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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time is matter here

Time is matter here
The freight train
I saw in the morning
still in the evening
inching across the flatlands
word after slow word
too many to count

And you are matter—
your eyes, your long legs,
slow breath sometimes catching
in your sleep, your head
resting against the bus window,
tired horse,
tired rider

Jean Valentine

from Poetry Daily

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

and the wheel stops spinning

i was surrounded by a lot of amazing classmates at iowa. some were outstanding poets; others had incredible potential. i thought all of them would publish books, i thought all of them would clear a path for themselves in the writing world.

i find it disheartening that a lot of them have stopped writing. i remember scoffing at marvin bell when he told a group of us that "in ten years most of you will no longer be writing." i thought to myself: not my classmates. not these men and women who spend nights talking craft, who spend mornings arguing the influence of ashbery and graham, who spend afternoons workshopping poems with an awe-inspiring intelligence.

he was right. and i was wrong. so very wrong.

i scrolled down my list of iowa buddies on facebook tonight and realized that many of them never mention writing on their walls, many of them never mention sending out to lit journals, many of them never mention struggling with the muse, etc. in fact, many of them don't even sound like writers anymore. you know what i mean?

why did so many of my classmates stop writing?

did other artistic passions get in the way? did love, family, the pursuit of money demand more and more attention? did the urge to write slowly dissipate? i'm guessing it's a combination of all these things.

this is all so depressing. i better stop here before i shed a few tears. i'm going to log off right now and start work on a new poem.

one of my first loves


I prove a theorem and the house expands:
the windows jerk free to hover near the ceiling
the ceiling floats away with a sigh.

As the walls clear themselves of everything
but transparency, the scent of carnations
leaves with them. I am out in the open

and above the windows have hinged into butterflies,
sunlight glinting where they've intersected.
They are going to some point true and unproven.

Rita Dove

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monk: Polyester and Paint: Katharina Fritsch: 1997-99

three uncollected poems: thomas james

The following poems turned up soon after the release of the Graywolf edition... These three uncollected poems were published in the Autumn 1971 issue of Poetry Northwest...


worked on my ms again last night. what do i mean by work? well, i'm still shuffling the order and i'm still deciding whether to have four or five sections. or i might even go with six sections. tighter, shorter sections will work well for the ms.
i have totally fallen in love with camera obscura, a band from scotland. right now i'm listening to two early singles: eighties fan and keep it clean.
congrats, justin!
i rolled my eyes like a thousand times reading this "behind the poetry curtain" post by collin kelley. i was this close to responding to many points in his post, but then i remembered he's not part of the conversation i'm having, so why bother?
i do not wash my hair in honeydew.
i ordered these book today: the mansion of happiness by robin ekiss and dark thirty santee frazier.
thank you, anne, for the info on the p-town workshops!

RIP: Luis Leal (1907-2010)

Professor Luis Leal was one of the most outstanding scholars of Mexican, Latin American, and Chicano literatures and the dean of Mexican American intellectuals in the United States. He was one of the first senior scholars to recognise the viability and importance of Chicano literature, and, through his perceptive literary criticism, helped to legitimise it as a worthy field of study. His contributions to humanistic learning have brought him many honours, including Mexico's Aguila Azteca and the United States' National Humanities Medal.
On the same day Charles Lindbergh completed his historic crossing of the Atlantic Ocean—May 21, 1927—Luis Leal stepped off the train at Union Station in Chicago.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Call for Submissions

from Crab Creek Review:

Special Editor's Portfolio edited by Guest Editor, Susan Rich
Theme: Ekphrastic Poetry

We begin with the visual. Ekphrastic poetry is a response in words to a painting, photograph, dance, building, sculpture, Ikea catalogue, children's drawing, or bumper sticker. An ekphrastic poem begins with inspiration from another piece of art and with the intuitive understanding that art begets art.In a sense, the art object becomes the rough draft of the poem.

We are looking for the best ekphrastic poems, 30-lines (or less) to showcase in an upcoming issue of Crab Creek Review.

For this project, we are accepting email submissions to the email address below. To submit to this special portfolio of ekphrastic poetry, write your name and title of the submission in the subject line and then send your previously unpublished poems in the body of an email to Editor, Susan Rich at: duende3417@yahoo.com

Please send 3-5 poems at the most.
Also, include a short bio and contact info as well.

Deadline is May 31, 2010

the cat is out of the bag (gary's cat, not mine)

"It is with great pleasure and great grattitude that I announce the impending publication of my first full-length collection, American Amen. The manuscript has won the 2009 Orphic Prize from Dream Horse Press and will be available in late 2010. "

congrats, gary!

Finalists for the 2009 NBCC Awards


Bonnie Jo Campbell
Marlon James
Michelle Huneven
Hilary Mantel
Jayne Anne Phillips


Rae Armantrout
Louise Glück
D.A. Powell
Eleanor Ross Taylor
Rachel Zucker

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

my to-do list

apply to emerging writer gig
start nea application
download the complete guidelines to a few spring contests
work on poem inspired by something james a. hall said to me at b-loaf
return library books
ask a buddy to check the spanish in the long sequence in my ms
send out poems
invite more poets to do e-conversations for boxcar poetry review
read tomas q. morin's ms
get back to marco about his ms
research the p-town summer workshops
marry the moon

you want some bits?

man, it's been a bit since i last posted.
i've been working, sleeping and writing. i'm tinkering with a poem that portrays robert hayden as a bottom. steve fellner, you know what i mean.
i owe someone a phone call.
i'm currently reading two novels written by poets: revenge of the mooncake vixen by marilyn chin and in a perfect world by laura kasischke.
there are a handful of male bloggers out there (all white, all straight) that are obsessed with getting a book published. understandable, no? we all want our work out in the world. but it seems they put too much effort into getting published; i would rather hear about how they are obsessed about writing a kick-ass collection. in all likelihood their books will be published, then quickly forgotten.
gawd, i'm terrible.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

i like to drop names

i was working on my table of contents last night, and it suddenly dawned on me that i use a lot of names in my titles. a lot! don't believe me? well, here's a list of the name-centric titles:

Our Completion: Oil on Wood: Tino Rodríguez: 1999
Poem after Frieda Kahlo’s Painting The Broken Column
To Robert Hayden
Misael: Oil, Acrylic, Mixed Media on Canvas: Julio Galán: 2001
Midnight Coffee: Rafael Rodriguez Rapún: 1936
Variation on a Theme by José Montoya
La Pelona: Mixed Media: Ester Hernández: 1980
After Bei Dao/ After Jean Valentine
My Hands Are My Heart: Two-Part Cibachrome Print: Gabriel Orozco: 1991
Untitled (Perfect Lovers): Two Commercial Clocks: Felix Gonzalez-Torres: 1987-89

most of the names belong to visual artists. the rest belong to writers. one name belongs to lorca's last lover.

i wonder what this means? why am i obsessed with naming specific folks? well, i know why i use the names of these writers in my titles. they are the names of four poets who are very important to me: hayden, dao, valentine, montoya. and i like to honor my influences.

and the visual artist names are there because i have a standard way of giving titles to ekphrastic poems: title of art piece, materials used in piece, name of artist and date completed.

of course, now that i've noticed this habit of mine, i will stop plugging in names in my titles.

i'm crazy like that.

coldfront review of david huerta

Before Saying Any of the Great Words marks the first comprehensive translation of Mexican poet David Huerta into English. Divided into three sections, it presents an overview of Huerta’s early work – El jardín de la luz, Cuaderno de Noviembre, and Versión, winner of the Xavier Villarrutia Prize – alongside selections from his 1986 book-length poem Incurable, the longest poem in Mexican history, and a generous amount of new work written in the time since. The result is a substantial look into the work of one of Mexico’s most renowned poets and his stylistic and thematic evolution from the time of his first publication at age 22 to today.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

hey, poets! apply

Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing, Stadler Center for Poetry, Bucknell University

Named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Bucknell graduate and initiated in the fall of 1993, the Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing offers an emerging writer four months of unfettered writing time during Bucknell's fall semester, without formal academic obligations. The Residence is designed to grant the writer time to complete a first or second book. The resident presents a public reading of his or her work and otherwise constitutes a literary presence on campus during the fall. Providing lodging on campus, an office in the Stadler Center for Poetry, and a stipend of $4,000.

To be eligible, an applicant must be more than 21 years of age, must reside in the United States, and must not be enrolled as a student in a college or university. (Persons enrolled in a college or university at the time of application are eligible). Some record of publication is desirable. Please note that the 2010-11 Roth Residence will be awarded to a poet. The term of the Residence is late August through mid-December 2009.

Postmark deadline: February 20, 2010

Complete guidelines here.

Carmen Tafolla on Angela De Hoyos

"At every single Chicano literary event, reading her work with flair and flourish, applauding others, animando, taking a young poet aside to say, ‘I'd like to publish a book of your work,’ taking a cultural arts org onto her shoulders to say ‘Sí, se puede. What do you need? I'll help.’ Energy, creativity, and compassion. She published award-winners in distinguished contests in Rome and London, or on the cheap newsprint 25 cent a copy SA-based Chicano magazine called Caracol. She wrote a poem for us when we lost our first baby; she wrote a poem for organizer Willie Velásquez when he passed away. She attended every single one of the theater productions at the Guadalupe for years on end. She edited with Bryce and Mary Milligan two major Latina anthologies. She was everywhere, everywhere."

more here

cock tease

I know, I know. I've neglected this space the past 8 months or so. But get this: I have some BIG news... though I can't announce anything yet.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Call for Submissions

from G.C. Waldrep

Seeking work for an anthology of creative, critical, and/or personal responses to the life and work of Paul Celan, to be published by Marick Press in September 2010. Work already slated for inclusion in the anthology includes pieces by Susan Stewart, Marjorie Perloff, Jerome Rothenberg, Andrew Joron, Ingeborg Bachman (translated by Pierre Joris), Jean Daive (translated by Rosmarie Waldrop), Anne Carson, Nikolai Popov, Sawako Nakayasu, and Dan Beachy-Quick.

All work should be in English (or accompanied by an English translation, if the original is in a language other than English). Verse and/or prose up to 25 pp. accepted. While unpublished work is fine, we would be equally delighted to read previously-published work. In the case of previously-published work, please include citation(s) of prior publication.

Please send submissions as e-mail attachments to gcwaldrep gmail.com. Deadline: 2/15/10.

Call for Submissions

Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz are pleased to announce a call for submissions for A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry.

We are seeking poems that work within the literary tradition of persona poetry: poems written as dramatic monologues, whose speakers employ masks, or whose character and voice are different from the poet's own.

Please submit up to 5 unpublished poems. We will also consider poems whose rights have reverted back to the author.

All submissions will be accepted electronically. Please send an email to the editors at facesanthology@gmail.com with the poet's name and "Submission for Persona Anthology" as the subject line, with the poems as an attachment.

The submission deadline has been extended to February 15th. We look forward to reading your work!

interview: jeannine hall gailey

In some ways, I was writing the book for my little brother – maybe a nineteen-year-old version of him, anyway – an intelligent guy who reads avidly, but is more likely to know the latest video game trends than the latest Pushcart winners.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


congrats to sandra beasley ! one of her poems will appear in best american poetry 2010.
am i the only one who thinks stephen burt is a hottie? i'd grope his envoi.
In most cultures, reciting poetry is not relegated to the poets, or to the alabaster halls of academia. People who never dreamed of being poets, and some who cannot read or write, recite their favorite poems at the slightest provocation. Poems are recited at parties, at the family dinner table, on the street. My students from Wales and Ireland describe how the poems of Dylan Thomas or William Butler Yeats are exchanged into the night at almost any local pub.
i have some good news! i am not pregnant.


Francisco Aragón, director of Letras Latinas, the literary program of the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), has been selected to receive the Outstanding Latino/a Cultural Arts, Literary Arts and Publications Award given by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE). Aragón will receive the award in March during the association’s national conference in Costa Mesa, Calif.

The award recognizes Latinos who have contributed significantly to increasing understanding of the Hispanic community and/or culture through literary arts, scholarship and publications.

thank you, francisco, for all that you have done for latino writers.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize

Final judge: Silvia Curbelo

Latino/a poets who have not had a book professionally published. Authors of chapbooks and self-published works are eligible, but the manuscript submitted should not have been published as a whole in any form. Manuscripts may be submitted elsewhere simultaneously, but authors must notify the Institute for Latino Studies immediately if a manuscript becomes committed to another press. It is understood that, in the absence of such notification, the winning author is committed to publishing his/her manuscript with the University of Notre Dame Press. A manuscript committed to another press is not eligible for the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. There is no entrance fee. Employees and students of the University of Notre Dame are not eligible.

The winner will receive $1000 and publication at the University of Notre Dame Press under a standard contract, as well as an invitation from the Institute for Latino Studies to read from his/her work, along with the judge, upon publication of the book, with all expenses paid.

Postmarked no later than January 15, 2010.

Complete guidelines here.

a new year's resolution

well, it's a new year. and i only have one resolution this year.

i will try to get over my self-doubt so i can send my collection to book contests and open reading periods.

isn't this the most stupid and pathetic resolution ever?? it makes me want to throw up. but i need to force myself to get over my self-doubt or i might never send out my collection.

i'm that kind of poet.

insecure, afraid, anxious, apprehensive, choked, diffident, hanging by thread, hesitant, jumpy, on thin ice, questioning, shaky, touch and go, touchy, troubled, unassured, unconfident...

i know you are full of self-doubt too, but your self-doubt doesn't keep you from sending out your collection. i see your name listed as winner, finalist, semi-finalist all the time; my self-doubt doesn't even allow me to send out in the first place.

gawd, this post is making me depressed. and it's a foolish post, too. i know better. i'm always telling other poets to trust their voice, their poems. but here i am. afraid to send out my first collection.

i'm not afraid of rejection. i'm used to rejection. i've applied to colonies, fellowships, and awards and i've been rejected again and again. i can deal with rejection.

i'm starting to think i'm afraid of getting my collection picked up. crazy, no? what's wrong with me!

here's a telling moment: last summer at bread loaf i had a one-on-one with tom sleigh. he began by praising my work and i immediately shut down. yes, you read that correctly: i immediately shut down. i began to nod yes to everything and to scribble in my notebook and to ask some basic questions. in other words: my mind checked out. i can't deal with praise.

what does that say about me? oh gawd.

Hottie of the week: Aarón Díaz