Monday, February 26, 2007


Watch for one of the poems from feign to be appearing at Poetry Daily on Wednesday. I will be enroute most of that day--looking forward to seeing/meeting everyone in Atlanta. Until then...

available Wednesday

from dancing girl press

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

When I get into Atlanta Wednesday, I'm going to try to take in the Margaret Mitchell House and GWTW museum in the lull before conference craziness. The only time I've ever been in town before was in a speeding car on my way to Florida, so I'm going to play the tourist as much as time allows. I've always been a fan of the movie, of course, but I remember reading the book the first time for my junior year term paper and spending a good three days lying on my bed with the thing, probably the longest thing I've read cover to cover, taking breaks only long enough to go to school, go to the bathroom, and I suppose to eat dinner (actually I think I brought it to the table to my mother's horror.) It was the first novel I remember ever loving, the first time schoolwork was actually fun. I was such a smug little brat in those days too--always the overachiever. I think I chose it initially because it was the thickest most impressive book I could find in the JHS library, far bigger than what everyone else was reading. I knew the movie only vaguely then, not really what happened, so when I started reading, I was hooked. Feverish. Besides bad romances and horror books, it was the first real "literature" (though some snobby lit types would argue even this point) that evoked that sort of response in me. I wanted to BE Scarlet. Not some mealy-mouthed good girl, but one who says what she wants, means what she says. In some ways Scarlet formed who I wanted to be--unfortunately I also inherited her bad choice in men.

Monday, February 19, 2007

awp news

dgp is pleased as hell to be sharing a table with Switchback Books at the book fair this year, so you should most definitely stop by. We'll be selling all of our 2006 titles and new releases, including Brandi Homan's Two Kinds of Arson and the freshly minted See Also Electric Light by Jen Tynes (so freshly minted I'm still tinkering with layout.). All for the very low price of 3 for $10--as always keeping the "cheap" in chapbook. Lately, these babies shave been selling like hotcakes and for a few titles, I'm bringing the last few copies to the fair. If you want any of the titles from earlier last year, this will be your best chance to get them before they're a goner.

In addition to peddling chapbooks, you may also find me on Thursday at 2pm signing copies of feign at the DIAGRAM/New Michigan table, and Friday night at Django for the Frock You! extravaganza--a whole host of poets including a signifigant number of dgp and wicked alice peeps.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


I have been tagged, and I will do anything to keep from actually being productive today...

Favorite movies:

1. Labyrinth
2. Heathers
3. Party Girl
4. Before Sunrise
5. Sex and Lucia
6. Dogma
7. The Ring
8. Secretary
9. The Last Supper
10. Kicking and Screaming

Runners Up: The Virgin Suicides, Gas Food Lodging, Freeway, Saved, Donnie Darko, Valmont, The Shining, A Room with a View, Mulholland Drive, The Wide Sargasso Sea, Interview With the Vampire, The Goodbye Girl, Stealing Beauty.

And I tag little sis, though her answers are probably eerily similar to mine I suppose..
Speaking of online pubs..I am featured poet over at Poetry Super Highway this week. Some stray poems from archer avenue. Also, the Great Poetry Exchange is underway, which is always fun...
I was looking at my post from a couple days ago regarding online vs. print submissions. It does sound a bit like I have no love for print journals at all, which is totally not the case. Some of my favorites, and places I still submit to (no matter how many times they reject me):

Cake Train
Backwards City
Bird Dog
The Tiny
Forklift, OH
3rd Bed (before it went defunct)
Sleeping Fish
Pebble Lake Review
More handmade things like hot Whiskey, Cannibal, Foursquare.
Also, the somewhat local ones--ACM, Rhino, CPR.

I think it's more that, outside this list, I haven't been sending submissions out to other places, the bigger, more academic journals like I used to. Instead, I've been sending them to online publications at a greater rate. It seems futile to waste all that energy and postage on places where I doubt newer poets, unestablished poets really get a thorough reading. I'm also resistant to the idea that poets HAVE to land poems in these places to make a career. The gatekeepers want us to think that so they can go on being gatekeepers... Also, once you're fortunate enough to land poems in one of these journals, the potential readership is still much smaller. You might have a fancy credit for your resume, but really, how many people does that poem reach in most scenarios (unless it's picked up by the dailies and available online..)

I suppose it all rests on where a given poet's priorities lie. I'm all about getting my work out in the most efficient way to the broadest possible audience, ideally at as little cost possible. Sort of like radio airplay. Some need those resume credits in order to keep their jobs or win tenure. Some like the idea of rising to the top and getting into the seemingly impossible journal, that feeling of pride and being published among the heavyweights. It's all good. And truly, I don't CARE much that some of my favorite pubs smaller distributions than an online venue would have, since they publish work I totally love, editors I respect, or have pretty covers, or cool design, or a unique approach that make it worth it to publish with them, to send them work.
Today's plan is to move things around in the manuscript again this morning, then settle in for some serious house cleaning this afternoon--the dust bunnies are looking sort of shifty the last couple of days. I think they're mating with the cat hair to produce mega-bunnies that occasionally drift across the wood floors like tumbleweeds. And god only knows what's going on in the fridge. Last night, I printed covers for the next chap and watched Rest Stop--scary freakin shit. While, of course, part of the roadtrip-gone-terribly-wrong genre, (ala Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wolf Creek, Wrong Turn, etc..) this one seemed extra chilling. Rest stop and outdoor toilets already sort of freak me out, so perhaps I was just unusually susceptible. There was also this extreme sense of isolation and campy bizarreness that made the movie much better than it's straight to video status would indicate. I wasn't expecting much, but was peasantly surprised.

Friday, February 16, 2007

writing and class

This is an interesting discussion. I think, yes, anyone can write a poem or pursue a creative pursuit, but the time and energy that one needs to devote to becoming “great” or even good at it, not to mention pursuing it as a career, is a luxury most people don’t have, or at least unless you make some sacrifices. I come from a mostly lower middle class upbringing—my father once did payroll for company before he was replaced by a computer. Then he was an airport janitor, then a post man. My mom stayed at home and babysat random kids for extra money until I was 13, then went back to work as a telephone operator/mail room sorter when my dad was out of work. Me and my sister were among the first generation to attend college on either side of the family and we were, I suppose, supposed to be responsible things like teachers or accountants, bankers or lawyers. Instead my parents wound up with an English major/poet and a classics major/artist, both with measly paying day jobs. All my cousins went into practical things like banking, and teaching, health care services.

And yet even I am spoiled, with a pretty stable job, which while confining me there 40 hrs/week and paying me slightly less than a crack whore, I don’t take it home with me. I also had a pretty decent education thanks to scholarships, grants, and student loans. While my pre-college education leaves a lot to be desired-the Rockford Public Schools are among the worst in the country- I’ve always been pretty good at this school thing and prospered regardless, though that’s probably owed to a pretty stable home environment and a competitive streak a mile long. At one time, I had a lot of options, any of which I could have done with reasonable success. But soon it was all about books and writing. I couldn’t imagine a profession like law, teaching, or medicine, which takes up all that mental energy I could use elsewhere. Nor could I deal with mind-numbing factory work, or worse, back-breaking labor. There wouldn’t be time to write poems, to read poems, to study, let alone send it out with any success. I’d probably come home, eat dinner, and crash. The same for the full-time mom with lots of kids. I’m always impressed when I meet people who CAN be poets, in a professional sense, and have those sorts of lives. I think of my parents, before they were retired, how exhausted both were everyday coming home from work, both zoning out and napping in front of the tv . Actually my dad likes to read in front of the tv-- newspapers, magazines, history books but even that’s a sort of luxury. My mom, never much a reader was continually encouraging all of us to stop reading and get up and do something productive. (Though I have of late hooked her on reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and Anne of Green Gables now that she’s a bit more idle herself…it’s a start..)

But then I also think if you really have the drive to do something, to succeed as a writer or an artist, a flaming building couldn’t stop you…let alone background or grueling job…and definitions of class are pretty fuzzy anyhow. I'd like to think I'm part of what Richard Florida termed the "creative class" but really I take home 27k a year and half goes to rent, which is probably considered poverty level. I know adjunct teaching poets who are much poorer than I am. Bartening poets who are richer. We all do what we can.

keep shoveling

(today's anti-pobiz soapbox rant sponsored by weather related crankiness)

I wanted to laugh hysterically when I read this about last fall’s Tupelo debacle. Seems Mr. Levine is very good at twisting the truth of things around to suit himself. What I don’t get is why not just be honest when the press was deluged, just say, “hey, we promised a critique but just can’t do it, here’s some general notes” and explain the seventeen piles. People might be a disappointed but they could accept the general critique accordingly. Instead it seems like Tupelo was trying to pull something.

But the kicker is the whole thing about mss. being passed onto the second round. I believe, looking at the letters on the Foetry site, that the word used was “automatically” which we know, depending on the tastes and whims of first readers is never guaranteed, so if even if Levine says that was his intention (though I seriously doubt a lawyer would be quite so imprecise with his words), he’s making false and impossible promises. And the whole personal critique is just sort of skeezy. Tell me, who among us has ever really read a poem, a book, by Levine? Or even heard of him outside him being the editor of a (formerly) prestigious press? Not me. I think if I were going to pay that much for mss. critique, I’d choose a poet whose actual WORK has made them well-known, not their position of power in po-biz.

Anyway, I probably shouldn’t get so worked up over something that doesn’t have much to do with me—I didn’t enter the open reading simply because I didn’t have a viable mss. at that point, but I might have if it were another year. And I may have later entered the Dorset Prize at some point. (I did enter the Snowbound contests a couple years ago.) All not very not likely now. And I know lots of great poets who were duped in this situation. Poets who deserve better.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

If I shut my blinds, maybe I can convince myself it's April...

my own little corner of hell

Public transporation was a nightmare this morning. I waited a half hour in 3 degree weather for the bus, which when it arrived was packed to the gills. Now, savvy CTA rider that I am, I know if one bus is that late, there will no doubt be a half-empty follower no more than one or two minutes behind. Usually my theory is correct, so I waited. And waited. And waited. I hate to waste the money, but finally figured taking a cab would be no doubt less expensive (about $20) than having my frozen toes amputated. I was still ten minutes late to work.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

dgp news

A much enthusiastic review of Christine's The Animal Husband.

Made me feel a little dirty, in a good kind of way...
I was thinking today about submissions, of which I have a heck of a lot out right now, mostly stuff from the new manuscript, plus some random odd poems I’ve written for whatever reason. All of it, I’ve been sending right back out as soon as it comes back to me, but realized I’ve completely moved back almost entirely to submitting to online journals (or at least print journals that take online subs). Part of it is time, I think, the ease of cutting and pasting and sending vs. creating a word document, printing it out, finding envelopes/stamps, getting it in the mail, and then trying to keep track of what’s where and whatnot. With e-mail subs, I simply keep a copy in a folder which already has all the info I need. But the more I think about it, I’ve become convinced that really, in terms of getting your work out to the audience, an online medium is far more efficient. Also the most immediate.

It may just be me, certainly, but with a couple exceptions, I don’t really read a lot of print journals. Lots of books and chapbooks, but I’m not a big periodical person in general (this includes magazines of any ilk). I will read what I get as contributors copies or things people give me, but usually I’ll probably just skim through for authors I recognize and already like. I rarely devour them cover to cover. Maybe it’s just the issue of modern technology. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, necessitated by work and editing stuff, so I’m more apt to read online publications than I am print. I can find any journal I want and read it cover to cover (so to speak) with not too much time and effort-- in finding it, affording it, obtaining a copy, etc.

So, for me, and for other readers who I know are just like me, online media seems a better economy (of time, energy. money) than print journals. I DO still like print journals—especially pretty well-designed ones who publish authors I love-- but as a whole, online media just makes more sense. And it is, admittedly, where I started out publishing the bulk of my work, where I somehow gained a bit of audience. Sometimes a print publication is like a dime dropped into the grand canyon. Who knows if anyone is reading it. But I get quite a lot of feedback from online publication readers—both good and bad. Poetry, at least more so than long eye-straining paragraphs of fiction, seems well suited to electronic page viewing.

As I’ve talked about before, I also think online journals, because of academic cronyism and the mass of publish or perish glutting the print world, are more open to new authors and slightly less conventional work. I think I tend to slip through a lot of cracks based on what feedback I’ve gotten from rejections—not straight-laced enough to be tradition and not avant-garde enough to be “experimental,” whatever that means. And I tend to write poems that fall anywhere on that continuum, so even I sometimes don’t know where to send things.

I’ve also had this increasing resistance to the publications where I’m supposedly supposed to WANT to publish. The idea that there is one path to being a “legitimate” poet. Seriously, I stopped submitting to the New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly around the time I realized there were more ads for luxury cars in both than there were poems. Other places, the academic heavyweights like Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Pleaides etc. tend to publish 90% of the time vapid, vanilla, bourgeois slice of life boring stuff, or at least what I’ve gleaned from reading their selections on the Dailies (Verse and Poetry). Also my slight anti-academic stance (I’m a hypocrite, I know) slightly influences my dislike of these. Even the academics that tend to publish daring, more interesting work like Black Warrior, Jubilat, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast seem very closed shop if you aren’t in the right circles.

Now, of course, there’s lots of little indie journals I love, to submit to, to read when I get my hands on a copy. You’ll find most of those in the links to the left, but mostly it’s online publications. In addition to all of this, my tendency may also subconsciously or consciously, be a big fuck-you to the establishment that says online journals are inferior somehow, that they don’t count, that they’re easier to get into and therefore lesser important. And as someone very protective of online publishing, perhaps I SHOULD definitely be sending my work largely to electronic journals.

happy valentines day all you lovelies

We've had snow, snow, and more snow that finally seems to have abated in the last hour. The drifts near Thorndale beach last night were waist high. We had to wait on the bus while they cleared a path so traffic cold get through. I'm so tired of winter I could cry. Instead I will gorge myself on chocolate and hope spring is a little early this year.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

a couple of mini-reviews

Juliet has some very nice things to say about feign and
the lovely villainess herself talks about The Archaeologists' Daughter.

notes on a woman arranging her hair

Here, the light owns you, holds you
among the black coats and dresses.

The women swooning on absinthe
and blue light. Soon, he'll come

with his paints and brushes.
His wandering hands, greasy with appetite.

The girls good for nothing but dancing,
nothing but the blood red foam of their skirts.

The high kick, the hullabaloo.
Their sickness a chanteuse

slipping among cigarette cases.
Languor in all the floorboards,

the bottom of each glass.
Every mirror gone dark with lovely.

Monday, February 12, 2007

no boys allowed

Seriously, you are distracting. You make us cry. Even if you DO smell very nice...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

In honor of Rebecca’s Bakeoff and Ivy’s post on Plath a few days back, I wanted to post this, one of my favorites, though there are many.


Poppies in October

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly --

A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

O my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.


Funny, but I encountered Plath first not through the poems, but The Bell Jar, picked up in the JHS library simply because the Bangles had a song titled that on their Everything album, which was a permanent fixture in my tape deck that year. I read it all in one sitting after school, compared it to the song, threw it aside and said, “whatever.” Mind you, my vague aspirations were not toward writing in those days. Outside of a few scribbled poems in my diaries, I couldn’t see myself at all in Plath’s novel—not then--not for another couple of years. There were several factors those first couple years of college that changed me—personal, academic, creative-- so that the next time I picked it up, I somehow GOT it. Then I was reading it over and over again. And of course in my aspirations toward poetry, Plath’s journals and letters, which I devoured, were sort of my guidebook on how one conducted a literary career (granted a slightly outdated one and minus the oven.) I was obsessed, only then turning to the poems and still devouring every bio I could get my hands on. By the end of my undergrad education, I was an expert on Plath’s life. I’d still count Plath, along with Sexton, who I encountered a couple years later as chief influences on my work. It’s not so much the confessional aspects but something else in the language, subject matter, and approach that draws me regardless of its tabloid “truth.” I think Sexton can be more playful, but Plath more urgent, with more at stake. I often wonder what Plath’s poetry would have looked like 10 years later. 20 years later. How it would have changed the icon image. Already the poetry I was writing at 30 is different from what I’m writing now at 32. Already even that is shifting.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Occasionally, I have way too many projects spinning in my head and just need to SLOW DOWN. There's finishing touches on girl show (soon to be venturing into the contest circuit). Cornell, of course. The fear poems, which just might be taking form, along with some more visual stuff, in a chapbook via the dusie kollektiv project this year, (and most of them also in the big book later on).
Also, Jen's chapbook to finish before AWP, and still copies of Brandi's to get out to people who want them. (BTW--go congratulate Switchback Books, their first title looks heavenly.)

I turned in/out some Cornell poems for the ekphrastic class today. I seem to have been two things with these poems, either dealing with the boxes directly or using Cornell's styles and materials to creat my own little "boxes" or vignettes of sorts. Most of these have been published or out in submission, so it's probably stupid to take them into workshop since they're already done to the point I like them at for now, but I'm hoping to get some feedback on what the poems are doing exactly, to talk about how the project is manifesting itself in regard to the idea of ekphrasis.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

strangely appropriate bathroom graffiti

If you love something, set it free.
If it comes back, SHOOT IT.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

good interview / bad news

Read this: an interview with Calyx founding editor, Margarita Donnelly. The statistics an percentages in that first paragraph are enough to make me nauseous. Only 25% in small press publishing? WTF? I did some tallies on presses that I like and damn, we're lucky if it's a quarter. Even presses run and maintained, I know, by women editors. I don't know if there's an easy answer on how to fix it. I don't think it's any sort of purposeful neglect on their part, but how can this happen?

dgp's first ever review

And boy do I disagree. I think the device works nicely. But content of poetry aside, since everyone is entitled to their opinions, I bristled more at the production cracks. I wanted badly to defend our little operation. I don't think the critic realizes quite how DIY we are. There is no printer who could trim the edges (except the one sitting here hooked to my laptop), no designer, no editorial staff, no funding. Just me and a bone folder. I've tried trimming in the past with both a regular paper cutter and a rotary one, and since the books tend to be thick, they just get mangled. Anything more inustrial would take alot of cash. Besides, I like that homemade rough around the edges feel. It's the poems that we're here for.

*sigh* But any press is good press...
It's been cold. Damn frigid freeze off your face sort of cold. I've been dealing with myriad romantic trauma this week (a situation left over from before Christmas and now finally taken care of long overdue..). But it's a bad bleak sort of season for it, and it sucks, though I did notice that the light is lasting a bit longer these days. In the realm of more fun stuff, I've been folding Arsons and getting all sort of cool goodies in the mail: lovely Octopus chaps, dancing girl press buttons..(I fell in love with the tiny ones Switchback Books has been passing around), paper for the next chap, and a sexy new bag. I like many folks have been going hogwild on etsy and have ordered some prints, postcards, and a new wallet which shall soon be arriving and will no doubt cheer me up. Impulse buying cures everything I say...

On Thursday, our field trip to the Art Institute, looking at some paintings and talking about iconography. I have to admit the choices on what we were to look at were non-spectacular, some sculpture and paintings (mostly Renaissance and impressionist, nothing modern.) One group did get to analyze a Lautrec, but one of my least favorites. Our assignment for next week is to respond to one of the pieces and I wish I could pick my own damn piece. I'm extra surly about school these days and being assigned seems like such bull when far more important shit is going down..whether it be in general life or writing. Real projects I need to wrap up. It's definitely time to graduate.

Thanks to everyone for ordering copies of feign. I will be getting them out on Monday. Otherwise this weekend will be devoted to the glut of readings for the ekphrastic class, and watching some good trashy horror.