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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Songs I Can't Stop Listening To

Going to a Town by Rufus Wainwright. It's the first single from his forthcoming disc, Release the Stars. Rufus is so handsome. The Jesus imagery is a little heavy-handed in the video.
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Read My Mind by The Killers. What's up with that toothy green creature? Brandon Flowers, the lead singer, is another hottie.
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Lifelines by a-ha. This is such a lovely pop song. And it displays what I most love about a-ha: catchy music imbued with sadness.
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This is Just a Modern Rock Song by Belle and Sebastian. I adore the lyrics of this song.
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Una Alma en Pena by Lucia Mendez. Calling all Mexican queens! A cheesy but catchy pop song. Lucia Mendez was one of the biggest stars in Mexico in the 80s. This song is from one of her best known telenovelas, El Extrano Retorno de Diana Salazar.
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Grandpa (Tell Me About the Gold old Days by The Judds. Another sad but beautiful song. What a touching chorus. I'm a softie.
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Making Love Out of Nothing at All by Air Supply. I can't defend this song. It's cheesy, but I really like it.
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Life in a Northern Town by The Dream Academy. One of my favorite songs from the 80s. I love the chanting in the chorus.
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La Fuerza del Destino by Mecano, a pop/ rock group from Spain. The video marks the debut of Penelope Cruz on Spanish television. I like the beat and the vocals. Another 80s tune.
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Carey by Cyndi Lauper. This is a Joni Mitchell cover. I just melt when I hear this. One of my faorite vocals ever.
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Tu Carcel by Los Bukis. Simple melody. Terrible video. One of my favorite songs.
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Grace Kelly by Mika. Catchy as hell.
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You're All I Have by Snow Patrol. This song is a pastiche of a lot of good rock songs. But it works for me.
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Losing My Religion by REM. I can't begin to tell you how much this song means to me. It was the song I turned to when my heart was first broken in high school.
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Electricity and Souvenir by OMD. The British are the best makers of pop music.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bits

My AOL software is dead! I have to download replacement software online and then run it again on my hardrive.
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I sent out the postcards last week.
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I have to pick up the second album by The Killers. I totally dig all the singles I've heard on VH1.
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BJR on Death of a Mexican and Other Poems.
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OMG: I watch VH1! I'm old!
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Welcome back, Ryan. Send me an email.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Latina/o Poetry Community

ASU's Hispanic Research Center has launched a new web site: Latina/o Poetry Community. Its goals are to:

*Create an Internet-based creative exchange portal for communication among Latina/o poets, poetry and literary organizations, and others committed to Latina/o poetry

*Promote the work of individual poets from all the Latina/o heritage areas both in the United States and abroad, and increase the audience for Latina/o poetry

*Encourage greater recognition by the general public of Latina/o poetry and poets through education and outreach

This web site is long overdue. My gratitude to all those involved in creating it.

The coolest part of the web site is the poet profiles. I love poet profiles! Here is my humble profile. And here are three of my poems:

Our Completion: Oil on Wood: Tino Rodríguez: 1999
Se Me Olvidó Otra Vez
Ditat Deus

It's all about me, even when I post about community. Shame on me!

A lot of the profiles are still blank. Poets, don't keep me from your biographical information! Emmy, Diana, Sheryl, and Blas: I'm talking to you. And Reyes, I hope to see you there too!

But some profiles are already filled out:

Martin Espada
Elias Miguel Munoz
Francisco Aragon
Urayoan Noel

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bits

Have you seen the new Poets & Writers? Helena María Viramontes graces the cover.
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I'm starting to plan the poetry workshop that I will teach at Colgate University. I'm leaning toward weekly writing exercises. And I love the idea of requiring the students to keep a notebook. But I'm having a hard time picking a text. I'm thinking of assigning one big text. Probably Contemporary American Poetry. But I also like the idea of assigning individual collections, even chapbooks. What to do??
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There's a zit on the tip of my nose.
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...the powerful and the beautiful have different names.
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I'm having a hard time finding a place to live in Hamilton, NY. I know there's plenty of time left to look, but I'm getting nervous. I don't want to live in a ratty place.
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Jake Adam York: Interview

When I write, I write in near-total silence, but I always imagine the poems being read aloud, and I try to write the poems so they will perform well, so they'll sound right read aloud. I mean for my poems to be read and to be heard. So when I read, and I find some listeners in a reading, I feel like the poems have arrived, have found the kind of home I'd always wanted for them.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Poet Laureate Of The Blogosphere

Do your part! Vote for Poet Laureate Of The Blogosphere HERE.

Diana Marie Delgado at Casa Libre

I'm April's Featured Writer at Casa Libre en La Solana. If you'd like a laugh, check out my story, The Haunting.
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I've made an August deadline to finish a 45 page in-progress manuscript. I've told myself even if it's not a-mazing I need to shape/edit/produce enough poems to equal 45 pages.
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I'm looking for a new job. Does anyone know of any high-profile, part-time, benefit-giving, relaxed-atmosphere jobs that pay 40g's a year? If anyone knows of any great jobs in NYC, I'm game.
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I'm back on the television train. For years, I'd banished it. Now it's back in my life. Not sure if it's good or bad. Think it's mostly bad as I now want to order Showtime just to see the semi-medieval, but wholly-erotic, Tudors series. I recently watched the first three episodes at my mom's house, and the sex scenes are ridiculous. Apparently, the king (forget which Edward he is) just slept around with his servants and ignored his wife.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Poetry is Dangerous: Kazim Ali

On April 19, after a day of teaching classes at
Shippensburg University, I went out to my car and
grabbed a box of old poetry manuscripts from the front
seat of my little white beetle and carried it across
the street and put it next to the trashcan outside
Wright Hall. The poems were from poetry contests I had
been judging and the box was heavy. I had previously
left my recycling boxes there and they were always
picked up and taken away by the trash department.

A young man from ROTC was watching me as I got into my
car and drove away. I thought he was looking at my car
which has black flower decals and sometimes inspires
strange looks. I later discovered that I, in my dark
skin, am sometimes not even a person to the people who
look at me. Instead, in spite of my peacefulness, my
committed opposition to all aggression and war, I am a
threat by my very existence, a threat just living in
the world as a Muslim body.

Upon my departure, he called the local police
department and told them a man of Middle Eastern
descent driving a heavily decaled white beetle with
out of state plates and no campus parking sticker had
just placed a box next to the trash can. My car has
NY plates, but he got the rest of it wrong. I have two
stickers on my car. One is my highly visible faculty
parking sticker and the other, which I just don’t have
the heart to take off these days, says “Kerry/Edwards:
For a Stronger America.”

Because of my recycling the bomb squad came, the state
police came. Because of my recycling buildings were
evacuated, classes were canceled, campus was closed.
No. Not because of my recycling. Because of my dark
body. No. Not because of my dark body. Because of his
fear. Because of the way he saw me. Because of the
culture of fear, mistrust, hatred, and suspicion that
is carefully cultivated in the media, by the
government, by people who claim to want to keep us
‘safe.’

These are the days of orange alert, school lock-downs,
and endless war. We are preparing for it, training for
it, looking for it, and so of course, in the most
innocuous of places—a professor wanting to hurry home,
hefting his box of discarded poetry—we find it.

That man in the parking lot didn’t even see me. He saw
my darkness. He saw my Middle Eastern descent. Ironic
because though my grandfathers came from Egypt, I am
Indian, a South Asian, and could never be mistaken for
a Middle Eastern man by anyone who’d ever met one.

One of my colleagues was in the gathering crowd,
trying to figure out what had happened. She heard my
description—a Middle Eastern man driving a white
beetle with out of state plates—and knew immediately
they were talking about me and realized that the box
must have been manuscripts I was discarding. She
approached them and told them I was a professor on the
faculty there. Immediately the campus police officer
said, “What country is he from?”

“What country is he from?!” she yelled, indignant.

“Ma’am, you are associated with the suspect. You need
to step away and lower your voice,” he told her.

At some length several of my faculty colleagues were
able to get through to the police and get me on a cell
phone where I explained to the university president
and then to the state police that the box contained
old poetry manuscripts that needed to be recycled. The
police officer told me that in the current climate I
needed to be more careful about how I behaved. “When I
recycle?” I asked.

The university president appreciated my distress about
the situation but denied that the call had anything to
do with my race or ethnic background. The spokesperson
of the university called it an “honest mistake,” not
referring to the young man from ROTC giving in to his
worst instincts and calling the police but referring
to me who made the mistake of being dark-skinned and
putting my recycling next to the trashcan.

The university’s bizarrely minimal statement lets
everyone know that the “suspicious package” beside the
trashcan ended up being, indeed, trash. It goes on to
say, “We appreciate your cooperation during the
incident and remind everyone that safety is a joint
effort by all members of the campus community.”

What does that community mean to me, a person who has
to walk by the ROTC offices every day on my way to my
own office just down the hall—who was watched, noted,
and reported, all in a day’s work? Today we gave in
willingly and whole-heartedly to a culture of fear and
blaming and profiling. It is deemed perfectly
appropriate behavior to spy on one another and police
one another and report on one another. Such behaviors
exist most strongly in closed and undemocratic and
fascist societies.

The university report does not mention the root cause
of the alarm. That package became “suspicious” because
of who was holding it, who put it down, who drove
away. Me.

It was poetry, I kept insisting to the state policeman
who was questioning me on the phone. It was poetry I
was putting out to be recycled.

My body exists politically in a way I can not prevent.
For a moment today, without even knowing it, driving
away from campus in my little beetle, exhausted after
a day of teaching, listening to Justin Timberlake on
the radio, I ceased to be a person when a man I had
never met looked straight through me and saw the
violence in his own heart.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Save Small and Independent Publishers

Stamp Out the Rate Hike: Stop the Post Office
Postal regulators have accepted a proposal from media giant Time Warner that would stifle small and independent publishers in America. The plan unfairly burdens smaller publishers with higher postage rates while locking in special privileges for bigger media companies.

In establishing the U.S. postal system, the nation's founders wanted to ensure that a diversity of viewpoints were available to "the whole mass of the people." Time Warner's rate increase reverses this egalitarian ideal and threatens the marketplace of ideas on which our democracy depends.

It's time stand up for independent media. Demand that Congress step in to stop the unfair rate hikes. The deadline for comments to the Postal Service is fast approaching.

Sign the letter before April 25 to alert Congress and put the Postal Board of Governors on notice.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CakeTrain Chapbook Contest

Check out this contest. It has an October 1, 2007 deadline. You have plenty of time to write the poems. The judge this year is Claudia Rankine.

Prize: $250 bucks and 20 copies.

CakeTrain publishes gorgeous chapbooks. Who knew? Check out these fab covers:

Dolls by Tom Whalen.
Check-In by Elizabeth Skurnick.


*Tip of the hat to Tayari Jones for the heads up.

Overseas

I've never been to Europe. Hard to belive, I know. I'm so worldly.

I've been researching international colonies/ conferences, but I haven't found anything that speaks to me.

Have any of you been to an international colony/ conference? Did you enjoy it?

If my colony/ conference search doesn't prove fruitful I'm thinking of spending two weeks in France, Spain, or England on my own dime next summer. Can any of you recommend any online sites for me to research European vacations?

Best New Poets 2007

Do you think your poems have the right stuff? Do you!!?? Send them to the Best New Poets 2007 open competition.

Complete guidelines HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Recent Google Searches That Brought Folks To My Blog

breadloaf waiter 2007
barrel-chested asian men
Dan Albergotti
daddy bear youtube
stefi weisburd
dead apples
diana delgado studio

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hobble Creek Review

The latest installment of Hobble Creek Review is up.

Chicago Reading: Victor Hernández Cruz

Victor Hernández Cruz reads on Wednesday, April 18 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, Chicago. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

More info here.

UPDATE:

Here's an interview with Victor Hernández Cruz.

Five poems of Victor Hernández Cruz, interpreted.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sprig of Lilac

Have you read D.A. Powell's poem at Poetry Daily?


"spent hues, spent perfumes"


"oddments of ravished leaves"


"the pluck you’ve made of my heart"


I printed out this poem and taped it to the wall next to my desk. I'm in love.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bits

Check out Reb's new blog author photograph. What do those eyes say to you?
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I need to update my blog photo. The current one is old. It was taken when I younger and thinner. And straight.
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Anagrammer by Peter Pereira.
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Congrats , Laurel!
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Dream of the Cancer Cure by Peter Pereira.
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The drama! The suspense! 2007 MFA Acceptances. I would love to redo my MFA days. Good luck, new MFAers!
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after Lauper, for Essbaum

Call for Submissions: Andrés Montoya Anthology

from Daniel Chacón:

I’m in the initial stages of putting together a second book of poems from the late Chicano poet Andrés Montoya, whose first book, The Ice Worker Sings and Other Poems won the American Book Award. Montoya was a brilliant young poet, a Chicano mystic, who died before he got a chance to see his book come out. His bold, lyrical style has been a great influence on young writers from California’s Central Valley and beyond. There are at least two prizes in his name, one from the MFA program at California State University, Fresno and the other from Notre Dame University.

To celebrate the coming of this second book, we are collecting poetry, prose and art commemorating his life and work. In The Grove, founded by poet Lee Herrick, is the literary journal where some of Montoya’s poems first appeared. The Fall 2007 issue will be dedicated to the second book. It also will include work from other writers and artists.

Please submit work that is either influenced by or identifies with Andrés Montoya. Especially welcome are homenaje, an homage to the man/the work, such as non-fiction reflections on encounters with him or with his work, his spirit.

All submissions will be considered for an anthology tentatively titled 2nd Coming.
Deadline is August 1, 2007
Earlier submissions are encouraged.
Please send all material to

2nd Coming
Attn: Daniel Chacón or Verónica Guajardo, editors.
904 Mesita Dr.
El Paso, TX
79902

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The 2007 Discovery/The Nation Poetry Contest Winners

· Paula Bohince of Greensburg, PA
· Darcie Dennigan of Rumford, RI
· Joseph Heithaus of Greencastle, IN
· Melissa Range of Decatur, GA


Go, Paula! Paula is a wonderful poet, and a very sweet person. Her first book, Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods, is forthcoming from Sarabande in 2008.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bino Realuyo: The Gods We Worship Live Next Door: Review

Realuyo’s consistent textual “interferences,” his many epigraphs, footnotes, and endnotes, clippings from Philippine newspapers, sound bytes from Western media, excerpts from scholarly texts, frame this entire project, thus effectively redirecting the downward gaze of the “you” who not only thinks himself superior to the Filipino, but is deaf to and dismissive of Filipino dissent, movements of resistance, insistence upon survival, however improbable.

Monday Bits

I had fun yesterday hiding colored eggs around the yard for the kids. We always hide a mix of real and plastic eggs.
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I had to turn down the VCCA's offer of a 38 day residency this summer. I felt terrible doing it, but all my summer is already taken up with other colonies and planning a move to upstate New York. Okay, now I'm bragging.
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I haven't sent out poems in nearly six months! And I have four poems that are ready to go. Hmm.
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Rick by Jericho Brown. I'm assuming the Rick addressed in this poem is a poet. Yes, that poet. Am I right?
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Two Upcoming Readings

I will be reading twice in the coming week. Come say hi.

April 14: Arizona Book Festival: 4:00-5:00PM

Tom Wayman, the 2007 Distinguished Canadian Fulbright Chair in Creative Writing at ASU will be joined in a celebration of poetry by several young poets from Arizona, including: Charles Jensen, Sarah Vap, Josh Rathkamp, Eduardo C. Corral and Stephanie Lenox.

April 15: Changing Hands Bookstore: 3:30-4:30PM

Eduardo C. Corral, Stephanie Lenox and Jennifer Chapis read from their original works, some of which are included in the compilation Best New Poets 2006.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Good News

Go congrat Kelli on winning The Atlantic Monthly's graduate student contest! Scoll past the bunny pics to read the good news post.

Yeah!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Writers Colonies FAQs: Tayari Jones

I have heard that writers colonies are just party-central with your occasional orgy. Is this true? How can I get my work done?

I think the orgy days are long gone. At least I have not witnessed any, nor received any invitations.

The days are pretty solitary. You will likely spend the day in your studio. It is considered rude to knock on a fellow colonist's studio door without having made prior arrangements to do so. Of course, in a case of emergency, knock away. But if nothing is on fire, you just have to wait until the dinner hour to talk to that person.

The evenings are when the fun happens. Some colonies have ping-pong tables, checker boards, Scrabble and other nerdly entertainment. After dinner, folks tend to socialize.

More HERE.

Bit


Yep, that's me. At MacDowell. I've been thinking a lot about my time there last spring. I think I wasted most of my time there. I wrote two poems, which is a lot for me. And I found connections in my poems that helped me organize my collection. But I think I was too awe-struck to really get down to work.

MacDowell was the first colony I visited. I spent a lot of time in my studio just taking it in. The food. The beautiful landscape. The bathtub in my bedroom. And when I tired of my studio I went for walks. Through the woods. To the nearby town, Peterborough. I really liked walking downhill to Peterborough. I enjoyed browsing through the bookstore, and it was fun navigating the narrow aisles of the grocery store. One time I bumped against the backside of an old lady as she was reaching for a can of peaches. She looked at me and said, Be careful with my peaches.

I don't know what I'm really trying to say here. I realized today how lucky I am to have such opportunities. This summer I will be visiting two writing colonies and in the fall I will be a writer-in-residence at a university. How fucking cool is that? I'm not bragging. I'm humbled by these opportunities. Like Jackson, I want to honor these opportunities by working hard. I'm ready this time. I'm ready to work hard.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yeah!

Congrats, Deb! I look forward to reading your collection.
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Monday, April 02, 2007

Chapbook Contests

I'm thinking of entering a few chapbook contests. I've done some online research (look at her!) and I've come up with a handful of contests that seem promising:

Cranky
SLAPERING HOL PRESS
Elixir Press
Diagram
Camber Press

I've never put together a chapbook mss together. I can't just yank out a section from my collection. Hmm. But I could pull out (the rhythm method?) the ekphrastic pieces and the persona poems and organize a chapbook mss. That might work.

We'll see.

Update:
I just found this interview on Blackbird with three chapbook authors. Here's some choice tidbits from the interview:

Cecily Parks: ...I think the chapbook length is ideal in terms of being able to work on maybe one set of themes or maybe on one narrative thread in a concise way without exhausting any of those themes or threads. I found that I was able to really narrow my focus without getting redundant. So in that way I felt like the chapbook was ideal.

Dan Albergotti: ...in my latest revision of the full-length manuscript, the poem that leads the chapbook concludes the full length. It wasn’t by design, really, and I wasn’t really thinking about it. I stepped away and said, “Oh, that’s my lead off poem in the other.” And yet, I think it’s telling that that poem is not buried in the middle or something, that it is an ender, it maybe is some kind of, I don’t know, psychic endorsement of placement; it needs to be either the first or the last. The structure of the full length is kind of liturgical. I have these repeating patterns of things where you might see scripture readings and hymns in a Protestant ceremony or something and that’s not, that’s absolutely not, playing any role in the chapbook’s organization, so naturally there are changes.

Julie Evens

Check out these amazing paintings.