Friday, December 19, 2014

Verse inspired by the Misery Islands

Thanks to Will Broaddus at the Salem News for this article in the Salem News! (My kids were surprised and thrilled to see their picture in the paper.)

Here's an excerpt:

"The poem 'Misery Islands' narrates her journey and describes the two islands, but is also a reflection on the poet’s recent divorce.
'We were never of one body,' she writes. 'You said wind. I said water. / And whatever has connected us has disappeared.'

The image draws on the fact, which O’Neil describes, that one Misery island can be reached from another by wading at low tide.
Most of O’Neil’s poems work in this way, illustrating life lessons in figures of speech that are directly drawn from experience."

Read the entire article, and buy the book!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Join me for a very special event. Help provide Boston youth with books for the holidays.


Mr. Hip Presents: Reading Series’and benefit raffle
December 20
ROOM83 Spring,
83 Spring Street
Watertown, MA

Presented in coordination with ReadBoston, Mayor Walsh’s early literacy program, 826 Boston, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting youth ages 6-18, and Grub Street’s Young Adult Writer’s Program, Mr. Hip Presents is hosting a fundraiser at our reading on December 20th in order to provide the youth involved with these educational literacy programs books for the upcoming holidays.

To celebrate the evening, we will host a reading with poets January Gill O’Neil, Simeon Berry, Adam Fitzgerald (virtual), Cecily Iddings, and more with special musical guest and classical pianist, Kyle Aaron. 

Raffle tickets are on sale for $5 and will be available until 6 p.m. on December 20. Our winners will be released on our website and Twitter account throughout the reading on the 20th. Raffle tickets can be purchased on the webpage.

The best part of this fundraiser for the youth is that all can participate. Anybody can purchase a raffle ticket. You do not need to live in the Boston area to win a prize. For all of our information regarding the fundraiser regarding prizes and raffle ticket links, please visit:

Thanks and looking forward to your help with this valuable cause. And remember: #HipKidsRead!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks. After a bit of a break, it's good to be back. Share a little of yourself here and I promise to do the same.

I'm feeling a little like this today: partly cloudy. I'm in a but of a rut. A big part of it is grading and the work that comes with finishing up the semester. That will end this week. Unfortunately, I know that the only way out is through, so I'm going back to all of those strategies that help me manage my mood. Blogging is a big part of that.


Blogging gives me a chance to process what's going on with me in a creative way. Even finding the right photo cheers me up.


Since writing 30 poems in November, I haven't written anything this month. I'm sure that has something to do with my mood as well. This past weekend is normally the weekend I go Mendham, New Jersey for a writers' retreat with Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Laura Boss--but I didn't go this week. Part of me regrets not going.

Once I finish up my grading (and maybe even before that), I'll write five more poems to finish up the year with 52.


Congrats to Danielle Legros Georges on becoming Boston's second poet laureate! There seems to be a lot of buzz right now about a Massachusetts poet laureate. Hope it happens sooner rather than later.

Misery Islands is now available. Pick up a copy as a gift this holiday season!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

CLAUDIA EMERSON - Poets in Person - Episode 5

I met Claudia once at AWP Boston, and I had the opportunity to tell her how much Late Wife helped me through the writing of Misery Islands. I acted like a starstruck fan, a bit off-putting if you're a poet trying to get to your next event.

On Facebook, she chronicled her illness with honesty and hope. This video from the Cortland Review is a lovely piece about her life in 2012.

Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Confession Tuesday

Happy first Tuesday of December! Share a bit of yourself with us and we promise to do the same.

Photo courtesy of Scott Booth

Look at that, my two babies. Well, my other two babies. Misery Islands and Underlife make great stocking stuffers this holiday season. Go out and purchase your copies today!

My poem, "A Mother's Tale," is up on CavanKerry Press' Web site.


The November PAD challenge has come to an end, and I managed to write 30 poems! Fifteen of those poems were sonnets (terrible sonnets) for my Juno series. Woo hoo! I'll revise those in January before the spring semester. Of the remaining 15, I may hold onto 12 of them. There's nothing more satisfying that completing the challenge knowing that even on the days I felt I was mailing it in, I wrote a few decent drafts.


I needed this November to balance out my hectic schedule. I used to think that writing a poem a day was about quantity--but it's about quantity. I don't feel the need to write a good poem each time I sit down with my journal. Some days, good enough is OK. And during these challenges, I don't write a poem every day. I try to, but if I don't then I let the poems back up and write two or three in a day. By month's end I have  30 poems to show for my efforts.

I. did. it.


We have lost many great poets this year. A whole generation of them, including Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Galway Kinnell, and now Mark Strand--and many more I know I'm forgetting. Just an incredible year of loss. And I hate rediscovering a poet when they leave us. I feel as if I should have been reading them all along.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mark Strand: Peering into Nothingness

R.I.P. Mark Strand. This is an audio excerpt from a three-year old interview with Terry Gross's show Fresh Air.


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