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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

2 Sick Bits

Still sick. But at least my throat isn't killing me anymore. I can swallow again.
Just ordered these two books:
Mission Work by Aaron Baker
The Earth in the Attic by Fady Joudah.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Latino Poetry Review

I've been sick for the past few days. But that hasn't stopped me from checking out the launch of

Latino Poetry Review.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Made it back to Hamilton. But I think I picked up a bug in NYC or on the bus. My throat hurts.
I also bought these books:

Kevin McFadden, Hardscrabble
Alfredo Vea, Jr, Gods Go Begging (novel)
Dean Young, Primitive Mentor
New European Poets, edited by Wayne Miller and Kevin Prufer
I also bought new shoes! Aren't they nice? I bought them at Shoe Mania at Union Square. My shoes are Cognac Leather not Black Leather.
I had an early dinner last Saturday with Diana Marie Delgado. First we had some drinks at this cool hipster coffee bar: The Grey Dog's Coffee. She couldn't keep her eyes off this bearded clerk! He was cute. But a little too mountain man for my tastes.

After coffee we headed over to this huge but good Thai place, Republic. Tasty food. I had the lime chicken soup. Yummy! The broth had a lot of cilantro in it. I also had a pomegranate margarita. Our waiter was a bit on the dumb side.
I didn't get lost once on the subway.
At St. Mark's Bookshop I picked up the latest issue of Poetry Northwest. A lot of good poems in the issue. And I'm mentioned in one of the letters to the editor! Hey, I'm desperate for any kind of attention. Matthew Thorburn has a poem with a lot of great visual details in the issue.
Last Saturday was National Pillow Fight day. When I arrived at Union Square I noticed a lot of people were carrying pillows. Ah, New Yorkers, I thought. But then I saw a huge mass of pillow folk gathering in the square. Then they started fighting with each other. It was fun to watch. But a lot of pillows broke apart and feathers/ fluff snowed the air! Here is a video clip of the Union Square pillow fight.
I had lunch with Scott Hightower. After lunch I saw this Mexican film: Under the Same Moon. A bit trite but the boy in the film is amazing. And it was fun to see Los Tigres Del Norte in a movie.
On Thursday I saw this film: Maldeamores. A much better film than Bajo La Misma Luna.
I finally had a true NYC subway moment Saturday evening. As I was walking on a platform, heading for the exit, I heard a woman's voice repeat these words: I'm going to do it. I turn around to see what she was going to do, and I see a homeless woman undo her jeans, squat down, and begin to pee right next to a trash can. LOL. Poor thing. A few people took photographs with their cell phones.
Sunday I had brunch with Matthew Thorburn at the Popover Cafe. More tasty food. The popovers were great with strawberry butter. Matthew, as usual, was sweet and fun. I tried to get him to say some nasty things about certain bloggers but he refused! What a heart of gold!
After brunch I walked around Central Park.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

NYC Bits

I'm still in the city. I'm sitting in an internet cafe right now.
On Thursday I swear I sat across from Christian from Project Runway on th F-Train! I know it was him. He was wearing a hat so his trademark crazy hair was underwraps. I smiled at him and he smiled back. I know he knew that a fellow queen recognized him.
So far I've bought these books:

Cecily Parks, Field Folly Snow
Ciaran Berry, The Sphere of Birds
Reginald Shepherd, Otherhood
Henri Cole, Blackbird and Wolf
Juan Felipe Herrera, 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007
and the latest issue of American Poetr Review
I love walking in the city. I like to sit in cafes and sip my coffee. I like to guy watch. I like to scribble in my notebook.
I flipped through Mark Doty's new and selected Fire to Fire and was shocked to see that he only included TWO poems from his first book in the book. Wow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

javier o. huerta strikes again

I begin with a bilingual joke.

Q: Que le dice un guante a otro guante?

A: I glove you.

Iowa Theses Update

from Marcelisima:

So, per my discussion with another (and very active) workshopper in attendance, the outcome of the meeting at Dey House today (of various departments, including the university provost, the library and the graduate college, as well as IWW, the nonfiction program and other interested parties) is that there is NO WAY mfa theses will be published online, digitized or published in any way other than the one bound copy that stays at the university. The thesis submission form will be changed to state that the author retains all rights to the work as well as a page on what copyright means.

from University of Iowa Interim Provost Lopes:

In recent days a number of people have been upset about what they believed was a plan by our library to publish the creative thesis work of students in our writing programs on the Internet without their permission. Let me say as simply and clearly as I can, there is no such plan nor will there be. I regret sincerely that we did not convey this message when students and faculty first voiced their concerns.


Desire is a Road
Solomon’s Blanket

I haven't yet read their poems but the following poets look cute in their author photos:

Tom Haushalter
Ricardo Alberto Maldonado

Monday, March 17, 2008

Boxcar Poetry Review #13


the last part of a conversation between Ivy Alvarez and Lee Herrick

and an interview with F. Daniel Rzicznek conducted by Gary L. McDowell.


One and Three Chairs: Chair, Photograph of Chair, Text: Joseph Kosuth: 1965

Joseph Kosuth

The Horror!

I found this link on Emily's blog: Thorny Technology: Open Access Causes Problems at the Iowa Writers Workshop.

Here's the first paragraph of the article:

"Emails are circulating among various current and former students from the famed Iowa Writers Workshop expressing concern over the University of Iowa's new "Open Access" policy with regard to theses. These include MFA theses, which, according to our own Workshop grad Edan, might typically consist of a "book-length manuscript... poems, short stories or a novel (either completed or partially completed)." She added, "I turned in a bunch of stories, and I might not have included a couple if I knew they would be made public online...they were experiments more than anything, writing by a student."

Wow. This article mortifies me! The very idea that someone can click on a link online and read my Iowa MFA thesis makes my stomach turn. Why? Vanity. Ego. I'm not being modest when I say my MFA thesis SUCKS. Wanna know how I wrote my MFA thesis. Okay! I got up early in the morning the day BEFORE it was due. I walked over to a computer lap. I set out the poems I thought were finished on the desk around me. I think I had about twenty pages. That left me with about twenty-five pages of poems to WRITE in about 48 hours. Wow, I can't believe I just typed that. Crazy but true. So I proceded to write 25 pages of new poetry! Right on the spot! First thought, best thought! It took me about two hours. After I finished writing, I plugged in all the poems into the proper MFA thesis format, saved it, and took the disk to a print shop to print out the thesis on the proper paper. I turned it in. And suddenly, I had an MFA! Yeah!

Of course, there's an important backstory here. At Iowa I felt marginalized. I felt like an affirmative action case. The poetry I loved was not taught or even respected by my peers or teachers. So I shut down. I stopped going to workshop. I isolated myself. Wrote little. Blah, blah, blah. Old news.

But that damn thesis still exists! I wish I could say the poems I wrote at Iowa were experiments in voice, or the result of me exploring different poetic devices. But no. Iowa didn't give me the space to feel comfortable enough as poet to explore, to take risks. I spent two years at Iowa. I kept only two poems from those two years. Two poems. Of course, I recycled a lot of images and lines from the other poems in the thesis.

I'm not sure I'm saying this correctly. Let me try again.

I'm not against people reading my MFA thesis. I don't even care that 99% of the poems in my thesis suck. I know how valuable it is to read the early work of other writers. When I was a student at Iowa I spent hours reading the theses of past graduates. Rita Dove. Jorie Graham. Michael Dumanis. Etc. It was an enriching reading experience! It was a joy to read the great, the good, and oh-so-bad poems by past graduates.

I'm not against people reading my MFA thesis. There, I said it. And I mean it. I guess my first reaction to this article was colored by the terrible time I had at Iowa. Yes, that's it. When I hear the words "MFA thesis" I don't think of apprentice work. I think of the depressing days I spent in the Workshop. I think of a young poet in a computer lab breaking down in tears as he frantically wrote the last twenty-five pages of his MFA thesis. I think of the horror in his heart. The anger. The promise he made to himself to never write poetry again.

If I Die in Juárez: Stella Pope Duarte: Novel

With the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, young Mexican women began taking jobs in U.S.-owned maquiladoras, or factories, in Juárez.

Many became unwitting victims of gruesome murders as they walked home from work at night. Critics have long accused Mexican authorities of callousness, even complicity

Sunday, March 16, 2008

4 Bits

Ada Limon blogs for the Poetry Foundation.
I'm updating my blogroll. Do you want to be added to my blogroll? I like making new friends! Leave a comment, or email me.
My parents owned a cleaning service, and Wednesday nights my brothers and I would help them scour an already-sterile doctor's office. On breaks—when my mother would smoke—I'd pry any random book from the doctor's shelves and sit myself down on his beautiful leather couch. I was maybe ten, poring over anatomically correct models, reading about sexual malfunction. It thrilled me.
Finalists for the 20th Annual Lambda Literary Awards: Poetry

Blackbird and Wolf, Henri Cole
A Gathering of Matter/A Matter of Gathering, Dawn Lundy Martin
Otherwise Obedient, Carol Potter
Fata Morgana, Reginald Shepherd
The Second Person, C. Dale Young
Human Resources, Rachel Zolf

Thursday, March 13, 2008

NYC Bits

I'm off to NYC next week. I'll be there from March 19-24. Any poetry events I should know about?
Dan Vera called me out. Yes, I did post about the hotness of Eliot Spitzer. But I quickly deleted it. Don't know why. I do think Mr. I'll-Pay-A-Grand-An-Hour is a very handsome man. I'm not ashamed. Okay, just a bit. But hey, I can't resist a hairy chest.
I'm so excited to be going to the city again. I just love walking down NYC streets.
And the books! I can't wait to got to St. Mark's Bookshop and spend, spend, spend. Then eat a slice (or two) at Ray's Pizza.
I havn't bought a new book of poems since AWP.
Two Poems: Mary Biddinger.
Mark Yakich has a new book out: The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine. Great title, no? Click on the titles on the title page and a drawing/ sketch will pop up. Very cool.
Sarah Manguso has a memoir coming out in June.
Rosa Alcalá: Four poems.

GreenTower Press - The Midwest Chapbook Series

The contest is open to anyone who is living in, from, or closely associated with the Midwest, excluding close friends and former students of the editors, as well as employees and students of Northwest Missouri State University.


*25-35 pages (typed, single-sided, one poem per page).
Individual poems may have been previously published. You may include an acknowledgements page if you wish, though one is not required.

*Include two cover pages: one with title only, the other with name, address, email address, manuscript title, and a short note establishing your connection to the Midwest.

*Your name should ONLY appear on the cover page, which the staff will keep on file. Manuscripts will be read blind.

*Reading period opens February 1 and ends May 1, 2008. Late entries will be returned unread.

*$10.00 reading fee. Please make checks payable to GreenTower Press. Reading fee gets you a one year subscription to The Laurel Review, starting with the summer issue.

*Final judge for 2008 will be Kevin Prufer.

*The winning chapbook will be published in an edition of 300 copies. Winner will receive one hundred copies. Additional copies offered at 40% off the list price ($7.00) plus shipping and handling.

*Winner also will be invited to give a reading at Northwest Missouri State University’s Visiting Writer series, which includes an honorarium of $500.00

*All entries will be considered for publication in The Laurel Review.

*Winner will be notified by email or telephone, and will be announced on our website (http://catpages.nwmissouri.edu/m/tlr/ ) in July, 2008.
ŸIf you’d like an acknowledgement of receipt send a SASP; please do not send a SASE.

Entries may be sent to:

GreenTower Press
Midwest Chapbook Series
Northwest Missouri State University
Maryville, MO 64468

Questions may be addresses to the editors of The Laurel Review at:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Alfred Corn's Blog Rocks

"There is another way to become famous: Start an aesthetic movement. When you do that, you move literature out of the fiction-world and into the fact-world. Movements can be written about in non-fiction articles, which will interest readers probably even more than the fictive works themselves."

"How reliable a guide is fame? Not reliable at all. The most famous American novel of the 19th century wasn’t Moby-Dick, it was not The Scarlet Letter, not The Awakening, not Portrait of a Lady: It was Augusta Evans’s St. Elmo. Ever read it? Ever even heard of it? Probably not."

"People should make the art they want to make, and that art will find whatever audience it finds. If you happen to like pistachio-raspberry ice cream with Oreo crumbles, who has the right to tell you you shouldn’t like it? "

"Luckily, here in these United States, we don’t have to depend entirely on the big trade-book houses for new literature. We have the university presses and the small presses, both publishing poetry and fiction. And anyone who has the least grasp of what’s what realizes that these presses must be taken just as seriously (more seriously?) than the for-profit publishers. The process of expanding available first-order fiction and poetry can’t be entrusted to company men whose eyes are focused only on the bottom line."

And the loveable Steven Fellner frequently leaves comments on Mr. Corn's blog. They're almost as good as the posts themselves:

"How exciting that an insignificant person like myself can write a response to the deservedly well-respected poet Ron Slate on Alfred Corn's blog! It's weird how I can feel like I matter (mistakenly so, happily so) when I feel that way simply because I'm writing to a poet who matters on a bog by a poet who matters. I feel upwardly mobile."

"Also the market is so oversaturated in poetry that no one reall cares if youre attractive or not. I have hot gay male friends who would be more than willing to sleep their way to the top, but it doesnt matter: there's not enough room for everyoe deserving to haev a book. (I always wanted to sleep my way to the top but fortunately or unfortunbately I'm unattrtactive and dumby: no sex appeal: and it took me years and years to publish my almost mediocre, uneven book.)"

Ruth Lilly Fellowships

Five Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships in the amount of $15,000 will be awarded to young poets through a national competition sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry. Established in 1989 by the Indianapolis philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the fellowships are intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry. Applicants must be US citizens between the age of twenty-one and thirty-one as of March 31, 2008. Applicants should submit:

- Completed application form
- Ten pages of poems, double spaced
- One paragraph explaining how the fellowship would aid the applicant's work
- A publication list (optional)

Do not include any additional material at this time (cv, cover letter, references, etc.). If you wish to be notified of receipt of your application, include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. Application materials will not be returned. Applications must be postmarked during the month of March 2008.

Full guidelines here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Poem That I've Been Reading and Reading These Past Few Weeks


Sing on there in the swamp,
O singer bashful and tender, I hear your notes, I hear your call,
I hear, I come presently, I understand you,
But a moment I linger, for the lustrous star has detain'd me,
The star my departing comrade holds and detains me.

Poems I Like

The Blue Sylvia by Terrance Hayes
You'll See a Sailboat by Jaswinder Bolina
For The Birds by Ciaran Berry
Empty Nest by Lisa Russ Spaar
Bonding by Rae Armantrout

Neil Aitken's Advice On First Books, Bios, Etc

Acknowledgments. You probably have already assembled a basic acknowledgments page listing where poems in the manuscript first appeared — to this you should add any notes and thank yous for grant support, writing retreats, close readers, mentors, and other supporters. Don’t get too long-winded...

No Pay Off

Vatican lists new sinful behaviors

With a headline like that you'd expect some nasty tidbits. Alas, no.

Thank The Gods This Isn't Your Author Photo

Today I introduce the "Thank The Gods This Isn't Your Author Photo" feature!

First up: Maurice Manning.

Whoa, buddy! That's one intense gaze. It makes me think of the lines Jorie Graham (paraphrasing Dickinson) wrote: For one must want/to shut the other's gaze.

Maurice! You're a very handsome man. You have stunning eyes. Swoon! But your facial expression suggests you've just stepped on dog shit. Or caught a whiff of some terrible scent in the air. Did W.S. Merwin just fart?

Did you just come in from the cold in this photo? The tips of your ears, nose are reddish.

This photo kinda of looks like a mug shot. I can safely say you weren't arrested for shoplifting at Macy's or Bloomingdale's. Maurice, are you a mountain man? What's up with that plaid shirt? Even lesbians have stopped wearing plaid!

The blue undershirt brings out the blue of your eyes. Those eyes! I feel like you're trying to hypnotized me!

Wow, I just noticed you have two-toned eyebrows. How metrosexual of you! But I'm guessing you spend so much time outdoors chopping wood and rescuing chipmunks from forest fires that the sunlight has bleached them.

I bet you smell like pine trees. Maurice, I would hang this photo of you on my rearview mirror!

Maurice, you are to be applauded! This isn't your author photo. You often use this photo. You look great in this photo. I thank the Gods the photograph I posted isn't your author photo.

Pod Cast: Rigoberto Gonzales on Juan Felipe Herrera


Rigoberto's last name is Gonzalez. Not Gonzales. Ha! I hope the people over at the Poetry Foundation correct this.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Falling On My Ass Bits!

I slept all day. I've been reading/ working at night for a few weeks now. I sleep the day away.
Scott Hightower reviews Wayne Miller.
As I left my apartment tonight I fell! I slipped on black ice and landed on my ass. It hurt a bit. Thank goodness my big ass functioned like an air bag.
Sheryl Luna reviews Javier Huerta.
I just finished writing a short ekphrastic poem based on this amazing photograph by Graciela Iturbide.
My time at Colgate is almost up. Less than 3 months left. I'm going to miss the people and the landscape.
Jeannine Hall Gailey talks with Matthea Harvey.
Currently reading: Verge by Morgan Lucas Schuldt.
I need to update my blogroll.
The second installment of PISTOLA is up.

Nuestra Senora de las Iguanas: Gelatin Silver Print: Graciela Iturbide: 1979


Red Morning Press

is now reading manuscripts for publication. Send your complete poetry manuscript via email to submissions@redmorningpress.com.

Full guidelines HERE.

UPDATE: The call for submissions is posted on the Red Morning
blog. So submit!

Aaron McCollough Interview

I hate pears intensely.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Be Still My Beating Heart!

I missed the tour last summer because I was holed up at Yaddo and Hall Farm Center, but I'm not missing it this year! The tour makes a stop in Phoenix!


Here's the line up! Acts scheduled to appear include: Rosie O'Donnell, the B-52's, the Indigo Girls, Tegan and Sara, Regina Spektor, Wanda Sykes, and of course, Cyndi Lauper.

The tour supports GLBT issues:

The goal of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) equality is at the heart of True Colors. From day one, the tour has sought to raise awareness about the discrimination the GLBT community still faces and raise significant funds for the organizations that work everyday on their behalf.


American Flamingo

I just ordered my copy.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Online Journals

Diagram 8
Octopus 10

Chapbook Contest


SEVEN KITCHENS PRESS announces the 2008 ROBIN BECKER CHAPBOOK PRIZE for an original, unpublished manuscript in English by a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered writer.

Prize: $100 plus 25 copies.

Submission deadline: Postmarked between March 1 and May 15 of each year.

Eligibility: Open to all L/G/B/T poets writing in English (no translations, please).

College Restores Artwork by Poet E.E. Cummings

At the State University of New York College at Brockport, a little-known treasure trove of artwork by one of the country's best-loved poets is in urgent need of repair.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

West Palm Beach Reading Bits

I know these bits are late.
I got up last Friday at 6AM to prepare for my 45 minute taxi ride to the Syracuse airport.
I was so glad the taxi driver wasn't a talker. I just sat in the back and closed my eyes.
I flew to Atlanta. My already long layover was stretched out to 4 1/2 hours! Snow storms in the Northeast kept delaying my flight. I spent the time eating chicken, talking on the phone, listening to my IPod, eyeing the hot military men, and listening to cheerleaders practice their cheers.
I arrived in West Palm Beach around 8:30PM. I got a taxi and headed off to the Chesterfield Hotel.
I went up to my room to drop off my bags and then went down to the bar to meet up with Francisco Aragon and Kevin A. Gonzalez in the hotel bar.
The dance floor in the bar had little lights embedded in it.
I've never met Kevin before. He's a bit quiet but very friendly.
All three of us left the bar and headed off for a late dinner.
Our hotel was very close to swanky shops. Jimmy Choo. Tiffany & Co.
Dinner was great. I had a nice steak salad. Our waitress looked like a young Sandra Cisneros.
We went back to our rooms. We had to get up early the next morning.
We met in the lobby at 9:45AM. Francisco was sitting on a lobby couch. He told me Sheryl Luna was outside smoking. I went out to greet her.
When Kevin came down, we headed off to the Society of the Four Arts building. It wasn't very far, but the air was muggy.
We arrived. We were greeted like conquering heroes! Okay, we were greeted like poets.
As I explored the library I noticed a portrait of young blonde boy. I read the placard and found out it was a portrait of a young James Merrill!
The mother of James Merrill was a member of the Society of the Four Arts. In fact, our honoriums came from a fund the mother set up for writers.
The reading started at 11AM. I was a bit worred no one would show up at such an early hour, but we had a great turnout. Over 4O people made it to the reading.
Richard Blanco was kind enough to show up.
I read first. I was a bit nervous. But I quickly adjusted. I think I gave a very good reading. I refrained from talking inbetween poems. I just read my poems. I also read a poem by the talented Emmy Pérez.
Kevin read next. He read poems full of dirty words! He shocked the audience. A few old ladies fainted. JK! He's a good reader. And I LOVED the last poem he read.
Sheryl Luna was the third reader. She has a great reading voice. I don't think she read any new stuff. Just poems from her book and the anthology.
The audience was great. They were interested and engaged. And they bought a lot of books after the reading. We sat at a table and signed book after book.
I realized I need to build a repertoire of witty and interesting things to write in books. This is what I wrote in more than one book: "Thanks for coming to the reading. My room number is 304. Don't knock, just come in."
Thanks to Francisco Aragon for helping to set up this reading! He has posted more pics here.