Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Quickie

I'm playing catch-up this weekend. It's a flat-out battle between resting and getting organized for the week. I'm never sure if it's better to focus on one task until it's completed, or to spend about an hour on each big task to keep the trains on track.

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Yesterday, I was part of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change reading. I heard that we were simulcast worldwide sometime between 1:30 and 2:30. It was possibly the largest single poetry event in the world. We had a nice turnout. Special thanks to R. Jefferys for putting it together. It was a lot of fun and I was honored to be a part of the reading. The readings will be archived at Stanford University.

Wonder if anyone heard our event on simulcast.

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Looking forward to tomorrow night's Improbable Places Poetry reading.

Monday, Oct. 1, 7 – 9 pm
Wayne’s World of Automotive Services

126 Park Street, Beverly

The cars might be up on the lift, but the humming engine will come from the poets. A Pinto persona poem, an ode to an mechanic, hydraulic suspension or safety child locks – all makes and models welcome. Think of words as vehicles and poems as spark plugs.

Poets, start your engines!

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Good lord, it's almost October. Time waits for no one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Elizabeth Bishop - One Art - Video



Going back to my comments about Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art" in yesterday's post, I've always had a dour view of this poem. And it comes from this reading. The clip is from the Voices and Visions series (posted by another group), which may have been the first time I encountered the poem. This "poet voice" is emblazoned in my memory.

So when I read "One Art" aloud, I'm channeling actress Blythe Danner, who does the voiceover. Commentary by Octavio Paz.




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Happy Confession Tuesday! This is the afternoon remix. Share a little of yourself with us and we will do the same.


Look at my warrior in training! Ella received an achievement trophy in Tae Kwondo. She's fierce! Not to be outdone, my son's team won their first flag football game on Sunday. Both kids are excelling in everything they do. All I can do is stand back and watch.

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Wish they gave moms trophies once in a while. You know, awards for "Best Made Bed," and "Best Homemade Burrito Made Out of Leftovers EVER!" I want something I can put on my mantle and pull out for the witching hour, which in my house is between 5-7 p.m. That's when my kids leave their bodies and haunt me.

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I am writing this after a long day of teaching. Today my creative writing class discussed the poem "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop. The class said I had a negative take on the poem. They explained how losing stuff is just a part of life and we should all get over it. Gosh, I must have read it in my poetry voice (you know the voice, which is more earnest than negative, I think. 

I've always thought of myself as a glass-half-full kind-of girl. But "One Art" I considered a dour poem. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe my perspective is that of someone older (read: closer to death).

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Poetry To-Do List:

  1. Write two new poems, one about a car for the Improbable Places Poetry Tour reading
  2. Revise two poem
  3. Mail poems to four publications
  4. Get to nightstand reading

Books that have been on my nightstand way too long: 
  • Stag's Leap, Sharon Olds
  • Slow Lightning, Eduardo C. Corral
  • The Way It Is, William Stafford (my current read)
  • Game Change, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin (not poetry, but an excellent nonfiction read)





Sunday, September 23, 2012

100 Thousand Poets for Change - September 29 - Boston

100 Thousand Poets for Change will have their global event on September 29 in cities all over the world. This simultaneous celebration of poetry, art, and music will engage audiences to promote social, environmental, and political change.

The Boston event takes place at the Boston Public Library.

100 Thousand Poets for Change
September 29
1-3 p.m.
Boston Public Library
Mezzanine Conference Room
Reception and Reading
Free—seating limited to 100

Featured readers include:
Charles Coe (Winner of an Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council)
Sam Cornish (Poet Laureate of Boston ~ 2008-present).
Harris Gardner (Poetry Editor, Ibbetson Street Press, and co-founder, Tapestry of Voices
Doug Holder (Founder Ibbetson Street Press, host of Community Access TV Show "Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer")
R Jeffreys (Host "The Write Step with R Jeffreys" radio show)
January Gill O’Neil (Executive Director, Massachusetts Poetry Festival).
Philip Robinson (Recipient, Audre Lorde Award for Poetry).

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The event organizers were sent this letter by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. So happy to be a part of this event. Hope you can join us!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Some Days Are Better Than Others

I'm having one of those mornings. You know, the ones where the kids are crazed: unfinished homework, no one can decide on breakfast, nothing to wear for picture day, everyone's sneezy ...

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But this week, I had the opportunity to go to hear my friends read their poetry. Michael Ansara read his poetry on Tuesday at Armory of the Arts. And last night, Salem State professors Kevin Carey and Ann Taylor read their poetry to a packed house of students, alums, and members of the SSU community. Standing room only!

Having a late night last night set today's events in motion. Can't get too upset when poetry is to blame. It's been a good poetry week.

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A friend of mine sent me this lovely thought about writing:

" One day your poetry will show the light to deep self knowledge. Just keep writing and keep the faith. It will open up one day."
 

So I am keeping the faith today. And I will put pen to paper in hopes something breaks.

Happy Friday, folks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! Time to confess. Share a little of yourself and we'll try to do the same.

This is the "I just tried to post about basking in the glow but had a major Blogger fail" second edition of Confession Tuesday. This is the "end of day and I need to get the heck out of dodge" edition.

And so, let us begin.

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Yes, I am still aflutter from Joseph and David's wedding. It was absolutely lovely. And when I think about how I could have missed it because of my own issues, I feel petty and small. Glad I didn't. Glad I could bear witness. It was the perfect wedding. Couldn't ask for better weather. And it was the first time I had been dancing in years. (Yes, years! *sigh*)

Do you know what saved me from becoming a blubbering idiot? Being surrounded by friends and family. Chatting it up with poets I love and admire. The promise of drinkypoos (and there were many) with Suzie, Kristi, and Jon. Truth be told, I couldn't have made it without them. So much love in the air it carried me through.

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Legalize love.

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After a full day of teaching and grading papers, I am off to hear Mass Poetry Co-founder Michael Ansara read his poetry tonight in Somerville. I don't think I've ever heard him read his poetry in public, so I'm really excited to see him on a stage.

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As for the writing, the poems are there. I just need to find the time to get them on paper. They will wait for me ... I hope.

Monday, September 17, 2012

2013 Mass Poetry Fest Call for Proposals

Dear Poets, Poetry Organizations, Presses, and Editors:

 
The Fifth Massachusetts Poetry Festival will be held May 3-5, 2013 in beautiful downtown Salem, Massachusetts.

The submission period for the festival is now open. You may submit your proposal here:
https://goodmeasures.wufoo.com/forms/program-proposal-for-2013-mass-poetry-festival-m7p9r1/
 
The period will run from September 15 to October 30.

Only submissions made in the online form provided will be considered. While there is no fee to submit program proposals, any expenses incurred in the process of submission will be the responsibility of the program/project organizer(s).
 
The festival seeks programming that encompasses the diversity of Massachusetts poets. Within that diversity, we will select the highest quality content and presentation possible. We seek diversity of age, region of the state, language, gender, background, race, and ethnicity. Additionally, we want to encourage a range of presentations—in particular, from people who are submitting proposals with us for the first time.
 
While we welcome all types of programming, we especially encourage programming geared to the following topics:
  • Poems of place
  • Poetry and the body
  • Multicultural poetry
  • Poetry of conscience
  • Poetry of gender and sexual orientation
  • Poetry and culture through food
  • Translation
  • Sessions specifically toward college students, high school students, and children and families
  • Poetry Installations
  • Workshops
Note: The festival does not schedule individual poets for readings. We will, however, accept proposals for workshops from an individual or from group workshop leaders. All other programs are for groups of poets and presenters.
 
Our criteria for submissions are based on the following:
 
1. Originality—Is this proposal truly unique from what we have seen at prior Mass Poetry Festivals?
2. Quality—Is this a proposal for high quality programming? Is there evidence—references, examples of previous performances—that demonstrate that quality?
3. Diversity—Does the program reflect the festival’s values?
4. Audience—Will this program help build a larger audience? Everyone who participates must help publicize the festival in smart, creative ways.
 
 
Donate Now!
 
Help us continue to produce the high-quality festival programming you’ve come to expect from this organization. Please consider donating $10 or more. Every little bit helps.

Thanks again for helping us celebrate the poetry community in Massachusetts and beyond.
 
All the best,
 
January G. O’Neil
On behalf of the Festival Planning Committee

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Photo














Being a part of this photo might be worth the price of admission. This is the iPhone version. Can't wait to see the glam shot.

Left to "write": Tamiko Beyer, Oliver de la Paz, me,  Idra Novey, Ron Villanueva, Jennifer Chang, Jon Pineda, Bino A Realuyo, Sarah Gambito, Hossannah Asuncion, Patrick Rosal, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Joseph O. Legaspi, Cecily Parks, Vikas Menon, and Lara Stapleton.

Best. Wedding. Ever. My love to Joseph and David.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Going to the Chapel ...

Well, going to the statue in a field.

I am in NY along the Hudson for the wedding of my dear friends Joseph and David. It's been lovely visiting with friends who have traveled long distances to celebrate the love of two remarkable people.

Thought I would be mired in my sadness this weekend. But there's just too much joy for that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Improbable Places Poetry Tour Returns!

Yep, that's right. Colleen Michaels is back to her improbable ways with the next stop on her popular Improbable Places Poetry Tour. A drum roll, please ...

Monday, Oct. 1, 7 – 9 pm
Wayne’s World of Automotive Services
126 Park Street, Beverly

This month’s venue is Wayne’s World of Automotive Services!

A garage, huh?

That’s right, folks!

The cars might be up on the lift, but the humming engine will come from the poets. A Pinto persona poem, an ode to an mechanic, hydraulic suspension or safety child locks – all makes and models welcome. Think of words as vehicles and poems as spark plugs.

Hey, I’ve got a poem about my El Camino? Can I read it?
We are accepting submissions via email at colleen.michaels@montserrat.edu and in the Writing Studio, located at 238 Cabot St, at Montserrat College of Art. The deadline is Thursday, Sept. 27. We’d love to read your work!

I don’t write poetry, but I sure am interested in this tour. Can I still attend the event?
Absolutely! Come listen and cheer on the readers and get a poetry tune up at Wayne’s World!

The tour is Montserrat College of Art’s way of bringing together student writers, local poets, area businesses, and enthusiastic listeners to celebrate the power of poetry and community. At each tour stop a new venue and theme will be selected.

Questions? Contact Colleen Michaels, Montserrat’s Writing Studio Director at colleen.michaels@montserrat.edu or 978-969-2301

And in case you need a little inspiration ...


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Confession Tuesday

9/11 is a tough day for everyone. My heart goes out to all those who lost someone during the tragedy. And my humble thanks to those who have kept us safe in the years since that fateful day.

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It's Tuesday. And 11 years ago, 9/11 was also on a Tuesday. On that day I was preparing to fly to Virginia the very next day for my wedding on 9/15.

In a few days, on 9/15, I will drive to upstate NY to attend the wedding of my good friend Joseph. I would do anything for Joseph and Boo. They will be surrounded by friends and it will be a joyous occasion. But there is a huge part of me that doesn't know how I will be on the actual day. I am hoping I will not be flooded by memories of my own wedding and subsequent failed marriage on Joseph's big day.

For weeks after he announced the day--and we talked about it before the date was set--I was reluctant to commit to attending. But once I committed I was all in. I have no doubt it will be a wonder weekend. They deserve as much love as we can give them. I am hoping this wedding will give me a new way to look on this day, however, more fondly than I do now. One blessing hiding behind another.

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Thinking about my beautiful children today--my silver linings.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday, Monday




























This post was brought to you via Blogger's mobile app. I believe there used to be a fee to use it but not anymore.

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After an incredibly busy week with the start of classes and my kids entrenched in their school routine, it was good to have the weekend off. I needed a few days to regroup. Since I'm teaching four classes and working on festival planning, it will be incredibly important for me to stay on top of things, including rest.

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Last week, a student told me that one of her favorite poems was "Sex and Pizza." Said she read it in high school, which made me feel flattered and old at the same time (more flattered than old, tho).

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We now have two guinea pigs in the house, S'mores and Honey Boo Boo. (We don't watch the show on TLC--we just like the name.)

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Revising two poems.


Friday, September 07, 2012

2013 Massachusettts Poetry Festival

WOO HOO!
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Dear Poets and Poetry Lovers!

I am thrilled to announce the dates for the fifth Massachusetts Poetry Festival:

May 3–5, 2013

Once again, the festival will be held in downtown Salem. This past April, more than 1,500 people came out to support poetry in one of New England’s most historic cities.

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Here are some of the festival poets who will be with us throughout the weekend:










Sharon Olds (photo by Catherine Mauger)
Terrance Hayes
Tracy K. Smith
Nick Flynn
Jill McDonough
Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Erica Funkhouser
Kevin Goodan

The festival is thrilled to bring you such a distinguished line-up of poets. But we are not done yet! Stay tuned in the next weeks and months for more announcements on the featured poets joining us in May. Visit our website for updates.

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Call for Program Proposals

On September 15, we will open our submission period for program proposals. The deadline for all proposals will be October 30. We will only accept proposals through our online submissions form.



The festival seeks programming that encompasses the diversity of Massachusetts poets. Within that diversity, we will select the highest quality content and presentation possible. We seek diversity of age, region of the state, language, gender, background, race, and ethnicity. Additionally, we want to encourage a range of presentations—in particular from people who are submitting proposals with us for the first time.



Note: The festival does not schedule individual poets for readings. We will, however, accept proposals for workshops from an individual or from group workshop leaders. All other programs are for groups of poets and presenters.

More information to be released on September 15.

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Donate Now!









When you donate to Mass Poetry, you are doing much more than supporting the festival. You are making it possible for us to give teachers the tools to teach poetry in some of the state's lowest-performing schools—which we did all summer long. You also enable us to produce and distribute our Common Threads poems to libraries and reading groups across the Commonwealth. And, we can continue to produce the high-quality festival programming you’ve come to expect from this organization.

Please consider donating $10—or more. Every little bit helps.

We will have more information on travel, lodging, and tickets in February. In the meantime, visit our website for poetry news, poems, and past festivals. And stay connected by friending us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

On behalf of the festival organizers, thank you for supporting Mass Poetry.

January G. O’Neil
Executive Director, Massachusetts Poetry Festival

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

All That Lies Between Us / Maria Mazziotti Gillan Movie trailer



All That Lies Between Us is a documentary by Kevin Carey and Mark Hillringhouse on legendary poet Maria Mazziotti Gillan.

The world premiere happens on Thursday, October 6 at  Passaic County Community College Theater, Paterson, New Jersey, at 1 p.m.

Watch the trailer! Gorgeous!

Confession Tuesday

If it’s Tuesday, it’s time for your confessions. Share a little of yourself and we promise to do the same.

(My mom says, “You haven’t updated your blog in five days …” Yes, mom. I know. I know.)

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Today it's back to school for me. Lots of campus activities happening today with classes starting tomorrow.

Tom Perrotta came to Salem State's convocation ceremony. Author of The Leftovers, Election, and Little Children, among other titles, he spoke about the book our first-years have been reading all summer. Was great to have him take questions from the crowd. And even when one of our students said she was not a fan of The Leftovers, Perrotta handled it well.

I'm always amazed how the reader takes the authors work and find subtle interpretations that the writer never anticipates.

After, we broke into discussion groups. I was happy to lead one--was a nice way to connect to our newest students and to kick off the semester.

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With the start of classes comes a more reliable routine. When I have more time on my hands, I seem to find more ways to waste it. But with more structure I get things done. This also means more blog posts with me venting. *smile*

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Spent lots of time this summer working on Mass Poetry and AWP items. Also managed to get in a grant application and write to letters of recommendation last week. And, we adopted a second guinea pig.

To-Do List

1. Write two poems
2. Revise two poems
3. Figure out what to do about third book
4. Plan out fall reading schedule
5. Read Eduardo Coral's Slow Lightning--just arrived last week.

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I've become something of a political wonk as of late watching the election coverage. Oh well. So be it. Bring on the DNC!

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