Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Happy last Tuesday in July! And, happy Confession Tuesday. You know the drill ...

This is Ella at Jedi Camp. She is the only girl at Jedi Camp, and she's loving it! Fortunately, some of her best buds from school are also in camp with her, so she doesn't mind being the only girl. Look at those eyes. Look at the light saber she made. She wants to vaporize me. By the end of the week, I will be mom to a Jedi Master!

The force is strong with this one.


Alex is at flag football camp. He caught the first pass for a touchdown to lead off camp, so he's also having a blast.


Don't think I've done anything as brilliant as made a light saber or caught a touchdown pass recently. I made a mean steak quesadilla that the kids are still talking about two days later. Does that count?


Speaking of my lack of brilliancy, I decided to look back on the goals I outlined at the beginning of the year.


1. Write a Poem a Week
I haven't been able to keep up with the pace, unfortunately. But I've been writing consistently in my gratitude journal, and I have been able to get in writing time at weekly. I'd still like to end up with 52 poems by the end of the year. Yes, it's just a number, but it's something to work toward.

2. Read a Book a Month
I've probably read three books this year that were not poetry collections. Poetry I read voraciously. The book I would like to read next? Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.

3. Support the Massachusetts Poetry Festival
This one I can say is on track. I've been working on the 2013 festival all summer, so I think I'm in good shape with the planning heading into the fall.

4. Start Manuscript #3
Ugh. I've stalled out on this and I'm not sure why. See goal #1.

5. Attend a Weeklong Workshop
Not this year. But I have my eye on Yaddo and VCCA in 2013.


Because of the job change this year, I have had an extremely rewarding summer--so much so that I don't mind that my goals have slipped. What I have gained has far outweighed what I've not accomplished.


May the force be with you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hoax: Kings College Invitation

I'm pretty sure this is a hoax--a hacker (?) who got into the P&W databases, right?

If I'm wrong (doubtful) my apologies to Prof. Harry Stewart.


Respected January O'Neil,

I am Prof. Harry Stewart from King’s College Campus Here in London UK. We want you to be our guest Speaker at this Year King’s college Seminar which will take place here in UK. We are writing to invite and
confirm your booking to be our guest Speaker at this year’s event.

King’s College Campus.
The Venue as follows:

VENUE: King’s College campus in Strand
London, United Kingdom
Expected audience: 850 people
Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
Name of Organization: King’s College Campus.
Topic: ”Mystery of Life and Death”
Date: 31st August 2012

We came across your profile on http://www.pw.org// and we say it’s up to standard and we will be very glad to have such an outstanding personality in our midst for these overwhelming gathering.

Arrangements to welcome you here will be discussed as soon as you honor our invitation. If you have any more publicity material, please do not hesitate to contact us.

A formal Letter of invitation and Contract agreement would be sent to you as soon as you honor our Invitation. We are taking care of your travel and Hotel Accommodation expenses including your Speaking Fee.

If you will be available for our event, include your speaking fees in your email so it can be included in your CONTRACT AGREEMENT.

Stay Blessed
Prof. Harry Stewart
King’s College Campus.
Tel: + 44 702 408 2535

Dog Day Poetry Marathoon

Dog Day Poetry Marathoon

(Nope, not a typo. Marathoon is spelled correctly.)

When: August 17 - 19
Where: Outpost 186 -- 186 1/2 Hampshire Street in Inman Square, Cambridge.

Friday: 7-10 p.m.

Saturday: 1-5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m.
Sunday: 1-4 p.m.

Join us for an obscene amount of poetry. (Schedule is subject to change.)


7:00 John Mulrooney
7:08 Emily Spiegelman
7:16 Kythe Heller
7:24 Chuck Stebelton
7:32 Brenda Iijima
7:40 January O'Neil
7:48 Jordan Davis


8:06 Ruth Lepson (talk)
8:21 Guillermo Parra (talk)
8:36 Anna Deeny
8:44 Maria Damon


9:02 Lori Lubeski
9:10 Ish Klein
9:18 Michael Carr
9:26 Rachel Sachs Steele
9:34 Janaka Stucky
9:42 Bridget Madden
9:50 Gilmore Tamny


1:00 Jim Behrle
1:08 Ben McFall
1:16 Susanna Gardner
1:24 Jenny Zhang
1:32 Cheryl Clark Vermullen
1:40 Dayana Fraile
1:48 Hassen Saker


2:06 Aaron Tieger (talk)
2:21 Marcella Durand (talk)
2:36 Tracey McTague


3:02 Joel Sloman
3:10 G.L. Ford
3:18 Jess Mynes
3:26 Allen Bramhall
3:34 Patrick Doud
3:42 Mairead Byrne
3:50 Mark Lamoureux


4:08 Brendan Lorber (talk)
4:23 Nathaniel Otting (talk)
4:38 Filip Marinovich (talk)


7:00 Susan Landers
7:08 Jen Benka
7:16 Carol Mirakove
7:24 Leopoldine Core
7:32 John Coletti
7:40 Dorothea Lasky
7:48 Eileen Myles


8:06 Jack Kimball (talk)
8:21 Ethan Fugate (talk)
8:36 Douglas Rothschild (talk)


9:02 Karen Weiser
9:10 Simone White
9:18 Jessica Fiorini
9:26 Jacqueline Waters
9:34 Edmund Berrigan
9:42 Betsy Wheeler
9:50 Thom Donovan


1:00 Anthony Cuellar
1:08 Suzanne Mercury
1:16 Erica Kaufman
1:24 James Cook
1:32 Farrah Field
1:40 Kimberly Lyons
1:48 Anna Moschovakis


2:06 Zachary Bos (talk)
2:21 Jim Dunn (talk)
2:36 Rachel Levitsky (talk)


3:01 Ryan Gallagher
3:09 David Rich
3:17 Carol Weston
3:25 Amanda Cook
3:33 Sean Cole
3:41 Michael Franco
3:49 Gerrit Lansing

Also throughout the Marathoon talks will be presented by:

Aaron Tieger: On Poetry & Psychotherapy
Brendan Lorber: On Ruin & Desire
Douglas Rothschild: On how great he is
Ethan Fugate: On Bike-Commute Photograph
Filip Marinovich: On the Poetics of Initiation At Brooks School in North Andover
Guillermo Parra: On Jose Antonio Ramos Sucre
Jack Kimball: On Don Quatrale, Rene Ricard & Billy Barnum
Jim Dunn: On Harry Crosby
Marcella Durand: On translating Baudelaire & Proust poems
Nathaniel Otting: On editing minutes BOOKS
Rachel Levitsky: On the Office of Recuperative Strategies
Ruth Lepson: On Alberto de Lacerda
Zachary Bos: On L.E. Sissman

(Schedule subject to change.)

Tannery Series: Write Where You Are

Join the Tannery Series in Newburyport, MA, for Write Where You Are, an unforgettable weekend of writing workshops, invigorating conversation and creative camaraderie in beautiful Newburyport.

Explore your own creativity through writing about place.

When: August 10-12, 2012

What: A weekend of creative writing workshops designed to cultivate your creativity and take your writing to the next level. The weekend will culminate in a Master Class with Edie Clark, beloved memoirist and author of Yankee magazine’s column, “The View from Mary’s Farm.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kibbles and Bits

My kids are back from vacation! Woo hoo!! I've had a good week--extremely productive and full of social activities--but it has been quiet around the house.

So what did I do last night--fill the house with people! Some of Alex and Ella's friends came over for a cookout play date. By the end of the evening, we had a baseball game, chalk art, and bike riding happening at the same time. When I think of summer fun, this is exactly what I had in mind.

(They missed me as much as I missed them. *smile*)


What did I do this week while the kids were away? Not nearly as much as I had hoped, but  enough. I wrote two poems, and revised two other. One of the newly revised I sent out for publication.

Let's see ... the house is relatively spotless. The yard and garden got some much-needed attention. Had folks over for a crab cake dinner and went out to dinner a few times. But mostly, I worked and slept.


I have poems out at five journals. Was just rejected by RATTLE. Oh well. Would love suggestions on journals (print or online) that are up and coming.

Can you believe the Olympics are here? Where has the summer gone?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Happy Confession Tuesday! Need to unburden yourself? Tell us about it and we promise to do the same.


See the plants growing out of the bowling balls? They belong to none other than Colleen Michaels, the Improbable Poet herself. She reminds me every day to look for beauty and poetry where I least expect it. And it is everywhere.


It is hard for me to maintain any kind of momentum when writing in the summer, yet I've written two poems in the past week. (Woo hoo!) Both of which are worth revising. There's just no substitute for getting my butt in a chair and doing the work.

Blogging is the equivalent of stretching. Gives me a chance to limber up before I do the real work of writing poems. 

I've also accepted the fact that I will not write every day. Instead, I'm trying to read more, and stay open to unexpected situations or overheard conversations that will be the breadcrumbs to a poem or two. Laughter helps. Playing with the kids helps. I'm trying to maintain a sort of membrane with my writing where experience comes in, but the guilt, self-doubt, and rejection stays out.


I thought for sure this poem was just about milk falling through a plastic sack--so I was irritated when I started reading it. But I was wrong.


If you're looking for words of advice on manuscript submissions, check out the wise words of Florenz Eisman, managing editor at CavanKerry Press. She's reads every manuscript that comes in to CKP--I should know because she's read two of mine. Here's an excerpt:

"You may be talented, but that’s not enough. Whether you’re a first-time writer or even have some work behind you – going forward requires a lot of work. We want to see work that’s (almost) ready to go to press. Sometimes the process of creating the manuscript seems to have halted too soon. The writing signals that the writer hasn’t self-edited, reviewed, re-read, re-read and self-edited as often as necessary."
When I submitted the Misery Island manuscript, it wasn't ready. I ended up revising 40 percent of the poems, which, at the time, was a big blow to my ego. But I'm thankful for the chance to revise again because the manuscript is much tighter. I'm thankful to CKP for the support and tough love.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Permission Slip

Today, I gave myself permission to do nothing. No working out. No house cleaning. No grass cutting. No makeup (not that anyone would ever notice).

So far so good.

I’m eating whatever I want. I’m watching movies and lots of Oprah’s Lifeclass on OWN, my guilty pleasure. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a few poems written. I’ve already been to Starbucks to finish reading a friend’s manuscript. I’ve also revised a new poem so the day has been a good one, and it's not over yet.   


Knowing me, however, I can’t let the day go by without doing something domestic. Can’t let a full day pass without doing a load of laundry or unloading the dishwasher.


Had the good fortune last night to see a sold-out performance of Almost, Maine, a Summer Theatre at Salem production. It was terrific! Can't remember the last time I went to the theatre. The play is running next weekend at Salem State University, so buy tickets soon before it sells out.

Really enjoyed listening to Natasha Trethewey’s podcast on New Letters on the Air. Check it out.

The beautiful and talented Kevin Carey has a short story, "Home for the Holidays," for The 2012 Million Writers Award. Read his story and vote for him!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Yesterday, I wrote a Lunch Poem in downtown Salem. I sat near this statue of Elizabeth Montgomery--Samantha from the TV show Bewitched. The sit-com filmed a few episodes in Salem back in 1970, so as a promotion this statue was dedicated to the city a few years ago. Just one more quirky thing that plays into the charm and allure that is Salem.


Been reading Frank O'Hara lately, which prompted me to write a poem in the spirit of his Lunch Poems. Hard to know if it is a good poem or a ramble. I know it was fun to write, so maybe that's all that matters.


Salem is busy from about April to November 1. After Halloween, Witch City turns into a ghost town (pun intended).


Admittedly, I have not read much of the New York School writers.


Tomorrow afternoon, the kids will spend a week with their dad. I am already missing them. Always takes a few days to get over a empty house--Fridays are the most difficult whenever they leave. But I am determined to use my spare time to read, write, and work on house projects.

I don't have any excuses. Time to create a to-do list and stick to it.


"Hey Mr. DJ put a record on. I want to dance with my baby."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks. If you're on the East Coast, I hope you are beating the heat! Share a little of yourself and we promise to do the same.


I confess I forgot it was Confession Tuesday!


I wrote two poem drafts on Sunday night. I have a short window for drafts, meaning that if I don't convert them into poems they will be lost in my journal forever. FOREVER.

What have I been doing, besides getting some much need rest and spending time with the kids? The 2013 Massachusetts Poetry Festival has been a main focus, We have some features signed and venues reserved. I think I have all the time in the world but I really don't. Now is really the time to get things done before the fall semester begins. Of course, it's hard to focus when it's 95 degrees outside.


I have new poems up at Soul Lit.


Tonight's Salem Writers' group meeting was canceled because of the heat! It's held in an old historic building with no AC on the second floor. Too bad but it's better than roasting. I have a feeling, however, we will find a spot to meet that's much cooler and has food.


What Kelli said ...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Language Is Leaving Me

Sorry I have not been blogging this week, I've been having too much fun. Summer turns my brain into mush. I savor these long days like an ear of corn slathered in butter and salt. (OK, that was bad. See what I mean?)

After a rocky start to the week, we finally landed on our feet in a good place. We've laughed a lot, which is not always easy at the end of a long day when I'm ready to settle down and the kids are just ramping up. Lots of play dates, get togethers, and cookouts to keep us busy. We're taking advantage of as much free stuff in the community as possible.

In other words, it's all good.


As for writing ... not so much. I'm giving myself a mental break so I can move to a new project in a week or so. I have been sending poems out for publication, however. I sent to two places last week, with a total of six packets making the rounds. I love the in-between time with mailings--that period between sending out and the acceptance/rejection. Makes me think anything is possible.

Out of the 50 poems in my Misery Islands manuscript, 27 have been published. I think that's good, with still more poems to be sent.


This morning I'm cleaning my office. I'm trying to make a space so when I do come back to writing I actually have a space to write. The kids are playing a game upstairs. Hot tea with lemon by my side. Annie Lennox on iTunes. A glorious morning, indeed.


"No more I love yous. The language is leaving me."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hump Day

My big-headed hydrangeas are in bloom!


Big congrats to the ladies!

Nominees for The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

Aracelis Girmay, Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions Ltd.)
Evie Shockley, The New Black (Wesleyan) 
Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars (Graywolf Press)

Also congrats to Tayari Jones for her fiction nomination for Silver Sparrow (Algonquin Books).

I have read all of these books and they're all fabulous!


Also, big ups to Reggie Harris for winning the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize for his forthcoming collection Autogeography. Look for it in 2013.


Lastly, a nice article by Doug Holder on Afaa Michael Weaver: Somerville Poet Afaa Michael Weaver: From the mean streets of East Baltimore to a road paved with literary acclaim

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks. Hope all is well in your world. Tell us a little something about your life and we promise to do the same.

After a series of terribly stressful days dealing with my ex-husband, culminating in a long string of painful text messages yesterday, I took the kids out last night for a walk and took these pictures. I needed to center myself, to remind myself there's a silver lining in everything. I'm fortunate to have two in my life.

Sometimes I need reminders that Alex, Ella, and I are on a path. Not just a path, an adventure. I felt myself needing to be very still, even in the middle of the park with my kids wresting in the corner.

(Cool item of note: the picture of the people standing around in the park are actors rehearsing A Midsummer Night's Dream. *smile* )


Today, I need to keep moving. So I will go about my day as I would normally do.

After the long-distance hug from my parents, I will work hard at a job I love, have lunch with a dear friend, make a fabulous dinner for the kids, and meet with my writers group this evening. Maybe I'll get a poem out of this.

The best thing I can do right now is move forward.


"We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole."

~ Mark Strand.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Almost Famous

Here's my daughter holding my latest find. It's a bracelet that says, "Almost Famous." Makes me smile every time I wear it.


A few days of a blogging break turned into a week. How did that happen? Anyhoo, it is Saturday, I am at Starbucks, and I am happy. The kids and I have had a great holiday week. Wish I could capture this feeling and save it for when I really need it.


I've been working on a bunch of projects in which I can't discuss specifics ... and you know I love the specifics. 

  • Finished reading a friend's manuscript, now reading another m'script for another friend
  • Finished a big project for a poetry organization visiting our town next year
  • In negotiations with many poets and agents for the 2013 Massachusetts Poetry Festival
  • Just saw a documentary last night created by a poet-friend on a very famous poet. It is terrific!
  • I'm contemplating a very big, new project that is not a poetry collection. It is nonfiction. Scares the bejesus out of me. 

How's that for vague?


I have a new poem up at Mass Poetry.


Great interview by Susan Rich on Colleen Michaels, aka the Czarina of (Poetry) Fun!


I have fallen in love all over again with the poetry of Maria Mazziotti Gillan. Re-reading her collection, All That Lies Between Us.


Tonight, I'm going to a reading at Pine Manor College's Solstice series featuring Meg Kearney. Tomorrow, I will be at the Longfellow House for a New England Poetry Club reading with James Tate and Dara Wier. A good poetry weekend, indeed.


I don't have time for crazy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Happy Confession Tuesday! Share a bit of yourself with us and we promise to do the same.

It's the day before Independence Day, and my brain is officially mush. I have a few things to finish before I'm free and clear for the holiday. Working on a big project due by end of week, as well as reading manuscripts for friends. And then there are my own poems, languishing in a folder until the weekend, unfortunately. 


Tonight I'm going to my writers' group with a poem written last year. Wish I could bring something written more recently, but I just haven't revised enough on my own to show any new work in public. And, this particular poem needs love.


I really need to start posting poems again on my blog. Maybe in July.

I have been thinking a lot about writers' retreat and my need for time. How best can I use the time I have right now. I've also been thinking about writers' retreats. I feel as if I need to be in a completely different space to complete anything. Now, I've always been able to write with distractions, but I am craving a week focused on writing. I have to figure out how I can make it happen--on the cheap!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Here's What the Books Do When We Are Asleep

I'm quite sure this happens in my house nightly.

Thanks, Colleen, for the link!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Hangin' Around

After a week of partying--and by partying, I mean cookouts, play dates, get togethers and back-to-back-to-back baseball games--we hung out poolside after Alex's baseball team's last game.

This afternoon gathering in the photo was a celebration for Alex's farm league baseball team. The Beverly Express are UNDEFEATED for the season! Woo hoo! Now that's something to celebrate!


Look at this view! Just last week I could see this house from the water as I was kayaking to and from Misery Islands.


Poems written this past week: 0.
Revised poems: 0

Will be making my to-do list tonight.


Today I'll be leading a workshop at the Marblehead Arts Festival. Here's the description:

January O’Neil: A workshop to jumpstart writing poetry:
O’Neil is executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and a professor at Salem State University. She is the author of Underlife (CavanKerry Press 2009) and the forthcoming Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press 2014). The hardest part of writing poems is getting started. Join O’Neil as she leads a fun and stimulating workshop that will help participants jumpstart their writing. Through prompts and poetry exercises, all will leave this workshop with two to three poem drafts. Those who wish to share their work may do so, with supportive feedback from O’Neil. Whether you have never written a poem, or just need help getting started, this is the workshop for you.
Writers' World
Unitarian Universalist Church, 28 Mugford Street
Hope to see you there!


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