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

Monday, December 31, 2012


Please check out my new website:



Still in Arizona.
Had a nice Xmas with my family.
I'm blogging using a blogger app. I hope it works!
My favorite gift? The moon.
I will be returning to NYC later than I planned.

Monday, December 17, 2012

RIP Jake Adam York


The bike, the handlebars, the fork,
spoked wheels still spinning off sun,

still letting go his weight as he
lay in the grass along Docena Road

just hours after the bomb went off
under the church steps downtown,

four girls dead, though they hadn't heard,
Virgil with a bullet in his heart, Virgil Ware

who wanted a bike for a paper-route
who perched on his brother's handlebars

and caught the white boys' bullet
but never got a bike or a headstone

or a 14th birthday, Virgil and his brother
and the bike in the grass off Docena Road.

The handlebars, fork, and iron diamond
frame that held them both, warming

in the Alabama sun. Stars of paint and chrome
that rained all over north Birmingham,

up and down the Docena-Sandusky road,
nesting like crickets in the weeds.

And the seat, wearing at the edges,
the cushion opening like a cattail

to the wind. But the frame, still holding
handed down and down and down

till bright as a canna. Then laid
with its brothers in a tangle in the sun.

Then gathering heat and darkening.
Then weeds insinuating the fork,

the sprocket, the pedal, each iron artery,
working back toward the light.

Let their flowers open from the mouths
of the handlebars and the seat-post.

Let them be gathered from the frame
and the frame raised up. Let it be

hot to the touch. Let its rust burn
into the finest creases of the hand

and the warp of the shirtsleeve and the pants
and worked into the temples' sweat.

Then let it descend into the furnace like a hand
that opens all its rivers, each tribute,

each channel, each buried town.
Let it gather this heat, this fire, hold it all.

Let the crucible door open like a mouth
and speak its bloom of light, molten and new.

Let me stand in its halo. Let me stand
as it pours out its stream of suns.

Let me gather and hold it like a brother.
And let it burn.

Jake Adam York

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Carmen Calatayud: "...writing is a communion and communication with my ancestors, and the ancestors of the land where I live and have lived. This communion comes through at times when I’m alone writing. I use meditation, yoga, poetry and brainstorming with words that appeal to me to help me connect with my own spirit and ancestral spirits as I write."
Tomorrow I leave for Arizona. I can't wait. I miss the desert. I miss my family.
Ron Slate: Eighteen Poets Recommend New & Recent Collections
Two words that terrify me: Xmas shopping.
The new installment of Boxcar Poetry Review is up! Please check it out.
Writing, revising: I know one song. One song. I know. One.
Shara Lessley on Paula Bohince: "Bohince's poems are so familiar in their emotional register that as I pour over her lines, I almost feel as though I'd written them myself. It's quite eerie—in the most wonderful way. The first time I sat with "Everywhere I Went That Spring, I Was Alone," "Owl in Retrograde," and "Silverfish," I audibly gasped. Time and again, I am humbled by Bohince's powerful subtly, her gift for mining the natural world in such quiet, yet transformative ways."
I miss saguaros.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Catching up bits

I've been a bad blogger. A terrible blogger. But I'm glad other poets are still blogging. Luke, Mary, Kelli, January...
This fall has been a busy one for me. I gave over twenty readings across the country. Many thanks to all the people who invited me and to the wonderful students who read my work, who asked amazing questions.
I still live in NYC. I'm still loving it.
I miss blogging. I hope I still have some readers.
Butler University, thank you.
American University, thank you.
Western Kentucky University, thank you.
University of Wisconsin–Platteville, thank you.
Trinity College, thank you.
Rutgers-Newark University, thank you.
I will be teaching at Columbia University this upcoming spring. I will be teaching a graduate-level poetry workshop.
I'm blessed and lucky.


I've been awarded an NEA Fellowship in Poetry. Many congrats to the other NEA fellows. It's an honor to share this moment with them.

The NEA fellowship will allow me to travel this summer and to continue work on my second collection of poems.

Thank you, NEA.
Thank you, NEA.
Thank you, NEA.
Thank you, NEA.
Thank you, NEA.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My first review from the UK

Declan Ryan in Exegesis :

Corral writes with a self exposing candour increasingly uncommon in much modern British poetry not only successfully, but triumphantly. Corral’s poems share some common, life-writing ground with the ‘Confessionals’, especially the suffering Robert Lowell and W.D. Snodgrass. Sentiment has become anathema in much poetry produced in the UK, with ironic or ludic modes of writing now approaching something of a ‘mainstream’ house-style. It’s hard to think of a British poet who would dare write lines with the grace, tenderness, and affecting quality of some of Corral’s best, such as ‘Too poor to afford lilies,/she walked down the aisle holding a glass of milk’, or ‘Once a man offered me his heart like a glass of water.’

Sunday, September 23, 2012

dc reading recap

many thanks to letras latinas for the photographic recap of my reading with carl phillips.
sharing a stage with carl phillips was a dream come true.
many thanks to the good people at the folger shakespeare library for being such wonderful hosts.
i loved my hotel! it was close to the monuments. i spent a night visiting them with a friend.  my favorite? the lincoln memorial.
a couple of hours before the reading, we attended a dinner at the folger shakespeare library. the company was lovely.  the seafood pot pie was amazing. 
i typed "poet pie" instead of "pot pie!" ha.
many thanks to the hardison family.
the stage was set for a hamlet production!
many thanks to the kind souls who bought books.
many thanks to the poets/writers who came out to the reading: dan, curtis, sandra, leslie...

NYC Reading: September 30

Friday, August 31, 2012

SL Bit

Check out this Junot Díaz interview in the Sunday Book Review section of the New York Times. He graciously mentions Slow Lightning when asked to name the last book that made him cry:

That’s easy: the winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, Eduardo Corral’s collection, “Slow Lightning.” When I finished that book I bawled. Wise and immense, but peep for yourself: “Once a man offered me his heart and I said no. Not because I didn’t love him. Not because he was a beast or white — I couldn’t love him. Do you understand? In bed while we slept, our bodies inches apart, the dark between our flesh a wick. It was burning down. And he couldn’t feel it.”

*mind blown* *so thankful*

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reading schedule fall 2012

Next week I will be reading with Dan Rosenberg in Rock Island, IL., Iowa City, IA., and Madison, WI. Dan's first book just came out. I can't wait to share the stage with him. In Madison we're reading with Traci Brimhall and Cynthia Marie Hoffman. Yeah!!

Here is my reading schedule for the fall. I want to thank all the people and all the schools who've invited me to read.

September 4, 2012
Reading with Dan Rosenberg
Augustana College
Rock Island, IL

September 5, 2012
Reading with Dan Rosenberg at Prairie Lights Bookstore
Iowa City, IA

September 6, 2012
University of Wisconsin–Platteville
Plattevile, WI

September 7, 2012
Monsters of Poetry Reading Series
Reading with Dan Rosenberg, Traci Brimhall, and Cynthia Marie Hoffman
Madison, Wisconsin

September 13
With Larry Kaplun and Michael Dickman
Unnameable Books

September 17, 2012
Reading with Carl Phillips at the Folger Shakespeare Library
Washington DC

September 20, 2012
Kickoff reading for The Best American Poetry 2012
The New School
New York City

September 21, 2012
Brooklyn Poets Reading Series
Reading with Ariana Reines and Timothy Donnelly
Studio 10
Brooklyn, NY

September 25, 2012
Reading with Justin Torres at the Writers At Newark Reading Series
Rutgers-Newark University
Newark, NJ

September 27, 2012
Community Bookstore
With Matthew Thorburn and Idra Novey

September 30, 2012

October 2, 2012
Trinity College
Hartford, CT

October 11-14, 2012
Festival Poet
Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival

October 17, 2012
Cornelia Street Caffe
With Randall Mann, Christopher Hennessy, Stephen Motika

October 22-25, 2012
Poet-in-Residence, Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series
Butler University
Indianapolis, Indiana

November 4, 2012
Carmine Street Metrics Reading Series

November 7, 2012
American University
Abramson Family Founders Room
Washington DC

November 15, 2012
Frequency North Reading Series
With Melissa Febos
The College of Saint Rose
Albany, NY

November 18, 2012
The Brookline Poetry Series
Brookline Public Library Main Branch
Brookline, MA

November 29, 2012
Western Kentucky University

December 7, 2012
The Paris-American Reading Series
With Malachi Black and Camille Rankine and Mark Strand
Poets House


Friday, August 24, 2012

Poems I love

My father and I lie down together.
He is dead.
We look up at the stars, the steady sound
Of the wind turning the night like a ceiling fan.
This is our home.
I remember the work in him
Like bitterness in persimmons before a frost.
And I imagine the way he had fear,
The ground turning dark in a rain.

Now he gets up.

And I dream he looks down in my eyes
And watches me die.
Frank Stanford
More poems here.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Interview: Cynthia Cruz

"I always tell my students to take notes on their lives: to literally write down, indiscriminately, everything in their world: the Chekhov on the old wood nightstand near the bed, the chipped tea cup, the pile of French Vogue magazines stacked on the floor. These objects reveal far more than we can say about our selves—and more honestly. This is the stuff of our poems. Not necessarily lists or list poems, but, rather, incorporating, in some way, the objects which hold meaning into our work."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

First Book Interview: Amanda Auchter

"I about died when I opened the box. The book was gorgeous and I wanted to share it with everyone I knew as soon as possible. I had such a tremendous amount of joy and gratitude that I was a little emotional. It was, in a way, my gold medal."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Anna Journey: "My father was once mistaken for a hit man."
Summer is over.  Really?
There's no coffee shops in Rego Park. I only have one option: Panera.  Yes, dear readers, you read that correctly. I spend hours at the local Panera. Reading, writing, sipping bad coffee.  Oh the shame!
Thanks, Stephen Mills!  Sorry about the snakes.
I'm going to Berlin! Sometime in October, I hope. I was going to go to Barcelona, but I really want to be surrounded by a language I don't undertand. I want to struggle to express myself.  I want to fight with words. I want to hear new music.
"Corral leaps back and forth between Spanish and English in his poems, employing an interesting element of coded language to his work, but I didn’t feel that this distanced me as someone who doesn’t speak Spanish. If anything, it drew me in closer."
How do you say "hello, handsome" in German?

Monday, August 06, 2012

CantoMundo testimonios

Juan Luis Guzmán on CantoMundo:

"There is awesome and transformative power in community. If you’re lucky, coming together with community can be a baptism of sorts, something like purification. For me, CantoMundo was more than this. CantoMundo was complete rebirth. I found myself challenged by the other fellows, discombobulated by workshop lectures and faculty notes, and torn to pieces by masterful readings and discussions. In the midst of this, I had time to reassemble myself, to discard what wasn’t working, and to weld the familiar fragments of myself to the newly discovered pieces. In the end, I boarded the plane wearing beautiful new skin..."

More here.

slow lightning bits

Rigoberto González:

"The breaking of multiple taboos -- humanizing a much-maligned population, inscribing homosexuality on the same page as class and ethnicity, and insisting on making as much room as possible for Spanish in an English-dominant text ("Agringado. Recién llegado. / Eyes the color of garrapatas. / Manos de trapo. / Cell phone strapped like a pistola / to his belt.") demonstrate a deliberate push-back to the current anti-immigrant, anti-bilingualism, and anti-gay political climate across the country, and particularly in Arizona, Corral's home state. Indeed, in times of distress, "Even music can bleed."


David Biespiel:

"I see the poise in Corral's poem in its spirality. The poem -- a kind of free verse villanelle/free verse pantoum -- winds through its irregular repetitions and reiterations. Its ideas evoke clinging to the aroma and melodies of memory, of need, of yearning, and are conditioned on those circuitous psychological shapes."

wish i'd written this poem

Beneath Moonlight

For years I watched
a swell of nightmares galloping
along the garden wall.

My father would come home, untying
a weary bouquet, the smell of
God working his breath.

Hinged moths paused
upon beveled glass, solitude
a hundred waiting matchboxes.

Things have injured me.

All day & now the low night,
the night says it will always be
this way: the violence of nature
enchants its laws.

I’d hold a lamp near the window,
a child who polished saddles & bridles,
wiping blood & froth away
from the work of memory.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

More work here, including some amazing photographs.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Mike Schneider reviews Paula Bohince

"It's a poetic landscape that seems to hover somewhere just above the labile surface of consciousness, where foggy memory gives birth to vivid, evocative imagery. "

Full review here.

Two new Paula Bohince poems and an interview!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

life after an mfa

Tara Mae Mulroy:

"You have worked at your degree for 2 or 3 years, maintained a high level of productivity and stress, been around other writers, talked constantly about writing, taught writing, hammered out a thesis, and now you’re…done."

I never really went through an MFA postpartum.  How do I say this?  I didn't enjoy my time at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.  I never long to relive those years.  If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self: Don't go! But I did go. It wasn't all bad. Did I really just type that?  Yes, I did.  Here are some positives about my time in Iowa.

I adored (still do) most of my classmates.  Sabrina.  Cathy.  Matthew.  Spencer.  Joe.  Robin. Keith. Shane.  Sara.  Margaret.  Naren.

I did learn some important things about writing poetry. That's something to be thankful for.

I was given two years to read and write.

There were a few handsome men. That's all I'm saying. 

I had a lot of good times at the Foxhead, which was the bar the poets claimed.  I drank a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I don't think I ever played pool, though.  What a crime. 

Iowa City is an amazing college town.  I loved living there.  The people were so kind and welcoming.  I felt safe as a brown man, as a gay man. 

I studied with two of my favorite contemporary poets: Mark Levine and James Galvin. 

My first winter! The first day it snowed I sat on my porch and watched as the snow slowly covered everything. It was a magical moment. 

Prairie Lights Books.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

i can't wait for this book! it comes out in september.

(click on pic to enlarge it)

"Tomás Q. Morín's poems are as infectious and spooky and darkly humorous as the Brothers Grimm, as shapely and colloquial and eloquent as John Donne, and as skeptical and addicted to history-as-fable as Zbigniew Herbert."

--Tom Sleigh, from the introduction

Monday, July 30, 2012

get those poems ready!

Deadline to submit: January 25, 2013.
Final judges: Juan Felipe Herrera, Eileen Myles and Bruce Smith.

Now in its sixth decade, the "Discovery" Poetry Contest is designed to attract large audiences to poets who have not yet published a book. For this sixth year, the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center is proud to partner with Boston Review.

Full guidelines here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


The raw fact of my body breathed again: Henri Cole visits the grave of Hart Crane.
I want to travel.  Correction: I need to travel.  I have this intense urge to pack my suitcae, to run out the door. The world is waiting for all of us. 
These lovely photographs by saeed jones are fueling my wanderlust.
Berlin or Barcelona?
I received some good news on Wednesday. My poems published in the December '11 and April '12 issues of Poetry have been awarded the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize. Many thanks to the editors of the magazine. I especially want to thank Mrs. Wood for endowing the prize. Her gift will make it possible for me to continue living in NYC and, most importantly, to devote myself to
my second collection, a book-length sequence informed by the life and the work of Martín Ramírez. 
Mrs. Wood, I will be forever grateful.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

hasta las narices: VW sedan, agua, pigmento, plotter sobre pvc, vaso de vidrio y figurillas escala, medidas variables: ivan puig: 2004

blog love

i miss c.dale young's blog! it was one of my favorites. i understand and respect his decision to no longer blog.

but we still get to read his poems online.

like this stunner.

And my small lesson? Human to want the company
of others, and human, too, to find loneliness among them.

these two lines have been haunting me.  i wrote them down in my notebook. i think of them often while i'm walking around new york city.

i wish i'd written them. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rigoberto González: 200

A poet with this kind of jaw-dropping bio could easily turn his back on his community, could claim he doesn't have time to help other writers:

Rigoberto González, author of So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water until It Breaks (National Poetry Series), Other Fugitives and Other Strangers (Poetry Center Book Award), and Black Blossoms, has also written two bilingual children's books, Soledad Sigh-Sighs / Soledad Suspiros and Antonio's Card / La tarjeta de Antonio (Lambda Literary Award finalist); a novel, Crossing Vines (ForeWord Magazine Fiction Book of the Year); a story collection, Men Without Bliss; and a memoir, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa (American Books Award, Before Columbus Foundation). The recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships and several international artist residencies, he is a contributing editor for Poets and Writers Magazine, writes a book review column for the Texas El Paso Times, and is on the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle and the Advisory Circle of Con Tinta, a collective of Chicano/Latino activist writers. He is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University at Newark.

But that's not Rigoberto González. 

Over the past ten years he's reviewed Latino/Chicano titles for El Paso Times.

200 reviews.  Ten years.

"Dr. Hector P. Garcia, the legendary civil-rights leader from South Texas, once implored a banquet room filled with perhaps 500 Hispanic journalists from across the United States to continue to tell the stories of "our gente." "Because if you don't, no one else will," Garcia said. "

More here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kendra DeColo reviews Slow Lightning

"The collection succeeds in so many ways but mainly in its seamlessness. It is restless and searching, the result of what the book itself praises: patience and allegiance to one’s own shadow."


Me.  Jean Valentine.  Lillian Vernon House.  NYU.  July 12, 2012.

hello!  long time no blog.  my apologies, dear readers.  i've been busy loving life in NYC, writing new drafts, and eating.  you know i love to eat!
jeannine hall gailey is the new poet laureate of redmond, washington.  what wonderful news!
check out kin. a new online journal with an international scope. 
i had a book party at nyu last week.  jean valentine, one of my literary idols, introduced me.  just look at my face in the pic!  i'm thrilled beyond belief!
i was so nervous about the book party.  what if nobody showed up?  what if i fainted as i read?  etc.
many thanks to all the people who attended the book party.  here's a lovely write-up. 
i'm so blessed.  i'm so grateful.
the poet natalie diaz was recently featured on the pbs newshour!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Michael Klein interviews Carl Phillips

"...the poems sometimes seem story-less in the usual sense, sort of like we’re in the immediate wake of the story, before it goes on to become memory…With most other lyric poems, it seems as if a piece of the story itself has been lifted free. Mine are maybe the part that comes after. The ghost part. Ghost stories?"

Click here for the rest!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Slow Lightning bit

(click on pic to enlarge it)

In the June 29 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Junot Díaz recommends Slow Lightning:

"'Hush. The sand calls out for more footprints.' And this ravishing collection of poetry calls out for more readers. A book that grants summer's best gifts — wisdom, life. In abundance."

Thank you, Mr. Díaz!

You can buy the book here or here.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Follow me: @EduardoCCorral

Here's the page.

Peter Campion on David St. John's new book

"St. John's imagination holds a vantage back behind any given approach. This allows him to step through whatever door becomes available, and fully inhabit the poetic world on the other side. Readers familiar with his earlier work will recognize his talent for shape-shifting."


The heat has arrived.  My new best friend?  The shower. 
Lucas de Lima: "I stop trimming pubic hair so my forests feel thick again./With crabs, claws—they protect my juicy fruits."
A poet I know got his first book picked up this morning by a wonderful press.  I'm so happy for him. 
Oh Rufus Wainwright!
Thank you, my friends.  You know why.  All of you.  Thanks.  All of you.
I'm from southern Arizona.  I know hot days, but the heat is different in NYC.  It's mean and crazy here. :)
I have a radio interview next week in New Jersey.  What should I wear?
I like you. I really do.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


Well, that was an interesting week.
Ruben Quesada reviews Love, An Index by Rebecca Lindenberg.
Molly, thank you for this post and this post.
Had a great day yesterday. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

In the middle of the ocean I found a raft

Steven Cordova on Agha Shahid Ali

"...Shahid, pushing 50, was ageless in his impishness, at once world weary and wicked in his outlook. The demographics of the class made for a total of four, age-spanning queers in a group of about 15. Shahid democratically spent one evening socializing with the entire class. But he reserved one night for just the bird-boys of a feather."

Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar —Laurence Hope
Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell tonight
before you agonize him in farewell tonight?

Pale hands that once loved me beside the Shalimar:
Whom else from rapture's road will you expel tonight?

Those "Fabrics of Cashmere—" "to make Me beautiful—"
"Trinket"—to gem—"Me to adorn—How—tell"—tonight?

I beg for haven: Prisons, let open your gates—
A refugee from Belief seeks a cell tonight.

Executioners near the woman at the window.
Damn you, Elijah, I'll bless Jezebel tonight.

Lord, cried out the idols, Don't let us be broken,
Only we can convert the infidel tonight.

Has God's vintage loneliness turned to vinegar?
He's poured rust into the Sacred Well tonight.

In the heart's veined temple all statues have been smashed.
No priest in saffron's left to toll its knell tonight.

He's freed some fire from ice, in pity for Heaven;
he's left open—for God—the doors of Hell tonight.

And I, Shahid, only am escaped to tell thee—
God sobs in my arms. Call me Ishmael tonight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012 RANE ARROYO CHAPBOOK PRIZE is now accepting submissions

I'm really proud to be one of the co-editors of the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize. 

This series honors the vision of poet & teacher Rane Arroyo and is open to all poets. Though Seven Kitchens publishes almost exclusively in English, we welcome manuscripts for this series that mix English and Spanish.

We are now accepting submissions.

Please submit.

I can't wait to read your work.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Michael Klein interviews me over at the Ploughshares blog.  Thanks, Michael!

Click HERE to read the interview.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


GLBT Center in NYC.  April 12.  Photograph taken by Guillermo Castro.

Spring is here and there's nothing like walking around the city as everything turns green, blooms.
That said: allergies are killing me!
I had a busy April.  Lots of readings.  I had a blast going to new cities and reading from my book.  The photograph above was taken on a special night.  I read with Rigoberto Gonzalez and James A. Hall.  Swoon.  Love.
Thank you to all who taught my book this spring.  Thank you to all who are going to teach the book this fall. 
I have two new poems.  I no longer have the urge to tinker with them, which is one way I know a poem is finished. 
In Colorado My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes
Thank you, Mr. President. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Seer: Water-based paint on wood and wire: Martin Puryear: 1984


Barbara Jane Reyes talks to Juan Felipe Herrera!
I had a great day today.  Walked around Rego Park.  Sat in a coffee shop.  Wrote.
I'm writing!  I wrote a new poem this weekend.  My first poem in over 13 months.  Lordy, I'm a slow writer.  Ha.
My second project is starting to come together in my mind.  It's a book-length sequence.  Don't tell anyone, okay? 
The Muse is male.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012


do you like free books? well, it's your LUCKY day!

kelli russell agodon has posted a list of bloggers who are giving away free books this month.

why this month?

it's national poetry month!


lowell, dallas, los angeles, hamilton, tucson, tempe...
i've beening flying all over the country, dear readers. giving readings. meeting new people. what a joy!
henri cole: No poem is just its autobiographical content. No poem is just its embroidery of language.
i highly recommend this book.
oh, life!
poetry daily gave some love to slow lightning this week. thanks, pd!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

mini-interview: jory m. mickelson

Photo by Melissa Hartley, University of Idaho

In this mini-interview I talk to Jory M. Mickelson about his first chapbook: Slow Depth. Enjoy!

In "Elk Woman Comes Singing" the speaker and an elk cross paths. The speaker can see "each brindled hair," which so startles him he steps away "from the surprise of it." I'm curious about your relationship with the natural world. Did you grow up in a rural setting? Does the natural world still "surprise" you?

I grew up in a small town in rural Montana. There were perhaps 2,500 residents within the city limits and 400 students in my high school. At the time, my graduating class was the largest in the school’s history—a whopping 98 seniors. That is big for Montana. I knew some students who only had eight students in their senior class, forty students in their entire high school.

Even though I was a “townie”, I grew up close to nature. My father took me hiking and fishing from an early age. I spent a large portion of my childhood learning the names of the plants and animals around me, in part thanks to the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge right next to town. As a child, it wasn’t unusual for me to see a deer, a muskrat, or an eagle as a child. I was lucky. The barrier between the natural world and me was about a fifteen-minute bike ride on my hand-me-down BMX.

When I first went to college, I thought I might want to be a wildlife biologist. I won a small scholarship writing about whirling disease in trout. However, I wouldn’t consider myself an amateur naturalist by any means. The natural world continues to surprise and center me. Whenever I return from a hike or trip to my partner’s family cabin, I find that I am always more at ease with myself and my thinking is clearer. How that works, I don’t know. The natural world works on the deepest parts of me, in the same way that great paintings or music may on others.

I know you adore chapbooks, Jory. Both as literary instrument and as art object. When did this fascination begin? Name some of your favorite chapbooks.

I have loved ephemera for most of my adult life, whether “How to Keep a Better Home” circa 1941, or “The Blood of the Lamb!” circa 2011. I think ephemera is captivating for its transitory and insubstantial nature—just like chapbooks. An author may publish a collection of poems that will live in a library for fifty years, but chapbooks disappear after a year or two. Only readers who really love those poets hang onto them. Otherwise, chapbooks are eventually the provenance of the garage sale and the library cast-off.

I also love chapbooks as contained pieces of art, both conceptually and in execution. Many chapbooks are small projects that may not be able to sustain themselves at the book length. A chapbook can create a miniature world for a reader, almost an extension of the suspended moment found in a single poem.

In addition, a chapbook holds a particular beauty if lovingly made. Many chapbooks I have encountered over the years are hand bound and feature small detailing that the publisher of a regular book could never afford to do. One I saw this spring in Canada, used embroidery to map out the constellations; it was stunning.

Some of my favorite chapbooks are A Classic Game of Murder by Katie Cappello (Dancing Girl Press) centered on the board game CLUE, A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo having both prose poems and recipes, Men in Groups by Aaron Smith (Winged City Chapbooks), and on every station, someone else’s heartache by Bren Simmers (Rubber Boot Press).

"Half the Ticket's Length" begins with this epigraph from the AP: Police say the frozen body of a man found in a snowbank near the Montana town of Essex appears to have been there for months.

Did you immediately know you would write a poem after reading this language? What specifically triggered the urge to write a poem?

When I saw this story, it was a fragmentary news brief. I gathered every scrap of information I could about it for weeks. Not much else was released to the public about the man’s identity, but the snippets worked on my mind. I didn’t know this would become a poem, but it did become an obsession for me. So little was known, it allowed me to summon the details.

Many of my poems begin with obsessions. Something will begin work on me emotionally or imagistically and a few days or weeks later, it will surface in a poem. Most recently, I wondered what Dorthea Lange and Georgia O’Keeffe would have to say to one another and found myself immersed in a new poem.

You recently posted a clip of yourself reading The Old Payette Barn on YouTube. Talk about your efforts to raise awareness about the chapbook. How hard is it these days to draw attention to a chapbook?

As I said, chapbooks are a kind of ephemera. One of the big obstacles for chapbooks is that they are generally low in price and therefore impossible to sell on Big A’s website. There is no profit in it for a publisher after the Big A takes their cut. Major bookstore chains won’t touch them either. Most chapbook publishers have to sell directly from their own websites. This isolation makes it extremely difficult for a poet to get his or her work out to the public.

There is also a resistance to chapbooks from the academic world. Chapbooks aren’t considered “real” books by academia. Publishing five chapbooks doesn’t carry the same weight for a poet as a single full-length book. I am not sure this will ever change.

I sell my chapbooks when I read. If someone likes my work, it provides him or her an inexpensive way to take some of my poems home with them. I have also promoted my chapbook by sending out review copies, and through doing online interviews. Then, there is always social media: Facebook, Twitter, and the like. I will be the first to admit that it is a great deal of hustle. Such is the business end of the writing stick.

It’s unclear if I am a spokesperson for the chapbook or not, but I find myself constantly bringing them to the attention of other writers and readers of poems.

“Divination” is my favorite poem in the chapbook. The last two stanzas are beautiful and moving, but I don’t think the first stanza is necessary. Convince me, Jory, that the first stanza is an essential part of the poem.

Eduardo, in all honesty, you make a great point. Reexamining “Divination”, I think the poem could exist without the first stanza. The real movement in the poem happens in the two latter stanzas. Perhaps in another revision of that poem, that stanza will cease to be. That said, the first stanza does serve an important function within the world of the chapbook.

The first stanza of “Divination” highlights that there is a barrier between the speaker and his father. This comes up again more explicitly in the poem “Rising.” I believe the strain of the father-son dynamic is an essential layer of Slow Depth. There are all kinds of tensions coming to light in these poems for the speaker and the audience: that of the natural vs. manmade world, the idea of making a home within a region and abandoning that place, also the struggle between psychic and emotional landscapes.

I don’t know if it is within my power to convince you or anyone of the necessity of particular stanzas or even whole poems. A successful poem makes its own argument, without needing the voice of the author to prop it up. However, I do welcome feedback about my work. I’ve heard all sorts of fascinating readings of my poems from people since Slow Depth was published and I am really pleased by that. After writing and revising these poems, I have a pretty good idea of what I wanted to say with them, and I am thrilled readers find ways to identify with these poems as their own experiences. What more could a writer ask for?

Thank you for the interview and the excellent questions. It’s been a pleasure.

The Gatewood Prize

The Gatewood Prize is Switchback Books' annual competition for a first or second full-length (48-80 pp.) collection of poems by a woman writing in the English language. It is named after Emma Gatewood, the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

2012 Judge: Brenda Shaughnessy

Reading Period: April 15-June 15, 2012

Complete details here

Monday, April 02, 2012

slow lightning bit

Many thanks to Publishers Weekly for profiling my book, along with new books by Amanda Nadelberg, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, and Rebecca Lindenberg.

from PW:
The newest winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, America’s most prestigious first-book prize, is a dark debut by a poet who subtly interweaves Spanish into the fabric of his taut English lines, and who traces familial and erotic love back to a common source.

You can buy the book HERE.

Announcing the Rane Arroyo Prize

Some days I love being a poet. Today is one of those days.

I'm very proud to announce that Seven Kitchens Press is starting a chapbook series to honor the work and life of Rane Arroyo.

Please check back soon for submission guidelines!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

love this poem


A blue sheen
radiates from my clothes.
Jangling tambourines of ice.
I close my eyes.
There is a soundless world
there is a crack
where dead people
are smuggled across the border.

Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robin Fulton

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Four Centos

The good people over at Lambda Literary have published four of my centos.

Each cento borrows/steals first lines found in Tim Tim Dlugos’ A Fast Life, a book that rocked my world.

What'a cento???

Click here for the answer!

Monday, March 19, 2012

And the winners are...

I pulled these names out of a paper sack. Congrats to all three winners. If you didn't win, you can buy my book here or here.

These two people will get a paperback of Slow Lightning:
Derrick Austin
Andrea (Andee) Beltran

This person will get a hardcover:
Steven Sanchez

Derrick, Andrea, and Steven, send me an email to claim your book!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


dare i say this? spring has arrived in nyc! granted, winter never arrived. it snowed a couple of days but the snow didn't stick. these past two days have been warm and lovely.
No other major American poet deploys the word “nipples” as often as Mr. Gilbert does.
there's still time to enter the book giveaway! check the post below.
today i ran into thomas heise in union square!
oh, nyc, i love you.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

book giveaway!

i have a book out in the world. did i just type that sentence?

yes, i did!

monday i received my paperback copies. saturday i received my hardcover copies.

aren't they pretty? excuse the blurry pic. my hand was shaking. don't know why...

to celebrate i'm giving away three copies of my book.

two paperbacks. one

(see what i just did there? i'm a poet!)

to win a book: leave a comment.

i will write down the names on pieces of paper, put the pieces in a hat, and pull out three winners!

of course, you can always buy a copy. :)


update: your comment won't show up instantly. i have to approve each comment before blogger will publish them.

Robin Becker Prize

from Seven Kitchens Press:

SEVEN KITCHENS PRESS announces the 2012 ROBIN BECKER CHAPBOOK PRIZE for an original, unpublished poetry manuscript in English by a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or Queer writer.

Prize: 50 copies (a $350 value).
Submission deadline: Postmarked between March 1 and April15, 2012.
Eligibility: Open to all L/G/B/T/Q poets writing in English (no translations, please).

Please note: Two manuscripts will be selected as co-winners: one by a writer with no previous book or chapbook, and one by a writer with previous book or chapbook publication.

Guidelines here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

My Book Starts Shipping This Week!!!

Yesterday, I cried. Why? My advance copies arrived in the mail. Ten copies of my book are stacked next to me right now. Ten!!

The book is gorgeous. Thank you, Yale University Press, for doing such a great job.

I spent nine years writing this book, and now, it exists in the world.

You can buy it now from Amazon. The book starts shipping this week. This week!

Click HERE to order.


Monday, March 05, 2012


i went to paris. i went to awp chicago. i'm tired but thankful.
sandra beasley's awp recap.
these past few weeks have been crazy busy.
i slept most of the day.
jet lag sucks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

paris bits

oh french, why do you torment me so?
spent the afternoon shopping for travel-size stuff. thrilling, i know. i spent an hour at target. i couldn't make up my mind between the lime-scented gel or the lime-scented bar of soap.
there's a white castle not far from me. i didn't know this. i'm in trouble.
weather forecast for paris: mid-to-high 40s. i can live with that! freak snow, stay away.
did i just jinx my trip?
things to do: talk to my bank, buy a power converter, pack, kiss a fool.
i love this store.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Looking forward to these books

Phyla of Joy by Karen An-hwei Lee

"There’s an undeniable audacity in a poet using the word “joy” in our beleaguered world. In her new book, Karen An-hwei Lee combines scientific precision and an appetite for far-flung vocabularies with a fascination for the sources of rapturous emotion."


American Copia: An Immigrant Epic by Javier O. Huerta

"Today I’m going to the grocery store,” begins this creative fusion of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. This is also the sentence Javier O. Huerta was given to write during his naturalization interview. Having lived in the U.S. for twenty years already, he was put off by the simplicity of the sentence. “I wanted to tell the INS agent that I could do things with the English language that she could never imagine,” he writes in the preface."


I saw once, in a rose garden, a remarkable statue of the Roman she-wolf and her twins, a reproduction of an ancient statue— not the famous bronze statue, so often copied, in which the blunt head swings forward toward the viewer like a sad battering ram, but an even older statue, of provenance less clear. The wolf had been cut out of black stone, made blacker by the garden’s shadows, and she stood in profile, her elegant head pointed toward something far beyond her, her long unmarked body and legs—narrower and more finely-boned than the body and legs of wolves as we know them—possessed, it seemed, of a great stillness, like the saturated stillness of the roses, but tightly-nerved, set, on the instant, to move. Under her belly, stood the boys, under her black breasts, not babes, as one might expect, but two lean boys, cut from the same shadowed stone as the wolf, but disproportionately small, grown boys no bigger than starlings, though still, like the wolf, oddly fine of face and limb, one boy pressing four fingers again one long breast, his other cupped beneath it to catch the falling milk, the second boy wrapping both arms around another breast, as if to carry it off, neither boy suckling, both instead turned toward you, dreamy, sweetly sly, as if to chide you for interrupting their feeding, or as if they were plotting a good trick… Beautiful, those boys among the roses. Beautiful, the black wolf. But it was the breasts that held the eye, a double row of four black breasts, eight smooth breasts, each narrowing to a strict point, piercing sharp, exactly the shape of the ivory tooth of the shark.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Saturday, February 11, 2012


good morning!
i'm getting nervous about my trip to paris. i keep thinking about terrible things that could happen to me. running into a pickpocket. my debit card not working. being stuck in a hotel that looks great online but sucks in person. etc.
josé antonio rodríguez: sunflowers.
i worry. it's what i do.
congrats to rita dove and john ashbery!
did i mention that i'm going to paris alone?
awp! it's fast approaching. i can't wait to walk around the bookfair, which is my favorite part of awp. all those tables, all those books and journals, all those people in love with words.
thank you, sara.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Someone spoke to me last night,
told me the truth. Just a few words,
but I recognized it.
I knew I should make myself get up,
write it down, but it was late,
and I was exhausted from working
all day in the garden, moving rocks.
Now, I remember only the flavor —
not like food, sweet or sharp.
More like a fine powder, like dust.
And I wasn’t elated or frightened,
but simply rapt, aware.
That’s how it is sometimes —
God comes to your window,
all bright light and black wings,
and you’re just too tired to open it.

Dorianne Laux

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Morgan Lucas Schuldt has passed away.

Here's a poem from his book Verge:

Prayer I

If in this lure & lapse of bluff & of not
but in a field on a calendar day
if as knot if as rabble if the jinx to my sneeze the bye then to seem & if sigh-lent to sigh
if in your -est fetch & petties
& wayword if wasn’t just as much as ever
in your black dress
if for lull & for during if for a peek of reach unoriented
if life is & if rarely
so that if every anything if underway is underway is elsekiss is sign-done
if criss & cross-bent
if building on glances
is upbrights & downtruths spake _-side &
if believed
if wined for song (which is blood-summed)
and if hurried when all is facets

if verge
if that too & the tellabout ourloud rapid of mention
if beck & stall
if in where only if strop if edge if what-all depended from
if a simpling sun in all needs
if so everyway brimful of found unequally
if tasks, the rearranged dirt loop & you
loop & you if outluck
if lights & nothing so much as a roam
if shine for


Michael Schiavo provides some links to Morgan's poems.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Amazing. Wonderful.

CAREGIFTED was established by poet Heather McHugh to benefit long-term full-time caregivers of disabled family members, with all-expense-paid vacations including transportation, lodging, food and personal concierge services. Awardees are chosen for their need of rest and artistic stimulation; as host, McHugh offers not only chauffeur and guide services, but company and conversation as desired. More important, caregivers may choose to record their experiences and understandings, from which McHugh will craft an artist's impression in their honor.

More info here.


good morning!
i'm planning my whole day around a trip to luke's lobster, a joint that specializes in lobster rolls. don't the rolls look amazing? i might have two. just kidding. maybe.
my ears are burning...jory m. mickelson interviews andrew demcak.
i'm getting new eyeglasses on friday. i really love the frames. they make me look bookish. ha.
bernadette geyer talks about motherhood and finding time to write.
i need a haircut.
i need to learn some french for my upcoming trip. right now, the only thing i can say in french is: i like puppies.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Love this!

from the blog of Ryan Luz, an MFA student at UCSD:

The manuscript I am working on now explores the very same questions that I asked 10 years ago when I started writing poems. I find that I’m still sorting out that same New World of back then. My father and your father are dead and dying. But their bodies, for a time, will still grow hair. A full moon is audible on the sea at night. My father was a fisherman. My father was Portuguese. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother is still living, though she doesn’t understand poetry. I try telling her there is nothing to understand but she still says she doesn’t. I’d tell any child that poetry is a very simple thing and they’d agree. I wish I could tell my mom that I think of poetry just like this: a bird landing briefly in wet cement and then flying off.

Attention MidWest Writers!

Writers in The Heartland is now taking applications for its 2012 season.

Writers in the Heartland is a writing colony for creative writers in all genres.
The colony is located in Gilman, Illinois, approximately 90 miles south of
Chicago. It is located on a beautiful 32-acre wooded site with lakes and walking

A limited number of one-week residencies are available for August 31 - September
7 and October 7 - 12. All lodging and food is included. Writers must reside in
the Midwest region or have some Midwest connection.

Applications must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2012, to be considered. Decisions will be announced on or around July 1st.

Full guidelines here

Friday, January 27, 2012

Better Late Than Never

11/08/11: Harvard Reading with Rosa Alcalá, and Aracelis Girmay (Guest appearances by Francisco Aragón, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, and Martha Collins)