Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Confession Tuesday

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

A few weeks ago on my visit to the College of St. Rose, Dan Nester asked me if I had a set list. Rather, he wanted to know if I picked out my poems ahead of time. My answer? Yes and no.

This is my reading copy of Underlife; it's the first copy I took out of box when the books arrived. As you can see, these are my set lists. This is a small sample. I have saved nearly every list I've ever made, but I don't reuse a list. Not sure why, it's just my thing.

Some poets are better at selecting what they're going to read when they step up to the mike, but I don't like that flustered feeling--thumbing through pages while looking for the next poem. Also, it drives me crazy when the poet can't find the poem he or she is looking for. So I choose just before I take the stage. And I usually read fewer pieces than the time allotted so I can answer questions. My set lists changes based on the audience or if I get a request, but I try not to make too many changes once I get up there. I don't "wing it." That's not my style.

Not sure what I'll do when Misery Islands is published. Invest in more Post-it Notes.


Today I'm headed out to Binghamton University to read for Maria Mazziotti Gillan's Spring Series. She's a force of nature (pun intended). Rumor has it that the beautiful and talented Tara Betts will be there as well.

March 25
Spring Readers' Series
Binghamton University
7:30 p.m., Binghamton, NY

No idea what my set list will be Tuesday night.


Snow again? The weather gods need to quit playing around and bring on spring. Seriously. Don't they know I have a five-hour drive ahead of me. Maybe they do ...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kid Break

Kid-pic. This is my favorite, not-so-recent-photo of Alex and Ella. It's hard to get them to pose, much less stand still these days. 

After a full day of school, basketball, and hanging out with his friends, my son Alex came home and told me that Ella, his sister, was his best friend.

What's left to say but, "Awwwwww!" My babies. My sweatpeas.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Dead things here / get a fan club / of vultures."

One of my favorite poets, Bob Hicok, is reading today at Merrimack College.

Bob Hicok
Writers House
Merrimack College, North Andover
Sunday, March 23, 4:30 p.m.

He always has a line or two (or three) that enters me and never leaves.

I found "Circles in the Sky," a Motionpoem posted at P&W:

"Dead things here / get a fan club / of vultures." Poet Bob Hicok and filmmaker Keri Moller circle back to the living in this installment from Motionpoems.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks. Oh, I've got lots to share today. And it's all good!

We sent this out in email yesterday. Here's a sneak peak of Mass Poetry's poster for Poetry on the T.

I'm so excited about this project! In April, we are putting poetry on the Boston transit system, also known as the T. (Click to enlarge poster.) I'm over-the-moon thrilled that "Marathon" by the beautiful and talented Nick Flynn will be one of the first we display during National Poetry Month. Woo hoo!


Not only am I excited about Poetry on the T, I'm thrilled about our leadership and poetry event coming up with Governor Deval Patrick on March 31.

An Evening of Inspired Leadership
Monday, March 31, 7 p.m.
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115

We’re cosponsors of this event with the Favorite Poem Project and Courage & Renewal Northeast to present poetry readings from several notable leaders from both the artistic and political spheres. Find out more.

I'm going to meet Gov. Patrick. HELLO!


Why is all of this happening before the festival, I ask myself. Whew! Too much on my plate right now.  

Speaking of the festival, we're moving right along. I'm focused on logistics, and getting our new schedule Website up and running. Lots of proofing and data entry--not my favorite task. But it's getting done, and when it's done, the new site will look swell! That's right, I said "swell."


I should mention that our statewide Student Day of Poetry  (SDOP) happens this Friday. More than 1,000 kids will descend on UMass Boston's campus for a day of workshops, poetry, and community. Very cool.

2014 SDOP Lineup:
Adam Gottlieb, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jamele Adams aka Harlym 1two5, and Phil Kaye and Franny Choi from Project V.O.I.C.E.



I had a terrific time with Dan Nester, Sean Patrick Dougherty, and the community at College of St. Rose. Here's a recap of last Thursday's reading.


This morning, I looked through the first-round changes from my publisher of my second manuscript! We're still working through covers, but the edits were relatively minor. No turning back now. Misery Islands is on its way!


There is so much going on. I barely have time to breathe. It's insanity for me--meaning, I expect late winter and spring to be different (or easier) every year. Yet no matter how much I plan ahead, it's always crazy busy. And I'm always surprised that it's crazy busy. Lots to do with Mass Poetry, the new book, the kids, teaching ... Why do I expect a different result this time of the year? See? Insanity.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Improbable Gets Cooking!

Oh, this is going to be good!

The Improbable Places Poetry Tour
Thursday, March 27, 2014
7 – 9 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm
Eurostoves, The Culinary Centre
45 Enon Street, Beverly, MA

The Improbable Places Poetry 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 is selected. This month’s venue is in the well-appointed commercial kitchen at Eurostoves. There will be poetry, a cooking demonstration, and tasting and a cash bar.

That’s right, folks. This month’s theme is “In the Kitchen.” All styles of original poetry are welcome. Like favorite party guests, we will savor those poems that linger in the kitchen. Poems about best meals, kitchen tools, and grandmothers are all welcome. We’re looking for poems that snap like a pea in spring, stir like a wooden spoon, and aren’t afraid to raid the refrigerator.

Hey, what if I have a recipe poem? Or a sonnet cycle about my dishwasher? How do I participate? Send your submissions to colleen.michaels@montserrat.edu. The submission deadline is Thursday, March 20 and we are hungry for work!

I don’t write poetry, but I sure am interested in this tour. Can I still attend the event? Sure! The event is free, open to the public, and you might even pick up some mad chopping skills.

Wait! I’ve still got questions!
Just talk to Colleen Michaels, Montserrat’s Writing Studio Director at colleen.michaels@montserrat.edu or 978-921-4242 x1277.

Want to see more?
Check out past tour stops, including video, at Montserrat's blog.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Readings from January Gill O'Neil's book of poems, Underlife

Dan Nester's students recorded some of my poems and posted them on Soundcloud. How cool is that?


Hope to see you at Frequency North!

Confession Tuesday

I confess, it feels good to confess on Tuesday!

Is there anything more depressing than this beach bucket in the snow?

Today it's near 60 degrees, but tomorrow another snowstorm is supposed to dump three to 85 inches. Well, that's a slight exaggeration. Maybe closer to 80 inches in the Northeast. 


This morning my son had two teeth extracted. Ugh. Poor thing. He's OK, I'm not.


Thursday I'm headed to Albany to read at the Frequency North series. Looking forward to visiting with Dan Nester's classes at The College of Saint Rose, and meeting Sean Thomas Dougherty. Here are the deets:

Poets January Gill O'Neil and Sean Thomas Dougherty
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: The College of Saint Rose Events and Athletics Center (Standish Rooms, second floor), 420 Western Ave., Albany
Notes: This event is free and open to the public.
More information: www.frequencynorth.com

And, here's an article on me about in the Times Union online: "A Perspective of Her Own."


Since AWP, I've been FLAT-OUT. Mass Poetry is picking up. Much of my work has been working on the schedule website, which is a completely new platform for us. But I've also been working on getting poems on the T! For the first time, we will have poetry on the T. We're so excited! It's perfect for National Poetry Month. 

More to come.  


I'm also working to launch my next book, Misery Islands, in the fall (probably September) from CavanKerry Press. Right now we're working through cover art. It's so hard to get the right look and feel, but I do like this part. I revel in the challenge of figuring out how to bring this book to market. Time to put on the marketing cap. It's starting to feel real--finally. 

That also means I should think about my first love. Will Underlife get a second look? Hmmm.


That being said, I haven't done anything with manuscript #3 yet. And, I haven't written a new poem this month. I'm OK with that, sort of. I've written too many poems about snow this season. I think I'll hold off on writing anything significant until NaPoWriMo/PAD.

Saturday, March 08, 2014


Books I picked up at AWP, in no particular order:

Last three editions of Poetry magazine from 2013
The Selected Levis, Larry Levis
Ascension Theory, Christopher Bolin
Hourglass Museum, Kelli Russell Agodon (ok, this one I had before AWP, but I'm including it anyway)
Lace & Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens: Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Aviary, Bestiary,  Joseph O. Legaspi
Cloud Pharmacy, Susan Rich
Blowout, Denise Duhamel
Sasha Sings the Landry of the Line, Sean Thomas Daugherty
The Laundress Catches Her Breath, Paola Corso
Neighborhood Register, Marcus Jackson
Crab Orchard Review, Summer/Fall 2013
Naugatuck River Review, Winter 2014

Not pictured:
If a Storm, Anna Ross
Mammoth, Rachel McKibbens
The Whetting of Teeth, Jamaal May

Catching Up

At one point this was my Confession Tuesday post. Then it became Confession Thursday. Oh well, here it is. On Saturday.

Here's a photo from Tuesday, the day I should have posted. Notice the Starbucks mug from Pike Place, the first Starbucks location (or I like to call it: The Mothership!).


It's taken me nearly a week to get back into a semi-regular sleep pattern. I was sleepless in Seattle. In fact, I was sleepless before I went to Seattle. And while I was there, I averaged about three hours a night. Came back from AWP hoarse and with a head cold. But I'm on the mend, thank goodness. My voice doesn't sound as husky, which I kinda liked, in that Kathleen-Turner-Romancing-the-Stone way. Kinda sexy.


This past Monday, I read at SSU's annual faculty reading. The voice wasn't that sexy. More pitiful than sexy.


AWP was a blur, but I really enjoyed myself. I always do. Admittedly, I compared it to Boston because I had a teeny-tiny part in the planning. Seattle was not better or worse, just different. Certainly the weather was much better--a welcomed relief to the arctic temps on the East Coast. I even broke out a pair of Capri pants on Saturday.

There was much less swag out there, but the best swag came from Two Sylvia's Press--everything from special lanyard tags to postcards to poet tarot cards. Nice work, Kelli and Annette.

I did not do as much late-night partying as I would have liked. But there was one night I certainly stayed up late. Really, time was not my friend.

My favorite event was going to the White Pine Press reading featuring Kelli Agodon and Susan Rich. They did a great job reading from their new books Hourglass Museum and Cloud Pharmacy. It was a magical night. The reading was held at the Seattle Art Gallery with a reception before. Will post pictures later today.


I filed my NEA application in on Thursday. Yay! This year, I did something I've never done before: have a friend read my application. I never think to have someone proof my forms but it helped immensely. Just talking to people and asking about the process was a big help, too. The NEA had a table at AWP, so I asked all of my questions there. I feel eerily confident about this year's effort. I don't expect to receive a fellowship but gosh it would be fantastic if I did.


I have so much more to tell you. Hope to post more between basketball games and play dates.


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