Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goodbye Manny

I've had a tough week. I've been working late hours since vacation. A few days ago, I lost all the songs in my iTunes library (don't ask). And now this! Manny Ramirez has been traded to the Dodgers. That sucks. I just can't see how we win another World Series without him. Damn!

Thank goodness the Olympics are around the corner.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Confession Tuesday

It's the last Tuesday in July and--don't tell me--you have much to confess. Well, feel free to enter The Confessional and unburden yourself. Tell us a few things you would normally keep a secret. Go on. You know you want to.

This is the first real harvest of our first vegetable garden. What’s not pictured are hefty amounts of lush basil, oregano, parsley, mint, and carrots. Also not pictured are these light green jalapeƱo peppers that Tim swears are the hottest peppers he’s ever tasted.


Back from vacation. I really enjoy spending time with Tim’s family (I’d have to with so many people under one roof). But I end up doing as much work on vacation as I do at home. Ask my husband, and he’ll say something like, “I get so much rest on vacation. I love not having to watch the kids for a week.” What he don’t seem to get is that I pick up the slack watching out for the kids, especially Ella, as well as doing an inordinate amount of laundry, housecleaning, and food prep. Drives me freaking crazy, almost to the point of pulling out of next year’s vacation.


My toes have four half-coats of dark pink nail polish on them because I’m too lazy to remove the previous layers.


I’m keeping my confessions short this week so I can work on a poem. Yes, I’m writing again. The goal? Five poems in five days. If I can finish it tonight, I’ll post it. But I tend to write into the wee hours. I’m just happy that I’m writing again.


I have fallen asleep twice trying to finish this post. It’s not even 10:30 p.m. yet. How sad is that?

New Poem

Woo hoo!

I have been stuck on poem #39 for the longest time. Maybe that's because I'm 39 years old and carry a psychological block to the number 40. In any case, it's done, and what follows is a new poem. I'm not even sure if this is a true aubade, but I'm going with it. OK, enough jibba jabba. Here it is.

Aubade for Angels

I can’t trust wind inside the house.
The metal blinds rattle their morning questions
for which I have no answers. In turn,

a bedroom door opens and closes at will,
in a conversation about departing.
The angels wait, round the clouds

at the edge of perception.
They stir a strange longing
that pushes us into recollection.

They reminds us of what is fleeting,
a crave inside a kiss,
intense and horrible

like a fireball, full of leaving
for the one who has left.
Wind, I wonder about your motives.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Interview: Sharon Olds

Sharon grants so few interviews that this is a treat.

From The Guardian:

The woman many regard as America's greatest living poet lives in a sprawling Upper West Side apartment where, for the past 40 years, she has written in a rocking chair overlooking the Hudson. When she gives a reading, people queue around the block to hear her - the night before we meet, so many fans turned up that they had to crouch on the floor and on window-sills. Her work has been anthologised in more than 100 collections and she has won poetry's most prestigious awards - the San Francisco Poetry Center award, the Lamont Poetry prize, the National Book Critics Circle award, the TS Eliot prize - but she is strangely little known here. In America she divides opinion: Michael Ondaatje called her poetry "pure fire in the hands"; the critic Helen Vendler called it pornographic.

Postcard from the Edge

Hello! Even though I checked my blog and e-mail while I was gone, I really felt as if the blog was an actual place I left, which makes coming back to it all the more sweeter.

We had a great time in Matunuck, Rhode Island, with Tim's family. The weather cooperated except for two days, and on the rainiest day we took the kids to see Wall-E (Hated it! But the kids loved it, of course.) Had three hot days at the beach and lots of ice cream in the evenings to keep us cool.

The July vacation always signals that I'm on the downside of summer, but this time I promise not to fall into despair. I intend to work hard and play even harder until the season ends! Damn, I love summer.

Here are a few poetry things I'll be working on this week--a mini to-do list, if you will:

  1. Five poems in five days. I'll need you to cheer me on, especially because I haven't written any in three months. Yikes!
  2. A trip around the blogosphere. If I haven't been by your blog in a while, get the guest room ready 'cause here I come!
  3. Map plans out for August poetry project (more on that later)
  4. Finish reading The Practical Writer
  5. Work on plans for upcoming NEWS reading events

It's good to be home.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Confession Tuesday

This is the vacation version of Confession Tuesday. Yes, The Confessional is open to lighten your load. Tell us anything and everything you wish to share, and I will add your name to our list of weekly sinners … eh … saints.

We are staying with Tim’s family at a beach house next to an inlet, walking distance to the beach. When the last of the family members arrive in a day or two, there will be 25 adults and kids under one roof! But so far, so good—good weather, good food, good kids. OK, great kids. And the weather has cooperated so we’re clicking on all cylinders. One big-ass happy family.


Unfortunately, I’ve been plagued with something I can only term as insomnia. I’ve never has it before, but I’ve been awake for almost two days straight. And, my sinuses are killing me. After I post, I’m taking some medicine and calling it a day.

This vacation always signals the beginning and end of summer for me. The weather is so unpredictable until this week, and then it’s over.

Today was a perfect beach day. I managed to get through the first outing with my new suit (no pictures to post, thank you).

As for the poems, they are coming—thanks to my lack of sleep. Hope to post by the end of the week. My goal is to claim my all-important me time to finish pieces I’ve started and revise some completed work.

True confession: Anticipating a need for me time, I mapped out, in advance, the closest route to Starbucks.

Still have to write a poem about trash for an upcoming video project. Trash, what a topic!
Enjoy the rest of the week!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Taking a Vay-Cay

I’m tuning out • tuning in • beach music • summer smells • long walks • longer naps • Matunuck • Newport • Block Island • Red Sox • Vanilla Bean • Theater by the Sea • Fiddlesticks • Ocean Mist • white wine • red wine • laughter • clam cakes • crab boil • kayaking • fishing • dreaming • kid time • family time • couple time • me time • pictures • poems • peace

Friday, July 18, 2008

Earth's Body: An Ecopoetry Anthology

(This is a project worth checking out!)

Coeditors Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street solicit submissions for an international anthology of ecopoetry.

We are looking for a wide and varied array of submissions. Our working definition of "ecopoetry" is flexible; it includes not only what might be called nature poetry, and not only poetry that focuses on environmental issues, but also experimental poetry--poetry that explores language in its relations with the other-than-human. We welcome work by emerging as well as established poets. We welcome serious poems, playful poems, poems in open or traditional forms. Depending on limitations of space, we will consider not only short poems but also poems of several pages. The anthology will include only living poets or poets who were alive as of July 2007, and will include only poems either written in English oral ready translated into English; for poems not written in English, both the original and the translation must be submitted, and if accepted,both will be published. We will consider work that has been previously published.

The deadline for submissions is DECEMBER 15, 2008. Please send up to six poems to BOTH Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street. You may send them as email text or by snail mail. If they come as email text, make sure the spacing and lineation travel accurately. WE WILL NOT OPEN ATTACHMENTS. Please also include a short bio and a cover letter, and an SASE for our reply.

Ann Fisher-Wirth
English Department
Bondurant C-135
University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677

Laura-Gray Street
English Department
2500 Rivermont
Randolph College
Lynchburg, VA 24503

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies GIVEAWAY!

My friend and partner in crime Erin Dionne has a new Young Adult novel coming out in March '09 called Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies.

I've read it and it's terrific!

She's offering an advance copy to those who "Leave me a comment that describes your worst bridesmaid dress experience--be it ugly, embarrassing, revealing, etc. (you can change identifying characteristics of the dress or wedding, if you fear Bridezilla Reprisals)."

Go to her blog and check out the cool rules.

Run, don't walk, to the Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies Web site for book info, free music downloads, and cookie recipes. Tell Erin I sent you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kay Ryan, Outsider With Sly Style, Named Poet Laureate

(Thanks Jilly!)

From the New York Times:

A reserved writer who has been compared to Emily Dickinson, Ms. Ryan has been chosen to succeed Charles Simic as the nation’s 16th poet laureate.

Bio Notes

Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides has a great post of how to write a bio. From his blog:

Over on Facebook, I have a personal account with a bunch of poetry friends, as well as a Poetic Asides group with a lot of members. So yesterday I asked the published poets who are members to share a little bit of advice on writing those tricky little bio notes that poets are often asked to include with their poetry submissions to poetry journals and magazines. The response was overwhelming. I'm just now digging out of all the great advice.

Speaking of which, I'm due to update my bio and author photo.

But I try to keep it to relevant, current information, 50-75 words. I try to keep personal info (where I live or mentions of family members) unless it's warranted.

So, any tricks to writing a decent bio? Do you have a professional bio and a tongue-in-cheek version for trendier publications and Web zines?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

First-ever Massachusetts Poetry Festival



(Lowell, Mass. - July 15, 2008) An extensive and diverse group of partner organizations will come together to present the first-ever Massachusetts Poetry Festival in various locations in Lowell, Mass., Oct. 10 - 12, 2008. The event will feature readings by well-known poets such as Robert Pinsky, Lucie Brock-Broido, Andre Dubus III, Martin Espada, Rhina Espiaillat, Reggie Gibson and many more, as well as workshops for writers and educators, symposia, small press fair, teen poetry, literary heritage tours, children's programs and street poetry. Some events are free, and others have a nominal entrance fee. A complete lineup, with schedule and locations, will be available in the coming weeks. For more information, visit the Mass Poetry Festival Web site or call (978) 275-1831.

The Massachusetts Poetry festival is a celebration of the rich literary heritage and vital contemporary poetry community of the Commonwealth. The organizers hope to create new opportunities for poets to showcase their work, by increasing public awareness about all of the wonderful poetry being created in Massachusetts. In addition, they hope that providing broad access to the wealth of work available will help bring poetry back into everyday culture. Organizers plan to make the festival a biennial event.

"Lowell is thrilled to host this inaugural event," said Paul Marion, Executive Director of Outreach for University of Massachusetts Lowell. "We think it's a fitting place to start, because the Greater Merrimack Valley area gave us such profoundly influential poets as Anne Bradstreet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Robert Frost and Jack Kerouac. "

Hotel and travel information is available from the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Partners in the Massachusetts Poetry Festival include Bootstrap Press, Concord Poetry Center, Grub Street, Haverhill Poets, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, Lowell Poetry Network, PoemWorks, Powow River Poets, and the Robert Frost Foundation.

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival is sponsored by the City of Lowell, Cultural Organization of Lowell, Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lowell National Historical Park, Mass POP, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council. Moses Greeley Parker Lectures, Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center, Pollard Memorial Library and University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Let me know if you’re confessing, and if you would like to be added to The Confessional.

The dog days of summer and I am no in the mood to blog. Maybe that’s because I know the season is short. We’ve certainly had many overcast days with the threat of rain overhead, but most days have been hot and humid—just the way I like it!


Haven’t written any new poems since May and now it’s starting to annoy me. My poetry count is stuck at 39, just like my age. Maybe my non-writing is related to something else. Hmmmm.

Alex, my baby boy, will be going to preschool this September, so we’ve been figuring out how to arrange our schedules to accommodate his. Can’t believe he’s almost 5. I know he’s more than ready for the challenge, he’ll do just fine. But me? Oh yeah, I’ll be a wreck on his first day of school.


This Saturday, we’re going on vacation to Matunuck, Rhode Island, with Tim’s family for our annual vacation. At one point, we’ll have 25 people in the vacation house! I’m very excited to see how the kids interact with their older cousins this year now that they’re becoming more self-reliant. And Tim and I will manage to sneak away for a night out with the other grown-ups. Pictures aplenty will be posted next week.


Our local cable channel is showing clips of the 2004 ALDS championship game between the Red Sox and the Yankees (Big Papi late inning rallies. Curt Schilling’s bloody sock.). Still gives me chills four years later. It was the best, most dramatic series I’ve ever seen. Ahhh, memories.

Oh dear lord. They replaying 2007 World Series clips and I’m starting to cry. It’s time to go to bed. I love baseball.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Sam Cornish, Boston's Poet Laureate

From the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene blog:

"Cornish, like the former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, is all about community and outreach. From talking with Cornish I got the impression he is not interested in getting more PR for the mandarins of the poetry world. He wants to reach what he calls the 'Boston Underground,' which he defines as the community of poets and writers outside the academy."

Beach Time

Not much going on with me this week, except watching these two munchkins enjoy the beach weather!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! If truth is stranger than fiction, then this is your chance to prove it. Fess up! And let me know so we can add your name to The Confessional.

Been feeling off kilter lately. Haven't been writing or working out. Sometimes it's good to take a break but now it's time to get back on track. What does that mean, you ask? Here's my schedule when I'm movin' and groovin' during the week.

5 a.m. – Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

5:10 a.m. – Get up. Change for gym. Eat a banana or carrots on the way. At gym by 5:20. (Today I was there at 5:25 a.m.)

5:50 a.m. – Back home, out the door by 6:15 a.m. On the mornings that I don't work out, I try to write until I have to get ready for work.

7 a.m.–4-4:30-ish – The college I work at is on its summer schedule, so I work longer hours Mon-Thurs and off of Fridays.

5 p.m. – Pick up kids, spend some time with them and Tim before dinner. This is where I think I can fit in a little more fit time—a walk, playing catch, taking them to the park.

6:15 – 8 p.m. – Dinner, kids baths, bedtime. Also time for Red Sox baseball. (Go Sox!)

8:05 p.m. – Writing/blogging/organizing stuff for next day.

10 p.m. – In bed. Tim and I usually climb into bed with a cup of tea, watching the end of the game until 11-ish.


I'd much rather be a big ol' couch potato. Really—I could stay in bed all day watching TV if my schedule allowed. So if I don't impose some sort of structure, I lose time, which is just something I don't have enough of. Of course, who does?


We celebrated Tim's 40th birthday this past weekend—good time had by all. But my loving husband turned the tables by surprising me on Sunday with a picnic at the beach. And not just an ordinary picnic—he cooked lobster and mussels for our date. I think I'll keep Tim around another year! *smile*


In the midst of keeping our lives on track, we manage to take time out for each other. It hasn't always been this way, and it's never easy from week to week. But we try. We do what we can.


Nothing new on the book front. I would love to show you the book cover so I'm hoping that happens before summer's end. I did manage to send poems to one publication this week. I'll spend the rest of the month editing poems for a second manuscript.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Read It and Weep

More evidence about how hard it is to get a book published. *sigh*

From Seth Abramson’s blog:

What I did was visit the websites of fully one hundred independent presses, drawing their names from the best-seller lists for the past year at the Poetry Foundation and Small Press Distribution websites. Incredibly (and fortuitously, given my limited mathematical skills), adding up the data from every single press listed in a year's worth of SPD best-seller lists, as well as the current Poetry Foundation best-seller list, got me to exactly 100 independent poetry presses.

First Bike Ride

This weekend has been all about Tim turning 40, but it has also had its moments, such as Alex riding a bike for the first time.

Oh, my baby boy's growing up!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tim!

Today I get to celebrate the birth of a nation and the birth of my husband!

Happy 40th birthday, Tim. I love you always.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What Is a Failed Poet?

From The Somerville News:

Somerville poets respond
Off The Shelf by Doug Holder

I posed this question to local poets of my acquaintance: "What is a failed poet?" I hear the term used all the time, but what does it mean? How do you define a failed poet? Is there such a thing?

Good blog post by Doug--worth a read. So I ask you, is there such a thing as failed poet?

Letters to the World

On the Fourth of July, Claire Keyes, Amy Dengler, Diane Kendig and others will be the opening act of Writers World 2008, the literary portion of the Marblehead Arts Festival.

The reading will take place at 10:00 a.m. in the historic Marblehead Unitarian Church (home of the Me and Thee Coffeehouse), at 28 Mugford Street in Marblehead, MA. Readers will read from the new anthology Letters to the World, the first anthology of its kind—a feminist collaboration born from The Discussion of Women’s Poetry Listserv (Wom-po), a vibrant, inclusive electronic community founded in 1997 by Annie Finch.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Where We Write From

The topic came up in a listserv discussion. Here are a few pictures of my space.

This is where my current bout of non-writing happens. This is the room that my husband and I decided to turn into an office five years ago. The shades are drawn because we're in close proximity to the neighbors who live behind us. We hear and see everything, which means they can hear and see us.

What you can’t see is a sliding glass door leading to the backyard. The kids are old enough to play while I watch them from my desk. Also not seen is a kids’ desk full of drawings of superheroes and bad guys.

My desk is relatively clean tonight.

The framed football picture about the shelves is my husband’s. Football is the one sport I really can’t watch. Dull. Dull. Dull. Wait, I can’t watch hockey, either.

Books! Books! Books! And a bobblehead of former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra (No-Mah!)

This is a promotional piece from the book Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World. I don’t own the book, but the piece spoke to me. It reads:

Everywoman. Home keepers for the Earth. Must keep premises safe for all. Have concern for children’s needs and development, ability to manage resources, resolve conflicts, work collaboratively, ask questions. Listen, and learn from the experience of others, be empathic and act with compassion for the benefit of all, including generations to come.

I also have one next to my desk at work.

1. My iPod and speakers, currently playing “Stitched Up” by Herbie Hancock and John Mayer
2. A sticker that reads, “Kundiman is for lovers”
3. A tile with the Cave Canem barking dog. A friend gave it to me from her travels in Italy.
4. A Starbucks cup with a quote on the back. It reads:

The Way I See It #17

The world bursts at the seams with people ready to tell you you're not good enough. On occasion, some may be correct. But do not do their work for them. Seek any jobs; ask anyone out; pursue any goal. Don't take it personally when they say "no"--they may not be smart enough to say "yes."

~Keith Olbermann


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