines, cool stationary from a guy in Japan. I would watch the mail obsessively for those air mail envelopes--I still have a couple stacks of them somewhere in my parent's house. Me and my friends would all get together and read each other's letters. Everyone was in love with the snide Irish guy. When they made me demand a picure from him, he sent one of his cat.

It's hard to imagine that pre-email, pre-bog world, where now that sort of correspondence is so commonplace it's like breathing. I loved writing those letters and getting them even more, which is probably one of the reasons I like blogging so much. It's sort of a similar thing, though with a much more general audience. Me and Adnoctem were discussing a while back how strange and cool it would have been to have all this technology when we were teenagers. To blog with your friends, or even e-mail them. the only equivalent we could come up with may be slambooks--how we passed them back and forth and filled them with lists and various oddities. I kept one once with my friend Michele in junior high, and we'd write in it, pass it back and forth, make collages and gossip, put in clipping and photos of whichever teen actors we thought were hot. I believe she ended up with it in the end.

It's funny, that obsession with the mailbox wouldn't end with waiting for those letters. When I was in college, I started submitting poems, and once again I was anxiously watching the box around noon during the summers, running across the yard barefoot to check if there was anything for me. This resulted in at least a couple nasty bee-sting incidents. And of course, I still love getting mail today, even outside of my poor sorry SASE's and bills. New issues of journals, books I've ordered or swapped for, postcards, writing related junk mail, just about anything can make my day...

sunday night

Scott DeKatch, Kristy Bowen, Nathan Martin and Todd Heldt
on WZRD...88.3 FM...8pm...hosted by Tom Roby.


http://www.live365.com/stations/203010

Friday, April 29, 2005

Yesterday, got some books in the mail from Sundress (which I swapped some dgp titles for), including their awesome new collection by Jessica Bush- Warman, How We Spend Our Days. They were a little different from the darkish complicated lyrics I've been reading alot of lately, very narrative, very forthright, but very beautiful...not necessarily poetry you need to spend hours deciphering (maybe why it was so refeshing), but a stunning read, and highly recommended.....get it here....

this weekend


Join the Chicago Public Library in celebrating National Poetry Month with its 6th annual Poetry Fest, a free festival of poetry readings, workshops, performances and discussions under one roof!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I am seriously considering changing the title of the manuscript I'm working on now from girls reading novels to feign since it sounds sexier and less clunky. Have also decided that the longer narrative project I plan to work on over the summer may turn out to be more like a chapbook and less like a book contrary to what I thought earlier. My attention span may not be ready to devote an entire 50 or so pages to one theme or one storyline. A nice thirty page chapbook should be just about what I need to get the job done.

On my way home from workshop last night, I was thinking about how, in many cases, the program might be the reason for this anxiety I have lately over my writing. A couple nights ago, another dream about an MFA comp exam, this time an oral one with weird questions that I can't remember now ouside of the dream, but which were all about books I haven't read. Not only that, but I couldn't seem to HEAR the questions when they were asked due to my classmates standing behind me futzing around and giggling. It all seemed very important that I get them right so that I could get my degree and be done with it. And there was some weird stuff with a mysterious elfin guy who understood the secret of poetry, and would tell me later if I met him outside, but then there was this bomb threat in the building, which was more like a log cabin in the woods, with greenery sprouting through the floorboards...

And I know it's all about what I don't seem to be getting poetry-wise, that makes some people great and others merely competant. How I feel like there's some quality in my writing that makes it amateurish and fraudulant, and maybe impressive on the surface, and flashy in its appeal, but lacking in some basic fundamental way. And I don't think I used to feel this way, before the MFA classes. I used to think everything was good even when it wasn't. It may be the workshops, hear the same voices echoing over and over that there is something wrong and you start to believe it--even from people whose poetry basically sucks. They are readers of poetry even if their bad writers, aren't they? Maybe they're right...and there is something you're work is missing that no one can put their finger on, and maybe you are a one-trick pony and a hack.

Now lest you think I'm wallowing in the self-pity once again, I only think this way half the time. The other half, I'm pretty happy with my work, sometimes even thrilled. But then sometimes, when I one too many rejections, or someone won't publish my books, or after a bad workshop, I start thinking maybe I am faulty in some way--knowing full well that it's all par for the writing course--rejection, etc. But it's not just that, but also the other poetry books where writers make it all look so easy--and I know it's not really, but why can't I do that...like that...so flawlessly...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I've been named featured poet over at a new poetry e-zine, Chanterelles Notebook. It's funny--the editor chose the poems he wanted from my website and included one I'd nearly forgotten I'd written. The journal is also taking submissions for the first issue coming out soon, so send something....

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I totally and completely blew off my class today, feigning a headache and went shopping instead. Wound up buying couple of skirts, a camisole, and three pairs of sandals. Also, an interesting new black journal that's just the right size for poem notes, and a thin tin w/ cool postcards of vintage poster cats. I had come to work early, planning on working my usual 10-12 shift to then go to class, then come back and work til 10pm, but since I'd only accomplished about half the readings and gave the websites only a cursory glance for today, I figured I wouldn't be much use in discussion. Plus it was sunny and a little warm out, which I'm willing to take advantage of while I can get it around here.....

Monday, April 25, 2005

Earlier today I was filling out a library quality survey the school is doing, (which I think is a bit useless coming from people who work in the library) and had to check which age group I was in and realized somewhat with horror that I no longer fit in the 20-30 demographic and am now in the 31-45 group. Very depressing and entirely way too grown up for me.

At the market yesterday, I passed on the frosted cupcakes in favor of this decadent boston creme pie like creation only topped with strawberries instead of chocolate. I'm craving some more of it as we speak.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Yesterday, a dreary cold day with the wind howling outside my windows and I swear I saw snow flurries a couple of times. There is at least a little sunshine today, though it's still damn cold out. I ordered almost $100 dollars in poetry books from Amazon as my birthday present to myself (okay I'm trying to justify it any way I can)--the two earlier Daphne Gottlieb books (I've read library copies before, but want my own), Nick Flynn's Some Ether, and two other books by Mary Ann Samyn, including the newest one, Purr, which looks promising.

Tomorrow, all potential birthday festivities have been pre-empted by work (blah) and homework (double blah). I also really need to do laundry. Perhaps I'll get myself one of those gigantic cupcakes with all the frosting and stick a candle in it. Perhaps I'll take a trip to the Art Institute before I have to be to work at two o'clock. Perhaps I'll write a really good poem. Perhaps I'll go buy something ridiculously expensive, beautiful, and completely useless.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Every year around the time of my birthday, I start feeling the need to take stock. Who am I and where am I going? I always want to make sure I'm living the exact life I want to be living, or damn close to it. So I start going back, looking at what was happening in my life a year ago, three years ago, ten years ago...I start paging through all those written journals I used to keep pretty regularly before I abandoned them for blogging. What did I think of my life that year? What has changed since then? This is especially true now that I'm in my thirties (*shiver* saying that even sounds so more grown up than I am).

Last year, I was in the afterglow of the Poetry Center thing, and trying to make a not-so-big deal out of turning thirty. A year before that applying to the MFA program and trying to hang that monstrous Art of the Library installation project and grumbling. Two years before that giving my first reading ever and freaking out about it. In 2001, congratulating myself on choosing to focus my life around writing and not trying to fit writing into life in another career like teaching or editing. When I turned 26, flipping out about how I was not at all living up to my potential, how I was poor and living with my parents in godforesaken Rockford of all places. There's a gap in my journals around my 25th birthday, from mid-march to early July, but I remember finishing up at Depaul, those terrible MA comp exams, moving from one apartment to another, job interviews. 24 was all about classes, and still not feeling very grown up, and still planning on an academic career. 23, finishing my undergrad degree, apartment hunting in the city for the summer, taking a seminar in Jane Austen and working on my mammoth Plath paper. 22 and I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and 21, lost in the journal stolen along with my backpack in Mississippi. (though I was stage managing a show, so I suspect that's where my focus was then). 20, I can't decipher from that chaotic first journal I kept without dates noted.

Before that, no real journals really, just a small blue locked diary given to me when I was fourteen and kept intermittently, and a fabric covered blank book I wrote in during that semester in North Carolina--which is admittedly mostly romantic traumas. I remember only a few other birthdays...

My first school-age birthday party was at this ice cream parlor where they served those clown sundaes, had cheap little favors like erasers and played, even then, what seemed to be inane party games (derisive and sarcastic even at age six I see). When I turned seven , we went to Chuck E. Cheeses. I got a blue satin jacket and those barettes with the flowing ribbons that were so cool back then. I was eight when I bought my first cassette tapes, Rick Springfield and Duran Duran. When I was ten, I had this huge slumber party, where we went roller skating and then came back and ate pizza and told ghost stories and stayed up all night watching horror movies and trying to levitate each other..

Every year , me and my cousin Lori would spend a day at the mall by ourselves (pretty damn cool when your're ten or eleven) spending birthday money, buying watermelon lipgloss and shopping at Spencers with our neon t-shrts and leggings and our hair pulled into a side pony tail. Occasionally we’d decide we’d have new names -- more exotic names-- like Danielle and Renee, and when our parents took is out to dinner later, usually at the Ponderosa, we’d sit separately from them and pretend to be all grown up.

My teenage years featured more slumber parties, smaller and no roller skating, though plenty more levitation attempts and daring each other to do the Bloody Mary thing. We’d consume enough mountain dew and M&Ms until we were bouncing off the walls . I’d get cool presents like posters of Corey Haim (or later, Christian Slater) and bangle bracelets and stuffed animals. We’d play board games, and get into snippy little arguments, and someone usually got mad and threatened to go home. Of course, this is all before we really discovered boys…though I think I had my first lustful thoughts in the second grade, kissing a boy on the cheek in the lunch line and getting in trouble.

Friday, April 22, 2005

the silences (draft)

Now, the silence of fingers through hair, of imperfect

engines. Paper gone pink at the edges, and the whiskey-



throated woman finished singing. The silence of fifth grade

valentines crumpling in desks. Of mouths pressed to palms



inside sleeping bags, or the blue insects gliding the oil-stained

driveway. Now, the yolk in the hand, bloody, the math



problem involving bones and sticks, where I name

myself geometry. The silence that halves, then halves again

Thursday, April 21, 2005


All day today, this shade of tulips has been catching my eye...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Workshop was yanking my chain more than usual tonight. Again, a less than stellar required poetry reading (you must ask if we spend anytime at all in class). And then being told my poems are always somewhat "bloodless" and that I should cut the last line, which, in my opinion, is incredibly important. It was all sort of moot, since I had decided to send the poem off in submission since I turned it in a couple of weeks ago for workshop, (it's one of the things I've written lately that seems finished) and recieved an acceptance from Cranky (a Seattle based journal) for it a couple of days ago along with another poem. Granted, things can always be revised, even if they've been published, but I felt a little vindicated.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Very difficult to get myself to class, and very difficult to get myself back to work afterwards when it's this nice out. Tulips blooming and the trees filling in with green. Beaches opening and the boats reappearing in the harbors. I've become addicted to Lipton's bottled peach iced tea and crave strawberry ice cream cones. Spring tends to bring wild mood swings--ecstatic one moment and horribly down the next. Last night, very bad commute home. Should have taken the bus, but needed to stop the corner store, so decided I'd take the train. Waited while two trains full of White Sox crowds went past (drunken frat boy types and the girls who pretend to like sports to date them), filled so densely you couldn't get in, finally squeezed onto the second, right inside the door, panicked and had to get off at the next stop, go up the escalator and catch the bus, meanwhile trying not to freak out.

The very springy issue of Wicked Alice is now up. I didn't realize I didn't have that many poets with more than one piece, so we have a greater number and range of contributors than usual. Now I need to get to work on the next chapbook offering (Taylor Graham's Under the Shuttle, Awake)which should be out the end of May.

My poem a day escapade is a day or so off, but I'm not going to worry about the ones I blew off and concentrate on pushing ahead. Tormorrow, an entire day at home ought to spawn something interesting at least. I've been reading Sabrina Orah Marks' The Babies, an interesting prose poem collection with a wacky circus-like feel I can appreciate, and Cate Marvin's Worlds Tallest Disaster.

Monday, April 18, 2005

draft: practical uses for table linen

revised version:




At night, someone rearranges the rooms

in my body, pushes ottomans into



corners and hides the water lily print.

Now, I’m all reckless stairwells



and falling sounds. Entire bedroom sets

gone missing at sunrise. You’re fondest



of the shifting windows, the ivory boned

sofa shaped like a woman’s back;



have placed buttons beneath carpets

and hidden pens in all the closets.



The parlors fill with pink paper

dresses and impossible chairs.



The kitchens, understandably, hide their knives.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Today, an absolutely gorgeous 70 degrees out. Slept in this morning--odd plot-driven dreams that felt like movies--horror movies in a couple of cases. I got off the train early and stopped for a sandwich and some iced tea and had a rather leisurely stroll to work It is absolutely quiet and tomb-like in here, which is a good thing since the catalog and circulation system has been down most of the day. Did manage to finish the book of red sequence as you can see below. I think I've pretty much decided to stay home and work on stuff for classes tonight, since the reality of Tuesday and everything I have due then usually hits me about Sunday afternoon. These weekly assignments are killing me. Having to read, write, and present every week is taking it's toll. I'm used to having small breaks where nothing is expected of me, where I can allow things to pile up if necessary.

the book of red (draft)

In purely oral fairytales, the initial victim is rarely, if ever, killed permanently.--
Alan Dunes Little Red Riding Hood: A Casebook.
I.



And so easy for a girl to be lost.

In a village, at the edge of a forest.

It happens everyday.

On television. Or in dark hallways.

Yes mother, she says, doe-eyed and dolled.

Yes, mother.



Before it begins,

there are teas and a crock of custard.

There is wine and a basket of cheese.



One day in the beginning, there is the white

heat sliding into everything, and all the dishes

washed and placed politely in the cupboard.



Before there is a kiss and a red wool cape.

A warning.





II.



What we know of wolves,

we also know of hunger.



One day she could be walking

to school, or reading a novel

and it just happens.

Even jumping rope.



It gets dark so early now. In the woods,

with their heavy thatch. In the kitchen,

with it’s single match. With everything

turning in: columbines, mushrooms,

the tiniest snail tonguing the branch.



And her so tired, the distance counted

by tree stumps and broken sticks.

So hungry, surely up to her knuckles

in the apricot jam when he found her

and loved the way she startled,

that jump in her pulse that set him to wanting.

That tiny breathless oh.





III.



And so easy to be distracted,

the peculiar glow

of lavender, grass stains,

and his fingers already into her.



It happens everyday.

On buses. In bathrooms.



Before there was a

path and a task, something

forgotten that spoke

of open dresses and fever.

Before it begins,

the yes mother and the pencil case.

The rollerskates and the tidy frown.



Now,

even the bones of her ears thrumming.

Some nights even the dolls had teeth.





IV.



What we know of wolves,

we know of danger.



Nothing to do but follow now, the trail

gone mossy and inhospitable.

Lewd and overgrown.

Him doing wolfish things at her back,

and how the sun caught the cage

of trees through her fingers.



Always another further on,

daffodils and strawberries the size

of her fist. Here, where

the past splits infinitive,

and the path divides:



The road of brambles and petticoats.

The road of nettles and over coats.



She could be writing a letter,

or making the bed, and it happens.





V.



Before we could remember, it goes like this,

the grandmother devoured and lost.

The grandmother devoured and saved.

The strip-tease and the bawdy farce.



There was a wound, and the girl

gone down to the bottom of it.

There was a bed, and all

the blankets had knives.



One day in the beginning

there was this terrible thing

with wolves. All the stories

had blood in them.



What big eyes you have, she’ll say, what big teeth.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Despite my worrying, the reading went very well.  There were quite a few people there that  didn't know, and nearly all of them bought chapbooks, I wound up unloading at least twelve I think.  I started with some earlier stuff from Bloody Mary, which usually get a good response, and then some from the new/old chapbook.  Then some more recent stuff, and a couple of errata pieces, finishing with some new unpublished ones. It's good to get away from the usual poetry crowds (which is what usually composes the audience at most readings and most of whom are at least somewhat familiar with what I do) and in front of new audience--always gives a certain rush.


Afterwards, out to dinner w/ the parents, then took a walk a block or so over to the lake, and then back to have dessert and open my early birthday presents (it's not until the 25th, but they were coming this weekend).  I'm still trying to decide whether to go to the big Poetry Explosion reading tomorrow night, where a few folks I know are reading  I guess it'll depend on whether I'm too tired after work tomorrow.  That Sunday shift is short, but brutal on the boredom.  The last couple of days I've been working on the red riding hood poems and will post the last couple of parts soon.  If I count each section as a separate poem, I haven't fallen all that far behind in  my poem a day challenge, and just need something for today.

Thursday, April 14, 2005






The Chicago Public Library is pleased to present Partners 'n Rhyme, a series of poetry programs held throughout the neighborhoods of Chicago. Workshops and readings by some of Chicago's best poets will be held at several branches during April.


Kristy Bowen
Saturday, April 16, 2 p.m.
Edgewater Branch
1210 W. Elmdale Ave.
(312) 744-0718


I'm trying to figure out what to read for the CPL Partner's in Rhyme reading on Saturday. Once again, it's freaking me out that I have to carry the whole thing myself, that I have to attract an audience somehow, that my parents are coming for the first time to hear me and I fear no one else will show...and it'll be this whole "I guess she's not doing as well as we thought" thing. Yesterday, a rejection from TriQuarterly on the way to workshop, once again pre-empted by a reading/book release for a rather uninspiring book, but that we were basically forced into going to. Despite my preconceptions, I bought a copy, hoping maybe I was wrong. Incidently this was also the poet involved in the whole--MFA coffee--wait-to-to-publish debacle. perhaps she should have waited a bit longer herself.

Of course, it was certain death had we skipped it. Last time, when a few people skipped out on the lecture that pre-empted workshop they got a stern talking-to by the director. Also the same director who I remember telling me something to the effect that in the first few workshops people had seemed to be in awe of poems, but that now my style was predictable, and they weren't impressed anymore and that there was too much distance between me and the poems...they were too stylized, baroque..ad nauseum...my favorite being when he held one and looked at it and said there was something not right about it but he couldn't pin it down, but didn't I see what he was saying? and that was the good workshop last year...

Sorry, self-pity is awfully boring, I know...

On the plus side, Wicked Alice is now accepting my log-on, so the spring issue should be up the beginning of next week. Anyone who submited and haven't heard back from me is still in the running for the summer edition.I seem to be getting increasingly more submissions and am not quite as on top of everything as I once was.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I've been messing with the two older manuscripts again. I had a thought briefly to combine them. At first glance this seemed impossible. I had 48 pages of more rural, earthy, narrative poems, and 50 pages of more surreal and decidedly urbanesque poems, but I've been working with dividing them into sections and it just may work. The themes, as in most of my work, run along similar lines, as does the imagery. Plus, I trimmed a lot of fat on them, certain poems I'm not sure why I was holding onto them. Moved some more recent things that fit thematically into the current manuscript I'm working on. The later collection are certainly cleaner, shorter, less ornate than the earlier ones. I'm always thinking those earlier poems should be revised, but then I get them in front of me and I just can't bring myself to make them more like what I'm writing now. It's almost like someone else wrote them, and they're perfectly fine and beautiful in their own way and I can't make them anything but what they are. And I'd be happy to have them published in a book (want terribly for them to be published in a book) but feel like I'm growing farther and farther away from them. Some of them are still the better stuff left from The Archaeologist's Daughter, most of Bloody Mary, almost all of belladonna and a bunch of other poems that never made it into chapbooks. When I looked at the recent poems in light of the the others, they actually fit together reasonably well working against each other. The more surreal ones seem to pull the other ones in that direction moreso than standing alone.

I need to come up with a title...perhaps the fever almanac or almanac of fevers or something entirely different? It will make me a little less anxious to know there's only one mss. out there and not two of them that may never get published. Of course on the slim chance either gets accepted on their own in the meantime, this is all null and void. And then there's the new one I can worry about, but only when it's actually finished. I kind of want to get at least all the poems done by the end of the semester, I have about 40 of them now, which include a number of the more general errata poems, the red riding hood series, and other poems I've written in the last six months or so. I'll probably sit on it for awhile and see what happens. But I really want to get to work on the long poem and my list-making mania won't allow me to start the other without checking off the current project one as "done," or as close as it can be now. Again, it makes me anxious to have so many projects unfinished, so many threads dangling. And so there's that, and the carnivalesque manuscript I want to do, and the smaller Cornell chapbook that's half finished and driving me crazy. Maybe I'll mark that off the list before moving onto the long poem, which is my definitive summer project this year. If I can stay focused, I should be good to go...
Today, rain. Yucky cold viscous rain that in the feat of closing my umbrella outside on the sidewalk nearly soaked me anyway. Spent the early part of the morning working on my parallel translation for the craft class (to complicated to go into here and something to do with the Mayans), and looking at this weeks online stuff. This was awesome:

http://www.6amhoover.com/redriding/red.htm

particularly in light of my current Red Riding Hood inspired project. And the music was trippy and cool. I’m not sure how the new media stuff ties into the Mayans, but hopefully class in an hour or so will clear it up.

Monday, April 11, 2005

apology (draft)

Either way, I was right when I said the heart

was a Chinese kite, a busted radio. The underwater



lovers never quite get where they were going.

All the buttons fall from my blouse, scatter,



and become points on a map. No matter

what we take with us, we leave it on subway



seats and park benches: the red umbrella, or

this nest with its tiny blue eggs.



Yesterday, I pulled three spiders the size

of quarters from my hair. I fear I’m beginning



to loosen my bones back into the landscape.

Soon I’ll be nothing but a ribcage



filled with a half dozen sparrows.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

california (draft)

And isn’t it always like this, always June,
the girl in the sundress with the stress
fracture smile and now even the moon
gone heavy. The bones in her mouth obsess

her, how all the rivers now snake
toward the guttering light, the moot
of trees in a landscape like this, all cake
and pink rosettes. All sweet and a beaut

of a life if you can get it: this Garbo
silver sheen waxing the back of play-
house shadows, languorous, given to hobo-
chic and heliotropes. The frenetic day

split in half. Her voice, all cutglass and rhinestone.
And fear, of course, the loveliest of cologne.


(end rhymes: June, stress, moon, obsess, snake, moot, cake, beaut, Garbo, play, hobo, day, rhinestone, cologne)

Sometimes, I think that the only reason I'm working on days like this, or perhaps why I have a job at all,  is because we have a huge number of the class textbooks on reserve behind the front desk.  Four out of five people who come to the desk are of this nature. Granted, some books are issued in new editions every five minutes and are priced in the $100 arena, so perhaps the fact that they're on reserve make sense.  But when an instructor puts a $15-$20 book on reserve because her students won't buy it, I'm like please.


Of course my fellow MFA students who are teaching freshman comp have told me how hard it is to get the students to even buy the textbooks, let alone actually read them.  But hell, I sunk plenty of money into college bookstores when I was a student (I don't remember anyone ever putting anything on reserve in the library that wasn't just a single reading.)  Don't they realize that when they stand at the copier copying every single page of a 300 page book at 10 cents a pop, their paying far more than the 15.00 cover price--and likely violating copywright laws.  And they're fucking annoying me, since not one of them actually ever can run a copy machine. grr...


I think it's only a crutch, so that when the next year the instructor they have doesn't put the text on reserve, they get all pissy when they realize not every fucking book for every class is behind the desk.  And then there are those who get pissy when we tell them they they can't check it out to take it home. My favorite however are the people who stumble in here a week before finals, having never set foot in here before obviously, looking for their book, some boring ass book on marketing or nutrition, or math for complete and utter morons (actually I should be in that class)..and then stand there and try to convince me why I should let them take it home with them, or they "accidently" steal it and get caught when the alarm goes off.  Please, people, buy your own fucking books...


I'm so happy when people are checking out books just for reading, or research, or a project.  I love these people.  Even the ones checking out lame-ass stuff.  Especially the ones checking out poetry.  Sometimes, I waive their fines without them knowing it.


  Thus, the end of my rant...

Major rehaul in the bookshelf department when I realized that from across the room, it looked as if the shelf below the one that fell last week was in serious danger of meeting the same fate. I stacked all the contemporary fiction on the bottom four shelves and moved the heavy stuff that was making the supports break--all the early and mid-century American stuff to the left side which seems more secure and all the poetry books to the offending shelves with the lightest volumes--the chapbooks--on the broken side. I thought about investing in some new ones, but I rather like these and their shoddy gold paint job, which match the smaller ones in the dining room. Those shelves are completely out of control, but at least are closer to the ground so if they fall, they won't kill the cats.

Of course, since I've been good at writing everyday and it's National Poetry Month, I'm thinking of indulging in a few poetry book purchases on the way home this evening, not necessarily helping my space problem, but alas...

Lots of sunshine the past two days, though yesterday seemed a bit chilly. I am somewhat caught up on my poem a day project, though yesterday's is still a little sketchy. Court Green, a newish journal edited by some Columbia faculty, are taking subs of boutes rhyme's for next years issue--which is apparently a sonnet exersize in which a number of rhyming words are given and have to be used in the order they are given. It's proving as challenging as I suspected, though hopefully, not impossible.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

instabilities (draft)

All along, we'd thought we were in love with weather.
Azaleas blooming inky against the fence and all

the porch lights loosening. Women named Alice
or Ingrid smoke in clamorous rooms with long windows,

their spines opening to back roads and folksongs.
We had thought ourselves in love with thirst, whether

or not the sky opened and showed us its teeth.
We dreamt of beheadings and antebellum skirts,

power lines crossing and recrossing the atmosphere,
frenzied as the letters of our names.

Friday, April 08, 2005

I think I have sufficiently talked myself out of going to the art opening tonight, due to feeling particularly anti-social and pre-occupied with other things. Not to mention it's all the way out on the Blue line, and by tonight I'm likely going to be ready to go home and crash. I'm hoping to get over to the gallery at some point to see the show, perhaps next weekend when my parents are in town after the CPL reading. I think the least thing I need right now is art hob-knobbing and trying to make stilted conversation with strangers when I really need to be home writing since I'm a day behind in my poem a day vow. If I went, I'd likely drink too much wine to overcompensate for the introversion and wind up passing out on the ridiculously long and complicated trip back home.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

So far this week the weather has been glorious and I'm in a much better mood. The things that are kicking me in the ass are still there, but they're much more managable with a bit of sun and warmer temperatures. I've began laying out the spring Wicked Alice very slowly, so I should be finished around the middle of the month, if I can fix my technical difficulties with the site by then. DGP's next chapbook will also be officially released then, K.R. Copeland's Anatomically Correct.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

feign (draft)

Here, all the girls have small bones,
the smallest, the languor of yellow scarves

and spelling bees. I am trying out the limbs,
the asphalt. The day gives things names and I

hide them beneath my skirt. To be expected,
there are the usual accidents on train tracks,

in third floor bathrooms. Nothing can be assumed.
I was a mouth and the worry came to me.

I was gingered and soft like a pear.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I have to admit all the talk about AWP in the blogworld makes me very jealous. Last year I had a great time spending way too much at the book fair, going to panels, taking in readings. And while I was willing to take a train downtown to attend, I wasn't sure if I was ready for a major trip and crossing international borders to go. Now, I'm almost regretting my decision not to. Although the tone, as would be expected, was a bit over-academic, it was amazing to know that the entire Palmer House hotel was just literally busting with writers, sitting in restaurants downtown, spilling out onto the streets. So many writers in one place was just awe-inspiring, even if I was so quiet I hardly talked to anyone except folks I already knew. Just the idea that there were so many of us in one geographic spot. I think lots of people will back me up on this, but it always seems like it's a rather lonely line of work--especially if you live somewhere other than city or place with a thriving arts community. To see all those poets and fiction writers in one place made me feel a little less like some weird outcast. It made it feel as if writing were as legitimate as any career--as if we were the same as a convention of dentists, or lawyers, or some other profession. Not me just playing around with words and living in my little fantasy life.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Yesterday, was the Book and Paper Centers annual "Edible Books" event, which they hold in the library yearly. I didn't get to stay since I had to rush over to WomanMade Gallery to deliver my piece. but I'm always tempted to enter something. Though my terrible cooking skills might spell terrible disaster in this case. A couple of years ago, one of our librarians, who is also a book artist, created a very smelly seaweed/octopus creation that stunk up the entire 3rd floor. Here's an interesting site with some possiblilities...

The Secret Place, Sacred Space show site is up. Mine shows only one page of about twenty (4th Row down, toward middle), but check out the burned book in the 2nd row...very cool idea, apparently done with a wood burning tool.

Three poems in a brand new journal..Ink & Ashes...

Friday, April 01, 2005

Found this online today..very interesting...

Sadly, the highest I've ever managed is a 4 for ACM, which seemed much harder to get into than that. And they didn't even mention Slipstream, which I'd consider at least a 3. I used to try submitting to Atlantic, the New Yorker, and Poetry back about seven years and had terrible luck. I stopped trying to get something into the New Yorker around the time I realized the poems were usually the same type of poem by the same tired authors, and the magazine was really geared toward the lexus driving crowd anyway. I stopped submitting to the Atlantic Monthly when the editor (I forget his name now, but I think he's dead) published more of HIS poems than anyone else's. Poetry always seems a little bland and vanilla lately, despite its great history.

But I would likely give my right arm for APR or the Paris Review...I've haven't tried either, but then I haven't written anything I'd consider genius enough yet to even attempt it...At the moment, there are subs out to Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, Agni, Crab Orchard, Fence, and 3rd bed. So we'll see...Two days ago, recieved a rejection form Smartish Pace (3), so it doesn't look too good.

Of course, part of me always thinks I shouild just continue sending work to all my favorite little zines and tell the literary establishment to go to hell. But, that nasty little ambitious side of me wants the brightest and the best...(or at least what seems to be so)
After awaking in the middle of the night to a somewhat noisy crash, I walked out in my living room to find that the entire top shelf of books in one of my cases was scattered about the floor. Mind you, these are rather cheap self-assembled constructions purchased five years ago, and never did quite go together correctly. The shelves are sort of bowed from being crammed with too many volumes, and those little plastic pegs that support each shelf look awfully fragile. I determined that on of the front ones had broken in this case, and all of the books must have been too close to the front, thus tipping the shelf in that direction. I managed to secure the shelf between the three remaining pegs, push all the books to the back of the shelf, and pray that it doesn’t fall again and kill either me or one of the cats. I’ve always worried about tragic bookshelf accidents at work, but never at home.