Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Cold April and the neighbor girl
—our plumber’s daughter—
comes up the wet street
from the harbor carrying,
in a nest she’s made
of her pink parka,
a loon. It’s so sick,
she says when I ask.
does she think she can keep
this emissary of air?
Is it trust or illness
that allows the head
—sleek tulip—to bow
on its bent stem
across her arm?
Look at the steady,
quiet eye. She is carrying
the bird back from indifference,
from the coast
of whatever rearrangement
the elements intend,
and the loon allows her.
She is going to call
the Center for Coastal Studies,
and will swaddle the bird
in her petal-bright coat
until they come.
She cradles the wild form.
We should all care for each other in this stubborn, selfless way. The entire poem can be found in Doty's Atlantis: Poems, or on the Poetry Foundation website.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
katie is better than lonnie
katie is coming across a little naive
katie is fellmongers' choice
katie is a 14 year old spayed female
katie is a lipsticked goddess
katie is a slight
katie is a bright 12 year
katie is such a bitch
katie is still doing fine
katie is obligated to take some action
katie is so insistent about jumping
katie is an 8 year old liver
katie is curious about babies and her own birth
katie is an absolute bitch
katie is a good reader of music
katie is in a brace which keeps her legs apart
katie is now 5 weeks old
katie is a very special dog
katie is no traditionalist or a charlatan of any bop
katie is from tacoma
katie is the melodic and lyrical backbone of the band
katie is scheduled to appear
katie is nine
katie is astounded to learn her ghost remains
katie is demanding that santa’s elves conduct a full recount of all her acts
katie is not indifferent to you
katie is now 2 months old
katie is not easily intimidated
katie is called the cat walk
katie is such a tortured soul nowhere
katie is the bomb
katie is called to california
katie is a little pale at first
katie is 4 1/2 and still uses oxygen periodically
katie is steering clear
katie is trying to use the foam
katie is her mother
katie is now in room 223b
katie is grey and white
katie is kidnapped
katie is the babe of the week
Monday, March 16, 2009
Ugly Duckling Presse prints lovely letterpress chapbooks, broadsides, artist books and 6X6, a literary magazine. Operating out of New York City, they focus on marginalized and international poets, including poets from Central Europe such as Tomaz Salamun and Lidija Dimkovska.
Graywolf Press, housed in St. Paul, MN., publishes some of the best writers working today. Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, criticism, translation, and instruction bed down together like a pack of wolves keeping at bay the dark night of dull writing.
Bear Star Press is found right here in Northern California. Focusing on poets from the western and pacific states, Bear Star sponsors the annual Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Contest. Past winners include Kathryn Cowles, Molly Tenenbaum, and Manuel Paul Lopez.
I've added a list of literary links to this blog, including links to more favorite publishers. Let me know about other worthy presses, and the important work they are doing.
But wait...the fun isn't over. Upcoming remakes and retellings include such hallowed childhood favorites as The Karate Kid, The Neverending Story, Gremlins, Top Gun, and Weird Science. Now, I know recycling and conservation are big right now, but really, can't Hollywood come up with anything original? My fellow bloggers born in the 80's agree; blogs with titles such as "Killing My Childhood," "Milking My Childhood," "Raping My Childhood," and "Hey Hollywood, Leave My Childhood Alone" are popping up everywhere. Even Perez Hilton is getting in on the action.
What's next? A CGI version of The Last Unicorn? A "reimagining" of The Goonies, set in today's forclosure-riddled times? A remake of E.T., starring Dakota Fanning? Let's demand a little more imagination from our movie industry, and a little less pillaging of our cherished memories.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
It has inspired the Academy of American Poets to sponsor the Free Verse Project, challenging people to put poems in the wild...or in the suburbs...or on the sides of buildings. Finally! You can view or add entries on Flikr. Here are some of my favorites:
"I wake to sleep" from "The Waking" Theodore Roethke
"I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees," Unknown author
"Oh if you're a bird be an early bird/And catch the worm for your breakfast plate./If you're a bird be an early bird--/But if you're a worm, sleep late." by the incomparable Shel Silverstein.
Teachers, schools, and academics can receive a free copy of the poster.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
But today, I have a deal for you that is free of tricks or ridiculous costumes. Dancing Girl Press is offering a subscription for the entire collection of 2009 chapbooks for only $100. For this price, you'll get all thirty chapbooks (including A Classic Game of Murder) and any extra broadsides or special projects that happen to be made during the year. You'll get them as they are published, like little surprises in the mail twice a month. What a deal! Check the Dancing Girl Press website for more details.
If you need further enticing, here's a sexy poem by Sarah Den Boer, whose chapbook, Sawdust, Sugarcube, is part of the deal:
by Sarah J. Den Boer
How to say more than lazy lids.
Some quiet ecstasy in the way
I mouth come. Headboard of plywood
and splinters under fingernails
like hot satin ribbon. We slow dance
at sunrise. Back-country shack
and nosebleeds at noon. Our descent
into indigo, elbows fierce as pick-axes.
There is so much to avoid. The freezer
on the front porch, hinges snagging my hem
and the buttons on your shirt. When the nail
pierced my cheek, only the tinkle
of bone wind-chimes, crackle of parched
quack grass. Blood a sticky necklace,
crusted in the creases. Everything tightens
when you are around. Searing breath
of berries and rum. Six steel strings stretched
behind blue curtains; even the brocade,
bruised and trampled by goats. Pummel.
Paper lanterns buzz and tear, beer cans explode.
My rusty bicycle with the velour seat, leaning
against the shed. Topples; rises. Topples again.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Gabriel Gudding, March 18th.
Gudding is an assistant professor of creative writing at Illinois State University and the author of the books A Defense of Poetry and Rhode Island Notebook. Denise Duhamel says, "A modern-day Lewis Carroll, Gudding is foremost a comic poet. His zany imagery, ear for the absurd, and wry timing make his stanzas stand up and sparkle."
Tim Hernandez, March 19th.
A native of California's Central Valley, Hernandez is the author of Skin Tax and the forthcoming Breathing in Dust. Jimmy Santiago Baca says, "his poems sizzle and spark with excitement, targeting with a relentless passion his desire to express what he is trying to convey."
Kathryn Cowles, March 20th.
Kathryn Cowles’s first book, Eleanor, Eleanor, Not Your Real Name, won the 2008 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Contest and is published by Bear Star Press. Donald Revell says, “Cowles is a poet who knows where poetry comes from and whither it is bound. Hers is the adventure of tenderness brightly underway.”
Elizabeth Cross, March 21st.
Elizabeth Cross is an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Writing, and her poems can be found in American Letters & Commentary, Denver Quarterly, and Chicago Review, among others.
Peruse the entire schedule here.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Viewing Partner: Grandma Dixie
Notes: The perfect movie to watch with a grandma. But is the closed-caption writer French? For some reason, Shirley MacLaine's character showed up as "Ouiser."
Viewing Partner: Isaac and George
Notes: Hilarious, heartfelt, real. Perfect. But the poor Netflix-abused DVD kept freezing, and I almost busted my DVD player Office Space style.
Viewing Partner: Isaac
Notes: After the show, Isaac insulted the entire audience by saying, loudly, "Let's get away from these nerds." Read my full-length review here.
Viewing Partner: Isaac
Notes: We laughed. A lot. The birth-order traits are perfectly portrayed. Anyone with a sibling will love this movie.
Viewing Partner: Riding solo, brah
Notes: Keanu an FBI agent? Not likely. But the pacing was right-on, and everyone loves surfing and bank robbers in funny masks.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I don't like the white pith on oranges. Can't stand it, will peel away as much as I can before eating. Bananas are all white pith, so I don't eat them anymore. I don't like to say certain words out loud, like "pith" or "rural." You can't use my towel. You can drink from my glass, but if you leave a lip mark, I'll have to get my own. I bite my lips, bite off my hangnails. I don't bite my nails, but I think it makes a cool, popping sound. I hate everything about chalkboards: the feel of chalk, the possibility of nails, the dust. I like sucking up dust bunnies with the vacuum cleaner. The lint screen must be cleaned after every load.
The Not-Really Book Club meets every month somewhere in Sacramento.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
- It was not the title of a poem in the collection. I tend towards the point of view that using the same title for both a poem and a whole collection is a cop-out. What works on a small scale is usually not enough to encompass a whole book. And yes, I do have a poem in my book titled "Perpetual Care"--my own hypocrisy keeps me up at night.
- It was a single word, and it didn't start with "The..." I had been reading a lot of books lately with unnecessarily long titles, and the "The's" abounded. I wanted something that would both stand out on a cover and keep things simple.
- It spoke to certain themes in the book that I thought were important: the act of leaving and returning, connections to the past, a disconnect with place.
- Norman Dubie liked it.
A wonderful new book by Elaine Sexton that just happened to be titled Causeway. So I went back to the manuscript in search of another title. Some sounded good but were meaningless, others gave away too much, and still others were just boring. I settled on Perpetual Care for various reasons. An announcement went out. Cover art was chosen. Then, one lazy day, as I was screwing around on the internet, I found this:
No joke...a new book of stories by James Nolan called, of course, Perpetual Care. I began to wonder what was going on. Had I tapped into some space-time continuum thing? Was I seeing into the not-so-distant future? I bought a few lottery tickets and contacted my editor, fearful I would have to find another new title. Thankfully, she decided that, since Nolan's book was fiction, there would be no conflict of interest.
But the strangeness doesn't end there. When I got the proof for the cover design, I fell in love with how darkly powerful it looked. Then I noticed an eerie resemblance to another book:
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Some may argue that modern poetry has no use for imagery. I have certainly read many contemporary poems, both good and bad, without any graspable image. But the ones that are most memorable are those that leave us with some kind of sensory artifact: a sight, a noise, a smell, something to hang on to and make ours. The worst poems are those that feign authority, that purport to speak for everyone. The best poems are those that offer a gift, sometimes a piece of language or turn of phrase, but most often a plum, cold from the ice box, or the smell of trout frying in the kitchen.
Consider these images, then see what happens:All images are from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. Submissions can be sent here.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Many people have asked me about the title of my poetry collection, Perpetual Care, and I thought I'd expand a little on its origins. In the New Orleans of the past, families often took part in a strange gravesite tradition: after church on Sunday, they'd gather by the family mausoleum, spruce up the stones and walkways, converse with other families doing the same thing, and then picnic with their dead loved ones. As New Orleans grew and old families died out or moved away, the once-fine cemeteries began to fall into disrepair, so the practice of purchasing "perpetual care" of one's grave became popular. If you purchase "perpetual care," you are assured that someone will always take care of your grave, no matter how long ago you passed.
Of course, this practice, like many of the city's other traditions and organizations, has been thrown into turmoil by Hurricane Katrina. I don't know if those graves are still being cared for, or if they will continue to be cared for forever. But my book, along with many others now being published, hopes to "care" for those things that have been lost, as well as those things that endure. Literature is, in a way, the ultimate "perpetual care;" by recording and remembering we preserve and honor the past.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Tennis pro and bounty hunter White Bread (David Hasselhoff) must make sure Annette (Linda Blair), an heiress involved in drug smuggling, makes it to her court date in BAIL OUT. Along with his associates, Blue (Tony Brubaker) and Bean (Casper Garcia), White Bread tries to keep tabs on the wily Annette, who somehow keeps getting kidnapped by Columbians.
material courtesy of Gracenote, Inc.