Monday, January 28, 2019

New address

I'm going to retire this sweet old site. New digs here.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy new reading year

I had a good reading year. As ever, it's difficult to choose favorites. I loved Rachel Cusk's trilogy for its approach and voice. I loved Kate Greenstreet's strange "The End of Something." I read some compelling non-fiction, and Alice Munro is the empress of short stories.

On the downside, "Skippy Dies" disappointed me because I felt zero emotional investment. And "The Valley of Dolls" was outright awful and, I guess, dated. I think Mary Gaitskill is a better short story writer than novelist. I read two Patricia Highsmith books and my mother brought me another one at Christmas but I wonder if it's worth it.

A long time ago I quit trying to control the size of my to-read list. It has helped me feel less constrained.  I'm looking forward to 2019.

Favorite poetry book: Kate Greenstreet’s “The End of Something
Favorite novel: “Outline” (and the rest of the trilogy) by Rachel Cusk (Runners-up: “Lincoln in the Bardo,” “The End of Vandalism”)
Favorite non-fiction: “Hitler” by Ian Kershaw (Runner-up: “Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Favorite hard-to-classify: “Moth, or How I Came to Be With You Again” by Thomas Heise
Favorite short story collection: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

1. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro (Jan 1)
2. The Cosmos Trilogy by Frederick Seidel (Jan 4)
3. This Untitled Book of Collage Poems by Sandra Simonds (Jan 9)
4. Die Therapie by Sebastian Fitzek (Jan 7)
5. House of Coates by Brad Zellar (Jan 8)
6. Exercises in Painting Queen by Khadijah Queen (Jan 9)
7. In a Landscape of Having to Repeat by Martha Ronk (Jan 12)
8. Portrait of the Alcoholic by Kaveh Akbar (Jan 27)
9. The Little Brute Family by Russell Hoban (Jan 28)
10. Hitler by Ian Kershaw (Feb)
11. The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich (Feb 19)
12. A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes (Mar 2)
13. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Mar 5)
14. Scenes from the lives of my parents by Pattie McCarthy (Mar 12)
15. I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel by Nikki Wallschaeger (Mar 12)
16. The Obscene Madame D by Hilda Hilst (Mar 20)
17. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders (Mar 26)
18. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (Apr 10)
19. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Apr 15)
20. Mein Esel Benjamin by Hans Limmer (May 1)
21. Two Girls, Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill (May 2)
22. The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (May 5)
23. Scenes from an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine (May 10)f
24. The Lie and How We Told It by Tommi Parish (May 10)
25. Go On by Ethel Rackin (May 10)
26. Spool in the Maze by Colleen O’Brien (May 12)
27. French Milk by Lucy Knisley (May 12)
28. The Skin by Curzio Malaparte (May 14)
29. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (May 17)
30. House Held Together by Winds by Sabra Loomis (May 27)
31. The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon (May 28)
32. Purity by Jonathan Franzen (Jun 7)
33. True Tales of American Life, Paul Auster ed. (Jun 16)
34. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (Jun 24)
35. Autumn by Ali Smith (Jul 7)
36. What is Amazing by Heather Christle (Jul 8)
37. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro (Jul 22)
38. Logbook by Hiromi Suzuki (July)
39. Outline by Rachel Cusk (Jul 29)
40. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Jul 30)
41. Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary (Aug 10)
42. The End of Something by Kate Greenstreet (Aug 13)*
43. The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector (Aug 17)
44. A Little White Shadow by Mary Ruefle (Aug 18)
45. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner (Aug 30)
46. The Blunderer by Patricia Highsmith (Sept 5)
47. The Collage Ideas Book, ed. Alannah Moore (Sept 7)
48. A Twenty-Minute Silence Followed by Applause by Shawn Wen (Sept 8)
49. The Fifth Woman by Nona Caspers (Sept 10)
50. Teaching My Mother how to Give Birth by Warsaw Shire (Sept 23)
51. Transit by Rachel Cusk (Sept 26)
52. Artful by Ali Smith (Oct)
53. I Am Not Famous Anymore by Erin Dorney (Oct)
54. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Oct 9)
55. Hope Tree by Frank Montesonti (Oct 16)
56. English Passengers by Matthew Kneale (Nov 5)
57. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Nov 17)
58. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Dec 3)
59. Moth, Or, How I Came to Be With You Again by Thomas Heise (Dec 4)
60. Puro Amor by Sandra Cisneros (Dec 8)
61. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (Dec 12)
62. Kudos by Rachel Cusk (Dec 17)
63. Young Tambling by Kate Greenstreet (Dec 20)
64. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Dec 22)
65. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Dec 25)
66. The End of Vandalism by Tom Drury (Dec 31)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tales from the crypt

Apologies for having missed some comments over the past months, which I've finally published. I hadn't received notification as I used to. The good news (for me) is I'll be moving to new digital digs early next year with a blog and contact page so if you have a question that you'd actually like an answer to, I will get the question when you send it.

The year is coming to a close and I've done a lot of visual poetry and collage, but haven't been submitting very actively. Part of it is the administration: living in two different cities, it's hard to find the time.

I plan to post my annual reading list as usual at year end, and then sail off to the new website. I'll send directions.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Recent poems

The big event of the weekend was trying to explain to airport security in Spanglish what my one-hole hole puncher was for. Not everyone has a frequent need for confetti. It's an excellent tool that makes the trip back and forth across Europe with me these days.

Otherwise, I've had a flurry of visual found poems published over the past couple days. Mostly from the Misery series but also from other books, including "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin," a collection of Eudora Welty stories, and Ali Smith's "The Accidental."

Six are in Tupelo Quarterly, three from Misery and three from Ben Franklin.

Two others, "Like the petals of one big scattered flower" and "Honeycomb," are in The Collagist.

I'll have some others out in the near future in Paperbag and Ghost Proposal.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I've been trying to show a little less skin, figuratively speaking, when it comes to Misery. Less of the original text, more masking and hiding. With that in mind I did "The Wreck" over, here. The original was published at Sixth Finch. I like them both.

I've got a couple Misery poems still coming together, but am also trying out some new texts. Nevertheless, given a couple recent wrecks, including tearing, poor planning, and disastrous shadowing, I just ordered a third copy of Misery. That ought to be it!

You can see some recently published poems from this series online at Dream Pop. Tinderbox also published O flutes and The Manor Gone earlier this year.

In print, Passages North and Poetry Northwest both included Misery poems in their latest issues, too. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

10 Down

Germany is very cold. The sun is sorry and don’t be deceived when it manages to break through the grey.

Lots of traveling these days, but also staying put and receiving visitors. I try to make the most of plane time, reading or napping or listening to a podcast. On the last trip I listened to a Mary Gaitskill story called “A Dream of Men,” which was terrific. It made me regret not having read Mary Gaitskill yet.

I entertained the idea of doing a reading challenge this year and checked out a few popular ones. Understandably most of them encourage you to try genre fiction and, while I’m open to sci-fi and horror and even westerns, there is no way I’ll read romance fiction, and that’s what the two most promising challenges asked for. Why even begin? Then I thought it might be fun to put together my own challenge so I started composing a list until it began to roll its many eyes...

Read a book that came out the month you were born
Read a book about disgrace
Read a novel set outdoors
Read a trilogy backwards
Read a thriller by a person with a rare disease

I dropped this pursuit and simply set a goal of reading 60 books. 10 down. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Misery catalog

I’ve been able to finish some new Misery poems this past week, though I am facing a disheartening glue conundrum. The stick doesn’t hold forever, and wet glues eat the thin pages. I’ve spent more than 50 euros trying different glues, to no avail. I ordered extra-strong glue sticks a couple days ago, and hope that brings a solution. Glue sticks are super because they don’t warp and well and they don’t weaken the paper. But they’re not lasting.

I had success with the Misery poems last year, with 35 published in 13 different journals. Including Misery 31, published at the tail-end of 2016 in concis, that makes 36. Below is a catalog with assorted links. 

For 2018, seven more Misery poems have been accepted by Diagram, Passages North, Poetry Northwest and Tinderbox. I have others submitted. My semi-move to Spain this past summer ate a lot of time and continues to do so, but it was a good move, and enriching.

Sixth Finch: The Wreck
Diagram: The Republic 

A Bad Penny: Champagne, Hot Temper, Night Flowers, My Ship, Empty Talk
One Sentence Poems: In Flowers 

The Journal: Infant Taint, Frostbite, I’m going up ace 
Escape into Life: The Far Woods, Very Grave/Very Reasonable, All the World, Impossible Flowers

Pith: O my lady, Moonscape 
Permafrost: NoonlightMirth, Doubt, IceThe Upper Hand 

Concis: The Proper Thing 
Collapsar: Past Life, The Itch 

Thrush: Parlor, This Pale Furrow, Straddler, Blacktop, Interior Editor
Shuf: Searchlight, Squall, Eureka (no direct link)

Roanoke: Review: Spoon, The Rains (plus 8 reprints)

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 Booklist

I squeaked over the 50-book barrier last year, despite a lot of work and tumult. I read less poetry than usual, but I'm not scolding myself. I won't lie and say, oh but I read so much poetry online, because it's not true.  Because I spent much time on airplanes, I listened to a number of story podcasts. Perhaps I'll try to remember them all for a separate list. 
My favorite book this year was War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans, a somewhat hybrid memoiry-fiction about WWI that was very affecting. 
There were books that disappointed, like Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. I also listened to a podcast of one of his stories, which I also disliked. I quite wanted to like Calvino, him being a legend and all, but there you have it. I found Invisible Cities a bit of a yawn, and the story, whose title I forget, sexist and ridiculous. 
I likewise disliked A Little Life by Hanya Yanaghihara, with its bad writing decisions, emotional-disaster tourism and sappy shot at "affirmation." I put this in a category with Bel Canto, which I also dislike, of books that try above all to say oh yes life can be awful but we're alive and did our best and love triumphs over death etc etc and here are some sunrises to prove it, which turns my stomach. 
I did back-to-back Dickens, which was fun. Dombey and Son beat out Our Mutual Friend, which has a fatal flaw, in my opinion, though it was still enjoyable. 
I also read two Brenda Hillman poetry collections and am happy to say she's wonderful. 
I read Clarice Lispector for the first time this year, both The Hour of the Star and The Passion According to G.H. I admired her writing a lot and hope to read more this year. 
I sought out dystopian & apocalyptic novels but was underwhelmed. The best of them was Margaret Atwood's Oryx & Crake and The Year of the Flood, which were imaginative and, most importantly, well written. I skipped the last of the trilogy out of fear of disappointment. 
Other books I'd recommend are Édouard Levé's Autoportrait and How to Be Both by Ali Smith, one of my favorite writers. 

1. Pieces of Air in the Epic by Brenda Hillman (Jan 2) USA
2. War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans (Jan 13) Netherlands
3. The Best American Mystery Stories, ed. Carl Hiaasen (Jan 17) USA
4. Eventide by Kent Haruf (Jan 21) USA
5. The Beauty of the Husband by Anne Carson (Jan 22) USA
6. A Little Life by Hanya Yanaghihara (Feb 4) USA
7. The Old Cities by Marcel Brouwers (Feb 11) USA
8. I Love Dick by Chris Kraus (Feb 17) USA
9. The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground (Feb 25) USA
10. The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink (Feb 26) USA
11. Ice Mountain by Dave Bonta (Mar 9) USA
12. Loose Sugar by Brenda Hillman (winter) USA
13. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens (Mar 26)* UK
14. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (Apr 30) UK
15. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (May 6) UK
16. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (May 10) USA
17. Fortune Cookies by Andrew Cox (May 14) USA
18. How to Be Both by Ali Smith (May 21) UK
19. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes (May 27) UK
20. Karate Chop by Dorthe Nors (May 31) Denmark
21. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (May 31) - gave up USA
22. I am Legend by Richard Matheson (Jun 1) USA
23. Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector (Jun 3) Argentina
24. The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Lhosa (June 18) Peru
25. The Indifferent World by Ken Craft (Jun 18) USA
26. The Summer Book by Tove Jannson (June 21) Finland
27. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller (July 4) USA
28. Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden (July 15) USA
29. The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (July 21) USA
30. The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh (July 28) UK
31. What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe (Aug 9) UK
32. Night Fever: Interior Design for Bars and Clubs, ed. Frame Magazine (Aug 9)
33. Animals by Simon Beckett (Aug 10) UK
34. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Aug 13) Canada
35. Recyclopedia by Harryette Mullen (Aug 13) USA
36. The Calling of the Grave by Simon Beckett (Aug 15) UK
37. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (Aug 22) Canada
38. Tinkers by Paul Harding (Aug 27) USA
39. Dark Blonde by Belle Waring (autumn) USA
40. Anna Édes by Dezso Kosztolányi (Sep 3) Hungary
41. Artless: Art by Simple Means by Marc Valli (Oct 15)
42. The Book of the Bird: Birds in Art by Angus Hyland (Oct 17)
43. Experimental Film by Gemma Files (Oct 27) USA
44. Underground Fugue by Margot Singer (Nov) UK
45. Tales of H.P. Lovecraft (Nov 11) USA
46. The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay (Dec 10) USA
47. Autoportrait by Edouard Leve (Dec 11) France
48. Paintings in Proust by Eric Karpeles (Dec 15) USA
49. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (Dec 16) Italy
50. The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector (Dec 27) Brazil
51. Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions by Maurice Manning (Dec 27) USA

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Not even someday

You know how there are couple of books in your to-read stack that turn you off every time you look for a new read, despite their long-standing membership there?

As in, every time you see them you think not now, as if it were a mood issue or a simple case of subject, or you wanted a woman writer this time, or something shorter, or something not set in New York or about WWII, so you snub the book again and after a few years of its languishing on the stack you realize it’s more deep-seated than that. 

All the worse when you’ve sampled 5-10 pages of it and then put it back on the pile, pretty much guaranteeing you’re never going to commit. 

These days it seems like my whole to-read stack consists of such books.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Itch

Two more of my Misery poems are up at The Collapsar, "The Itch" and "Past Life." 

"The Itch" reads:
If you turned the thing over 
to take a look at the works, 
you saw the itch let herself in 
dragging something heavy, 
a cross of soft skin.

"Past Life"
O maddening serene thing
in a previous life
such a rain began to fall

A couple more from this series are due out shortly, and at some point I'll make a linked index of them and post it here.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Back from a vacation in France today, and glad to have tomorrow free before returning to Spain for work on Wednesday.

Like last year in Bourges, we saw a number of WWI sites in the Champagne region. One day we went out to visit the ruins of an abbey and found ourselves just a few kilometers from the site where Guillaume Apollinaire was wounded in 1916. Someone erected a stone marker there with an excerpt from the poem “The Seasons.” I picked up these leaves and such as a souvenir.

We are not big champagne drinkers, alas, but we went to a tasting and bought a bottle for the fall birthday of a friend.

I regretted not taking enough books — usually I lug too many. But early on the day before we left I finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. It was a good read and I was especially sorry to see it end with no other fiction or non-fiction at hand. I was stuck with a poetry book I was not enjoying and another I’ve read many times. Plus two copies of Misery that I didn’t even look at. Our Airbnb host had two English-language novels on her shelf but one I’d read and the other didn’t interest me, plus I would have felt guilty absconding with one anyway.

So I’m glad to be home with a few unread books to choose from. I’d really like to read the fat book I have about the French revolution but recall I’ve left Kershaw’s big biography of Hitler in my desk at work in Barcelona, which dissuades me from cracking open anything too heavy.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The roses have dropped their lawsuit

I neglected to mention the generous Jennifer MacBain-Stephens has written a review of my chapbook "Heiress to a Small Ruin." It was a surprise to me, and very welcome. She spends some time with "Seven Postcards from Solitude," "I Will Now Eat a Loaf of Bread," and "Salem," among others.

If you are interested in "Heiress," it's here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Bloodshot Cartography

My poem Bloodshot Cartography is now a blockbuster movie! The generous Dave Bonta of Via Negativa fame is the video artist, with a reading by me.
This poem began with my wondering whether the word 'amazon' had anything to do with 'amaze,' and finding out it doesn't. Mix in a little homesickness, lack of sleep and antipathy for insects, and it's done. The poem was originally published in Crab Creek Review.

Bloodshot Cartography from Dave Bonta on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Mid-year book list

Here's my half-year book list. I double-Dickensed in the spring!
My favorite fiction was Clarice Lispector's "Hour of the Star" because I loved the writing.

1. Pieces of Air in the Epic by Brenda Hillman (Jan 2) USA
2. War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans (Jan 13) Netherlands
3. The Best American Mystery Stories 2007, ed. Carl Hiaasen (Jan 17) USA
4. Eventide by Kent Haruf (Jan 21) USA
5. The Beauty of the Husband by Anne Carson (Jan 22) USA
6. A Little Life by Hanya Yanaghihara (Feb 4) USA
7. The Old Cities by Marcel Brouwers (Feb 11) USA
8. I Love Dick by Chris Kraus (Feb 17) USA
9. The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground (Feb 25) USA
10. The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink (Feb 26) USA
11. Ice Mountain by Dave Bonta (Mar 9) USA
12. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens (Mar 26) UK
13. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (Apr 30) UK
14. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (May 6) UK
15. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (May 10) USA
16. Fortune Cookies by Andrew Cox (May 14) USA
17. How to Be Both by Ali Smith (May 21) UK
18. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes (May 27) UK
19. Karate Chop by Dorthe Nors (May 31) Denmark
20. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (May 31) - gave up USA
21. I am Legend by Richard Matheson (Jun 1) USA
22. Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector (Jun 3) Argentina
23. The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Lhosa (June 18) Peru
24. The Indifferent World by Ken Craft (Jun 18) USA
25. The Summer Book by Tove Jannson (June 21) Finland

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I go to the hill & the hill helps me down

At the end of May I went to Ireland for a reading with O Bheal, which was fun and went well. My daughter went with me and we spent a few days in and around Cork. The highlight was the hours we spent trawling a used bookstore. She also tried on some gorgeous long dresses in a vintage shop. They were tempting but where would you wear them?

My reading —about a half hour— is here.

I've had some poems --mostly found visual poems from Misery-- out recently, and many more accepted. Three are in The Journal, a favorite publication of mine:

Frostbite, with the image of a jump suspended.
Infant Taint, which I put together the day after the November election.
I'm going up ace, a brag poem.

Ucity Review took four poems that came out last week:

Infinite Loop, a bookish poem.
What's What, about going with the flow.
On Missing the Bottom Step, about a mishap I am a victim of not infrequently enough.
Ingested Pins, one of a few poems inspired by Philadelphia's Mütter Museum.

Other recent but yet unpublished acceptances have come from Permafrost, Thrush, Zone 3, Tinderbox, Passages North, Poetry Northwest, Collapsar and Diagram.

Stupidity is a Dangerous Enemy

Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one's prejudgment simply need not be believed--in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical--and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous. 

-Dieter Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Spring poems

I have been remiss in writing this month, since it's National Poetry Month and I'm not with the poem-a-day program.

Oh well, spring has arrived anyway, bringing Misery poems. At this point, I've had more poems accepted in the first three months of  2017 than I had accepted in all of 2016.

Which is something to ponder.

A Bad Penny published five Misery poems here, including "Empty Talk" and "Night Flowers."

Pith also has two: "Moonscape" and "O MY lady."

Hopefully, I will depart April with at least one decent poem in my notebook or on my drawing board. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

This land is my land

Things that kept me awake: whether my alarm clock would work, whether my back-up alarm clock would work, a lie my husband may be telling me, my daughter's education and future, my son's education and future, my doctor's appointment, the dog's broken claw, a story I'd edited perhaps with an error, the source of certain information (I got out of bed to check this), the story I had to write the next morning, dry skin, my son's sleeping hours, whether I should go to the bathroom (I did), whether I was warm enough (I got a sweater), or too warm (I took off the sweater), my lung capacity, why must I have a body, why must I have a mind, one or both of these are keeping me awake, the disaster administration, the glow of the energy saver strip, electromagnetic-wave pollution in the home, the earth, how miserable I'd be in the morning, the future of public lands.

(erasers by Anu Tuominen) 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Misery 33

One of the found poems I wrote using Stephen King's Misery, The Wreck, is up at Sixth Finch.

I'm still working on this project, but am thinking of moving on soon, maybe to another book. A motivating factor behind Misery was I had to do it - it was my assignment as part of a larger group. I worry that if I choose the book, I might give up too easily when I hit a rough spot.

So far I've done about 40 Misery poems, half of which are worth submitting. Five of those have already been accepted somewhere.
I'd like to use thread a bit more, though I've got collage material out the wazoo. 

And every day the paper boy brings more. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

On an otherwise dismaying day

When we got to the last station this morning I found a personless backpack at my feet. I thought, whoops, pretty sad to forget your backpack on the UBahn. My second thought was, well, this is an "unattended baggage" problem that doesn't need to be mine.

But then it was, & I hadn't sat next to anyone shady -- a 20-something woman listening to music, then a middle-aged man head over heels in love with his companion, headed out of town judging by their bags. But I was engrossed in a Kent Haruf novel about compassionate people on the Great Plains and hadn’t paid much attention. The UBahn lights went off, which means GET OUT so I grabbed the backpack and got out. 

I felt bad rifling through the backpack but no way but forward. The wallet was stuffed with Swiss francs & the plastic had a male name so I knew it was the man's. There was also a phone, laptop, glasses, gloves & files. I thought, ok, this guy is on his way to Switzerland minus some very important stuff, which he's surely realized by now. I found the platform for the one train to Switzerland but didn't spot him. I went to lost&found but was told since I found it in the UBahn & not a long-distance train I had to go to another office downtown. Mr. X's long lovebird weekend would be ruined by the time all that played out. I kept hoping he'd call his phone, but alas. I thought about how unmoored I'd be without my glasses. 

I went to my office & burrowed deeper into his things. I found his Twitter profile but he never tweeted & there was nothing revealing otherwise. In his wallet I unearthed a Swiss consulate ID. I called the consulate & got the robot who says "if you are calling about A push B, etc." Finally I pushed 86 & got a human & explained the situation & asked how I could reach this man or talk to a colleague. I was put on hold. A few minutes later a breathless woman came on & said the man had just called & gee what luck & was I British that's some accent & she took my number & said he'd call. He was at the police station at the train station. I hadn't known there was one.

Soon after he rang & I said I worked nearby & could bring the backpack over. I worried he'd be offended that I looked through his stuff, which was absurd. I asked a station worker where the police station was & I was standing right next to it. So much for my sleuthery! I remembered the old New Yorker cartoon of a man standing below a sign that said "The Illiterate Club" who asks, 'Hey, where is The Illiterate Club?' It was more imperial in there than I expected, except for the guy and his girlfriend who were thrilled and a smiling police woman who downgraded the case from theft to forgetfulness. The guy handed me 50 euros but of course I said no thanks. Go on your trip and give it to someone who needs it, I said in the spirt of my reading.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Slow to ignite

I was early for an appointment so I went to the English section of the bookstore, which I was sorry to see had shrunk, yielding to a stupid section of Frankfurt paraphenalia. My eyesight has grown so poor I have to keep taking my glasses off and putting them back on - on to scan the bookshelf, off to peruse the book in my hand. I found a short story collection by Lucia Berlin - such a European name, though it looks like she never left America. She grew up somewhere obscure and moved to Texas and NY, like everyone. She was an alcoholic with a back brace and multiple sons. I was surprised to read that the bright-eyed, coiffured woman on the cover was her - I thought it was a character. I read three stories including ‘Macadam,’ which begins “When fresh it looks like caviar,” then the bio, how her last marriage was to a guy named Something Berlin and I thought —until it dawned on me at dinner— wow, weird that she ended up with a guy with the same last name as her…

Sunday, January 01, 2017

I Can't Expect to Avoid Anger & Brooding


I’m thinking of living forever.
I think that way I might finally
get my gig straight and solve the crosswords.
I’m considering outlasting everyone
although I know I’d have a hard time
explaining not having read Ulysses
past the first chapter.
I don’t care if death smells like nutmeg.
I don’t buy the plotline on eternal rest.
By staying alive someday
I might manage to hail a taxi,
and fulfill my father’s wish
of reaching town without a red light.
I couldn’t expect to avoid anger or brooding
or to make the journey with my beasts appeased.
But I might walk vast expanses
of earth and always be beginning
and I love beginning
or could learn 
to love it.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 books

I had a good year of reading, with a number of terrific books rolling through in December alone. I've been putting off making my list with the notion I might be able to stuff just one more in, but with 14 hours of 2016 left, it's not going to happen.

It wasn't a great year as politics goes, but Bob Dylan did win the Nobel Prize and I will never forget sitting at my desk flushed with surprise and delight, then spending days rebutting the naysayers. I found out I don't like Elena Ferrante, nor do I care who she is *in real life.* There were a number of books that underwhelmed, including Half a Life and Blood Will Out, which was very disappointing. Where did I get that book? 

Here are my favorite reads pretty much, though it is terribly difficult to make choices. I bolded 10 highlights below, but there are some others of course that almost made it.  

Best fiction: So Much For That Winter by Dorthe Nors, A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
Best poetry: Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon, The End of the West by Michael Dickman, Death Tractates by Brenda Hillman 
Best non-fiction: The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach
Other: The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano

1. The Dinner by Herman Koch (Jan 3)
2. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Jan 7)
3. What the Truth Tastes Like by Martha Silano (Jan 16)
4. Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien (Jan)
5. Zinky Boys by Svetlana Alexievich (Jan 27)
6. Chocky by John Wyndham (Jan 29)
7. Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon (Feb 6)
8. Hotel World by Ali Smith (Feb 7)
9. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (Feb 18)
10. Swoop by Hailey Leithauser (Feb 20)
11. Shockwave by Stephen Walker (Feb 22)
12. The Scented Fox by Laynie Browne (Feb 29)
13. The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach (Feb 29)
14. Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn (Mar 3)
15. Kindred by Octavia Butler (Mar 17)
16. The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart by Deborah Digges (Mar 19)
17. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Mar 27)
18. Heartsnatcher by Boris Vian (April 6)
19. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (April 21)
20. There Was An Old Woman by Jessy Randall (May 2)
21. Five Days At Memorial by Sherry Fink (May 17)
22. Selected Translations by WS Merwin (May 28)
23. Universal Themes in Literature by Howie Good (online chap, May 29)
24. The Vegetarian by Kang Han (June 3)
25. The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano (June)
26. The Possessed by Elif Batuman (June 25)
27. Half a Life by Darin Strauss (Jul 1)
28. The End of the West by Michael Dickman (Jul 3)
29. Small Boat by Lesle Lewis (Jul 5)
30. Sight Lines by Sandra Marchetti (online chap, Jul 5)
31. drip, drip by Lizi Gilad (online chap, Aug 1)
32. Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett (Aug 11)
33. Death Tractates by Brenda Hillman (Aug 11)
34. Where There’s Smoke by Simon Beckett (Aug 13)
35. It Is Such a Good Thing to Be in Love With You by David Welch (Sep 2)
36. A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel (Sep 16)
37. Ochre by Gla4 (online chap, Sep 18)
38. 102 Minutes: Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers - Jim Dwyer (Sep 27)
39. Misery by Stephen King (Sep 29)
40. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden (Oct 25)
41. Seven Years by Peter Stamm (Oct 17)
42. Crash by JG Ballard (Nov 1)
43. Chinoiserie by Karen Rigby (Nov 1)
44. The hows and why of my failures by Dan Nowak (chapbook, Nov 5)
45. Lovely Green Eyes by Arnost Lustig (Nov 12)
46. Pigeons in the Grass by Wolfgang Koeppen (Nov 23)
47. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (Nov 27)
48. Mislaid by Nell Zink (Dec 5)
49. So Much For That Winter by Dorthe Nors (Dec 9)
50. Arthur and George by Julian Barnes (Dec 16)
51. The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Dec 25)
52. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett (Dec 27)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Holiday poems

We had a lovely Christmas with my mother here. As usual, everyone got many presents and if anyone complains they will be duly smacked. A highlight was driving up the Rhine on Monday to a restaurant overlooking the vineyards and river. There was a sun shower and lots of wind and our brunch was horrendously expensive but I’d do it again. 

In writing news, I’ve got two poems up at Ghost Proposal: “Gestures in a Landscape” and “Rome Postcard.” I really enjoyed the issue and hope you’ll spend some time there. “Gestures” is aphoristic, moving through war, landscapes and air. “Rome” is a travel fragment. 

Barnstorm, where I had a poem a couple or three years ago, also published my poem “Rue Musette” mid-month. I wrote this mostly at the end of last year after visiting Dijon and visiting the beautiful Fontenay Abbey in France. I usually decline to record a reading but I went ahead this time. When I sent it I said “if it sounds terrible just toss it” but the very kind editor said it was beautiful and I felt happy about that for a long time! 

Three more of my Misery poems have been accepted, and I’m looking forward to seeing them out in the world soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

death tractates

This year, so far, I’ve read three really outstanding poetry books. Forced to pick a favorite I’m going with Brenda Hillman’s “Death Tractates.” It wasn’t written this year —it’s rare I read books the year they come out— but in 1992.

It has a dullsville cover, and the title makes it sound like some kind of plodding, ancient tome. I didn’t have high expectations, though I’d loved Hillman’s “Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire” a year ago. (That one I bought that on a whim and after opening it was like, ugh, I’m going to hate this. But I ended up loving it.) 

“Death Tractates” is certainly about death, and suffused with grief, but Hillman puts suffering off to one side to ask questions about existence. The poems convey death’s mystery, and treat the deceased as if she were still present, only separated a little, and unreachable. The dead woman is often referred to as a bride and she is nowhere and everywhere. The poems aren’t filled with tears or wailing, but with questions and thoughtful wondering.

Here’s the start of ”Seated Bride” -

She had died without warning in early spring.
Which seemed right.
Now that which was far off could become intimate.

I said to the guides, let’s stand
very close to the mystery
and see how far she’s gone…

One of the best poems is “Much Hurrying,” which begins:

—So much hurrying right after a death:
as if a bride were waiting!

Crocuses sliced themselves out
with their penknives. Everything well made
seemed dead to them: Camelias. Their butcher-
paper pink. The well-made poems

seemed dead to you …. 

The other two outstanding books of poetry I read this year were Ada Limon’s “Bright Dead Things,” which WAS published this year, and Michael Dickman’s “The End of the West.” Of course I read a lot of very good poetry books this year, but I'm being really strict with myself here. So: 3.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Black chair

My husband and daughter went to Italy for a long weekend. My son has school, and I’ve taken the day off to lounge around and stare at the walls.

Ha, I wish. I have to paint a wall, buy the paint, finish a story for work (get back to me, people), and pick up a small chair that’s been reupholstered. Black. 

My first Misery poem is up at concis. It’s simply called “Misery 31.” 

I think a recorded reading of a poem can ruin it. The poem on the page is expansive and porous. A voice pierces it. It’s like illustrating a book. You drew a character in your mind, and suddenly a different image barges in.

This is not always so. Some poets are great readers. 

If the department of transportation decides phone calls are OK on board airplanes I will really start reading aloud aloft. I have done this on the subway when someone would not shut up. 

The day before a day off is always the better day. 

Going to put on my paint-splattered pants and bike to the DIY store. At some point. Today.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

more on misery

Since my trip to the states I’ve been on a writing hiatus. I did poke around in poems in progress but haven’t started anything new. Fall was dominated by the Misery project. I haven’t abandoned it yet, but I know when I pick it up again I’ll be leaving this peaceful period, whether it’s Misery or another book.

This wasn’t my first time doing found poetry but I did spend more time with Misery, and my approach made creation feel very intimate - sewing paper with thread, cutting and dissecting pages, pasting them with confetti and magazine cut-outs. It was one of the more tactile relationships I’ve had with a book. I cursed a lot about glue. 

A lot of the poems I came up with were failures as poems go, but I dressed them up and managed to give them some charm. The ones that worked both as poems and visuals I’m happy with and am submitting. Others are going nowhere. Nothing I did was elaborate. I didn’t set out thinking I’d do visuals every day, but then I couldn’t drop it once I started.

Misery is an entertaining book. It’s well-written, it’s got plenty of gruesome moments and a wound-up villain. But it isn’t a masterpiece of literature. You don’t want to start with a masterpiece when you’re doing found poetry, in my opinion. You find too much unearned gorgeousness.

I also forgot to post these recent poems from The Baltimore Review: Industry Lap Dog and The Quiet Car

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Goldfish Sitter

I’ve been remiss! I had a rich October doing the Stephen King found poetry project. I had more energy than I expected, turning each daily poem into a little creature with various kinds of collage and drawing, which motivated me. I ended up submitting lots of poems in November, without much payoff so far - a few rejections, a stray acceptance.

I also visited the states last month to help my mother prepare to move and to enjoy a rare Thanksgiving, a holiday I always loved because of the food (and family). The family has scattered I’m afraid, and my mother, our last New Jersey stalwart, picks up stakes in January, too.

I did have one poem published last month, Goldfish Sitter, in the National Poetry Review. It’s a poem I wrote after Christmas last year, when I was indeed assigned to babysit a neighbor’s goldfish over the holidays.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reposting a Dylan entry from a couple years ago...

I have dueling versions of Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands on my iPod, Bob Dylan’s and Joan Baez’s. For a long time I only listened to hers, but in fact I prefer his. She has a distinctive, beautiful voice, whereas he just has a distinctive voice. But he’s also got personality, and that piercingly sad harmonica!

Ok, so what's another reason to love the song? Because it is a list poem that reminds me of the French surrealists, that’s why.

Take this, from the song:
With your sheets like metal and your belt like lace,
And your deck of cards missing the jack and the ace,
And your basement clothes and your hollow face,
Who among them can think he could outguess you?
With your silhouette when the sunlight dims
Into your eyes where the moonlight swims,
And your match-book songs and your gypsy hymns (etc)

Then this, from Benjamin Peret’s “Here:”
my ghetto of black iris my crystal ear
my opal snail my mosquito made out of air
my bird-of-paradise mattress my hair of black foam
my exploded grave my rain of red grasshoppers
my flying island my turquoise grape (etc)

Then this, from André Breton’s “Free Union:”
My wife whose hair is a brush fire
Whose thoughts are summer lightning
Whose waist is an hourglass
Whose waist is the waist of an otter caught in the teeth of a tiger
Whose mouth is a bright cockade with the fragrance of a star of the first magnitude
Whose teeth leave prints like the tracks of white mice over snow
Whose tongue is made out of amber and polished glass
Whose tongue is a stabbed wafer (etc)

See! I told you.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Dial M for Misery

I'm doing a poem-a-day project as part of "The Poeming," where each participant gets a Stephen King book in which to find a poem. My poems are all at Dial M for Misery, though I'm calling the tumblr blog "Remaking Misery," since I've hauled in some thread, confetti and coloured pencils.

I did read "Misery" as part of the deal, so I'm not at four King novels, the other three being "The Dead Zone," "The Shining," and "The Stand." I've listened to some stories on tape in the car, too. Not entirely my cup of tea, but enjoyable. To get into it I even watched the movie the other night.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Waxwing Readers

The journal Waxwing is holding a competition that emphasizes the importance of readers by letting them nominate their favourite piece of the last three issues. They call it the Good Bones prize, named for the beautiful poem from issue 9 that went viral. You can vote for any creative writing in the issues - poetry, fiction, translation or non-fiction.

I've spent some mornings reading all the poetry. I thought to include poetry in translation, too, but it seems unfair to choose between a heavy hitter like César Vallejo and a relatively unknown poet writing now. Vallejo is a tremendous (and dead) poet. He doesn't need to be made famous. Yes, I appreciate the work of translators, but they had excellent material to start with, and the poets begin with an empty page.

The competition is a smart idea because often people don't read everything literary magazines have to offer. Sometimes, even with my favourite journals, I read the work of people I know then a couple more poems at random or because of their curious titles, then put it aside - partly because there are 10,000 other journals to read.

There's a lot of good poetry in Waxwing. Reading the issues, I was relieved when I got to a poem I didn't like because my list of candidates was growing long. I still haven't decided but here's my short list:

Maya Pridyck "Sometimes a First Kiss Is a Matter"
Nathan McClain "Power Outage Elegy"
Chloe Honum "Lunch Break at the Psychiatric Ward" and "Group Therapy at the Psychiatric Ward"
Jennifer Jean " "Object" and "The Hero of Seymour Avenue"

Check out Waxwing's submission guidelines if you want to participate too. Deadline Aug. 31.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

We came back from a vacation in France this weekend

See France. Ferment France. Eat France. I love France. I didn’t want to leave. French is the first language I tried to learn. I still know the lesson 2 dialogue of my 7th grade French class word-for-word. It’s been completely internalized, for decades. France has bread. France has peaches. France has beautiful cities and green marshes. It has slim chimneys and wrought-iron balconies. Its streets are named after ancient typographers. The French are into splendor. They are into vibrancy. If only I had truly learned French, I would move there. Maybe it is not too late.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Not without my picture of the sun

It is a hot month. My daughter moved out. My son went on a trip to Prague. I rode my bike back and forth to work despite being rather nervous about it. The best thing to do is let yourself get nervous, to worry, and grimace, and find out (hopefully) later that everything is absolutely ok. 

In addition to the bitten fingernails I've been ditching, I’ve got some recent poems and prose about.

At Flag+Void I have two prose poems called “The Bend” and “Spot Lightning.”

At Right Hand Pointing, I’ve got “The Backache” and “November.” 

Elsewhere, Push Pull Books asked me to recommend books that are “without category.” I have a number, but had to limit myself to three.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

gone electric

Happy International Typewriter Day. I bought my little red beauty at a flea market on the Rhine for less than 10 euros. I remember seeing it almost as soon as we got to the market. I snapped it up immediately and as we browsed it quickly grew heavy. It is a portable, though, with a handle and a case that snaps shut. The maker, Triumph-Adler of Nuremberg, first made bicycles, then branched into typewriters.

I love typewriters because they’re beautiful and the writer’s totem. When I was a child, my father, a reporter, had a small study upstairs and you could hear the typewriter clacking away, busy and productive, a positive presence. Sometimes he let me sit on his lap and peck at the keys. It was our piano. I also went to high school at a time when typing was an elective class. My European colleagues have always found this funny, but in a good way, as a sign of how practical Americans are. Indeed, it’s a great skill to have. 

One of my favourite typewriter scenes in movies is the opening of Atonement, where the sound of typing soon mixes in with a piano. This is a book I wish I had read before seeing the movie, since knowing the twist takes the air out of it. It's a good twist, though. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Colors in Swann’s Way, in Order of Ascending Frequency

“There are tints in the clouds this evening, violets and blues, which are very beautiful, are they not, my friend?” he said to my father. “Especially a blue which is far more floral than atmospheric, a cineraria blue, which it is surprising to see in the sky. And that little pink cloud there, has it not just the tint of some flower, a carnation or hydrangea?”
Cineraria Blue - Plum-Colored - Fleshly White - Blushing Pink - Eggshell Yellow - Pearl Grey - Golden - Orange Red - Ruby - Silver - Coral - Cabbage Green - Ultramarine - Roseate - Blood-Red - Opalescent - Plum Blue - Emerald-Green - Wine-Colored - Pearly - Scarlet - Dark Green - Crimson - Sky Blue - Orange - Lilac - Brown - Mauve - Red - Azure - Violet - Purple - Green - Grey - Yellow - Gold - Pink - Black - White - Blue 

Blue is the most mentioned color in Swann's Way. There are blue eyes, blue feathers, cuffs and ceilings, blue tiles, and a portrait of a man with a blue mustache, among many other moods and tints.  

I had to look up cineraria, which turns out to be a flower I’ve seen but never heard named before. The “ciner” suggested it could have to do with ash, and indeed the German name is ‘Aschenblume,’ or ash flower, but in reference to the underside of the leaves rather than the petals. 

I love how Proust's characters look at the sunset and imagine flowers blooming. 

The image from a seed packet found at the Smithsonian. You can see it says "cineraria hybrida." There are other varieties I found online that are even more intensely blue, and lack the white ring around the center. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Note on the Type: Frasco

The text of this book is set in Frasco, an angular typeface based on the handwriting of Eduardo Frasco, royal scrivener to King Ademarr I.

Frasco expressed his intelligence in a barbed tongue, with a wit evinced in the reams of correspondence he left behind. Frasco the man was an epicure: his spacing provided ample separation, inviting readers to savor every shape and word. 

Frasco wrote in an quick hand, his bowls evoking eyes that squint skyward in inquiry, be it daytime, midnight, or eclipse. The typeface that bears his name bristles with loops and tails; its ascendants emerge like figures leaping up on tiptoe. 

The letterforms are a lean creation, sparingly adorned, marked by acute curvature. Steep swoops dictate the pace, while the capitals are not overlarge, like a king who is respected, but not given too wide a berth.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Joy Alert

Things like Marie Kondo’s book about owning only items that ‘spark joy’ and articles like “Arrange Your Morning around Tasks that Bring You Joy” make it seem like joy is some kind of everyday commodity, within reach just by a trick of organization. 

That’s not joy. That’s what the marketing department and the cereal packaging designers are telling you to sell books and smart phone apps and Coca-Cola. 

Beware of products that promise you joy. It isn’t something you buy or pencil into your schedule. 

Joy is a mystery. Joy is a very welcome but unexpected guest. Joy is going to surprise you when you didn’t make careful plans for it.

Joy is exaltation. Joy is overwhelming, discombobulating happiness. Joy is emotional and/or spiritual. It isn’t a glutton, a hoarder or a hedonist. It does not appear on the menu. 

Joy is not a voluptuous blouse or a silk tie or an almond chocolate bar. Those might be a pleasure. They might give you satisfaction, even deep satisfaction, but they will not exalt you. Joy is of another order. 

Here’s a goofy listicle hellbent on debasing joy at your expense: “100 Things That Can Bring You Joy.” Among the supposedly joyous activities here are things like Go Shopping, Have More Sex Than Your Friends, Organize Your Bedroom, Eat More Steak, and Make a Gigantic To-do List.

If Starbucks brings you joy every morning, what word are you going to reach for when your underappreciated, much-beloved, deserving daughter against all odds wins an award for bravery? I feel sorry for you if you group these two things in the same category: joy.  

It is exaggeration that cheapens value.

Thursday, June 02, 2016


Grassland, a poem by Sarah Sloat from Dave Bonta on Vimeo.

Here's a video of 'Grassland,' one of my older poems, put together by Dave Bonta. I love it. I love the colors and the fiber-optic grass and the birdsong. Hope you'll watch and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dictionary Illustrations

Dictionary Illustrations from Marie Craven on Vimeo.

The gracious Marie Craven has made a blockbuster video of my poem "Dictionary Illustrations." It's really fun. I hope you'll watch it.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Due to a long-term subway service interruption, I have begun commuting by bike

On the upside it is invigorating. On the downside it is exhausting.

On the upside it is efficient exercise with no gym costs. On the downside you compete with cars. 

On the upside it is faster than public transportation. On the downside you cannot read. 

On the upside you see the world differently. On the downside it could rain. 

On the upside it demands focus and concentration. On the downside it requires focus and concentration.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


The wind is torn.

In the field behind my house, flowers not on stems but stalks.

As a child driving at night with my parents and uncle, so foggy my uncle threatened to get out and walk, and threw the door open on the highway.

Why has ‘debauch’ been usurped by ‘debauchery?’ ‘Debauch’ being one instance?

Most people have to invent their own pain, but I lived not far from the factory.

Some cut flowers can be revived by submerging in cool water. Warm makes the wilt worse.

As a child I was a fervent devotee of prayer. I had a looming divorce to pray against, and dreaded going to bed, knowing how long it was going to take to bless everyone I loved, or who deserved my love.

A horse is prized for beauty and strength, and to hell with its inner qualities.

“Children go through divorce in single file,” said Judith Wallerstein. It doesn’t matter if their friends got there first.

A gentleman is not an implement, Confucius said.

And the flophouse is no place for a lady.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The clean break

I’ve always found it a pleasure to pull a perforated paper apart at the seam. There’s something satisfying about doing it neatly. Then throwing it away, of course, since perforated paper is mostly used for tickets, or mail-in offer forms, or at least it used to be. 

Anyway, I wrote a poem about the imaginary person whose job it is to perforate the paper. It’s called - surprise! - The Perforator, and is up at Star82.

I bet this baby would enjoy tearing paper along the perforation too. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Heiress to a Small Ruin

My new chapbook, “Heiress to a Small Ruin,” is out! It was slightly delayed, but I like the February publishing date. I need more Pisces in my life. The poems are old and new. There are cigarettes and wine and household gadgets. The wonderful cover collage was done by Catherine Mellinger

The Quotidian Bee, a website that runs poems from new books and chapbooks, put up Airstrip Heart yesterday, one of my favorites. Thanks for reading. If you’d like a copy, you can order one here. They're $7, or about 29 cents a poem. Which is what? Two tall lattes? 

The poems: 
Salem - Airstrip Heart - Thrall - Seven Postcards from Solitude - Chablis, Amen - Headache, Amen - Heiress to a Small Ruin - Bloodshot Cartography - Clinic Lilies - Snapshot with Mica & Narcolepsy - The If Horse - Lines written in a Japanese noodle shop watching a building be demolished - I Will Now Eat a Loaf of Bread - Inebriate of Air - Self-Portrait with Lava Lamp -Hackers - Smoking Jacket - Nightlight Ghazal -Inksleep - Electric Singer

Monday, February 15, 2016

Things I Love (v-day, a day late)

Fontina cheese. Talking Heads. Kurt Schwitters. Kalamata olives. David Markson. Peonies. Santa Fe. The Greatest. The oceans. Bidú Sayao. Villette. Rioja. Gingham. Good Reads. Paul Klee. Almonds. Dusk Litany. Black-eyed Susans. Titled. Lichtenberg. Brown paper. Brattleboro. Mairead Byrne. 72 Fahrenheit. Candles. Babies. Dachshunds. My Dead Friends. Fernando Pessoa. Fondue. Rucola. BWV 82. Norman Dubie. Teal. Marimekko. Fireplaces. Affentor. Tapioca pudding. Brittany. Chanel 5. Garamond. Meryl Streep. German. Acorns. Daunt Books. Lavender. Bath bombs. Barrister bookcases. MoMA. Collage. Garlic. Satie. Street cars. Tidiness. The glottal stop. Book art. Complex plots. Warm washcloths on airplanes. Adjectives. Szymborska. Steak. Alexievich. The Jackson 5. Birdsong. Kimonos. Wooden matches. Emily Dickinson. Naples. Calligraphy. Upscale hotels. Aspirin. Lake Constance. Breast feeding. Spoons. Pocket knives. WS Merwin. Snow. Persimmons. Apollinaire. Burt Bacharach. Camper shoes. The Owl and the Pussycat. Pipe tobacco. Bright Pittsburgh Morning. Licorice. Wattwandern. Popcorn. Aprons. Hans Arp. Swann’s Way. Dark blue velvet. Chai latte. Chuang Tzu. Lord of the Rings. Pocket watches. Clouds.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Petals fell like snow into the year of the monkey

Good Wife of Hunan

You knew I’d been up all night startling the wok 
and I’d been up for ages grooming the dog star
of ticks, throwing a tarp over all that barking
for the sake of the neighbors and cosmic harmony.
Clearly I’d been up with my measuring stick
by the river, which chilled my toe bones and triggered
that crying-jag phone call to my mother two monasteries
west of here, my mother who was glad to have girls.
Spring petals fell like snow into the year of the monkey.
Snow fell like snow into the year of the cat.
And it seemed I’d be up startling the wok
for generations and it seemed I was going to live
to see 10,000 or at least the day you dropped dead
drunk from the jug of plum wine and I’d shown 
the barking star who’s master.

Song of the day: Year of the Cat

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Evening falls / so bespoke blue

My poem “Electric Singer,” which appeared in RHINO last year, is now up online. I’m lucky to have been in a number of RHINO issues, and last year they accepted a poem for this year, too, called “The Quiet That Follows a Protracted Racket We’d Ceased to Register.” You may know I like short-ish poems with long, intricate titles.

Another intricate I liked this week was #colorourcollections. Over the past 2-3 years there’ve been scads of adult coloring books, some rather hokey. But this week various museums put up files of their collections in black & white that you can print out and color. There were some lovelies, including Oregon Health & Science University and the Folger Library. If you like that kind of thing. You can find more via Twitter with #colorourcollections.
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