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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

John McCain and Sarah Palin haiku

People For the American Way is looking for some great haikus about John McCain and Sarah Palin! Three winners will have their haikus published in the Nation magazine. Other prizes will be announced. Ten finalists will be chosen and then the three winners will be voted on by you and other People For the American Way supporters.

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thanks to ron mohring for the tip.

Bits


Love the live version of Another Sunny Day by Belle & Sebastian. I can't wait to download the BBC sessions.
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Slept through most of the day. But I got an excuse: I went to sleep at 7AM. Ah, the life of a poet.
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Buy a signed copy of Lit Windowpane.
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Finished a poem this morning! I've been working on this poem for nearly a year.
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Belle & Sebastian: Wrapped Up In Books.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jessica Smith's rules for using Facebook in a polite and reasonable manner

Here's rule #3. Click on the link to read the other rules.

3. Limit the emails you send from your group or fan page to, at the maximum, one per month. Please send them less often than that. I want to join your group or fan page and show you that I support you and your work, but I really don’t need to know every single thing you do. Presses, especially– please condense this kind of stuff into a monthly newsletter. And please try to ensure that you don’t send me the same thing more than once.

Interview: Sabrina Orah Mark

Is writing more agony, or ecstasy?

On Friday nights (for Shabbat dinner) my grandmother always made vegetable soup and chicken soup. Who wants vegetable soup, she would ask. Some of us would raise our hands. And who wants chicken. The others would raise their hands. And then my grandfather would say, I’d like a little of both. A little chicken and a little vegetable. Mixed together. Same here. A little of both. A little agony. And a little ecstasy. Mixed together. Good soup.

Bird Eating Bird: Kristin Naca

Kristin Naca interviews Yusef Komunyakaa

Call for Readers: Post-MFA / Pre-Book Reading at Cornelia Street

Cornelia Street Café is looking for readers to take part in a series for Post-MFA / Pre-Book Poets.

Three poets read for 10 minutes each. The poets then discuss the trials and tribulations of writing after the MFA and before finding a home for their manuscipt.

The readings are held every other month, on the last Wednesday of the month at 6:00pm.

Cornelia Street Café
29 Cornelia Street
New York, NY 10014

To be considered to read, please send me a message with 6 poems.

alexandraloxton@gmail.com

Check us out on Facebook as "Post MFA / Pre Book Reading Series."

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Thanks to BJR for the heads up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My New Niece: Nayeli: 7 pounds 2 ounces


Doesn't it look like she's posing? And you gotta love that bow in her hair!

I Get Called Out. I Respond.

I called Jason Bredle a cry baby for complaining about solicted work being rejected. And I brought up this comment written by Jason Bredle when I asked in a recent post if he knew that Elisa Gabbert had just been published by Typo.

I'm terrible. I know, I know. In response Jason left this comment:

Hi Eduardo,

I didn't know about this because I don't follow the contemporary poetry scene very closely. I used to, but I found that watching others' successes alongside all of my own failures as a writer and a person to be too hurtful to me emotionally. It seeped into my personal life, I lost friendships because of how it affected my attitude and my self-esteem. Weirdly, after deciding to stop following poetry, one of my books won a prize. It made me feel good because it made me feel like perhaps I wasn't a failure and being true to what was inside me was worthwhile after all. However, I continue to not really follow poetry because I still don't have the power to keep from taking a lot of things personally, even though I know that I shouldn't. It's great that so many other writers have that power, but I just don't. I once did, but I lost it between 2000 and 2004 - I graduated from an MFA program with a very earnest belief that "the art of poetry" would prevail over everything, including all the business and networking aspects already in place, and I would be a part of that. Obviously now that I'm older I realize how naive and stupid it was to think that. And then I experienced four years of having much of my earnestness and beliefs crushed - I moved to a city for a girl who never loved me, who lied to me and left me, I was diagnosed with and now suffer from a degenerative cornea condition that has changed my life, and I spent two years temping, being turned away for real jobs the entire time, all while rejection after rejection after rejection piled up in the background.

So how did I end up here at your blog? I have a google alert for myself because I love to occasionally find someone who's read something I've written and is engaged in the thing I've written. Reading others' comments about my own poems and how they might relate to their lives or how they're thinking about poetry reminds me of the earnestness I felt about poetry when I was younger, and for brief, illuminating moments makes me feel like "poetry" is, indeed, meaningful. On Keith's blog, I admitted that the post I had on my website for about a week regarding solicitations/rejections was written in a time of hurt and was a mistake to post - I'm a person and I make mistakes - I had done it hastily and from a place of emotion rather than intelligence. I hadn't even thought about Elisa in over a year - since the time she told my friend that she liked my poems in our chapbook. Elisa responded to Keith's post, making the issue about her. Your comments still hurt a lot, though - I find them snide, passive agressive and mean-spirited, and based on very little actual information. What do you know about me? You've never written me to find out anything about me, never gotten to know me or tried to understand what I might really be like in real life, so it doesn't seem like you know that much about me.

Jason


Here is my response:

Hi Jason,

My comments were snide and mean-spirited. I'm like that sometimes on my blog. And I make no apologies for my blog persona. If you felt hurt by my comments then I hope you got over them quickly. Life is too short to dwell on what folks may think of you.

I don't know. You don't know me. So I'm surprised you would be hurt by my comments. Maybe I'm a hard-hearted poet. I’ve learned how to deal with negative attacks/ comments. I don't let them hurt me emotionally. Growing up fat, queer, and brown in America will give you thick skin.

If you let comments by strangers hurt you then there's nothing I can do to alleviate that hurt. It's your problem. Not mine.

I do admire your frankness. Your jealousy and competitiveness with your peers is common but often not talked about. I’ve seen some of my classmates at Iowa seethe with jealousy. I’ve watched some Iowa peeps give up writing because they weren’t “keeping up” with the awards and book deals of classmates. Sad, sad, sad. Reading that a prize made you feel like you weren’t a failure makes me sad too. I’ve never let awards/ fellowships define me. And conversely, I’ve never let the lack of awards/ fellowships define me.

I still believe Poetry soars above all the noise of the po-biz. I’ve learned how to separate the backstabbing, the gossip, the blatant career climbing from the true work at hand: the writing of good poems. Call me crazy, but I want to write at least one poem that will stand the test of time. I know the odds are stacked against me. Against most of us. A wise poet recently told me that most of the poems published in our lifetime will be totally forgotten. The Void will win out.

I promise I won't make anymore snarky comments about you on my blog. Though may I suggest you delete the Google alert for your name? It doesn't make sense to expose yourself to negative comments if you can't handle them.

Thank you for your comment, Jason. All the best to you.

Javier Huerta

The one thing I wish I had made clear to all of the students is the fact their presence in school is what makes a fully bilingual book like mine possible. They are my ideal audience because they can follow me from one language to another, from one experience to another, from one barrier to another, from one privilege to another.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bits


This is my office at the Stadler Poetry Center. As you can see I haven't added any personal touches to the space. Why? I go to my office once a week. Terrible, no? It's a space I don't use much.
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I became an uncle again yesterday.
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You can hear the new single by The Killers by visiting their web site. The song will play automatically.
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Each time I administered the contest, the number of submissions maintained approximately the same ratio: two poetry manuscripts to every one fiction manuscript. In other words, the numbers would have intimidated even the most confident poet. By the time those manuscripts were winnowed down to the finalists in each category--through several tiers of qualified, dedicated readers--we still ended up with two sizable batches of manuscripts that were very strong and very much in the running to win the contest.
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Currently reading:
Lisa Olstein: Radio Crackling, Radio Gone
Maryls West: Notes for a Late-Blooming Martyr
Terrance Hayes: Wind in a Box
Carol Frost: The Queen's Desertion
Mark Yakich: The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Urkraine
Tom Andrews: The Brother's Country
Bruce Smith: Silver and Information
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Osama bin Laden is one of the world's most wanted men but he is now also about to be a published poet.
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I had a nice time talking with Ron Mohring today. He likes gossip. I don't.
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I feel bad because I've declined some friend requests on Face Book. Is there a support group for this kind of guilt?
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Look! A poet has opened her first box of books.
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Jeannine Hall Gailey reads from her collection Becoming the Villainess
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Jay Leno is not funny.
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Literary legend Hass awarded UI Honorary Degree

Monday, September 22, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lunch Bits


This link is for Corn Shake: Hundreds of new animal species discovered.
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Lunch? Chicken salad on multi-grain bread. And a pickle spear.
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Laurel Snyder gets some love.
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Just out: Ardor: a book-length poem by Karen An-hwei Lee.
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This is the first time I've heard Robert Hayden's voice. The red clay foxfire...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Barbara Jane Reyes

Oakland Sutra for the AK-47 Shooter at 3:00 AM and other Oakland poems

Millay Colony?

I'm thinking of applying to the Millay Colony for a 2009 residencty. Have you been there? I would love to hear about your time there. Leave a comment or email me.

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

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Somebody emailed me this. I have no idea where it came from. I thought it was cool.

Reading Bit


On Thursday GC Waldrep hosted a reading for Mathias Svalina. It was a pleasure meeting him and seeing Karla Kelsey again. She brought five or six of her students to the reading. Nice bunch. GC had a nice spread of sweets: cookies, cake, and chocolate. I suspect he was hoping for a lot of leftovers. He has a sweet tooth the size of Alaska.

Here's what I liked about Mathias' reading:.

1. He has a good reading voice. He doesn't have a "poetry reading" voice.
2. He praised and read another poet's work: Karen Volkman. Love it when poets do this.
3. His creation myth poems. I was really taken by these poems. The poems were brimming with surrealistic logic, but vulnerability and tenderness kept them tethered to the moment: the terror and beauty of our times.

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Here's a bit of news for you: GC Waldrep drinks Diet Coke out of a Porky Pig glass. Yes, the very glass in the photograph above. Porky Pig. Diet Coke. Ha.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

La Inmensidad II: Acrylic on Canvas: Maceo Montoya: 2007


More work HERE.

Black Thumb Bits

New vice: carmel cream coffee.
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The mums I bought three weeks ago have already died. I have a black thumb.
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I'm surrounded by talented writers. Most of you know the fine work of GC Waldrep but keep an eye out for the work of K.A. Hays.
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Currently listening to: Juan Gabriel.
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Adam Zagajewski reads here next week. Can't wait. I've been reading and reading this poem for the past few months. I want to write a line as beautiful, as mysterious as this: "Black cinemas crave light."
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Have you checked out the beautiful photographs taken by Simmons B. Buntin?
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Kyle Dargen talks with Shara McCallum, Director of Bucknell University’s Stadler Poetry Center

I have some concern with what I see as students become “professionalised” too young in their development as writers-a trend I’ve noticed increasing in the past dozen years or so I’ve been teaching undergraduate creative writers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Walt Whitman Award

The Walt Whitman Award brings first-book publication, a cash prize of $5,000, and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center to an American who has never before published a book of poetry. The winning manuscript, chosen by an eminent poet, is published by Louisiana State University Press. The Academy purchases copies of the book for distribution to its members.

The award was established in 1975 to encourage the work of emerging poets and to enable the publication of a poet's first book. Submissions are accepted each year from September 15 to November 15, and an entry form and fee are required. The judge for the 2009 award is Juan Felipe Herrera.

Complete guidelines HERE.

Breakfast Bits


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I'm blogging from Cherry Alley Cafe. I just had a good cup of coffee and a so-so breakfast. The tortillas were store bought and the cheese was that processed shit. But the eggs topped with sour cream, orange tomatoes and red beans were good. I know the photograph is kinda of blurry, but a so-so breakfast doesn't deserve a glamour shot.
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Looking good, Anne!
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Lots of depressing news last week. A good time to count the blessings in one's life.
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I'm reading the summer 2008 issue of Colorado Review. Gary L. McDowell has a terrific poem in the issue. Love these lines: "Maybe when the days are long/ and the nights are warblers."
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Blessing: my family which I miss very much.
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Oh, no! Sorry to hear about this, Josh.
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I have my earphones on but I can still hear all the conversations around me.
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Blessing: this semester at Bucknell. Here I am drinking and blogging at a cafe. I can spend hours here. There's no rush. I don't have to teach or grade papers. I'm free to work on my art. This fact still stuns me.
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I just sent off my application for a VCCA residency. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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I do miss teaching though.
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There's a very cute guy sitting across from me! Okay, I almost shouted that instead of just typing it. Sad.
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Currently listening to: The Killers.
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There's alot of arty types in this cafe. Down with berets!
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Blessing: this beautiful day.
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Paula Bohince sent me a nice note last week. I loved the stationary she used. I pinned the card to one of my doors. Thank you, Paula.
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Javier Huerta

Let there be no more talk of major and minor. We have had enough of the Great in the Great Odes. Ours is a Naughty Keats.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mini-Essay: CRAIG SANTOS PEREZ

The poems in this work attempt to map and overlay personal, familial, cultural, historical, and linguistic memory. One of the longer poems, titled "ta(la)ya," contours my grandfather's stolen childhood during Japanese wartime occupation (he was taken out of high school to become a forced laborer). The title plays on two Chamorro words: "taya," which means "nothing," and "talaya," which means "throw net." The poem begins by describing how my grandfather was taught to make and use the talaya before the war. Listening to him talk-story about this part of his life made me think about the talaya in terms of poetry. Poetry became a way for me to cast my own net of words into the silence...

Amen

There has been a small firestorm in the blog world about how terrible the contest system of first books of poems is. Some have gotten really strident about it, about how entering contests somehow makes a poet morally corrupt or at least deeply suspect. Whereas those who self-publish, who publish at micro-presses or POD presses are somehow better because they didn't buy into the system, because they are somehow supporting independent, creative thought.

Bullshit...

Lewisburg Pics


This is my cottage. I live on the first floor.

There's alot of beautiful houses around here. This one is just around the corner from where I live.

This is the sign in front of a stable that used to be part of the Underground Railroad.

Lewisburg is known for the three globe street lamps that line its streets.

This is the base of a lamp on the steps of the post office. Pretty, no?

The window of a Baptist church.

I live in Lewisburg. Duh.

Fallen leaves.

This is a college town.

Window shopping.

I saw this water tower near highway 15. I love how the red-orange paint is peeling away to reveal rusted metal.

These railroad tracks cut through campus.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Writer David Foster Wallace found dead

David Foster Wallace, the novelist, essayist and humorist best known for his 1996 tome "Infinite Jest," was found dead last night at his home in Claremont, according to the Claremont Police Department. He was 46.

Pima Road Notebook (II)

Always the abandoned mattress springs in the arroyo.
And sunlight dusting tattered afternoon curtains.
Down street, the boy who stuttered but could sing.
No one she could talk to like she wanted to talk.
I should’ve been her lovely girl.
My father said he made something from nothing, like sons.
Brothers were other animals.
Javalina bristled for water outside my sleep.
Coyotes gathered and chattered in guttural moans.
All night she thought the howls were only dogs.
My body’s better use, casting a shadow for a quail.
I watched the tame hawk return to its hooded wrist.
She dropped me off for school at Cherokee Elementary.
Heat pulsing in my temple and sweat.
I found a nest of rabbits hidden in the cholla.
The young are born helpless, naked, and blind.

Keith Ekiss

Post MFA Blog

Musings on the daily travails of three MFA graduates. Faced with the unsettling future(s) of to-be-determinedism, we seek plans, jobs, and constant distractions. We hope to share the above in all of its uncensored glory here. For you.

MFA Blog

I am 22 years old (currently), and recently graduated from the University of West Florida in Pensacola with a Bachelor's Degree in English. I currently live in Corvallis, Oregon--a small town approximately one hour south of Portland with my beautiful fiance and two cats. My reason for being so far from home is quite the topic for discussion, and therefore this blog will be dedicated to it. I enrolled at Oregon State University as a graduate student, pursuing an MFA in creative writing, poetry. Part of this blog will display some of the experiences I have while chasing this degree, along with news updates concerning events, readings, festivals, etc.

Advertisement

The problem is that we read poetry when we should leer.

In depicting an angel losing his wings, the poet should make him sigh, alas. The figure of the angel should be portrayed sympathetically because, after all, sin is without.

How much is a vale of tears worth? There is no exit from the realm of no sale.

A choice: either put your foot in your mouth or enjoy some warm pie. Consider your poems a feast. Tell the reader, Come and eat.

Sometimes knowledge is not enough; then you must wield your saber.

Every poet is allowed eleven once-upon-a-times.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weekend Hottie: Ken Rumble



Click HERE to view a pic of a shirtless Rumble.

Ken Rumble isn't just eye candy. He's also a poet.

Quarrel

Quarrel is a blog where five poets will share work from the very first rough draft and take you through their revision process to the polished poem.

Currently Reading

Paula Bohince: Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods
Victoria Chang: Salvinia Molesta
Joe Millar: Autobiomythography & Gallery
Jerome Rothenberg: The Lorca Variations
Amanda Auchter: Light Under Skin
Jean Valentine: The Messenger

Interview: Jake Adam York

The process of writing A Murmuration of Starlings was much different. After Murder Ballads was under contract, I felt like I had a year in which I didn’t have to worry about making a book. And getting Murder Ballads under contract, after three years of sending it out, let me feel that it wasn’t entirely foolish to think of myself as a writer, that I didn’t have to prove and justify my work in the same way. So I had almost a year to try some new material and to feel like I could do it. I can’t say that there was a moment when I said consciously that I wanted a second book to be different from the first, but in this free time the kernels of Murmuration emerged.

Bit

Jason Bredle is a cry baby. A cute cry baby. But still a cry baby.
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Pistola Mag


Don't struggle. I've got a PISTOLA.

Dinner Last Night

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bit

Thank you, Javier.

My Oranges!


I bought these oranges last Wedesday. I put them on my kitchen table next to the plant. Pretty, no?

Six days later: Mold on the spheres! I'm going to have to eat my oranges faster.

Strong Coffee Bits

Like Obama, I grew up with a loving, hard-working single mom, in a neighborhood mixed with all races and different backgrounds. And like Obama, I knew that was our strength and not our weakness.

Cyndi Lauper endorses Barack Obama for President.
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Just had two cups of strong coffee. I'm going to be up all night. Whoa: my head is starting to ache.
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Brent is going to AWP Chicago. But I'm not. Damn.
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Cute cat!
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Originally-scheduled judge Lucille Clifton was forced to cancel her participation due to work load and scheduling conflicts.
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Note to self: Don't drink strong coffee this late at night ever again.
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The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga.
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I'm close to finishing a poem that I've been working on for over two years. The subject? La Llorona.
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Monday, September 08, 2008

Read the Blurbs for Matthew Shindell's First Book and Tell Him If You Like His Author Photo

When I was a young MFA student, knowing very little about the poetry world (I only learned about MFA creative writing programs about a year or two before I applied) I didn't really know much about books -- let alone first books -- and what made them publishable.

Alfredo Vea Interview

I want to drag "Chicano literature" out of the politically correct, folk art doldrums in which it languishes. Latino literature in America can and should be what Irish literature has been to English; what Black writing has been to American Literature. It's time for us to see where the artistic bar is set (Faulkner, Nabokov, O'Neill, Williams), and leap with every intention of going over it.

Poem, Video, Message from Ashley Capps

Ashley Capps has a new poem in Boston Review. The poem incorporates text from Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry by Gail Eisnitz. Ashley, as you can read, is passionate about fighting for the humane treatment of farm animals. She sent me a link to this video which shows examples of inhumane treatment of animals on farms. (Warning: though the video isn't as graphic as others I've seen there are still some disturbing images in it.) Ashley hopes the poem, in conjunction with the video (Boston Review agreed to link to the video on their webpage for her poem) might provoke readers/viewers to think about how their choices affect farm animals, and to consider (those who can) voting yes on Prop. 2 in California in November. I'll let this paragraph from Ashley's email explain prop 2:

"Proposition 2 is a small step and won't begin to address some of the horrors of factory farming and industrial slaughter. (And for folks who don't live in California (but also folks who do) and so can't vote on Prop 2, other options (to I guess state the obvious) would include rethinking food choices or food sources). Prop 2 would simply require that certain animals raised and killed for food (baby calves in veal crates; egg-laying hens in battery cages; and pregnant sows in gestation crates) have room in their cages to stand up and turn around. Most do not--which this brief video shows and explains better and more succinctly than I can here. While I am vegan, some vegan/vegetarians disagree with encouraging people to vote yes on Prop 2, because they say it will only make people feel better about continuing to eat and exploit animals. I've thought about that, and maybe I need to think about it some more. But from what I guess is a utilitarian perspective on this issue, I think it is best to rally together to try and prevent as much cruelty and suffering as possible, and so I want to work with, as well, anyone who chooses to eat meat and animal products, but who believes that animals raised for food should be treated with compassion."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Men Without Bliss



Volume 6 in the Chicana and Chicano Visions of the Américas series

from the jacket copy:

Short stories that assess the silent suffering of men

In cities and fields, Mexican American men are leading lives of quiet desperation. In this collection of thirteen startling stories, Rigoberto González weaves complex portraits of Latinos leading ordinary, practically invisible lives while navigating the dark waters of suppressed emotion—true-to-life characters who face emotional hurt, socioeconomic injustice, indignities in the workplace, or sexual repression. But because their culture expects men to symbolize power and control, they dare not risk succumbing to displays of weakness.

González shines an empathetic light into the shadows of Mexican culture to portray characters who suffer in silence—men both straight and gay who must come to terms with their grief, loneliness, and pain. By exploring the private moments of men trapped inside unforgiving stereotypes, he critiques long-held assumptions of Latino behavior. He shows us individuals who must break out of various closets to become fully realized adults, and makes us feel the emotional pain of men in a culture that recognizes only the pain and hardship of women.

Men without Bliss conveys the silent suffering of all men, not just Latinos. It will open readers’ eyes to unexpected facets of Latino culture, and perhaps of their own lives.

Rigoberto González is the author of seven books including Crossing Vines, winner of ForeWord Magazine’s 2003 Book of the Year Award. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and the American Book Award, he is currently Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University–Newark.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Are You Watching This?

My favorite new show is The Cho Show. You can watch the first two episodes online at the VH1 site.

This woman is my favorite cast member. She's just as funny as Mizz Cho.

Attention MFA Students: This is How You Kiss Ass

I wanted to say that I adore your poetry...

Bravo!

Short and sweet.

I'm impressed.

Autobiomythography & Gallery and To Lose & to Pretend

I'm having a blast catching up with classmates from Iowa. Joe Millar is living in NYC and his first book Autobiomythography & Gallery came out last year. Scroll down the page to sample some of his poems. It got a rave review from coldfront.

I also found out the same press is publishing Chris O. Cook's first book To Lose & to Pretend in October. Scroll down page to sample his poems. Love that author photo!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Pat Mora to Receive Luis Leal Literature Award

In her adult fiction and non-fiction, Mora writes about the Mexican American experience not only as a contemporary phenomenon but also as the culmination of centuries-old values, languages, and customs.

Hottie of the Week


Morgan Lucas Schuldt

Foetry Is Messing With My Pretty Mind

I'm making a list of all the contests I'm entering this fall and spring. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm finally sending out my manuscript to the contests. I fear for my baby. But anyways, while I was reading up on deadlines and judges for the fall cycle I realized that a judge and I have had some marginal interaction: She took one of my poems for a journal she guest-edited this summer. She sent me a brief note thanking me for my submission and for my sexy knuckles. Just kidding about the knuckles. But let's be clear: I've never been a student of this judge, or taken a conference workshop with her. Though I did meet the judge once at ASU. She gave me hug! But that's it.

I refuse to get my first book published through connections. I don't play that game. I won't enter contests in which the judge is a former teacher. But I'm kinda of unsure about this situation. The poem she took for the journal is in my manuscript so she might remember me. Am I being too cautious? Am I crazy for even thinkng about this?

ASU MFAs Unite

The "Phoenix" installment of LOCUSPOINT is up and running. Go have a read. Notice anything? Each contributor has an MFA from ASU or works for ASU. This installment isn't about Phoenix poets. It's about ASU MFA poets and the ASU MFA program. That's not a bad thing. I do like Sean Nevin's work, and Christopher Burawa's translations leave me wanting more work by Jóhann Hjálmarsson. Hey, I just noticed Burawa's bio doesn't mention his MFA, but I believe he holds an MFA from ASU.

I guess all the worthwhile poets in the Phoenix area have ties to Tempe. This narrow focus is disappointing. Especially after reading Charles Jensen's introduction in which he mentions the arts community in Phoenix is "rapidly developing."

If Jensen is only interested in the work of MFA poets then he should've enlarged the scope of this installment to include University of Arizona MFA poets. Why? Because the University of Arizona produces much better poets. Period. ASU is just beginning to catch up to the Tucson program.

Hey, nothing is perfect. And Jensen is bringing attention to some good work. I was just hoping to see work by non-ASU poets. But hey, Jensen is fighting the good fight. All I can do is bitch and moan.

Boy, I'm never going to be invited to the ASU Writers Conference now.

US News & World Report MFA Rankings: 2008

Ha! Just kidding. I wonder how many hits I'm going to get?

But I don't want you to leave empty-handed. Here's a new ranking of MFA programs.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wow

Ronny gives some love to Margo Tamez. Margo was one of the first at ASU to read my work, to encourage me.

Prime Rib Bits

Facebook is addictive.
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Yeah! I get to borrow a Bucknell car today. What will I do? Eat lunch at a nice place. Buy groceries. And...I can't think of anything else to do.
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Mr. Mirror Box will now be reading my blog. About time. He mentioned on his blog (which I like and read) that he only reads the blogs of Steven S., Matthew Thorburn, and Gary McDowell. I was like: WTF? What about me? What about the glory of my blog? I want my props!
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I had a good meal tonight. Prime rib. Mashed potatoes. Broccoli. Geez, broccoli is a funny looking word. It's those two Cs bookended by Os.
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Listening to: Echo & The Bunnymen.
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My wife made a list of the six top poetry competitions in the country, and Wick was one of the top six. Really? I hate to be a bitch (I really do!) but I don't think so. Are we talking book contests and other poetry competitions? Or just book contests? Either way: I wouldn't put Wick on a list of the top poetry competitions. Any list is going be subjective and meaningless. Hey, I've got time to kill! I'm going to make a list right now. But I don't think I could narrow my list down to six. I'm just going to list the ten book contests which I think are the most prestigious. Here goes nothing.

National Poetry Series
Walt Whitman
Pitt (the one named after a drag queen)
Cave Canem
Bakeless
Yale
Andres Montoya
APR/ Honickman
VQR Series (yes, I know this really isn't a contest, but the series rocks)
Crab Orchard

Wow, that is subjective. This list tells me two things. First, as a poet of color I place a high value on contests that publish books by writers of color. Second, I like big shiny contests. Kinda of depressing.
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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Book Interview: Kate Greenstreet

As we traveled west on I-80 out of Lincoln and I held my lost book in my hands, it never looked so good. In a way, that was the day when I saw my book for the first time. And I felt great.

Egg Bits


(Manuel Muñoz, Richard Yañez, Me)

I shouldn't be telling you this but I just Googled how to boil eggs. Yes, you read that correctly. I don't know how to boil eggs. On my watch the egg shells crack and the whites seep into the water. I want to keep some hard-boiled eggs on hand for snacking and I'm going to try to make some deviled eggs.
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Congrats, Sheryl!
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I usually don't like the way I look in photographs. Hey, the camera doesn't lie! But I really like the photograph above. It brings back a lot of nice AWP NYC memories. Like sneaking into the bookfair. Meeting Javier O. Huerta. Hanging out with Juana. Russian vodka bars.
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Monday, September 01, 2008

New James Galvin Poem

The Stagnation

The stagnation is deafening.
Then some menacing
Nudists walk past
Laughing, which doesn’t
Affect the stagnation.
I hold out my hands,
Palms turned down,
And rain rains from them,
Which affects the stagnation
But not much.
Here come the nudists
Again, wielding
Tire irons and saps.
The wind kicks up,
Affecting the stagnation.
The rotary clothesline
Starts spinning to beat hell,
Clothes like garish,
Terrified clowns—
Did you ever notice
How easy it is
To terrify clowns?
They’re already crying
Before the fun
Begins—clowns
Clinging to the rotors
Of a Navy helicopter
Whose fuselage
Is camouflage—
The desert kind—
Whose rocket
Launchers are loaded,
Whose orders are
Anybody’s guess.

Check out more poetry from Guernica.