Monday, March 31, 2008


Okay, I think I started my poetry buying spree a little too early to qualify for the massive onslaught of National Poetry Month brouhaha. Enticed by several e-mails that floated my way today I ended up spending a decent chunk of our proceeds from Friday night at places buying chapbooks. And that doesn't even include the full-length collections I have my eye on. I've been spending most of my money on crafting supplies (and maybe a bit too much on vintage housewares) the last couple months, so I say a poetry spending spree is well in order.

Plus it's going to be April, my favorite month, Eliot be damned. I have lots planned, including all sorts of new little writing projects (no NAPOWRIMO this year though, I don't need any more anxiety than I already have.) I will also be sending work to all the kind folks who have asked for work amidst the craziness over the past couple months and probably given up hope by now. Probably for the first time in several years I find myself with absolutely nothing out in submission. It's oddly freeing, not checking my e-mail or mailbox (well for poetry news anyway) obsessively...but then it also makes me feel very neglectful...

now available from dancing girl press

Mock Martyrs/Abound
by Julia Drescher
dancing girl press, 2008

get yours here...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Small Press Showcase last night was a success, even if it did go on a little too long. Necessary to fit everybody in, but I do think an audiences attenion span starts to drift after a couple hours. Sarah, Daniela, and Melissa were awesome of course (as was Kathleen Rooney who got cut a little short at the end reading for for Switchback), and we sold a ridiculous amount of books. I'm always delightfully surprised at how many people want to buy them and how much praise I was hearing for our poets. (And not just the ones at the reading.) Funny thing was that, when I heard that it was an eight foot table I thought, hell, we'll never fill that. As you can see, not really a problem...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

small press month showcase @ the poetry center

Tomorrow night, we will be here, featuring our latest two poets, Melissa Severin (Brute Fact) and Daniela Olszewska (The Partial Autobiography of Jane Doe), as well as Sarah Gardner, on loan from Iowa, whose How to Study Birds we published in 2006. We'll have all our newest books, including those, billet doux's, some copies of some oldies but goodies, and quite possibly, depending on how much stapling I can get done tonight, the much overdue wicked alice print annual. Also, if we're really lucky, perhaps a sneak peak at Mock Martyrs/ Abound(depending on how much stapling I can get TOMORROW.)

We are also putting the finishing touches on Melissa Crowe's Cirque du Creve-Coeur. I was going through the book a final time this afternoon and am, as with each chap, amazed at the sort of work we get the honor of publishing. And there is so much more this spring coming soon, incuding Maggie Ginestra's Darger poem series, and then May titles by Anne Heide and a collaboration from Miriam Pirone and Edward Smallfield. You will love them, I promise.

In the oh-my-god-I-am so-behind realm, the last of the billet-doux contributors and subscriber copies have finally been released into the wild and should be winging their way to you as we speak. I was also gazing rather warily at the wicked alice submissions, the spring issue of which is pretty much filled and we will be reading for summer through the end of April.

My nasty little bug seams to be abating though I determined yesterday that attempting any sewing whilst coughing is a rather dangerous endeavor.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My flea market prowling over the weekend turned up a couple of really cool things like this martini shaker set and some lovely dishes, as well as an antique washboard I'm keeping for myself. Of course, I also seem to have found a weird coughy illness which was no doubt aggravated by dustiness and dry air. And here I was priding myself on an entire winter of being cold-free. (I'm convinced it has something to do with not being in grad school any longer.) But then I have a record of being sick over easter. Since it's spring break and I'm not quite so needed at work this week, I decided to stay away from work today but I'll no doubt be heading over to the studio a bit later as I'm feeling a bit better and there is really just way too much to do before the end of the month to even think of taking a day off...

Thursday, March 20, 2008


March 20, 2008
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Library, 3rd floor east

April is National Poetry Month and to kick-off the festivities, the Library's d.i.y. series (do indie yourself) Real Art. Real People. Real World.: Independent Artists Share Ideas for Creating and Sustaining Success debuts with a panel discussion from three emerging Chicago poets on their experiences fostering their work through a variety of time-tested DIY methods related to writing and building an audience, including publication, poetry groups and workshops, readings, literary journals, and independent presses. Looking for an answer to "What do I do now?"? Longing to put all your knowledge, ambition, and talent to use? This panel will give you some great ideas...

The panelists:

Jacob Saenz graduated from Columbia College Chicago in the winter of 2005 with a BA in Creative Writing - Poetry. His work has appeared in a handful of journals such as RHINO, Columbia Poetry Review, Inkstains and Poetry. In 2007 he was nominated for an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award.

Kristy Bowen graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2007 with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing - Poetry. She is the author of the fever almanac (Ghost Road Press, 2006) and in the bird museum, (Dusie Press, 2008), as well as several small press and self-published chapbooks. Her work has appeared in Swink, Backwards City Review, DIAGRAM, Caffeine Destiny and others. She is the editor of the online litzine wicked alice, and publisher of dancing girl press, which has published over 30 chapbooks and book arts projects by emerging women writers. She recently moved the whole operation into a studio / reading / workshop in the Fine Arts Building down the street and off of her dining room table. Her third collection, girl show, is forthcoming from Ghost Road in late 2009.

Todd Heldt is a poet-librarian in Chicago, and his poems and short stories have appeared in dozens of print and electronic journals. He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and helped judge the 2006 Poetry Superhighway poetry contest. His chapbook, The Science of Broken People, was published by Little Poem Press in 2003, and his first full-length collection, Card Tricks for the Starving, is to be published in 2009 by Ghost Road Press. In 2002 he toured coffee houses and bars in the South with a self-published book and CD of poetry, making enough money to replace the transmission when it dropped out of the car in Texas.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

in galatea resurrects #9

Juliet engages feign,

also, a review of [growling softly]...

small press showcase

CHICAGO-- In recognition of National Small Press Month The Poetry Center of Chicago is presenting an evening featuring some of the City's excellent independent literary publishers from 7pm -10 pm on Friday, March 28, 2008 at the School of the Art Institute Ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Ave. Admission is free, though donations are welcome.

The program will include featured readings by participating press authors as well as a book fair at which press titles will be available to purchase and press representatives will be present to answer questions and discuss their books. Participating Presses are Answer Tag Home Press, Cracked Slab Books, Dancing Girl Press, Featherproof Books, Fractal Edge Press, March Abrazo Press, Puddin' Head Press, and Switchback Books.

The evening’s readings, listed by press affiliation, are as follows:

Answer Tag Home Press – John Tipton, Joel Felix, and Laura Sims

Cracked Slab Books – Garin Cycholl, and Lina Ramona Vitkauskas

Dancing Girl Press – Sarah Gardner, Daniela Olszewska and Melissa Severin

Featherproof Books – Susannah Felts

Fractal Edge Press – Charlie Newman, Al DeGenova and Wayne Allen Jones

March Abrazo Press – Raul Nino, Olivia Macel and Carlos Cumpian

Puddin' Head Press – Nina Corwin, Sandy Goldsmith and Marydale Stewart

Switchback Books – Kathleen Rooney, Hanna Andrews and Becca Klaver

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 35th Annual Reading Series, please contact Johnpaul Higgins at 312 899-1229 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.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

tuesday that should be wednesday

For the past two weeks I continually find myself jumping ahead by a day, thinking it's one day when it's not. Last night an attempt to find hotel accommodations for my little upcoming mini-vacation after my reading in Atlanta next month turned into a three-hour bust. I was supposed to do laundry and work on sewing a few more slips for a boutique in Alaska that wants some on consignment. Instead I found myself scouring listings for what I was looking for to no avail. On the plus side, I am reading a good, slightly trashy / semi literary novel that is shaping up to be interesting, The Bronte Project by Jennifer Vandever picked up in the B&N bargain bin. Sort of bookish chicklit, I'd estimate. All is not lost, but of course there are several things I am silently freaking out about, but then that's usually the case. At least it's all quiet on the personal front these days, nothing solved mind you, and things still far from ideal, but I'm happy. Love is such a bitch.

late night edit:

It's all settled. I will be spending my birthday in Myrtle Beach, which is a straight 5-hour drive east over from Georgia State. I am just going to loaf and stare at the ocean. I desperately need a vacation. I seriously almost removed a girl's head and handed it to her tonight at the circ desk when she got all snippy about fines (for books that were SERIOUSLY overdue.) And Myrtle Beach is lovely, at least off season. We drove down there when I was living in Wilmington once. Of course, on the drearyest, frigid winter days I occasionally wish I'd stayed down there (in Wilmington at least)..but then I remember they get hit by a hurricane like every other year, which would definitely throw a wrench in things.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I'm in one of those whirlwind months where the next thing I know, a week has passed and it's Sunday again... This week will no doubt get eaten up as fast, what with finishing up and getting out a couple of chaps, a poetry panel on Thursday, then headed out of town to Rockford on Friday for Easter and flea market/thriftstore scouring... I'm mailing out the last few straggler billet-doux copies out to contributors, so if you haven't gotten yours yet, it should be there shortly. Plus actually making progress with the poor neglected print annual. Also, the last 25 of the andromedas assembled. I'm getting alot of things done, but then there always seems to be more to do. Of course, last night in the studio I gave into the tiredness and crankiness and made these....

Today was spent sewing and photographing new unmentionables for the shop. Even though my botch rate is still pretty high (one in three needs to be dyed again), I managed to get alot of good ones last weekend somehow.

I've been trying to coax spring out of Chicago, but it's still a little too early.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I am convinced the post office has it in for me. And I'm not even talking about wayward rejections and acceptances. I did finally get the package that was in Chicago/New York limbo, bouncing hither and yon three times, but it's official, my print from Art & Ghosts was eaten by the postal trolls as well as an order order of dye. Bath salts was apparently turned away at the Brazilian border and there is now the first official casualty of the cat eye glasses that were snapped in transit. And now, an at the hotel andromeda order has dissappeared. I am shudder as I address more packages, including the billet-doux copies that are so very crushable. And UPS I believe hates me as well, since they insisted on trying to deliver packages while my building manager was AWOL and I had to reroute them all over the place to get them. the daughter of a retired postman who has heard horror stories, I can assure you they are all out to get me...
Just a welcoming note to our first and only dgp staffer, my illustrious sister, probably one of the only people who has been dealing with my control freak tendencies her entire life and hopefully doesn't hate me for them.

She's helped out in the past on a couple projects including hand sewing like a gazillion copies of The Violin Teacher, but has now officially been clocking serious time in the studio putting things together while on hiatus from her temp job, so I figured I should like, put her on the masthead, even though I can only pay her in free meals now and again.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008


This is the last one of these for the season before they take the operation on the road around Chicago this summer. We'll have the usual assortment of poetry chapbooks and paper goodness, including our 3/$10 notecard deal and some pretty new text based jewelry pieces I'll be finishing up tonight.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

etsy goods

Yesterday in the mail were these...some lengths of velvet ribbon and vintage seam binding. I don't what they will become, but they were wrapped and packaged so pretty in their little pink box from Junque Art I just had to show you. They also reminded me of this poem.

Also, these which will make some interesting jewelry pieces in the coming weeks.

interesting psychological experiment

"She thinks just because she folds and staples some pieces of paper together that her words are the words of God."

(And please DO note I never said those poets (the good ones) sucked just because they'd paid to be in the anthologies. Only that they were in woefully poor company and should perhaps reconsider where they send their work or their money...)

(edit) Apparently, now what I do does not involve massive amounts of time. And maybe he’s right, I mean I don’t have a bunch of acolytes willing to give me handouts , so, you know, I have to have a like a real job that eats up about 40 hours a week and while it’s enjoyable work, it sort of cuts into poetry-related stuff.. I’d say each chapbook we make only takes about 30 hours or so from editing, laying out, proofing, printing, assembling, etc. And since we’ve been doing almost two projects a month, that’s spread over about a two week span. Not to mention packing orders, dealing with daily press business, and promoting our titles. Add in about another 2-3 hours per week dealing with wicked alice business and reading submissions. All in addition to the etsy shop that pays the rent on the studio space and for which I have to make a lot of things and spend a lot of time on keeping our inventory up--to which I devote about 2 hours a day. And now that I'm not in grad school anymore, there's probably a few extra hours in my day, alot of which is spent commuting between the far north side and downtown. Of course, I could just play the pity card and ask people to give me money before I publish them or host readings with strings attached...

As for why we publish women, it must be Thursday, since I feel like I have to defend that about once a week. It's gettin kind of old...

I'm finished with all this anyway. So happy he's managed to get some more "donations" from this. PT Barnum must certainly be right... took me awhile, but I think I recall the manuscript he was talking about, submitted sometime in 2004. I was probably pretty naive my first few years in Chicago as to people's agendas and motives. They asked for submissions, I sent one. Believe me, if I held a grudge for every book, every chapbook, every poem that ever got rejected (or in this case apparently never responded to if he still has it after all this time), I'd have a helluva lot of people to rail against. In fact, that very manuscript, if it's the one I'm thinking of, no doubt went out to about a dozen places before it was absorbed into the last half of my full-length book. I barely remember which presses let alone hold grudges. It's probably for the best anyway. No doubt he would have asked me to kick in on the production costs if it had been accepted... I suddenly have the rather hilarious image of him rifling frantically through boxes looking for some dirt on me. *sigh* I'd been guessing everything he was going to say as I was writing my responses, but the fact he pulled that accusation out of his ass, very well done. Wrong ,mind you, but I think it proves my point about arguing with crazy. I'm sure he'll come up with some other dreadful accusation shortly. Then he'll like, insult my mother or threaten me. You all should get some popcorn...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

some clarifications

Now that I have some free time, I just have to address a few things to this rebuttal of my argument from Monday...

Gee, if I’d known that all the support I’d gotten from came with a stipulation of one day having to pay up at some point, I certainly would have thought twice about participating in their readings. Actually, the facts are a bit wrong…I very readily tossed a few bucks in when they passed the hat at the Poetry Crams, even donated to the Poetry Fest one year. In fact, after I had donated, and heard that another poet had been denied participation because he wouldn’t cough up the same money, I wrote an email that expressed the fact that the whole paying to read scenario made me uncomfortable. I backed down (a poor choice in hindsight) and participated, when I was convinced it was otherwise. It became a bit harder after that convince myself.

Of course, shortly thereafter surfaced Chicago’s American Open Mike anthologies, which for a large reading fee, and very few editorial standards, would ensure publication . Now, of course, he may have rejected a few—and this is not to say that by happenstance perhaps some quality poetry by good poets made it in there, but it looked organizationally a lot to me like those scams. Even now the “Thank You” anthology markets itself as a way to get published, touting " is visited by over 500,000 people every year, so if you want your name seen and your poetry read by a lot of important people, this is your chance.” Yeah, not dubious at all. I just didn’t want to be associated with something quite so shady. CJ may insist that paying a contest fee is akin to what he’s asking of poets but I, and most people, don’t exactly see it that way.

In fact, his response only illustrates my point, a illogical rant equating his actions with Time Out charging for subscriptions and Poetry Center event tickets—so completely not the same thing. It’s one thing to charge for a finished product or reading--simply supply and demand. Entirely another to dupe poets basically into paying you to publish their work, no matter how good and well-published they are otherwise. As for him singling people out for wrath, one need only to look at the repeated angry e-mail blasts that have been fired off quite frequently over the past five years and there are all the names you need. Of course, it all plays itself out as him being the victim of these malicious forces that are out to get him. Yeah, right…. Perhaps Laity has not provoked this discussion because he dares to disagree but the way in which he does it, declaring himself spokesperson of the Chicago Poetry Scene and professing to speak for a legion of small local presses none of which has surfaced…sort of like the legion of people he thinks are out to get him.

As for calling me unpleasant, I oddly never had any sort of beef with CJ during the time I was participating in his events. I tend to be rather quiet and reserved in general, so if he interpreted that as unpleasantness, that's his problem. As for being egocentric, probably no moreso than any poet, and since, as he claims, I very rarely spoke to him, I wonder how exactly he was putting up with my ego. Yes I did win 1000 dollars from the Poetry Center years ago. In fact, used that money to start dancing girl press which has since thrived and tripled in the number of books we publish. I don’t get paid for any of it and our authors only get paid in copies. I do not however, expect them, by my publishing them, to fork over cash to pay my rent, nor do I feature them in readings and expect anything in return.

What e-mail?
The initial one from Wayne Allen Jones when he took on the responsibility of organizing it. I said yes to that one, the proposed Chopin Theatre event, which is how, I assume dancing girl wound up in the line-up. The next thing I heard was that the Poetry Center had taken on the task. I hardly would support an organization I disagreed with merely because they'd given me money, even if it wasn't years ago and under an entirely different PC administration. As for Boeing, there are sadly very few corporations that don't somehow contribute to the war directly or indirectly, however much we may disagree it. Hopefully, their karma is a bit better by supporting poetry, but who am I to say. If your problem with the Poetry Center were merely based on sponsorship, I could at least respect the opinion. Since we've established that it's based on that AND a healthy grudge at not being included...well, not so much.

Monday, March 03, 2008

In other, less tiresome news, I am busy tweaking the final layout on Julia Drescher’s chap and getting the billet-douxs, packed up and sent off with help from little sis. I’ve been trying to get two hours of work done in the studio daily, but I may need to add three. I’m always a little disappointed when I have to leave and head to, well my real job, when that part of the day is much more fun. (except shipping days, which are becoming a bit unruly.) I have to get to work this week though, since already it’s time for another round at the Empty Bottle this weekend. It's exhausting just thinking about it. Won't some big nasty corporate sponsor come along and give me money so I can have some sexy manservants to make chapbooks. Pretty please?

most talented

pretty much exactly what I expected..eerily almost word for word. And well, you all know how big my ego is. It’s totally all about me. ME! ME! ME!

Incidentally, I AM “unpleasant”. That is a truth pretty much universally acknowledged.

in the bird museum

a visualization:

created at

Sunday, March 02, 2008

new week, new people to piss off...

First, read here.

Because, as someone just said to me, you cannot argue with crazy, there are things I have hesitated to say. I admit, was very helpful when I initially came to Chicago in discovering what was going on and introducing me to all sorts of great poets, many of whom became friends. CJ Laity was even generous enough to review an early chapbook and I found the site an excellent source of poetry news and event organization. Through the couple of years I was involved in their readings, I saw instances where certain poets were singled out for wrath, for whatever reason, and like many people who continue to be involved in the events, was persuaded these folks were the horrible people the editorials painted them to be. I have since of course actually met some of them and found them not at all awful. CJ Laity seemed, in person anyway, a pretty decent guy, despite vitriol I saw him with which I saw him attack some people over and over again. Inevitably, it started to wear thin, and soon I saw people being attacked for absolutely no other reason than that they’d dared to disagree or question something that was going on--mostly was the thinly veiled “pay-for-play” scenarios that kept cropping up repeatedly at the site and the rather questionable anthologies. After that, I decided to pretty much distance myself from the unpleasantness.

Face it, any celebratory or awareness month has corporate sponsors—from National Poetry Month to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They are the people with the money to contribute to the basics of marketing such an event on a national level, and that’s what this is about. Every town in America can have their own small press fair throughout the year and it will not make as big a splash as something going on nationally. Not just New York, but coast to coast. It is not New York telling Chicago what to do, but an attempt to draw several cities together across the country. In no way do I see it as anything but that, an opportunity to celebrate small presses. I’d be game whether the event was hosted at the Poetry Center or the bar down the street, nationwide sponsorship or no. Not to mention, big name chainstores like Barnes & Noble sponsors alot of literary events in Chicago, including The Printers Row Book Fair, which Laity has no problem supporting.

I would take’s argument much more seriously if I didn’t see that what it really boils down to is sour grapes at not being included among the handful of presses in the lineup. Besides I have yet to hear of any other press being denied participation that wanted to. From the initial e-mail call for interested presses, everyone is accounted for. Plus several have been added not on that e-mail. His “movement” of rebellion is populated entirely by himself and the few people who still believe the bullshit. I suppose in even responding we are giving him far more attention than he deserves.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Today's reading was awesome with Jen and Kate--exactly the format I'd been hoping for--somewhere between a reading and an informal lecture. Today's topic, the first person and the lyric "I" and the tension between them.. I'm excited by the possibilities.....

It's March again, not only Women's History Month, but also Small Press Month. We are so very down with both that we'll be celebrating all over the place this month, including a DIY Poetry Panel at Columbia College (details TBA), a Small Press Extravaganza at the Poetry Center, and a Support Women Artist's Day gig on March 29th.

And of course the best way to celebrate as such is to publish more great books by women poets. Look for Mock Martyrs / Abound by Julia Drescher (who runs the very fine and beautiful DOS Press) coming in the next few weeks, as well as Melissa Crowe's Cirque du Creve Coeur around April 1st.