Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday, Sunday

Feel like the last gasp of summer is happening. Last week, we were in Atlanta visiting with family (photos from the Georgia Aquarium). Today, we’re going to a Red Sox game. Next week, the kids start school—and so do I. *sigh* The last two months have gone by quickly. Here in the Boston area, many schools held their last classes around June 29, so the kids have only been out of school two month. Part of me thinks it’s been the right amount of time. Of course, I wish we had a few more weeks to play around.

Because I’ve been spending most of my time with the kids, I haven’t been as productive. I haven’t written much poetry or read much of it for that matter, nor have I wanted to. Even after the Millay Colony retreat, I really have been distracted by the other parts of my life I tend to ignore. I’ve slept, eaten very well, hung out with friends, and spent some glorious days and nights with Alex and Ella. 

I fine with taking a break from writing. Deep down, I know this is part of the process, but it’s always hard to get back into the swing of things. This blog, in particular, was the first part of my writing life to be neglected. But it’s time to make a move. Time to pick a direction and go.

I should say that I finished my third manuscript, so it’s not as if my summer hasn’t been productive from a writer’s standpoint. All of those other parts of my life—teaching classes, festival planning, and the po biz—need my attention, too. So I am thankful for this summer respite, thankful I have work that sustains me and allows me to spend this precious time with my children. And I’m especially thankful that you still stop by every once in a while. XO! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

WBUR: Boston Poetry Marathon Kicks Off Friday

It a bit of a surprise, my poem, "Hoodie," was featured yesterday as part of a WBUR story on the Boston Poetry Marathon happening this weekend.

My thanks to Jim Behrle for including me in the segment.

The marathon is in full swing! Go hear some of the best poetry happening in the Boston Area today. Congrats to the organizers for putting together such an amazing event.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Boston Poetry Marathon 2015

The Boston Poetry Marathon Starts today! Look at all the fabulous poets reading during the next three days. Each poet reads for 8 minutes. I'm on the early side, tonight at 7:16. So, I'll read and then sit down to hear most of this amazing lineup.

Read more about the Boston Poetry Marathon.

Hope to see you there!

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Audio: Summer Poetry Reading with Meena Alexander, Ross Gay and January Gil O'Neil

My deepest thanks to the Academy of American Poets and the New York Public Library for including me in their summer reading series. Hear Meena Alexander, Ross Gay (with Aimee Nezhukumatathil), and me from our July 14 event.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Confession Tuesday

I am now the mother of a 10-year-old! Where has the time gone? And how did I get so lucky with this beautiful, creative, strong, determined, quirky, amazing young lady?

This confession Tuesday is for Ella Rose.

I haven't spoken about this in a while, but about two weeks after she was born, Ella was diagnosed with a coarctation of the aorta. In layman's terms, she wasn't getting enough blood flowing to her lower extremities. When she stopped feeding suddenly and started breathing shallow breaths, I would have dismissed it if it wasn't for my mom who told me just get her checked out just to be safe. Fortunately, there was a doctor on call from Boston Children's Hospital on duty at our local hospital who knew something was wrong. The doctor had Ella sent to Boston for tests. A few hours later she was in surgery. And a few days later, with no more than Tylenol to ease the pain, she was home with us.

About a week ago, Ella visited the cardiologist who gave her a clean bill of health. Not even a murmur. She's never had any difficulty, but we get check ups with a specialists every two years. It's as if the coarctation never happened. Of course, she has no memory of it, just two barely noticeable scars under her left shoulder blade.

So I am grateful that Ella is here, and 10 feels like a real victory over all the dark fears that mothers (and fathers) entertain when no one is looking. I've always known that if she could survive surgery, she could survive anything.

Happy Birthday, baby girl!

Monday, July 27, 2015

In Retreat

Hello from Millay Colony!

I am midway through a writers' retreat with four very good friends. This is my second time here, so returning feels like a homecoming.

Two of us are staying in the main house (this picture doesn't do it justice), while I'm retreating in the barn with two others. Each room comes with a studio that gets great light all day. The barn has a rustic feel. No cell service. No television. No better way to shake things up for a city slicker like me.

Steepletop Barn

The property, also known as Steepletop, was owned by poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. There is the retreat center, and her house and grounds, which have been lovingly maintained and preserved throughout the years. About 600 acres remain of this one-time blueberry farm.

Millay's House

I hadn't read much of Millay's work until I came to Steepletop. She lived from 1892 to 1950, and was a true rock-star poet. She came from humble beginnings, was the poet in the 1920s and 30s, and died young at age 58. Brassy, intelligent, promiscuous--I like to think of her as "a broad" who almost always got what she wanted. Known as one of the best sonnet writers in the 20th century, she's been all but forgotten in the canon of poets. Millay wasn't the nicest of poets, so I wonder about the price an artist makes to pursue her passion.

I can't help but be inspired by the landscape and by my fellow poets as we create in this amazing space. Millay is everywhere. I can't help but be inspired here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Actor from The Ride bus tour, Times Square. Photo by Alex O'Neil

Happy Tuesday folks! Time for confessions. Here we go.


The kids are I are fresh off of our trip to New York City. What an honor it was to read with the Academy of American Poets with Ross Gay and Meena Alexander. It's hard to get on anyone's radar screen these days so it's nice to be included with an organization that has been a part of my writing career from the start.

But what meant the most to me was having Alex and Ella in the audience. What I'm hoping is that they make a connection between me doing what I love and the places your passions can take you. I want my children to realize someday that it was my poems that brought us to NYC. And if they work hard enough, they can create a rich and full life by doing what makes them happy.

Isn't that what we all want?

I am woefully behind on my poem a day challenge. I think I'm down by 10 poems. But I should be able to catch up because this week I'll be traveling with some poet friends to Millay Colony for a weeklong writers retreat. I did this two years ago and found the experience extremely productive. I'll work on m'script #3, revise the Juno poems--which may or may not turn into book #4, and catch up on my reading. And, of course, write more poems!


I have a few poems coming out, but I haven't submitted poems to journals in six months. And, I'm OK with that. When you write a poem a day, those poems need to sit before being released into the wild.


Overall, I've been relatively lazy. I mean, I haven't had the desire to create a to-do list. Even if there are things to do, I don't want to do them. What's wrong with me?


God, I *heart* summer.


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