Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Confession Tuesday

It is the last Tuesday in March, which according to my daughter is not going out like a lamb.

Well, these are the dog days of spring for me, where time is at a premium. In fact, all of my time is scheduled out. Before I go to bed, I write out a to-do list. In the morning, I go out an make a time map, so I can see how much time I have for festival planning and grading.

In fact, I'm writing this post out in the parking lot of the kids school as I wait for the end of their school day. Nothing is wasted today, not even time. 

It is what it is for the next week or so. 


As I look over to the car next to me in the parking lot, there's another woman typing on her iPad, too. We are all so overscheduled and ridiculously busy for no good reason, I want to be busy looking for buds pushing up through the snow in the front yard. Now that's important. 


One upside to sitting in the parking lot on a warm afternoon (and by warm, I mean 45 degrees and sunny), I'm listening to Krista Tippet interview Mary Oliver on the show On Being. I've heard Mary Oliver read before, but it's been so long I couldn't remember what she sounded like. Her voice sounds strong. 

I'm listening to her talk about the "I" in poetry. She says (I'm paraphrasing) that she wanted the I to represent the possible reader, not just herself. The I is more than ego. It is a way for the reader to join the poet in the poem. I think it gives the poet ownership. 


I haven't written a poem since January, but I'm gearing up for a Poem a Day/National Poetry Writing Month challenge. As busy as I am, this is the one time all day where I make myself sit down and do something for myself.

Goodbye March, Hello April!

Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 National Poetry Month Poster

Here's the 2015 National Poetry Month poster from the Academy of American Poets. It arrived in the mail today. I have every NPM poster created since 2000. Most of them are in my office at work, but I'm keeping this one at home because I love it so much. Created by New Yorker Cartoonist Roz Chast, this poster features the first three lines of Mark Strand's poem, "Eating Poetry":
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
When the kids came home from school and saw this poster, it gave me a opportunity to talk about a poem I love with them, which is sort-of the whole point of National Poetry Month. Even a poster can be a way in to poetry. Maybe I can snag another for Ella's fourth grade class. I think they'd really love it, too.

National Poetry Month starts April 1. Check out 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month from the Academy.


"There is no happiness like mine."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Virginia Festival of the Book 2015

It's been so long since I've been to a festival as a reader that I almost forgot how much I enjoy it. Despite the awful travel--snowy night in Boston, being rerouted from Charlottesville to Richmond (thanks, Delta!), and driving 75 miles to the festival--I had a terrific time. Heck, it was 60 degrees with no snow on the ground. The weather was worth the travel alone.

Here are a few pictures from Virginia Festival of the Book.

Misery Islands!

I didn't take any pictures at my reading with Dan Albergotti and David Roderick, but I did take a few of the reading with Patrick Phillips, Mary-Sherman Willis, and Katherine Young.

My iPhone doesn't seem to be taking good pics lately, but here's a group shot of Laura-Gray Street, Hermine Pinson, Dan Albergotti, me, David Roderick, Sandra Beasley, and Patrick Phillips. Shout out to Kevin McFadden (not pictured) for all the hard work he does for poetry and this festival.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday folks. It's Tuesday. Time for your confessions.


Here's a picture of Ella and me goofing off at our local community access channel BevCam. Our favorite storyteller and poet Tony Toledo asked The Improbable Colleen Michaels and me to do a guest spot on his new show Speak Up. When the link's available, I'll add it. 

Colleen and I took our kids so they could see the television studio. Taping two episodes back-to-back was harder than I thought, and the thought of me appearing on screen weirds me out. But it was fun and I was able to plug the Mass Poetry Fest, which is always good.

(I wore striped during the filming, which probably added 100 lbs to the camera.)


Speaking of the festival, I have officially entered the point in the spring where I feel tired and run down. Lots of moving parts between the festival, classes, meetings and home life. I'm exhausted. My hope is that because I recognize that I'm exhausted, I can be kinder on myself and those around me. 

*So I am setting an intention and sticking with it: I want to move through my day with grace and light.* That's the mantra for the rest of the day/week/month.

Taking the time to write this means I am slowing down and doing something for myself.


And--the best news--my son made it to his basketball playoff finals! His team won three games in four days. Outstanding! He's got a battle this weekend with two games on Saturday, so he and his team will take it day by day. Rock on, Alex! Go Celtics!


I'm still diligently working on m'scrip. The work continues. I also feel an April Poem-a-Day challenge coming on--like a fever! 

I have not submitted poems anywhere in four months. I need to get on that soon. Just too much to do. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Virginia Festival of the Book

I'm traveling to my home state to read at the Virginia Festival of the Book this weekend. It's the second time I've read here--it's a terrific event. Hope you can join Dan, David and me for an afternoon of poetry.

Poetry: Dan Albergotti, January O’Neil, and David Roderick
Sat. March 21, Noon-1 p.m.
New Dominion Bookshop
404 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Poets Dan Albergotti (Millennial Teeth), January Gill O’Neil (Misery Islands), and David Roderick (The Americans) read from and discuss their work.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Confession Tuesday

It's Tuesday. Time to fess up, folks!

Yoga for Poets. I'm sure such a thing exists.

On a snowy Sunday morning, I took my first yoga class. Taught by Chris Warner at her studio north of Boston, I have to say it was an amazing experience. Chris has been practicing for nearly 20 years and teaching for half of them, so I felt like I was in good hands. That morning, I really felt as if I did something just more me.

I won't lie--yoga is hard. I have no core strength, and apparently no balance in many of the floor positions. Also, I am not that flexible (no surprise there). But it did open me up; it unblocked a few places I didn't know were blocked. It felt intentional and good, which makes it hard to explain. More necessary than cathartic, like maintenance I didn't know I needed.

I went to the class because I wanted to change up my routine. Will I stick with it? Maybe. It has certainly motivated me to do more than the treadmill at the Y. Change is good.


There are birds chirping. Hurray! I don't know how they're finding food with all the snow on the ground, but at least they're coming back.


My son is about to start his own bit of March Madness with basketball playoffs. They are coming off of a tough loss to the best team in the league, but I tell you watching those 11-year olds play gives me a kind of pride I never experienced as a player (Growing up, I never played basketball, or any sport.). But I get to experience it as a mother, which floods my heart with such emotion  and love for my son.

My daughter's league does not have playoffs for her age bracket (and they don't keep score), but she had a good season. She learned a lot, which again makes me kind-of wish I played basketball.


Let's see ... I am working on my manuscript but not writing. I don't want to write until I have more poems edited. The glut of unedited drafts I have is a bit daunting, so revising keeps me connected even when I'm not writing. It's all part of the process.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Vote for Me at AWP!

So, big news!

I have been nominated for the position of Northeast Regional Chair of AWP's Board! I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to serve AWP's 50,000+ members. If elected, I will work hard to be an advocate for the many community voices not often heard, to foster communication among the working members to create sound policies, and to create strong partnerships with new and emerging literary organizations. You'll have a chance to vote for me at the conference, so please do! Special thanks to Jill McDonough, Oliver de la Paz, and Bonnie Culver for their support.

Here's a link to AWP's governance page.

Truth is, I've had a love affair with AWP for more years than I can count. I've written content for AWP and tweeted on their behalf. But when the Boston conference came around, I was inspired to do more. I'm a big believer in supporting the organizations that support me, so I am going in with an open mind, to listen and to learn.

Vote at AWP!

From AWP’s Website (for those who don't know--I'm talking to you, mom!):

"The Association of Writers & Writing Programs fosters literary achievement, advances the art of writing as essential to a good education, and serves the makers, teachers, students, and readers of contemporary writing. We support over 500 colleges and universities, 130 writers’ conferences and centers, and thousands of individual writers as members."

See you in Minneapolis!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mass Poetry Fest Schedule Is Live!

Plan your visit to the Mass Poetry Festival

In case you missed it this week, the schedule for the 7th Massachusetts Poetry Festival is now live!
Join us May 1-3 in Salem with headliners Rita Dove • Richard Blanco • Stephen Burt • Denise Duhamel • Nick Flynn • Regie Gibson • Jorie Graham • Edward Hirsch • Richard Hoffman • Adrian Matejka • Marge Piercy • Rachel Wiley • and with the hundreds of fabulous poets participating in sessions. Buy your button today!

Check out Tuesday's release email for information on creating your custom schedule, joining the attendee directory, participating in the Small Press Fair, listing an off-site event, volunteering, and more. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Finally, dear reader, the weather has turned for the better. And while the kids and I are adjusting to setting our clocks ahead, we’re finally enjoying a little melt in our lives.

Collectively, the mood in New England is starting to lift. I can hear it in conversations with friends and colleagues. Even my students smile a little more; although, I think they’re smiling because of spring break next week.  So. Am. I.


I know spring is coming because lots of good things are happening around me. I really can't talk about any of them (I know, such a tease), but if they pan out I will be one happy girl. And there's a range, from upcoming readings to a really big deal thing that if I go into it I'll jinx myself. But once I confess, you'll understand why I kept it a secret. I'll know in  a couple of days.


Have you heard about Kickstand? It's an online poetry book club/discussion group. Misery Islands is up this month.

Also, here's an interview with Doug Holder about this year's Mass Poetry Festival. Thanks, Doug for letting me talk about our weekend extravaganza!


Last week, I went on a date! It's my first date in a very long time, and while it looks likes it won't have a second date with this person, it was kinda fun to be out again. Made me wonder about finding the next date. Guess this means I'm back in the dating pool.


Because I've never completely understood why we still have Daylight Saving Time, I leave you with this from John Oliver.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The 2015 Kundiman Poetry Prize

2015 Kundiman Poetry Prize

Published by Tupelo Press 

Deadline: March 15, 2015

The Kundiman Poetry Prize is dedicated to publishing exceptional work by Asian American poets at any stage of their careers. Winner receives $1,000 and book publication with Tupelo Press.

Click here for detailed guidelines.

And submit your manuscript here.
Tupelo Press is an independent, literary press devoted to discovering and publishing works of poetry, literary fiction, and creative nonfiction by emerging and established writers.

For a list of previous winners, click here.
Asian American writers living in the United States.
General Guidelines
  • Reading period begins February 1, 2015.
  • Manuscripts must be typed, paginated, and 50 – 70 pages in length (single spaced).
  • Individual poems from the manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, anthologies, or chapbooks of less than 25 pages, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. Translations and self-published books are not eligible. No multi-authored collections, please.
  • Manuscripts must have a table of contents and include a list of acknowledgments for poems previously published. The inclusion of a biographical note is optional. Your name, mailing address, email address and phone number should appear on the title page of your manuscript. 
  • No illustrations, photographs or images should be included.
  • The Kundiman Poetry Prize is judged by consensus of the members of Kundiman's Artistic Staff and the Tupelo Press Editorial Board. Manuscripts are not read anonymously. Learn more about our judging process.
  • Winners will be announced in June.
Guidelines for Electronic Manuscript Submission
Click here to access the Electronic Submission Application between February 1 and March 15.
Thanks for submitting and please spread the word!



Friday, March 06, 2015

Poets in the Round

Hope you can join us today!

Poets in the Round
2:00 p.m.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA

Join poets Colleen Michaels, January Gill O'Neil, Kevin Carey, Cindy Veach, Dawn Paul, and Lis Weiss Horowitz for an energetic and engaging poetry reading in the special exhibition Bill of Lading: The Art and Poetry of Roger Martin.

Poets in the Round is a fast paced poetry reading in which guest poets choose their favorite poem to read and then tag one of their peers to read a poem that has some connection to the first.

This program is free for Museum members, youth 18 and under and Montserrat students, or with Museum admission. Space is limited. First come; first served. For more information call (978) 283-0455 x10 or email info@capeannmuseum.org.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Confession Tuesday


The weather is finally starting to abate. I see more pavement than snow on the sidewalks and driveways. The snow mounds are dirty brown and starting to melt. The birds are back, not just the wild turkeys, who have been hanging around all winter, but the sparrows, robins, and crows are back.

Spring is returning.

The temperature, for the most part, is up 10 degrees, and as we stretch deeper into March, Daylight Savings Time is just around the corner.


Granted, it still feels like winter, and I wouldn't be surprised if we got one more snowstorm before month's end. We've been known to get an April Snowstorm (Prince was right - sometimes it does snow in April). I'm choosing to be optimistic. 


This time of year I'm usually taking picture of whatever nature I can find. Today, it's a turkey. No crocuses pushing through the earth. Heck, I can't see the ground because there's still four feet of snow covering it. But like the turkey in the snow we are survivors.


Haven't been writing much, not because I'm busy, which is certainly true, but because I can't bear to write another snow poem. Seriously, I'm becoming a nature poet. I just don't recognize myself anymore.


I'm thinking of naming my next collection "The Secret Life of Turkeys." (Not really.)


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