Wednesday, May 31, 2006

next tuesday

I'll be the feature @ the Cafe. 8pm. 5115 N Lincoln Ave.

Readings in bars are always dicey. Come watch me have one too many rum & cokes to combat my usual nervousness during the open-mic beforehand, and then get up to read and fall over a chair or something. Always entertaining. I'll no doubt be giving away copies of The Archaeologist's Daughter if you're nice, or even if you aren't...especially if you aren't....

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

hot damn

*trying to act all normal and nonchalant while concealing the squealing*

It appears that not only was feign selected as a finalist in the NMP/Diagram contest, but they actually want to publish the thing. Holy hell, and here I almost didn't enter at all when I was boo-hooing about how hopeless contests seemed. I'm way excited, considering I love both the web journal and the chapbooks NMP publishes. That's why I went ahead and entered anyway, even after all my whining. And they've published at least two of the contemporary poets in my pantheon of poet goddesses, so I'm psyched to even be associated with the press. I'd entered last year with errata to no avail and was expecting as much this year, but WOW...

public service announcement


At some point in your past, there was likely an event linking poetry and emotional trauma. Whilst the original catalyst may have been a real-life scare of some kind, the condition can also be triggered by myriad, benign events like movies, TV....

Sunday, May 28, 2006

coming June 1st

How to Study Birds
Sarah Gardner
dancing girl press, 2006
details here

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Since dgp is releasing not one, but two books in the next month or so, Sarah Gardner's How to Study Birds and Robyn Art's Vestigial Portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, time is in short supply, so I'm holding off the release of my own little project, archer avenue (aka the Resurrection Mary poems) until July when I'm doing the print annual. Though it's only a wee little 16 pages, it still will take more time to print and assemble than I have. I'll likely just give them away or offer trades since I've gotta save my shameless self-promotion energy for November and the book.

Since the inbox is positively filling up with manuscripts (I suspect the culprit may be a listing on the crwopps list) it's going to be harder than ever this year to choose among them. Already I have more manuscripts in two months than we had the entire reading period last year. I'm planning for six books next year--ideally 3 from the open submissions and three solicited. This year it was five from the pile and two solicited. After next year, we may have to do some downsizing when our lovely editor has to start repaying her student loans, but we'll worry about that then. Now it's piece by piece. Yesterday, I got a $300 check for teaching the web workshop in April at CPL, and I have my eye on one of ten sweet $2,000 Columbia Staff Arts Awards in the fall.

This weekend, I'm off to my parent's house for the weekend, so I'm not counting on getting anything productive accomplished. I'm not even taking any books with me...well, maybe a notebook...and one book....and maybe a file with my manuscript...
and a pen...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

the fever almanac

somehow seeing this makes the whole book thing seem much more real...only five months to go...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I'm finally making some progress on gussying up some of the napowrimo stuff. Some of it's sideshow stuff and some of it Cornell. I'm finding my head is alot clearer without school work mucking it up, so I'm even approaching something like productivity these days. Have been thinking about my thesis, the critical portion, which may somehow tie the whole notion of the female gothic and ecriture feminine(Cixous) into poetry somehow, on down through confessionalists (Sexton, Plath anyway), how it manifests itself in fragmentation, ellipticism, surrealism among contemporary female poets, and how I see that operating in my own work. Which will probably be a good companion to my manuscript, whichever one it is, corruption and transgression in instabilities, and beauty and the grotesque in girl show. (I'm thinking it may be the latter the further I get with it with the revisions.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Yesterday, a couple of excellent readings, the first at WomanMade Gallery's swanky new digs on Milwaukee, and then Myopic later in the evening. Since I never get over to that side of town very often, I took advantage of some strolling and shopping time and bought a couple of nifty looking chaps at Quimby's, though there wasn't much else new since I was there in January poetry-wise. Our books look a little more picked over with only 1 or 2 copies left which is a good sign.

I did register for classes on Friday for fall--the thesis developement seminar (in which I'll be joined by Brandi and the other Switchback Books gals) and a lit class on "Emerging American Poetries" which should a be a good compliment to last semester's Contemporary American class. I'm looking at the home stretch and seriously, it cannot get here fast enough. In the last couple of classes, David asked the graduating students if they were experiencing MFA burn-out after two years. Try THREE...of course I was sort of burned out after a semester, but that was a bad semester, a bad year. Luckily things have gotten better. Avoiding certain people in the program helped immeasurably.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

This is an interesting article.

The term “online poetry” seems somehow a misnomer, though. I think, at least in my case, and probably most other folks, the poems they write aren’t particularly geared toward online venues anymore than they are toward print. The poem is just a poem when it's hatched, barring of course things that depend on the internet specifically as a medium---hypertext, new media, certain types of vispo. And yet in the last year or so, I have to admit I publish and submit work, probably in a ratio of about 5 to 1 in favor of online publications. At one time I did so almost exclusively, though this was a financial thing at the time (I couldn’t afford all those SASE’s.)

Your everyday poem could probably appear in either medium. I think it’s a question of how you want to distribute the work. While I like a nice little sexy and slick print journal as much as the next girl, there are a few hard facts I have to face when seeking publication in them, mostly circulation limitations (even with something as big as Poetry or The Paris Review) and the cost. If someone is interested in getting a copy a.) they have to find it (though the internet makes this much easier these days than fifteen or so years ago.) and b.) they have to be willing to pay to play. With electronic journals, there may still be the problem of getting the word out, but your readership is unlimited and free once you do. Though, I do like to ideally hold things in my hand to read them, something solid and not in need of electricity, I still read much more poetry online simply because I spend a lot of time in front of computers both at work and at home. Sometimes I think the age of the literary periodical as we know it, as a way to distribute individual poems, may be transforming, and perhaps we’re moving toward something else, not simply magazines as a way to distribute poems, since that can be done via the internet much more cheaply and effectively, but maybe moving in the direction of more journals as book arts—unusual publications like Cannibal and Forklift, OH.

I’ve also found in most cases, with a few print exceptions with unusually fast turn-around rates, publishing poems online is much more efficient, both in terms of the ease of e-mail submissions, fast acceptances/rejections, smaller slushpiles (at least at Wicked Alice this is the case), shorter lead time on issues, greater immediacy. When I send something to an online journal, I can probably safely feel that at least one editor will at least open the message and probably read it(which at some big print journals with screeners, that may never happen.)

Since when I submit, I tend to think of poems in journals as little ways of getting my name out there and leading people back to my work as a whole, the website, the chapbooks, etc, I feel I get a little more bang for my buck. I mean it’s cool to be a part of something among other poets, but it mostly boils down to the entirely selfish and publicity-whorish reasons.** I’m not so much interested in the glory of landing fancy publication credits anymore and winning prizes for their own sake , although I am aware those fancy credits and prizes are sadly part of the equation, too. Generating interest in your work. The more interest=more readers.

Since I don't really simultaneously submit as a rule, I do find myself becoming a bit more selective about which print journals I submit to, ones that I can’t help but try to be a part of because of what they publish is exactly what I’m trying to do, or the design of the journal, (I’m a whore for nice cover art). Or local publications that are more community oriented. Of course they’re still apt to reject me just as readily, but at least my SASE, or having work tied up for months in limbo, seems worth it.

**Of course, I'm aware that I make poetry sound like selling used cars or insurance, though it's more like getting radio play, I imagine. It doesn't have much to do with the actual art, this business side of things, what I create or how I create it, but what happens afterwards with the finished product. I suppose it's a necessary evil depending on how you see it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

myopic bookstore cat

me in my next life if I'm lucky...I think I can manage the attitude and eighteen hours of sleep daily, but the lack of thumbs might make reading sort of hard...

Tilly Losch
Joseph Cornell, 1935


Apparently someone requested one of my chaps be purchased for the library and a couple months ago I donated 2 copies of each--one circulating copy and one for special collections (yay! I get to set shoulder to shoulder with the porn and cool book arts stuff!!). Today, I was walking by the new book shelf and spotted them with their slick little call numbers and they seemed so odd and foreign to me. As library books and not just something handed out a readings. I just checked the catalog and no one actually has taken any of them out just yet. They seem so frail and flimsy--one tumble in a book drop and they're a goner. At least the fever almanac in the fall will be a little heftier and a lot less fragile.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, the first full and unencumbered one in a while. Saturday, I have some collage stuff that's begging to be worked on, and Sunday, a couple readings. (dgp authors/artists Lauren and Lina, plus some other good folks at WomanMade, and then perhaps going to Myopic later.) Since I'm now disentangled from having to work on the weekends, I may actually get to have something like a life. At least for the summer anyway. After three years of this, I occasionally forget what it's like.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

oops..I meant metrosexual, metrasexual is TOTALLY different..

dead horses

I don’t know why this is one that continues to be beaten, but:

a). the Wicked Alice Chicago Issue is not an “anthology.”

b) with the exception of the last Chicago issue in 2004, clearly touted as “Chicago Women Poets,” all issues are equally open to male poets, female poets, transgender poets, interspecies poets, interdisciplinary poets, homosexuals, bisexuals, trysexuals, metrasexuals, the ambidextrous and illegal aliens. “Women Centered” is a vague term, but which usually just means a female element, speaker, character, focus. (but even that's open to interpretation) You’ll really impress me if you can quote Helene Cixous, but that’s not a requirement.

c) the e-mail he is referring to was sent by a fellow poet who wanted to informally publicize the call for submissions to her mailing list. Not me. So, believe me, “the editor” had no hand in soliciting him to submit. While I respect the role Bianchi plays with his Chicago Postmodern Poetry website and perhaps his critical acumen, his work really, some of which may be seen at Seven Corners, I find not really to my own aesthetic taste. But to each his own, I guess. Considering he names three poets earlier in his post as people he differs from aesthetically, and whose work I happen to love, this is not surprising.

d) guidelines and editorial policies for Wicked Alice are clearly stated in the simplest language at the website should one choose to look for them.

e.) Wicked Alice has no problem with simultaneous submissions, nor should anyone consider submitting poetry to us a “sacred act.” on par with ritual sacrifice (though it feels like that sometimes.)

f) perhaps his discussion was an important one, but his basis of argument regarding the-mail, was faulty and based on his own misunderstandings. Therefore, the rebuttal.

g) His mention of a “vanity exercise” made me laugh. Since I publish work that I happen to like and think is important, that does seem to make it all about me. So be it. I like poems and I want them out there. And yes, don’t you know, it’s all about me. (because I get such fame, fortune, and glory from coding 8 hours worth of html per issue and my mega-staplethons.) Me. Me. Me!!

h).Unlike some editors, I'm not making any grand aesthetic statements that what I publish is the end all be all of poetry, that we're a "serious forum." A couple months ago, I saw a discussion on anthologies/journals on editors who claim the above and those who see themselves as collectors. And that's mostly what I get out of doing it, the collecting aspect. Poems like river rocks or really cool stamps. Here *holding out my palm*, look at these...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Excellent news. I have taken on a partner in crime, Lauren Levato, for the Cornell project, which will contain all sorts of goodies from both of us--art, poems, prose, various oddities. It's the first collaborative thing I've really done, so I'm excited. She's awesome, go check out her website if you haven't,and you'll see what I mean.

In other news, I am tired, tired, tired. Fell asleep on the bus this morning, later accosted on the street by a drunk homeless lady who actually grabbed my arm and who I had to shove away with a quick "get the fuck away from me" (it WAS early) right in front of some college administrator looking types. That's life in the South Loop. They looked at me like I was the one who was crazy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Today it’s warmer, but wet and drizzly. Bad, bad dreams last night, the same car wreck one twice. In the car with two different people on a road near my parent’s house with a dead end in a line of trees and the person driving speeds up and won’t stop. Then I wake up, heart racing and somehow both times on my back (which I never sleep on.) I think my sudden day-schedule has made my sleep patterns all wonky.

Since I’m stuck at work with a lot of extra time to make myself look busy, I’ve managed to finish up the galleys on the next release, and go through a few wicked alice submissions. I’m still chipping away on the Cornell poems, thinking about design aspects for a chapbook, though that’s pretty far off in the future, not til next spring most likely. I’m thinking maybe something in a box or envelope, something not too unlike his own “Portrait of Ondine” or “the Crystal Cage.”—poems, prints, and ephemera. It might be a little more costly, but I could do a smaller run I imagine.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

what I did today

checked in:

4 full carts
2 sides per cart
2-3 shelves per side
2 1/2' to 3' per shelf

number of booksdrops: 3
number of times in-library bookdrop
filled to capacity and emptied: 4

rude last minute paper-writing asshole count: 1

total hours discharging: 5/8

If anyone hands me a book in the next 24 hours I'm going to fucking throw it at them.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Rainy and dreary and cold. Which pretty much put a damper on today's Manifest, the year end street fair event on campus. There's supposed to be a parade with giant papier mache puppets later, but I suspect they'll melt. All day, what was supposed to take place (music, dance performances, readings, etc.) in Grant park wound up under crowded tents at Harrison and Wabash. Was going to take a walk around to the galleries and wait out the parade, but may just go see Art School Confidential, which looks to be fun.

(evening update: Art School Confidential freakin hilarious and dead on..go see it.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

pet peeve

The most ridiculous question I am ever asked by non-poetry inclined folks is "What do you write about?" Or "What's this poem about?" If I could articulate that for you in any sort of normal way, I wouldn't need to write the damn poem.....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I'm seeing that light at the end of the tunnel, which either means the semester is nearly over or I'm dead..either way, no more schoolwork. At least for the summer anyway. We're still waiting for the semesterly deluge of book returns at work, but it's coming no doubt. I've been wearily eyeing the last minute paper writers with their stacks of books on Renoir, Degas, Andy Warhol, all the same really, surveys of the artist, where 10 probably won't help more than two or three. And then there's the issue papers, people checking out stacks about abortion, gay rights, euthanasia. (This is also when I thank the lucky gods I'm not teaching freshman comp and don't have to actually read/grade these papers.)Either way they'll inevitably bring them back seriously late and whine about the fines they owe. I'm rather looking forward to the quieter more studious folks somehow over the summer term.

And summer, I'm almost desperate for it. Iced tea and the beach, flip-flops and summery skirts, lemon italian ice, beer gardens and boat rides, the film festival in Grant Park and the Printers Row Book Fair. Bring it on. I'm not so crazy and pre-occupied this summer, so I plan on enjoying every bit of it. All I have to focus on is the press and wicked alice stuff and my own writing. Bliss.

Last night, finished up the layout on How to Study Birds, which will go to the author for proofing shortly. Hopefully, I can get the covers printed this weekend. I've finally caught up on all the orders from the last two weeks, so if I owe you a book, it will be on it's way today.

Got the excellent news today that I'm going to the featured poet in the next issue of After Hours: A Chicago Journal of Writing and Art. Very cool, and the issues are always so damned pretty, very slick and polished, one of the best I've seen. I've got to round up some more poems and a longer bio in the next couple of days, but considering the caliber of past features--Stuart Dybuk and David Hernandez for example, it's hugely flattering to be chosen....

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Since I’ve got about forty or so pieces for girl show (a good chunk of them thanks to napowrimo), or at least forty or so half-assed pieces (of which I'll probably keep about twenty), I’m taking a break before delving to any revisions and going to work on some Cornell poems...largely because I’m getting tired of shifting all the books and notes I've ammassed over the course of the last two years around on the table at home and want to get them out of the way.

Last night went to see An American Haunting, which while it sounded promising was a little disappointing. The whole Bell witch thing is cool, and I like the basic idea behind the plot twist –the whole incest, trauma, adolescent poltergeist thing-- but in this case it’s a little bit too suddenly hatched and feels way too much like it’s been done too often before. I found myself wishing about halfway through for some twisted dark stuff instead of just ghosts, but it doesn’t deliver until the very last ten minutes or so, and even then seemingly out of nowhere with no clues woven throughout the rest of the movie that would have made it a much smarter film. I also kind of thought it rather odd of them, after the movie is over, to flash the definition of “poltergeist” on the screen for the dimmer members of the audience in case they somehow didn’t get it. The scares, while good at building some good startle moments, were sort of lame, and sometimes funny bad (the girl getting lifted in the air and bitch-slapped repeatedly by the “ghost”). Also, the camera movement was a little out of control when they were doing all these swoopy ghost things and it sort of made me nauseous . And I so hate when some grand explanation sort of dims the scariness. I like the ones that are frightening over and over again, regardless of what is uncovered.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Shimmy just reminded me that today's the aniversary of the Kent State thing. When I was 19 and still optimistic about the government and the possibilities of freedom of speech and wanted to go to law school, I made the mistake of reading this book. An excellent book, I was riveted, but woefully discouraging and sad. It gives a run down of everything that happens in the days before and afterwards in a sort of novelistic way, sometimes from the point-of-view of those involved and those that were killed. The worst thing was not even the official response--goverment and school administrators, but the people they talked to in the community, who completely sided with the National Guard and said the protesters deserved to be shot at. The silent majority who still seems to be pulling the ropes these days. As for the book, I'd checked a paperback copy out from the Cherry Valley library and read it until it dissolved in my hands and had to turn it in rather sheepishly bound with a rubber band. They let me keep it, but hell if I know where it's at now. All I know is I was (I am) alot less optimistic--try to change the world and they'll shoot you in the back.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


another Cornell series piece up at Diagram
Yesterday, I received word that I'd won the Quarterly award at The Adroitly Placed Word for "night drive" (one of my other favorites that took forever to get it published) Considering my competition, it's hugely flattering. It entails a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate, which of course, I've already spent. It was funny, the editor, John Vick, gave me the option of also donating the 50 to a literary organization of some sort. Of course, I opted for the gift certificate (gimme, gimme, gimme!!!). Not a charitable bone in my body when it comes to books. Just ordered Julianne Buchsbaum's two collections, and Sarah Manguso's new one.

Speaking of books, have recently gotten in the mail some fine looking ones by Jeannine and Jenny Boully, which, now that I actualy have some free time, may actually get to read, along with all those sexy little chaps I've been storing up the past few months.

Had to perform laptop CPR last night. Windows wouldn't boot Monday night, and after trying everything I could find to do online, finally just used the recovery disk and started from scratch, which meant a couple hours re-installing software, but she's in fine working order this morning. And in regard to other sorts of CPR, theres a release reading for the Columbia Poetry Review tomorrow evening, for which I'm sneaking out of work for a couple of hours. Haven't seen the issue yet, but it contains my smutty architecture poem (actually not that smutty, but smutty for architecture).

Since they're revamping the cable system in my building, and my days it... are over, I also had to order an antenna to get local channels for news and AMC (which I won't be able to watch anyway once the summer starts and I'm working days). As for cable, I refuse to pay for a bunch of crap I never watch. Also ordered cover stock for the net three dgp chaps--some ivory linen for Sarah's and various samples for the other two since I haven't yet come up with any solid ideas on design.

Monday, May 01, 2006

a poem up at kaliedowhirl, the last of the fever almanac ones to find a home.

Two more things to do this semester and I'm a free woman.

Tormorrow's presentation (I'm hoping the poems will carry more weight than my paltry discussion of them), then my final project for forms, which somehow went from sonnets to prose poems because they worked better that way and I'm not pulling off the rhyming thing well lately. They're a good chunk going into girl show anyway. Except for the ones that somehow want to go into the older book, but they still work in the context of the project.

The workshop on Saturday went well, a good size group of about 15. I started off talking about possibilities for personal websites, showing them some samples of Chicago poets, then moved on to the basic-how to, promoting your site or blog, joining communities, and ended with a a survey of online journals of various approaches. (They really liked the stuff at Born and Poems that Go. Plus audio recordings (MiPo) and sound poetry (Drunken Boat). All in all a good way to spend an afternoon. Did catch this year's Juried reading. I wasn't particularly jived about the work of the winner, but LOVED the poems read by second place poet Natalie Shapero (not at all the kind of poet you'd expect Billy Collins to select.)

I had a brief rush of relief as they were announcing the winners that I wasn't down there in front holding my breath again. Winning was great both runs (3rd one year, 1st two years later) and I got so lucky those years that the judges seemed to like something in my work (first James Tate, then Campbell McGrath). The odds are just so monstrous now. Double the entries, and not just Illinois poets, but regional.So happy I'd already been there, done that.