Thursday, October 31, 2013

Championship Strong!

Congrats to the 2013 World Series Champions!

What a series! From worst to first. The first World Series victory in Fenway Park in 95 years. All the hype about this team is true. After the last year with Bobby Valentine, we were due. More important, after the Boston Marathon bombing, this team, this city, this region has been united like never before. In the words of MVP David Ortiz, This is our fucking city! 

Today we are Championship Strong!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Confession Tuesday

Happy Confession Tuesday! You know the drill.

Last week was the first week, I believe, that I didn't post on a Tuesday. Ugh. I felt bad about that. And then Thursday rolled around but I couldn't bring myself to post a late post. So forgive me, reader. I needed a blog vacation.

But the truth is I missed this blog, which serves as a room of my own, so to speak, when the poems aren’t coming or I’m just feeling empty. If I can’t keep up with the blog, it means that some other part of my life has taken over. Last week, grading Comp 1 papers and Mass Poetry work took over. But this is the week where I pull back and try to get a little more balance.

Two words: Red Sox. Need I say more?


When I don't write a post, my mom calls me up and asks, "Is everything OK?


Have I been writing this week? No, not really. But I just wrote a new poem today which came to me out of the blue. Sometimes writing is a struggle, but this one was a gift.

Strangely enough, I am as connected as I was over the summer. I am locked and loaded (much like David Ortiz from my beloved Red Sox). These days, I know that if I sit down long enough, I will tap into myself and write something. It may be a shitty first draft, but showing up is half the battle.


That reference to shitty first drafts is reference to the Anne Lamott essay “Shitty First Drafts,” which I share with my creative writing students every semester. It’s from her book Bird by Bird, one of my touchstones. In looking up Anne Lamott online, I found a documentary on her called Bird by Bird. It’s terrific. If you get a chance to see it, it will inspire you to “just show up” and write on those days when you’re rather do anything else but write.


It’s NaNoWriMo time, which means is NaPoWriMo time for me. Yet again, I will attempt the 30 poems in 30 days challenge in November. This time, I feel I can do it. (All the other times I said I would do it, I know I couldn't finish.) But now I’m in the flow. I want to do it. And it I can’t, or don't, that’s OK. I have stopped forgiving myself for things that do need forgiveness. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mom Egg Mayhem!

Please join us for Mass. Mayhem!

Mom Egg Review Reading at Červená Barva Press Studio 
Saturday, November 2 
1:30 PM 
The Center For The Arts At The Armory Basement Room B8 
191 Highland Avenue Somerville, MA 

Admission $3 Facebook 


Featured Readers:

Carol Berg
Louise Berliner
Debbie Blicher
Fay Chiang
Lori Desrosiers
Kathy Handley
Jennifer Jean
Danielle Jones-Pruett
Dorian Kotsiopoulos
Aparna Mani
Tara Masih
Colleen Michaels
Jaqui Morton
January G. O'Neil
Eve Packer
Kyle Potvin
Denise Provost
Laura Rodley
Rosie Rosensweig
Nancy Vona

emcee: Marjorie Tesser

Hope to see you there! And check out the Mom Egg Review.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mass Poetry Update

Guess who's coming to Salem in May?

The sixth Massachusetts Poetry Festival will be held May 2-4, 2014 in downtown Salem. Here’s a partial list of the extraordinary poets coming to what promises to be our best festival yet.
Kim Addonizio • Lucie Brock-Broido • Rafael Campo • Carol Ann Duffy • Oliver de la Paz • Cornelius EadyRhina EspaillatForrest Gander • David Ferry • Li-Young Lee • Philip Levine • Susan Rich • Vivian Shipley • C.D. Wright

And we’re not done yet! We are still adding to this amazing lineup. Stay tuned in the next weeks and months for more announcements on the featured poets joining us in May. Visit our website for updates and news about the festival.
Philip Levine was the 18th U.S. Poet Laureate for 2011–2012. Most recently, he was the recipient of the 2013 Wallace Stevens Award for proven mastery in the art of poetry by the Academy of American Poets.

Deadline for Program Proposals Approaching

This festival thrives because of the dynamic programming created from the panels, workshops, discussions, music and visual arts created by you, the poets. Please submit your proposal ideas by October 30 through our online submission form. Read more about submitting a proposal.

Student Day of Poetry 2014 Headliners Announced

Our Student Day of Poetry line-up is so star-studded you'd think we're astrologers. We are thrilled to announce that Adam Gottlieb, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jamele Adams aka Harlym 1two5, and Phil Kaye, Sarah Kay, and Franny Choi from Project V.O.I.C.E. will be taking the stage and leading workshops on Friday, March 21st at UMass Boston. Teachers and poetry group leaders, register here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Confession Tuesday

If it's Tuesday, It's time for your confessions! Share a little of yourself with us and we promise to do the same.

This past weekend, I spent the weekend in Gloucester, MA, at Morning Gardens. (See photos in previous post).

I have been there before with Jennifer Jean. We would get away at least once a year for about 30 hours to write and reflect on our writing projects. But this time, she opened it up to others as a full-fledged writers retreat.

Most days, I write whenever and wherever I can: in the bed in the mornings, at Starbucks or the campus library in the afternoons, or at the dining room table after the kids go to bed. So changing the venue always works wonders as a motivator for me. Also, it’s just nice to meet fellow writers, talk about their projects, which poets and journals they like to read, etc. And yet, my needs this time around were different. I didn't need to get into the flow because I'm already there--I've been riding this wave of productivity since the summer. My mission was to get things crossed off my to-do list, which I did.

Thanks to Jennifer Jean and all of the Morning Gardens writers for their time and talent.


Later today, I'm making a classroom appearance at Southern Connecticut State University, and reading on campus tonight at 8 p.m. Looking forward to spending time with Vivian Shipley and her students.


To-Do List

(Just because I knocked a few things off the list doesn't mean I'm in the clear. Oh, no. Far from it.)

1. Revise two poem drafts
2. Fill out one grant application
3. Submit one proposal

I need to do all of this before I take off for SCSU.


Special thanks to Nin Andrews for submitting two of my poems for a Pushcart Prize. Thanks, Nin! The poems originally appeared in Poets and Artists magazine.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Morning Gardens

This weekend I have been spending time in Gloucester, MA, at Morning Gardens. I'm here with a group of writers working on various projects. Here are a few photos I took this morning at sunrise. 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Next Stop on the Improbable Places Poetry Tour

Woo hoo! The Improbable is back!

The Improbable Places Poetry Tour
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
7– 9 p.m.
Winfrey’s Fudge and Chocolates
115 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA

What's this tour all about? Well, it's 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 is selected. This month's venue is a Chocolate Factory: Winfrey’s Fudge and Chocolates on 115 Cabot Street in Beverly. 

A Chocolate Factory, huh? That’s right, folks. Things may have gone better for Agustus Gloop and Veruca Salt if Willy Wonka had employed poets. This month’s tour stop celebrates the chewy center of a poem, the cream and butter of language, a sweet tooth, and a taffy pull. Poems will be hand dipped, dusted in sugar, and they will leave you satisfied.

Hey, I happen to have a poem of this flavor. How do I participate? 
Send your submissions to The submission deadline is Thursday, October 17th, so you’ll need to work faster than Lucille Ball in a chocolate factory.

I don’t write poetry, but I sure am interested in this tour. Can I still attend the event? Sure! Think of it as our heart-shaped sampler box of poetry just for you. The event is free, open to the public, and you will even get to see the chocolate makers in action.

Wait! I've still got questions! Just talk to Colleen Michaels, Montserrat's Writing Studio Director. She's at or 978-921-4242 x1277. 

 And no, there is no chocolate waterfall … yet.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Confession Tuesday

Happy Confession Tuesday, Dear Reader!

This morning, my daughter and I took a 7 a.m. walk around the neighborhood. It felt good to stretch our legs, and to have a little extra mommy-daughter time with her. My son is enough of an athlete where he thinks he doesn't need to walk, so he stayed home grandmother. But for Ella—who always manages to stay open, who considers every crack in the sidewalk, every fallen October leaf—she teaches me not to miss the small things.


I’m hoping the walk will spur a new exercise routine, or, at the very least, a little bit of consistency in my weekly trips to the gym. Working out is the one appointment I can’t seem to keep with myself. I mean, I make time for everything else, but exercise? Not so much. That walk made it easier for me to go to the gym right after. So if I can spend a little more time being active with the kids in between gym appointments, I’ll be in good shape—literally.


My son turned 10 on Friday. I am the mother of a 10-year old. Wow. I mean, WOW! Where did the time go?


Time seems very fluid today. I’m writing this post from the Salem Athenaeum, hoping to get two drafts out of my journal and onto my hard drive. The day seems wide open, even though I know it’s not. I have a mound of grading waiting for me this afternoon.

Very happy that my writing has become more consistent. Maybe it's because I attempt the in-class writing prompts I assign to my students. Ten minutes here, 15 minutes there ... and I'm still writing my observations a few times a week. I feel as if I can tap into the flow at anytime. I love that feeling.


C’mon, Red Sox. Don’t drag it out.


"You get from this life what you have the courage to ask for"
                                                                                       ~Oprah Winfrey

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, unless you work for the government or were planning on visiting the Statue of Liberty.

On to confessions ...


This past week has been a productive one. I finished a grant application, gave back about 100 graded papers and poems to my students, and managed not to stress out about not writing that much. Feel like I have balance this week. Hope I can sustain it a little longer.


Current read: Franz Wright's F. Really enjoying this collection, which is a mix of traditional poems, prose poems, and a long poem at the middle. It's a bold book, meditative at the end of a life. Very, very sad.

I've also been reading Best American Poetry 2013, guest edited by Denise Duhamel. She's made some nice pics, poems with absolutely absorb me. Most of the poems lean toward narrative, which is my sweet spot. Terrific.


To-Do List

1. Start working with publisher on second manuscript
2. Revise three poems
3. Submit poems out to two journals
4. Keep desk clean
5. Finish reading the non-fiction book I've put aside for three weeks
6. Begin Juno project. Again.
7. Read friend's manuscript
8. Let go of guilt for not posting this confession on Tuesday


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