Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Every year, the library has a costume judging contest where they line everyone up on the fifth floor amidst various treats and orange tablecloths. Competition is pretty fierce, especially among some of the librarians. I'm usually arriving too late for the contest, but one year I was dressed as an evil fairy with painted black wings and managed second. Things, however, have gotten a bit more competitive since. I usually try to go with things that aren't too far out of my wardrobe zone--witches, black cats, last year, Lizzie Borden. One year I was Little Red Riding Hood.

So I was staring at my closet this morning, and finally decided on a couple of crème slips, a slightly poofy underskirt, a crimson red satin skirt I never wear (rolled up to be shorter) a lacy camisole, and some black stockings, and tried for the whole can-can dancer thing. I think it'd be better if I'd really had time to do my hair and make-up, but it will do I suppose. Of course, I always feel slightly conspicuous out in the world outside the library. I think it would be a much cooler holiday if EVERYONE dressed up, don't you? All those people in their conservative offices dressed in costumes. But then, maybe I've just never let go of being a kid.

It's always been my favorite holiday, all those years my dad would drive us to a nearby subdivision (we lived on a street sort of in the middle of nowhere, so there wasn't much loot to be had there.) It was always raining or cold it seems, so we'd inevitably have to wear jackets under or over our costumes. I always looked forward to our naighbors across the street who gave out cans of soda, which in a diet-only household was definitely a treat. Then we'd come home, where my mom had been stationed to dole out the stuff for the few kids who did make it round. Then we'd watch bad horror movies and gorge ourselves on candy. It was better than Christmas. Hell, chocolate and horror movies--definitely two of my favorite things even now. Even when I was in college, there were always drunken costume parties (and the theater crowd I hung out with took it very seriously). Nowdays, I'm usually working on Halloween, so I have to make my own fun....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm still rather zombie-like the past couple of days, particularly since staying up til 4 am busily working on things has been replaced by staying up til 4 am watching season 3 of Veronica Mars. This is much better, though not as productive. I still have to finish cutting and boxing Secret Meanings tomorrow, and print the covers for the print annual...Both will be avilable by week's end. Still no ideas for a Halloween costume, though. And the laundry I washed last weekend is still sitting in the cart I've been dressing myself from. I have also ran out of clean forks, so it's probably time to do the dishes. Or buy new forks.

Friday, October 26, 2007


21 Poets Start the Evolution

Saturday, October 27, 2007
7 - 10 PM

Café Ennui
6981 N. Sheridan Road [@ Lunt]


Kristy Bowen
Dina Elenbogen
Richard Fammerée
Chris Green
Omer Hadziselimovic
Ralph Hamilton
Arica Hilton
Larry Janowski
Francesco Levato
Lauren Levato
Samantha Levine
Brent Mesick
Erika Mikkalo
Charlie Newman
Stella Radulescu
Deborah Rosen
Anastasia Royal
Steven Schroeder
Diana Twyman
Rachel Webster

This is a free event.
Please feel free to invite everyone in your extended family.
All donations will benefit

* * * * * *

UniVerse of Poetry

An interactive forum and celebration of international poetry
universal dialogue, compassion and peace.

UniVerse is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to human

and the dignity of humanity. Donations are tax deductible.

UniVerse of Poetry is an artist-in-residence at Flatfile Galleries,
Shakespeare & Company, Paris

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Lately I feel like I've been losing entire stretches to all the craziness. Between the various press projects, crafty stuff, Atelier stuff, work stuff, writing stuff, I have nearly lost the entire month of October. In less than two weeks we move into the studio. Somehow, I looked up one day and the trees were bare. The few that still have some stragglers have completely changed color. I realized it was Monday since I wrote the last entry, it's now Thursday, and I cannot tell you where the intervening days went. I've been staying up til 4 or 5 am working on things, then rolling out of bed around noon and rushing to work for eight hours, then repeating the pattern...That might explain the surrealness of the last two months, though I'm not sure. There are books to make, packing to do, poems to write...when I sleep, it's like there's a constant ticker tape in my head, so it's an odd dreamy half-sleep...

Monday, October 22, 2007


I do love them, god help me, if only for the reason there is more mail, it having been saved up over Sunday. Tonight I arrved home to a plethora of small boxes including some jewelry making supplies, some slips from e-bay, some interesting paperweights and birds for new projects, my copy of [Growling Softly], a couple straggler dusie chaps, and some cover stock for Bee Spit. Am still waiting on paper for the labels on Secret Meanings, which throws me a little off schedule, but I should be able to get a good number finished and posted for sale by the end of the week.

And of course, as if I don't already buy enough from etsy, I was perusing just now looking for inexpensive, smaller vintage owls to use in a new series of shadowboxes I'm plotting, and came across this little guy. Now normally I'd say no, since I have no where to put it, my desk already full of stuff. I even have a green one I found, and while it was too big for a box, I wound up putting him up for sale. And then I thought what a perfect little mascot this one would make for the studio, and had to buy him. Oh the things we can talk ourselves into..

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


[Growling Softly], published by Blood Pudding Press, is now out and available at etsy.

and speaking of dessert-like presses:

Caketrain newest issue is available for pre-order.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

new stuff @ etsy

Yesterday, I managed to finish all four deer shadowboxes and a couple new collages (coming soon.) Whenever it gets cold in my apartment I tend to just want to curl up in bed or on the couch under a blanket and accomplish much of nothing. Did finally get photos of the my new costume jewelry finds and the slips, some of the newest offerings. I've been dying them to mostly sleep in for my own amusement for a while, and picked up some extra ones in various sizes and though I'd give them a similar treatment and see if I could sell them. The shades turned out lovely in this batch, and I love the way the embroidery and the lace takes the color. There are some other goodies due this week as I get supplies, so stay tuned...

Tonight I have some more chaps and some lasagna to make (and by make I mean take off the plastc and stick it in the oven.) Also, the much neglected laundry--I have a bad habit of running down and washing a single load of the necessities while a mounting pile overflows in the hamper of linens and infrequently worn things. Eventually it takes over the closet floor and I have to do something about it. The work area similarly, and much of the rest of the apartment, is a chaos of boxes and paper which likely won't recede until next month.

It being October I've been getting my fill of horror movies, with more on the way. 1408 was rather good, but I watched the directors cut which seemed better than what I've heard of the alternate theatrical version/ending. Also, The Number 23, while not really scary, proved more than creepy nontheless. Last night Unrest, which was surprisingly less horrible than some of it's Horrorfest counterparts. Of course the third season of Veronica Mars (which I have seen, nor heard, none of yet) will be out on dvd end of the month, so there will be a weekend devoted to that. Call me then and I will have to hurt you..

Friday, October 12, 2007

call for submissions

dancing girl press is looking for your epistolary poems for a DIY-inspired book arts anthology project due out in February 2008. This is a small limited edition art book project involving each piece as one of a series of 14 “love” letters by women poets/artists in a 5 x 7 box, each with its own author-designed envelope. We are looking for unconventional takes on the idea of love letters, both textual and visual, and with the widest interpretation. Please send 1-3 epistolary pieces (either in the body of the e-mail or as an attachment) to dancinggirlpress (at) yahoo (dot)com by November 15th. If you are selected to participate, each contributor will need to submit 100 copies of the piece and 100 self-designed envelopes (printed, collage, all the same, all different, whatever your heart's desire) by January 15th. Each chosen contributor will get a complimentary copy of the project after it is released (Valentines Day).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I have decided that the chaos which is my life desperately needs systemization. I now have a system for poetry related tasks---dgp business on Mondays, wicked alice on Tuesdays. My own work/projects and writerly business on Wednesday. Atelier stuff on Thursday. Then whatever I want to work on--random art stuff, crafty projects, poems--over the weekend. So far, I've got an amazing amount done with such focus, instead of just sitting every day trying to do too many things, getting frustrated, then wasting time freaking out or compulsively making to-do lists. On Monday, I got out most orders, (there are still a couple larger ones I need to pull together..)and finished the final version on Secret Meaning of Greek Letters. Luckily the boxes arrived that very day in the mail, so I got to put a mock up together for the full effect. Yesterday, I was able to get through the stuff I was considering for the Fall Issue and design the contents page, plus finish my layout on the print annual. I was also very productive on some new things for etsy last night after work, but more on those soon... Today, I revised the poem I finished last week, and wrote a new one (I tend to scribble notes all week and put them together all at once. I find, after a couple of years of finishing a poem every other day, one a week is a nice rhythm that doesn't make me crazy with it.) Tomorrow, scheduling a reading at Quimby's for December and designing a postcard for the studio.

I've also developed a system for dealing with wicked alice subs. I always feel a little weird when an issue winds up overly heavy with people I've either published quite alot before, or people who I sort of know, be it the real world or the blog world, or whatever, especially when I always roll my eyes at certain web and print journals who don't seem to make any effort to find new voices at all. So I've decided for every person who I know, or know of, I have to publish someone I don't know at all. So since this Fall issue seems to have an ample number of people I have a previous connection to, I had to fill it with an equal number I've never encountered before. Next years dgp schedule somehow tips the other way--there are more people I don't "know" actually or virtually, than ones I do(except for the Chicago people--most of whom I know by circumstance.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I just got back from the Lillstreet reading, which was an excellent time. It was ginormous crowd, including the opening crowd and fiction fans, lured by Niffenegger, who was hilarious with her non-fiction piece about digging up dead cats and this little essay. Very different from the small audience most of us poets are used to and scary enough to set this one shaking in her boots (or flip-flops in this case--it's damned hell hot here for early October). So I was nervous, which doesn't usually happen, but I lived. Also got to hear poems by a couple of poets hiding out in CC's Book & Paper program, one of whom I'd oddly had a nice chat with in the library a couple years ago.

I was also almost late, tricked into thinking getting a cab along Sheridan would be as easy as any other time on an unusually warm Saturday night I have this weird anxiety about being late I also have anxiety about being too early, which I usually am, because of navigating tricky CTA schedules. I HATE being the first to arrive anywhere, especially when I'm going somewhere alone. I DO howver, like a little time to settle into my surroundings. Someone always asks me if I get nervous about reading and the answer usually is no. But I DO get anxious about going to new places, possibly getting lost, being late, etc. Once I'm there, I'm fine.

Besides the reading, most of my afternoon was spent wresting with my wireless connection, which has been all fritzy the last three days. I would work for a few seconds then lose the connection. This happened once before, and in that case, it was AT&t apparently because it stopped of it's own accord. But this was far, far worse. After messing around all last night with the settings, power cycling the modem, trying a restore point, I finally plugged it in and it worked like a charm, which meant it was either the router or something wrong with my laptop. I tried re-installing the router to no avail. I finally managed to google the right question, which led me to the linksys site, which led me to the solution (I had to change the signal channel.) I always get a little thrill when I figure out how to fix tech stuff know nothing about on my own--without frantically calling my more computer literate friends. So we're humming along nicely now...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

reading on Saturday

Fictional Characters Exhibit
at Lillstreet Gallery
curated by Audrey Niffenegger
October 6 - 26, 2007

After the opening reception on Saturday, October 6 there will be a reading with Niffenegger and others, including Jacob Knabb, fiction editor of ACM, and Kristy Bowen, poet and founder of Chicago based publisher Dancing Girl Press.

Opening reception: Saturday, October 6, 4 - 7 p.m.
Poetry & fiction reading: 7 - 8:30 p.m. - all events FREE and open to the public.

Lillstreet Art Center is located on the northeast corner of Montrose and Ravenswood at 4401 N. Ravenswood.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I’ve been thinking more about something that came up in Monday’s discussion, something I mentioned about subjectivity. I was blasting the New Yorker, as I am want to do, because, though I, like everyone at some point, years ago, thought it the crowning achievement, and now, after actually, like reading other sorts of poetry, realize it most definitely is NOT. Still, I mentioned that really all I have to judge whether something is bad or good IS my personal like or dislike. Sure, there are things, criteria, we can agree on. Dirty-limerik type rhymes for example, or clichéd expressions (though we might disagree what is clichéd after all). Beyond that, I have certain criteria that other people do not. They expect things I do not. In poetry, it is completely true that beyond a few standards that raise a poem from terrible incompetency, no one really speaks the same language when they talk about “good” poems, or “excellent” poems, or “sublime” poems.

One of Chris’s points was that, in limiting subs to women, we might miss out on something “great,” with the underlying position, I’m assuming, that the aim of publications should be to publish the best of the best—the greatest—the sublime, and that somehow we might miss that by our limitation. I think one of the reason I’m not particularly bothered by this is that, to me, the idea of greatest, some universal standard of awesomeness, is completely unfathomable to me. Great according to who and what standards? The canon? What literary mag X or Y says? And aren’t those standards subject to suspicion?

In the end, I publish what I like. What interests me. I publish books that I want to read. I’ve said this before. That doesn’t mean I expect everyone to like then. But I wind up publishing those books and poems I love enough to devote time to wind up w/ sore hands, and an occasionally cranky back, from stapling and folding to bring them into being. I do it out of love, not for some grand idea of the “best” or what literature should be, but because I love these books and want to put them into the world. I’m not trying to change literature, or contribute to some grand culture (though I DO somehow, as any press does, it’s inevitable, but a delightful byproduct.) And I would gesture most small presses are driven by a similar subjectivity—at least the ones not driven by the bottom line. I am saying, these are books I adore, you should read them, too. Words like “best” and “greatest” just don’t mean anything to me. According to who?
The pretty much final line-up of next years chaps..all 16 of here. I wound up doubling up a little in the later months, it's not that terribly hard to work on two at a time, having done it a couple of months this year. I will need some time getting the studio off the ground the first few months of the year, so the double features don't start til summer.

We also have another addition to this years's schedule in November, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney's Something Really Wonderful. I am in the midst at the moment of laying out Michaela's Secret Meanings.., which is going to be awesome and very cool design-wise. I tried about four different things in terms of how to go about it and wound up back at my initial impulse.(boxes, M, in case you were wondering...)

I've been sleeping better this week. Not quite so many racing thoughts. I'm in promotional and info collecting mood for Atelier at the moment. Toward the end of the month, there'll furniture buying and scavenging and planning to move all this crap. Of course the compulsive listmaking is still going on. There's still the print annual and the fall Wicked Alice that needs tending to. And a piece of my own that needs to be gussied up and submitted. I'm still processing orders that are coming faster than I can keep up. There's only about a week's backlog, but it's bigger than I would like.

(also, a happy B-Day shout out to my little sis, who is now only one slim year away from thirty...)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

calling all midwest dwelling poets

I'm super excited about being asked to be a part of this again this year (I was a jury member in 2005 after winning the year before). You have to admit $1500 for some poems is pretty sweet.

from The Poetry Center of Chicago:

CHICAGO— Literary activist and award-winning poet E. Ethelbert Miller will be the final judge for The Poetry Center of Chicago’s 14th Annual Juried Reading Competition. First prize winner will receive $1,500; second prize, $500; third prize, $250; five finalists will receive $50. Poetry by the eight finalists will be published in a chapbook by Dancing Girl Press and all eight poets will be invited to read at an award ceremony in the spring of 2008.

The Juried Reading is open to all poets residing in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Poets may be unpublished or have published no more than one full-length book of poetry, not including self-published books. All submissions are blind; the jury and the judge will have no access to identifying information about the submitting poets.

To submit, mail:
1. A cover sheet including your name, address, phone number, e-mail address and titles of poems submitted.
2. Four copies of a packet, independently stapled, of no more than five single-sided, typed pages of unpublished poetry. Your name should not appear on any of the pages containing poems.
3. $15 jury fee, check or money order made payable to “The Poetry Center.” The contest is free for Poetry Center members.

All entries must be postmarked by Friday, January 25, 2008. Poems will be accepted by US mail only. Send poems to: 14th Annual Juried Reading, The Poetry Center of Chicago, 37 S. Wabash Avenue, Suite 704, Chicago, IL 60603. E-mail and fax submissions will not be accepted.

Founded in 1974, the award-winning Poetry Center of Chicago is an independent not-for-profit arts organization that is committed to building Chicago’s access to poetry through readings, workshops, residencies and arts education. The Poetry Center is currently in residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For more information about the 14th Annual Juried Reading, please contact Francesco Levato at 312 899-7483 or For general information regarding the Poetry Center visit This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

That is, if you're not against these sorts of things..:p

Monday, October 01, 2007

poetry and feminist dick-tater-ship

Okay, that’s it.

I have tried to be civil and engage the argument on rational premises. Did not bat an eyelash when it was implied I have three books because I’m a woman, basically, and it’s harder for men to get published. Did not pounce on the condescending & personal little digs against myself, Brandi, or Danielle. Did not point out, that while he seems to enjoy playing the victim here---that no one allows him to disagree, that he had to know he would bring down some serious shit when he started bashing niche presses when two of the people who regularly read his blog happen to run them. Did not say that really, from someone who regularly bemoans his lack of success in the publishing arena ad nauseum, it does seem a bit like sour grapes to attack the presses that won’t publish you and the people who HAVE had the success you so desperately crave. I tried to play nice.

afternoon addendum, a summary:

I realize now that sounds a little harsh and overly personal, but really, his points are shaky, not backed with fact, and the tone behind them whiny and self-entitled. I think this is the central argument: CA seem to think niche presses are exclusive of people who do not fit into the group, not only as writers, but as readers and audience. I do not agree, given my experience as a publisher and as a reader myself, who reads all sort of books by presses that would not publish my work for whatever reason--aesthetic divides, race, location ,etc. I tend to seek things out because I like the poet or have seen their work somewhere, not because of who published them. For all of his arguments on why niche presses are detrimental to poetry, I can give you a reason why they are actually better for poetry, or if not better, then certainly not harmful to it, whatever their particular leaning. I can give you a list of the people who buy our books, 1/3 of whom are (gasp!) men. I have no idea whether they are feminist males only that they apparently read & enjoy poetry by women in the same way I read and enjoy poetry by people of other genders, races, sexual orientations, than my own.

And now, really, that I think about it, at least in regard to feminist presses (which he was not solely referring to, though he admits that's what spawned the initial post), even if, say, his theory was correct (and it so obviously isn't) that our books will only appeal to a narrow demographic of women writers. 50% can hardly be called a niche. Now that I think about, to even make the gesture of calling poetry written by women a niche is putting in place a male paradigm where anything that falls outside of that, or excludes it, is therefore an "other" or a specialized niche. And that sort of thinking, I'm afraid, is why we need feminist presses.