Thursday, December 28, 2006


Once again emerging slowly from my post-holiday stupor, one in which I've done nothing much but eat leftover Christmas goodies and watch the second season of Lost on dvd. And napping of course. The holiday itself was busy--gathering after gathering in which there were an abundance of family, food, booze, and presents. I wound up with the aforementioned dvd's, a new fancy leather-bound journal, homestuffs like sheets, towells, and silverware. Today, the first venture out into daylight since Monday, to the craft store to pick up some collage papers I like to get everytime I'm in town. Soon New Years, 2007 already, and only the same resolutions--to be healthy (ie. no more raspberry sorbet for breakfast) to be fearless (ie. never avoid a situation because it scares me) and to be productive (ie. finish a couple of manuscript projects and keep wicked alice and dgp humming along..). I came to a realization not too long ago that no matter how incredibly fucked up personal things have been these last couple of months, things are remarkably good in my life even in spite of all that *knock on wood*. I have everything I need and could possibly want. Like cake, the rest is just frosting. Terribly addictive and seductive frosting. But I can take it or leave it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Last night's reading was enormous fun--a small audience but a good one, and the folks at Mojoes Hothouse are seriously nice and I'd recommend them to anyone in Chicago looking to host readings. Plus they have a cool decor and a big red couch on the stage..I actually chose to read from down on the floor since the crowd was small, but I'm thinking of perhaps a wicked alice reading there at some point..and it would be a great space for that. Plus they have excellent mochas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


release reading/party for the fever almanac

December 21st
MoJoes Hothouse
2849 W Belmont Ave.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


And you say poetry never makes any money:

Original Copy of Christmas Poem sells for $280K

making lists

my favorite Christmas songs:

"River" not really a Christmas song, but it references Christmas and I love Joni Mitchell.

"Please Come Home for Christmas": various versions of this, from everyone from the Eagles to Bon Jovi.

"All I Want for Christmas is You" Despite my dislike of Mariah Carey, this song makes me happy.

"Carol of the Bells" Haunting--could double as a horror movie soundtrack in some interpretations..

"Hard Candy Christmas" Dolly Parton and the other girls in the "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" --this one rips my heart out everytime..

Honorable Mention: "The Little Christmas tree" or I think that's what it's called. About a straggly little unwanted tree. This was on a Disney record I had a kid, and apparently I would make my mother play it over and over again while I stood crying in the living room...such a sucker for drama...


Check out Jamie Heimbuch's interview with me about wicked alice and dgp at the online Girlistic Magazine...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

favorite things

Every year the tv viewing world is subjected to yet another Oprah’s Favorite Things episode in which the greedy audience scrambles for ugly $600 purses and $49 hot chocolate. Why do I find it hilarious that someone who is preaching to her audience about giving to charity from meager middle class salaries is buyng $400 dog sweaters. Anyway, I was feeling in a listy mood and have some nicer, more economical, favorites I’m lusting for at Christmas, or any other time of year.

1). Pens: Pilot g-2’s to be exact. 07’s. A finely engineered piece of machinery.

2) Paper goods: stationary, postcards, etc. I have far more than I will ever send out or write upon. I've recently died and gone to heaven here and here.

3)Tea: Twinings Earl Grey and Bigelow's Plantation Mint stock my cabinets and desk drawers repectively.

4)Jewelry: I have spent WAY too much cash here this month, but they're actually really affordable.

5)Notebooks: I'm typically a fan of your garden variety spiral bound sketchbooks, but I found these recently these that are multi-colored and pertier. I, of course, bought the green one.

6)Music:. Maybe it's all the heartache, but I find myself more in a folk-country-rockish state of mind lately and The Wreckers fit the bill perfectly.

7)chocolate: also good for heartache (and with the above tea). These are my absolute favorite, but Hershey's works too.

8)fine Jamaican Rum: if all else fails.

9)Discount Cashmere: I recently found a cashmere cardigan at WalMart online for $ hasn't yet fallen apart.

10)small poetry things: from Dusie's wee books, to Tinysides, to Foursquare, I love getting these in the mail.

now online

wicked alice
winter 2007 issue

featuring work by Jamie Kazay, Alex Stolis, Shisa Poet, Beth Kilbane, Alison Eastley, and Adrianne Marcus.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Now that I am out from under the grind of this last semester, I can start looking forward to the next...or not. I'm very excited about the ekphrastic poetry craft seminar I'm taking just for fun, especially as we'll be working on getting the Cornell project together round about then. I am not, however, as excited about my Chaucer lit class. It came down to that or the Objectivists and (covering my head to avoid the arrows of Charles Olson fans)I've just never gotten into them. Chaucer had the benefit of meeting during the day, so Chaucer it was . Really, I'd rather take something else than either. But that's my last requirement, so I'm stuck with it. I'll be doing my one on one thesis advising and then I'm outta here come May (well, metaphorically anyway..)

Taking something like the Chaucer feels weird when the bulk of my classes here have been rather new poetry-- radical poetics, hybrid forms, new media poetry, contemporary american, and just this semester, emerging american. It was a good way to round out a pretty traditional background from my MA, where my courses were devoted to Medieval romance, Milton, the Romantics, Victorian Novels, 19th Century American Lit, the Modernists, with electives in womens writing across various periods. Basically what I know about the Canturbury tales was gleaned from h.s senior year english class and a bad English Lit I survey as an undergrad. Neither of which I was paying all that much attention to.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I have determined I can actually make the Caribou coffee that we sell at the library coffee cart drinkable by the following recipe-1 part coffee, 1 part water, 1 part cream, and about four to five sugars. It’s not the greatest, but it’s better than it is full-on. I miss Rain Dog. I miss asiago and prosciutto croissants. Now they seemed to have opened a tango school in the space, which does nothing to temper my coffee needs. How dare?

End of the semester, and I’m tired of looking at/touching/moving around books. Did some shelving on the third floor to pick up the slack and realized all that kneeling and bending are not so fun when you’ve passed thirty (well maybe for SOME things, but certainly not shelving books). And of course, end of semester jackasses are rampant and coming out of the woodwork. Angry professors, stressed out students. And it all just keeps coming at you. Plus we’re seriously understaffed, since most of my co-workers have to use all their remaining vacation before January 1 or lose it, so we’re down to the barest bones. I sadly, used the last of my vacation days before Thanksgiving, so am stuck working through next Thursday. But after that, a whole blissful week off…

I have finally succeeded in wading through the dgp inbox and responding to almost all of the chaps. As I've said before, I hate rejecting chapbooks, which feel like a much more serious responsibility than just a few poems--obviously something the author spent a bunch of time on to create. I do it reluctantly, and wish I could publish all the ones that speak to me, but I can't. Such is the nature of the beast I imagine.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

dgp january special

7 chapbooks for $25...
go here for details....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

dgp news and other random stuff

The loveliness that is Donora Hillard's Parapherna is nearing publication. I'm still working out some lay-out stuff, but it should be hitting the site before Christmas. I was thinking of doing another DGP HOLIDAY SPECIAL this year, but we're cutting it too close with the last chap to possibly get them in your mailboxes early enough, so it's going to JANUARY SPECIAL this year-- 7 chaps for $25. Which is certain value for all of our 2006 titles, including books by Rebecca Cook, Christine Hamm, Sarah Gardner, Robyn Art, Lina Ramona Vitkauskas, Kristina Marie Darling, and Donorah Hillard. For those folks who are early birds and like to get a jump on NEXT years books--all 12+ of them (including books by Brandi Homan, Jen Tynes, Ann Cefola, Khadijah Queen, Erin Bertram, Simone Muench, Jesse Nissim, and others to be announced)--we'll also be setting up a subscription program of some sort, where we will automatically send you every chap we release, plus some other goodies like the print annual for like $45.

In other news, I can finally breathe freely after having tied up all loose school ends, and now get down to other, more enjoyable poetry things. Last night's last thesis seminar was a fun-time with presents and yummy food, and an end to a relatively pain-free semester (there was a little pain in Emerging Poetics with the papers and all). After horror stories of last years thesis process, I'm a bit glad I waited til this fall. It was a smaller group of people who seemed to be reasonably good readers of my work, helped quite a bit with organization issues, and it all seemed much less chaotic than I imagined it would be.

Monday, December 11, 2006

next week

release reading/party for the fever almanac

December 21st
MoJoes Hothouse
2849 W Belmont Ave.


Also, I'll be reading this Sunday night on Wordslingers, 88.7 fm WLUW at 8pm for those folks within listening distance. In a few weeks, it will also be archived here for your listening pleasure.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

year end round-up

Amidst the end of semester chaos (my dining room is beginning to look like the library, books everywhere and no end in sight), I was thinking about about how, overall, it's been a pretty great year in terms of writing. I managed to finish the poems for a couple projects--archer avenue and girl show--and spiffied up my second manuscript and found a home for it at Dusie. And of course, the fever almanac's release, and my impending chap from NMP (and being a finalist there). Also poems in a couple of my most coveted publications--Melic Review and Caffeine Destiny (ones I'd been dying to get into from the beginning). And others delightfully in Milk, Agni, Rhino, DIAGRAM, alice blue, CPR, Pebble Lake Review, 42 opus, Foursquare, Backwards City, and others I'm probably forgetting right now. On a local scale, being featured in after hours, a whole passel of readings, and teaching the CPL web workshop. Publishing wise, four issues of wicked alice (well, soon to be four) and the print annual and seven chapbooks for dgp.

And next year? First task is rounding out the Cornell poems and working with Lauren on the final product. I'd like to start sending out girl show after the new year, or at least a version of it. After the whole Tupelo/Dorset fiasco, I'm not so keen on contests, though I could no doubt use the cash for the press once the student loan cushion dries up next summer. Over the summer, I plan to dig in seriously on the newest manuscript, dulcet, and see where it goes (I've messed around with it for a couple years now, but hadn't been able to find the right angle to approach until just recently.) And there all those dgp chaps, and some more visual projects I have my head wrapped around. New poems coming soon in Dusie, WOMB, The Tiny, DIAGRAM and Slipstream.

And of course, finishing the program, no small feat after four years of doing it half-ass (er...I mean part-time). Though no doubt it's done me good in term of opening up my writing, making me better, even with all the grumbling and whining over papers and the occasional vivisection (or evisceration). Also, the whole sort of feeling very much in the fish-bowl sometimes. Like I want to hide my work until it's done. After it's done, even. But this is to be expected I suppose in any workshop-driven program.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I am blissfully officially done with Christmas shopping, though I know having ordered everything online I probably wound up spending more than I intended at the outset. I mostly went with last year's gift formula--mostly books, yummy bath accoutrements and candles, and gourmet goodies, plus some etsy finds. No fuss, no muss. And no freaking out in stores. I still have to buy a cousin on my dad's side some booze for a name-draw gift, but that will wait til I'm back in Rockford.

And of course, I couldn't resist THIS for myself when I saw it..

Friday, December 01, 2006

lines that make me happy

"Dolls climb backwards out of my mouth."

Started reading The Hounds of No this morning, it having arrived in the mail last week. Very meaty and bodily poems, I'm loving it, though all that talk of egg sacks made me a little queasy before breakfast...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

delightfully smutty

Yours truly has some poems in Velvet Avalanche: a Collection of Erotic Poetry put together by the Erosha folks. I just got my copy a couple a days ago and it's very pretty/dirty. There are also an unusually high number of wicked alice contributors in there.'d think we attracted that sort of thing...;)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though it may, in fact, be a train. I have forged my December to-do list that seems completely insurmountable, but I want to start the new year with a clean slate. For school, there's the narrative paper, which I have a good outline on, but need to actually write the thing. Also, a five page creative project for the same class I need to get to work on, something inspired by what we've read and talked about in the class. (I'm thinking of doing a creative/critical hybrid piece ala Julianna Spahr's Spiderwasp.) Oddly, the thesis is pretty much wrapped up, for the time being. We can bring in newer additions, but it's optional. I'm locked and holding until next semester's one-on-one for now, still not completely sure about my organization. Order-wise I think I'm good as far as what goes first and last, but the middle's still a little murky. And I'm reconsidering sections. I just need some uninterrupted time to hash it out, hopefully over the break. Plus, there's some weaker stuff I'd like to either fix or cut, maybe some new pieces to fill in, flesh it out.

On the editing front, I need to get through the last batch of dgp manuscripts, send out responses and finish laying out the next chap, Parapherna, which I'm aiming for a release date of Dec 20. There's also the winter Wicked Alice issue to get up (it's only like ten poets so it shouldn't be too hard.)

Over the break, there are the poems I need to round up for the Cornell project, and a couple places I need to submit to. Plus, the first couple of next year's chaps to get underway.

I know it will all get done eventually, but looking at it at the moment makes me tired. I think I'll go home and crawl into bed and do nothing.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I am just now climbing out of the turkey induced coma of the last week in which there were lots of naps and a sugary stupor good for nothing but watching TV. Did manage to get up my tree once I was settled in at home and all attendant wreathes and garlands. I'm amazed some of the glass balls survived another year of storage, though I'm sure the cats will make fast work of them.

Just discovered this artist, thanks to Brandi, and ordered some notecards and a little book. Also, in the mail, The Radish King, which I can't wait to read...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

open letter to the muse

Dear alphabet. Dear spark.

My head is dull like a shell with the ocean in it. When you left me in the restaurant, I scoured the dictionary for days. Kissed men until my teeth hurt. Craved margaritas and the salt on the back of your neck. O my barbwire. My broken key. When you went south wearing my blackest dress, I looked in every hotel room from here to Knoxville. Cried in the shower. Found you puking in the backseat and mumbling about metaphor. On good days, you're a mad scientist. On bad, a vain girl with a scalpel. I put out a glass of wine to trap you. Line the drawers with sawdust. You hide my clothes and threaten to riot. Play gin rummy with the neighbors, throw record players out windows. On good days, I can get you to lie on the floor while I chant Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I've finally decided to write my final essay on a briefer version of the topic I was considering for my critical portion of my thesis before the requirement was axed--the whole women's poetry and narrative question (leaving out the gothicism) but in relation to surrealism, ellipticism, and fragmentation, using three poets (Sabrinah Orah Mark, Carrie St. George Comer, and I've yet to decide on the third) as examples, pulling in the Cixous. Again, I'm hoping at least this, which I'm genuinely interested in, holds my attention.

Last night, my laptop went all wonky again and wouldn't load windows. I wound up using the recovery disc again, which is a huge pain in the ass, since I have to load everything else back in as well--two printers, the scanner, the software for my camera and mp3 player. Bites. At least I don't really keep things saved on there on a permanent basis (for this reason largely), but I may have lost a poem or two if I forgot to e-mail them to the desktop at work, which I'll have to re-type. Double bites. Luckily everything else, images and such are online at least somewhere.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And the most heinous thing I have yet to see in my poetic career is right here. So wrong on so many levels, not only the duping of poets and stealing their money in this case, but the apparent shenanigans around the Dorset Prize …..makes me nauseous….sort of makes Jorie Graham and David Lehman look like saints…

I think it's not so much that it was a form letter. I mean, poets are used to getting those. But that the letters gave the illusion of being an individualized response, and what had been apparently promised in exchange for 35 bucks a pop (high even for a contest fee, let alone open reading). It's just fraud plain and simple. And then to attempt to collect more money, all the while making seductive promises so very much at odds with Tupelo's contest guidelines...which if they're true, constitute one kind of badness, and if not true, yet another..

As the folks at Foetry were saying in the forums, how is this not different from the National Library of Poetry scam? No matter how "respected" Tupelo has been in the past, this is fucking ridiculous...
God, I'm dragging. I'm hoping to dream up a draft of my final paper this week, though it's early, just because I want the holiday free and clear of work. I think it's one of the cruelest things instructors can do, make a major project due after a break (or in this case a draft of a major project). I am SO in need a worry-free, work-free vacation (before I start hurling staplers at people's heads and screaming at the public printer again..) Hopefully, I can get the bulk of it done this weekend...

On other, happier fronts, I got a nice note from the good folks at Rhino that they'd nominated midnight pastoral for a Pushcart. Also in the mail, Kaia Sand's wee book from Dusie and October's Foursquare, as well as Rebecca's new chap, which I'v already read and loved (of course).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Last night, I slept like the dead, first chance to really sleep in while I could actually breathe in the last two weeks. Absolutely glorious.

Yesterday, I started making my way thru dgp manuscripts and it's going to be hard to make decisions once again. A couple things have already knocked my socks off and I'm definitely taking them. Everything else is either going into the "no way in hell" pile (less than you'd think) or the "maybe" pile. I have about four or five slots left, otherwise I'm pushing into 2008. Since next year is going to be dgp's last year without any sure-fire funding, we're piling them in, one a month, 12 chaps in the 2007 season. After that we'll likely setle back to three or four, which was the intended number when I started the press. But I'm glad we have the chance to start strong, this year alone 6, not counting the wicked alice print annual and my own.

Since we're publishing more chaps, I'm scaling back wicked alice to smaller issues (ten or less poets) to even out the workload, although oddly it's less time consuming to lay out a chap than to code an issue. I'm also thinking of a subscription system for dgp, to get all the years chaps (plus some extra goodies)for seriously cheaper than buying individual copies.

In other news, Amanda has posted a poem from the fever almanac in her weekly Friday poem feature. I still won't say it in the mirror five times--not when I was eleven, not when I'm 32. On a creepy mirror-related note, I went and saw The Return last night, which somehow marketed itself more as horror than the thriller it was, but it was okay, though I can't see SMG as anyone but Buffy. I have a couple interesting looking horror movies coming from Netflix, now that I've finished Veronica Mars. Hopefully, I get a chance to watch them this week. Still pushing on through to blissful Thanksgiving week, trying to get excited by the lights going up in the trees, the Christmas junk I can already see in some department stores on Michigan ave..

Monday, November 06, 2006

cranky monkey

This afternoon, I was privy to a bit of discussion that sort of irked me bout literary careers and book publishers and such. One poet was talking about the work of another poet and made a comment that poet #2 had taken a big step down with the publisher of her second book, having gone from a small press that was founded by someone recognizably in the “establishment” --aka the academies, the writing programs, the big boys. (Incidentally, a press that actually isn’t on my radar much and seems to publish sort of bland , nature-epiphany poems but apparently had big prestige-factor.) Anyway the poet had published her second book with a newish, smaller, web-affiliated POD press and had won their contest. But it bothered me again that it’s automatically assumed that if you’re not plying in the big leagues that you are somehow lesser of a poet. That you’re taking a step down by choosing to move in circles that aren’t the bigger more established ones in the poetry world. What I couldn’t figure out is why shouldn’t poet #2 be just as content with her second book’s publication as her first—having collected her prize money and a pretty damned nice looking book to boot. I’m sure she sleeps pretty damned well, as would any of us. Isn’t the art enough, getting it out there. Finding a way to distribute it. I’m of the agreement that bigger name presses and journals function like brands, attempting to lure readers in with their name, which works too, but aren’t the smaller ones producing just as great an amount of work, forging their names as they go. (And I would also argue, sometimes publishing even better work.)

This is just one more in a long-line of stupid comments I’ve heard in the MFA world about publishing. Another recently about contests, someone advising another poet not to enter said contests because it was “small potatoes” and he’d never heard of it or the judge. Does that matter, does it make the prize money or the book any less real? Who exactly are we trying to impress? Who cares if you’re happy and have your book and readers and maybe you, yes you, will be the poet that raises the press from obscurity?

I’m not really a fan of the “poetry career”—the prizes, the grants, the teaching job, wracking up fancy shmancy pub credits, the little piece of fame poet could lay claim to in such a small world (though some occasional cash and ego stroking would be nice, thus I’m not ready to give up on contests, however small fry)...I AM out for a career, though, a readership of some sort, creating work and getting it out there. Perhaps Poet #1’s comments hit a bit close to home since the presses publishing my books are pretty small and newish, but I love them because of that. And I’m a small and newish poet, so it’s a good fit. I’d certainly rather be published by the uncovered jewel than the big and overhyped.

*sigh* the whole conversation just set me grumbling all the way home. I guess I'll just add this to the list of things I continually roll my eyes at, the suggestions that poets :

1) just have to be published in certain “name” journals in order to wrack up credits for their mss. before it will be taken seriously by eds . (It should be the advice to get your work out there as much as possible to garner an audience, wherever you think that audience may lie..)

2) that publishing your poems online is like throwing them in the trash and that you should save your “good” work for print (yes, I actually heard someone say this),

3) that POD is inferior to traditional publishing (I’m beginning to think the exact opposite).

4) That no one will take you seriously if you self-publish. (bullshit.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Much more on the mend today and determined to do very little in the realm of strenuousness. Organized my presentation materials, worked on some poems(okay, eyed them warily and moved them around on the table) ate leftover Chinese food (nothing takes care of those sinuses like general tso's chicken) baked an apple pie (okay, by "baked" I mean took from the freezer carton and cooked in the oven for an hour.) I did manage started a little idle online early Christmas shopping. After a couple of shopping-in-the-December-frigidness related crying jaunts last year, I'm only shopping for presents online. I'm not a person who hates shopping, per se, but a person who hates shopping for things--things which are either usually not there, too expensive, or not really what I want / but I'll take what I can get. Not to mention the task getting said things home, anything larger or unweildy than a medium-sized bag, on the bus or train. The kind of shopping I like is the kind where you wander around the store and miraculuously find just the thing you didn't even know you wanted or needed and it's perfect. If I go looking for something, I usually wind up frustrated or dissappointed. Not to mention pre-Christmas Chicago downtown crowds and hysteria are an absolute nightmare. So presents are coming exclusively through the internet this year, and hopefully early enough so I'm not obsessing that last week like usual.

Grocery stores are an even greater trauma. Many a time before I succumbed to the luxury of getting them delivered, you might find me dazed in the middle of the Dominicks', list forgotten at home, 2 out of three ingrediants for what I'm making, frantically trying to figure what I'd forgotten, if I could afford it, how much more could I carry the signifigant distance back to my apartment. It didn't help that unless I wanted to do my shopping at eleven pm (occasionally happened), or get up early before work to do it (not ever going to happen) I had to do it Sunday, with everyone else in Edgewater apparantly, including old surly people nearly running you down with their carts and entire families toting five or six kids running amok. If I made it to the line, it was a good fifteen minutes before I got out of there, only to have, of course, overloaded myself, those plastic handles digging grooves in my hands and messing my back all up. Now, I go online once or twice a month, a few clicks (I pretty much get the same things every order) and I'm set for weeks at a time for like an extra $8 (plus whatever I tip the delivery guy), and it's delivered to my door. No existential crises in front of frozen foods. No tears over the produce.

Friday, November 03, 2006

typhoid mary

So my measly little cold last week has landed me with some the worst can't breathe, can hardly talk, congestion I've ever witnessed. I think my immune system was still vulnerable from my last instance of the plague, and turned something usually mildly annoying into full blown nastiness. I barely made it through my shift last night I was so miserable. I had to back out on my DvA reading tonight with after hours with many apologies, stayed home from work today, and spent most of the day on my couch. Not a bad place to be if I felt at all better than this. I'm hoping my voice is something like normal for an author presentation on Monday for class. All I know is, I've got my eye trained on blissfull Thanksgiving week, which, with the exception of classes on Monday, I have all week off. I feel like I've been running non-stop since September with various personal dramas, school, editing stuff, illnesses, no real weekends to speak of, no recoup time. And this is always the worst time for me mentally. I'm wary of psychiatrists and their plethora of drugs for everthing, I suspect I have a touch of seasonal affective disorder (along with social anxiety disorder, but I prefer to think of it as charming shyness) and since these trends aren't debilitating, I can live with them--"normal" and "healthy" is all relative, I suppose. But lately I feel...tense is the best word and everything is actully going pretty great creative-wise, relationship-wise, I should be basking, not stressing. I think I just need a long hot can amazingly work wonders...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

the mother load

Guess where I will be two weekends from now..
Most certainly here.

dgp & other news

We've reached the end of the reading period, and have a full box of what look to be great manuscripts, so I should be able to respond to all of them by Christmas at the very least. Thanks to all for submitting.

The Traffic in Women is now available for sale at the site, and needs only to be assembled which I plan to do whilst watching Veronica Mars, season 2 (OMG--the awesomeness) tonight.

I also have a poem up at from the fever almanac Thanks to the very rockin Simone Muench for putting it up (and writing me such an awesome blurb for the book..)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

white rabbit

The very late all alice anniversary issue is now--finally--up. Hopefully I caught all the glitches but if anyone sees anything wonky, let me know. The sheer size of this baby makes me feel like I couldn't catch everything. There's a whole bunch of work by a whole passel of folks I'm honored to include in our birthday issue Enjoy!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

coming November 1st

from dgp..
Yahoo music videos (how I waste time online when I should be doing more productive things) recently put up a list of the 25 scariest videos of all time. Yahoo doesn't have everything, and certanly not my top three on the scary list, child of mtv that I am (well, back when MTV actually played music). It took a little digging, but in honor of Halloween, here they are:

Sour Girl, Stone Temple Pilots (wired out Scott Weiland, SMG, and scary teletubbie bunnies=absolutely terrifying.)

Black Hole Sun, Soundgarden(not even the hotness that is Chris Cornell can keep this from being disturbing..)

Come to Daddy, Aphex Twin
(don't even know what to say about this one..just watch it..)

Also in the running, for freakiness Rammstein's Du Hast (though love the artfulness and visuals on this one) and Push It, Garbage(ditto).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

fevers and fires

Did I not just get over being sick FOREVER with the throat thing? Today I've been sneezing and a little sniffly, with that feeling at the back of my nose that usually precludes a cold. I felt completely healthy for like, what?, two weeks since Labor Day. So much for that. Of course, being evacuated Tuesday afternoon for this, and then walking through smokiness that made my hair and coat all stinky, and gave me headache for the next 24 hours didn't help. It's sad though. Architecture geek that I am, I had no idea it was an early Sullivan and I walked by it all the time.

But all that is not so bad (well everything but the fire), since I arrived home tonight to find a box full of absolutely gorgeous books in the lobby, prettier than I even could have imagine. Major props to Ghost Road design guru Sonya Unrein, and, as always Alaina Burri-Stone, who supplied the cover photo. I keep staring at it it's so gorgeous.


I've also made available a handful of signed copies available over at etsy now that I have them since some folks have asked. For Chicago peeps, I'm going to be reading next Friday at DvA Gallery with the after hours crowd and will certainly have some copies in tow...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

ridiculously lucky girl

The little manuscript that could, aka instabilities, the project that wasn’t going to be a full-length project then was, has amazingly found a home, and ohsoquickly at Dusie Press. I am beside my self with bubbliness.

I’d been going back and forth with it over the summer, since some of the poems were already very happy in their various loosely interrelated chapbook projects (but at least one out of print). This is the whole science, birds, and victoriana mass of poems, some of which were part of errata, some from the forthcoming feign chap. They were once my thesis manuscript, until girl show took off and demanded more attention. In the spring, I was convinced they needed to have some more cohesiveness, and after adding the phobia poems, which sort of served as glue, things were looking a lot more promising, so I figured I’d try it at a couple of places that might be interested. Susana at Dusie graciously accepted it a couple days ago, and I’m psyched to be part of such a great little new press, one which recently published Elizabeth Treadwell’s Cornstarch Figurine, and has books coming from Robyn Art, Logan Ryan Smith, Jen Hofer, and others. Plus a whole DIY vibe I can totally get behind.

There were also a couple poems that were bouncing back and forth between manuscripts, one of which was “in the bird museum,” which wound up in the version I sent and which she thinks makes a better title. After I thought about it a bit, I’m agreeing (especially since I was thinking in the spring that the poem “instabilities” itself wasn’t weighty enough to carry the book, but I hadn’t thought of anything better) Now that I’d moved the other poem into the mss (plus a couple others), it makes perfect sense and is a little more catchy I think…and it ties into the themes excellently.

So it should appear late next year or abouts. I'm so happy to have found presses where my manuscript totally seems to just "fit" with, first Ghost Road and now Dusie, each book being totally different from the other. I'm also extremely grateful I didn't have to start the contest game again, which seems like such
a long shot, not one or two editors deciding they like your work and want to publish it, but a whole system of screeners and judges having to agree. I hardly stand a chance.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

another round of the buy-my-book dance

available November 1st!
pre-order it from Ghost Road Press

unconvinced? Read a sample poem and see what other's have to
say about it here.

(And thanks bunches to those folks who've bought a copy...)

bad, bad editor

I promise...the wicked alice all alice issue is coming..soon.

By the end of this month if I have to kill to get it done. It's big and awesome and well worth the wait (and unbelievably tardy since I'v spent the last month and half awash in papers and projects and myriad romantic drama.) Also watch for Kristina Marie Darling's The Traffic in Women, dgp's latest, which just needs to be printed and assembled.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

In other, less interesting news, I managed to whip my paper into shape for Emerging Poetries. It may have involved a blindfold and a flogger. It's a little foggy, but Saturday mornings on the circ desk are good for that. It's been like Christmas in October in terms of mail this week: tinysides, Foursquares, Christine's book, the new Lame House chap, collage goodies from PaperRelics and Dusie's Atelier(yes, so I can put more birds in my artwork than there already are.) Also my shoes, these and others, which I love. Plus a new corkboard for above my desk. I have two little ones, but I'm running out of space. Also chap-sized envelopes and a box of Pilot G-2's. (I'm having store phobia lately, I get cranky every time I go, so thank god for the internet.) Next week, we'll go back to our regularly scheduled program of bills and rejections.
I was thinking about influence, and the list of books that have somehow affected, either influenced or changed, the way I write, spanning all the way back to beginning, when I hardly read any poetry at all, leading up til now, when I read quite alot of it. Sure there are other books that have probably worked their way in around the edges, but these are the biggies:

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe (1990)
A Coney Island of the Mind, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1992)
Ariel, Sylvia Plath (1993)
The Complete Poems, Emily Dickinson (1993)
Collected Poems, Edna St. Vincent Millay (1993)
The Wasteland, TS Eliot (1994/1998)
Meadowlands, Louise Gluck (1998)
An Origin Like Water, Eavan Boland (1998)
Thomas and Beulah, Rita Dove (1999)
Collected Poems, Anne Sexton (2001)
Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson (2001)
And Her Soul Out of Nothing, Olena Kaytiak Davis (2001)
The Air Lost in Breathing, Simone Muench (2002)
Why Things Burn, Daphne Gottlieb (2002)
Last Lunar Baedeker, Mina Loy (2003)
Isolato, Larissa Spzorluk (2004)
Musca Domestica, Christine Hume (2004)
Given, Arielle Greenberg (2004)
Captivity Narrative, Mary Anne Samyn (2004)
The Babies, Sabrina Orah Mark
Steal Away, CD Wright

Mostly women, especially among contemporary poets, but since I'm interested in women's poetics these days, that's who I tend to read. Poe's "Annabel Lee" was probably the first poem I ever memorized, the one that made me want to write poetry. in junior year English (and you wonder where those gothic sensibilities stem from..)I was once in love with the Beats my first couple years of college (what twenty-year old isn't?). My attraction has waned over the years, but I think Ferlinghetti the best in that circle. (Ginsburg fans hate me..) Plath is an easy one. I actually first encountered Plath as icon near the end of highschool (I inadvertently picked up The Bell Jar in the school library and checked it out because it shared a title with a Bangles song and that seemed important). It took me a couple years to "get" it, to understand it. And that Sylvia, the icon, the patron saint of anxious young women writers, with the journals and letters I later read, was what made me want to be a poet. It took me a bit longer to really come to appreciate the actual work, the poems, which came in college, and even now, I read them differently than I did then. Her work is probably the only poet who I can say I have a pretty full grasp on, the work, the biography, the scholarship, the fictionalizations. She's still that patron saint somehow. Dickinson and Millay came a bit later, and for awhile, influenced what I was writing (I'd say in a bad way since as undergrad I was doing wy too many short little rhyming poems). Only later would I come to appreciate Dickinson fully (and maybe still don't).

I talked a bit about The Wasteland below, but I was also reading contemporary poets around then (whatever I could get my hands on and check out at the DePaul library.) Gluck and Boland are ones that stick out as something I was trying to emulate in those days. Thomas and Beulah was on my MA exam reading list and sort of sealed the deal. If I could do THAT through poetry, tell a story like that, I was in it for the long haul. Perhaps it was those failed novel attempts, but if I could do that in poems, which I could already do a pretty good job with, I wanted to do nothing BUT write. That was when my PHD plans, and my brief failed career as a scholar, fell by the wayside. I was already writing in full swing when I discovered the next batch of books, Sexton, Carson, Davis, which sort of formed my voice then. Probably more the Sexton and Davis in this way, Carson, again with the scope and possibilities of poetry. I first heard of Simone's book in early 2002, when we both lost the (well, got 2nd and 3rd place) the 2002 Poetry Center thing. We officially met in 2004 when I finally won the contest (she'd garnered 1st in the intervening year), but her book was already making me write differently two years before that. (The book in particular is also, incidently, linked to the worst online blind date--that wasn't even really a date really--I ever had, but that's one I'll take to my grave.)

The rest--Loy, Szporluk, Greenberg, Samyn, Hume, Mark, Wright-- are things I've discovered over the past couple of years, or since I've been in grad school, mostly things recommended to me (or in Arielle's case because I know her). And for most of them, it extends beyond one book to their whole body of work, but these were the books I hit upon first. All of them having impact in a different way, on a different aspect of my writing. I blame The Babies for my addiction to weird, dark, little prose poems of late.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I was just re-reading a blog entry from a year ago--something that I remember Susan Wheeler talking about when she was here, about the sort of "branding" of poets, in terms of style and subject matter. I've been thinking all along the last few years about the ways in which my work is changing, developing. Where I started out, which was a rather traditional, confessional (in the Sexton/Plath sense moreso than the contemporary Sharon Olds sense--some folks would say there's no difference, I'd disagree.) My models for a long time, in addition to them, were folks like Louise Gluck, Rita Dove, Carolyn Forche. Somewhere in there, Eliot snuck in, and that's what in grad school, started everything ticking. It was funny, because I'd read The Wasteland a few years before as an undergrad and it's had no effect on me at all. Eliot set loose the thing that became I guess, my voice. Who'd of thunk it--the quintessential dead white male. From 1999-2004, my poems were still what I'd consider traditional, lyric, slightly narrative. They started out sort of stumbling and eventually shaped up. The best of them, the most sure-footed, survive in the fever almanac. The earlier efforts can be seen in the chapbooks--especially The Archaeologist's Daughter. Most of the poems in full-length book were written in 2004 (or at least it seems like it)--still lyric and confessional to be sure, but changing. By then, I was pretty good at doing what I do (or did).

I think right after I finished those poems, as soon as the book was finished, all hell broke loose in terms in terms of what I was doing. Alot of it was what I was studying, the hybrid class, working on errata, reading more "experimental" work, utilizing cross-genre texts, studying with Stephanie Strickland. Those poems, which would become feign and instabilities, are VERY different. Or at least they feel like it to me. Not just the collage, the borrowed text, the fragmentation, the very focused thematic concerns, but even the speakers of the poems themselves...a different sort of "I" speaking. Almost as if I was learning what poetry can be in addition to what I always thought it was. And I always had this fear the that people who liked my older work hated the newer stuff an vice-versa. In some cases this has been true. In others I was surprised. I think they both have their audiences, with some crossover.

What's funny is I think I'm circling back around with the newer stuff, girl show especially. It exists somewhere between the other two projects, which is a good place to be. Definitely more lyric, but not quite so narrative, or should I say, resisting narrative. Of course, dulcet is a 180 in the other direction, probably far more out there (though it's still early) than even instabilities.

I still occasionlly still like reading Gluck and Dove and Forche, but also like Hejinian and Harryette Mullin. I like poets on either end of the spectrum and all variations in between. In fact, the only sort of poetry I dislike is BAD poetry...So, it sort of a dicey position to be in..people can't look at you say you're "mainstream", or you're "experimental." Sure, they can talk about the work itself as falling into one camp or another, perhaps, but not the poet. It feels very freeing somehow, not to be "branded", but also a little scary, precarious. Like some freaky no man's land...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

but I don't WANNA

finish writing my draft for Emerging Poets. I'd much rather sit here, drink mint tea, and muse over me and Lauren's Cornell project, which an email from her earlier has some things brewing. I'd rather fill dgp orders and do some more collages. I'd rather fnish a new poem I started Friday. I'd rather sit here and stare out the window. Anything but.

In other news, I am so totally addicted to the first season of Veronica Mars, which I am now into the fourth disc...I was so tired I was barely able to keep my eyes open, but had to tear myself away from the dvd player and keep myself from watching just one more episode last night. It's not Buffy as I've said before, but a highly enjoyable second nevertheless. And speaking of tv, I'm also completely addicted to watching AMC again before I leave for work. Granted with no cable, and just the antenna, it's a little fuzzy. Since I was working all summer, I couldn't watch, but I'm firmly back in the plotlines again, and barely making it out the door in time to go to work to watch the next day's teaser. It's a sickness.


Later: ugh...finished the paper, but it's all crap, and really I'm not all that upset. It feels like busy work. It feels like something I really don't care about. I'd much rather be writing or reading or sleeping or having sex. It's a good thing wasn't this apathetic toward school ten years or I'd never gotten any sort of degree at all.

On the fun side of thing I ordered enough clunky shoes to last me through the winter and nice soft black cardigan to replace my ratty one. Also, a hatchet for my Lizzie Borden costume for Halloween. Not like I don't have enough black clothes to fashion something Victorian looking...

Friday, October 13, 2006

We seem to have hit the first cold snap of the year, and I'm still trying to figure out where I stowed my gloves back in the spring. Yesterday, some snow flurries, even this early in the year. Amazingly, I was out of bed a bit early this morning and got some on the sly and unscheduled reading done, including Michaela's Apples for Adam and Anne Boyer's Good Apocolypse. Also, printed out and packed up mss #2--instabilities to send to a press, having decided, yes, I'd like this to be a book book. (I submitted an earlier version back in the spring to somehwere when I thought it was done, but that was before the phobia poems came along.) Today, more work on my paper for Arielle's class and tweaking the layout on the next chap before I send it to the author. Also, aiming for some more work on the alice issue. I'm about halfway through laying out the 35 poets, and realized I needed more time, so I'm aiming for the 23rd.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

Had an excellent time reading tonight at Molly's, and even braved the blue line out to it's very western edge should I ever want to return to that particular burb again. Of course one should never trust a girl who orders quesadillas in an Irish pub (they were damned good, though). I read some fever almanac stuff, some archer avenue pieces, and a handful of girl show poems. Managed to unload all ten copies of the chap I brought with me. Lets hope the book, when it's out sells similarly well, though not quite as cheaply. The open mic was a good crowd too. The nice thing about reading out there is you get some new faces along with the usuals which makes a good mix.

I find myself occasionally wishing I didn't work evenings and could go to all the readings and open-mics, and indeed all the stuff I miss doomed to the library during the school year. I don't miss it quite enough, however, to give up my cushy evening circ desk time, in which I get a heck of a lot of stuff done. Also my free mornings for writing. I wouldn't give those up, even miss them in the summer , having to squeeze in the time during the day, since I'm way too zonked from getting up early and the nasty rush-hour commuting. All I do is go home and surf the net or watch movies. Not much more mental energy than that.

My ideal weekday routine is up at 10 or so, do some writing, have breakfast, some tea or coffee, check my e-mail, shower, get dressed, go to work, do work-related things--book billings, tracking overdues, invoices, filing (woo-hoo, exciting stuff!) until around five, get some dinner, putter around with various poetry things, then spend two or three hours on the circ desk, getting dgp and wicked alice stuff done. Then home, where I do some blog reading and various online things, eat dinner, maybe watch some tv, then head to bed around 2am. Occasionally there's breakfast or lunch dates sandwhiched in, but not much happening socially Monday through Thurs--I sort of always hate living in the city amidst all the cultural fervor--lectures, exhibits, plays, readings, films, etc, and hardly ever getting to take advantage. Such is the life of a working girl..well not THAT kind of working girl--though that would probably be more lucrative...

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Art: Britta Fahrenbruch (sleeve), Emily Martin (cover) Poetry: Kristy Bowen, Stephanie Young, Kate Greenstreet and Jennifer Scappettone.

I'm loving the cover art here courtesy of Emily Martin (aka The Black Apple). I will soon be needing to order some more of her postcards, but just a few days ago, I procured these.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

read this book if you dare...

I have maybe 20 or so of these babies left and am willing to trade or hell, just give them away upon request if you ask...October being the perfect time for this slim little volume of ghosty poems steeped in Chicago history and urban legend. About a year ago, I was doing research for this project, taking local haunting tours and hanging out in sort of fun.

Tried to get tickets for another tour this year, but they were all booked up for October. There is this I might check out, though fake spookiness is never quite as good as the real thing. I am queuing up my spooky movies for the month (actually am in the midst of Veronica Mars season 1 at the moment). Found this movie again, which nostalgia, and a vague fuzziness of what happens, prompts me to want to see it again. And then there is this, which I do remember quite well and used to watch over and over (this is the one quasi-horror movie my mother would actually watch with us...and it's Disney so it's not that scary.) Of course my Dad was taking us to the video store and letting us rent slasher pics by the half dozen, which he would sometimes watch, but usually it was me and little sis alone while they were out bowling and such, always with the instruction "Don't scare your sister." My favorite was pointing behind her, feigning a look of horror until she'd start crying or got mad...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

this monday

The Molly Malone's Open Mic with your hosts Nina Corwin and Al DeGenova invites you to be part of one of the most highly respected open mics in the Chicago area.

Monday,October 9, join us in welcoming poet
Kristy Bowen

The current featured artist in After Hours magazine, Kristy Bowen is the author of the fever almanac, due out in November from Ghost Road Press, as well as a chapbook, feign, forthcoming from New Michigan Press in 2007. Her work has appeared in a number of online and print publications, including Slipstream, Another Chicago Magazine, The Melic Review, DIAGRAM, Agni online, Rhino and others. She lives in Chicago, where she edits the online zine, wicked alice , and runs dancing girl press, which publishes chapbooks by women authors. She is currently completing her MFA in Poetry at Columbia College.

Molly Malone's Irish Pub
7652 Madison Street
Forest Park, IL

$5 if you can, $3 if you can't

7:00 -- open mic sign-up begins
7:30 -- open mic
8:45 -- featured reader
9:15 -- open mic continues if necessary

Poetry/fiction at Molly's is the second Monday of every month.

Monday, October 02, 2006

It is, pardon the cliché, not raining cats and dogs at the moment, but much, much larger animals. Tonight, after turning off the Lake Shore exit onto Foster, the bus waded through what had to be about two feet of water to make the underpass. About halfway through, OF COURSE the bus stalls out. And the driver, none to wise for even trying to trying to cross it in my book, actually opens the doors and allows a good sluicing of water into the bus., about six inches worth, which quite quickly soaked my shoes. Thank you. I suddenly had terrible images of, at worse, the bus being caught and filling with water, all of us trapped, or at best, having to get out and wade through thigh high water to safety. Neither very pleasant. Luckily, the engine started up again, the water still sloshing around after we gained higher ground and eventually draining out. I think I might need a boat to get to work tomorrow.

In the mailbox, my copies of Backwards City and a package from one Juliet Cook, complete with a lovely collage, some fixins for collages, a wee little notebook, some yummy looking teas, and a “reading is sexy button,” all in exchange for archer avenue. I’ll be making some more available soon, it being Halloween season and all, and a good time for ghosty poems. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

While I'm sort of letting the stuff simmer for girl show as I work out the ordering and what shape I want the thing to take, I've turned my attention back to the defunct (or, now, not so defunct) instabilities project (now including the phobia poems). Am thinking of where I might want to send it, who might publish such an odd little manuscript. I don't think it'd fare well in the contest ring--a little too all over the place in terms of style, even though pretty focused thematically. It's wound up being a sort of amalgamation of errata series pieces, most of the poems from feign, and a few other pieces with a scientific feel, in addition to the phobia ones. Somehow I feel like these pieces need to exist together in some more cohesive way than all these separate little series. I had worked out my ordering pretty well in the spring (when I was still thinking of using it as my thesis mss.), so it's looking fairly good, specially with the phobia poems in there. And it feels a bit like closure on the project, though who knows, the themes have been working their way into the visual stuff lately. Maybe there's no such thing as closure.

Tomorrow, whilst working, I plan on digging seriously into laying out the all-alice issue. I missed my deadline by miles, but it's a giant issue so I'm not all too upset. Plus I've been preoccupied lately with much ordinary life stuff. I did secure the cover art to use on The Traffic in Women, so we're in business there. And did some preliminary designs for the fast on its heels Parapherna.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

in the mail

featuring poems by yours truly, as well as a whole passel of other good folks...
The Esquire

Sadly one of my favorite places to see a movie whilst avoiding the craziness of closed to make room for some more bougie oak Street boutiques and tourist traps...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

small world

Several times this week, in various places, the subject of the tinyness of the poetry world has arisen in a few different places, good or bad, and I have to call bullshit on that one..the poetry world, in general, is by no means small at all (look at the stats of MFA grads alone). I like to think of it as a bunch of different overlapping circles, different cadres of poets organized around presses, limags, reading series, geographic communities, with alot of cross-polination, some accepted/ part of/ chained to the mainstream po-biz world (ie, where the money and "prestige" is.) But usually, that's where the most corruption is, where the circle is the tightest and unyielding, and it's members not really interested in much outside it, thereby protecting their own exclusivity. These are the people, for the most part, at least the ones that yield power, who use smallness as an excuse for all sorts of heinousness (ie. awarding contests to one's freinds, etc.)Even if you consider the folks publishing in higher end journals, there's several different aesthetics, styles, and communities of poets represented. The discussion in the emerging class focused predominantly on the Verse/Fence crowd, since that was what was represented alot among the journals folks were bringing in. But even that, despite the ubiquity, is really just a fraction of the whole, even in the big leaugues.

It's not really about publishing your friends really, or even yourself that irks me (OBVIOUSLY), but a kind of myopia that puts oneself, and one's cicle, however falsely at the center of poetry as we know it, and using that as an excuse for all sorts of badness.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

books, etc...

What a treat to arrive home, after a very wet, stormy commute once again, to find a package of goodies from the very generous Nicole Cartwright Denison in exchange for chapbooks, including a little Alice in Wonderland tote, some handmade paper, a wired voltive holder, and some delectable sugar scrub and bath salts. I'd also gotten some cool stuff from Jill Bergkamp last week--including great Wizard of Oz postcards. Also in the mail the past couple of days, chaps from H_NGM_N and Anne Boyer's Little Ones. I'm waiting, as well, on an amazon order with Carly Sach's the steam sequence, Matthea Harvey's first book, and CD Wright's selected, thus finishing off that nice little Amazon gift certificate I won a few months back. Now if only I had time to read..
Last night, we had some crazy weather that set off the city's tornado sirens, though apparently there were only funnel cloud sightings, nothing on the ground. The sky was the most interesting shade of green, though, just ripe for it. Then it just poured and poured. After heading home, I ended up watching a decent horror movie "The Dark," all Welsh countryside, trepanation, and scary little girls, perfect for a dreary night.

Today's tasks included tweaking the layout on the print annual (which I plan to print tomorrow if all goes well) and updating the dgp website, plus messing a bit with cover ideas for the next few chaps. Also took a perusal through this week's manuscripts for thesis seminar, which got me thinking about projects as poets. I realize at some point I really became focused on individual projects, which has no doubt spurred me to write more, since I have a goal, a direction. It also helps me to be able to "finish" things, for the most part. To be able to move onto the next thing. Maybe it's that practical nose to the grindstone Taurean side of me, but if left to wander aimlessly, writing poems about whatever moves me, I'd never write a damned thing. Too little focus. Or maybe it's those fiction writing roots, to stay focused and work through to completion. To get at things from a bunch of different angles. Sure I often fall off into interesting little diversions, but those things eventually become projects themselves. Right now, there's pulling together girl show, the the barest bones of dulcet, the Cornell project, the phobia poems, and a new fledgeling little project called a brief history of fire, mostly city/Chicago poems. Of course, I get so many things rolling and I never finish anything, but getting girl show in shape is the priority (I think I might like to begin submitting it over the winter.) And the Cornell stuff, since we're planning an April release. And then, who knows..

Thursday, September 21, 2006

coming September 25th

This third annual issue features selected work from the online issue over the past year, including poems by Arlene Ang, Robyn Art, Elizabeth Glixman, Juliet Cook, Rebecca Cook, Susan Cronin, Alison Daniel, Lightsey Darst, Gillian Devereaux, Brett Griffiths, Liz Dolan, Melanie Dusseau, Katie Fesuk, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Ona Gritz, Lauren Levato, Heather MacPherson, Maurice Oliver, Jayne Pupek, Carly Sachs, Erin Elizabeth Smith, and Susan Yount.

order here

(ps. contributors copies should be in the mail late this week)

Lots of brouhaha over the BAP and its selection process. I’m not a fan all so much of the series--suspicious of the “Best” in the title like everyone else. I’ve always sort of suspected that Lehman had a heavy hand in what actually reached the GE, who unless they were a rabid reader of literary mags (which would be the ideal situation), probably don‘t have much of a clue of what‘s published as a whole in a given year. As is, of course it’s going to be a little skewed as to what makes it in. And yes, while alot of those that make it in are awesome poets (see list here), it seems a little unfair they get a leg up from Lehman, while a lot of other poets and poems, even in the same magazines, don't have any such advantage. That’s the “po-biz” part (who you know/who you blow) that makes a lot of us squeamish. Some people just accept it as the status quo and go on about their business unscathed. And admittedly, the flipside of "cronyism" is "community", which is fine when the stakes aren't so high (or SEEM to be so high).

By its nature, I think the poetry world is way too large for anyone anthology to claim to have a handle on it. And no one should probably even claim to--thus my difficulty with “Best.” Anyone can have an anthology, and all of them are going to be slanted in some way. Think of Legitimate Dangers (which we‘re using for a text in the Emerging Poetries class), a volume which has a lot of poets I really like, but it’s obvious the sort of crowd you needed as a poet to be in with--certain MfA programs, certain presses.. etc. Not even taking into account Lehman’s picks, think of how often a rather unspectacular Gluck or Oliver or *insert big name here* poem makes it in, simply because of that big name. It’s not democratic, and everyone in there probably has an edge of some sort--be it they know Lehman, the GE, were in the right publication at the right time, have made a big enough name for themselves that the editors know to go looking to include poems by them. However, I do agree it’s sort of skeezy to not be upfront about it though on Lehman’s part, to continually insist it’s all democratic and no one has an edge. Someone always has an edge. And in something like BAP, which is percieved as the big leaugues by so many fledgling poets, that seemes unfair. If Lehman were choosing his assistants for an issue of a magazine, there probably wouldn't be any complaints, but the anthology has a certain weight, an obligation that Lehman obviously neglects.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Last night was pretty productive in terms of class. Some great feedback on the first few poems of girl show-considerations about sections or no. Ordering, etc. I sort of like the idea of no sections, just a continuous series of little vignettes , which sort of ties in with the sideshow thing, sort of like the ten-in-one. Almost the effect as if you were walking through and looking in the windows, one after another. But then sections offer a breather sometimes, though, like we talked about in class, sometimes they tend to overshadow, overcomplicate. argh…I have no idea. I do remember that word “vignette” though also describes photographs with softened unbordered edges, which sort of mirrors the shape-shifty indeterminacy of the poems. Interesting.

In other news, the wicked alice print annual, long awaited as it is, is almost done being laid out..I just have to do the bios at the end, some tweaking, and we're set. If I would just stop being sick and feel better, things would progress much faster. What I thought were just allergies seem to have been a cold, which evolved into a rather nasty sore throat, which went away, but now I'm still stuffy and croaky, and not feeling at all like doing much beyond surviving and drinking lots of mint tea and eating soup. I think I've tackled everything I let slide in my inbox, as well as filled all the outstanding dgp orders from the last couple of weeks. Next, it's getting that print issue done, then onto laying out the all alice anniversary issue. And then, our next dgp book, Kristina Marie Darling's The Traffic in Women, which we've just started batting around cover ideas for, which should be released in late October.

sooo wrong..

but damn funny

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I was just siting here trying to read at the table, trying to figure out why it was getting so damned dark outside, and realized it's just clouding up. I have at least until closer to seven til it starts actually getting dark. It was warm today earlier, in the eighties, but it looks like it's breaking.

I've been working most of the day on school things--I have to prepare a short little presentation on a literary magazine that publishes "emerging american poetry" as per the class's nomer. I chose The Tiny, since there seems to be lots of emerging and nigh emerging folks in there. Also we have some reading to do in some little bitsy book on literary theory, (so small I seem to have lost it on my desk). Start talking theory and I have bad first round of grad school flashbacks--that hulking copy of The Critical Tradition, glowering at me from the bookshelf a few feet away. I'm all down with the feminist/marxist theory stuff, but alot of the other just confuses the bejesus out of me. We had a whole semester course devoted to it at DePaul, but I remember sort of absorbing it, spewing it back out in a couple of essays, then just never thinking about it again. Too hard to wrap my head around. Definitely, why I'd never make it as a scholar.

We also, for the thesis seminar, have to write up a contract on what we hope to accomplish, what we want from the class, given that people are at various stages with their manuscripts at this point. I've got the whole mess that is girl show, which has just been sort of pouring out since the bginning of the year, without any rhyme or reason, so I'm looking for help mostly with organization, and getting it work as a book as whole. I did discover last Monday that they have miraculously done away with the critical portion of the thesis, which will infinitely make my life a helluva lot easier in the coming year. At first I was a little hesitant (is this just another way of dumbing things down--separating the creative writing and literature curriculum even further than they already are). Then I was like, seriously, I'll willingly be dumb if that means one less half-assed essay I have to write. Color me happy.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Some more artwork up at Unlikely Stories 2.0....

mini-collages/$3 each

available at the dgp studio.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The latest issue of Backwards City Review has been released into the wilds, and lookee here, my poem is on the website. I haven't seen the whole issue yet, but I'm liking the looks of the issue's contributors...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

After two run-throughs, finding virtually nothing wrong with the proofs, and then another since I was incredulous there was nothing wrong, the fever almanac is back in the hands of Ghost Road. And amazingly, this was the first set of galleys I’d seen --or maybe I’m just a crappy editor since dgp books always go back at least once (usually twice) for corrections. Regardless, we’re one step closer. Today, it really feels like fall---dreary,blustery, grey. Cool enough that I had to close the windows and sleep under the quilt. The days are getting shorter, too. Sucks it’s only seven and almost dark. Yesterday, I survived my first Saturday back in the library and didn’t really get anything much accomplished editing wise, but I am settling into a routine at least, which is always hard after those long luxurious summer weekends (long meaning two-days instead of one). Tomorrow, my first day of classes--”Emerging American Poetry” with Arielle at 11:00 and then the thesis seminar at 6:00 with David. There’s a longer than usual gap in between, but I’ll spend most of it camped out at Corner Bakery and try to get some writing done, which usually works, since I’m always a little inspired after class --from the readings, from discussions--(unless I’m having the opposite reaction---lividness, though that doesn‘t happen as much anymore.) Either way, it seems good for the poems.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

dgp goes to awp

Just made all the arrangements, and am making nearly a whole week of it, road trip and all, since I don't get down to Atlanta..well..never. Heard some talk that the conference hotel was booked up mostly and, really, was a little too spendy, even with the discount..(and who wants to help finance anything that had a hand in creating this monstrosity.) I finally opted for the Sheraton, a block or so away, which was slightly cheaper, and suitably swank. We'll be sharing table space at the bookfair with the Switchback Books crew, which will no doubt be raucous fun. I know at least one author will be able to do some signing (since she'll likely sitting right there at the table and all) and I'm thinking Jen Tynes whose book will also be hot off the press will mostly likely be around and about as well. Any of you past, present, future, dgp gals coming? I'll put you to fast work...

As for me I will be shoving books into the hands of the willing and unwilling, and trying to prod folks into the direction of NMP's table to buy feign. The rest of the time I'll likely be either delightfully drunk listening to to other delightfully drunk poets or in the pool-side bar at the Sheraton getting that way. You know where to find me...

An Open Letter to my Loyola Student Neighbors:

A) This is not a dorm, but an apartment building where grown-ups live. People not particularly interested in sharing your four-year-long suspended adolescence. Please do not make excessive noise coming or going or once in your apartment (excessive meaning that which may be heard more than two apartments or floors away). This includes, but is not limited to: running squealing like a stupid drunk girl down the hallway, loud travel between floors and units, Metallica at top decibel on repeat for three hours, shouting out of windows, knocking on doors as if you were on fire, 3am suburban whitebread fighting on the sidewalk out front, and/or loud parties involving group renditions of “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the top of your lugs.

B) Failure to refrain from the above behavior will necessitate not the presence of a sympathetic RA and campus security rent-a-cops, but several of Chicago’s finest. Mom and Dad will certainly frown upon hauling your ass out of jail and may just confiscate that extra kegger money.

C) Contrary to the age you typically behave, this is not your parent’s house. Please keep your trash, junk, and expulsion of all bodily fluids limited to your own apartment.

Friday, September 08, 2006

interneta manifesta

As I was admiring my poems in those two latest issues below (yes, I like my poems, so shoot me), I started thinking about the whole online vs. print debate I’ve talked about before, riled about, bitched about. It’s coming down to this lately--I think I simply like submitting things to online journals, even when they’re rejected. The response time, and lead time to the issue, is much faster, more immediate. I can say, “hey, here’s my poem-read it.. (of course you can say “shut the hell up, you suck” and choose not to.) My point is that I’ve really gotten tired of six to sixteen month response times, and worse, increasing numbers on just non-responsive editors. But still I like chunky little journals, nice paper, perfect binding (or even lovely little DIY missives like Hot Whiskey). At some point I started shying away from that whole academic complex of journals...the ones I’m told I’m supposed to want to get into. The ones which wouldn’t publish me most likely given I’m not swimming with the right sharks, teaching/went to school in the right place, or writing the right sorts of poems, you know, like the ones they already publish. This may sound like bitter boo-whooing, but it’s more than that. I have stumbled somehow into a couple more academic journals over the last couple of years; CPR, of course, which always pretty good, and hardly exactly your status quo academic journal, and Spoon River, which feel a little more homegrown, but maybe only since it’s published in Illinois and things that seem local aren‘t quite so intimidating. I'v submitted to others like Kenyon Review, Jubilat, Field, Smartish Paceat least once, a couple years ago in an ambition fueled frenzy, not really because I’d read much of or liked the journals all that well, but because I was told that’s where I was supposed to be. But it wasn’t. I don’t read those journals. I can’t really afford to, nor inclined to. And I’m not sure I want to spend so much time combing through the drek to uncover the good stuff. I've gleaned that the publish-or-perish climate leads to alot of mediocrity and cronyism to sustain itself. Sort of like snake eating itself thing. I wonder how many people DO read them, regularly, religiously, not because they’re trying to get published but because they enjoy it. Eventually all those poems I submitted to those places wound up online (or in other, cool, indie publications, which I’ll touch on in a second). And I felt stupid for not having sent them to the editors who would have appreciated them first, the people who I’ve gotten a lot of support and encouragement from. Not some cool ivory tower bitch whose completely indifferent to my existence, just because that was what I was supposed to do. Fuck it.

And maybe this isn’t a print vs. online discussion at all, since in the last few years I’ve stumbled across a host of awesome, non-university tied/funded, publications--many of which can be found over there in the sidebar, and many of which I’m stoked to have work in, and oddly seem to be read by more people than the heavyweights. It might be just a blog thing..but that‘s cool. I definitely hear more people talking about the latest issue of The Tiny or Pebble Lake Review (I’m totally biased since I have poems forthcoming in both) than I ever do the so-called biggies. I wish there were more of these sorts of journals to satisfy my occasional lust for paper over pixels…

Then there’s the web.., where there’s a lot of good stuff being published, and better yet, it’s free, accessible, like a broadside handed out on every corner, everywhere in the world. I’m thinking especially as I start sending out all this newer work, the girl show poems mostly, I’m sticking to the web, mostly with a few exceptions of little mag print faves. But I’m not going to be clamoring for that bottom rung on the level to poetry stardom, whatever that is, if it exists at all. What matter is finding readers, and I really don’t think mine are there anywhere on that ladder.

When I used to publish more on the web, when that was pretty much the ONLY place I published since I couldn’t afford all those SASE’s , people were so nice. You’d get a lot of support for your work from editors, and even occasional fan mail. A certain instantaneousness of response. I myself am much quicker to offer feedback with an e-mail link than having to write a letter, address it, stamp it, etc. The web poetry world seemed smaller, though ironically, it was much bigger. I had a feeling people were reading my work, responding to it. (Maybe it was all in my head..) I like that. That’s what keeps me working--not sending things off into the abyss to maybe have them shoved into an SASE two years later with a generic “sorry“, when the poems so old and you've moved on to something else.



Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Yay! I just got the first proofs for the fever almanac from Ghost Road and the cover design. Holy hell, everything looks gorgeous. 70 pages full of poemy goodness. Plan to spend some time tonight on the circ desk combing through.

Monday, September 04, 2006


This above series is not yet available at etsy just yet, since they'll be in the fall Art of the Library Extravaganza (coming to, or just outside, a bathroom near you). There are two new pieces, however, over in the dgp studio in the same vein. once again, I'm working in conjunction with the newly revived instabilities manuscript (thanks to the phobia poems), letting the poems manifest themselves visually--not exactly literally, yet thematically. Sometimes it helps me get out of rough spots in figuring out where I want to go.

back to school

When I was ten and going into the fifth grade, we moved out to where my parents lived now and were living in a pick-up camper (sans pickup) while they built our house from scratch (we had stored all of our stuff in various places, and used the shower/facilities at my aunts house next door.)....My parents didn't close on the house til well into September, but the Rockford teachers strike had delayed the start of school by several weeks and we didn't have to get ready for that first day in those tight confines. But there we were, our clothes procured from the K-mart layaway, school supplies bought, raring to go..

I'm always way to excited by back to school sales, clothes, and supplies (I just recently bought a whole pack of Strawberry Shortcake ones just for nostalgia's sake--I don't really use pencils to write at all..). That feeling of trepidation, and possibility, of newness. New clothes. New shoes. Shiny new virginal notebooks and backpacks. Those hefty textbooks they handed out, their slightly glossy pages. The excitement of first year we were allowed to use ink. I miss being a kid sometimes so much it make my chest hurt. Not that I've given up my back to school pleasures entirely. I plan to go shoe shopping this week. I need a new sketchbook/notebook for classes (which actually start this week, though since both of mine are on Monday I have to wait). I've traded thick text books in favor of slim poetry volumes. Trapper Keepers in favor of loose files full of manuscripts and poems. Mechanical pencils for my Pilot G-2's.

Maybe I'll start something wonderfully new this week. Write a new poem, start a new project. Go somewhere I've never been. One day, instead of defaulting to Subway, take a smashed pb&j sandwhich in a rumpled paper bag. A thermos of chocolate milk. A shiny apple.
I’ve been giving a little thought to this and this, and the intro that spawned it. Now I have a bad reaction to the mention of Billy Collins anyhow (akin to hives)--so much bland, pre-packaged, quasi-humorous, vanilla ness. So I’m not sure I’m all that eager to purchase this year’s BAP, filled with the sort of stuff he seems to like.

But when I read his little break down of what’s good poetry to what’s crap, it made me snort, considering my ratio, at least among what’s typically published in the sorts of journals mined for BAP, would be more like 50/50, the bad fifty definitely being Collins and all the poets who write just like him. Admittedly, I’m not a real big fan of most of the work in the bigger, more popular, mostly academic journals precisely for their publishing poets like Collins. Yes, there are good poets in those journals, poets whose work is exciting, surprising, dynamic, but I have a hard time finding them amidst the sea of mediocrity, and usually only find them when I know to go looking. But I’m also aware that my qualifications for poetry to be good poetry are different from other peoples. I can respect that it IS subjective to a degree (mind you the “to a degree” part.) The blandness of language, the lack of imagery, texture, innovation, the predictable “I came, I saw, I wrote about it” attitude in a Collins-like poem turns me off. Maybe another reader wouldn’t be, depending on your tastes. (Though I‘d argue I have better taste..). When I say “This is crap” I mean of course, you’re free to argue why it’s not. It’s all sort of grey where the line is though, and on occasion I’ve found something to like in poets I might not think I would, and in work that I might readily dismiss. And there’s a large continuum between the truly awesome work, the begrudgingly okay, and really bad, terrible, never should have hit the page stuff.

So to dismiss that much poetry, standing on such shaky ground oneself, makes me revile Collins even more. Granted, he hints at the subjectivity of the process, later on (although I do wonder how much Lehman pulls the strings), but I assume he’s talking about the 17%--what he chose from that. And the argument is moot anyway, considering what’s published in those sorts of journals is probably about 20% of the poetry output of serious working poets, 2% the output of all poetry (the good the bad the ugly) written everywhere. Which leaves out A LOT of work, especially in more indie and online journals. But then since this poetry probably isn’t anything like his own (THANK GOD), it would no doubt be lumped in that other 83% .One thing I liked about Hejinian’s BAP a couple years ago, was it’s mining into unfamiliar territory (albeit a rather aesthetically langpo limited, east coast sort of territory) I’ll bet BC doesn’t know fuck about the amount of good , great, even competent poetry published in any given year in literary periodicals.

Grrr..I’ll let up on the invective to say that I hate the haters. The people who continually bemoan the fact there’s too many writing program, too many poets, too many journals, too many voices. That everyone who writes poems like me is groundbreaking and all the rest of you suck. I’m thinking there aren’t enough journals, aren’t enough presses to gather all the good work. I’m thinking there can never be too much poetry happening. I’m thinking I have my preferences when it comes to the work I choose to value, my criteria, but they are just that. Preferences. And I vote with my readership, don‘t I, the books I buy, the journals I choose to purchase, subscribe to, and even submit to. And that doesn’t necessarily make me hesitant to place things in a ranking system,but to always question the motives behind ranking and dismissal. Who’s ranking and based on what? BC amazingly skirts the issue here--his real criteria, which makes me think he doesn’t really have any…which explains alot….

Sunday, September 03, 2006

oh, glorious three day weekend. And the weather has been gorgeous, clear and crisp, very fall-like. I'm trying not to care about winter one bit at this point, that bleakness registering somewhere near the back of my mind, but I plan (am determined)to enjoy the next couple months anyway... I spent the morning assembling the last of the second printing How to Study Birds, and tweaking the layout on the print annual, which I'd like to wrap up this week and get the contributors copies out before I'm buried in coursework. I did manage to respond to all the Alice submissions last week, so the issue should be out around the end of the month, as long as I can keep on schedule. Actually, my long Saturdays on the circ desk are good for getting stuff done online, so I'm not worried. I did decide to shut down submissions for awhile, since we have a heavy backlog of general work that's come in since the spring for the winter issue and getting more before then would just be entirely overwhelming.

Friday, September 01, 2006

wicked alice: the early years

In honor of wicked alice turning five, I thought I'd point you (well the six or so of you actually reading this) all in the direction of some damned fine poems we've published throughout the years, often my first intro to the poets we publish pretty regularly, or have published through dgp, some of who will also be gracing the pages of the anniversary issue. Shann's comments below led me back to her poem, one of the first we published. And there's Rebecca in the second issue. In others that first year, Taylor Graham, whose chap we published in 2005, ditto Christine. Also a fiction piece by Adrianne Marcus, author of the first dgp book we published.

Check out those mad design skills. That first year, I didn't really vary beyond angelfire's basic template. With their basic editor you just plugged the info in. I remember being amazed when I figured out how to make the text italicized. I SO had no clue what I was doing. Though I was definitely loving the pre-raphaelites in those days.. We were also publishing alot of other things, since we didn't become a solely poetry zine until a couple years later. I reviewed alot of fiction back when I had the luxury to read alot for fun (pre MFA days), and we published essays and fiction, but I always wound up scraping to find stuff from others and to write reviews half-assed of my own. And there was lots of poetry coming in, so I just gave over to it eventually. I also have trouble reading really long stories on the web, so it was even harder to make sure they were edited and formatted properly, which took longer than doing just poems. Thus, we changed the format completely by the third year.

coming soon, year #2....

Thursday, August 31, 2006

life in romper room

Would the person blasting "Enter Sandman" on repeat from their window on one of the floors below me please just stop already..?

ahh...Loyola is certainly back in session...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Yesterday, got an acceptance for four poems from one of my favorite online journals I'd been submitting to at least once a year unsuccessfully for like five years--Caffeine Destiny, so I'm psyched to finally have them take something. Today's mail bought the most gorgeous little notebook I ordered from etsy last week, and a scarf, ditto, since it's getting to be just about that sort of weather, even this early. The last couple of days have been rainy, windy, and cold, definitely autumnal. Excellent sleeping weather, though working the 9 to 5 shift this week doesn't allow for much of it. Today was the first day we've been fully functional at work, though not entirely since Outlook mail and the printers were still screwed up, but at least all catalogs, Voyager, and the internet were working. Tonight, I'm about to settle in with some Thai food and fold chapbooks, though not at the same time...
The wicked alice inbox looks a little less scary now that I've culled the Alice submissions from the general ones. Also, made it through all the old ones at the lycos account, at least for fall. I'm about half done and have about 20 poets who will be getting acceptances soon, so since there's still more from August to go through, this will likely be a pretty big issue, which may necessitate not being able to finish it til the end of the month. So much for landing on the actual anniversary which was September 15th, 2001, though I believe I actually had that issue up on the 10th, the day before, well the 11th. Not sure I would have had the concentration to get it up after that anyway. Not for awhile.

But it was such a tiny issue anyway, a couple actual real submissions and others from people I knew from school and such. And don't forget my sister's Art History 2 Essay on the Pre-Raphaelites. When I took that Small Press Publishing class a couple years ago, the hardest thing they said as an editor at first was getting work, which is funny since poets would say the hard thing is getting published. And I know newish journals that are struggling with this. And now, here I have too much good work, more than I need, more than I could ever publish, which makes us incredibly lucky. (Or at least it feels that way until my inbox starts to look a little feral.) One of the arguments about whether or not to accept e-mail submissions is the fear of being inundated by bad work, which can be sent much wider and faster than by snail mail. But I don't really find that to be true at all. It might be the fact that we're sort of small and word of mouth, which weeds a lot of crap out. Or maybe that the people who submit to online journals are a bit more savvy in terms of actually reading the publications and submitting wisely. Anyone else experience this? Or are we just really lucky that way?

Of course, there are the duds who don't read the guidelines, can't follow the simplest directions, and send terrible work, but I've learned to spot these a mile away… The former are definitely usually a red flag of the latter. But sometimes I'm surprised. I'll forgive just about anything, except general prickishness, which I remember only encountering a couple of times. (sorry, guys, but both times it came from men.) Haven't encountered any extreme bitchiness (except my own).

Still it's hard to believe this little baby will be five soon, though, 21 issues. I love it most of the time--(except when I'm cutting and pasting code sometimes until my fingers go numb.) But that's only a couple days per issue. Otherwise, I love reading the work, being introduced to new poets, putting the final product out there.