Monday, April 30, 2007

The new wicked alice is now online. Featuring work by Mary Biddinger, Anne Heide, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Meghan Curley, Cherie Casewell Dost, Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein, Daniela Olszewksa, Lightsey Darst, Jennifer Diskin, Juliet Cook, and Kathrine L. Wright.
On my way to work today, looking at the bright, blue expanse of Lake Michigan, I thought to myself that I'd never really want to live anywhere but Chicago. Now, granted, it's spring, and I'm singing a different tune than I was a few weeks ago when I was ready to hop the next train south, head anywhere where winter didn't last six months of the year. But those other six months are heavenly. And while there are any number of places I would love to live--the Carolina coast, Tuscany, a cabin on a lake in Wisconsin, or somewhere more rural, some deserted old farmhouse with a hundred cats with no one else for miles, I can't see myself really living in any of those places for a good long time. I like the city most of the time(and if there's one place I can tolerate winter at all, that's where it is.)On bad days the traffic and the noise and the grit can get to me. Occasionally the glut of summer tourists and the heat on downtown streets suck. But on days like to day, just cool enough, but sunny, the streets lined with tulips and the trees in bloom, nothing seems more beautiful, I'm such a sucker for it. I remember being fourteen and on a trip to the Feild Museum with my high school class and deciding once and for all this was where I wanted to live. And I guess for the last ten years, this is where I've been pretty much (there was a depressing year and half in Rockford in there somewhere).

And I even love my neighborhood most of the time (though weekend Loyola drunkeness notwhithstanding.) I like that it's one of the most diverse in the city, that I'm practically on the lake, that it's quiet and more residential than some of the crazier, hipper ones. The fact that there's an excellent cafe (Metropolis) and a really awesome thai restaurant steps away doesn't hurt. Everyone always seems surprised when I say I've lived in the same apartment for seven years when most people are pretty mobile. Except for adjusting to the damned Loyola students, which still makes me want to throw in the towel occasionally, I really have no desire to go anywhere else.

I've never seen myself as one of those people who can just move around willy nilly. Uproot themselves and adapt to any old where they please. For one, moving makes me anxious. Not just anxious, but borderline terrified. I've had nightmares where I have to move suddenly and have to decided what I can take with, what I can leave behind. It might be I'm way to attached to things--my books, artwork, papers. My odd collection of furniture and my clothes. I could never just up and put everything in storage and go to a new job, a new city. Even the thought gives me hives. I'm also the sort of person who needs a tremendous amount of stability, routine, control in order to function. I like to travel, though I don't get much of a chance to due to a lack of time and money, but I like to come home even better.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Today, absolutely beautiful weather, though of course, I was stuck working inside the library most of the afternoon. Regardless, I'm making good progress on the next wicked alice, and it will be up tomorrow evening if all goes well. If I still have your work and haven't yet sent a response, I am holding a bunch of stuff for the summer issue, so you should be hearing from me shortly after I get the Spring stuff up. Also, have sent Scenes from the Body text to Robyn for proofing, and am finishing laying out the images tonight. I am pretending school just doesn't exist these last two weeks of it. Sure, I'm still going to class, but that's about as much as you're going to get from me--my physical presence. Mentally I've long ago moved on to focusing my energies on various much more fun projects on my plate--chaps to layout, poems to write, art projects. In other words, real life, or real poetry-life anyway. The meat and bones of it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

sneak peak

at the Cornell project mock-up. Imagine there are poems on the card-stock and paper and you get the picture. There will also be prints of Lauren's images and lots of doodads and whatnots.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Yesterday, a rather excellent day that began with a teeny tiny birthday cake (pictured below), a lunch date with R that never quite made it out to lunch (more of that wanton behavior), then a quick dinner later at Corner Bakery with little sis on my break. I had to work til ten, but I did as little as humanly possible in the realm of actual work. Plus, we were having our pre-annual book sale reception, from which from which I secured a great book with maps to cut up for collage. Also, ate coconut chicken and strawberries big as my fist, I swear. Thanks much for the well-wishing. My mother asked me on the phone last night whether I felt old--not particularly, though I do feel a bit wiser...

Today, which looks to be even more fun, in lieu of work and the ekphrastic class, the plan is a reading and class discussion out at Lewis University in the burbs, arranged courtesy of the lovely Simone, who not only was able to bring me and Brandi to campus, but taught both the fever almanac and Two Kinds of Arson in her classes.

Then, onward to the Columbia Poetry Review release which looks to have an excellent line-up. The issue also with some of my favorite non Columbia related poets like Rebecca, Jeannine, and Sarah Manguso. And the cover art by Julie Heffernan is splendid.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


32 was a year of first books. Of sideshow poems and Alice in Wonderland projects. Of relationship angst, but also of unusually lusty and wanton behavior (somehow, each always leads inevitably to the other). Of lots of readings and poems in my favorite journals. Of endlessly folding chapbooks and a host of bad horror movies.

Lets hope this is a year of much of the same. Except for the angst. I could do without that.


A copy of feign goes to: Michelle Detorie

A copy of the fever almanac goes to: Mary Agner

A copy of The Archaeologist's Daughter goes to: Erin Lynn Marsh

And a copy of archer avenue goes to: Craig Perez

Thank you so much to everyone for playing...and reading...I plan to do another giveaway in the fall with dgp books, so stay tuned..


Previous winners:

Susan Denning (4/12)
Sina Evans (4/13)
Cecelia Hagen (4/14)
Eduardo C Corral (4/15)
Amber Nelson (4/16)
Nicole Cartwright Denison (4/17)
Bethany Carlson (4/18)
Anne Haines (4/19)
Rebecca Loudon (4/20)
Liz Gallagher (4/21)
Danielle Aquiline (4/22)
Ash Bowen (4/23)
Jill Bergkamp (4/24)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Today, spent a good part of the morning readying a rather large batch of dgp orders (well large compared to the usual 2-3/week) and drinking my new yummy blueberry tea courtesy of my mom. Also, this afternoon, fixing what I screwed up in the layout on the new chap on Friday. It was gorgeous when I went into work though, and today, I finally broke out the flip flops. My ideal state is pretty much barefoot all the time, so they're as close as I can get to that and still be wearing shoes.

Good things in the mail over the weekend, including the dgp foursquares (the fabric even prettier than I thought--I LOVE pink.) and some photos I ordered from here. Also via e-mail, an acceptance from no tell motel, where I'll be doing unspeakable things around the end of May.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

nostalgia, sort of

Today's trip to the zoo did not actually pan out so well. Apparently everyone else in Chicago, lured by the first real springish weekend this year, had the same idea, which meant Lincoln Park was a madhouse, no parking in the paylot or the surrounding neighborhood. We drove around for about a half an hour, even BY the zoo entrance at least twice, and gave up to head home. The only other weekend I've seen it like that was a father's day a couple of years ago.

It was nice to drive around (and around, and around) my old hood. I realized with a start that it's almost ten years to the date when I first found my old apartment there, having just secured my acceptance from Depaul. It was right after my birthday and, wanting to get settled in before fall, I needed a place to live rather speedily. (although not quite as speedy as the two week job change upheaval when I moved into this place.) I only looked in that one building. I looked at two studios actually, one that was even smaller, if that's possible, than the one I ended up taking. As you can seebelow, tiny does not even begin to describe it. I think it was under 300sq. ft. and now, according to the sign on the building is even now only about a hundred dollars less than what I pay now for something three times that size in a much less posh neighborhood. Plus, the floor boards are not, as they were in a couple places there, falling through to the subflooring. Still most of the time I loved my little existence there. I was much poorer, but I had a lot of free time to write and read that I don't have as much as now. Time to slack, to wander the neighborrhood, take long walks at night, hang out, drink endless cups of coffee in places that have now been replaced by evil Starbucks. Looking back, not a bad couple of years.

Friday, April 20, 2007


but good busy.....working on the spring wicked alice and laying out Scenes from the Body. Still assembling Sugarings and designing the cover for No Isla Encanta(actually once again our poet, Khadijah Queen is also an artist, so it makes it easy, just typographical and placement stuff). A new poem at Blood Orange Review and the new issue of Columbia Poetry Review in my mailbox. Tomorrow, housecleaning and making a mock-up of what the Cornell project might look like. Sunday, a trip to the zoo and early birthday festivities (what am I, five?)

Also in the mail, my birthday Amazon order (as if I need an excuse), including Elizabeth Treadwell's Birds & Fancies, and two collections by Sarah Vap whose work I just discovered. Also, this creepy little chap from Cake Train--Dolls by Tom Whalen. Also cardstock for the next two projects.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

coming soon from dgp

Scenes from the Body, photography/text by Robyn Art

may not have, but must

tagged by Suzanne..

Five poetry collections you may not have read but certainly must:

The Babies, Sabrina Orah Mark
Captivity Narrative, Mary Anne Samyn
Final Girl, Daphne Gottlieb
The Wind, Master Cherry, the Wind, Larissa Spzorluk
And Her Soul out of Nothing, Olena Kalytiak Davis

Of course, in no way complete. I ruled out books by poets I sort of know (all of whose books you should be reading already..). And don't even get me started on chapbooks….

I tag everybody out there who feels compelled to answer...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

girl show

I just finished printing off the thesis on the old laser printer, on it's dumb fancy paper, sealed it in it's little box, and will be handing it off this afternoon...Not quite sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I can look at the poems and love them. On the other, I'm sort of sick of the damn things. I think it's largely because it's been such a whirlwind, most of them written in the last year mostly, and then working and re-working the mss. for the last 6 months or so. A process that usually takes me a bit longer and is a little less intensive (at least compared to the fever almanac, which evolved over the course of a couple years into what it winded up being.) I'm more than ready to move on, thankfully, to new poems and projects. As for trying to get it published, I sent an earlier, faultier version I had ready in February to a contest, and am sending it to another this month--the shiny newer revised version. I'm hoping maybe to give it a go with the contests for awhile, just to see if maybe I can garner some cash...which would be nice now that I'll be much poorer without my student loan cushion every semester. Though because of that, I'll have to limit my entries at $20-25 a pop. It'd be nice if I could win enough to keep dgp in cardstock and postage at least...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

foursquare 1.11

Like the mean girls on the playground who knock you down and steal your ball, dgp has hijacked this month's issue..W/ cover art by Alaina Burri-Stone and poetry by Jen Tynes, Christine Hamm, Robyn Art, and Erin M. Bertram.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

As if in testment to my lack of initiative this afternoon, I just spent the better part of an hour at
Walking to work this morning, I realized I most love downtown when it's almost deserted, like early Saturdays or heck, around 10pm when I usually go home. Though it still feels safe somehow, at least in the loop or up along the Mag Mile. I'd forgotten, having been free of Saturdays since the fall, how absolutely mind-numbingly slow it is here. Especially after having already sent e-mails, read blogs, revised a poem. Having exhausted the internet, and already re-organized the stacks of postcards and fliers on the circ desk and perfected the zen of stamping the due date precisely in the little box on the slip inside the cover. I guess I'll have to go scavenge for a book to read (the horror!) There are a couple novels back on my desk if all else fails. I have a hard time reading, or really writing much poetry here since I can't achieve that state of shutting everything else out. I can revise and tinker, read prose, take notes for poems, look at photography books, but nothing that involves deep concentration.

Our whole printing server is down today, so the natives may get restless. Whenever they get nasty I have to bite back the urge to point them rather briskly to the Kinko's round the corner. I will bend over backwards to help nice people, even let them print from behind the counter in an emergency (totally against policy). Even print it for them from my computer in the back. But pull any sort of snotty, "the world owes me" attitude and up goes the blank faced pseudo-niceness and you'll get nowhere. Sorry, really can't help you. It probably makes me woefully unfair and a bit of a bitch, but it pays endlessly to not be an asshole when you want something (in all aspects of life..)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

three good things

Things that are making me happy despite the annoying return of the sinus infection I thought was gone and the terribly sucky weather (no doubt related):

1)Marie Antionette. While I thought the stylization was going to be annoying here it actually turned out to be rather good. Not to mention the parade of dresses, the sets, the cakes, oh my! Absolutely visually stunning. Of course, morbidly fascinated as I am with women who get wrongly offed, I've been obsessed with Marie Antoinette ever since I did a presentation on her in 9th grade, complete with a faux guillotine model on the table next to me.

2)I've been attemptng a tiny series of ekphrastic pieces on the work of Gregory Crewdson. (this was the first in the series) but I'm interested in two more photos in particular, this one and this one, which are what I'm working on now.

3) Black Ocean Books. I took a quick persual of their table in Atlanta, and not only do they have really cool looking books, but also a gorgeous website. I ordered A Useless Window by Carrie O. Adams when I got back to Chicago, though I've yet to read it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

giving it away for free

In honor of National Poetry Month and my birthday, for the next two weeks, starting tomorrow, I will daily be raffling off some sundry items--mostly books. All you are required to do is send me an e-mail to wickedpen74 (at) yahoo saying you want to play, and each day, starting today, I will draw a name out of a hat (well actually a basket) and the person drawn gets whatever it is that is being given away that day (if it's something you already have, negotiations can be made). The names will carry over everyday, so you have a new chance daily. I've shamelessly stolen this idea from other bloggers, but this is a good way for me to clear out some space and for you to get some free stuff. And well, it's totally a promotional scheme akin to giving away toasters, but nevertheless…

Some of the items up for grabs:

the fever almanac (3)
feign (3)
errata (3) *out of print
archer avenue (3)

and even rarer:

broadsides form The Poetry Center of "Hazards" circa 2004 (2)
copy of the October 06' Foursquare (2) (also w/ work by Stephanie Young, Kate Greenstreet and Jennifer Scappettone.)

Monday, April 09, 2007

off the wagon

Things are a little hectic on the re-entry here, so I will likely remain woefully behind on napowrimo pieces for the next few days. Especially considering I left the draft I meant to work on today at home and won't get back to it til tonight. I've been stuck with various editing and writing related tasks to do that are small, but oddly time-consuming. Last night, I rattled off what will hopefully be my last literary essay EVER for Chaucer, also dealt with some submission-related stuff, blissfully an acceptance from Cranky and some proofs for for the upcoming issue ofThe Tiny. Also sent off some poems from girl show that have come back over the last couple of months. Plus, I got my fancy paper for the thesis, and will, after I meet with Arielle for some last minute edits, try to get it in Friday.

Easter was good, resurrection of the Holy Bunny and all that. Usually, I try to avoid it, but my Mom turned the big 6-0 last week so it was doubling as birthday festivities. I'm still waiting for spring and the tulips. I realized over the weekend that two weeks from tomorrow I'll be 33, that's almost a whole third of a century... I think I've at least gotten to the point where I do feel a bit more like a grown up these days...of course I also feel like I've aged about five years in the last 6 months with the random illnesses, pure exhaustion, and romantic issues. Right now, though, things are good...*knock on wood*


poems online at Stirring and Sharkforum.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I am on the way out to Rockford for the weekend, so today's and tomorrow's NAPOWRIMO will be posted on Monday when I get back most likely(unless I decide to battle the awful dial-up connection at my parent's house).

Last night's reading went fabulously, read mostly from feign and a handful of brand new stuff, and even managed to sell a few books. Of course, being as tired as I was and not wishing to wait on the el nightmare in the ridiculously unseasonable cold, I took a cab home and spent most of my proceeds...but it was fun nonethless.

Friday, April 06, 2007


first fridays @
DvA Gallery
2568 N. Lincoln Ave.
April 6th.

featuring Kristy Bowen, Brandi Homan, Bronmin Shumway, and Bonnie Summers.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Arielle told me a few weeks ago to try to determine which poet, of all the poets currently writing, I myself, would most want my own "career" (there's that word, for better or worse) to resemble. In terms of literary output and scope of that work, I was thinking CD Wright of course, one of my favorites. I think her work, for the most part, is accessible (ugh, where did that word come from) to your general reader, and yet challenging and interesting to your more specialized, poetic crowd. And that, is, of course, what I aim for, usually whether I consciously know it or not. Of course this may be attempting to have my cake and eat it too --to have the wide readership and appeal of someone like Olds or Oliver, and yet not be quite so palatable and vanilla. And you can't ignore her sheer output--varying from collections to book length project. And yet, there's that whole deep south and/or Appalachian thing with most of her work--her focus, though it manifests itself in a bunch of different ways. And we all have our obsession, overriding arcs in our work that moves across individual projects. I've been thinking what mine might be, certain things that crop up again and again.:

the body and language
midwestern gothic
women and transgression/fear/madness
women and knowledge
the body and endangerment
male gaze
the supernatural
naming/ identity

Edit: Given the banalness of contemporary culture at large, it occurs to me later that Olds and Oliver might have such an audience because their work IS like it is, why they're household names (as much as one can be) while arguably better mainstream poets like Forche, Dove, even Gluck, are not so much. It might also be the easiness of their categorization (like nature poetry? read Oliver. Freudian father issues? Olds..) I'd say Jorie Graham, but I'm not sure how much of that is real popularity and how much is the amount of power she has in the academic po-biz, rather than her actual work, which I'm about 50/50 on.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The "if you don't like the weather wait five minutes rule" for Chicago is certainly in effect today. This morning, I froze in the rain waiting for the bus, but by the time I went to class two hours later, the sun was shining and it was warming up considerably. Tonight more rain, and possibly snow flurries after midnight, which means I'll be freezing on the way home in my mere cardigan (I refuse to pull my winter coat back out of the closet on principle.)

Once again, I am procrastinating on starting my paper for ekphrastic. It's only five pages, so hopefully I can whip something suitable up in the next day or so. At this point, I don't care so much. I have managed to keep up on writing daily poems, so far two for Cornell and one total randomness. In fact they all seem rather random and will no doubt need to molded into some sort of coherence.

In other news I am so in love with my new paper cutter, it borders on disturbing. Spent last night doing some trimming on copies of sugaring amidst oohs and ahhs over the clean, straight edges. It gives me a little more freedom in trim sizes for chaps and the possibility of full-bleed images. Plus, it seems a little safer and less disaster prone than my old guillotine one.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April (thank f*cking god).. you see that’s better. My sinuses are finally clearing, I see green on the trees, and I’m in an unusually good mood. My favorite month (though May comes a close second, followed by September). The month of tulips, poetry readings, rainstorms, my birthday, and boats filling up the harbors . Eliots’ cruelest month and oddly usually a good one for me. Also the month of rent increases and taxes (but I won’t dwell). I’m not even letting those upcoming papers bother me.

I will try to post the less embarassing NAPOWRIMO offerings hereabouts. I’ve got a few pieces to pen for the Cornell project and for newer projects, so no doubt I can keep myself busy.