Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This Just In from the Barn

A note from Barn Owl Review:

Barn Owl Review #2 will feature:

POETRY: Seth Abramson, Deborah Ager, Nin Andrews, Aimée Baker, Erica Bernheim, Jason Bredle, Robert Lee Brewer, Edward Byrne, Paula Cisewski, Elizabeth J. Colen, Rachel Dacus, J.P. Dancing Bear, Emari DiGiorgio, Steve Fellner, Brent Fisk, John Gallaher, Leslie Harrison, Anna Journey, Stephanie Kartalopoulos, Lori Lamothe, David Dodd Lee, Gary Leising, Adrian C. Louis, Greg McBride, Erika Meitner, Keith Montesano, Alison Pelegrin, Greg Rappleye, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Brent Royster, Sean Singer, Sarah Sloat, Amy Bracken Sparks, Jennifer Sullivan, Mathias Svalina, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Karen J. Weyant, Brian R. Young

CRITICAL PROSE: Kazim Ali, Megan Savage

FICTION: Christina Kapp, Sheba Karim, Edward Mullany, Tom Noyes

This year we received almost 1,500 submissions--far beyond what we'd ever imagined--and had an incredibly tough time making our decisions. Many thanks to everyone who sent us work. We only wish that we had the funds to make the issue twice its size.

Look for us at AWP: Table 724, Hilton Chicago, Southwest Hall, Lower Level

The cover is available to gaze at over at the BOR Blog.

If you're attending AWP, please swoop in and say hello.  Not to me, as I won't be there, but to the rest of the good folks.  

Call it a year.

Lillian B. updated her online photo gallery.  Some beauty to close out your year is over here.  

Newness from Kim Chinquee.

Should be a restful transition into the new year.  I hope it is for you.  If you're in NYC, maybe you'll find my brother in Time Square.  I'm a fan of going to sleep one year, waking up the next. 

How does it go for you?

A short one from Paul Muldoon:

The Braggart

He sucked, he'll have you know, 
the telltale sixth toe
of a woman who looked like a young Marilyn Monroe,

her hubby getting a little sloppy
when he found them there in the back of that old jalopy.
Other papers please copy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Whole Lotta Cheddar

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Quickidy quick

Sharing some wild company over at Anti-.  

A few other surprises coming soon.  

Thursday, December 18, 2008

For all you Art Lovers out there

Ms. Sunday, the only person I let near my skin with a machine full of ink, has recently updated her portfolio over at

If you're on Long Island and need to cover that old faded out kanji (the one someone told you meant "passion" but really translates to "penguin") or if you're looking to get done for the first time, please consider booking an appointment with her at Lark Tattoo in Westbury.  

*An Update in response to a comment from "poetryguy":

A couple of points, once again treating your anonymous aggressions as constructive commentary: 
I would have written "gun," but was recently schooled by Mr. DJ Robinson of Wyld Chyld Tattoo in Merrick, NY about the point that guns harm people, where machines perform necessary tasks. So, yes, Tattoo Machine full of ink. In addition, if one chooses to get a tattoo, it's important to have an artist they can trust; one who is both interested and excited about the art you intend to permanently display for the remainder of your days. I have 4 tattoos of significant sizes, and am proud that I can count on Sunday at Lark to take my appointments. Because I believe in her integrity and skill as an artist, as well as enjoy her general presence, I hope others can turn to her for their body art.
It's good to have a tattoo artist you can turn to if you want to expand on a previous piece, or need a touch up. Some fly-by-night needle wielder won't be there to maintain the piece, and a healthy cross-section of artists aren't comfortable sticking around other people's art. Understandably so. A musician doesn't do a remix and claim it as original work; conservators don't restore a painting and put it up at their own gallery show; poets don't embrace the work they've attentively workshopped for their peers in their own manuscripts.  

My condolences if you've been butchered by some flash-artless hack. If that's the case, consider hopping the LIRR to Westbury and talk to Sunday. She does wonders with the cover-up.
Always a pleasure, fanboy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Much To Do

Some poems up at Slurve Mag.  The baseball card bios make me smile, and I'm a fan of Previous and Next buttons so there's the sense of page turning.  A fun journal I'd love for you to check out.

No Tell is having a special. Dig.

Ted Sanders is in the new issue of the Cincinnati Review.  It's amazing, and I hope you read it.

Please PLEASE get over to the RainTaxi Benefit Auction on ebay.  They have an impressive amount of impressive signed things. And a scarf I've been eyeing.  There's gonna be a battle for the Chris Abani works.

Moving on:
I'm in San Diego...again.  This time, I'm staying.  
I did 3 day of driving from West Palm to get here, two of them being around 15 hour days.  Lots of meditation gets done.  I was thinking of how I lived here when I'd just started writing, and again when I was finished with undergrad.  I left to go to grad school, but promised myself I'd come back after the MFA. 

I'd been putting it off for various reasons until now.  I don't regret the last 6 months, and they're not worth dwelling over.  Just didn't go down how I'd have liked.  What hit me--somewhere in the 880 miles of Texas on the 10--is how often people say they'll do things and don't.  They don't keep their word to others, which is often explainable, understandable and forgiven; they don't keep the word to themselves, and forgiving one's self self seems to be much more difficult.  

My thinking was that I'd be happy anyplace, so long as I was working and had a little room to work on various small vehicles.  That may or may not be true.  I know, and I think the wonderful people I've met and have grown to love over the last 5 years know, that I've never been happier than when I lived out here.  Please be in touch, and know you'll have a couch once I get get a couch...or a whole room if I'm lucky.

It's chilly and raining here today.  If you're somewhere cold, please keep warm.  
This morning I love you all, just like I love this frog, who slapped down on this car right in front of me the other night:

Good morning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Going Home

Scratch Florida.

...see you there!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just So You Know

Max Xiantu's blog has migrated to  Please adjust your plans accordingly.  

And just in over the email is a message from Amy Sayre Roberts.  With the intention of helping spread joy, and as a lover of radio, here you go:

Thought this message from Thousand Kites might be of interest to you all.
Join the ninth annual CALLS FROM HOME radio broadcast for prisoners.

The United States has 2.4 million people behind bars. Thousand Kites
wants you to lend your voice to a powerful grassroots radio broadcast
that reaches into our nation's prison and lets those inside know they
are not forgotten.

We are asking you to call our toll-free line 877-518-0606 and speak
directly to those behind bars this holiday season. (An answering
machine will record your message) Read a poem, sing a song, or just
speak directly from you heart. Speak to someone you know or to
everyone---make it uplifting.

So call right now at 877-518-0606. We will post each call on our
website as it comes in! Check our website to
listen to your call and others!

CALLS FROM HOME will broadcast on over 200 radio stations across the
country and be available for download from our website on December 13.

Call anytime (now through December 9) at 877-518-0606 and record your message.

Learn how you can help blog, distribute, broadcast, or support this event.

CALLS FROM HOME is a project of Thousand Kites/WMMT-FM/Appalshop and a
national network of grassroots organizations working for criminal
justice reform.

In Peace,
Thousand Kites Team (Nick, Julia, Dudley, Donna, and Amelia)

Thousand Kites
91 Madison Ave
Whitesburg, KY 41858

Monday, December 1, 2008

What Doesn't She Do?

Regarding the hardest working writer I know, this just in:

Amazing writer, gracious host, go-to blogger, and festival finder, Amy Guth is now also Managing Editor of So New.  I really liked this press before, and I'm super stoked she's driving that ship.  Send her your love, and enjoy the books from these fine folks.

The press release from the Publisher-at-large James Stegall is below.

Hey everybody,

I wanted to send out a quick announcement to let you know that Amy Guth is going to be taking on much of the effort at So New as Managing Editor. She is literally saving the press, as I've had to scale back much of my involvement due to work and personal demands. 

Amy has a ton of great ideas about the future of the press, lots of enthusiasm for the existing catalog, and just the right mix of professionalism, social-savvy and creativity. If I could have hugged her through the phone, it would have happened.

I'll still be on board as the publisher, and there is room for other volunteers if you've got some time. We're broke, just like everybody else, but still devoted to figuring out how to publish books and hold readings during these challenging times.

You can reach Amy at if you'd like to send a word of support, which would be awesome.

Thanks again for all your support in keeping the dream alive.


James Stegall
Publisher @ So New

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Funnies

The Jets destroyed the Titan's undefeated status.  Woot!  

Jennifer Michael Hecht had a poem from Funny up at the Writer's Almanac today.  If you can, read it, and maybe wish her a happy birthday.  I love her work.  I just wish she'd read in a town near me...though it would help if I'd stop moving around so much.

Max's normally fantastic blog did something new today.  Made me chuckle a lot.  That counts too.

That's Sunday, baby.
I'm hoping blogging at a more regular pace resumes when I have a window near a desk I'm using.  This is not nearly as far away as it seems.  Stay tuned for a new place, new tools, finished projects, and some links to poems coming out when those editors feel like it.  

Which reminds me...Slurve Magazine's taking submissions.  I like them.  As it happens, they like me.  Maybe you can send some stuff in, then when I chill with them, I can call you and we can all chill together.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

As it gets cold...

Who says you can't put a 2x4 on the front steps and roll a motorcycle into a living room?

It's easier to work in a warm house.

It's easy to stash it in the room off the living room before Manny's family gets home.  If I'm not subbing tomorrow, this '76 cb550 will be running by 3pm: my goal.

Update: It would have started, but the wiring behind the kill switch at the throttle is gross.  All the pieces matter.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vote Again!

Hey homies,

Please support The Deacon in the Roots Criminal Remix Contest.  He's already at 55th, so click the link, and help a brotha out.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

While "Ain't She Sweet" is playing on the radio

Ravi Shankar has an essay over at Contemporary Poetry Review.  This is exactly the kind of writing I'd like to see more of out there.  This is what I'm thinking when I think Critical Prose.

By that by, if you were near BGSU, The Winter Wheat Festival just happened.  I should have mentioned it sooner.  Sorry.  If you were there, did you get to see Mary and other Barn Owl folks?  I miss events like that.

Check out the next Copper Nickel for 2 poems by Matt Minicucci.  He rocks socks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Jennifer Michael Hecht is posting at Best American Poetry.

Bloof is on the road again to Atlanta.  

Max has perfect timing with things like this.

It's getting cold in New York.  The kind of cold that makes working on the Vespa sorta painful.  Fingers, and all.  You know how it goes.  The project is on hold until we pack up and take it to a warmer climate.  

We are resolved in packing up and going to a warmer climate. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

If you have a minute...

Have you pre-ordered Sandra Simonds' Warsaw Bikini from Bloof Books?

Have you taken a moment to remember Jimmy Carl Black?  (He was the indian of the group.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Long Day of City

If you celebrate via gear, Justin Bua's still got Obama shirts.  If today ain't your day, sorry.  I don't know any artists making McCain art at the moment.  But I'll keep an eye open for it.  

Greg tipped us off to the Milton Exhibition at the Morgan last month, and I finally got to take it in yesterday.  Small, but pretty fantastic, including original editions of the 10 book version, and a later copy of the 12.  Also on display is a small watercolor by Blake.  Absolutely worth heading there for, but I was more blown away by Morgan's study--could you write in walls lined by red sink?  Thanks, Greg!

When a greasy spoon dies and goes to Heaven, I believe it becomes a counter in Grand Central's Oyster Bar.  Totally worth the atmosphere.  Courtesy of brother Roger Aplon.  

All kinds of new Mixtapes and sounds at Sleeping Giant Music.  Enough to force me to set up the backup hard drive.  I love these maniacs.  

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Right: Easy :: Perfect: Mediocre

Content: now that the Vespa runs, the initially over looked electrical system is a bloody mess.  The "easy" thing to do is check some continuity and wire it up "good enough."  The harness has been messed/butchered with sometime in the last 49 years, but could probably be salvaged.

Context: Max is exploring revising the process, returning to basic techniques, easily dismissed, but always necessary at any skill level.  The two of us were talking last week about a body of work (poems/tunes) vs. a collection work.  The easy thing to do is mash 70 minutes of sounds/ 50 pages together, and call it an album/book.  We couldn't help but agree, dancing around the linear/nonlinear bits of both mediums, that the easy way is lame.  Hence crappy books/weak albums.  

These things should take time, and the time always seems to yield much more quality.  And it's hardly ever done the same way twice.  The value of process, etc.

It sounds like more work, but pulling all the old wires out, replacing them with a brand new harness that we're POSITIVE has exactly the connections needed is the right way to do it.  All and all, if it takes less than three hours, it's less time and perfect.

A friend told me that her original draft and the Book eventually published has 4 poems in common.  FOUR!  Max will delete 90% of the music he makes this week.  And then again next week, etc.  

How many pages can you surrender to progress?
How many new tricks are replacing the old devotion?

from Szymborska

Nothing Twice

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice. 

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
you can't repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with exactly the same kisses.

One day, perhaps, some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you're here with me,
I can't help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It's in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.

With smiles and kisses, we prefer
to seek accord beneath our star,
although we're different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Still Alive

Between working again and catching up with some homies, I haven't blogged.  Sorry.  But sometimes quiet is where it's at.

Got to chill a bit with vocalist-extraordinaire Danny Richards, and was stoked to learn that his Dolce Voce all natural throat spray is available.  If you strain your voice after hours of singing, teaching, or doing a whole lotta readings, please check it out.  

There's more to talk about, but in a little bit.

Projects at hand.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tech Highs and Lows

Max is weighing in a disappointment with his technology. I understand, and if my own processes depended on speed, I'd be right there with him.  As it stands, I still collect manual typewriters, so I'm moving a bit in the opposite direction.

In that respect, quick tip for Vespa owners:

If you carry around the 2% Oil Mix Cup and are tired of having to stuff it with rags, or keep it in a sloppy bag where all the 2-stroke oil residue gets all over, a Number 10 Rubber Stopper is a perfect fit.  One could also be acquired in your local High School Chemistry taxes at work.

(The beautiful housing for the Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park, San Diego)

Just sayin'.  Liberty, NY, have you voted for Vespa yet?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vote Xiantu!

If you want to spread the word, here's the link to get the code to put it on your own page.

What Work...

First, Tonight, Friday:


Max is meditating on work.  It's a list of questions I'm asking myself often lately, as things happen as they do and my desires might be to spend my days differently than I do now.  I'm not going to answer his questions aloud.  I'm sure you'll arrive where you need to with them.

It gets me thinking about not just the process of work, but the process of finding work.  In a sense, it's a job in itself: crafting resume, cover letter; navigating the online application softwares various places now use; if you're looking for teaching, you've got a stack of letters somewhere and have to ask someone to send those out for you.  Then there's the waiting: most jobs in teaching seem to want the materials in October or November, and maybe they'll get back to you by April or May.  Even the average administrative gig's process can take two or three months.  Nevermind the task those who review those must undertake.  Like I said, it's a job...a process.

I'd rather be painting than have a finished painting on my wall.  I am more fulfilled in the time it takes between starting and finishing a poem than I am in the time between sending the poem out and having it published.  The process is paramount to the finished piece.  Just as we create art through a process, is there art in the process of finding the work?  

I spoke with "my attorney" yesterday, who's sent about 500 cover letters, where in the first sentence he intended to write "public," apparently had the word "pubic."  It humbled him, made himself laugh to tears, as the biggest firms in Manhattan, he believes, have his letter set aside as an example of what not to send.  The humor's there, the laugher, is wonderful.  His sense of humiliation, I hope, passes as it doesn't seem productive.  He told me about his typo, and I remembered the old lesson that there are no mistakes in art.

Is it possible that that missing "l" is exactly what his artist process needed?  I believe if that detail kept him from getting into any of those firms, those jobs where not were he can best serve.  The goal, perhaps, is to get the job, but that is just as important as doing the job.  If the job has called to you.  If you perform your job with faith and grace.  

Deep within Max's post, we're reminded that, regardless of your actual profession, we are always in process.  Challenges that are our opportunities.  If you work, why?  If not, do you use that time to work on the interior life?  

Here's the first poem in Stephen Dunn's Different Hours:

Before the Sky Darkens

Sunsets, incipient storms, the tableaus
of melancholy--maybe those are
the Saturday night-events
to take your best girl to.  At least then
there might be moments of vanishing beauty
before the sky darkens,
and the expectation of happiness
would hardly exist
and therefore might be possible.

More and more you learn to live
with the unacceptable.
You sense the ever-hidden God
retreating even farther,
terrified or embarrassed.
You might was well be a clown,
big silly clothes, no evidence of desire.  

That's how you feel, say on a Tuesday.
Then out of the daily wreckage
comes an invitation
with your name on it.  Or more likely,
that best girl of yours offers you,
once again, a small local kindness.

You open your windows to good air
blowing in from who you knows where,
which you gulp and deeply inhale
as if you have a death sentence.  You have.
All your life, it seems, you've been appealing it.
Night sweats and useless strategem. Reprieves.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Makes me Smile

Adam Clay finds Bob Dylan finding what just might be a poem.  

Max Xiantu lays it out clear.  Long, bright and narrow: the path.

Mary's finding a healthier way to be.  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Conversion from VNB to VBB

Meanwhile, we ride again! 
Not in the same context at all:
The details for revitalizing the electrical system of a 1959 Vespa 125 (VNB):

The old stator plate:
The black bundle at the top is the coil (the thing that takes the tiny spark from the points just to the right above the copper at 3 o'clock, and juices it up) has the line that goes to the spark plug.  They don't make 'em like this any more.

Luckily, somehow, this engine has the bracket to hold an external coil.  I'm kinda passively researching why that is.  My sense is that this baby was made toward the tail-end of 1959, and so some of the features wholly embraced in 1960, trickled in a little early.  It's similar to the 1974 1/2 MGBs.  But let's focus on one ridiculously tiny vehicle at a time.  

Here's the new set up:

The marking I've put there show Top-Dead-Center in the single-cylinder rotation, and as close to exactly 25 degrees before TDC.  The idea is that at -25, the points are still closed, but then, inside of that 25 degrees of the 360 rotation, they open up, and that gap makes the tiny spark.

We adjust that gap via these long windows in the ignition disc.

Alas, even though I used a feeler gauge, I initially set the gap way too big, so the spark was getting lost in the air between the points.  No spark. So no explosion, and no run.

Seeing as how I've never done this before (and the points in the MG were converted to an electronic system, which can't be done on the Vespa because the MG has a constant battery, and the Vespa is battery-less)  we've made new friends.  Both of us.

Scooter Bottega in Brooklyn is the place to go, if you've hit your wall and can ask for some help.  And look, my Vespa's made some friends:

And it seems peer pressure works.  The mechanic, Robbie, spent a little over an hour with it, and that was all it needed.  He explained to me how it went, and I feel a little smarter about them than I did before.  I took it for a zip around the giant parking lot across from my pop's place--the same lot I drove my MG around for the first time over 11 years ago.  

- Clean the contacts on the light. update: find tiny screws
- Oil the throttle. 
- Check the horn. update: needs replacin'. 
- Watch the Jets at 1pm. update: Won.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

...It's good?

This is the kind of thinking that's missing.  

You know the people who will be considered "Masters" of the art made of language when they resent having to even engage in the creative process.  You know the  "Scholars" who don't feel it necessary to read the actual text they're aggressively arguing their opinions of.

We know when we're wrong in thought, action, intention.  We're obligated to drop defense and forgive ourselves.  It is part of the art, that grace, which is also the reflection of Divinity in our humanity.  

Friday, October 3, 2008

For the New Yorkers

2009 NYFA Artists' Fellowship Applications are due next week!
All applicants must create and submit an application online. Application materials must be submitted and postmarked by midnight on the due date of your category. 

 Deadlines for each category are as follows:

October 6, 2008
Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts

October 8, 2008
Nonfiction Literature

October 10, 2008
Digital/Electronic Arts
Interdisciplinary Work


Artists' Fellowships are $7,000 cash awards made to individual originating artists living and working in the state of New York for unrestricted use. Grants are awarded in 16 artistic disciplines, with applications accepted in eight categories each year. Since the awards began in 1985, NYFA has awarded over $22 million to over 3,688 artists. In 2008, NYFA awarded 136 Fellowships to 144 artists, with eight of them working in a collaboration. Please see NYFA's website, for a full description of the program and for directions on how to apply.

Click here to access the online application.


For questions about Artists' Fellowships contact
The 2009 Artists' Fellowships are administered with leadership support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


poetryguy said...

It's kind of like how the world's best writers are all baristas... I guess. Your blog's a trip.

In the interest of considering spaces like this forums for constructive dialogue, I'm just making the new post to promote conversation that seems pretty important, rather than have it buried in an older post.

Thank you again, anonymous "poetryguy," for your appreciation of this space. However, I'm going to have to disagree that the best writers been baristas. Wallace Stevens worked for an insurance company; William Carlos Williams was a pediatrician; Li-Young Lee's been a worker in a warehouse for years until recently; Bob Hicok (one of the most published writers today) had some kind of automotive shop until recently. These people had, and have skills beyond being wonderful writers, and those skills, more than likely, feed back into their writing. Even the Beats, who probably are responsible for the origins of this misconception, weren't baristas--Kerouac had many different professions, if not a pretty good career as a working writer; Ginsberg was a successful writer and then professor, and Burroughs came from wealth to support his successful writing. Most people who work in a coffee shop, unless they own or manage that shop, are there as a job, not a permanent vocation, and that's what I was attempting to get at. The thing is--in the last 30 years at least--that most of the "world's best" end up getting offered positions in academia, getting paid far more money than what they were to teach maybe a class or two a semester. Unfortunately we live in a country that doesn't support or subsidize their fine artists. Refer back to Max's initial post regarding "cultured, polished stuff." And teaching is wonderful if you can put your entire Self into it while the writing comes, and I'm not sure as many who are employed actually do. But my sense is that we can produce exceptional poetry while also serving society and the world in other capacities. That'll bring us the intentions when creating art, but I'll think about that and maybe toss in my two cents another day. Or maybe Max can offer an idea....

This Just In

Gary's up at Po' Daily.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Needle's Landing

It's on Friday.  JoeMama and Rez are worth seeing, a pleasure to promote, and an honor to know.  

Max is considering pop music lately.  You get over to it yet?  


I don't keep up in the way I used to with music (did you know I was a "Music Industry" major before learning how to read?).  I tend to buy one or two CDs a year, and those are usually by bands/artist I've come to depend on, like the Dandy Warhols or Tom Waits. Really, I get regular audio-fixes from SGM, take those in with the oldies or folk music on the radio.  What does any of this have to do with anything?  Well, it leads me to believe that, though I'm not a patient person in most situations, I seem to be fine giving new stuff time to sink in.  

I put music on in the background.  I click play, then do other things like reading, writing, doodling, whatever.  It'll take a while to make up my mind about it.  I think what Max is getting at is not what's happened to the excellent pop music, but what happened to the excellent pop music that seamlessly makes the transition to some kind of dependable classic status, al a Michael Jackson or the Beatles?  It seems to me that an album that came out last week and seems to blow might be pretty interesting in a year or so when the musical landscape it was released within has changed.  Examples for me are the Warhol's Welcome To The Monkey House, or Take London by Herbaliser.  One day, after the context's changed, the content has a way of resonating like it didn't before.

Isn't poetry the same way?  How many books did you pick up at AWP, and how many were really good when you read the in the hotel the next morning while your roommate was still passed out, but seem to have lost some luster in the last 9 months (you could have had a kid by now...some people you might know have).  Or how many were impossible on the flight home, but have since wrapped you up for at least a few nights?  And some were weak then, and are weak now.  Every art seems to have it's pop stars.  Re-play value.  

Reading journals feels like listening to the new top 40 radio station.  I listen to a lot of lacking attempts on the radio in hopes of hearing a song that makes me move.  I read journals for the same exact reason.  The album to buy is the book you'll pick up soon.  

For music, I trust the good DJ to dig up the old stuff I thought I'd never miss--or missed all together--and let it move me.  I don't know if there's a place for that kind of trust and confidence for the poems.  Which I think just means we'll have to keep our eyes open for ourselves.

A little somethin' from the ol' school, some early Milton

On The University Carrier

Who Sicken'd in the Time of his Vacancy, Being Forbid to go to London, By Reasons of the Plague

Here lies old Hobson, Death hath broke his girt,
And here, alas, hath laid him in the dirt, 
Or else the ways being foul, twenty to one,
He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown.
'Twas such a shifter, that if truth were known,
Death was half glad when he had got him down; 
For he had any time this ten years full,
Dodg'd with him, betwixt Cambridge and the Bull.
And surely, Death could never have prevail'd,
Had not his weekly course of carriage fail'd;
But lately finding him so long at home,
And thinking now his journey's end was come,
And that he had ta'en up his latest Inn,
In the kind office of a Chamberlain
show'd him his room where he must lodge that night,
Pull'd off his Boots, and took away the light:
If any ask for him, it shall be said,
  "Hobson has supt, and 's newly gone to bed.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Paradigm's Shimmy, if not Shift

It all goes much faster after having done it before and working in a back yard is far better than beings squeezed in a cave between a wall, car and motorcycle.  Getting the cables off the ground and into their proper places is definitely easier.  Parts come this week including--a new stator plate and the throttle cable adjuster, and as usual the work will come down to the details in the fine tuning.  

By the by, if you happen to live in Upstate New York, my cousin Jess is looking to open a Vespa shop and she could use your help, if you want to click over to  

I tend to get a pretty decent amount of writing down when I'm working on the Vespa.  When I'm focused and working on anything that involves my hands.  Max has some ideas about the education systems in this country, and it gets me thinking:  in the post-M.F.A. (and M.A.) time, it seems I could either bury myself in the adjunct system making peanuts to teach comp, or use all I've learned about poems and continue to develop raw skills and gain some new ones I didn't have before, maybe move into other professions.  At some point in the education, they seem to have suckered us into thinking that if you're going to be a writer, the only way you can making a living is by being a teacher.  One job offered me two classes per semester, Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, plus a half-hour of office hours per student per week, plus a required 10 hours per month attendance at campus events all for 19K in a one year appointment.  Another job would've given me $2,100 per class per semester.  Situations like that might be great for some people, but for me, I'd be contacting myself into an extended poetic dry-spell, as well as dependable poverty.  

I don't have any classes this semester for the first time in years.  No workshop, no thesis credits, office hours or prep-time.  Having not landed a full-time tenure-track gig, I'm under nobody's gun to produce and publish except for my own; and with that comes a freedom that is unexpected, yet also kind of obvious.  Plus, I've written more in the last 6 weeks than I did in an entire semester at school.  Have probably read a little more too.  But I was writing and reading before the school.  Though the intention was forgotten for a while, I didn't go to school for a professional degree; I was there to learn more about the craft.  Maybe one day I'll go back, but in the meantime, there's a lot to learn that isn't in the desk copies.  

Seems silly to not give you a poem after all of that.  From Tom Thompson's the Pitch

The Benches

In this mountain air we achieve
without benefit of any actual mountains,
you can train your body
according to the exacting principles
of your own distinctive pleasure--
she says--if that's what you want
here on this cold stone bench
wet with November's outtakes.  

Monday, September 22, 2008

Davenport's on Verse Daily

Check him out!

Christina Davis has a new gig and that's pretty great. 

Stay tuned for the Vespa's resurrection.  It's coming.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'll Be There

And maybe here too:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pull My Daisy

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labors of the Days

Sometimes you just have to break into your own place.  Avoid if possible, but embrace if necessary.  

Onwardly, The M[a]c Gary is a big papa.  There are cigars and cocktails to be had at an event to be determined.  (Congrats, brother!)

Davenport--also a father, thought not just recently--has a new chapbook out.  No need to order it as you can simply click and read.  Point and shoot.  Hit/run.  If you were dying to drop some dough, you can attempt to hunt for Murder on Gasoline Lake, also by the fatherly Steve Davenport.

I can't submit until the Fall of 2011, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get some work over to Ninth Letter.  See if they have any t-shirts left in your size.  Send photos of the Patriots preseason c/0 Matt Minicucci, bike parts to Lillian Bertram.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Suburban Wildlife

This bird was chilling in the creek under the bus stop. I also saw some killer groundhogs the other day, and a deer a few nights ago standing in the little piece of grass between the sidewalk and the street.  I was impressed, but am told that that kinda thing happens all the time, and deer are actually pretty pesky.  I don't know, but it's kinda neat to see animals all over the place.

The job isn't so mindless as the week's gone on, but I've still been writing like crazy.  It's a familiar old groove that I really like being in.  The only lame thing is that the building I'm in lacks elevators.  They're installing them, but that's just blocking off entire hallways, so one must go from the third floor on one side of the building, down to the first, then cut across down there, and go back up to 3 where one actually needs to be.  So, tiring.  But my calves are feeling mighty.  

a poem from William Matthews:

What You Need

Suppose you want to leave your life,
that old ring in the tub,

It closes cozily
as a clerk's hand,
a coin with fingers.

You hate it
the same way the drunken son
loves Mother.

You will need pain
heaving under you 
like frost ruining the new road.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

For the moment

Friday, August 15, 2008

Alan Moore on Art

Here's a clip on the will and motivation to create that's inspired a bunch of excellent conversation among a few old friends. Figured it only right to pass it on to you.  

[Alan Moore is the creator of The Watchmen and Swamp Thing, as well as other titles.]

Here's to the process....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If You're All 'bout Obama

Justin Bua's made a t-shirt of the presumed Democratic Nominee.

Personally, I'm waiting for a new series of kicks.  

More from way up here

Behold, more of Ithaca's landscape.  This is really just a street, but I'm pretty sure, when the snow starts to fall, I'll be resisting the urge to push a little snow ball down one of these strips.  You've all seen those cartoons.  Moving on....

I was kinda stoked, now that I'm back in New York, for the chance to be able to apply for a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts.  I mean, former winners include...a whole bunch of writers we probably all know about (a couple have definitely been promoted here like what!?).  Unfortunately, one of the first rules is that one must have been a NYS Resident for the last 2 years.  I didn't mean to give it up, you see, but had to get the IL DL for the Motorcycle license.  Oh well.  If you happen to be in NY, and have been for the last two years, they're giving fellowships for a whole bunch of stuff, like Film (Manny Nomikos) and I'm sure they can fit tattooing under Drawing or Interdisciplinary Work (for Ms. Sunday at Lark).  

Speaking of awards, I learned from Eduardo's blog, bouncing to Steve Schroeder's, that both Adam Clay and Heather Salus are up for Best of the Net awards.  I'm kinda with Eduardo in that I'm not sure what they mean, but I know some writers I really dig have been finalists, though the site doesn't seem to list any "winners."  But Adam's one of my favorite writers, and Heather's a pretty kind and interesting person whose poems I'd love to read a bunch more than I've gotten to.  Besides, it just adds to the good fortune that's befallen a number of the UIUC MFAs recently--Jaime on the Ruth Lilly 45, Lillian over at Breadloaf, Andrew Ervin's new gig.  

Any time now I'm expecting the respective Reading Series' at Cornell, Binghamton, Syracuse and Rochester to get listed.  I hear Simic's coming to town in the fall.  If you'll be coming through the neighborhood soon, let me know, and I'd love to get out and give a listen.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Drifting Along

Speaking of scenery, found myself over at Taughannock Falls yesterday.

Beautiful path to walk up along the side, then one can actually walk down in the water.  Deeper in some parts, but wholly refreshing and wonderful. Hours later there was a weather warning reporting "penny-sized hail."  In August.  Apparently, these things happen on the regular around here.  

Here's a poem from Stefi Weisburd's The Wind-Up Gods

Corn Prayer Dance

Strands of dancers silk
and shuffle.  Conch shells
and turtle shells clink
like corrugated teeth.  Men
clump together tight as husks, paint
themselves with ardent mud.
Women plant their bare
feet in the earth, wear sky
in their hair, and the rain.  

Thursday, July 31, 2008


There are views like this all over the north end of town.  This one happens to be up the street.

And, Hey baby...Let's hear it for Jason, who's one of the 45 Ruth Lilly Fellowship Finalists.  Considering he's pretty awesome, I'm betting he'll best the 1/9 odds.  He had a pretty wonderful poem in a recent fact, you can even read it online.  

A poem by Wendell Berry:

In This World

The hill pasture, an open place among the trees,
tilts into the valley.  The clovers and tall grasses
are in bloom.  Along the foot of the hill
dark floodwater moves down the river.
The sun sets.  Ahead of nightfall the birds sing.
I have climbed up to water the horses
and now sit and rest, high on the hillside,
letting the day gather and pass.  Below me
cattle graze out across the wide fields of the bottomlands,
slow and preoccupied as stars.  In this world
men are making plans, wearing themselves out,
spending their lives, in order to kill each other.  


Monday, July 28, 2008

Around the neighborhood

I've been doing a lot of wandering around, building a map of the town in my head, and taking note of some of the interesting landmarks.  Here's one:

A little hut on the sidewalk, with a bunch of little trinkets inside.  Very adorable.  Looking at it, I immediately felt at home, considering my new apt isn't much bigger than that hollowed out stump.  

Meanwhile, got some good news from Anti- today.  More on that when it comes.

There're a couple of pretty great commercial-free stations, WSKG and WICB,  to listen to while sitting on the porch:

That's the story. 

How're you doing where you're at?

Last thing: 
I was in one of the used book stores, and found an Iowa Review from 2003.  Had a poem of Ada Limón's.  You can find it in her first book, lucky wreck.  

The Lessing Table

The dinner table was too small
and that was obvious.
We had to buy smaller forks,
smaller chairs, stop talking.

You took the saltshakers
off, I decided I'd only make
soft foods so we wouldn't have
to use knives anymore.

It kept on shrinking for days,
the butter taking over the dinner
plates, the green beans looking
longer and mean,

until it was just a thin slip
passed between us, a note
on blue-lined binder paper
in number two pencil:

Make the train wheels lock.
Make the mobile stop.
Do something, do something.

Friday, July 25, 2008


On The Road...again.

No longer a resident of the midwest.  A few years ago I was "out west" and hearing people who had never left San Diego saying "back east."  Is it an "east-coast thing" to consider anything beyond Ohio to be "out west" or does it come from something deeper in our collective geographic perceptions?  I don't know the answer, but I'm pretty sure that a year ago I never thought I'd live in New York again.  

File that among the thoughts while driving the MG for 8 hours.  Got about 6 more today.  

Peace be with you, Urbana.
Good morning, Ithaca....

Monday, July 21, 2008

If You Haven't Heard...

Adam Clay's got a new chapbook out on Cannibal, As Complete as a Thought Can Be.  These things usually move quickly, and considering Clay's tendency to err on the side of awesome, all the more reason to get that order in.

Did you see his stuff in 9L?  

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Summer Drink Endorsement

Myer's Rum and Ginger Ale.  Maybe a lime wedge, if you'd like.

Any dark rum will do.  

If you remember it, enjoy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

For the Stuntmen.

Closer and Closer

Where'd the morning go?  Before I even made coffee, I found myself reading a submitted essay for BOR.  It's a goody.  I think you'll dig.

The sky is clear and the aloe on my window sill has come back to life.  Haven't started in to the serious packing yet, but it's coming.  Can almost hear the sound of a packing tape gun now.  

Here's a little Blake for your funky soul:

Ah Sunflower

Ah Sunflower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow, 
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sunflower wishes to go.  

Monday, July 7, 2008

After Lightening All Night


Just back from spending a weekend in Madison.  Nice place. I neglected to get a cheese hat.  Or any cheese for that matter.  I did, however, watch the ol' Disney Robin Hood, and it holds up, for sure.  Also got to see the latest work by Micah, of White Picket Fences-fame.  

We also had a good talk about intention and art-making.  Maybe he'll jot some things down and send it to BOR.  

Reb was posting about it, and you can find her, Jennifer Knox, and others in the latest Spooky Boyfriend.  

Meanwhile, I'm heading out of town sooner rather than later.  Of course, I move every year or so, but this time it's "back east."  The Vespa project is on hold until I get to the new place.  More on that as it comes.  Stay tuned for the move.  The shake.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer Chill

Have you checked out the downloads page at SGM?  They've reformatted it all.  If you dig back far enough, you can get mixes from 2000!  I recommend Chris Cutz's Down Beat Soul Vol. 1.  

There's also a grip of free music over with Max Xiantu.  If you get in touch with him, he might send you a peach in the mail....

I've hit all these  beat-junkies up for Critical Prose for Barn Owl Review.  Have you thought about sending anything over?  

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In the Neighborhood

If you read Ms. Ada Limon's blog, you've caught her catching little inspirational bits tagged around where she is.  Small messages of love and compassion, aside from making me feel all warm and squishy, also made me a little more observant around my neighborhood, but I never really saw anything of note...until last evening:

The evening was already peaceful and fine, and now it's shared.  
You can find some of Ada Limon's latest work up at Anti-.

Anti also happens to be the name of the label Tom Waits is on.  If you'd like...

And do you like Metal?  So does Dan.  In fact, he's got a band called Among the Infected.  They've got a CD for sale and download.  Whoot.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Plugs (for both those keeping and losing their hair)

First, if you're in Chicago on Thursday, you now have plans:

Get to Guth for more on that, if the poster's not fulfilling all your informational desires.  

And speaking of Amy Guth, she's got a WW@ in the latest, the New NINTH Ninth Letter.  

In this issue, you'll find work from homie Adam Clay and Mary "B (as in fly)" Biddinger.  I'm also super stoked for the Tung-Hui Hu piece.  Mark Yakich's piece is pretty great too.  Not that I don't love everyone in the issue...

...know what I mean?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Prayer

By Richard Brautigan (1968)

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

I like to think
   (right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if thy were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
   (it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal 
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.  

Another Good Idea

Check it out.  

Now, if only they'd also publish the list.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Like a flipbook...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another Toy

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pretty Neat

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Home, Home again

I've returned to Urbana.  My plants were well cared for, and are looking awesome.  There's a list of things to do:
- Food-shop
- Read Jill Alexander Essbaum's latest in the issue of Poetry that was waiting in the mail.
- Think of what can fit in a studio half the size of this one.  

I'm moving to Ithaca, NY at the end of July.  I'll be living in the smallest studio apartment I've ever been in.  

I'm also the Critical Prose Editor for Barn Owl Review. What we're looking for can be found in on the Guidelines page.  It's gonna be hot.  Got any fuel for the fire? 

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