If interested in having me for a reading, class visit, or conference/festival, please contact me at lorcaloca AT aol DOT com

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post Xmas Bits


Red wall and red eyes!
*
It's so easy to make young children laugh. I had my nephews and niece rolling on the floor each time I said, "I pooed a little pony!"
*
Did I just admit that?
*
My favorite gift? Season six of The Golden Girls on DVD.
*
My hometown has radically changed in less than a year. We now have a Target, a Dillards, a Petsmart, a new state-of-the-art movie house, and a bunch of other stores are near completion. This is the first time we didn't drive to Phoenix/ Tempe to Xmas shop.
*

*

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Arizona Bits



Back home.
*
What's the first thing I did? Get sick.
*
There was snow on the ground when I left Hamilton. Here there's only dirt.
*
And saguaros.
*
And dust devils sweeping the earth like the sleeves of...No, I must move away from simile. I must develop new muscles.
*
Joda!
*

Monday, December 10, 2007

ANDRÉS MONTOYA POETRY PRIZE

Winner receives a book contract with University of Notre Dame Press
*
$1000 prize
*
Invitation to read with final judge
at the Performing Arts Center
University of Notre Dame
*
Final Judge: Martín Espada.

Complete Guidelines

Friday, December 07, 2007

I'll take poets with dirty shoes for 100, Alex


7 things you should know about: being a poet

Early Morning Bits

Joy! James Hall will be blogging for two weeks here.
*
I will be reading in Palm Beach, Florida. When? February 2008.
*
So what exactly does one do with a Chicano/Latino studies degree?
*
Maurice Manning is hot.
*
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
*
A review of My Thieves by Ethan Paquin.
*
A poem by Louise Mathias.
*
Mr. Schroeder said: Gosh, you'd think they'd solicited you and then turned you down...

My response? I don't argue with The Have Nots.
*
Interview with Kristy Bowen.
*
Two new poems by Li-Young Lee:
Little Ache
Secret Life

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bit

Yesterday was my last day with my Intro to Poetry students. One young lady came to class with homemade cupcakes. These weren't ordinary cupcakes! With pipe frosting she scribbled a phrase or image from student work on top of each cupcake.

Wow.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Slutwitch Becky

My name is Slutwitch Becky, although some people call me Slut Witch Becky. But Witch isn't my middle name. Slut is. It's actually Becky Slut Slutwitch. I would blame my parents, but I was actually conceived of by some really twisted people at an NPR News Quiz show called Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I'm pretty sure they regret it now.


Slutwitch Becky has a MySpace page! Visit her.

http://www.myspace.com/slutwitchbecky

Monday, December 03, 2007

Call for Submissions

COME TOGETHER: IMAGINE PEACE, edited by Ann Smith and Larry Smith in the Harmony Series from Bottom Dog Press. We are seeking poems (1-3) and short prose (up to 500 words) that image peace, nonviolence, reconciliation, compassion, hope. We believe it essential for ourselves and our children to keep this image alive and before us. We look for writing grounded in the world yet positive and visionary. Fine examples can be found throughout literature: Wendell Berry's "The Peace of Wild Things," James Wright's "The Blessing," the many Nature poems of Mary Oliver, W.S. Merwin, the compassionate works of Denise Levertov and others. Come together to share your image of peace and caring. Send typed work (reprints okay if documented; no e-mail submissions) and SASE to:

Bottom Dog Press--Imagine Peace/ PO Box 425/ Huron, OH 44839 by Feb. 14, 2008.

Payment is 2 copies, $10, the world's thanks.
Guide: It can have images of War, but it must have an image of peace as well.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday Bits

This is my last week of teaching. I'm going to miss my students.
*
I head off to Arizona on the 12th of December. I will stay there for about a month then head back to Hamilton to start my second semester.
*
My favorite Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! panelist is Adam Felber. His jokes are always the funniest and the smartest. And I think he's handsome. Paula Poundstone is my second favorite panelist. She's also handsome.
*
I count over 20 bloggers in this upcoming issue. Way too much! Enough of this nepotism!
*
Did you catch this week's Wait Wait..Don't Tell Me!? My favorite part of the show: Slut Witch Becky.
*
I wonder how many bloggers are going to submit to this new online journal?
*
I've decided to no longer apply to fellowships that don't come with teaching responsibilities. No Stegner or P-Town applications this year.
*

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Antoine Wilson Interview

Early on when I started writing stories people would tell me that they were really visual. I took that as a pejorative for some reason—I wanted my stories to be cerebral. Or something. But I guess I'm a visually oriented person—is that glib to say?
*
The Interloper is a great read. I read it this summer in two days. Keep your eyes peeled for an effeminate waiter* named Eduardo in the novel. The truth hurts!

Not.

Proud to be a sissy.

*
Well, I think he's a waiter. Am I remembering it right, Antoine?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday Bits

Spent the afternoon meeting with my students.
*
It rained all day yesterday. My idea of heaven.
*
Three poems by Keith Ekiss.
*
Helena María Viramontes, Luis Valdez, Cherrie Moraga have been named 2007 fellows by the Ford Foundation. Fucking yeah!
*
Pistola!
*
Someone asked me why I wasn't blogging about my time at Colgate. What's there to say? I'm reading and writing. I'm teaching. I'm enjoying good meals.
*
A couple of days ago I emailed David Trinidad to tell him how much I'm digging The Late Show. It's a very good book. I hope to teach it soon.
*
Finished new poem.
*
They Come Home in a Torrent of Laughter and a Nubian Eunuch-Powered Litter: Shane Book.
*
Verge by Morgan Lucas Schuldt is ready for purchase. Here's Carolyn Forché's blurb:

With Verge, Morgan Lucas Schuldt voices a radical corporality, raw-nerved and searing, in sleight-of-language play and pure sound as deft and inventive as that of Joyce and Mallarmé. This is a rare and profound achievement: the body at the level of the phoneme, a gestural and musical dance of flesh, and an altogether new work.
*
Landscape with Saguaros: Keith Ekiss.

Eye Candy: Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez: A Spanish Bullfighter


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gay and Lesbian Poetry Anthologies

BEST GAY POETRY edited by Lawrence Schimel
and
BEST LESBIAN POETRY edited by Linda Alvarez

For the 2008 editions of this exciting new series celebrating the best
in gay/lesbian poetry, A Midsummer Night's Press invites submissions
of poems PUBLISHED during 2007.

Poems can have appeared in print or online magazines, journals, or
anthologies; we are also willing to consider poems from books or
chapbooks first published in 2007, even if the poem was originally
published previously in periodicals, so long as the poet has the right
to reprint the poem.

We are open to all styles of poetry, from formal to free verse; we are
likewise open-minded in terms of content, so long as it somehow fits
(even if pushing the boundaries of) what might be considered "gay
poetry" or "lesbian poetry".

We are willing to consider slam poetry, so long as it has been
published in text form, not merely performed; the poem must also work
on the page, for these anthologies.

We are open to English-language poetry from all over the world, and
actively look to include non-North American voices.

Please title documents with the poet's surname.

Please include contact information (both street and email address),
bio, and where the poem was published WITHIN the .doc file, as
documents will be read separately from the emails.

Submissions from individual poets or queries should be sent by email
in .doc format to one of the following addresses, as appropriate:

BestGayPoetry@gmail.com
or
BestLesbianPoetry@gmail.com

Deadline is December 1, 2007.

Pistola

Miguel Murphy has launched an online journal: Pistola.

The first installment features some freakng great poets:

JEN CURRIN, ALEX LEMON, PAISLEY REKDAL, JAVIER O. HUERTA,
MICHAEL BURKARD, BECKIAN FRITZ GOLDBERG, DIANA M. DELGADO

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Free Rice

For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

Play HERE.

Making A New Friend!

I write sentences. Some editors get mad!

CJ Sage has left two insightful comments (scroll down to read them) in response to my bashing of The National Poetry Review and The Laureate Poetry Prize. What did I say?

I said this:
What would you think of a contest that offered its entrants a possible spot in the canon? Fucking crazy, no? Well, check out this contest sponsored by The National Poetry Review. I'm really stunned. And disgusted. Maybe the editors of this journal have physic powers, like Miss Cleo, and can predict what types of aesthetics the future will revere.

I really can't imagine any serious poet entering this contest. This contest will appeal to novices, to "poets" who wear all black and who brood in the corner of their local Starbucks.


And I said this:
The minds behind the Laureate Prize for Poetry are now sponsoring a book contest. Have mercy, Lord! Hey poets: win this contest and your tome will instantly join Harmonium and A Working Girl Can't Win in the canon. Immortality! I'm just kidding, of course. The minds behind this book contest aren't promising immortality. This time. Apparently, they can only pick out canon fodder a poem at a time. I would rather eat rat droppings then win this contest.


Harmless, no? Well, I would probably take back the "I would rather eat rat droppings then win this contest" sentence. Harsh! Readers of my blog know I make fun of a lot of people and presses. I've dissed the covers of New Issues Press books, and I've spit in the direction of Tupelo press. I love to make friends in the publishing industry!

But CJ Sage makes a good point: my posts do sound like sour grapes because she reminds me of the fact that the journal once asked me for work years ago and they passed on it. I can honestly say I forgot that. But maybe my unconscious mind didn't!

My apologies, CJ Sage! My blog is all about fluff, and my regular readers know my posts are tongue-in-cheek. Though I must say I still think the wording in the guidelines for the Laureate Prize for Poetry is bull. But hey, at least I sent a few readers to your web sites.

I'm going to publish CJ Sage's comments not to make fun of her, but to remind myself that my posts have the POWER to hurt the feelings of others.

The power is mine! And I shall use it more in the future! Beware editors and publishers!

CJ Sage writes:
What's with your nasty attitude toward The National Poetry Review? Is the problem that we solicited you once, many moons ago, but didn't like what you sent? If I remember correctly, I told you that you could send more. Don't be so resentful. We've published lots of great work, and our book contest winner is excellent, *and* we're publishing two other deserving manuscripts. You're right. We are such villains.


and:
I think, as I mentioned before, your anger is directed at me for turning down your poems once. But come on now, that was long ago and you should really let it go now. Or at least direct it to me personally rather than the magazine. (I guess talking to me when I declined your poems was simply out of the question, right? And what you are doing here is much much better?) Slandering the magazine only makes you look petty and juvenile and, well, you said the other already.

Actually, the idea of the prize was to encourage experienced poets to send in poems that had more ambition. God forbid.

I'm sure that you won't accept that and perhaps this post will fuel your anger even more. That's fine. I'm okay with karma handling things.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Poetry to Read with an Unzipped Zipper!

Damn! Hotness abounds in the latest issue of MiPOesias!

Apply! Apply!

Colgate University invites applications for the Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship in Creative Writing. Writers of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction who have recently completed an MFA, MA, or PhD in creative writing, and who need a year to complete their first book, are encouraged to apply. The selected writer will spend the academic year (late August 2008 to early May 2009) at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The fellow will teach one creative writing course each semester and will give a public reading from the work in progress.

The fellowship carries a stipend of $33, 250 plus travel expenses; health and life insurance are provided. The fellow will also be given an office.

Complete applications, which should arrive by January 1, 2008, consist of a resume; three letters of recommendation, at least one of which should address the candidate’s abilities as a teacher; an either a maximum of 30 double-spaced manuscript pages of prose or 20 single-space pages of poetry. Writing sample may be a completed work or an excerpt from something larger. Send complete applications to Creative Writing Fellowship c/o Department of English, Colgate University, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346-1398.

*
I've been having an amazing time here at Colgate. Please apply. This fellowship is a gift from the gods.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Boxcar Poetry Review

The latest installment of Boxcar is up and running. It features a great interview with Alex Lemon.

Back

Full recap later.

There's snow on the ground!

I bought these books:

Norman Dubie: The Insomniac Liar of Topo
Julio Cortazar: Cronopios & Famas
Gregory Pardlo: Totem
David Trinidad: The Late Show
Jean Valentine: Little Boat
Ronald Johnson: The Shrubberies
Graham Foust: Necessary Stranger
Matthea Harvey: Modern Life
Kimiko Hahn: Mosquito & Ant
Bill Rasmovicz: The World in Place of Itself
Best New Poets 2007
A Poetry Criticism Reader, edited by Jerry Harp and Jan Wissmiler.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Night Tito Trinidad KO’ed Ricardo Mayorga

The first two people who leave a comment will get a signed copy of Kevin A. Gonzalez's chapbook.


The first two people should email me and send me an address.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bronx Reading

On November 13th I will be reading for the Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase. I'm really looking forward to it.

Francisco Aragon of Letras Latinas will be giving away letterpress broadsides of my poem "Pear." Yes, you read that correctly: come to the reading and get a cool broadside!

Tuesday, November 13th @7pm
ACENTOS Bronx Poetry Showcase
The Uptown's Best Open Mic and Featured Poet
EDUARDO C. CORRAL

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday Bits


The vanishing art of tortilla making.
*
A review of Joshua Kryah's Glean. Click on "Show Original Post" to read review.
*
Rain all day today.
*
I dig this poem. That last couplet!
*
Eve Ensler and Cyndi Lauper to Be Honored By Feminist Press.
*
I finished a poem today. It's titled "INS Report #6." It's dedicated to Javier O. Huerta. I keep re-reading his book. I so wish I'd written three of the poems in his first book.
*
Luis Valdez: the father of Chicano theater.
*
Alessandra! Chris!
*
Currently reading: The Guardians by Ana Castillo.
*

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mini-Interview: Kevin A. González


Kevin A. González received an MFA in poetry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poems and stories have appeared in Callaloo, Hotel Amerika, Indiana Review, Poetry, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His story, “Statehood,” won the Playboy College Fiction Contest. The Night Tito Trinidad KO’ed Ricardo Mayorga, a chapbook of poems, was recently published by Momotombo Press. He’s a fiction fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

ECC: You write both fiction and poetry. Did you start writing in both genres simultaneously? Or did you begin in one genre and then branch out?

KAG: When I was an undergrad, we had a poetry vs. fiction war going on in the Creative Writing program. It was a pretty one-sided war: it basically consisted of the fiction writers making fun of the poets for being poets, and the poets not doing anything about it. I was a poet. Of course, this was all in good fun. But still, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with fiction. Looking back, I’m not sure where that resistance came from. Maybe I was just afraid of trying it; maybe I didn’t want to put in the time. I mean, if it took me two hours to come up with a couplet, how long would it take me to write an entire story? I guess part of it is that I didn’t really realize how narrative my poems were back then. Because I used a lot of similes and metaphors, I thought that made them lyrical, but, in essence, a lot of my poems were telling stories. The truth is, I was simply very focused on poetry, on both reading and writing it. I had been from an early age. I think I started writing poems when I was in fifth grade, except that instead of calling them “poems” I called them “songs.” Never mind the fact that I didn’t play any instruments—I would write these “songs” and then recite them to myself following a kind of rhythm, a different one for each “song.” I’d write four or five every day in school: I’d just sit in the back of class and write. Most of them rhymed, and they were the kinds of things you’d expect a twelve-year-old kid to write about. You know that song “I Wish” by Skee-Lo? In 7th grade, I’d written a “song” that was very similar (same title, same repetition), and when Skee-Lo’s song dropped, I was all like, “That motherfucker ripped me off!” So, you get the idea. Later, in High School, I started referring to these “songs” as “poems.” I remember the first contemporary American poetry book I got was The Best of the Best American Poetry, edited by Harold Bloom. This is before there were any chain bookstores in Puerto Rico, and there was hardly any contemporary stuff at in the independent bookstore in the mall: it was all Henry Rollins and Maya Angelou. For some reason, I fell in love with that Harold Bloom anthology, even though I didn’t understand many of the poems. Afterwards, I went through this very naïve, pretentious stage, where I started writing imitations of Ashbery, Ammons, Hollander, Strand and Merrill. Basically, I thought the purpose of poetry was to be cryptic, so I’d put a bunch of words together that made no sense and thought I was a genius. That, and, on the side, I wrote love poems to girls I liked. Eventually, I started reading different stuff: when I got to college, my professors pointed me in the right direction. So instead of imitating Ashbery and Ammons, I started imitating Martín Espada and Yusef Komunyakaa. I guess it all evolved from there.

I didn’t really start writing fiction until I was doing my MFA at the University of Wisconsin. They have a very small program: six poets and six fiction writers, and they come in on alternating years. I was in the first poetry class they ever had, and our first workshop was actually a multi-genre workshop: it had the MFA poets and fiction writers in it, and we were encouraged to write in both genres. Ironically, I think the faculty ended up seeing that class as a failed experiment, because that was the only time they offered it. But I wrote a couple of short-shorts in that class, and after a some encouragement, I ended up taking a fiction workshop. With the stories I wrote there, I applied to Iowa, and I only wrote fiction while I was there. To be honest, that’s pretty much still the case: I’m still tinkering with a full-length poetry manuscript, but I’m primarily focused on a novel, and I don’t really think I’ll go back to writing new poems until I’m done with it.


ECC: The conversational tone and the “nowness” in these poems remind me of Frank O’Hara. Is he an influence? If not, what poets do you claim as ancestors?

KAG: I like O’Hara’s work, but I don’t really consider him to be a big influence. Though maybe he is, and I just don’t know it: sometimes it works like that, I guess. I would say that some of my biggest influences (or, at least the poets whose work I consistently find myself returning to) are: Larry Levis, Robert Bly, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ernesto Cardenal, Pablo Neruda, Federico García Lorca, Kenneth Koch, George Oppen and Silvio Rodríguez (though he’s a technically a songwriter, I still think he’s one of the best Latin American poets of the 20th Century). You know, I’m looking that list over, and it seems a little crazy, because all of those poets are so different from one another. I guess I’ve gone through a lot of stages in terms of the kind of poetry I like, but these poets are the constants, the ones I re-read often. Without a doubt, I also consider Jim Daniels, Terrance Hayes and Gerald Costanzo—all of whom were my teachers—to be major influences as well. I think this chapbook borrows a little bit from each of their respective styles and voices. I especially admire the lyricism and cadence of Jim Daniels’ Blue Jesus, the imagery and rhythm of Terrance Hayes’ Hip Logic, and I would probably say that Nobody Lives on Arthur Godfrey Boulevard by Gerald Costanzo is the book that I’ve re-read the most in my life. It’s the best poetry book about American pop culture I’ve ever read, by far.

ECC: You refer to yourself in the second person in these poems. It’s refreshing to read poems that aren’t thrumming with the ego-centric energy of “I.” Do you use this narrative technique to wedge some sort of objective space between the emotional content and the poem? If not, what effect are you going after by using the second person perspective?

KAG: Yeah, that space was one of the reasons I used the second person here. I guess I was trying to do something a little different with confessional poetry. One of the things that irks me the most is when a reader assumes that the author is the speaker of the poem. In a way, I’m trying to resist that inclination by putting the reader in the spotlight, by addressing the reader, so to speak, because that’s part of what second person does. On the other hand, I’m being self-exploratory and talking to myself. In doing this, and calling out my own hypocrisy in the process, I’m using poetry as therapy, but instead of concealing the self-consciousness that comes with that, I’m trying to embrace it. The distance that you’re asking about (between the emotional content and the poem) is at the heart of it. All that said, I also like the immediacy of the second person: I think it lends itself well to rhythm and quick transitions, and I wanted these poems to move fast.

ECC: I’m a sucker for a great simile. My favorite one in the chapbook is: “The white punk girl stomped on your heart/ like a wah-wah pedal.” Do you remember the origins of this simile? And can I steal it?

Word of advice: don’t ever jump into a relationship with anyone you meet at a nightclub called “Inferno.” Or with someone who has a tattoo of a phoenix on their chest. Or with someone who goes by Dee Dee. That’s all I have to say about that. And yes, you can steal it, but only if you call it “borrowing” and pretend that there’s a difference between the two.

ECC: Gwendolyn Brooks once said in an interview that she pitied those writers who let others label them. How would you categorize yourself? A Puerto Rican poet? An American poet? A poet? And why?

KAG: Frankly, being labeled is not something I’m all that concerned about, nor is categorization. Not to contradict Gwendolyn Brooks, and I don’t mean to sound passive or hopeless about it, but it seems to me that, for a writer, “being labeled by others” is unavoidable to a certain degree. I don’t feel the need to fight it. I mean, I know where I’m from. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, both my parents were born in Puerto Rico, and three out of my four grandparents were born in Puerto Rico. If someone tries to tell me I’m not Puerto Rican, I’d probably just laugh. I know where my roots are, and I know what my culture is. And because my culture is inside me, it cannot be threatened by anyone or anything. I don’t see myself as a (Blank) Poet or a (Blank) Writer. I’m from Puerto Rico, I currently live in the US, and I write poetry and fiction. Whatever people want to do with that is up to them. Call me a Puerto Rican Writer, a Caribbean Writer, a Latino Writer, a Hispanic Writer, a Writer of Color, an American Writer, a Wisconsin Writer, substitute Writer for Poet in any of those—I don’t really care. I guess they’re all justifiable to some degree.

In general, I’m not sure why the ethnicity or background needs to be connected with the fact that you’re a poet or a writer. If I were an accountant, would I be a Latino accountant? Would the two things go together? Or would I be a Latino and an accountant? I’m not sure what makes literature and art so different from everything else. I don’t think “categories” or “labels” should be used as scapegoats to justify the work: as literature, it should stand alone. Likewise, the subject matter (or historical context) by itself cannot make a work valuable as literature. Take that Poems from Guantanamo anthology, for instance. You can talk about its historical value, its human rights value, but does it have any literary value? I don’t think so. On the other hand, take a poet like Langston Hughes. Are his poems valuable because he was Black? Because he was part of the Harlem Renaissance? To me, they’re valuable because they’re good poems. Or take Roque Dalton or Ernesto Cardenal: Are their poems valuable because they’re political? Because they were Latin American? No, they’re valuable because they’re good poems. The historical context may add to that, but it can’t be asked to justify the poems; they have to be good regardless of it. Nowadays, it seems that a lot of this categorization comes from the publishing industry itself. Take anthologies, for instance. Like you, I have poems in The Wind Shifts: the New Latino Poetry, so I guess that makes me Latino. Then, this year I had a couple of stories in anthologies that use the “American” category in their title, like Best New American Voices and Best American Nonrequired Reading. So I guess that makes me American. The truth is, I’m a writer, and I just want to get my work out there. I don’t write for a specific audience, but if the fact that I’m from Puerto Rico makes certain people want to pay attention to my work, so be it. Momotombo Press, for instance, would not have published my chapbook had they not considered me to be “Latino.” Do I personally consider myself to be Latino? I’m from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is part of Latin America. So, I guess so. But I don’t usually (or, ever) refer to myself as Latino. If someone asks me what my background is, I say I’m Puerto Rican. It seems to me that for someone to either resist or desire a specific label, they would have to feel as if something about them (be it their background, race or ethnicity) is being either overlooked or threatened. And I don’t feel either of those things. No one can ever make me doubt my patriotism, or what I feel towards Puerto Rico. It’s something that lies so deep within that no one can ever threaten it or make me question it.


ECC: You invoke two Puerto Rican athletes in these poems: Roberto Clemente and Tito Trinidad. What about them specifically appeals to you as a sports fan? As a poet?

A lot of the poems in here are about my father, and my father and I have always related through sports. As much as we may argue about other things, sports have always been a constant thing we can bond through. Ever since I was very young, we’d watch boxing, baseball and football together. In a way, that’s how I see these two poems tying in to the rest of the work, in a thematic sense. But, to answer your question: I think, first of all, that there’s something very poetic about boxing. More than any other sport I can think of, there’s something about it—the rhythm, the simplicity, the rawness, the conflict, the test of wills—that appeals to me as a poet. It’s a sweet science. The characteristics of the sport aside, I think the role it plays in Puerto Rico is very interesting. Essentially, Puerto Rico is an American colony, and the people there have settled for that. There’s a sense of complacency, of stagnation. And Puerto Rico, as a nation, does not become as united, or as nationalistic, as when Tito Trinidad (or, more recently, Miguel Cotto) steps into the ring. While the fight is on, the streets are literally empty. Afterwards, if the Puerto Rican fighter wins, the streets get all crowded, people start shooting off fireworks, waving flags all over the place. All that repressed nationalism comes out, and there’s something that’s both beautiful and heartbreaking about it. That sentiment, more than anything, is what appeals to me as a poet. As a sports fan, Trinidad was simply one of the most exciting fighters of the last 20 years. He was a knockout artist, and he won his first 40 fights and titles in three weight classes before he was ever defeated. Okay, here’s the difference between the poet and the sports fan: if you read the poem “The Night Tito Trinidad KO’ed Ricardo Mayorga,” the speaker of the poem is at home, drinking a beer, just having watched the fight on TV and feeling angry and frustrated, despite the victory. Well, the truth of the matter is that I flew to New York City that weekend and shelled out a month’s rent to get a ticket to that fight. And it was worth every penny.

Now, the thing about Clemente: he doesn’t only appeal to me as a sports fan, he appeals to me as a human being, as a model. Not only was he one of the best baseball players that ever lived, he always remained very modest, and was a great humanitarian. Right before Christmas in 1972, there was a massive earthquake in Nicaragua, and Clemente started putting together relief flights from Puerto Rico. The thing was that Somoza’s government in Nicaragua was so corrupt that the aid was not getting to those who needed it. So Clemente decided to go on one of these relief flights to ensure that the aid reached the earthquake survivors. It was New Year’s Eve, and the plane fell into the ocean immediately after takeoff. He died having gotten exactly 3,000 hits, which is a great milestone in baseball; and who knows how many more he would’ve gotten. I’m from Carolina, the same municipality as Clemente. Then, I went to college in Pittsburgh, which is where he played his entire career. It was incredible to see how much the people of Pittsburgh revere Clemente, even to this day, just like I did growing up in Puerto Rico.


ECC: We both appear in the anthology The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry. Which poet in the anthology surprised and delighted you the most?

KAG: Of all your questions, this one’s the hardest. I think it’s a fine anthology, and, like one of the blurbs says, I don’t think there’s a single weak voice in the group. In general, I thought the anthology was a bit heavy on narrative poetry, so the poets that ended up surprising me the most were the ones whose poems were more lyrical, more subtle, and who did more interesting things with language. I liked how Brenda Cárdenas interweaved Spanish and English in her poems, for instance. I liked the subtle lyricism of Emmy Pérez, Paul Martinez Pompa and yourself, Eduardo. There. That’s what you wanted me to say, didn’t you? I hope you’re pleased. I mean it, though.

*
You can read and hear some of Kevin's poems here.

Online Journals

Rigoberto praises online journals over at the Poetry Foundation.

All you online editors better add your web sites to the list!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Whitebird Chapbook Series

Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, submit 30 pages of poetry to
"Whitebird Chapbook Series"
Wings Press
627 E. Guenther
San Antonio, TX 78210

Include a separate biographical note, a title page with name and address, SASE for notification (mss will not be returned), and $15 reading fee. Announcement of the winner is made in December, with publication to follow in April.

PRIZE: 100 copies.

Submit to: Wings Press, 627 E. Guenther, San Antonio, TX 78210

Complete info here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Paul Guest

reads a poem.

Spring Books 2008

I will be using these books in my workshop next semester.

Individual Titles:

Terrance Hayes: Hip Logic
Oliver de la Paz: Furious Lullaby
Cynthia Cruz: Ruin
Denise Duhamel: Queen For A Day: New and Selected Poems

Anthology:

Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, edited by R. S. Gwynn.

Cynthia Cruz

has a blog.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Cannibal Poet (And He's Mexican!)

from Newsweek:

A place setting on the kitchen table held a plate with bits of fried meat, and other pieces of flesh and fat were found in a frying pan atop the stove. Alongside some chunks of the victim's flesh was half a lemon, raising the possibility that Calva had sprinkled the victim's forearm with the fruit's tangy juice before eating it.

Bits

It's 3:30 AM. I should be asleep.
*
Vote for the sexiest gay poet here. I would vote for Frank O'Hara. I love sheathed swords.
*
It's raining!
*
Now for sale: For Girls(& Others).
*
Yet another poetry festival with a nearly all-white cast of poets. I'm so sick of this kind of thing. The more time I spend in the Po-Biz the more I begin to appreciate the intelligent anger behind the Black Arts movement. Here's my question: did any of the poets at the festival question the lack of diversity? I'm guessing no. I shouldn't be so hard. Maybe the festival organizers hid the poets of color inside the AND MORE! exclamation.
*

Self Portrait as The Virgin of Guadalupe: Oil Pastel on Paper: Yolanda Lopez: 1978


More info on the artist here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm Right Brain!

Check out this dancing lady and find out if you're left or right brain.


Thanks to Kelli for the link.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Myth of the Simple Machines


is HERE.

"Good poetry begins in deep crisis, that awful pivot between opposite possibilities, death or life, not-self or self, no world or world. Laurel Snyder’s Myth occupies the realm of, and the consequence of, such crisis. We move from a girl falling inside a falling sky, a girl who lives in corners, a girl the wolf chases, to a woman who steps into the middle of the room, into the city, bears a child, contemplates the same God whose voice she speaks. And here, generously, crisis does not lead to negation—it leads to dream, to nights in which the world is at hand, not a finished product, but an ongoing creation in which the poet plays her joyful, playful part."

— Dan Beachy-Quick

Friday, October 12, 2007

American Book Awards 2007

I don't have the complete list but I know that Reyna Grande and Rigoberto Gonzalez are among this year's winners.

Yeah!

Rigoberto won for Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa.
Reyna won for Across a Hundred Mountains.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Review: Some Clarifications y Otros Poemas


Javier O. Huerta's poetry book...is a topical and fearless debut, taking on the most charged issue in the contemporary political arena: undocumented immigration.

Scarf

The long search is over. I've found the perfect scarf. Yes, Dear Readers, I will be sporting this gorgeous scarf this fall and winter.

Yes, I know. The scarf is made for a women's neck. Yes, I know. I will look gay as heck wearing it.

I don't care!!

I fell in love with the scarf the moment I spotted it. I love the ocean colors. I love those fringes.

Imagine me walking down a snow-covered street with this scarf around my throat. Swoon!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Elegy for the Executive Director

The book I treasure most is a copy of Liam Rector’s last collection of poems, which he handed to me a year ago at Café Loup in the West Village, inscribed, in his firm, rounded print, “For David—the most splendid hipster I’ve ever known—long may you run.”

Call for Submissions: Mexico in the Heartland

New Madrid, the literary journal associated with Murray State University's low-residency M.F.A. program, announces its intention to dedicate its Winter 2008 issue to the theme of Mexico in the Heartland. The purpose of the issue is to acknowledge, investigate and celebrate the degree to which Mexico influences those living in the central United States , especially those in Kentucky and bordering states.

Submissions may include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, interviews, translations from Spanish, etc.. The main criterion for acceptance, aside from literary excellence, is how well the submission addresses the theme of the issue.

We will read submissions for this issue between August 15, 2007 and November 15, 2007.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bits


This is Taylor Lake. I walk by it everyday. It's located at the base of the hill. Two swans live on the lake. The university pamphlets refer to the swans as "Adam and Eve." Though someone told me the other day the swans are in fact two females. Eve and Eve.
*
I love the opening lyrics of this song.
*
I miss my hometown. Casa Grande. A small blister of a town. But it's my hometown. It's my blister of a town.
*
Today at dinner I pushed away my plate and started writing on the paper placemat. The ending of a poem came to me.
*
Don't order the wings at VJ's diner in Hamilton.
*
A review of two chapbooks: Pepper Spray and The Night Tito Trinidad KO’ed Ricardo Mayorga.
*
Oh! I remember loving this song when it came out. Correction: I still love it. I've been listening to it non-stop for the past two days.
*
Paul Martínez Pompa is a hottie. I don't need to run a Hot or Not post on him. He's hot like a tamale.
*
The new installment of Action Yes is up.
*
Roll on, speed-demon. Roll on in peace
*
Laurel Snyder's first book is out!
*
I noticed Sabrina Orah Mark left a nice comment on Laurel's blog. Must be nice to be the object of her affection. She's been ignoring me for years now. I guess winning a NEA grant makes a poet forget her graduate school buddies. Sigh.
*
"I heard somebody call your name from underneath our willow
I saw something tucked in shame underneath your pillow
Well I've tried so hard baby but I just cant see
What a woman like you is doing with me
So tell me what I see when I look in your eyes
Is that you baby or just a brilliant disguise..."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Gratitude

Today my poems bought me dinner. French onion soup and a hamburger. Yesterday, they bought me a pint of milk, oranges and corn muffin mix. And my poems have been sheltering me since August.

In other words, I've received my first stipend check.

All week I've smiled like crazy while handing over my debit card to a clerk. On Thursday my poems bought me an umbrella and a Colgate t-shirt.

My poems are taking care of me this year. Each bill, each cup of coffee, each new book will be purchased by money my poems earned.

My poems even sent a check to my mom.

Thank you, O poems of mine.

Ezra Pound's Proposition

Beauty is sexual, and sexuality
Is the fertility of the earth and the fertility
Of the earth is economics. Though he is no recommendation
For poets on the subject of finance,
I thought of him in the thick heat
Of the Bangkok night. Not more than fourteen, she saunters up to you
Outside the Shangri-la Hotel
And says, in plausible English,
"How about a party, big guy?"

Here is more or less how it works:
The World Bank arranges the credit and the dam
Floods three hundred villages, and the villagers find their way
To the city where their daughters melt into the teeming streets,
And the dam's great turbines, beautifully tooled
In Lund or Dresden or Detroit, financed
By Lazeres Freres in Paris or the Morgan Bank in New York,
Enabled by judicious gifts from Bechtel of San Francisco
Or Halliburton of Houston to the local political elite,
Spun by the force of rushing water,
Have become hives of shimmering silver
And, down river, they throw that bluish throb of light
Across her cheekbones and her lovely skin.

Robert Hass
from Time and Materials

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reading Bits (for Anne in AZ)

I will never take a bus from Hamilton to NYC again. Seven hours wasted! I always tell myself that I will use my bus time productively: read, grade, or write. But I never do. I just sit there and stare out the window.
*
Silos. I saw a lot of silos.
*
NYC is overwhelming. Duh, I know. But I now live in a nice-but-two-street town, and I don't have many dining and shopping options. NYC is brimming with shops and places to eat. Like China Fun!
*
I bought a cute green gemstone bracelet in Union Square. When I read my poems I like to flay my arms about. Seriously. And it's nice to have something shiny on a wrist.
*
I also bought a scarf. Correction: I bought a scarf that I found in the women's section. Hey, I'm not ashamed. Scarves for men are boring! This scarf is fuzzy and made from autumn-colored yarn.
*
I called Matthew Shindell while walking around Union Square. It was good talking to him again.
*
I got lost! I was supposed to meet Rigoberto on..err...I've already forgotten...but I thought I was at the right spot, but then he calls me all upset and stuff and demands to know why I'm not at the right spot. I was only like 3 or 4 long blocks away from him. I start walking toward him but I get lost. Yes, walking down from the Avenue of Americas to the Virgin Music Store, I got lost. I couldn't find Rigo. And then to make matters worse, two fire trucks pull up next to the Virgin store. People start to crowd around the store. Rubberneckers. I try to call Rigo but I can't reach him. I start to panic!
*
I walk around. I even ask a couple of people for directions but they're no help. Thank you, New Yorkers!
*
Then (to quote Merwin) I thought of a better thing: I called up Matthew Shindell again and asked him to get online so he could give me directions to the Cornelia Street Cafe.
*
Matthew guides to me very close to the reading venue. I find Bleecker but I can't find the C.S. cafe. I call Rigo again and this time he picks up. He talks me to the coffee shop where's he sitting. Needless to say, he wasn't very happy with me.
*
I admit it: I'm terrible with directions. I get lost easily. And then when I get lost, I get flustered and become more confused.
*
We arrive at the Cornelia Street Cafe. We spot Rich Villar walking up the street. Then we spot Cathy Park Hong. I haven't seen her since our Iowa days. She's still cute as a button. And then Scott Hightower and Jose show up. Then Patrick Rosal rolls up. And Steven Cordova shows up too.
*
We walk down to the basement and I sit close to the stage because I know I'm reading first. Cathy Park Hong sits opposite me. Aracelis Girmay sits next to her.
*
The reading space at the Cornelia Street Cafe is intimate: narrow and darkish. Perfect for a reading.
*
Rigo introduces me. He mostly talks about himself. Hey, it's Rigo. He mentions that I graduated from Iowa in 1894!! And then mentions that my book will soon be published as a POD book.
*
I read my poems. Mostly older stuff, but also a handful of poems I've never read out loud before.
*
I had one very embarrassing moment. Instead of saying "I sit in bed" I said "I sit in Ben!" The audience laughed. I tried to recover.
*
I usually hate my reading style, but I liked how my voice carried this time. Rigo said I should've talked more in between poems. I should've, but my throat was dry as heck that night, and there was no water on stage for the readers. We were supposed to read for 20 minutes but I only read for 15. My voice was about to give out.
*
Aracelis read next. Her poems work wonderfully on the stage and on the page. I'm very envious of that. I had her sign my book.
*
Then Cathy closed the reading.
*
After the reading I had dinner with Rigo and his MFA students from Rutgers. A smart and funny bunch of kids.

Diana Marie Delgado Reading

Reading Between A & B

7:30 pm
11th Street Bar
510 E. 11th Street
Between Avenues A & B

October 1:

Ralph Angel
Jacqueline Jones LaMon
Diana Marie Delgado

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Outer Bands


This is one of the books I bought at St. Mark's Bookstore in NYC this weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sick Bits

I'm sick. Monday night I felt a tickle in the back of my throat. Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat and a headache.
*
The Autobiography of Ethel Waters
*
Don't forget: I'm reading (along with Cathy Park Hong and Aracelis Girmay) at The Cornelia Street Cafe this Saturday. The reading starts at 6PM. The $7 dollar cover charge includes one drink.
*
My voice is hoarse. I sound like this guy.
*
I really hate body chills.
*
New fall books by some heavyweights.
*
Ah, these songs take me back to my undergraduate days.
Ballerina Out Of Control
Between Something and Nothing
*
Here's a poem by Jordan Davis.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Some Nights No Cars at All


I'm really looking forward to reading Josh Rathkamp's first book, Some Nights No Cars at All. Amazing cover, no? Click on cover to see it blown up.

I met Josh at Arizona State. He's a good guy. He has a cool gravelly voice. Hmm. How did I meet him? We didn't take any courses together. I'm guessing we just met at some reading or in some hallway. Wait, now I remember: We met when he came up to me and started bragging about some prize he'd won. Tacky, no? But after reading his poems I could see why he would garner an award.

Here are some of his poems online:

Spectators Along the Interstate
What’s Wrong with Being Human and Two Other Poems

O Daedalus, Fly Away Home

Drifting night in the Georgia pines,
coonskin drum and jubilee banjo.
Pretty Malinda, dance with me.

Night is juba, night is congo.
Pretty Malinda, dance with me.

Night is an African juju man
weaving a wish and a weariness together
to make two wings.

O fly away home fly away

Do you remember Africa?

O cleave the air fly away home

My gran, he flew back to Africa,
just spread his arms and
flew away home.

Drifting night in the windy pines;
night is laughing, night is a longing.
Pretty Malinda, come to me.

Night is a mourning juju man
weaving a wish and a weariness together
to make two wings.

O fly away home fly away

Robert Hayden

Friday, September 14, 2007

Come Hear Me Read

THE QUETZAL QUILL @ THE CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ
Saturday, September 22 @ 6 pm

Readers

ARACELIS GIRMAY author of Teeth
CATHY PARK HONG author of Dance Dance Revolution
EDUARDO C. CORRAL author of I've Got No Book

Curator & Hostess

RIGOBERTO GONZÁLEZ

$6 admission (includes a free drink)
A/C/E/F/V/B/D trains to W. 4th St. Stop in the Village
29 Cornelia St. 212-989-9319
CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Call for Submissions

Hayden's Ferry Review is looking for prose, poetry, and visual art that explore the humanity, beauty, and reality of the literary grotesque - the monstrous, the unusual, the abnormal.

Please send to: Hayden's Ferry Review (SS42),
Virginia G. Piper Center For Creative
Writing, Box 875002,
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-5002.

Postmark deadline: January 15, 2008


I, of course, won't be sending. I'm tired of being rejected by HFR. The nerve! I've sent twice to them and both times nothing. Not even a scribble on my rejection letter! Why the hell am I promoting their call for submissions?? I should delete this post. It's HFR! Not The Paris Review! And still they reject me! The shame. The horror. I should wear a badge at the next AWP: Rejected Twice by Hayden's Ferry Review. So the ten thousand losers from the ten thousand MFA programs in the country can gleefully mock me and whisper collectively behind my back: Even I was published in HFR!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bits

Each time I call my mom, while waiting for her to pick up, I'm subjected to "Beautiful Liar" by Beyonce and Shakira.
*
It's been raining for two days.
*
I've ordered this book and this book.
*
Where else can we send a poetry book for review? Where else can we send a review of a poetry book we would like to spread the word about?
*
The leaves are beginning to change.
*
My first two books were apprentice books, tryings-out.
*

Friday, September 07, 2007

At Darien Bridge

The sea here used to look
As if many convicts had built it,

Standing deep in their ankle chains,
Ankle-deep in the water, to smite

The land and break it down to salt.
I was in this bog as a child

When they were all working all day
To drive the pilings down.

I thought I saw the still sun
Strike the side of a hammer in flight

And from it a sea bird be born
To take off over the marshes.

As the gray climbs the side of my head
And cuts my brain off from the world,

I walk and wish mainly for birds,
For the one bird no one has looked for

To spring again from a flash
Of metal, perhaps from the scratched

Wedding band on my ring finger.
Recalling the chains of their feet,

I stand and look out over grasses
At the bridge they built, long abandoned,

Breaking down into water at last,
And long, like them, for freedom

Or death, or to believe again
That they worked on the ocean to give it

The unchanging, hopeless look
Out of which all miracles leap.

James Dickey

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Rigo's Wednesday Shout Out


He-Goat, Beast of Secret Pleasures

I am the last
wolf in the man, the man in the storybook
wolf: fear and lust
are my two great dilemmas.
The name of my novel is The Story of a Love Wolf.
Chapter One: “The He-Hunting.”

The look of longing grows long—
my father. I am finding out how
to love a man.

I am my wolf harboring the dark
heart like a secret, posted
on the blood-dripping
green walls inside. In Chapter One
I read him—
he commits an act of murder.

Then Chapter Two—
“Love-Wolf and the Slow Meal.”

By Chapter Three, one must forget who is a wolf,
a father, a hunger, a son
hunting men. Remembering lust
one places the pen
down on his desk and reads what he has written:
“He-Goat, the Beast of Secret Pleasures.”

What will happen to us, who love now
bleating out, being ravished and torn to pieces?
Other men in the story—they do not

understand what death can be
unleashing like a mouthful of hot
neck and struggle. Best to keep it
quiet. Best to fall asleep and not write

“The Moon in the Man Wakes Up.”

Father, brother, colleague, friend,
I remember now the feeling
of wearing too much hair
on the palms of my hands. And, Yes,

if you read the last entry, “He-Goat Speaks,”
I admit to loving the wolf
in return! In the Epilogue, I admit to my nature
possessing the sadist’s heart.

from A Book Called Rats

Craig Santos Perez Reviews The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry


Although Aragón sketches a “group portrait” of the contributors, he reminds us that all the poets cross the thematic and aesthetic borders his introduction establishes for them, foregrounding the “nomadic” quality new Latino poetry.

You can buy it HERE.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Congrats, María Meléndez!

María Meléndez's How Long She'll Last in This World is a finalist for the 2007 PEN Center USA Literary Award in poetry.

Yeah!

Book Contests

I often get emails from young poets asking about book contests. I always reply by sending them these three links:

Poetry Contests
Open Reading Periods
First Book Contests

Monday, September 03, 2007

He's Listening. He's Really Listening.



Other pics from Martin Espada's b-day bash HERE. Thanks to Tayari Jones for posting the pics to her Flickr account.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rigoberto Gonzalez Blogs for the Poetry Foundation

Rigo will be blogging over at Harriet for the next six months.

Have a read. Leave a comment.

Bits


I'm not going to blog about my students or my class. It's not fair to them.
*
I'm thinking of attending Winter Wheat 2007. Mary swears it's a great conference.
*
Too cute.
*
I teach on Monday and Wednesday. Which leaves me with a lot of free time. How much? I'm going to be enjoying four-day weekends for nine months. Yes, it's okay to hate me.
*
Am I the only Mary in town?
*

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Songs I Currently Adore

Cafe Tacuba: Puntos Cardinales
Snow Patrol: Run
The Dresden Dolls: Coin-Operated Boy
The Gossip: Standing In The Way Of Control
Muse: Starlight
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Maps
Rufus Wainwright: Rules & Regulations
Kelly Clarkson: Sober
Sufjan Stevens: Majesty Snowbird

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poems by Javier O. Huerta

Cy Twombly's Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the shores of Asia Minor)

The Twombly Gallery-Houston, Texas

A child could not have drawn this.
Maybe something more like 67 children.
(Each with his or her own favorite ice cream.) And not just
Ordinary children. All 67 would have five arms each.
And each arm would have three hands and each hand
Would hold three brushes and two pencils.

And, in his or her own way, each child would love and hate Catullus.
Love him so much that they would crawl the streets of Rome in search of him.
Hate him so much that they would crawl the streets of Rome in search of him.

335 arms to embrace him. 1005 hands to maul him.

Catullus, give back all the beautiful words.

*
Two more poem here.

A Couplet Written by Christopher Hennessy at Age ?

My mom is so very nice
because she never has any lice

A Couplet Writen by John Ashbery at Age Eight

The tall haystacks are great sugar mounds/
These are the fairies' camping grounds

Untitled (Mouth/Stones): Ann Hamilton: 1993

Monday, August 27, 2007

from Poetry 365

The Cockfighter's Daughter Falls in Love
When My Father Had La Viruela
Black Ice
The Gokstadt Ship

Hamilton Bits

Ah, small town living. The fresh air, the green lawns, the white people.
*
I got my hair cut today.
*
Hamilton is a very livable village. That's right. I'm living in a villege.
*
There's a sushi joint downtown. And a health food store/ cafe. A coffee shop. Six pizza outfits. A deli. A nice sit-down joint. A Subway. An ice cream/ homemade chocolates outfit. Three small grocery stores. By the way, how much does a gallon of milk cost in your town? I paid four bucks for a gallon the other day. I was shocked.
*
There's also a movie theater downtown.
*
I wish there was a nice bookstore. There's the Colgate bookstore but it's not designed for browsing.
*
I had a seafood sensation sandwich at Subway today. It was gross. Why did I order it?
*

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Martin Espada's Birthday Party at the Bowery Poetry Club

Thursday, August 30th @ 7pm
MARTÍN ESPADA'S 50TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
The Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery (between Bleecker and Houston)
F Train to 2nd Ave., 6 Train to Bleecker Street
Hosted by Rich Villar of the Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase
and presented by the louderARTS Project, Acentos, and Salon Lucero
Suggested Donation $5 (no one will be turned away)

An evening of poetry and Latin Jazz to celebrate a dear friend,
mentor, and compañero poeta. Readings by Yusef Komunyakaa, Gerald
Stern, Kimiko Hahn, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Sandra Maria Esteves, Patricia
Smith, and many more!

With musical guests: Bobby Sanabria and Quarteto Aché

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Arrival Bits



The lovely and tenacious Alessandra Lynch drove me to the Albany train station Monday afternoon. We didn't get lost once! Though I'm sad to report that she got lost on her way back.
*
On the train I sat next to a very nice queen. A very cute queen. He had a movie star face. Handsome as heck. He'd just finished beauty school (no beauty school drop out here) and is in the process of applying to some acting/ dancing schools in NYC.
*
I got off at the Utica train station. A taxi was waiting for me. Hamilton is a 45 minute drive from Utica. My cab driver was very talky. So I asked him a bunch of questions about the area.
*
I had the taxi stop at a building on campus so I could get my apartment keys. Colgate is a college upon a hill: most of the buildings sit on top of several small hills.
*
When I entered my apartment my jaw dropped. It's an amazing space. The bones of the apartment are very plain, but the furniture and accessories are wonderful. The whole place is decorated in Island modern: dark rattan sofas and chairs with palm frond print cushions and pillows. And boy, this place is really fully furnished: new towels, bath mats, new plates, silverware, electric fan, new broom and dustpan, sleek and fancy bed linens, hallway hutch, iron and ironing horse, lamps, framed wall prints, vases, silver art objects, etc. It's overwhelming!
*
And the people from the English Department have been very welcoming. I'm going to love it here. No question.
*
Did I mention my office? It's cute as a button. Wow, that was so gay. Moving on. My office is smallish but perfect. One wall is full of book shelves. My window faces the quad area. Got a cool PC, desk and chair.
*
I'm one lucky poet.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yaddo Bits

Last full day here.
*
I walked downtown for the last time. I sat on a park bench, and stared at the fountains, the ducks on the pond, and the lush lawns. Then I got up and kicked a duck!
*
Up next: Colgate University.
*
I went to the horse races yesterday. It was a blast. Strange though to see so many families at a gambling space. I broke even: I placed four $2 bets and won back $9 bucks on two wins.
*
Pinsky "does" C. Dale.
*
Hmm. I should do my laundry tonight. I shouldn't drag smelly clothes to Hamilton.
*
Listen: a bird-stir and the build
of God in your breath...

*
I won with horses named Holiday Trip and Facutal Contender. I also placed a bet on a horse with a gorgeous name, Symphony of Psalms, but he failed to show.
*
No: I didn't really kick a duck.
*

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Liam Rector

Liam Rector killed himself yesterday.


The Remarkable Objectivity of Your Old Friends

We did right by your death and went out,
Right away, to a public place to drink,
To be with each other, to face it.

We called other friends—the ones
Your mother hadn't called—and told them
What you had decided, and some said

What you did was right; it was the thing
You wanted and we'd just have to live
With that, that your life had been one

Long misery and they could see why you
Had chosen that, no matter what any of us
Thought about it, and anyway, one said,

Most of us abandoned each other a long
Time ago and we'd have to face that
If we had any hope of getting it right.

from American Prodigal
Liam Rector, 1949-2007


UPDATE:

from Amanda's blog:

"In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made to the Liam Rector Scholarship Fund at The Writing Seminars of Bennington College, to organizations in support of Free Speech, or to The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP)."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Attention Bloggers: Which One Are You?

"There are a number of poet-bloggers whose entries I read everyday. Occasionally, I'm not sure why I subject myself to some of these personalities: the-oh-so-bitchiest-in-the-world poet, the me-me-me-and-did-I-mention-me poet, the-I'm-a-failure-although-I-did-just-get-5-acceptances poet, and on and on and on."

I'm going to try to guess which poet bloggers the talented Jehanne Dubrow is talking about. Fun!

1. The bitchiest poet is easy. It's Reb.

2. Hmm. The me-me-me-me poet could be a lot of folks. Aaron Smith. Anne Haines. Amanda Auchter. All lovely but self-centred poets. But my money is on this handsome but woe-is-me blogger.

3. Another easy one: Paul Guest.

Wasn't that fun? Why don't you play along?

Poets Are Funny. Poets Are Fucked Up.

from the Best New Poets 2007 blog:

Yikes! So this is going on the sixth day of Priority Mail. You have to be careful to drop it in the right slot. Priority Mail looks very similar to When We Get Around To It Mail.

"I'm almost puking my pants."

"We're all hungry for the results, and the delays reeeeaaalllllly suck. But what are you gonna do? I'm making grilled cheese."

"Oh how the nails do grow in an anonymous blog. I predict there will be no blog next year and further more I am again disappointed in my fellow humans. If we could only... who am i kidding, slap me in the face and make my mouth an ashtray. For god sakes I flew to the moon and married a mermaid."

"Roses are red,
violets are blue,
stop being such jerks
while we wait for the news."

"I like water and semantics."

"The bitching isn't because it's a new poets competition but because some of the people commenting happen to be bitchy mcbitchersons."

Yaddo Bits

I'm no longer a night person. I'm a morning person now! I used to spend all night reading and writing. But now I go to bed by 10PM and wake up at 7AM. I'm preparing for the upcoming academic year. A teacher can't sleep through his class, right?
*
I had a good time reading on Monday night. I was a bit nervous. (My right foot kept shaking.) A composer asked why there's a lot musical instruments in my work. My reply: Cuz musical instrument are sexy.
*
Alessandra Lynch's new poems are fucking great.
*
Have I told you about the bat that crashed into my face? No? Hmm...
*

First Book Interview: Collin Kelley

I know it chaps a lot of asses...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yaddo Bits


Last week here.
*
Thanks for the postcards/ notes: Cornshake, Matthew T., Peter P., C. Dale, and J.H. Gailey.
*
Sunday I signed out of lunch, and headed off to an Indian food joint with Michelle. The roads were packed with cars so it took us some time to get to the joint. When we arrived we found out it was closed. Foul. We headed off to a fried chicken joint and found another closed sign. We ended up eating at this Thai place near the library. It was so-so.
*
I can't believe it's my last week here.
*
Alessandra Lynch and I will be reading on Monday night at West House.
*
I still haven't gone to the horse races. I better do it this week. The track has $2 bets. I'm going to splurge and spend $20 bucks. I roll like that.
*
I went swimming today for the first time. I ususally just dip my feet. But the water was so cool and silky today.
*
April Bernard left today. She's very nice. She has a great laugh.
*
After dinner I took a nap so I slept through Ron Baron's open studio. Sorry, Ron!
*

Friday, August 10, 2007

First Book Interview: Miguel Murphy

I stalked the Mexican painter Julio Galan, a contemporary artist, one of the thorns in my crown of favorites--the same week he gave me permission he died. I then went through his family for permission and they've been terribly gracious. I couldn't be happier than in their debt. The painting itself speaks to the ugly erotics, the sad sexual glamour, the dangerous appeal of the darker poems in the book.

"This second printing is a real gift. It's like finding out your dick isn't small. Now I'll take it anywhere, shove it in your face. Tell you it's big. Ask you if you want to touch it."

"The book is what we live for--In print, our words are remains. They're ashes. They're us, a version of us that matter. The book is what we work so hard for for so long."

"Poetry is a gun in your mouth. It can do nothing."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

First Book Interview: Steve Fellner

I got an MFA and PhD in creative writing. During all this time, I was sending out various incarnations of the book. No one wanted it. It was (and still is) an uneven book, but there were a lot of worse books out there, and I liked sending things out in the mail.

"The world is nice that way: no one holds insignificance against you."

"So I sent 40 emails (all the same night) to 40 different poets I really admired, and told them how their work influenced me, and asked if they would consider looking at my book, and if they felt moved to do so, offer me a blurb. 15 out of the 40 poets responded. Most ignored me. Two told me to Fed Ex them the manuscript and then never contacted me again. One significant gay poet read the book and told me that he didn't like it. It hurt. I'm gay. He's gay. I thought he'd say yes simply because of those two facts. But that was cool. I admire people with discriminating tastes, and also, I'm a masochist. Because he rejected me, I'm even a bigger fan."

"I'm surprised when anyone mentions my book, and I mean anyone. I had a student ask me to sign a copy and I was shocked he would have bought a copy."

"It's hard to get readings when your book comes from a small press and you're an insignificant writer."

"I think a lot about a second book. And I am sometimes embarrassed that I am creating (have created) one. Does the world need another book by me?"

"I started writing because I wanted love."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

3 Bits

*
Rigoberto Gonzalez reviews Dance Dance Revolution.
*
Have you checked out the new titles from Action Books?
*
I will be reading with Cathy Park Hong and Aracelis Girmay on Saturday, September 22 at Cornelia Street Cafe.
*

Yaddo Bits

A bunch of us went to a horse auction on Tuesday. One horse went for 2.2 million bucks. Others for half a million. 300k. Etc.
*
On Monday I had the immense pleasure of listening to Josip Novakovich read a short story.
*
Mint Leaf! Isn't that a cool horse name?
*
Dinners around here have been amazing. On Saturday we had pecan-encrusted salmon. Sunday we had prime rib. Monday, chicken parmigiana. And today we had pork loin topped with mango salsa.
*
It rained tonight.
*
Eugene Ostashevsky also read on Monday. He's a fantastic performer. He rapped his first poem. His voiced boomed. At one point he even hopped!
*

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My First Blurb!

Momotombo Press will publish Robert Vasquez's Braille for the Heart in the fall. I was asked to write a blurb for the chapbook. You can view the cover artwork and my blurb on the back here. Diana Marie Delgado wrote the introduction.

Stayed tuned: I will be giving away a couple of chapbooks in the fall.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Yaddo Bit

Today I attended a funeral for a cellphone.

BEST LESBIAN/ GAY POETRY

Thanks to Mr. Hennessy for the information.

A Midsummer Night's Press announces two new annual anthologies:

BEST GAY POETRY edited by Lawrence Schimel &
BEST LESBIAN POETRY edited by Linda Alvarez

For the 2008 editions of this exciting new series celebrating the best in gay/lesbian poetry, A Midsummer Night's Press invites submissions of poems published during 2007. Poems can have appeared in print or online magazines, journals, or anthologies; we are also willing to consider poems from books or chapbooks first published in 2007, even if the poem was originally published previously in periodicals, so long as the poet has the right to reprint the poem.

We are open to all styles of poetry, from formal to free verse; we are likewise open-minded in terms of content, so long as it somehow fits (even if pushing the boundaries of) what might be considered "gay poetry" or "lesbian poetry." We are willing to consider slam poetry, so long as it has been published in text form, not merely performed; the poem must also work on the page, for these anthologies. We are open to English-language poetry from all over the world, and actively look to include non-North American voices.

Submissions from individual poets or queries should be sent by email in .doc format to one of the following addresses, as appropriate: BestGayPoetry@gmail.com or BestLesbianPoetry@gmail.com.

Please title documents with the poet's surname. Please include contact information (both street and email address), bio, and previous publication history WITHIN the document, as documents will be read separately from the emails. Deadline is December 1, 2007. (We will consider submissions of work that is scheduled to appear in the latter half of the year, but which has not yet been published.)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Yaddo Bits

Some days I'm so happy to be here. Some days I want to pack my bags and run away.
*
Bipolar!
*
The pool party was fun. I dare not repeat what I saw. Or what I said! But I'll repeat this. A poet went for a quick swim and as she twirled in the water she noticed something rippling in the deep end. She called out to us, What's that? A few of us went to investigate, and we started to freak out. It's a snake, someone shouted. My heart froze. I fucking hate snakes. The poet got out of the pool fast. Then someone said, That's not a snake! It's a scarf! OMG! It was a scarf. We all turned to look at the poet. She was standing on the deck, soaking wet, and bent over in laughter. Yep, it was her scarf.
*
Currently reading: Transparency: Stories by Frances Hwang.
*
I need to buy another handkerchief. I lost the first one I bought ten days ago.
*
Where are my postcards? I've received three postcards since my arrival. Only three! My heart breaks each time I check for mail.
*

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Yaddo Bits

On Wednesday housekeeping cleans my studio so I have to leave the room for a bit. I sleepwalked to the first floor and had some breakfast. I usually sleep through the first meal of the day. But I'm glad I did go today because I got the chance to say goodbye to Dan Welcher. Such a nice man.
*
I walked into town in the afternoon to buy some stamps and envelopes. I was planning on cutting my hair but it slipped my mind. I'll do that tomorrow.
*
Tomorrow we're having a pool party. Note to self: buy some beer.
*
Today I started doing automatic writing exercises. I'm going to do the exercises for ten days, and then comb over the pages and try to find something to use.
*
Alessandra Lynch and I caught a bat tonight in the cocktail room! Seriously! We spotted it flying around the gold ceiling. Alessandra fetched a couple of nets and we took turns trying to catch the bat. She almost had it a few times. I caught it, and she placed her net over my net so it wouldn't fly out. We walked to a door and let the bat out. Cathy would be so proud of us!

Jonathan Ames was no help! He threw himself onto the floor when he spotted the bat, and covered his face and head with his arms. What a sissy!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

First Book Interview: Henrietta Goodman

One of the most pleasant surprises has been the response of a guy I didn't know who came to my launch party. Since then, he's joined my writing group, and at his first meeting I asked him who he liked to read, and he said "Richard Hugo, Philip Levine, James Wright, and you."

LEAVE YOUR NAME at the BORDER: MANUEL MUÑOZ: NYT OP-ED

It’s intriguing to watch “American” names begin to dominate among my nieces and nephews and second cousins, as well as with the children of my hometown friends. I am not surprised to meet 5-year-old Brandon or Kaitlyn. Hardly anyone questions the incongruity of matching these names with last names like Trujillo or Zepeda. The English-only way of life partly explains the quiet erasure of cultural difference that assimilation has attempted to accomplish. A name like Kaitlyn Zepeda doesn’t completely obscure her ethnicity, but the half-step of her name, as a gesture, is almost understandable.

Yaddo Bits

*
I'm sad. Yes, I'm sad. Sometimes I'm ashamed to admit this. But not tonight. I'm sad.
*
The heart can only be broken once, like a window.
The heart can only be broken once, like a window.
The heart can only be broken once, like a window.
The heart can only be broken once, like a window.
The heart can only be broken once, like a window.
*
A poet last week asked me, Why is your work so beautiful? I gave the poet some bullshit answer. But here's the reason: I write beautiful poems to counter the ugliness inside myself.
*

Poet With A Day Job Strikes Again!

Does this woman ever sleep? She's Googled her fingers off and found MORE first book contests. And here is her list of fall/ spring contests.

May God have mercy on our checkbooks.