Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School

I am the mother of a first grader. Ella starts kindergarten next week, but Alex starts today. *sigh*

Confession Tuesday

Hello all you sinners. Time for your confessions! Share a little of yourselves with us and we promise to do the same.

I started writing this at 3 a.m. Believe it or not, the not-sleeping thing is getting better (I slept five hours). So now I’m wide awake and feeling deliriously productive, like I have all the time in the world. Scary.


Today, my son goes off to first grade. *Sniff. Sniff.* Where does the time go?


I hate the end of summer. Feels like death to me. Goodbye warm weather, hello frozen white stuff. OK, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. No, I don't think I am.


On Monday, I was in minor car accident. I’m OK. Everyone involved is OK. I’m hoping that bumper damage is the extent of the repair. Still, it sucks.


I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts about how poetry journals are struggling across the board. Many print publications are trying to figure out how to survive in the digital age. Some have gone online, while others cut staff and lower page counts.

Sadly, the list of publications I subscribe to is short. And I hate subscribing to journals I don’t have time to read. My list:

But two I will add this week: North American Review and Crab Creek Review. And I’d love to support a journal or magazine producing edgy work. Not necessarily experimental poetry or fiction, but one that takes a chance on design and content. Any suggestions? Just trying to do my part with limited funds.


The Dodge Poetry Festival is just around the corner. Are you in or are you out? (I’m in!)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday, Monday

Did not sleep at all last night. *sigh* No reason, just couldn't fall asleep. So around 4 a.m. I got up and started working.


Had a fabu, albeit brief, visit with Joseph Legaspi and his Boo this weekend. They experienced the chaos that is my life raising two kids under age 7. Good time had by all (see pics in previous post). Lots of poetry talk, too.


On Sunday after our guests departed, the kids and I headed to the beach. It’s only the second time this year we’ve gone to the beach. What can I say? It's been a very busy summer. I think we can get a few more beach visits in before the weather turn cool.


Well, not sleeping has allowed me to continue reading through a friend’s manuscript, look at my own manuscript, start a new poem, and work on this blog post. Guess there are benefits to burning the candle at both ends.


Come back, C. Dale. Come back!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mass Poetry

Yesterday, I attended a meeting to discuss the 2011 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Still too early to throw out dates or locations, but behind the scenes every effort is being made to make it happen. I've always been on the outside looking in, but the reality is that it takes a (poetry) village to make a large-scale festival happen. Lots of cooperation among organizers, city council members, sponsors and vendors--and that's all before we get to the poetry.

Events like these need advocates, and we are lucky that we have one in Mass Poetry Fest founder and poet Michael Ansara. Listen to this 2009 interview from Radio Open Source and hear his vision for putting together an event that brings a variety of poets and poetry lovers from across The Bay State and beyond.


In case you're wondering, the 2010 Massachusetts Poetry Festival will take place throughout October as a series regional events, with larger events happening October 16 as part of the Boston Book Festival.


Just found out that I will be speaking to classes at Adelphi University in New York on September 15. Thanks to Jacqueline Jones LaMon for making it happen.


Also found out that the Magic 106.7 radio interview I did with YA author Erin Dionne and host Gay Vernon will re-air Sunday, August 29, at 7 a.m. Set your alarm clocks!


As you know, I've sent my second manuscript out to a few people and the feedback I'm getting is really positive. Seems like the arrangement of poems is a sticking point, so I'll have to work on the order. But it's just reassuring to know that my book doesn't suck. *smile*

I never know if I have something good (that others will enjoy reading), or if I'm too close to the project to be objective. Nice to be surrounded by people who will tell me the truth no matter what.


Last, but certainly not least, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of BFF Joseph Legaspi for a weekend visit to Beantown! I'm quite dizzy with anticipation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"A Larger Place at the Poetry Table"

I have been so moved my Collin Kelley's heartfelt and impassioned blog post that I had to include a portion of his question and my answer here. Go to Collin's blog for the full monty.

First, and excerpt:

So, I have questions for all of you who read this blog: How we can get back to the pleasure of the art rather than the jockeying for position, awards and writing personal attacks masquerading as "literary criticism?" How do we set a larger place at the poetry table for those working outside the academy? How do we make the art of poetry interesting and compelling to the next generation that doesn't want an MFA or teaching gig? How do we take the insular and make it open?

My response:

I like working from the inside out—creating events, venues, publications, etc. that everyday poets and poet lovers want to be a part of. You [Collin] do that, too. The effort doesn’t guarantee mass audiences or increased readership. but I take satisfaction from reaching one person at a time. How do most revolutions start? One person at a time.

We need to have enough Hawkeye/Norma Rae/Peter Finch (from the movie Network) moments where we collectively say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!” Until then, the status quo remains in place. Civility stays at arms’ length, same poets read at the same events, and nothing changes. This system seems to be working for someone, otherwise we’d all be standing on the tops of tables demanding change. I put my money, however, on you [Collin], on me, and to those who care to make change in the poetry community happen by any means necessary.

I thought Read Write Poem was on its way to shifting the balance but it collapsed before it took off. Starting the conversation, doing something—those are steps in the right direction.

How do we make poetry more open?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Q for the Poet

This is more of a poet to poet question. Check out Sandy’s latest poem in the Winter/Spring 2010 issue of Crab Orchard Review (congrats!)

Hi, January. I'm intrigued by your comment about the next book and how you've "already mapped it out" in your head. Can you say more about how that works? I've never been able to think in those terms, just taking the poems as they come and then forming a book in the aftermath.

Let’s see. Underlife reads like a first collection of poetry. I’m very proud of the work but that’s what it is. I feel less connected to that work now that it’s been in print for a few months. The second manuscript expands to more social themes but also deals with personal issues such as divorce. I’m really really really ready to let go of those poems.

With my next project, I want to explore Boston’s cultural past (I live north of Boston, but I’m originally from Virginia), particularly its relationship to civil rights and race relations in the 50s and 60s to the present. I’m also consumed with the idea that I am a first-generation, post civil rights beneficiary, raising children who are second generation beneficiaries. In other words, I am a recipient of all who have struggled and overcome before me, but my kids don’t have those experiences to draw from. How do I raise them with that sensibility, yet let them be whoever they were meant to be? As I type this, I don’t fully understand it myself—which is part of why I need to do this project right now.

So, I’m giving myself a wide berth here. This is how I’ve scoped the project as of today. I may end up with six poems or 60 poems that touch on this subject. Hoping to explore new forms and touch upon something deeper. I’ll need a few months for research and writing, but most likely will do a heavy bit of writing in the spring. At this point, I feel like I need to forge into new territory, which is exciting and thrilling at the same time.

Guess I’ve ruminated on this topic for a while. I’m ready to put up or shut up, so to speak.

Thanks for the question, Sandy.

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday folks. Time for your confessions. Share a little of yourself with us and we promise to do the same!

This past weekend I spent a glorious weekend by myself. I missed the kids dearly, but needed the time away from me as much as I needed it from them. I needed "me" time.


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I saw the movie Eat Pray Love. I Thought Julia Roberts did a nice job as Liz Gilbert, and I loved watching the scenes in Italy, Bali, and Indonesia. I liked the movie a lot, but not as much as I loved the book—I don't think I'm alone here. Still, it was a great night out with a friend I haven’t seen in a while.

Throughout the movie, however, I found myself identifying with Liz’s first husband (Billy Crudup) in the movie. As much as I was cheering for Liz to find herself, I totally related to his story as the person who was left behind. In fact, I found myself crying through different scenes that really shouldn’t have been big emotional triggers. I never cry in movies.

And the movie's subtle theme of “believe in love again”—well, I’m still welling up over that one. Where is my Javier Bardem? Hello?!


I’m struggling with the concept of forgiveness. I’m starting to believe it’s overrated.


Pet peeve: when people don't respond to e-mails. Now I'm not taking about friends or close, inner circle people. I'm talking about people I'm trying to get information from or do business with. So annoying. Just because we live in the Information Age doesn't mean people have license to be rude.

(end rant)


Looking at last week's to-do list, I knocked off the behemoth: the manuscript. Still working on the following projects.

  1. Work on two new poems
  2. Finish up a book review (ugh -- way behind)
  3. Answer interview questions/write interview questions (two related projects)
  4. Blog facelift
  5. Work on upcoming Mass Poetry regional event
  6. Declutter office (work in progress)


These random confessions are brought to you by the letter "C."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Writer's Block

A bottle of Writer's Block is sure to cure what ails you. I shared this red zinfandel with my BFF Heidi after seeing Eat Pray Love Saturday night. I Ate Drank Wrote and Edited my manuscript shortly thereafter. For those who saw the movie, it was therapy!


I spent most of the weekend happily sequestered for the most part while I finished working on manuscript #2. Woo hoo! I still have one or two poems to tweak, but I'm pleased with the outcome. I gave the work my best effort; these poems are a true reflection of who I am now and where I am as a poet. No guarantees, even with one book published, that this one finds a home. But I am hopeful about its chances.

This last edit was a copy edit--like a deep tissue massage for the overall collection. I read each poem aloud to get a feel for the rhythms and rough spots. Spent lots of time noodling over poems I thought were complete--even ones that have been published. Found myself adding two poems I really wanted to get in there.

The collection has four sections, and "Misery Islands" is in the third. Ugh. I'll take one final look at the order before sending it out for review. Yippee!


Now that this body of work is near completion, I'm ready to put it behind me to start a third collection. I've already mapped it out in my head.


I have lots of projects in planning stages, including co-planning an event to coincide with the Mass Poetry Festival's October month of poetry. Should be a good month for poetry in the Bay State. Also planning a reading during AWP DC.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kibbles and Bits

I have blocked off the next four hours to work on revisions for my second manuscript. The kids are with their father this weekend, so I'm taking advantage of the peace and quiet for a change. I'm hoping I can get everything done in two hours, and spend the remaining time on po-biz stuff. Trying really, really hard not to clean the kitchen, do a load of laundry, or clear off my desk--that's on my list for Sunday.


Last night, over hot chocolate and chai tea with Jennifer Jean at Starbucks, I was able to organize my list of weekend priorities. The hardest thing for me is waitlisting projects. I just can't juggle as many things as I would like. But the fact that I'm moving through the list is a good thing.


Later, my BFF Heidi and I will see Eat Pray Love. And then we will eat, drink, and, gab. Yahoo!


I leave you with this very moving interview with Natasha Trethewey, from NPR's Fresh Air. She discusses her new book, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"No One Sleeps Through The Night": A Poem by Oliver de la Paz

A poem from REQUIEM FOR THE ORCHARD, by Oliver de la Paz.

3-year-old recites poem, "Litany" by Billy Collins

Maybe it's not too late for Alex and Ella.

Decluttering: Poetry Style

I keep most everything poetry related: rejections and acceptances, flyers from past AWP conferences, postcards from defunct journals, poetry collections, buttons from poetry organizations I wouldn’t wear under any circumstance (Sorry!). You name it, I keep it. Why, why, why do I do this? Laziness? That feeling of, “I’ll come back to this someday?” Whatever the reason, my office is bulging with poetry-related stuff I have absolutely no need for.

So, I am releasing myself of the obligation to hold onto my poetry clutter.

This weekend, as a much-needed diversion from manuscript revisions, I will be throwing out, sorting, and creating a poetry-friendly environment office that takes less energy to maintain.

These items do not bring me joy. In fact, isn’t it kind of masochistic to hold onto rejection slips? It’s like holding onto break-up letters from old relationships. I have rejections going back to 1996. (OK, I’m keeping my rejection from Slate.com with a handwritten note by Assistant Poetry Editor Maggie Dietz.)

Books and journals are tougher to throw out/give away. I’m sure we all have a few volumes in our collections that aren’t worth keeping. I do feel a little guilt there because I know someone put a lot of effort into producing that college journal or indie press effort. But the truth is it was wasteful for me to bring it in the house in the first place. Maybe I can help it find a good home at my local library. I'm only keeping the items that have a use, or have real sentimental value. In other words, I'm making space in my life for things that bring me happiness.

In case you are having trouble throwing things away:

You, dear reader, are hereby released from the burden of your poetry clutter. You are free. Make better use of your time and energy for poetry.

Now go forth and declutter!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Confession Tuesday

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

Happy birthday, mom! So happy that we could be a part of your special day.


We’ve had a great visit in Norfolk, Virginia. Not sure how it is when you return to your hometown, but every time I come home, the city seems to have reinvented itself yet again. It wasn’t nearly this cool when I lived here.


Two things I’ve been able to do since I’ve been here: eat well and sleep in. However, I’m ready to sleep in my own bed.


And my favorite moments from this trip have come from watching my son climb this tree in the front yard over and over again.


Already looking ahead to the upcoming weekend, I am completely immersing myself in manuscript revisions. It’s been a while since I’ve had a kid-free weekend, so I plan to make this one count by sleeping in, getting my exercise routine back on track, and finishing up edits on manuscript #2. It’s time. How long have I been talking about it? Need to get into the hands of others for feedback.

Did I mention I will be seeing Eat Pray Love?

Mini poetry to-do list:

  1. Finish revisions for manuscript #2

  2. Work on two poem drafts started on this trip

  3. Finish up a book review

  4. Answer interview questions/write interview questions (two related projects)

  5. Update blog (time for a facelift)

And the unofficial item from this list is to give some serious thought on how to market Underlife. The book has been out for more than six months, so now I want to plan what to do for the next six. There are so many possibilities that I have to narrow down my options, figure out what’s most effective, and move with purpose for the rest of 2010. Hard to do because I'm still in summer mode.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Underrated Poets, cont.

Here is a short list (in no particular order) of underrated poets. Thanks for the feedback. Would love to lengthen this list so feel free to leave your choices in the comments.

Terrance Hayes
Michael Hettich
Thylias Moss
Susan Rich
Nin Andrews
Ross Gay
Steve Scafidi
Karen Head
Tania Rochelle


Speaking of Nin Andrews, did you catch her poem posted on the Academy of American Poets website? "Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness" was the Poem-of-the-Day selection on August 13.


And, thanks to Susan Rich for her post on Underlife. We'll be reading together in November at Porter Square Books in Cambridge--very cool.


Lastly, congrats to Jim Brock on the release on Gods and Money.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

You Can Go Home Again

I’m back in Norfolk, Virginia, for a long overdue visit to see my parents. Lots of fun things of the agenda including beach time and a visit to a children’s museum. And food. Did I mention food? Crab cakes, shrimp, bbq, hush puppies, and, of course, okra!

My favorite moment so far came yesterday watching a bubble/water gun fight between my dad and Alex and Ella. Just watching my parents be kids again did my heart good.


While I’m here, besides getting lots of rest, I plan on shoring up the manuscript and starting new work. A Starbucks visit is in my future. I’m also hoping to connect with the English faculty at Old Dominion University, my alma mater. As an alumna, I'm hoping they find a spot for me to read this year but they haven’t been very forthcoming.


Eat. Pray. Love. Yea! Going to see the movie at some point this week.

The book and the movie bring up lots of idea about dropping out of real life for a while for some soul healing self-discover. After going through a divorce, I empathize completely with Elizabeth Gilbert’s quest to feel her life again. So I’m looking for little ways to take the spirit of the movie and infuse it into my daily life. Water gun fights are a start.

The Summer of Fun continues!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

15 Most Underrated Poets

There’s been a little buzz around Anis Shivani's article "The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers" at the Huffington Post. (Sorry, it’s so negative I’m not providing a link.) Instead, I want to follow Craig Morgan Teicher’s example and see if we can come up with our own list of 15 Underrated Poets. Who is not getting the attention he/she deserves? Which poets are hype-worthy. I'm hoping we extend the list beyond the 15.

I know. I know. All poets are underrated. Let's steer clear of that line of thinking and celebrate the poets who are not getting the attention they so richly deserve.


Jennifer Jean was a guest blogger for The MOM Egg last week (woo hoo!). Check out her piece, “A Legacy of Peace.”


Letter to the editor from Terrance Hayes from Poetry magazine. "Poetry should reflect more than its self-reflecting self." Too bad there's not a place to offer comments because I think Terrance made a brilliant case for the role of the poet (all poets) in today's society.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks. Time to confess. Share a little bit of your self with us and we promise to do the same.

I’m exhausted! After four readings in 10 days, I’m pooped.

You name it, I haven’t done it. I haven’t written, read, or checked in on blogs in the last two weeks. Don’t even think I’ll make a to-do list because it’s just too overwhelming. However, I don't have any readings until September, so I’ll have a chance to recover over the next few weeks.

Can I tell you how grateful I am to be reading my poetry in public? My community expands with every single reading and for that I am eternally grateful.


For the rest of this week, I’ll work on my second manuscript in hopes of getting it out to share with fellow poets to review. I’d like to have it ready for them by the end of the month. What I need is a solid block of time to work on it, which I haven’t in a very long time.

I tend to focus on one project at a time instead of multiple pursuits.


I did pick up Eat Pray Love again to finish. Yes, I started reading it more than a year ago. Yes, I do love it. But something in me wasn’t ready to finish it. However, I’m looking forward to the new movie despite Julia Roberts.

Also, I started Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow-up book Committed. I'm enjoying reading it on my Kindle for iPhone. I can read it late at night without turning on the light. In any case, I’m about 20 pages into it and I’m just not sure she can sustain the narrative. It reads as if she’s stretching the story. Can’t imagine what it might be like to write the follow-up book to a blockbuster hit.


Listening to Aretha this morning, “If you want a do-right, all-day woman. You gotta be a do-right, all-night man.” Amen!

Out of the Blue

Last night, I read with the Stone Soup Poetry series at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge, MA. What a fun night! This is exactly the kind of evening I'd expect in Cambridge: quirky, spontaneous, downright funky!

Many thanks to host Chad Parenteau, one of the hardest working poets around, for leading the open mike. Great crowd--lots of readers flowed in as the night progressed. Many regulars and a few newcomers to Out of the Blue.

And then, there was the poet known only as "Imagination" ...

I think every poetry reading needs Imagination. Not sure what astral plane he crossed over from, but he certainly made the evening more colorful.

As difficult as it was to go on after Imagination, I did.

A good time had by all. If you get a chance to check out Stone Soup, this popular, long-standing reading series is well worth the time.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Fish Flake Hill Talent Show

Friday night I was sipping a cocktail at El Quijote bar at the Chelsea Hotel in NYC. Saturday night, however, I sipped a glass of wine under the stars in Sean and Michele Devlin's backyard at the 4th Annual Fish Flake Hill Talent Show.

In a word: magical. Hmmm ... maybe quirky is a better word.

I spent the evening with 50 of my closest friends and neighbors who are just amazing, creative, unsung talents. There was a live band and lots of homegrown entertainment, from owl calls and trumpet players to short stories and sea chanteys. Audience participation goes without saying. And yes, I read two poems--even brought the kids on stage with me as I read.

Times like these I am reminded how local my world is. This is my community, and I am lucky, lucky, lucky to be a part of it.

Thanks Sean and Michele!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Visting Poets House

On Saturday, Jennifer, Colleen, and I visited Poets House. This was my second visit, yet my stays are way too short. I let myself get lost in the stacks and stacks of poetry collections and the time flies!

It's amazing what they have on their shelves. I looked through Anne Carson's Nox, a foldout collection of poetry, photos, and letters--amazing. But I also saw something that looked like an elementary school-level stapled book report, complete with a red construction paper cover. Couldn't tell if that was a gimmick or an authentic book. I found both in the 2010 Showcase exhibit, along with new collections by D.A. Powell, Rachel Zucker, Wesley McNair, Susan Rich, and Jessie Carty, to name a few. So cool.

I was a little disappointed not to find Underlife. And not just Underlife--didn't see any recent titles by my publisher, CavanKerry Press. I know they're backlogged and rely on interns. Still, it's nice to know that your first collection is on display for anyone who shows up on a whim, like me.

We heard rumors of a wedding happening today at Poets House in the garden area. The space is just that lovely (and no, I don't know if a poet is getting married or which one). If you're in NYC, I hope you get a chance to visit. Jennifer, Colleen, and I may come back in the fall for another mini writers retreat just to spend a long afternoon immersed in poetry.

Poets in Nassau

I talk a lot about poetry readings, but sometimes my readings are ... well ... just not well attended.

When Jennifer Jean arranged this reading for us at the Hillside Public Library with the Poets in Nassau series, we (Jennifer, Colleen Michaels, and I) were excited about reading together outside of our Massachusetts comfort zone. And, it was a road trip for the girls.

(L to R: Jennifer Jean, me, and Colleen Michaels)

We had six people in our audience. Six. Yet we made the best of it. We put the chairs in a circle and sat for our presentation, which helped make the room a bit more intimate. Then, we read our work in conversation.

This is our first time reading together in a round (although Colleen and I had success with it a few months ago). So Jennifer read a poem, then I read a poem in response to hers, followed by Colleen reading in response to me. Our poems cover similar topics, which made it easier to create loose connections. I wish we had filmed our reading because the audience loved what we did and really appreciated the effort.

Reading in response forced us to choose poems on the fly. I know I read a few poems from Underlife I had never read before an audience. The performance offered another level of connection than having three separate readings. Safe to say that we enjoyed the night as much, if not more, as the audience.

I know that when I commit to readings, there are no guarantees. In this case, it was a beautiful, warm August night--a Friday. And we're relatively unknown poets reading at a library on Long Island. My feeling is that the event was not well promoted. Even if it was, I don't think it would have made much of a difference. The truth is you just never know how an event will turn out. And if I had not done the reading, I would have missed speaking to the audience at our unplanned Q & A, listening to their work at the open mic, and hearing their appreciative words after the event.

Truth be told: having the opportunity to hang out with Jennifer and Colleen--kid-free--for a 24 hours was priceless.


I would LOVE to hear your experiences about readings that did not turn out the way they were planned. Whether you're a poet/writer, or an organizer, I want to hear from you!

Friday, August 06, 2010

JHPF First Tuesdays

One of the joys of reading poetry in public is discovering a cool venue where you least expect it. That's how I felt when I read at the Terraza Cafe for the Jackson Heights Poetry Festival's First Tuesdays reading series.

The second floor stage is suspended by cables over the main bar area with a grate as the floor (good thing I didn't wear a skirt or heels!). And look at all that loft seating--how cool is that?

Nothing makes a venue more comfortable that a good host. Richard Jeffrey Newman (pictured)was kind enough to have dinner with me and lead the event. It was really nice to see so many newcomers mixed with regulars reading both poetry and fiction.

Very talented poets and writers in crowd.

Admittedly, I found myself looking down through the grading while on stage. It was a surreal experience, one that brings a smile to my face even as I type this. Special thanks to Richard and to Marina Yoffe for inviting me into this wonderful community.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Happy Birthday Ella!

We're back from a whirlwind trip to New York City! I read with the JHPF's First Tuesdays event (will blog about it in a separate post), so I brought the kids for their first visit to The Big Apple. These pictures were taken yesterday in Central Park. We were looking for a carousel and found a carnival instead!

We had a great time, but the highlight of our adventure was a trip to Times Square to Toys R Us, which has a ferris wheel in the center of the store. Talk about overwhelming!

We did lots of walking as well as more firsts such as visiting Rockefeller Center, taking the subway, and buying pretzels from a street vendor. My only regret was not following through on a promise to visit the Statue of Liberty. I just ran out of time. But, as I told my son Alex, that gives us another reason to visit New York. Special thanks to BFF Suzie who came with me and watched the kids while I read poetry across town. Couldn't have done it without her.

In typical Ella fashion, she told me this was the best birthday EVER! I agree with her 100 percent.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Back in December, days after I received my first copies of Underlife, I sent a copy to The White House. What can I say, I was feeling giddy! And, I believe in aiming high.

I sent a copy to The First Lady in the hopes she might enjoy the book. Of course, I don't think Underlife ever made it into Michelle Obama's hands (maybe White House Staff donated her copy to a local library), but it was a nice surprise to receive the note with the raised White House seal on heavy card stock.


I also sent a copy to Gayle King. No word yet.


Today Alex, Ella, and I are headed to NYC for a reading in Jackson Heights. This is my first trip to New York with the kids, and I’m nervous as hell. I’m comfortable being in Manhattan, but the venue is in Elmhurst, which I don’t know at all. I’m hoping the kids are not to weary or bored by 7 p.m. Fortunately, my good friend Suzie is traveling with us. What a huge relief it is to have another
grown up with me to help out!


Join me tonight at FIRST TUESDAYS Open Readings, Terraza Café, Elmhurst, NY, 7 p.m. Hope to see you there!


Wednesday is Ella’s 5th birthday, so after tonight's reading I can relax and focus my energies on both kids. I’ve got a big, New-York sized surprise for her big day. She and Alex will lose their minds when I spring it on them!


Ella shares a birthday with President Obama. Happy birthday, Mr. President!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

I took a lot of photos of the kids this weekend, and this slightly blurry picture is my favorite. How lucky am I to be the mom of these two sweet peas?


Busy weekend that began with a visit from my BFF Kristi and family, and ended with a birthday party for Ella Rose at Chuck E Cheese’s. She turns five on Wednesday!

(Note to parents: Chuck E. Cheese's is not nearly as scary in the middle of summer as it is during the fall and winter when the temperature drops. Fewer kids means a less crazed afternoon on Planet Cheese.)


Tomorrow I’m reading in New York at the Jackson Heights Poetry Festival for their Open Tuesdays event. I’m bringing the kids with me for their first visit to the city. It will be short but sweet, but I’m excited to travel with the kids.


For as long as I have known her, Kristi had never seen me read my poetry in public until coming with me to the Boston Poet Tea Party on Friday. I'm sure it's the same way for many writers out there, but it's just fascinating to think that there are close friends of mine (parents included) who have never seen me read.

Occasionally, I've taken Alex and Ella to my readings. I don't do it often, but when I do, I come well prepared with crayons and coloring books. They like it when I read my poems about them and tell stories. It's good for them to see what I do--gives them a better perspective when I have to spend time away from home.


Do you have close friends or family members who have never seen you read your poetry or fiction before a live audience?


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