Friday, October 31, 2008

All Hallows Eve

Supergirl and Bumblebee the Transformer wish you a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You Campaign in Poetry

Admittedly, this is not my idea--it's been making the rounds on a few listservs. But it seems like a fun idea.


Former New York Governer Cuomo once said: "You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose."

You are invited to compose variations on Cuomo's text and post your responses here.

You ______________ in poetry; you ______________ in prose.


You campaign in ____________ ; you govern in ______________.

Feel free to post more than once, post on your own blog, distribute this text to others, collect versions of these sentences from people you meet, and post those here, too.

The responses are to be as spontaneous as possible. Maybe this is the start of that political poem you've always wanted to write.

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Billy Collins - "Litany"

Confession Tuesday

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages—it's Confession Tuesday! Time to share the highs and lows. What's on your mind? Tell us a little about yourselves and we'll do the same. And stop by The Confessional to see who said what and why.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Friday's post on The Creative Economy. I encourage you to keep the conversation going, and respond to other comments in that post.


We're one week away from the U.S. presidential elections. Lately, I've watched CNN incessantly … it's my crack! Can't get enough of it or that magic map. Thank goodness the Boston Celtics start their regular NBA season tonight so I have something to watch after the elections.

In all seriousness, I haven't spoken much about the elections but I do plan to post about it in the next few days.


I'm trying very hard not to beat myself up for not being a more productive writer. Admittedly, I'm coming off a very busy period with lots of poetry and travel. So now that I'm entering a slower-paced period, I'd like to start writing poems, but not just any poems. I'd like to write a series of poems with a focus. Between writing, submitting to journals, working on manuscript #2, and working on a marketing plan for book #1, I should really give myself a break.


The nice part about not having so much to do outside the home is that I can spend more time with the kids. I'm very happy that All Hallows Eve is upon us. Hmmm … maybe this is the year to introduce "The Raven" to the kids. Halloween photos to be posted Nov. 1.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who Should Win the National Book Award

Who do you think should win the National Book Award in Poetry?

Year after year, we hear people say that such and such should have won, or I think blank should have won. Well, here is your chance to say who YOU think should win, not necessarily who will win.

Who should win the NBA for Poetry?
Frank Bidart for Watching the Spring Festival
Mark Doty for Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems
Reginald Gibbons for Creatures of a Day
Richard Howard for Without Saying
Patricia Smith for Blood Dazzler

View Results

Create your own myspace poll

Friday, October 24, 2008

Your Creative Economy

This morning, I woke up to find the Dow Futures down, way below market levels. And sure enough, they are sagging this trading day, which made me want to frame this post in a way that resonates with the creative community and creative souls in the blogosphere.

Personally, this global financial downturn and run-up to the U.S. presidential elections are making me tense. Now I'm not a fatalist. Nor do I plan to start buying massive quantities of food in bulk and raise chickens in my yard (but yea for those who do). I understand that the Dow is not a good indicator of what's really going on in credit markets or oil futures, and that all of this is cyclical (so no lectures on the economy, please).

I want to pose some questions to you to see how this public turmoil is affecting your private space. The goal is to start a dialogue. Feel free to address one or all of these questions at any time, or add your own to the mix.

  1. As a creative entity, how is the recent economic downturn affecting how you create?
  2. Has the downturn affected how you write and what you write about?
  3. Are you making choices on how you spend your money (new poetry books vs. paying bills)?
  4. Has the downturn changed how you enter contests, or look for grants and sources of funding?
  5. Has the downturn changed how you submit poems/manuscripts for publication, given the cost of postage and reading fees?
  6. Has the current state of your state led to opportunities? Have you found a silver lining?

The unrest in the U.S. weighs on my mind, and is hitting my pocketbook* in small ways. It makes a difference how often I go to Starbucks during the week to write. Do I spend that money on myself or spend it on gas for the car? It affects how many books I buy and what subscriptions to journals and reviews I maintain. Now more than ever, I take advantage of online submission software rather than mailing. As for my writing, I think this distress has made it harder for me to focus on the art. I'm not one to shut the world out to create, yet on some level all of this is taking up space in my brain.

So I'm curious. Is your creative economy up or down?

*I carry a purse. Pocketbook is just an expression. *smile*

SNL Thursday: " Dubya endorses McCain/Palin Ticket

Will Ferrell makes a guest appearance on SNL Thursday with Darrell Hammond and Tina Fey.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Confession Tuesday

To steal a line from O magazine, this I know for sure: it's time to confess! Post a confession here on this blog or on your own. And stop by The Confessional to see who else is sharing this week

True Confession: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays deserved their game 7 win against the Boston Red Sox. There, I said it! If the Sox have the bases loaded and can't bring runners home in the 8th inning, then they deserve to lose. The Sox had their chances. And, quite frankly, the Rays have been terrific all year.


This past Saturday, my son Alex slid down a set of stairs in our house and got a small gash under his chin that required stitched. *sigh* My son's first real boo boo! My husband, just the salt of the earth, scooped him up and took him to the emergency room on a Saturday night. But Alex was a brave trooper through the whole experience. I, on the other hand, was a wreck.

Then on Sunday, I left the house to run an errand while Tim watched the kids. I left a bottle of children's Tylenol on the counter for Tim to give to Alex to help manage his pain. Thought the cap was secured on the bottle; but lo and behold, Ella poured some in the medicine cup and took a swig.

She's fine. Turns out that for her weight, according to Poison Control (what a name!), she would have had to drink 85 percent of the bottle to be in real trouble. I think Ella only had about two tablespoons and no signs of distress after the incident.

KIDS! Try as we might to keep them safe, they keep testing their limits over and over again.


Let's see … the 30/30 poetry challenge is more like a 10/10 challenge! My intent was to write more poems, but I just had too much travel happening in October.

I did manage to send an entry to the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes. Typically, I don't enter contests but this looks like a good one.


Now that my poetry-related travel is over for a while, it's time for me to come up with new goals for the remainder of the year. I'll post a new to-do list this week that will consist of as much reading as possible, since I have not been reading much poetry or fiction. My writing has felt forced and stilted. I'm hoping to break out of my slump with a new set on challenges in November.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sarah Palin Rap

Amy Poehler rocks the mic with her Weekend Update Sarah Palin Rap.

New Poem

Poem for My Son After Receiving Stitches

A missed step and many tears later
I find myself holding a small boy
crumpled in my hands like a paper towel.
Under your chin a gash has opened,
allowing me to see what you’re made of—
me, the person who gave you life
as you try your unintentional best
to take it away. The body must heal
the fissure it has inherited, spackle itself
into place, all of those processes
you feel happening inside but can’t explain.
Yet all I can do is hold you, tell you
about the mythology of throbbing,
the body’s plight, tear and repair,
and how you are the needle, the thread,
holding me together.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Poetry Friday

Last Friday was a complete blur! As part of Babson's inauguration, I was honored to read a poem of my choosing, Mary Oliver's "Sunrise."

That's new president Len Schlesinger and Jack Welsh, former CEO of General Electric Company.
As if the day couldn't get any better, I was accompanied to inauguration by Joseph Legaspi made it up from NYC. Coincidental, he had a reading in Boston and was able to join me for the big event.

Here he is, reading at the Fresh Press Cafe in Brighton, as a part of Boston College's Filipino American Writers’ Night.

Also reading was Sarah Gambito, pictured below, along with Bino Realuyo and Lara Stapleton.

Even I had a chance to read two of my own poems at the open mic--icing on my very, big cake.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Babson College Inauguration

I'm in the unique position of working behind the scenes of today's inauguration ceremony at Babson College, and being a part of the festivities!

Babson officially installs its 12th president, Len Schlesinger, today at 2 p.m. I will be reading Mary Oliver's poem "Sunrise" as part of the event. If you would like to see me read live, or check out the ceremony, come back to the Babson's Inauguration Web site just before 2 p.m.

The event is being streamed live, and my portion is early in the program. I should be reading between 2-2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joseph Legaspi and Sarah Gambito reading in Boston

My very good friends Joseph Legaspi and Sarah Gambito are reading in Boston. Hope you can make it!

Filipino American Writers’ Night
October 17, 2008
6–8 p.m.
French Press Cafe
2201 Commonwealth Ave, Brighton, MA
@ Boston College Stop of the B-Line

Featuring acclaimed poets and novelists: Sarah Gambito, Joseph Legaspi, Bino Realuyo, and Lara Stapleton. Open Mic to follow.

Confession Tuesday

Time to fess up! What's on your mind? Confession is good for the soul, right? So tell us something you've been holding back, and we promise to read, empathize, and maybe even laugh with you. Isn't that was community is all about? Also, be sure to check out the regular confessors in The Confessional.


Here's my big confession. I forgot it was Confession Tuesday! Gosh darn it, Columbus Day threw me off. So today's confessions will be short but sweet.


Had a phenomenal time at the Mass Poetry Festival. The poetry community came out in full force for the state's first-ever poetry festival. What did I enjoy most? I spent the day with the poets in my Salem Writer's group, who are terrific poets and just fun to be around. Also spent time with Cape Cod poet Jarita Davis, and was privy to conversations with poets around the state. However, could not find intelligent words to have a conversation with Martín Espada. Couldn't manage more than "I really enjoyed your reading." Lame!


This Friday, I will read a Mary Oliver poem as a featured reader for Babson's 12th Inauguration. Surprisingly, I'm not nervous about it, even though I think there will be more than 1,000 people in attendance (*GULP* OK, maybe I'm a little nervous). Bought my outfit yesterday—bough two outfits, actually—and will post pictures of the event over the weekend.


Poems written for my October 30/30 Challenge: 4. Time to get cracking!


I'm in one of those cycles where I'm not responding to posts right away. Thanks for all the kind words. Hope to start responding, as well as visiting your blogs, later this week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mass Poetry: Day 2

At the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Saturday was a full day of simultaneous sessions on poetry or poetry-related topics. Whether you wanted to listen to emerging poets, or learn how to make poetry books, or head over to the book fair, there was something for everyone during the day.

My first stop was a noontime open mic for Salem, MA, writers, in which I participated.

We had about 16 readers, all of us reading no more than four minutes. It made for a healthy crowd with a great variety of topics and styles.

Poet and Cave Canem fellow Jarita Davis read at the Cape Cod Writers reading.

Poet J.D. Scrimgeour and musician/composer Philip Swanson performed their collaboration called Confluence: Where Words and Music Meet at The Revolving Museum (probably the coolest venue of the festival).

Later, after a meet-and-great session with organizers and participants, the featured poets read to a packed crowd.

(Former Poet U.S. Laureate Robert Pinsky)

Lucie Brock-Broido, Martín Espada, and Robert Pinksy reminded us all about the great literary traditions we have established here in Massachusetts, from Jack Kerouac to Elizabeth Bishop.

It’s also worth noting that was my first time in Lowell, MA, a city once a thriving mill town. After much revitalization, the city is using all of that mill space to create a dynamic place for families as well as artists and the creative community.

Well, all I can say is that the “creative economy” of Massachusetts got a boost with this festival. And I am optimistic about the 2009 festival and the outreach and events leading up to next year’s event.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mass Poetry: Day One

As with the Dodge Poetry Festival, Jarita Davis and I are together again attending the first-ever Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

Since this festival is in its infancy, organizers are hoping for a good turnout. It's an interesting contrast to Dodge, known an established poetry venue that poets and poetry lovers attend regularly. The organizers hope that the same kind of following with develop over time. Turnout should be good today; the weather in Lowell, MA, should be a comfortable 70 degrees, and, unlike Dodge, no rain.

Last night, we attended the main event, hosted by poet Charles Coe, with featured readings by poets Rhina Espaillat, Reggie Gibson, and Nick Flynn. And later, we went to an open mic hosted by poet Tim Gager. Excellent performances by all. It was too dark in the venues to take pictures, but I'll post pictures from today's sessions and events.

The birth of a new festival--this is a very exciting thing to witness. I believe all of the poets are living in or connected to Massachusetts, which is a nice touch, too. Can't even imagine what it takes to organize a large-scare poetry event from the ground up. If there's anything I can to do help (like shamelessly spread the word), I'll do what I can because any group willing to champion a poetry event during dismal economic times is an event worth supporting.

Poetry is EXACTLY what we need need right now. (Well, that and an economic bailout plan that works!)

I will be reading later today during an open mic, as will Jarita at an afternoon venue. But I will be around all day, camera in hand, enjoying the best poetry the state has to offer.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Poetry has its pros - The Boston Globe

Poetry has its pros - The Boston Globe

"EVERYONE is talking about the creative economy, but the first-ever Massachusetts Poetry Festival is doing something about it.

Today through Sunday, Lowell will host a three-day party, an experiment in how to increase the power of poetry's punch. The festival is a celebration of poetry for its own sake, but could also be a tool to expand and capitalize on a precious cultural asset."

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Paris Hilton for Fake President

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Oh Paris. It scares me when you even make the slightest bit of sense ... like I've slipped into the twilight zone.

New Poem

This is 30/30 poem #2.


Evening pulses against the commuter rail
as it groans the last of the weary commuters home,

rhythmic as breaking waves. Under the halo
of streetlamps, the autumn grass grows unhemmed,

each blade a factory at work, silent in its duty
to the soil, the yard, the hands that loved it from seed.

Years come quickly, almost wordless, private as houses,
which makes the walk home even lovelier.

I am grateful for this quiet magnificence.
For the train as it presses on in the dark

like a murmur, like a soft wind quivering
over surburbia, reminding me

that the only thing this life owes
any of us is an ending.

Mass Poetry Festival

This weekend, the first Massachusetts Poetry Festival takes place in Lowell from Friday to Sunday. It will feature some of the Commonwealth’s best poets and most of the events are free. This is a test-run for the festival. If there is enough interest, it may become a bigger annual event, so I hope you can come out and support it.

While you’re at it, come out and support me!

Olive That and More
Open Mic
Saturday, Oct. 11
High noon
167 Market St. in Lowell

This reading will feature members of the Salem Writers’ Group, and alumni of the Salem Poetry Seminars. Some of the probable readers include:
J.D. Scrimgeour
Julie Batten
Kevin Carey
Jennifer Jean
Colleen Michaels
January O’Neil (woo hoo!)

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Deee-Lite Vote, Baby Vote


As the song says, "Vote, baby, vote. Are you registered, baby?"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Confession Tuesday

It’s time to confess! Share something about yourself with us, and be sure to check out other confessors in The Confessional.

OMG, where do I start?

This past Saturday was Alex’s 5th birthday. Tim and I threw him a party and it was wild! I mean, I’ve never chased so many little kids under the age of 6. First the kids were in the moonwalk (a giant, helium-filled bouncy tent). Then they were in Alex’s room. Then they were somewhere else in the house that required supervision. They didn’t travel in packs like wolves—that would have made things easier. But they split up into groups of two and three. It was like chasing squirrels around the house! Cute squirrels, but squirrels nonetheless.

All in all, it was a fun party with a weird flow. Most important, Alex had the time of his life and that’s all that matters. My sweet boy!


Then on Sunday, I drove back down to NJ to participate in a retreat, with my publisher, CavanKerry Press, and other poets with this publisher. For me, it was a kind of validation sitting with poets who had books or forthcoming books with this publisher. Always nice to put names with faces. Made me wonder if other publishers do this or if I lucked into something special with CKP

I arrived in NYC to pick up Joseph Legapsi, who is also with this publisher, and then we went to the retreat. It lasted a few hours; we filled the time with good conversations and excellent food and drink. And when it was over, Joseph and I went back to the city for a celebratory drink, marveling at how far we’d come since our days at NYU.

Then I was on the road at 5:30 a.m., back at work by 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning.


Because I’ve been busy with traveling, Alex’s birthday, and a nasty cold I picked up along the way, I’m woefully behind on my 30/30 Challenge. I’m still hoping to have 30 poems by the beginning of November.


One of my poems was accepted by Drunken Boat. Apparently, there are two Web zines of the same name—two different projects (I'm sure there's a story here.). The Drunken Boat this month has large showing of Cave Cavem poets. My poem will appear in the next 12 months in the interactive Web zine Drunken Boat, with audio!


Lastly, I have an article about the Dodge Poetry Festival up at Read Write Poem. While I’m usually pretty good at deadlines, I’ve been blowing them lately. Almost missed the window to submit. Sorry Deb and Dana.

Check out RWP's swanky new look!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Lucille Clifton reading at the 2006 Dodge Poetry Festival

Finally, the good folks at Dodge have uploaded performances by poets on YouTube! There are 13 videos on the "grdodge" channel. I suspect we'll see more videos uploaded by 2009.

For now, enjoy this performance from Lucille Clifton from the main stage Poetry Sampler.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Boston 30/30 All Star Challenge

I must be crazy to do this ... and it's not even NaPoWriMo. Actually, after my Dodge experience, I'm looking forward to strapping the Muse to a chair and interrogating her until she tells me everything she knows.

From the 30/30 All Star blog:

The 30/30 All Star poetry event. Fifty-five poets are writing a poem a day for the month of October. The blog will contain poems, prompts, and other noteworthy stuff as the month continues. The All Stars will read work generated from these 30 days on ...

November 12
The Cantab Lounge
738 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA
8 p.m.

November 16
The Lizard Lounge
1667 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA
9 p.m.
featuring the Jeff Robinson Trio

Wow, what a talented group of writers! Good luck to everyone.


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