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

Sunday, December 28, 2008

sick bits

children carry germs. i'm sick.
what i learned from my nephew on xmas day: jesus wasn't a snowman.
no internet at my parent's house. am at library.
i don't miss the cold.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ellis Island

The tide’s a Bach cantata.
The beach is the swollen neck of Isaac.

The tide’s a lamentation of white opals.
The beach is free. The Coke machine rusted out.

Here is everything you’ll never need:

hemp-cords, curry-combs, jade and musk,
a porcelain cup blown into the desert—

stockings that walked to Syria in 1915.

On the rocks some ewes and rams
graze in the outer dark.

The manes of the shoreline undo your hair.
A sapphire ring is fingerless.

The weed and algae are floating like a bed,
and the bloodless gulls—

whose breaths would stink of all of us
if we could kiss them on the beaks—

are gnawing on the dead.

Peter Balakian

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ashley Capps speaks:

I’m very curious about accidents and coincidences in language...

call for submissions

Best Gay/Best Lesbian Poetry 2009 Seeking Nominations for the 2009 editions of this exciting new series celebrating the best in gay/lesbian poetry, A Midsummer Night's Press invites submissions of poems PUBLISHED during 2008 for

BEST GAY POETRY edited by Lawrence Schimel

BEST LESBIAN POETRY edited by Linda Alvarez

Poems can have appeared in print or online magazines, journals, or anthologies; we are also willing to consider poems from books or chapbooks published in 2008, 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:



Deadline is January 31, 2009.

In each volume, A Midsummer Night's Press also plans to include a round-up of all books/journals/anthologies of gay/lesbian poetry published the previous year. (We also welcome recommendations or suggestions of appropriate poems from editors of journals, anthologies, or presses.)

Books and journals for review can be sent to the attention of the appropriate editor at:

A Midsummer Night's Press
16 West 36th Street
2nd Floor
New York NY 10018

Have you seen the covers for the 2008 editions? Here's the lesbian anthology cover. And here's the cover for the gay anthology. I'm disappointed. The lesbian cover shows two women gazing at each other. In a public setting. Engaged with each other. Flirting. Maybe alreay in love.

The gay anthology cover gives us beefcake. A handsome young man on the beach. Isolated. Waiting to be gazed at. Maybe waiting for a quickie with the first man who catches his eye.

The cover images enforce stereotypical beliefs about gays and lesbians. Lesbians move in with each other on the second date. Gay men are all about the flesh. I might be reading too much into the covers. Maybe I'm projecting too much.

I wish the cover art for these anthologies would have shown us different slices of gay/ lesbian life.

A lusty lesbian. A gay man in love.

Look at this

I found this link over at Corn Shake's blog. It's a luck-of-the-draw contest for a week-long residency in Costa Rica!? No entry fee. No writing samples. Nothing. Nada. Though you must be an MFA student or MFA graduate to enter.

If you win you get:

• Round-trip Airfare between Miami/Ft Lauderdale, Florida and San José, Costa Rica,

• Round-trip transportation between Juan Santamaria airport and the 4-star, eco-friendly Docelunas Resort in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

• All meals at Docelunas (alcoholic drinks are not included)

• Single accommodations (private room with a king size bed)

• Fully guided zip-line tour through the rain forest (or another excursion of your choice)

• Weeklong writing retreat led by Robin Hemley, Xu Xi, Sue Silverman and Vanessa Blakeslee during the weeks of May 16th-June 13th—you choose the week.

It sounds too good to be true, no? I wonder if there's a catch. You would think that writers like Robin Hemley and Sue Silverman wouldn't get involved in a scam.

Are you going to enter? I did. What the hell. Maybe I'll find myself a man who speaks Spanish.

The Boundary

I want to go to the other bank

The river water alters the sky's colour
and alters me
I am in the current
my shadow stands by the river bank
like a tree struck by lightning

I want to go to the other bank

In the trees on the other bank
a solitary startled wood pigeon
flies towards me

Bei Dao


My last day in Lewisburg.

The downside of Facebook.

Embarrassing pics that pop up in other people's albums.

Wow. Look at that hair!

Free Stuff!

John Olivares Espinoza is giving away a copy of his first book: The Date Fruit Elegies.

Click HERE to enter the contest.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Free Stuff!

I'm packing away my books and journals. And there's some stuff I don't want to drag back to Arizona. But I don't want to throw them away! So I'm going to list the stuff and the first person to claim each item can have them. One item per person. I will mail off the stuff tomorrow.

1. No Starling: Poems. Nance Van Winckel (TAKEN)
2. September 08 isse of Poetry. (TAKEN)
3 Winter 2007-08 issue of Plougshares edited by Philip Levine. (TAKEN)
3. Fall 08 issue of The Paris Review (includes poems by Paul Guest!) (TAKEN)
4. Nov/ December 08 issue of The American Poetry Review. (TAKEN)
5. Fall/ Winter 08 issue of West Branch. (TAKEN)

Email me with your addy after you claim an item.

Seth Abramson on Columbia's MFA program

I don't know what to say about this, except that I can't any longer (under any circumstances, I don't think, even for those who are independently wealthy) recommend Columbia. For anyone.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Revering a Symbol of Mexican Faith and Identity

Photo by Michael Nagle

It is a common saying that you are not really Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe. Octavio Paz, the Mexican poet awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990, wrote that “after two centuries of experiment and failure, the Mexican people only believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe and the National Lottery.”

Vital Stats of a Poet

32 Poems is spreading a new meme. Here's my crack at it.

Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 26
Age when I wrote my first short story: I wrote my first poem at age 26.
Age when I first got my hands on a good word processor: hmm. high school. a brother.
Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: i first submitted poems the very year i started writing. 1998. man, those poems were terrible.
Rejections prior to first short story sale: hmm. shouldn't the language in this meme be changed? i don't write fiction!! i was rejected, i think, about 5 time before a small journal picked up a poem. i was thrilled. what was the name of that journal? The Want Bone Review? I remember that Spinning Jenny rejected me.
Age when I sold my first short story: See above.
Approximate number of short stories sold: None.
Age when I first sold a poem: sold? well, i got two isses of some small journal in 1998. I "sold" my first poem in 1998!
Poems sold: 30 something.
Year I first published a book: not yet.
Books published or delivered and in the pipeline: one.
Number of titles in print: zero.
Age now: 18. really.

that was a strange meme!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hey, I would do it if I lived in NYC.

Slightly published fiction MFA seeking literary assistant for sending out manuscripts (short stories, mostly, as well as novel queries and maybe other stuff) to appropriate publications. The assistant would research publications, track submissions, stuff envelopes, perform some light editing, and offer criticism.

The ideal candidate would have an MFA or a BA in English/Creative Writing, some editing experience, and extensive knowledge of the literary publishing "market". It would certainly help if you have similar tastes to my own, and especially if you like my writing. (Please do not view this Craigslist post as a sample.) You MUST be located in the New York City area.

I expect this would take up about 6-8 hours per week. Pay would be $80-$100/week depending on experience...


Often with Alzheimer's disease, automobiles, homes, old music and random childhood memories are the last to go in a long line of subtractions. This strange kind of time travel back to one’s youth is often centered on a few objects. Like any poetic obsession worth its weight in fathers, these poems are riddled with hallucinatory metaphors and images that work as a kind of recursive stitching throughout the larger narrative to sustain an internal tension between poems.

First Book Interviews: Susan Settlemyre Williams & Suzanne Frischkorn

I think I came across the best advice in a Poets & Writers interview with a first-book poet while I was still sending my manuscript out. I can’t remember now who the poet was, but she said that she had schooled herself not to get anxious about contests. Instead, she used the deadlines as a prompt to take a fresh look at her manuscript and make any necessary revisions.


Eventually the finalist notes began to lose their charm.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Results

I wrote all 18 names on a piece of paper. I cut up each name.

I put the names into a box. I reached in and pulled out...


Congrats, PWADJ. Email me and I'll send you the book.

UPDATE: Oops! That should be Poet With a Day Job. Ha. I must've been thinking of me when I wrote: Poet Without a Day Job.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Lewisburg Pics: Two Blurry, One Not

Ah, the glamorous life. This is my living room. It's really been lived in. I have two bedrooms but I don't sleep in a comfy bed. When I first arrived in Lewisburg I slept in a nice big bed. But not anymore. Why not? I'm scared! Somebody told me there's a ghost in my apartment. That someone being Ron Mohring. And even though I can't sense the presence of spirits, just the thought of living with a ghost scares me. So I sleep on the couch in the living room. With the TV on. I'm hoping the talking heads on MSNBC will ward off the ghost.

This is a blurry pic of a creek close to my place. This is why I haven't left my apartment for the past four days. It's cold and dreary. But today I forced myself to take a walk in the evening. I had to get out. I was getting lonely. How lonely? I was this close to calling you.

This is a cool blurry pic of the Xmas tree in the town square. It's official: Xmas is here. And quite frankly: it sucks. I'm not a Xmas guy. Hell, I'm not even a guy.


An Ecuadorean immigrant was declared brain dead after being savagely beaten by attackers who shouted anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs at him and his brother, who were walking arm in arm, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

I thought of C. Dale's poem Torn while reading this article. I wish I could be the speaker in his poem. I wish I could "sew up" these two brothers.

My heart goes out to the family.


Matthew Shindell was kind enough to give me an extra copy of In Another Castle, his first book of poems just released by three candles press. He even autographed it.

I'm going to give away the book to a lucky reader of my blog. Oh happy day! Just leave your name in the comment box and in a couple of days I will pick a name at random. Really! I won't play favorites. You have a chance even if I don't like you. And I don't like a handful of you!

And by random, I mean I will write down each name on a piece of paper and pull one out of a bag. Presto!

Here's what Gabriel Gudding said about Matthew's book:
"In what may be one of the saddest, weirdest books I've ever read, reminding me at once of a critique of Blake and Stevens, Matthew Shindell explores the hollowness of the imagination and declares it all but bankrupt. For the last two hundred years we've been told there is some kind of glorious refuge in the imagination. We've been told the imagination is this transcendent kingdom, a stalwart distant castle, anchoring the real, where it's all okay, a place where there is safety and order in the supreme fiction: that poetry is an oasis and a poem is a kind of Wallace Stevens Memorial vacation get-away. But Matthew Shindell's book explodes this lie and shows us that the imaginative capacity is not a palace of wisdom, but a castle of delusion. And that we have to find another castle. An admirable, amazing — and really depressing — book."

And Dean Young said this:
"Let's call this poet Blind Lemon Shock Therapy, he who knows how our visions prey on us and redeem us. Let's give him a wreath of drunken hummingbirds, a life supply of Goo Gone, he who sings as an inebriate of air and wipes the film from our helmet's visors. Let us admire the poise of this poet in the burning building of his poems where the party is. Let us praise Matt Shindell for offering us another castle where the ferocity of the imagination bedazzles and many-persons us until we be kaleidoscoped."

Here's a pdf file of his chapbook. My favorite poem? "Parable of the Boy Inside the Deer."

Monday, December 08, 2008


I haven't left my apartment in four days. FOUR DAYS! It's too cold to walk to the coffee shop. Too cold to sit on my porch.
The Po Biz makes national headlines. Doesn't it warm your heart?
Currently listening to: The Killers: Day & Age.
Denis Leary had two poems published in Ploughshares when he was a college student!!??

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Steel Toe Boots: Call for Submissions

Steel Toe Books selects manuscripts through open reading periods. Our next open reading period will be January 1-31, 2009. In an effort to diversify our catalog, during this reading period we will only be considering manuscripts by ethnic minorities and first-generation immigrant, non-native speakers of English. During our October 2008 open reading period, we received 52 manuscripts, from which we selected one for publication (Domestic Fugues by RichardNewman).

Thanks for the tip, Ron.

A poem from one of my favorite first books

(for my father)

Through the mirror
I can see you reading
your new testament before bed,
putting it away in the dresser drawer
where you keep

the tin box of foreign coins
and the hand-tinted postcards
of Italy
you brought home from the Navy
in 1954.

We lie awake
my brother and I
listening to you on the back steps
only half to yourself
a snatch of an old miner's song
that goes:

up every day
in the dawn's early light

to go down in a hole
where it's already night

to go down in a hole
where it's already night

it's already night
boys it's already night

and through the window
I watch the fireflies
among the trees,
you told us once,
were dead people lighting cigarettes.

T. Crunk

Friday, December 05, 2008


I'm currently reading the spring/ summer 2008 issue of Hayden's Ferry Review. And it doesn't suck. In fact, I like the art and the poems in the issue. Color me surprised.
A Radiohead song justed ended on my iPod. Hmm. I wonder what's next? Ha. A Rhianna song!
I was having a crappy day yesterday. Worrying and worrying about something. But then kindness and generosity knocked on my door.
Another article written by somebody who doesn't know a thing about the poetry world: BU staffer Kerri French, a North Carolina native whose day job is College of Arts and Sciences philosophy department coordinator, recently received career-making recognition: inclusion in 2008 Best New Poets: 50 Poems from Emerging Writers...

Did you cringe afer reading that? I sure did. Career-making??!! Ha. Triple ha.
I stayed in all day today. Too cold to go outside.
The Tulip Thief, Mi Amor
I'm sure even Kerri French rolled her eyes when she read the article. She sounds like a sensible poet in the interview. Kerri, let's be Facebook friends!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mexican transvestite fiesta

'When I get all dressed up like this my father always says, 'Oh Pedro! You look just like your mother when she was young,' beams Mr Martinez, 28, gluing on fake eyelashes in front of a mirror.

Andrew Demcak: Zero Summer

You can read all of Andrew Demcak's ZERO SUMMER here.

Andrew Demack is also the author of Catching Tigers in Red Weather, winner of the 2007 Three Candles Press open book award. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing/English from Saint Mary's College of California.

Hottie of the Week: Ari Melber

Ari Melber


I'm back in Lewisburg. This town needs a subway and some skyscrappers.
I was a very good boy. I only bought six books in NYC. I know you're dying to know which books I bought. Here you go:

Idra Novey: The Next Country
Katy Lederer: The Heaven-Sent Leaf
Sean Nevin: Oblivio Gate
Juan Felipe Herrera: Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems
Per Petterson: Out Stealing Horses
Laurel Snyder: Inside the Slidy Diner
Owls swallow vowels in stilled trees.
I have 16 days left in Lewisburg! I better start writing. I'm kidding.
Review: Dean Young's embryoyo.
I'm washing my clothes in the basement right now. Aren't you thrilled?
Tim Butcher: Photos from the Congo.