Thursday, June 30, 2011

We hit several of my favorite thrifting haunts this afternoon and I came back with all sorts of goodies, for once, most of them for me and not the shop. Not only did I restock my mysterious missing spoon problem with some sturdy stainless pieces, but picked up some oriental bowls in the most gorgeous pale aqua, as well as some floral dessert dishes, some simple s&p shakers, and an artichoke botanical print for my kitchen.

I'm not sure how safe this old knitting bag will fare with curious cats who love to unravel yarn, but it might make a good magazine holder. I also scored what will make the most perfect beach bag for summer jaunts, very roomy and easy to carry (unlike the wicker tote I picked up in Mississippi, which is too narrow and stiff and is now in the possession of my mom.)

There was the usual hoarding of linens, but I limited myself to pillow cases this time (less fabric all over the place) and a sweet little crochet doily pillow. Plus a huge swathe of oilcloth which will hopefully remedy the lip balm all over the dining room table problem.

Since I do consider my thrifting adventures "work" in collecting for the shop, I did buy some tiny baskets that will be perfecto for soap gift sets...It's hard work, all that shopping.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So far, my mini-writing retreat has produced two new poems and notes for a couple more this afternoon. Of course, when saddled to do nothing but write, I come face to face with how little endurance I really have as a writer, ie, one poem tires me out, another one leaves me mentally exhausted. Hopefully more progress tomorrow...Otherwise, in between poems and bad movies and occasional peeks at the Casey Anthony trial my mother is addicted to, I am sleeping a lot. Not as much as the cats, but it's nice.

I am also going through a box of things my mother uncovered in the closet, which includes boxes of letters from highschool friends and penpals, my senior yearbook, that old blue diary from when I was 14-16, a scrapbook, my postcard collection, and a box full of theatre programs from college. When reading through the diary I was experiencing that weird shifting of self feeling I sometimes get when encountering past versions of my self, almost as if I'd been presented suddenly, physically, with that volatile 14 year old me, whose only concerns were an obsession with boys, a pre-occupation with her weight, and a shakey relationship with her mother. She's really sort of scary and sometimes I fear she's still crawling around inside my normal reasonably sane grown-up self..

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am in Rockford all this week through the holiday, where I plan to do little but write, read, and spend long evenings outside waiting for the stars to appear in that kind of quiet that you only have out here in the boonies. There is plenty of iced tea, and yummy grilled food, and pancakes for breakfast (which is far better than any writing retreat I can think of.)

Wisconsin was loveliness, but the extended family reunion picnic a little sparse and depressing. Most of the relatives of my grandfather's (brothers and cousins) in Black River Falls are older and dying off, and the younger ones don't seem interested. Even my dad was the only one from among his brother's and sisters to be able to get up there, and all my cousins seemed to have other plans this weekend, even though initially it was supposed to be a larger group going according to my mother. Luckily we know how to make our own fun. I mostly miss Hatfield and the lake, and wish we could spend more time out there. Part of it is nostalgia, and part of it simply how lovely it all is..the pine forests, the blue water, how nothing ever changes really.

Today we did a turn through one of the thrift stores and I did manage to find some pictures possibly for a small gouping on the wall above my bed, as well as a bag of cotton stuffing for 99 cents, which I hope to use on some new pillows if I ever get some quality time with the sewing machine.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Robyn Hustle

July 8 - August 18, 2011
WomanMade Gallery
685 N Milwaukee Ave.

details here

curated by Ruby Thorkelson

Woman Made Gallery is proud to present a self-published art exhibition featuring the work of women, transgender, and gender non-conforming artists from all over the United States. The show includes both a pop-up library of zines, comics, and other self-published works by over 50 artists and writers organized in collaboration with Chicago Underground Library, as well as a show of installed artworks in all media by 12 self-publishing artists.

Artists Represented:

Alexandra Blom, Liz Born, Anya Davidson, Megan Diddie, Meredith Eastburn, Edie Fake, Sanya Glisic, Robin Hustle, Anne Elizabeth Moore and and Esther Pearl Watson, Lee Relvas, Laura Szumowski

Pop-Up Library Contributors:

Aria Boutet, Mia Beatrice, Alexandra Blom, Vanessa Capshaw, Mairead Case, Caitlin Cass, Sabrina Chap, Chicago Underground Library, Carrie Colpitts, Gabrielle Congrave, Dancing Girl Press and Studio, Enola D, Anya Davidson, Sarah Drake, Edie Fake, Betty Heredia, Robin Hustle, Marie Hunt, Curious Jane, Jessica Justice, Aidan Koch, Kate Larson, LB, Angee Lennard, Max Mandax, Kira Mardikes, Liz Mason, Sam Merritt, Mildred Pierce Zine, Hannah Melton, Louisa Parker, Jeannette Perkal, Emilie Lis Pradera and Natalie Bowers, Lee Relvas, Rose Metal Press, Jami Sailor, Kara Sievewright, Dean Spade, Simon Strikeback, Laura Szumowski, Students for Justice in Palestine at SAIC, Sy Wagon

Sunday, June 26, 2011

new from dancing girl press

If Made Into a Law
by Jennifer H Fortin
dancing girl press, 2011
get it here

Jennifer H. Fortin holds an MFA in poetry from the New School, New York. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Court Green, Copper Nickel, BlazeVOX, GlitterPony, and others. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Bulgaria, 2004–2006).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My weekends are a little like ether lately, dreamy, sleepy, and not really all that productive. I keep taking naps and daydreaming or reading. I've done some writing, but I'm not sharp-minded enough to make anything of it until the week rolls around. It's glorious and yet at the same time I feel like there is so much to do that I'm not doing. I take a walk. I eat lunch. I take a nap. Watch music videos on YouTube, read blogs, check facebook. Then later, watch movies and order in dinner. Nothing really gets done like it does during the week when I'm plowing through tasks with a machete. Next week I'll be heading off to Rockford and then Wisconsin (then Rockford again for the 4th). Everything is mid air at the moment (personal stuff, writing related stuff, projects both my own and other people's books) and it's a little maddening. I am waiting for things to land, good or bad so I can get on with it. Last night, I dreamed that I was living in other people's houses while they were away, sleeping in their beds, reading their books, living their lives only to slip away trying not to leave any trace that I had been there. I kept packing and re-packing my own belongings, finding a used teacup, or strands of hair in the brush, a CD left out of it's case. It was a Goldilocks dream, only without any bears.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

in progress

a sneak peak of the landscape / architecture project zine. I've finally got the images scanned and the mock-up done, and now just have to decide on the printing details...

summer: 17 things

Yesterday, the air downtown smelled little like the lake, sort of green and fishy, or maybe it was just the rain, or the combination of the rain and the grass that had just been cut over in the park.

Every year I tell myself that I will enjoy summer more since I mourn it's loss once it's gone, but so much gets in the way and the next thing I know it's September. (or really the next thing I know it's December and that vast tundra of winter stretches out endlessly in front of me.) Or maybe I enjoy it, usually, but without noticing how much I enjoy it in the midst of it.

Thus, here goes a list of my very favorite summer things:

picnics/cookouts/eating al fresco
tiny roadside markets
strawberry sundaes
lounging and reading outdoors
road trips and afternoon drives
coconut shampoo
flea markets and garage sales
camp fires
outdoor movies
sun tea
flip flops

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

new from dancing girl press

by Nora Almeida
dancing girl press, 2011
get it here

Nora Almeida lives in Brooklyn with her two cats, Whitman and Goose. her poems have recently appeared in Phoebe, Tight, and Other Rooms. she has also managed to grow a thriving Habanero pepper plant in her bedroom window which yields peppers so spicy that they are almost inedible.

by Rachel Mallino
dancing girl press, 2011
get it here

Rachel Mallino lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, daughter and various lovable animals. She is the founding editor for Tilt Press, a small print press dedicated to publishing beautiful chapbooks exclusively for emerging poets (individuals who have not yet published a chapbook or full length collection of work). You can read Rachel’s poetry in various online and print journals including 42opus, BOXCAR Poetry Review (anthologized), Memorious, Arsenic Lobster, Pebble Lake Review, Stirring, Wicked Alice, and others. She has a mini e-chap, ANTI, available from Gold Wake Press. Her first chapbook, Inside Bone There’s Always Marrow, is available from Maverick Duck Press.

the contest shuffle

There has been quite alot of buzz over the last few weeks over this article and the role that contests play in the poetry community. At first, I sort of wrote it off as being a tad bit overdramatic (yet another diatribe on what is "ruining" poetry..blah, blah, blah..) even though I do tend to agree a little that one shouldn't soleley depend on contests, as a poet, as a way to get ones' work into the world. It has always just seemed that the odds are far worse, having to please an endless gauntlet of first readers, editors, judges (this is even in a fair contests, outside of Foetry shenanigans). It actually seems easier, in the cases where presses allow open submissions, to only have to impress a single editor, or small staff, than to have to succeed in jumping all the hoops of contests, to get past so many sets of eyes to a single judge.

I don't run contests at dgp, mostly since it seems like a logistical nightmare, but I do know alot of good presses that depend greatly on the entry fees to help them get their books out and get them read. As a reader, many of my favorite poetry books are prize winners, and I know that the authors benefit greatly not only from the prestige of winning, but the buzz generated around certain contests, which in turn puts more books in possble readers hands, which can only be a good thing. (For example, I got a huge new readership even being just a finalist in the NMP chapbooks contest, possibly a little book that's sold far more copies than either of my 2 full-length books published outside the contest system. When I get praise or fan mail from readers, more than not, it's about feign.)

I think the biggest problem though that I had with the article seemed to be the specific choice of alternatives, some presses mentioned that definitely seem to be rather tight coteries (Canarium Books, for example, and maybe I'm wrong, but there are alot of predictable names on their list--good names, but exactly who I would expect to see..) that it would be hard for average unknown writer with a first book to break into, even harder than a contest where everyone's work is judged anonymously. It would definitely be easier if you have alot of connections, friends in publishing, to find a way to get your work out there. But if you're not living in the right place, down with the right people, publishing in the right places, aware of presses that take open subs, a contest might might be just as good an option for helping you break on the scene, and spectacularly so with the right contest if that's what you want.

I always feel a little like there are so many ways of being a poet (the academic contest route, the indie press route, the self-publishing route) and all manner of ways of going about it, that you just need to find what suits you and meets your needs of finding readers...

Friday, June 10, 2011


On my afternoon off, I have been busy in the studio finishing up the newest titles and packing some orders. This weekend I intend to do nothing but a few loads of laundry (I am going to tackle the bottom of the closet pile of things I hardly ever wear) and set aside some serious writing time. There is a project I would love to finish off but just haven't been able to sit down with it for awhile. The weather, despite some storms set to roll in tonight, looks to be rather mild this weekend and good for sleeping, which after not getting much of it last weekend, I intend to indulge endlessly in.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The book fair was a great success this weekend, and the weather held rather nicely except for spot of rain late Saturday (well, really a rather healthy downpour with lightning) but it was over quickly and efficiently enough. Sunday was lovely though, and it was great to get to spend some time outside people and dog watching in the sunshine. Since I'd had to thow everything together so quickly we didn't have all of our titles there, but we did well, sold some books, lots of paper goods, and quite a few of the postage stamp necklaces that went over so well a couple years ago. There is much in the way of book construction this week, though my meager two hours in the studio every night has me frazzled that it will all never get finished.

Meanwhile, I am still debating whether to put my AC in at home. It seems like it just got warm enough to have the windows open at all and now everything has to be closed up. It's been hot the past couple of days, but the lake breezes seem to be working in my favor and my apartment is actually not too hot. I've been sleeping in front of a fan and even getting a little chilly around dawn. I have been waiting for summer forever and suddenly it's here and I'm too busy and crazy to really enjoy it like I should...

new from dancing girl press

American Lit
Rebecca Farivar
dancing girl press, 2011
order here

Rebecca Farivar is a poet and California native currently living in Bonn, Germany. Correct Animal, her first full-length collection of poems, will be published in July 2011 by Octopus Books. She holds an MFA in poetry from St. Mary’s College of California and a BA from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

Friday, June 03, 2011

a new look

I've been experimenting with a new storefront system for the shop and think it's going to work rather nicely. Etsy has always felt a little confining since they didn't have a good category system and everything was such a jumble. I'd also toyed with idea of making everything one stop shopping (books and other goods) but never liked the idea of having to join up. Since it's getting a little to expensive on Etsy to sell vs. what the shop is bringing in (my ratio of fees to actual sales is really sad the last two months), I decided to give ecrater a whirl as the new storefront. Ideally, I would love to set up my own e-commerce portal through the main dgp site, but it would involve more upkeep and maitenance than time allows at the moment. Since alot of the traffic these days comes through the domain and via google, I've taken that shop offline while I decide what to do with it. I might possibly just leave it up for wholesale purposes (all of which comes through there) and have the retail sales routed through ecrater. (Big Cartel is another cool option, but they limit shops to 300 items, and we have almost 100 book titles alone, so that's not going to work). I'm still debating whether or not to direct all book sales through ecrater though or leave as is, since the general shopping cart has been working out fine and it would involve editing all those html pages. It would definitely streamline my order processing if I could combine everything, though.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

It looks like we will be filling a spot in the Chicago Publisher’s Gallery tent at the big Printer’s Row Book Fair this weekend, so there is much going on in the realm of preparations. It was a little last minute since we were initially on the waiting list, but I think I can pull it off and have a good selection available on Saturday. I am also juggling that with a couple big book orders and a wholesale soap order, so I’m a busy girl, plus trying to get a couple new chaps out in the next few days (books from Rebecca Farivar and Nora Almeida). I love Printers Row though, and hopefully this year, we may be spared the rain. I was a little freaked out since I figured there was no way I could get ready for such a big event in 2 days, but then I realized even if I have 2 months, I am still running around like a chicken with my head cut off and never feel really ready for any event. I am just going to relax and go with it.

We have at least had some blissful weather the past week and I am enjoying it with all my windows in the apartment open. I am missing the first beachfront bbq this weekend because of the book fair, but there will hopefully be many, many more.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011