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.

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 cemetaries....my 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