Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday folks! Time for confessions.  

This is the last full week of school for my kids, so between end-of-school-year activities and little league baseball, we've been busy. 


Congrats to Alex and his teammates for making it to the city championship! They played their hearts and lost to a tough team. Couldn't ask for more than that. Alex starts all-stars soon so the second half of his season begins this week.


The warm weather has restored my soul. But like most New Engenders we're still traumatized from this past winter. Seriously, not a day goes by and I don't flashback to the mounds of snow on the sidewalks are curbs. Not. One. Day. Fortunately, late nights at the ballpark in shorts eating ice cream helps. 


Recently, I became poetry co-editor for Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices. I'll be working with Ben Berman (who may be one of the nicest people I've ever met) and Lee Hope (also extremely nice), who's done a fabulous job steering the direction of this online magazine. Also, Solstice will produce an occasional print edition moving forward.  

It was a very cool opportunity I couldn't refuse.


Manuscript #3 is done! It's being reviewed by some of my closest poet friends. The plan is to get edits back by mid-July, and then continue to work on it at our Millay Colony retreat. It feels good to get this book together because this is some of my strongest writing. I'm happy with the title, mostly happy with the order--just feels good to call this group of poems complete, especially since I haven't been writing much at all these past few months. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Calliope Reading Series

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of reading with the Calliope Reading Series at the West Falmouth Library. Such a wonderful group of poets and poetry lovers on the Cape. I read with Barbara Crooker (far left) and Irene Willis with an open mic after. Our poems seem to complement each other, which makes for a fine reading when that happens. Many thanks to Alice Kociemba for putting us together.

Irene Willis

Barbara Crooker

Alice Kociemba

I brought Alex and Ella with me, which I don't do often when I have to drive more than an hour. It helps that the event was help at a library where they didn't have to sit still. There are no kid pics from the reading because they are SOOOOO over mom and the poetry thing. I made the kids a deal: if they didn't complain about the car ride, I would take them to KFC for a meal. Everybody wins.

Kid pic from the beach:

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks. Share a little of yourself with us and we promise to do the same.

For Mothers' Day, my mother bought me a camera. So I've been playing around with my new toy every day since. Unfortunately, I can't find the directions. I have no idea what to do besides point and shoot.

Here are some pictures of some geese. Or ducks. Geese. I'm not sure what they are.


A few days ago I was speaking with a friend about our poetry careers. After a bit of a back and forth, my friend asked me, "What do you want?" And while I answered the question, I'm really not sure. It was a question about long-term goals, and while I have an answer, I really had to think about it. I know what I want long term, but what do I want at this mid-point in my career? What do I want for my writing?  I need to keep busy, keep progressing. Part of me thinks I've taken my eye off the ball.


It's hard to stay focused when the weather rises above 70 degrees.


Manuscript revisions are progressing. I'm hoping to finish up by June 15. My self-imposed deadline gives me a month to send it out to friends, and then work on the edits at Millay Colony. That's right! Mid-July, a small group of us will rent out Millay again to work on various projects. It will be heaven. I don't do well with nature (ticks, snakes), but I am looking forward to this.


Much of my free time has been spent at Alex's baseball games. The playoffs start this weekend. I'm excited for him now that his hitting is coming around. I love watching that kid play. He's so smart on the field.

Not to be outdone, Ella has been singing music from the Into the Woods soundtrack around the house, which is a step up from Pitch Perfect 2. I wonder if I have Broadway star in the making.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy first week of spring, folks! Well, if you live in New England, it is a rainy and cold 46 degrees on June 2. Tell me again how there's no such thing as climate change?

Onto confessions ...


Here's a photo I took of Ella this morning for her PowerPoint presentation on earthworms. First of all, she doing a PowerPoint. Hello, technology. Second, notice she's wearing a winter coat. Ugh. I do love this photo.

Well, before Sunday, we had been experiencing unseasonably warm, dry weather. It spoiled me. After the harsh winter--which most of us are still traumatized from--I really though nature owed us. Wrong. But, of course, she had other plans. This too shall pass, right?



My second book, Misery Islands, has been selected by Mass Center for the Book as a 2015 Must-Read Book in the poetry category, and is a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry!

The full list of nominees:
Liam Day, Afforded Permanence (Aforementioned Productions)
Jeffrey Harrison, Into the Daylight (Tupelo Press)
Fanny Howe, Second Childhood (Graywolf Press)
Jennifer Markell, Samsara (Turning Point)
January Gill O'Neil, Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press)
Afaa Michael Weaver, City of Eternal Spring (Pittsburgh UP)

The winners and finalists are promoted to libraries and bookstores across the state. Winners in all categories announced in September.

I'm thrilled that this book is hitting a stride and finding an audience. And, I love the idea of having books promoted with libraries and book groups. How cool is that?


Still working on third manuscript. I'm revising poem by poem, which I should finish this week. Then, I'll send it off to poet-friends to read. Out of the 59 poems, I feel confident about 40 of them. Now, does that mean I should cut the weak ones? This is why I need a few semi-objective readers to give it to me straight. My biggest fear is that I'll write new ones and want to add them. Oh well, there are worse problems to have.


"Shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather."

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Salem Poetry Seminar

Have you heard about the Salem Poetry Seminar? This is a program where students are selected from public colleges and universities for a weeklong writers' retreat at Salem State. The cost of the program is free. There's a minimal cost to students to stay on-site, but students get campus credit to purchase meals and snacks. Wish I had something like this as an undergrad.  

Jill McDonough, Charlotte Gordon, and J.D. Scrimgeour are the workshop leaders, and I'm reading later in the week. 

This is a really cool thing we do for emerging writers. Hope you make it to some of the readings to see the next generation of Massachusetts writers. 


The Salem Poetry Seminar is a weeklong event for students at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts. Thirteen students, selected from throughout the commonwealth,have the opportunity to study poetry writing intensively with noted teachers and authors Charlotte Gordon, J.D. Scrimgeour and Jill McDonough. 

In addition to day long poetry study, the seminar includes free nightly readings by established poets and seminar participants. All readings are held at 7:30 pm in the Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex Street.

Wednesday, June 3
M.P. Carver and J.D. Scrimgeour with student poets Julie Fabbo (Framingham State) , Elizabeth Tobin (Bridgewater State), Jessica Tower (Salem State), and Woody Woodger (Westfield State).

Thursday, June 4
Charlotte Gordon and January Gill O’Neil with student poets Taylor Boticelli (Salem State), Mallory Braun (UMass Amherst), Victoria Nicolau (Salem State), Robin Parsons (Westfield State), and Cady Vishniac (UMass Boston)

Friday, June 5
Salem Poetry Seminar Alumni Reading featuring Joey Gould, Lisa Mangini and Enzo Surin.

Saturday, June 6
Jill McDonough and student poets Robert Auld (Salem State), Amy Gaeta (UMass Boston), Andrew Mansfield Westfield State), and Kayleigh Turgeon (UMass Lowell)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Summer Reading

These are books I’ve accumulated since March. Most I have not read, but some didn’t get my full attention.  In alpha order:

1.     The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander
2.       Why God Is a Woman, Nin Andrews
3.       Do Not Rise, Beth Bachmann
4.       The Last Two Seconds, Mary Jo Bang
5.       We Come Elemental, Tamiko Beyer
6.       The New Testament, Jericho Brown
7.       All-season Stephanie, Stephen Burt
8.       New to the Lost Coast, Joshua Butts
9.       The Breakbeat Poets, Kevin Corval, Quaraysh Lansana, and Nate Marshall
10.   Deep Lane, Mark Doty
11.   My Feelings, Nick Flynn
12.   Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Ross Gay
13.   How to Be Drawn, Terrance Hayes
14.   Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist, Kirun Kapur
15.   You Are Indeed an Elk, But This Is Not the Forest You Were Born to Graze, Kyle McCord
16.   Digest, Greg Pardlo
17.   King Me, Roger Reeves
18.   The Americans, David Roderick
19.   War of the Foxes, Richard Siken
20.   What the Truth Tastes Likes, Martha Silano
21.   In the Kettle, The Shriek, Hannah Stephenson
22.   Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson


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