Friday, December 30, 2005

new year ideas

may tongues admit of avalanche
may ships admit of barnacles
may sleet admit of tulips
may gin admit of voodoo
may rooms admit of foolishness
may paradise admit of rain
may crooks admit of soldiers
may tea admit of jasmine
may pans admit of ramekins
may notes admit of mischief

Thursday, December 29, 2005


My poem "Toothache" is in the new Tilt.

There are also poems by Tracy Estes, Rachel Dacus, Patricia Jones, Cheryl Snell, Jeffrey Calhoun, Alex Stolis and Bernie Henrie, and a review by Bob Hoeppner of Camille Paglia's book "Break Blow Burn."

I also got served a rejection by Caffeine Destiny. Oh well, better luck next time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


got a rejection from bryant literary review today. hey, at least they rejected me. there's a, ahem, PUBlication i submitted to nearly a year ago that hasn't gotten around to telling me off yet, despite the proclaimed 3-month response time. Also Rosebud, which never responded, despite my snail-mail queries from across the freakin' ocean. One night I got so stewed about it i sent the editor a bitchy email. whatever! i know editors are overloaded. i know they get a lot of crap poems. boy, do i know the energy it actually takes to comment helpfully on poems in any way (unless of course you LOVE it), so I apologize now to the Rosebud editor whoM i mouthed off to. smile! god, i feel all absolved now and everything!

i looked at the page and
the page was blank
i was holding the pen, also white
i held it poised
i held it posed
i pinched that sucker
but the page stayed blank
i looked at the page
it didn't say anything
but ah wait, yes
the page said wait

Monday, December 19, 2005

just volk

Glabrous: that was the word-of-the-day and I got to use it already. We interviewed a Danish guy with wonderful skin. Sitting next to him I thought – it has arrived! The glabrousness!

I saw any number of people today. Jillions! Kajillions! Starting with the little old lady. I used to say hello to her every morning on the UBahn platform but now that it’s dark and I avoid the park and come from the other direction, I don’t anymore. She looks like a sweet lady in her parka and I wonder where an old lady like her is off at 630 am every day. Does she have to work?! Well! We have so much in common!

At the Hauptbahnhof there was the homeless guy in black leather spangled with rhinestones who paused here and there to waver on one foot. Drunk pretty early, or still drunk, or just getting started.

And there was the stocky guy outside my office window in a dark wool coat leaning horizontally into the furious snow.

And the girl who wraps the sandwiches at the sandwich shop. She’s a thin thing but she has good arm muscles – I guess that’s what wrapping sandwiches can do for you.

And there were loads of people I’ve never seen before, many of whom reminded me of people I have seen before. And there was me in the ladies room mirror, wearing my office id around my neck just for reassurance.

And hot from the AP – Dr. Germ and Mrs Anthrax have just been released from jail!

Friday, December 16, 2005


my mouth is made out of humming
that's made of spring water
that's made of nickel

my skin is made of helium
composed of veal
that's made of glue

my hands are bowls of snow
made out of blisters
made from monsoons

already my mind has smiled
out of its golden hospital

halfway through the operation, the surgeon
rests a spell, well deserved,
made of oxygen

Thursday, December 15, 2005


My first issue of 32poems arrived. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I admit I was surprised how small it is. But 32 poems at $6 an issue equals about 19c a poem - wow!

I haven't read all the poems yet but so far none of them made me feel like the top of my head had been taken off. My favorite so far is "Cheese" by Brandon Hartley. And another good one is "The Hair Room - Auschwitz 2004" by Meg Shevenock, and "Pickets" by Amy Ellison. There were a couple of so-what kind of poems in there, and a poem called "Love" centered around cicadas that reminded me somewhat of Lia Purpura's poem called "Cicada," which was in Ploughshares.

There were also a couple poems that exceeded 32 lines! Hey! The submission guidelines say poems should be under 32 lines. What an outrage!

This is the reason I subscribed to 32poems: The Fabulous Ones.

I think that's a wonderful poem. Reading that, I did feel like the top of my head had been taken off, from the smile up. For anyone who likes alphabet poems, the ezine Snakeskin plans an issue of them, to be edited by Jessy Randall.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I clicked in to Ploughshares today to find that David St. John edited the new issue. I was pretty excited about that, and interested to see the poems he chose. Among the poets I recognize there are Jane Hirschfeld, David Lehman, Marvin Bell, Norman Dubie, Lorca and Michael Collier. There were others I've heard of, but not read, and a bunch I've never heard of.

Just a couple days ago I put St. John's Study for the World's Body on my list of favorite 2005 poetry acquisitions. Interesting that he took a couple Norman Dubie poems, whom I also just discovered. And I was happy to see Michael Collier's name. I recently cut and paste his "Birds Appearing in a Dream" into my little poem and picture book. It was also at Ploughshares (spring 2004). Wonderful poem, and not unlike Dubie's "Hummingbirds" poem.

Here's the Collier.

Ploughshares, in my view, is the best poetry journal around. The only reason I don't subscribe to it is once a year they put out an all-fiction issue that I just don't want. If they did it the other way around, i.e. two issues of poetry and fiction and one of just poetry, I would be getting the 5-year deal. They also free up all the poetry on the website for general perusal as soon as the next issue comes out. Not the smartest business cookies in the jar. Shhhhh!

I currently subscribe to American Poetry Journal, Atlanta Review, and 32 Poems, though I haven't gotten an issue of 32 yet. I'm letting APJ run out now and trying the other two. I got Poetry for a while but let that expire, too. Usually I just make a random selection of journals when I visit the states. I got five or six this last trip: Barrow Street, goodfoot, Absinthe and a couple others that slip my mind at the moment.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

poetry books 2005

I may have overlooked some, but these are the poetry books I got this year. I put the five that really knocked me out separately at the top, not in any order. Five stars all around. The rest follow.

Study for the World’s Body – David St. John.
Complete Posthumous Poetry – Cesar Vallejo. Among my favorite poems here is “The Gravest Moment in Life.”
Trouble in Mind – Lucie Brock-Broido
ILL LIT – Franz Wright. I’m sold.
Vier Fragen der Melancholie – Tomas Salamun. I should have gotten this in English, but so be it. I think I still will get it in English. But the little German hardback is beautiful.

4 Stars
-The Master Letters – Lucie Brock-Broido. Very terrific, but not as terrific as “Trouble in Mind.”
-Poem of the Deep Song – Federico Garcia Lorca. This would have made it to the upper eschelon list, but I was familiar with most of it already, so my socks stayed on.
-Fire & Flower – Laura Kasischke. At times rapt, and even thrilling. You must read the “Barney” poem.
-First Four Book of Poems – W.S. Merwin. Of the poems in this volume, I already had “The Lice” and his previous “Selected Poems,” but this is essential stuff. I’ll enjoy it my whole life.
-The Body Electric (anth. of American Poetry Journal). This was a find – used bookstore in Philly. I discovered a bunch of poets I hadn’t read before, including SJ Marks and Norman Dubie, whose poem “Hummingbirds” almost shot this into the upper eschelon.
-Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan – I had much of this already, but in German. Good to have the bilingual edition.

-Selected Poems – Carol Ann Duffy. This was worth it simply for the poem titled “$.”
-Candy Necklace – Cal Bedient. Vivid and imaginative, if hard to warm up to.
-Postmodern American Poetry – a Norton Anthology. Don’t know yet.
-Of This Time – Gerald Stern
-Pittsburgh Book of Contemporary American Poetry. This is a nice selection. What bugs me is how they have these full-page photos of the poets and suddenly I’m reading the poems with the face in my head and it disturbs the whole thing like a grimy filter. It doesn’t matter if they’re beautiful or homely. Some big names here (Kooser, Olds, Soto) and some folks I hadn’t heard of. I especially liked the Leonard Nathan poems. I like any poet who can get away with naming him/herself in the poem. That’s not easy.
-Voice Over – Elaine Equi. Don’t ask me how but I ordered this second-hand on Amazon and it came signed by Equi. I like her style.
-Selected Poems, Giuseppe Ungaretti. This was a gift from Carlo. It’s pretty good. Need to spend more time with it.
-The Wild Iris – Louise Gl├╝ck. I really dig her, but it is true that sometimes the poems start to sound a lot like each other. Many of them are named “Matins.” I wonder about doing that.
-Repair – CK Williams. Haven’t really gotten into this.
-Passing Measures – Peter Riley. Riley does wonderful place poems. There are some excellent poems at these websites.
-New and Selected Poems - Stephen Dunn. Need to spend more time here.
-Figures of the Human - David Ignatow. I really like him. Very original.
-Carnival Evening – Linda Pastan. This wasn’t as good as I expected.
-Nine Horses – Billy Collins. I wouldn’t have, but this was going at Borders for $3.99.
-Outside History – Eavan Boland. Used bookstore buy in London. Doesn’t grab me.
-Subhuman Redneck Poems – Les Murray. He’s great.
-Forward Book of Poetry 2004. A British gathering. Lukewarm on this.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


the frost was thick this morning. i was out raking leaves. we don't have a tree on our postage stamp but the leaves from Herr Wissel's crumpled little nut tree fall over the fence. it's nice to have some leaves to rake, somehow. the boys have just driven to the woods to saw down a christmas tree. lulu and i are going to do some collages.

i read Marie Howe for the first time yesterday and was deeply impressed. very moving and authentic. i should get off my ass and send a gift book to my sister-in-law, who likes poetry and has encouraged me in my own writing. Marie Howe would be a good choice. here's a link to one of the her poems: Read it, it's good for you.

i submitted a bunch of poems over the past week, after thrashing around in frustration for over a month. i'm going to have a poem in rachel mallino's next Tilt, and the edior of Ash Canyon Review sent me a nice note just two days after i submitted saying how much he and his "15 readers" liked my poems. Said he'd let me know shortly which one(s) they'd take. that was heartening.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

the hot file

Someone, likely under 5 ft tall, screwed around with my alarm clock yesterday and I wound up awake at 2 am, thinking it time to get ready for work. Then I figured that out and went back to bed. Then Miles started calling me - he has a fever - and I got in bed with him and stroked his hair. Such is the nighttime opera parents know. Musical beds. Light sleeping. Drinks of water. Trips to the bathroom.

Lying awake with mr. fever, I made a list of compound words with "hot." Hot seat. Hot pants. Redhots. Hot flash. Hot cross buns. It went on and on.

I'm trying to figure out the blog deal, eg adding elements, links, lists, etc. It'll sure take me a couple days... until then it looks lifeless.

A very cool thing happened. Lucy Newlyn, a lit professor at Oxford, choose a poem I submitted to her workshop as one to highlight in the Guardian poetry workshop this month. Unfortunately the line breaks got very screwed up. Nevertheless, check it out:

Mostly I want to make lists here. Especially a poem list.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

i want to make lists

Lists of

crayon colors
poem titles
favorite movies
weather phenomena
german artists
countries I've visited
baby names
books I've loved
lucky numbers

hope to get cracking soon.
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