Saturday, January 31, 2009

in which she makes a mountain out of a molehill, or really nothing at all

I feel once again that I've been living the last few weeks in assume crash position in regard to just about everything. For example, all through the latter half of the week I was unsettled by the announcement of a sudden all-library mystery meeting on Friday of which no details were given except that our dean would be in attendance. I managed to let one of my co-workers convince me that this could be bad news, budget cuts, layoffs, etc. on the horizon and that we should be prepared (of course this co-worker also is majorly paranoid his superiors are out to get him and takes photos of things he believes might be top secret government aircraft in his spare time, but I digress..).

He wasn't, however, the only person whispering about this. Even the department heads seemed to be oblivious as to what it was about, and were supposed to meet before the all staff gathering. I suppose fear is natural, given the news everyday. Of course, enrollment was still up in the fall, we've been adding new positions, and while they've scaled back on non-essentials like travel and catering budgets, there was really no reason to expect the worst. Except, I suddenly had this fear that my job was somehow in jeapordy down the line.

While I do plan to leave at some point in the next couple of years as (if) the shop grows, I'm not ready quite yet to give up the safety net...I could conceivably make some extra money by charging for workshops at the studio, or teaching part-time elsewhere myself. But it would be scary having all my eggs in a basket that is so precariously perched on a cliff given how things are economically these days. It was made worse by the fact I was going to be out on Friday since I volunteered for a Sunday shift, so I could conceivably see myself spending the entire weekend freaking out. Finally, about halfway through the day yesterday, I just gave in and e-mailed my boss and asked her about the mystery meeting. Apparently, they just announced that they are reinforcing every floor in the library in the next few months and it will be noisy and chaotic for awhile and they wanted to let us know since it would be affecting our spaces..

argh.! A little more info in the subject line would have been nice...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Do not seek the because - in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.

-Anais Nin

Sunday, January 25, 2009

new from dancing girl press

The Match Array
Heather Green
dancing girl press, 2008

details here...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

bits & peices

1. Even though a small part of me still wishes it was Hillary in the White House, I was very happy and flattered to be a part of this.. (Needless to say I didn't include that detail in my poem *ahem*).

2. I think I finally have the kissing disease finished and all in order. I'm not sure why this seemed harder than the last two, perhaps because these have a bit less of a narrative base, or less story, or maybe less logical cause and effect to them. It made it harder to determine where they went, what followed what. Since anxiety plays a role in this mss.., and given there is a section of phobia poems in ITBM, when someone (non-literary, non-poet) asked me one day recently what I wrote about, all I could say was "birds, fear, anxiety, and circus freaks, you know, that sort of thing".

3. I made the mistake of renting this and it was quite possibly the worst movie I've seen in quite a while. I will sit through just about anything, bad B-horror movies, insipid romantic comedies, boring documentaries. But the only thing that allowed this movie to keep playing was the fact that I was all wrapped up and comfy in my afgan on the couch and didn't want to move to turn it off. I'm sure Mary was probably spinning in her grave..I'm going to see if I can get my hands on a couple of others, both of which came out during the time I was working on the archer avenue poems.

4.Our fair Jane Doe scores again here..I knew this book was awesome the first time I saw it, and am happy it's getting the attention it so deserves..

5.I am in the midst of the cover design of Claire Hero's newest (who also made that blog entry with her Caketrain chapbook, afterpastures) The design involves a paper with a wood grain veneer that I am so very in love with..I just added the latest release to the side, Heather Green's The Match Array. Watch for titles soon by Emma Bolden, Arianna Sophia Cartsonis/Caleb Adler, and Susan Slaviero, all of which are in the final stages.. I just have to finish the layout of Kristen Orser's Squint, but then I will be reasonably caught up..until next month anyway..

6. I just ordered our promo materials for AWP, including some new business & post cards. The button went over well a couple years ago and I still have some, but they might be a little too pricey to swing this year..I have a couple little other promo ideas though I'm still hatching, though.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

new things in the shop

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

over the transom and under a bus...

Over the past couple of days I have amazingly managed to get a few submissions out, and I have to admit, I feel a little rusty after not doing it for a year . Almost self-conscious about everything from the actual work to the font, the paper stock, to what I say in the cover letter. I decided early last year to take a bit of a breather from the submitting, only sending poems when somebody asked for them. Since I was so busy with the press and the shop, let alone parceling off time to actually write, I had to let something go, and it was a little freeing somewhat, to not be checking my e-mail, my mailbox continually, obsessively. As long as I can remember, I’ve had work out in various amounts, ever since I started doing it (rather unsuccessfully) when I was 19. That’s 15 years of obsessing about it, and truthfully I’d gotten a little weary of it. I remember hauling around a big box full of Writer magazines (I hadn’t yet discovered P&W), and carefully typed drafts (all done on wafer thin typing paper on the electric typewriter I’d bought with my high school graduation money.) The poems of course were beyond awful, but I of course, thought they were awesome. (I still have some of the original drafts I pull out every once in a while to amuse myself..) This sort of continued throughout college, my cluelessness, the occasional poetry workshop, poems in the college mag, but not really anywhere else..

By the time I made it to grad school at DePaul, I had at least graduated to a more respectable writerly magazine and a word processor. I was writing and submitting feverishly those two years, the same two years I was talking myself out of an academic career and into just being a poet with a day job. The lobby of my apartment building in Lincoln Park will forever be associated in my head with the hopeful excitement (and subsequent crushing devastation) with which I approached the wall of mailboxes daily. Finally, at some point, I actually got something accepted at a small litmag . (I say this nonchalantly, but I can tell you the exact sort of weather outside, what time of day I checked the mailbox, where I was when I opened it, the exact thing I made for a little celebratory dinner afterwards , the exact feeling of overwhelming excitement that someone (not someone I knew) took an interest in my work. ) That was the same winter I was doggedly putting together my first “manuscript” a collection of poems with no more in common really than that they were my very best work at that point, but I was certain of its genius--certain that I could win the Yale Younger Poet’s prize with it, even though I wasn’t very well read in contemporary poetry , even though I only had one real publication, even though I was basically naïve and completely clueless. And of course, beyond the P&W discussion boards, which I stalked, there wasn’t much of a writers community, online or physical, I could become part of easily to even realize how terribly clueless I was. Still, what I lacked in talent I made up for in enthusiasm. And I was getting better, thank god, reading more, writing more.

By the time I landed back in Chicago and was starting to spend a lot of time online in 2001, I was writing halfway decently, dare I say, even competently enough to start getting published more regularly. . Thus began the mostly online submission frenzy which continued for about 6 years with varying intensities, with a few print submissions in there when I had the inclination and stamps. The more I published the more I was driven to publish. I was so on the ball in terms of sending things out as soon as they were finished and only rarely did the work pile up before it went out.

In the last year or so, I’ve gotten rather lazy about it, though. Complacent maybe. Part of it goes back to that self-consciousness I can’t seem to shake since the MFA program. The feeling that I want to hide my work away forever. The feeling that there were too many cooks in the kitchen and I lost something in those four years that I want back. To be able to write without constantly looking over my shoulder for a response, for approval, for acclamation. To stop avoiding doing things in poems just because I know they are things I’m not supposed to do. I also perhaps know too much about po-biz and it makes me disolusioned. To feel so much like there’s too much calculation in my approach to things—where to submit, which publications are “legitimate” or “important.” . Maybe it’s too much experience as an editor myself who knows what a crap shoot and how capricious it all is and subject to whim and chance and who’s friends with who this week.. Maybe I’m just jaded and I want to be that girl just throwing it out there waiting anxiously at the mailbox....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

more coveting (or poetry and economics, pt 2)

Of course, if some fancy arts organization of private donor wants to donate (give) me the money to afford this couch for the studio, you can have a lifetime dgp subscription and my first born..

tuesday morning covet

january 2
january 2 by wickedpen

Monday, January 19, 2009

poetry and economics..

Some very interesting discussions here from Reb Livingston and Anne Boyer, on something admittedly I haven't thought much about. While I, as a poet, don't have a lot invested in the sort of larger well-funded presses, journals, institutions, etc..that would be most likely hit by decreasing funding, I do realize that indie outfits, like dgp, very much depend on selling books in order to publish more books, as do so many other micropresses. Whether or not readers will dry up remains to be seen. I haven't noticed less chapbook sales, if anything the opposite, but the etsy shop had a drop off in the fall (October-November) that coincided with the rest of retail sales nationwide. Christmas was awesome, but I'm a little worried what the coming year will bring..If there is a serious drop, the press may have to accept less books in coming years, but as for wicked alice, I'd likely go without food (shoes, breathing) before I'd give up my internet connection..

Sunday, January 18, 2009

trying to think spring

I am being ridiculously lazy today, drinking tea and reading blogs, and am thrilled to have a blissful three day weekend, something that doesn't come round nearly often enough. In the past week, I have managed to pretty much catch up on the chapbook front (Cabinet, Match Array, and Sad Epistles are all set to go), laid out one of the January books (Apocrypha), started the other (Squint) and plan to finish both up this week and send them to the poets for proofing. I also put up a new set of shelves in the studio, and put together my amazing new paper organizers that will allow me to sort the cardstock by color and texture and will prevent messy piles that were previously in the cabinet. I'll be able to keep a better eye on what needs to be reordered and such.

Otherwise, I am doing the usual puttering around at home, making jewelry, taking pics, and listing stuff. I finally got around to painting the birdcage on my mantle after about a year (I found it at the Salvation army in Rockford months ago but kept forgetting to buy spray paint..).I also moved the dancing girl poster into the living room (why exactly is a crazy story involving reflective surfaces and doorways, and me watching way too many horror movies..)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

winter chapbook sale at dgp

get 5 books for $20 now through the end of February...

see here for details....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

wednesday afternoon neurosis

I've decided that the best way to deal with my serious feelings of overwhelment are to make a weekly plan, with daily to-do lists and everything mapped out, almost to the hour. Otherwise, things get away from me. I forget or procrastinate. Then spend an hour or so daily freaking out when I should be actually accomplishing something. It seems to be working, even though I'm a day behind in the studio on tasks since I decided to go home to avoid Monday night's impending but non-impressive blizzard. Still I'm spending a little less time freaking out and a bit more getting things done. Of course, winter and the usual bad moodiness makes me seriously OCD about somethings (manifested by rabid housecleaning, closet organization, excessive archiving), so a list I can check off helps immensely..I think perhaps this time of year I feel least in control of things in my life (especially this year where everyone around me is having some sort of crises--legal, financial, job-related etc.) Today, apparently the repair guys tried to burn up my parent's van with a welding torch on a rather routine repair. Again, I feel subject to disaster..

(of course tiredness plays a role in this, I'm working a wonky work schedule that makes me feel like I'm always here. Plus I'm staying up too late making my way through all those Lost episodes..maybe I just need a nap..)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

new and pretty things...

There are a host of new items in the shop, including hair pins, new glasses, cloisonne necklaces, postage stamp pendants, letter openers, and more...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Today, lots of snow and coffee and sleeping til noon. I don’t so much mind it if I don’t have to venture into it.

I’ve been reading some new poetry scores, including the magnificent Jen Tynes’ Heron/Girlfriend and a horselesss chap by Emily Abendroth, whose work I’m not familiar with. On my weekend reading list are a couple of NMP titles from Rachel Moritz (her second from them) and Ariana Zwartjes. Also, yesterday, I receieved some beautiful little books from hand held editions that made me drool for production values alone, —the covers, the dictionary and map end pages, hand sewn, linen innards—oh my!!)

Otherwise, there is writing (or trying or something like poems) for a new project, organizing bookshelves that are forever unruly. I’ve also been watching Season 3 of Lost. If you recall I was gaga for this show until I was a bit unhappy with the last half of season 2 and gave up on it. I watched an episode at my parents house over break, however, and decided to give Season 3 a go. It has not dissappointed.

Tomorrow, I'm thinking of making soup and doing some closet organizing..also, I have been very busy in the studio, especially with chapbooks and photographing/making new things. so I'll be adding some of them later, including new necklaces, letter openers, and some more vintage glasses..

Friday, January 09, 2009

winter issue

It's here and it's big. The winter issue of wicked alice is chock full of poems by Karyna McGlynn, Heather Salus, Caryn Lazzuri, Kim Gek Lin Short, Geneviève Grady, Elizabeth Barbatos, Brittany Ober and many, many others...

Have a peek...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

now available from dancing girl press

The History of a Lake Never Drowns
Julia Cohen
dancing girl press, 2008
details here

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


It looks like I should be able to get the newest wicked alice posted by the end of the day tomorrow. You're going to love it, it's freaking huge, around 30 poets. I'm still torn over being quarterly or bi-annual. I had settled on the latter for the last few months but I wonder which is easier and more likely to be on schedule--heftier issues twice a year or smaller issues four times a year? Which is easier for me to layout? Which is a more enjoyable read? I tend to like smaller more bite-sized journals, but those are even harder to narrow down work for. Since I'm revamping all the info pages since the crash (it's actually not a drastic redesign since I like the simple black and white, but I did change the font to match the dgp site) submissions are at the moment closed, but I have a bunch of stuff still to go through for the next issue, but will likely re-open them in April. So stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

highly addictive time wasting

january by wickedpen

otherwise known as pretty things that are WAY out of my price range...that dress, however, just kills me... (click the image to see the items and where to buy..)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

that about sums it up...

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

--Alice in Wonderland

Friday, January 02, 2009