Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Howdy, folks. It's Confession Tuesday, Seattle edition!

If you are in the Seattle area, come out for the WordsWest Series:

“Death and Taxes: The National Poetry Month Special"
with Kelli Russell Agodon & January Gill O'Neil
Wed., April 15, 2015, 7pm, C & P Coffee Co., 5612 California Ave. SW
This event is supported by Poets & Writers, Inc.

I'm honored and thrilled to be reading with Kelli Wednesday night. I'm equally thrilled to be at Highline Community College on Thursday with Susan Rich as I talk to her classes about writing and the writing life.


Short and sweet today. No rain in sight, so I'm going to get out and enjoy the afternoon.


I'm still recovering from AWP15. With every conference, I say it was the best one yet. There's some truth to that. Loved Minneapolis. Here's my AWP experience in photos. 

The line for Patricia Smith's Prince Purple Party was no joke. But the reading was one of a kind. Good lord, it's been so long since I've been dancing! No, Prince did not attend--so you know he missed out. 

It was an amazing night of poetry! So happy I was witness to this par-tay to end all par-tays. 

Chris Bolin and me.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

The always fierce Patricia Smith

Jennifer Jean and me about to kick off our AWP experience.

Evie Shockley

Evie, Afaa Michael Weaver, and Chris Albani

Sarah Gambito and me, missing Joseph Legaspi at this particular moment.

Rita Dove, Chris, and me

The book fair! Massive.

Kirun Kapur signing copies of her first book.

Jaci Jones Lamont

Nin Andrews

Yours truly with my friend, Tom (below), who was in Minneapolis for something other than AWP!  

Julie Batten, me, Jennifer Jean, Kirun Kapur and Laurin Macios: Boston poets in the house!

Laurin, Jill McDonough, and me

Nick Flynn

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy Confession Tuesday! This is a pre-AWP post. Tomorrow afternoon I fly out to Minneapolis to join the madness. I've been looking forward to this trip for months! I hate leaving my family but I need to be with my tribe.

After this long, hard winter, a change of scenery is needed. My wish: All of the snow in my yard will be gone when I return. It could happen.


If you're going to AWP, please vote for me! I have been nominated for Northeast Regional Council Chair, it is a board level position. It's a four-year commitment and, honestly, I haven't been this excited about something in a long time.

Look for me shaking babies and kissing hands ... wait, reverse that!

I'll be around to meet and greet and talk about Misery Islands. My publisher did not schedule a book signing for me. But if you're out and about, stop me in the halls. Text or DM me. Let's catch up!


Four day into my PAD challenge and I've stalled at poem 4. Hoping to catch up at the airport. There's something about airport limbo that's conducive to writing. Here's hoping there are no travel delays.

Will post pics from the convention center! 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

National Poetry Month

I love, love, love this year's Massachusetts Poetry Festival flyer/poster, created by Randi Giles. Festival dates are May 1-3. Planning is well underway, which makes April an important month for me.


The Poem-a-Day challenge starts today. I don't do the big public group-shares anymore (permissions is too much of a hassle to post on a blog), so I work with members of the Salem Writers Group and share in email. Always nice to commiserate and lament how difficult the process is with friends who "get" you. We suffer together.


Check out Collin Kelley's beautiful poetry banner hanging up in West Hollywood. So cool!


And this. The beautiful and talented Kelli Russell Agodon gives an interview with Theatrical Mustang Poetry. She talks about life as a poet and as a publisher with Two Sylvias Press. Also, Kelli reads my poem, "In the Company of Women" at the end of the podcast. Fun fact: That poem almost made it into the April 2015 edition of O Magazine.

And if you haven't caught Kelli's feature in this month's O Magazine, you should.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Confession Tuesday

It is the last Tuesday in March, which according to my daughter is not going out like a lamb.

Well, these are the dog days of spring for me, where time is at a premium. In fact, all of my time is scheduled out. Before I go to bed, I write out a to-do list. In the morning, I go out an make a time map, so I can see how much time I have for festival planning and grading.

In fact, I'm writing this post out in the parking lot of the kids school as I wait for the end of their school day. Nothing is wasted today, not even time. 

It is what it is for the next week or so. 


As I look over to the car next to me in the parking lot, there's another woman typing on her iPad, too. We are all so overscheduled and ridiculously busy for no good reason, I want to be busy looking for buds pushing up through the snow in the front yard. Now that's important. 


One upside to sitting in the parking lot on a warm afternoon (and by warm, I mean 45 degrees and sunny), I'm listening to Krista Tippet interview Mary Oliver on the show On Being. I've heard Mary Oliver read before, but it's been so long I couldn't remember what she sounded like. Her voice sounds strong. 

I'm listening to her talk about the "I" in poetry. She says (I'm paraphrasing) that she wanted the I to represent the possible reader, not just herself. The I is more than ego. It is a way for the reader to join the poet in the poem. I think it gives the poet ownership. 


I haven't written a poem since January, but I'm gearing up for a Poem a Day/National Poetry Writing Month challenge. As busy as I am, this is the one time all day where I make myself sit down and do something for myself.

Goodbye March, Hello April!

Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 National Poetry Month Poster

Here's the 2015 National Poetry Month poster from the Academy of American Poets. It arrived in the mail today. I have every NPM poster created since 2000. Most of them are in my office at work, but I'm keeping this one at home because I love it so much. Created by New Yorker Cartoonist Roz Chast, this poster features the first three lines of Mark Strand's poem, "Eating Poetry":
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
When the kids came home from school and saw this poster, it gave me a opportunity to talk about a poem I love with them, which is sort-of the whole point of National Poetry Month. Even a poster can be a way in to poetry. Maybe I can snag another for Ella's fourth grade class. I think they'd really love it, too.

National Poetry Month starts April 1. Check out 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month from the Academy.


"There is no happiness like mine."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Virginia Festival of the Book 2015

It's been so long since I've been to a festival as a reader that I almost forgot how much I enjoy it. Despite the awful travel--snowy night in Boston, being rerouted from Charlottesville to Richmond (thanks, Delta!), and driving 75 miles to the festival--I had a terrific time. Heck, it was 60 degrees with no snow on the ground. The weather was worth the travel alone.

Here are a few pictures from Virginia Festival of the Book.

Misery Islands!

I didn't take any pictures at my reading with Dan Albergotti and David Roderick, but I did take a few of the reading with Patrick Phillips, Mary-Sherman Willis, and Katherine Young.

My iPhone doesn't seem to be taking good pics lately, but here's a group shot of Laura-Gray Street, Hermine Pinson, Dan Albergotti, me, David Roderick, Sandra Beasley, and Patrick Phillips. Shout out to Kevin McFadden (not pictured) for all the hard work he does for poetry and this festival.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday folks. It's Tuesday. Time for your confessions.


Here's a picture of Ella and me goofing off at our local community access channel BevCam. Our favorite storyteller and poet Tony Toledo asked The Improbable Colleen Michaels and me to do a guest spot on his new show Speak Up. When the link's available, I'll add it. 

Colleen and I took our kids so they could see the television studio. Taping two episodes back-to-back was harder than I thought, and the thought of me appearing on screen weirds me out. But it was fun and I was able to plug the Mass Poetry Fest, which is always good.

(I wore striped during the filming, which probably added 100 lbs to the camera.)


Speaking of the festival, I have officially entered the point in the spring where I feel tired and run down. Lots of moving parts between the festival, classes, meetings and home life. I'm exhausted. My hope is that because I recognize that I'm exhausted, I can be kinder on myself and those around me. 

*So I am setting an intention and sticking with it: I want to move through my day with grace and light.* That's the mantra for the rest of the day/week/month.

Taking the time to write this means I am slowing down and doing something for myself.


And--the best news--my son made it to his basketball playoff finals! His team won three games in four days. Outstanding! He's got a battle this weekend with two games on Saturday, so he and his team will take it day by day. Rock on, Alex! Go Celtics!


I'm still diligently working on m'scrip. The work continues. I also feel an April Poem-a-Day challenge coming on--like a fever! 

I have not submitted poems anywhere in four months. I need to get on that soon. Just too much to do. 


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