Friday, October 31, 2008

kitty hijinks and the usual ghosts

Yesterday was a weird day and it wasn’t even Halloween yet. I woke up to find that the kittens, in the middle of the night had succeeded in TPing the living room. Then, later, when I ran over to the studio, I was greeted by a door deadbolt locked from inside (apparently my key does in fact work to open, it just takes a little muscle, but since I don’t use the deadbolt, I did not know this. ) When I knocked on the door to ask the manager about it, he said he’d send an engineer and it was
“probably just the Fine Arts Building ghost, bwahaha!”. Oh great. I’m more inclined to believe it was the night crew who emptied the garbage…but nevertheless. Later, there was weirdness again with R that has me bewildered and worried and all the usual emotions associated with him.

I was thinking I might sneak over to the studio tonight to finish a couple of things, but now the idea of being there on a Friday night, with all the ghost talk, I think I’ll just go home..

In other news my Medusa costume was quite a failing, my snakes too slippery, my hair too resistant to to actually attaching them, so I wound up just being a regular old black clad cranky poet-girl today. Maybe I'll stick my head in an oven later just for kicks.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I just discovered that on Tuesday, Obama and a million expected supporters will be anxiously awaiting election tallies in Grant Park. I will be right across the street from the whole shebang (literally) and getting off work at 10. It's supposed to go til 11, but lets' hope it's a happy celebratory million and not a cranky, disappointed million...

However, if there's even the slightest chance that Caribou Barbie will be running the country after McCain keels over, you will find me in Canada come Wednesday morning...

Evening Edit: Actually, I just found out they will be closing the campus at 6pm. on Tuesday. The Fine Arts is also apparently closing at 6 (and rumor has it, some businesses down here have been asked to close at 3pm. that day.) I know CC closed up early on the night before the 4th of July when the fireworks mob assembles downtown, so this must be I guess I will be going home to watch election returns that night (actually online since I get no tv reception without cable anyway....)If the Dems do lose, and the crowd goes all riot crazy and burns down the building, at least they won't miss me when I flee to Canada...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

jesus had two mommies


I really try not to talk about the idiocy I quite regularly witness over in the etsy forums, but this had me cracking up. The nativity set is actually rather sweet, and if I were at all religious would think of getting one…I like that it focuses on the expansiveness and inclusiveness parts of Christianity, the redefinition of family units, incorporating different lifestyles, etc..

But that blog entry, which seems to be started and written solely to attack the artist, is hilarious in its awfulness, misspellings, idiocy, and bad grammar galore…I just had to share..

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Once again, in lieu of last Friday off, I am stuck working Sunday. The good side is that I didn't have to come in until noon. The bad side is this week will be ever so ridiculously long. But then again Friday is Halloween so I'm excited, and my Medusa cosume is shaping up well...though how I will actually get the snakes to stay in my hair is still in question, and whether I actually want to wear them on the way to work also in question (I tend not to be the sort of person who likes to attract attention themselves. I've also always thought it would be cool if EVERYONE, grownups and kids alike did Halloween, so that you didn't feel like such a spectacle when you do..) It's a damn serious business here in the library, sometimes terribly cuttthroat when it comes to the costume contest. There is, after all, money and cupcakes involved.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm not your bitch, bitch

Reb Livingston says it here and says it very well...

"For those poets who are not married to a particular way of doings things, i.e. Legitimacy's Bitch -- it's time for more of us to start using that creativity we possess towards getting our work out there -- "


Occasionally, even I find myself the only poet in the room who's saying that self-publication, or at least founding presses ourselves --the whole redistribution of cultural capital is a good thing. I found this, with a few obvious exceptions, to be especially when I was getting my MFA, and even among alot of poets I consider friends. That nasty little hydra "legitimacy.." I wrestled with it for years, frettling over where I published, who would publish my book, all the things that I was supposed to want but didn't really care all that much about--prizes, teaching positions, residencies, fellowships. But really all I wanted to do was write and have people read it and like it. I've been thinking about this and I believe it all boils down to audience. Everything you do as a poet (including all those things above, are really about getting an audience aren't they?) Yes, send your work out. Spread those poems everywhere to reach new readers. Do readings. Get involved in literary communities. Make it easy for them to find you, to find more work if they are inclined. If a good number of editors have found enough promise in your work enough to publish, you might be ready to put together a chapbook. Enough work and maybe you have a book.

Now comes the hard part, the bottleneck. I know, looking at even dgp submissions, 50 percent of the manuscripts we will not publish are infinitely publishable. Some I am going to hate to turn down, but there's limited time, limited resources. I hope they will search and find another home, hope they will consider starting collective ventures, or possibly publishing their own work. If you believe there is audience and readership enough to support a book you send to someone else to publish, and you have the resources to do it, why not take it on faith and consider doing it yourself? Now granted, it's nice when another press wants you. It means at least one other person (or people) think it should be published and we poets are an uncertain lot sometimes. We also hope that the press will give us reach that's bit farther than we could do on our own..and this is an awesome thing. Reaching new audiences. But those presses have limits to what even they can do. Sometimes it's necessary to just take matters into your own hands. Winning a prize can be awesome, and I'm definitely not against them as a whole, but you shouldn't place your viability solely in them as an artist. Your book's existence, it's opportunity for readership, should not rest solely on one manuscript being chosen among hundreds..especially when the contest system is over burdened. Some poets wait years hoping for that brass ring and all they get is air...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

things on my plate, plates in the air

I am having one of those weeks where I feel like I am treading water, accomplishing really much of nothing in the way of any actual productivity. I'm no further along now than I was on Monday in terms of various projects that need to be done..including printing the B-side of one chap, re-laying out another one and designing its cover, drawing up a wholesale price list for someone on bracelets, photographing and finishing Christmas ornaments, finishing some new notecard designs and stationary sets, work on the feasibility of some new little blank journals I have planned, as well as some cool decorative letter openers I just got the makings of this week (I know, who DOESN't get excited about decorative letter openers?). This is all in addition to reading press submissions, making decisions, and well, any writing of my own I might want to get to this week.

I'm also having problems concentrating lately, feel slightly off, and possibly like I'm coming down with something. I can't seem to get enough sleep, no matter how long. Lats week, I fell asleep on the ride home and missed my stop by two blocks. I'm loopy, forgetful, like if I don't write it down, I'm sure to forget about it completely. I have these moments where I swear I'm daft.

I had this dream the other morning, again about my grandmother's house, in which I somehow convinced myself, in the dream and for about 20 minutes after I was awake, that she had a soda machine on her back porch (a small detail but it figured prominently in the dream, which I don't really remember much of except for the end). She, of course, did not, and when I thought of it again, later in the day, it was so glaringly apparent that she never did. But somehow, I'd convinced myself, could even remember what it looked like (one of those older machines that had the soda cans lines on a shelf inside the glass, and in this case, they were all Shasta. The machine, I realized later, was in fact familiar (a grocery store we always shopped in when I was a kid, had one right when you walked in and my mother always let us get one if we shut up and behaved ourselves while she shopped. I was mesmerized, I remember, by the pretty fruit colors of the cans. )Somehow, I placed that machine on my grandmother's porch in the dream as if it'd always been there. I was crying in the dream, I remember because I had lost something important and people kept revealing things to me to elicit emotional response, and when someone revealed the soda machine, I associated it so distinctly with my grandmother I started sobbing. Of course, WHY is still a mystery.

I am too nostalgic lately for my own good it seems. I've also been paying attention to my dreams more since I've been finishing up the anxiety dream poem sequence, which may get longer. I dreamed the night after that I was driving around with my parents past our old house in Loves Park, and after driving past it twice, determined that it had either been torn down to make the house next door larger, or had been replaced by a horse pasture. What was important, however, was not this, although I seemed to be in tears again because the house was gone, but that, when driving, I happened to glance up at the sky and saw weird space lights (a la close encounters). After we had determined that the house was in fact gone, we were driving through the country and evading what looked to be WWII-like missles and debris being dropped along the road. (This was so freakishly like that nasty spate of post 9/11 dreams I had it freaked me out a little..) In the dream, we find a church in a field (the same church it appears this was also the scene of this dream)...where they were apparently having some sort of picnic in the dark with haystacks and guitars...and we were all going to hide from the aliens there, or something like that. This is probably why I feel like I don't get any sleep...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

dear aunt jane

Occasionally I have days that feel very Austeny (endless cups of tea, empire waisted dresses, romantic miscommunication, and over-analyzing everything to absolute death), so I give you these...

jane austen paperweight, $8

pemberley charm bracelet, $45

jane austen earrings, $16

Sunday, October 19, 2008

and it's official...

in the bird museum

by Kristy Bowen
Dusie Press, 2008
ISBN: 9780615256863

available here

Kristy Bowen's poems are sexy and smart. The poems in in the bird museum fool around with dictionaries, notebooks, concordances, and the ways that bodies get lost and found in real and imaginary places. There are dance halls and graveyards here, footnotes and invocations. One poem asserts, " I suggest everything is a metaphor for sex. Even the bird." These poems let us know pleasure and danger are often in close proximity. These poems are inhabited by girls and women who move through the world with a sense of urgency, and Bowen invites us to join them. Or rather, she INSISTS we do. This book is delicious.

--Susan Denning

Kristy Bowen’s sparkling and spellbinding poems are full of the things of households and Victorian interiors: corsets, envelopes, books, hooks, and spoons. Bowen’s vigilant attention to the danger and fragility of these environments is manifest in her description of the beings (women, girls, and birds) who inhabit or are bought into these spaces. These are the muses of Bowen’s museum (“a seat or shrine of the muses”). Like a careful curator, Bowen gathers and assembles stories, scenes, and objects related to her subjects. The result is a densely packed cabinet of gothic wonders and haunting relics. Reading these poems makes one keenly aware of the inticacies, intimacies, and inconsistencies staged in the theaters of domestic spaces.

--Michelle Detorie

I was apprenticed to the frenzied atmosphere, the verandas that open into dark wind. Kristy Bowen is apprenticed to the “frenzied atmosphere” and in it she finds the crucial minutiae, in it she finds skirts of night and a woman’s heart as a wind-up bird. Bowen’s poetry is where we go to read that heart—as old- time paper valentine and as fist of flesh: valved and valued, the bric a brac and phobias it contains in each of its Cornellian chambers and the placards labeling each exhibit are letters written with the bones of birds. So it is, so it was that Here, we came for the ghost of the word/ inside the other word: and here, in The Bird Museum we are haunted by all that is visual as it is visceral and Bowen, playful, brilliant, curator, reminds us that this place is a synaesthete’s playground--where the eye partakes in the delicious but no less-so than the ear, for here: If you listen, you can hear the holes in the alphabet, sounds lit by the lamps of our bones. Like birds we might even rise, our lamp-lit bones: luminous and (as Bowen does here so often,) fly in a perfect line.

--Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis

Saturday, October 18, 2008

WomanMade Gallery presents

"Objects of Desire"
a poetry reading with two Chicago Feminist presses,
dancing girl press and Switchback Books


Mairead Case
Melissa Culbertson
Helen Kiernan
Simone Muench
Beatriz Ruiz
Susan Slaviero

Sunday, October 19, 2 – 4 p.m. FREE
685 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
Light refreshments served

Thursday, October 16, 2008

okay, seriously...

when we have open submission periods for dgp, kindly stop sending such awesome work. Really, you should only send badness that I can quickly and expeditiously respond to with a brisk "no" and get on with it.. I will very likely be forced to not only abandon any hope of scaling back the operation next year, but might just be lured into publishing MORE. You have to understand this very may well shorten my lifespan, ruin my social life, and turn me into wild eyed reclusive bone folder weilding fiend with no friends. Not to mention, my poor printers, already abused, both physically and verbally on occasion. Sometimes, I can almost hear them protesting. And think of the Staples and UPS guys, every time they have to deliver another heavy box of paper, another toner cartridge, another box of envelopes. More chapbooks, and I will very likely have to practically live at the studio and thus neglect my poor kitties, random boys, the dishes, the laundry, and quite possibly my own mental well-being.



Okay, obviously I'm loopy today (and have far surpassed my cute kitten pic quota this month). There is much goodness, and I am overjoyed at getting to read them, and that these amazing writers want my little ole press to publish them, but I'm also getting anxious over what I have to cut. I've already accepted a couple, have about 8 in my definite file, and another 30 in my maybe, with about another 50 to read.. Of course, the more submissions I read, I keep thinking back to that snotty Billy Collins comment in his BAP intro a couple years ago, about how some tiny percentage of poetry was actually good and measured up to his standards…. I WISH. It would make my decisions a lot easier…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Indiana Jones meets Antiques Roadshow..

My dreams are very Alice-like of late.

In one, I was in the spare bedroom at my grandmother's house, long ago torn down. There was always a curtained closet in that bedroom which, when I was a kid, held all manner of my grandmother's cool 70's polyester and chiffon dresses, frilly nightgowns, and colorful robes she used to let me and my sister play dress-up in. The back bedroom was one of my my favorite places in the house, where she kept her ginormous collection of costume jewelry and all her makeup, and I would play in there for hours. After she had died, and my cousins had moved into her house, and remodeled, they wound up, for whatever reason, drywalling over that closet and creating a new, larger one in another corner. Since I babysat for them alot since they were next door to my parents' house, I was always a little weirded out by that phantom closet that was tehre but not there, not because the house was haunted or anything, but just because I'm always a little spooked by things like that, the forgotten things behind other things, that which is lost and walled over. (For example in the basement at Myopic books, since the street was built up around the turn of the century, there is actually a storefront window and doorway looking into nothingness, which unnerved me endless when I had to read down there before they moved the events to the second floor.)

Anyway, in the dream, the closet apparently, though on a different wall, held all sorts of lovelies..old dresses and coats, and behind it, a secret endless passage way lined with shelves filled with depression glass, and costume jewelry, and old purses and suitcases, and enough ephemera and collageable goodies to set me up for years..all of them pristine and untouched as far as the eye could see.(As you can see, I've been prowling thriftstores far too much..and yes, I often dream of vintage housewares.)Just when I'd found yet another anteroom filled with old steamer trunks overflowing with gorgeous stuff, I turned to find on a low ledge some sort of fiendish idol wrapped in a greasy towel, and thus, after a bit of discussion, we determined that the closet was, in fact the gate to hell. (Who knew it would be paved with pyrex?) Of course, this discovery was followed an mad, Indiana Jones-ish dash to get out of there before the closet closed door on us forever, some people eaten by the idols which had comes to life, and were chasing us (they looked not unlike that freaky little trilogy of terror monster)--at the point of which I woke up.

This morning, I dreamed that at work, there was this secret storage area of stacks that one had to get through by diving into box of those small little golf pencils (empty, but only about 5 by 5 inches). Apparently if you placed the box on the closet shelf correctly, you could just dive into it head first and it would expand to accomodate you. Though, in the dream, I had apparently been doing this for awhile, I was suddenly convinced it would be impossible to get through it, and when I remarked this to a co-worker, she pulled out the back of the closet where the pencils were, and showed me a 12x12 whole into the space that she used to get to it (er..instead of the pencil box.) This made perfect sense to me in the dream, but we were surprised that we could see other people in this secret room, apparently sitting at tables and studying, but we didn't know how they had gotten in.

Of course this dream followed one in which I was riding the red line (which I rarely do anymore)and they had remodeled the station and I could not for the live of me find the southbound trains. First I wound up in what I can only decribe as a seventies waiting room with green walls and brown chairs, with a window that looked onto the correct tracks, but no where to catch the train. Then, I followed a bunch of people down a stairway into this weird underground world that reminded me of Navy Pier, only underground, with boat rides and foodstands and balloon vendors, and still nowhere could I find the train I needed to take..When I found another stairway, I asked a woman who was decending where the train was and she yelled at me in another language, then stabbed me, with a finger, clean thru my side, drawing blood. I assume the pain was what woke me up.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

more chapbook editors than you could shake a stick at ...

Dan Wickett, over the The Emerging Writers Network was nice enough to ask dgp to be part of a virtual panel on chapbook publishing he put together. Very interesting to read the responses of the other presses (and to find out I'm not the only luddite still laying chaps out in MSWord, thank god)...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

amazing two headed cat

Today, even though it's reasonably warm outside, I am making chicken soup. Mind you, I am definitely not my inner Martha Stewart when it comes to the kitchen, (usually it doesn't involve the microwave or dialing the phone, I'm at a loss), so this may be a failed experiment but it smells really good. Otherwise I am working on poems and making bracelets, watching movies, and sleeping alot.. However, the later I sleep, the more disturbing my dreams it seems. The problem as such is that I daily convince myself that I truly am completely over the whole R thing, that I've moved on sufficiently, that I don't care and I'm going to stop being so goddamned obsessive about it. But it's all working itself out as I in addition to the general anxiety dreams about the rest of my life, he keeps unnervingly showing up in them..It doesn't bode well...

Friday, October 10, 2008

happy friday and new things

I made one of these over the summer, and plan on making a bunch more. I took this picture yesterday and it's one of my favorite shots I think. Since I'm daily still learning how to use the camera, this turned out splendidly. And those little roses are so pretty and detailed that I ordered some others in pink and beige...

is a pared down frills version of the charm bracelets without out the glittery stuff for the more subdued among us...

is one of the new deer boxes I was talking about (product of the Great Woodland Massacre). I love the look on his face. There are a couple others in the shop as well...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

books you must read

Cadaver Dogs/ Rebecca Loudon (No Tell)

I just ordered a copy of this last week, and an very excited about getting it. As if the cover alone was not enticing and creepy enough, but it’s by one of my favorite poets ever.

Oneiromance: An Epithalmion / Kathleen Rooney (Switchback)

Hard Reds Brandi Homan (Shearsman)

I’m hoping to make it out to the release party for these two books by former dancing girl poets. I also had the privilage of reading B-Ho’s manuscript as her thesis so I know it’s awesome, and given Kathleen’s work with Elisa Gabbert in Something Really Wonderful, am stoked to get the chance to read her solo venture.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

the etsy shop is getting a jump on the holidays by offering free shipping on every purchase over $50. Perfect for all your gift giving for more vintage-inspired lovelies and holiday decorations in the coming weeks..

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I spent a little time today trying to tame the mess of ribbon, fabric, and other little sewing supplies that was starting to take over by moving these shelves from the entryway closet and into another little corner of the apartment. Since I do most of this work, and most of the jewelry making at home, it helps to have somewhere to stash the accoutrements. I also just ordered some cool apothecary jars from one of my favorite vintage shops to hold buttons and whatnots.

In my organization frenzy, I managed to track down that blasted down comforter, which was, as I suspected all last winter, in the trunk in the living room beneath the pile of library books awaiting their return home. Otherwise, I have been working on some bracelets, including the one below my mother wants as a gift for someone, and another plum colored one. I am very excited about all the new shop things, including some baby onesies appliqu├ęd with vintage chenille scraps, some new notecards, and all sorts of surprises.

In poetry news, Fridays reading at St Pauls was…er..interesting. I can’t say I’ve ever been at a poetry event that involved an irate, grudge-weilding disgruntled dude hollering at the poets and the audience about everyone being elitist and his right to free speech right before he was kicked out (a friend, not knowing the backstory, said she thought he was going to come back with a gun). Otherwise, though, it was fun, and a great new space for the former DvA series……

Friday, October 03, 2008


Instead of working on the kissing disease like I probably should be, I've been flirting with that other abandoned project (the whole narrative novel in verse turned prose poem sequence that used to be called once dulcet til I tossed that name for another (and subsequently purloined that one for the etsy store since it's one of my favorite words ever..) That project feels actually more "finished" than the former, easier somehow, but then I am suspicious of even that...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

odd, anxiety laced dreams..

A few weeks ago I dreamed I was working on my laptop and someone who I knew from highschool and was apparently (in the dream) a good friend showed up, knocking at the door. Because I had work to do, I decided to pretend I wasn't home, but her and someone else climbed up the side of the building somehow and saw that not only were my lights on, but that I was very obviously home. So after letting them in, I allowed them to convince me to go out drinking with them, which I aquiesced to reluctantly, since not only was I busy, but the apartment was trashed, the laundry needed to be done, and I needed to take a shower. As I began hunting through a pile of dirty clothes, my friend suddenly stopped me and pointed to the corner of the room behind me. "What are you going to do with that?" she said, and I turned around to find a girl, about four or five years old, sitting in the corner. I was suddenly panicky and could not remember if the child was mine, or if not, whose it was, where it came from, how long I had been neglecting it since I didn't remember every having taken care of it before, or even reaalizing it was there.

Suddenly I was resentful at having to worry about its welfare, my own lack of freedom, angry at whoever had saddled me with the it. Suddenly I was doomed, anchored to that messy apartment forever and it's endless laundy and dishes. I was trying to convince my friend to allow the child to come along, but she insisted the car was already full of people and who wants to take a child into a bar? I responded by saying that my grandmother used to take me to bars all the time. (which she did, or did at least a few times). I was even trying to think up ways to ditch the child by leaving it in a parking lot or mall. Surely, if it wasn't mine, no one would hold me responsible for abandoming her. Then she pointed to the chair in the bedroom, which I suddenly realized harbored another child, an infant--and all of the sudden it was this sinking hopelessness that I'd ever be able to really do anything on my own again. The despair terrible enough to wake well as trouble me for a few hours afterward...

Seems ripe for analysis, no? If the children are meant to be actual children, it definitely confirms my uspicion that I'd be a terrible mother and that my biological clock no doubt has a spring broken or two. What else could the children be? poetry? the press? the general feeling of suffocation when I think about things that are permanent, immutable...

Of course yesterday morning I dreamed of hotel rooms and zombies (this happens occasionally), and the care of two small kittens, who having bit me, we were trying to determine whether of not they were, in fact, zombie kittens...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


in the shop...

I am obsessed with foxes of late, and initially got these pieces for the charm bracelets, but realized they make rather nice pendants for sweet little necklaces as well....