Monday, January 25, 2016

The 5th Gospel

We spent the weekend in Leipzig, where my husband wanted to see a concert of Baroque music. On Saturday we arrived in time to see the afternoon program at St. Thomas Church, where Bach was musical director. It was my second time in Leipzig and both times I was lucky to attend the hour-long Saturday program in this church. 2 euros. Can’t be beat.

We stayed directly across from the church in a comfortable hotel. Nice bed, nice tub, kitchenette for making your own coffee, which we are very attached to. We take our own coffee pot with us, and our coffee, and find a market for fresh whole milk, preferably 3.8%, etc. 

We also visited the small Bach museum. We didn’t expect much but it was surprisingly enjoyable and modern. There was Bach’s family tree (the males, anyway, it must be noted) with its many musicians. He traced back past 1575 to a person named Veit, a baker who fled Hungary and played music in his mill. The listening room was the highlight, then the organ. 

My husband asks what appeals to me about religious music if I don’t believe in god and the answer is it expresses such exquisite longing. Bach is the height of it. Bach’s cantatas have been called “the fifth gospel” because of their beauty and apparent ability to sway heathens to Jesus and Christianity. 

If I must ascribe to something, sign me up. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Making Myself Marvelous

I have been trying to dance on stilts for a number of years.

I have been attempting to walk the bomb-pocked streets of the little Olde World on my fingertips.

I've been entertaining a lethargic thought.

My aspirations have retreated into a silence so complete I've had to have my hearing tested.

You can imagine how tired I am.

Still, stuff gets done. Like the amazing editors at Doubleback Books who have re-ushered my first chapbook back into the world of the reading, seven years to the month after it first appeared. 

Yes, that's right: "In the Voice of a Minor Saint" is renewed & improved and completely free online.

Think of the forests we have saved by working together in this way. 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Snow blowing into the mouth of amen

After so much wishing we finally woke up to snow this morning. The snow rarely sticks in Frankfurt, so we're lucky. I only hope my kids, wherever they are this morning, are up in time to see it before it goes. They wished with me for all this aspirin.

Anu Tuominen

I have a poem up today in Word Riot called Deluxe Moments, one of what I call my sentence poems. The inspiration for at least one of the lines comes from my idol Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, whose "The Waste Books" is one of my bedside favorites. In Notebook F, number 121, he writes simply: "An amen face." 

I love the idea and image of "an amen face."

Friday, January 15, 2016

One made a manger of me

I’ve got two poems up in the new issue of Radar Poetry today, my first publication this year. The poems are Pacific Archives and Indoor Horses
I’d submitted to Radar at least twice before having these accepted. I’d wanted to land a poem with them every since I read Mary Lou Buschi’s poems in issue #1. 

Radar has consistently published interesting work and I love the art they’ve used. They let writers suggest art to accompany their poems if they have an idea. For Pacific Archives I really wanted to use this collage by Shannon Rankin, whose work I’ve admired on Etsy. I was so glad she agreed. Radar ended up using some of her other pieces, too.

I was a bit stumped on the art for Indoor Horses, but luckily they knew an artist - Sarah Jacoby - who was willing to do something original. I thank her, too. On an otherwise dreary Friday, I was happy how it all turned out. 

Sunday, January 03, 2016


So, here they are - my end of the year ‘stats.’

I submitted a lot last year, but didn’t feel particularly productive. Positive was taking part in Found Poetry’s PoMoSco project in April, which got me writing and yielded two poems that I’ve since published.

I started an online workshop 3 weeks ago hoping again it would motivate me, but the truth is all you have to do out is turn off your distractions and concentrate and write. Even if you write crap, just go. You can throw the crap away. The workshop aspect is a plus because it’s like running with a partner. They show up, so you have to, too. 

I sent out more submissions last year compared with 2014, 85 vs 74. 

In two cases I had a poem accepted that I’d submitted more than 40 times. In one of those I rethought the poem with the criticism of an interested editor and ended up (surprise!) with a better poem. 

In two other cases, a poem was taken by the one place I sent it to.

Altogether I had 25 poems accepted, and 20 published, a good number for me, even if it sounds miserable! 

I also published four prose or hybrid pieces, so I'm part of the creative non-fiction crowd now, too. 

There were journals I finally got into after at least three tries: Rust + Moth, Radar (forthcoming)

And journals I’ve yet to get into & maybe never will: Adroit, Boaat, AGNI

One ordeal was, after a wait of nearly 3 years, I pulled a poem from a publication that had been promising to publish it. It was a good publication, newish, and I hesitated because I wanted to be in it. But it seemed they were winding up to go out with a whimper, and ignoring my polite and infrequent requests for an update. Anyway, I pulled the poem and it was accepted very quickly by Whiskey Island. And that was even better. 

I received a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net nomination for my poem "Newlyweds, Ukraine" from DMQ Review, where I have published 16 poems over the years. Thank you DMQ!

This year, DoubleBack Press will reprint my first chapbook, “In The Voice Of A Minor Saint.” And I expect my chapbook, “Heiress to a Small Ruin” to come out from Dancing Girl Press. 

On the submission front, after not submitting for about two months I sent out three batches of poems on January 1, and had a poem accepted by a publication I’ve been trying to crack within five hours. 

So take that, crappy stats.

Crab Creek: Bloodshot Cartography
DMQ: Newlyweds, Almost Pain
Whiskey Island: Airstrip Heart
Gravel: Nothing Fits Me Anymore
Bird’s Thumb: Reader’s Block
Cleaver: Medieval Photographer
RHINO: Electric Singer
One Sentence Poems: Separate Bed
Petite Hound: The New Me
Sundog Lit: Flush Sky, Whittler
Hermeneutic Chaos: The If Horse
Stoneboat: Keyhole Confessor
Citron: Nightlight Ghazal
concis: Inebriate of Air
Literary Bohemian: Outer Space, Oarsman Ghazal
Right Hand Pointing: Single Brick 
Rust+Moth: Seven Shaved Bald in One Room

Prose & prose-like
Lunch: Overlapping Landscapes
Matchbook: Buchenwald
The Offing: See Also Fire
The Offing: Changeling , a collaboration with Anu Tuominen, whose image is above. 
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