Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

David Bowie & Bing Crosby - Little Drummer Boy

Could not resist.

(I don't have cable, so please excuse me if this video is shown somewhere every ten minutes or so. I hadn't seen it in years.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Be warned: not a pre-dinner post.




Yesterday I brought no sustenance along with me for my long day of finals week, so I broke down and hit the vending machine. I thought, "Hmmm, licorice sounds fine and reasonably harmless for brunch," and purchased me some Chewbilee Chew Goodies.

I suddenly became aware of this habit that I have: if I buy a package of something from a vending machine, I open the package, take a bite of whatever, and then read the ingredients. While I'm chewing. This, it turns out, is not the wisest order of progression.

So, as I'm swallowing my first and only Chewbilee Chew Goodie, I get to the part of the ingredients where shellac is listed. SHELLAC. The shellac is right before the beeswax and right after the glyceryl monostearate. Other fine nutrients.

I know that shellac, when not being consumed as part of a balanced diet, is usually used for coating furniture and whatnot, but I have to admit that I didn't know what it was, exactly. The kind librarian decided to research shellac to help calm me. She looked at me apprehensively, knowing I would not be so calmed by her results. Shellac, it turns out, is a beetle secretion.

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

There's something to be said for ignorant bliss. Last semester, one of my vegetarian students wished she had remained thusly ignorant when she finished her vending machine carrot cake and then found it to contain "beef fat".

And now that I am reading every ingredient of everything, I both sincerely do and sincerely don't want clarification on what exactly the "tree nuts" in the 70% cacao Lindt bar I've been saving are.

I don't want to become one of those people who obsesses over the perfect quality of her food. I just want my food to be made of...food.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Call the Travel Agent.


Sometimes when I procrastinate while I should be grading large stacks of paper, it is fruitful. At least in my mind. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to research the little village everybody with my last name is supposed to be from, and there it is in the upper left quadrant of the map: Ciszewo. (The "z" was removed from our name so it would be, you know, easier. )

This is in the northeast part of Poland, a couple hours up from Warsaw, near Belarus.




It turns out that Biebrza National Park is the largest reserve in Europe. The parts that are green on the map are "primeval forests" that look like this:









And much of the rest is marshland about which I found this:

"Why not to come to Poland birdwatching?"
"Spring brings to north-east Poland an explosion of nature. Forests, meadows, ponds and pastures are once again alive with bird life. The rich and diverse habitats of Biebrza Marshes and Białowieża Primeval Forest make these two places, Poland's most internationally important bird refuges.
Many species that breed or stop over here are extinct or endangered elsewhere in Europe. Lesser Spotted, Greater Spotted and White Tailed Eagle, Great Snipe, Aquatic Warbler, White-winged Tern Eagle Owl, Pygmy and Tengmalm's Owl, Montagu's Harrier, Black Stork, Black Grouse, Corn Crake, Ruff, White-backed and Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrike, Collared Flycatcher can still be found, amongst others. Some of them are numerous and easy to discover here."

In fact, you can take this 8 day trip!

Now, I know when I talk I might sound like this to some folks: "Birds birds birds. Polish Polish Polish. Blah blah blah..." That's why I put this info on my weblog, where it's easy to stop reading, instead of accosting everyone I know one by one and rambling on about it.
But you know I'm saving for this trip now. And I can't help but find it fascinating that this whole bird dealio of mine could be argued to be simply in my blood.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

See, Mom? I Wasn't the only Santa-phobe!

When I was a tot, my mother brought me to Gamble's Department Store to sit on Santa's lap. We waited for...God knows...two hours? in a hot, dark hallway that reeked of urine (this queue was such a commitment that children were not allowed to lose their place to reinforce potty training skills, evidently) to get to the front of the line. And when we did, and when we saw Santa up on a throne on a stage just waiting for me me meee, I threw a holy freakout and couldn't be dragged (and people tried) toward him.

That's why I was so glad when my pal Kate had a version of this
Scared of Santa Gallery on her weblog. Enjoy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

'Tis the Season, Momentarily

1. Saturday night P and I went to a really nice Christmas party for which I got to play dress up like a grown lady: pointy heels and beige fishnets and a pleated, crinoline lined skirt. That was fun. But later that evening, P sat in with a rootsy/jam band that was in town from Atlanta, so I got to go to a hippy-filled blues bar in my fancy costume! THAT was hilarious. Tie-dyed types were looking at me sideways like I had a mohawk. Actually, if I still had a mohawk I'd have stood out less there. I wanted so badly to circulate with a tray in my hand, saying things like, "I'm so glad you could make it! Are you having a nice time?" and "Can I freshen your drink, darling?"

2. Sunday we got up early and headed to a neighborhood church bake sale to buy pierogis. Apple and cabbage (2 separate kinds, not combo). My sister and I are making potato and cheese (2 separate kinds) next week. Later, we picked out our tree from the farmers' market.

3. With the extra branches we had to clip from the tree base, I figured out how to fashion a wreath out of a wire hanger and garbage bag twist ties. Seriously. It is awesome.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Blackbirds, I guess...

Very grey and austere this week. I'm all Martha Wainwright and Wallace Stevens. Brown rice and endless rain. I am not too adept at making poems right now, but I feel like a masterful slasher. I've weeded a lot of unforgivable lines from the new drafts. And that's progress.

There's one of those murders of crows that consists of several hundred birds spending time in my periphery. They were blackening the graveyard I pass on my way to grocery shop. They make a slow parade overhead on many of my walks. This probably sounds like a metaphor in conjunction with the proceeding paragraph, but it's not. It's literal. And awe inspiring.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lush: an anthology and cocktail guide

Got my contributor's copy of Lush in the mail; what an excellent surprise! Well worth the wait!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

Here is the culmination of my Queen video mania, reserved for my brother Michael's birthday, as it has always been my secret theme song for him. Though, no it is not biographically accurate.

On another note, yesterday was almost a Rockwellian Sunday. In between papers and prepping I baked pumpkin spice muffins and P and I went for a walk around Lake of the Isles. (For non-locals, that is the lake Mary Tyler Moore walks by as her theme song plays)
There is just a thin layer of ice formed across the top of the lake, and if you slide a stone across the top of it (as if you were skipping it), this crazy acoustic phenomenon happens! I swear it sounded like photon torpedoes and echoed all around the shore! Even when a silver dollar size stone was sixty feet or so off shore there continued this loud ringing sound! I was endlessly entertained and after my thirtieth or so stone toss, had to be led away by the arm.

Then the sun set all pastel pinks and blues for the remainder of our walk. Sigh.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fun

Tuesday night A and I saw the New York Dolls at First Avenue.

Friday night P and I went to hear Charles Simic read. In a church, no less. We sat in pews and listened to Charles Simic from behind a pulpit. And there were probably over 200 people there which in itself is heartening to see.

What an amazing week for my groupie fanship! Perhaps next week T. Rex and Emily Dickinson could blow through town.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Queen-We Are The Champion

There was once a time when I had a relationship with Queen music! This was everyone's elementary softball victory song. In fourth grade we had orange jerseys and were Orange Crush, and in fifth grade we had blue jerseys and were the Bluejays, which name I picked, foreshadowing my bird fetish.

I would like to dedicate this video to my great grad school pal Elvis, Gbanabom Hallowell, in celebration of another new book for him.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Somebody to Love - Queen

Here's another Queen video to celebrate the launch of Pilot Magazine and books, which contains many fine poets for you to love. I, personally, am always fond of my fellow Black Ocean poet, Zachary Schomburg and am also seriously digging Cynthia Arrieu-King at the moment.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

poetry and voting

Boy was the reading swell last night! Do you all have Terri Ford's first book? Well, you better hurry on up because I learned her second will be out next spring!

And Eric did a really interesting brand spanking new experimental piece that included a voice loop. So very cool.

And a good number of my students came. For some, yesterday was their first poetry reading AND first time voting. I was so happy for them!

P was playing in the band at the Democratic shindig, so my pal J and I hoofed over after the reading to check it out. It was moving, actually, being in the room as MN's first woman senator and first African-American Muslim congressman made their victory speeches. But truly, J and I spent a goodly portion of the evening pondering how we could get on this man's dance card. Alas, it was not to be.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Want To Break Free - Queen

Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

When I was a kid I was way too disillusioned (whatever that means at sixteen) and punk to listen to any stadium type rock, and so my fanship for Queen has been delayed until now. I cannot get enough.

If, after you break free to get out and vote this evening, you are looking to do something more before heading back home, I have the honor of reading with the supersensational Eric Lorberer and Terri Ford tonight! We'll be at the Black Dog Cafe, kitty corner from the St. Paul Farmers' Market, at 7:00 p.m.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Cafe Review

Just got my fall issue of The Cafe Review for which I would like to send out a big thanks to the editors for taking one of my new states poems and to Karen Douglass for a kind and positive review of Upon Arrival.

As soon as I can stop rereading the Andrei Codrescu poem "Visitors," I look forward to getting knocked out by even more work in the mag.

Friday, October 27, 2006

WORD OF THE DAY PLAY: ACT ONE: “PARDON MY WELTSCHMERZ”

Having waited
to open my
invitation,
I was not
present when
the first switch
was thrown
and the first
dawn light
bathed
the firmament. How
time snuck up.
A needle
embroidering
the various
extinctions. So
I can’t wrap
my head around
all your old school
allusions. When
you ask,
“Why not forget
your maker
every time a door
swings?” Is that
literal or rhetorical?
I get hung up.
All the makers.
The salvage
and collapse.
Stop calling
me names.
Suzuki.
Chest-o-whiskey.
The past
anonymously
doing something
for us. Even
at this awkward
moment. Expunged
of doorstep. It’s okay
I guess, minus
the surprises which are
so mundane and
usually sarcastic.
I mean, not like
the surprises
at the start
of the party, when
I hear folks actually
made stuff up.
Anything meant
anything. Even
all the clocks were
once imaginary clocks.
Though I shouldn’t
judge because I
usually hang near
the outer ring
of the action where
I’ve got a clear
trajectory to
the revolving door.



*WELTSCHMERZ : a mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This Very Sunday

DREW GORDON LOVEFEST BENEFIT ON 10/29/06
Celebrate the life of Minneapolis pianist and composer Drew Gordon
with a night of music, dance, poetry, food, drink and fun! Silent auction
too!

Scheduled performers include: Gondwana, Chan Poling and John
Munson, Michelle Kinney and Manjunan Gnanaratnam, Peter Schimke,
Hijack, The Dale Hush Hush, Deborah Gordon Cooper, Paula Cisewski, Sean Emery,
Adam Levy, Barbara Meyer, Alison Morse, Jen Peden and a special
surprise
guest.

Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006, 5-9 PM
Xelias Aerial Arts Studio,
1121 Van Buren Street N.E.
Minneapolis (near Central and Broadway)

Suggested donation: $30
For reservations call: 612-588-1263

Non attendee donations gratefully accepted:
The Drew Gordon Memorial Fund
PO Box 18582
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thanks to Sarah Fox and John Colburn

We will be enjoying the second installment of
The Imaginary Press Reading Series this very evening at Opposable Thumbs Books in Bee-ootiful Nordeast Minneapolis.
Hope to see you there!

(It begins at 7:30 pm. Exact address in at the above link, but OT Books is on Johnson near the intersection of 29th, between Pop! Restaurant and the old Hollywood Theater.)

Thanks to Deej's Digital Photography Skills Here's some Brooklyn

In keeping with my word combo issue, here is a restaurant that gives Chicago's Patio Beef a run for its money.
Except these aren't from Brooklyn. They are just south of Hell's Kitchen. Above is one of the pieces from the Exit Gallery's opening of the exhibit of Latin album covers and art inspired by said covers. In addition to this sculpture's aesthetic appeal, it is a Hot Wheels track.
Good neon outside the Exit Gallery.
A photo by one of my new favorite artist/photographers, but I'm not sure I've got the name right!! Vladka Horvak, I think. She is not currently Google-able. If anybody has information, please share.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thanks to John Deming and Coldfront

Here's a review of Upon Arrival.

I don't know how to judge these things (what with the subjectivity factor and all), but I think this is mostly pretty fair and at times downright nice.

Thanks to Brooklyn

Fred had mentioned that reading at Pete's would be somewhat like reading in a U-boat, but it was actually like reading on a burlesque puppet theater stage in a U-boat, which is to say I LOVED it and it is now one of my favorite rooms on the planet.

Fred turned me on to: Nicanor Parra, Anna Moschovakis (I am internally composing my fan letter as I write this), Jamaican patties, the Staten Island Ferry, and Cafe Regular.

DJ turned me on to: CourtBooks, the groovy stylings of James Suffern and Kim. In turn, we discovered the meaning of Pacifico yardbird and various neon whatnots. (note to deej: please also send photo of "support our oops")

I made myself proud manoeuvering the train system solo, since the only train line in MN takes a straight shot from downtown MPLS to the Mall of America and then the airport and that's it.

Everybody who came to the reading or hosted the reading or put me up or disco danced with me or tourguided me or took my books in their store was so kind; I'm chok full of grateful for the whole experience!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

What are you doing on October 13th?


Because I am going to be reading in Brooklyn at Pete's Candy Store at 7 PM with the remarkable poets Fred Schmalz and DJ Dolack! If you are in the vicinity, and you like poems and sandwiches and beer, I hope you will come!

Do you want to know a little big about Fred and DJ?

Okay:
Fred Schmalz is a poet and publisher of the literature and art journal swerve. His poems have appeared in TheBedazzler, jubilat, Conduit, Divide, Forklift Ohio, H_NGM_N and other magazines. Schmalz's chapbook, Ticket, was published by Fuori Editions in 2002. He lives in Brooklyn.

DJ Dolack's work has most recently appeared in TheColumbia Poetry Review, Forklift ,Ohio and Salt Hill.He is a poetry editor at Eye For An Iris Press and teaches writing at Farleigh Dickinson University. He holds an MFA from Vermont College and lives in Brooklyn.

I won't be spelling, though, which makes me a little sad. The spelling bee at Pete's is held on Mondays...I have ALWAYS wanted to compete in a spelling bee, which is silly in a way, as I'm not that talented of a speller. But, perhaps if you come, you could just ask me to spell stuff when I'm not reading, and it'll brighten me right up. Thanks.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

News Beyond My Great Fear for my Liberty

I've been doing these musical/poetic pairings lately....Rather like pairing wine with a meal. I pick an album from my iPod and find someplace purdy to walk while I listen to it, then I come home and sit with a book of poems.

Successful so far have been Portishead Dummy followed by James Tate's Absences (they share an elsewhere) and Kings of Leon's Youth and Young Manhood followed by Charles Simic's Aunt Lettuce, I Want to Peek Up Your Skirt (they're equally randy). Absolutely harrowing was Gorecki's 3rd Symphony, which P just introduced me to, followed by Celan's Fathomsuns/Benighted.

I would love to hear recommendations if other people do this. Or theoretical recommendations.

defending the co-belligerents

By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Senate, siding with President Bush shortly after he personally lobbied lawmakers at the Capitol, rejected a move Thursday by a leading Republican to allow terrorism suspects to challenge their imprisonment in court.

The vote paved the way for final passage of Bush's plan to establish "military commissions" to prosecute terrorism suspects in legislation that also spells out violations of the Geneva Conventions, a treaty that sets international standards for the treatment of war prisoners.

Republicans say the bill is necessary to ensure that terrorists can be brought to justice and that CIA personnel will not be charged with war crimes when interrogating these suspects.

Barring any last-minute hiccups, the bill could reach the president's desk as early as Friday.

Bush had gone to Capitol Hill earlier Thursday, urging senators to follow the House lead and approve the plan. "The American people need to know we're working together to win the war on terror," he told reporters as he left.

The Senate voted 48-51 against an amendment by Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) that would have allowed terror suspects to file "habeas corpus" petitions in court. Specter contends the ability to such pleas is considered a fundamental legal right and is necessary to uncover abuse.

"This is a constitutional requirement and it is fundamental that Congress not legislate contradiction to a constitutional interpretation of the Supreme Court," said Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Three Republicans voted with Specter but others in the GOP caucus contended that providing terror suspects the right to unlimited appeals weighs down the federal court system.

"It impedes the war effort, and it is irresponsible," said Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Democrats sided with Specter.

"The habeas corpus language in this bill is as legally abusive of rights guaranteed in the Constitution as the actions at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and secret prisons that were physically abusive of detainees," said Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), the top Democrat on the Armed Services panel.

The House on Wednesday passed a nearly identical measure on a 253-168, following bitter partisan debate in which Republicans and Democrats traded barbs on which political party would better protect Americans. After the Senate passes its bill, the House will vote again Friday to approve the Senate measure and send it to the president to sign, according to House and Senate leadership aides.

Three Democrats also were being given opportunities to offer amendments Thursday, but all were expected to be rejected along party lines. Democrats have said the legislation would give the president too much latitude when deciding whether aggressive interrogations cross the line and violate international standards of prisoner treatment.

The legislation would establish a military court system to prosecute terror suspects, a response to the Supreme Court ruling in June that Congress' blessing was necessary. Under the bill, a terrorist being held at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba can be tried by "military commission" so long as he is afforded certain rights, such as the ability to confront evidence given to the jury and access to defense counsel.

Those subject to the commission trials would be any person "who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents." Proponents say this definition would not apply to U.S. citizens but would allow the detention and prosecution of individuals financing terrorist networks.

While the bill would spell out legal rights for the terror suspects to ensure a fair trial, it would eliminate other rights common in military and civilian courts. For example, the commission would be allowed to consider hearsay as evidence so long as a judge determines it is reliable. Hearsay is frequently allowed in international military tribunals, but is barred from being considered in civilian courts.

The court would bar the military commission from considering evidence obtained by interrogation techniques since December 2005 that involve "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" as defined by the 5th, 8th and 14th amendments. Coerced statements taken before the 2005 ban was put into effect would not be subjected to the same standard — language Democrats charge creates a loophole for abuse.

The measure also provides extensive definitions of war crimes such as torture, rape and biological experiments, but gives the president broad authority to decide which other techniques U.S. interrogators may use legally. The provisions are intended to protect CIA interrogators from being prosecuted for war crimes.

For nearly two weeks the White House and rebellious Republican senators have fought publicly over whether Bush's plan would give a president too much authority. But they struck a compromise last Thursday.

"This bill is everything we don't believe in," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

___

The House resolution is HR 6166. The Senate bill is S 3930.

___

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Amnesty International Call

From the website:
"We are literally days away from action in Congress on a proposal to:
--Abandon the rule of law and give the President the freedom to
interpret the Geneva Conventions any way he sees fit.
--Provide immunity to those responsible for past human rights abuses.
--Exempt from prosecution those who authorize treatment traditionally
considered torture.
--Strip detainees of access to US courts."

Here's some background info in case you choose to call, which I hope you do.

(If you're in MN, the pop-up map will give you the MI reps. Use your zip code.)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bell(e)s

The bells of the church at the end of the block have been going mad for quite some time. I was just wondering if there was a wedding or if this is Sunday business as usual that I'm not attentive to, when I was answered by a hundred white balloons with shiny ribbon being released into the chilly, sunny blue sky. I'm glad I was looking out the window just then.

I love fall. Coffee tastes better, train whistles sound lonelier (there are tons here, and it takes a lot of whistling to weigh that much). And all I want to eat is roasted orange food.

The Imaginary Press reading was beautiful! Allison and Josh are such amazing poets, great readers and sweet humans. Though there wasn't quite the standing room only atmosphere for which I'd hoped, the good crowd that came was lucky, and damn well knew it. Photos soon.

The bells are still going!! Now the neighborhood dogs are answering. They sound fed up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No Way!

I hope my hero Bruce Campbell is beside himself with joy about THIS!

**I must add that my Sam Raimi fanship in no way decreases the validity of my stand on Woody Allen.


(p.s. Somebody techno literate? Why is my sidebar hiding waaaay down there?)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

four unrelated topics

1. I saw Little Miss Sunshine this weekend. Brian, wow. I don't recall both my "ball" and "guffaw" reflexes being tripped so uncontrollably and simultaneously as in the last scene of this film. If anybody hasn't seen it, I think you should.

2. On an unrelated note, I've been wondering from time to time lately, just to get a gauge, if my pal Paige is as tan or more tan than my father in the photo below.

3. No dress buying for me yet. I get all hung up with decisions and money spending so that whichever thing I purchase will be the wrong one in the end. This stems from having lived without dough for a stretch in the past. And while things are different now, I have retained these three non-spending coping techniques for deciding if I should release money in any form or not:
a. I make a big pot of something involving beans and lots of spices. Vegetarian chili or red beans and rice. It's on-hand, takes hours, is useful, and distracts me.
b. I walk to the branch library and select entertainment from the available choices. I'm not talking about the regular library, I'm talking about the one about a mile from me that has, aside from the fairly decent selection of novels and non-fiction that I have little time to read during the semester, approximately 53 videos and 17 books of poetry. There's no way there would ever be something I am really looking for there. Last time I went I found a film I had never heard of called The Theory of Flight starring Kenneth Branaugh and Helena Bonham Carter, a book of Norwegian myth poems, and a CD by Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin's first group). Awesome!
c. This is the big one: when I really need a new something, I take a shopping bag and fill it up with crap from my house and drive it to the thrift shop to donate. I always can find that much stuff I don't need or want or look at, for I love things, especially useless things.

And that last activity is how I rediscovered half a dozen real vintage dresses I have had no recent reason to wear in the back of my closet.

Then again, if all three of those coping mechanisms don't stick, I feel quite free to do as I damn well please, which perhaps means a splurge on TWO dresses! What? Am I crazy?

4. BUT! Most importantly: the astounding poets Allison Titus and Joshua Poteat are only DAYS AWAY from being in Minneapolis!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kate did this to me!





















Kate reminded me that ladies buy dresses to go to weddings (which I am) (going to a wedding....uh, and a lady, or 63% so according to some weblog personality test...) and then proceeded to point out all these online shopping opportunities!....Maaaan!

How am I supposed to pick?

These are the top five that I've been drooling over at the expense of writing time, for it is fall and I am easily distracted by pretty things.

Help. Kate?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What I did in the U.P. over Labor Day



That's Mom and Pop on the right and their maid of honor and best man on the left. My brother put together the wedding photo recreation montage. And, yes, I do credit my parents' rhymey first names as the inspiration for my love of verse.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

See where it says "poets + spoken word"?

I get to be one of them.
It's going to be a lovely day, I think.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's Imaginary!

The initial fall line-up for the spanking new Imaginary Press Reading Series is SET!

Come to Opposable Thumbs Books in Northeast Mpls on

September 22nd to see Joshua Poteat and Allison Titus!

October 20th to see John Colburn and Sarah Fox!

November 10th to see Rachel Moritz and Juliet Patterson!

We are so lucky! I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Slowly I'm getting around to movies most everyone else has seen

This past couple weeks in film:

Expected to like but HATED:
The Da Vinci Code


Jubilee (the 1977 punk movie starring, among others, a wee
Adam Ant)



Expected to hate but LOVED:
Fight Club

Friday, August 25, 2006

Elegy for Pluto



A series of wires connecting nine variously sized sacrificed Superballs to a grapefruit center. Now my solar system is off. An idea of the firmament goes out of fashion like a hemline.

The first job title I ever wanted was “astronomer.” It was a practicality: I needed to know which Christmas lights up there were the planets so I didn’t curse a wish by aiming it wrong. And I was fine with the disparate ideas that stars were something to be both wished on and comprised of basic elements. I knew all the constellations. I slept with a special lamp that turned them across my ceiling and bedroom walls all night.

What does it mean to us when even planets can be redefined as not? I always root for more players on the team. Contrarily, what freedom can we find in shaking off a shoe that doesn’t fit? As in, “you are not planet, you are dwarf planet. You are not burden, you are minor irritation.” I miss Pluto already. As if it has gone somewhere.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ignorance on a Stick

My Grandma Stella was a great collector of Polish humor -- from every tasteless Polack joke to novelty items such as her "Polish coffee mug" (the handle was on the inside) to tales of survival that hinge solely upon the ending line "if it weren't for my thick Polish skull, I would be dead and none of you would be here today!"
(My favorite of those stories is from when she was a flapper: once, on a double date, she and her girl friend found their dates to be such desperate bores that they jumped out of the rumble seat of a moving car...At this time, my great grandmother was still pretending not to understand a word of English so that she could eavesdrop on her teenagers, which pissed off my grandmother enough that little Polish was spoken thereafter.)

My family isn't the type to sit around discussing Milosz, Chopin, Szymborska, Herbert, Lem or anybody else. We have kluski dinners and Polka weddings and work...and laugh... a lot... mainly at ourselves and our luck -- with a very respectable dark humor. Or, like many families, we just let the distance between us increase over a series of long winters.
Last week I was called a Polack by someone. Can you imagine? And it didn't really offend me; as I've said, I was raised with the world's largest Polack joke compendium at my disposal. It just made me sad that the little ignoramus had no idea what he was saying. And, in that moment, what I was surprised to feel was no personal offense, but a solidarity with and a violently protective instinct toward my "clan."

So! This evening I am heading to the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand to see the Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, and the Magic Numbers, and in honor of my family, (especially my father who brought me to see them for the first time with no explanation but, "oh, Paula, didn't you know there were Polish chickens?" and so I expected he was taking me to see pigs with wings tied on or birds that had been trained to walk backwards or anything else that would end in a punch line) I am going to make a stop in the poultry barn to see these
fine specimins first!

Friday, August 18, 2006

e.e. cummings

if up's the word; and a world grows greener
minute by second and most by more --
if death is the loser and life is the winner
(and beggars are rich but misers are poor)
--let's touch the sky:
with a to and a fro
(and a here there where) and away we go

in even the laziest creature among us
a wisdom no knowledge can kill is astir --
now dull eyes are keen and now keen eyes are keener
(for young is the year, for young is the year)
--let's touch the sky:
with a great (and a gay
and a steep) deep rush through amazing day

it's brains without hearts have set saint against sinner;
put gain over gladness and joy under care --
let's do as an earth which can never do wrong does
(minute by second and most by more)
--let's touch the sky:
with a strange (and a true)
and a climbing fall into a far near blue

if beggars are rich (and a robin will sing his
robin a song) but misers are poor --
let's love until no one could quite be (and young is
the year, dear) as living as i'm and as you're
--let's touch the sky:
with a you and a me
and an every who's any who's some) one who's we

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Young A's Fun With Photoshop




This entry is mainly for the handful of friends I have recently been pestering to pleeease take a decent picture of me. It is no easy task; I am wriggly and unnatural when a camera appears, and I could practically be a cast member of "My Name is Earl" for every rotten mid-expression photo of me. The above fulfills my criteria for a passable photo as:
1. my eyes are open
2. I don't have that dingy "I've never had a thought in my head" look, and
3. I don't look like a complete b@#*ch.
Oh happy day.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bowling is Okay!


My family takes its bowling seriously. My parents, with their matching bowling bags and monogrammed shirts, were sometimes on two (three) leagues at a time, and they watched the televised sport every Sunday. Ocassionally, the entire family (I have two brothers and a sister who are between 7 and 11 years older than me) would go on a bowling outing. Though I was the smallest, there was no special treatment -- no handicap, no placing the ball on the ground between my feet and giving it a good push: that's for babies! "If you are going to bowl with us, bowl right and try hard, even if you suck, even if it's miserable. Otherwise, you'll never improve." That was the motto. And the whole family was so good! The folks breaking two hundred and the sibs breaking one hundred consistently -- while I struggled to keep my ball out of the gutter and perhaps break sixty. One time my ball was rolling so slowly that it stopped halfway down and we had to get an employee to walk down the lane socky-footed to nudge it the rest of the way. This interrupted not only our game, but also the game of the family next to us. In the lanes, I was a wild disappointment to my kin.

So it has been with great ambivalence that I, as a grown woman, have accepted the ocassional invitation to bowl. And as ever, the sound of my father's voice repeating, "You're spinning with your thumb! Come on now," haunted me last night as I approached my fellow bowlers, my fellow poet bowlers, at Memory Lanes.

It was "black light bowling." I got off to a bad start -- three gutterballs in the first two frames. I blamed it on the distraction of the day-glow balls, and truly, once I switched to the only non-neon ball in the joint (which was a lovely merlot color and nicely matched the flowers on my skirt), my game improved.

I was okay with the fact that I was going to lose. I decided to keep my mouth shut about it; after all, I was there for the fellowship not the torturous activity. And the fellowship was very fine. As the game progressed, and our team began to bond, I confessed my bowling history to my teammates, Gunner, Rhonda, and Don (These were bowling names. Mine was Gladys.) and Don very compassionately said, "I recall crying while bowling as a child." This was a revelation! There are others who suffered traumatic childhood bowling? I'm not alone? Don asked Rhonda if she had ever cried while bowling, and though she hadn't, she had cried post bowling, which is much sadder in a way. (We never asked Gunner, who was busy kicking our asses...and with perfect form.) Looking across the expanse of lanes then, I saw all the bowlers in an entirely different light. There was a good chance that the majority of them were in those rented shoes, hurling those bowling balls, and having a good time after overcoming equally, perhaps worse, difficult childhood bowling experiences. I felt a new kind of kinship. I was proud to be among the number there.

We finished our game and had to leave for elsewhere before we even got to play the table version of Ms. Pacman, but I will not soon forget this evening at Memory Lanes.

And my score? 89!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Faithless -

This song has been playing in my head all week.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I think I found my touch-up artist.

She is Megan.

Particularly stunning is the sleeve of Frida Kahlo. Then again, one must appreciate the muppet Chef.

Ooooohh....my imagination is doing inky cartwheels!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Help! Someone has GOT TO stop my weblog personality quiz problem!

Last time I got sucked into that evil place I was there for TWO HOURS. And do you know what I learned?

Which X-Man am I? Storm.
Which Sesame Street Character? Bert.
What flavor ice cream? Strawberry.
What color red? Tomato.
And so much more.


Your Theme Song is Back in Black by AC/DC

"Back in black, I hit the sack,
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back"

Things sometimes get really crazy for you, and sometimes you have to get away from all the chaos.
But each time you stage your comeback, it's even better than the last!


You Belong in 1970

If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!


Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.


Your Vampire Name Is...

Empress of Prussia


I blame the 100 degree day and the stack of papers that are not, curiously, grading themselves for this horrible behavior.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Smart bats like big outdoor spaces. Dumb bats like my bedroom.

First off, I would like to direct your attention to the new addition "found film" in the General Goodness category of my sidebar. My friend Meg just sent it. A mysterious man buys old cameras that have film left in them and develops it. It will break your heart and you will be glad.

While I'm giving credit where credit is due, I have lovely Paige to thank for "pictures of walls" and remarkable Kate for "cats in sinks". (They are all three lovely AND remarkable; there is no favoritism.)

Now to business. Last night we had to capture and release the THIRD BAT IN A MONTH flying around my house. I don't care how death rock (I guess the kids call it "goth" these days) my roots. I'm not happy. The bats are not happy. What do I do? Where are they coming from?

Friday, July 21, 2006

awesomeawesomeawesome

This information was forwarded to me in an email (I put the important line in bold if you prefer to skim):

This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter
that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in
recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is
in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on
Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be
certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth
in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as
60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when
Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and
will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in
the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9
and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest
75-power magnification

Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.
Mars will be easy to spot. At the
beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m.
and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

By the end of August when the two planets are
closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its
highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m. That's pretty
convenient to see something that no human being has
seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at
the beginning of August to see Mars grow
progressively brighter and brighter throughout the
month.

Opinion Modification in Process, Possibly

I hate celery. Loathe it. I hate it most cooked, floating all flaccid and stringy in an otherwise lovely broth. No, I hate it most raw. To me, it tastes like how Barbie doll heads smell. I sort of like how Barbie doll heads smell, but not enough to eat one. Imagine, after fussily searching and picking out each little green crescent, there's a sickening, plasticky crunch in your last bite of potato salad at the family picnic! And cousin Zeppelin says "How can you hate celery? It doesn't taste like anything." Dumb cousin. (This is a composite character. I do not have a cousin Zeppelin nor any other cousin who has specifically confronted my celery problem.)

But once every two years or so, I crave ants on a log. If you don't know, that is a stalk of celery with peanut butter in the "u" part and raisins on top. I buy a bunch of celery and I think about how I'll have ants on a log for lunch, and I eat ants on a log every day for a week. It's great!

Then that week is over and I think, "What did I do? Celery is repugnant!" and all returns to normal.

I think these last couple weeks, Woody Allen has been like celery to me. After I wound up hating both Sleeper and Manhattan, P worriedly rushed over with Annie Hall (which had moments, I admit) and Bullets Over Broadway which is so far my favorite by a long shot. Woody Allen is just more interesting when played by John Cusack. Plus Jennifer Tilly rocks and completely steals the show. (And just last week my visiting friends and I watched her and her cleavage kick ass at celebrity poker.) Now, any second, the postman will be delivering Deconstructing Harry and Hannah and her Sisters to my home. I shall report soon whether or not they top off my contrary-to-normal Woody Allen glut or no.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Don't Worry, Be Happy on theremin

I have wanted a theremin for so very long. Clara Rockmore, the concert thereminst, is a heroine of mine. I am just posting this video so my bandmate Jennifer can see how versatile and important this instrument is and that it's not just for scary movie soundtracks. I'm sorry he's playing "Don't Worry, Be Happy," though.

Woody Allen. Huh.

Recently, I decided that I wanted to have an opinion on Woody Allen because I had none. I saw New York Stories when it first came out yeeears ago, and the only thing I recall is that most everyone else in the theater seemed "delighted" by the film, and I watched deadpan. Do you know what I mean by "delighted"? Letting rip with that kind of smarmy, reserved chuckle that has nothing to do with enjoyment, but rather is meant to indicate that the laugher "gets" some obscure intellectual or cultural reference. "Maybe I'm not intellectual enough to appreciate Woody Allen," is the thought I was left with.

In the last few weeks I have watched Sleeper and Manhattan, and now I have an opinion which is that my intellect is just fine and Woody Allen is an irritating bore. But, I don't like to jump to conclusions. And I am the type of person that has to finish even the worst book or movie once I start it; otherwise, it remains so...unfinished....So, please advise: do I watch the pinnacle of Allen-ness,Annie Hall, to round out my experience, or do I cut my losses?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

We Love Macaroni and Cheese

Last Sunday I dragged my slothful bum out of bed in time to get to the St. Paul farmers' market. I made enough pesto to last the rest of the summer and my house was bright with basil smell for two days. And today I'm roasting beets while I wait for the vet who makes house calls to arrive and check on my lethargic cat, Macaroni and Cheese (my favorite two year old named him fourteen years ago) (Peter asked if a vet who makes housecalls is expensive, and I realized I forgot to ask. Oh well. There's no alternative; this animal melts down at the sight of his carrier.) (What a great lot of parentheses.) So I am trying to stay busy and distracted. Writing isn't working especially well. My Kant-For-Kinda-Smart-Dummies book isn't working. Curiously, cleaning isn't working. So, I made my first "mix" which I have dubbed "lonely romantic mix" and it consists of the following songs:

Cloud Cult: Transistor Radio (go figure)
This Mortal Coil: Song to the Siren
Lhasa: De Cara A la Pared
Cat Power: The Moon
Calexico: Alone Again, Or
Linda and Teddy Thompson: Evona Darling
Dean Martin: Money Burns a Hole in my Pocket
Jeff Buckley: Hallelujah
Seu Jorge: Life on Mars?
Flaming Lips: Do You Realize??
Elvis Costello: Almost Blue
The Jayhawks: Blue
Cat Power: After it All
Elliot Smith: Strung Out Again
Echo and the Bunnymen: What if We Are
Richard and Linda Thompson: Dimming of the Day/Dargai

I am currently feeling neither particularly lonely nor romantic by the way. The mix was originally titled Death by Pretty, and may revert back, except I feel like I stole that name from somewhere. (I don't think I invented "lonely romantic" either but it is generic enough to be public domain.)

If anybody wants to come over and gorge him/herself on ridiculous portions of summer or petit pan squash, that would probably be the most helpful thing. Otherwise I'll get back to work. I have managed some revision today. Here's proof:

HELL, MI

I lied about believing the lie.
I’m tired of the water running out.
That the ocean is endless, yet I will
still be thirsty when I’m dead,
buzzed on the miniscule reflection of stars,
and the moon – that shovel with a face:
Some truths make nothing better.

This is no kind of sonnet; I’m sorry.
Poor moon I don’t want. Poor
Shakespeare we can deposit in a boat.
A single day keeps on ending
like a diorama after the science fair.
Like a book of psalms. Separate
pillboxes. Whatever

we ingest and then we are changed.
I could have chosen to keep this to myself.


PURGATORY, ME

When we think we become a structure.
Box-like? Sometimes. Still, not very
cleverly, we mostly react to things.
Like getting alarmed by an alarm.
Or by the used up goodnesses.
Another example is how no one

ever asks what a key is. We always
ask what a key is to. There is no
key to a doll head in the road,
its eyes stabbed out. Somewhere
in a house on my block there remains
a box a doll should go in.

At least, I don’t recognize the key
in that scenario, which could mean
my original intention may not have been
the best. That has only just occurred to me.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Transistor Radio

Love Them.

This is Cloud Cult. I love them. I believe you should love them, too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More fireworks, please

Having lived near the state capitol for a decade, fireworks are over for me. We have a five day celebration called "Taste of Minnesota" where you can get corndogs, flat beer and sunburn while seeing such acts as Alice Cooper, Davey Jones, Soul Asylum, Herman's Hermits and David Cassidy perform before the nightly fireworks. Seriousy: it's a workweek of fireworks. The first night is nostalgic fun, the second is novel, the third is obligatory, the fourth is unsuccessfully ignored, the fifth interrupts the rented movie.
Nonetheless, a couple years have passed, and last night I went to a lovely firework watching gathering at a condo near all the explode-y action. My friend J and I stepped out onto the back stairwell before sunset and noticed a plane flying around with one of those big banners trailing behind it, and we were delighted. How festive and nostalgic, we thought. I was imagining it was possibly someone's elaborate marriage proposal.
It was a photograph of a ten week abortion. I know because it said so next to the photograph and there was a telephone number. T called the number; it was a recorded message to the effect of, "If you find this offensive, think of...."
So, kudos to those anti-choice supporters, for that brilliant feat of logical argumentation. Especially impressive was how it wasn't opportunistic at all. Plus the non-reliance on shock value.
But, I feel it important to report that though I am still infuriated when I think of it, the airplane didn't ruin our night. At one point I was even begifted with the memory of the rock classic "Ah Leah" by Donnie Iris. And the fireworks were pretty.
Now it's the real fourth of July and I think every single one of my neighbors has been shooting off fireworks for many hours and will be for many hours to come. I'll have to turn up the volume on the Paul Wellstone documentary I checked out from the library when I'm ready to watch it.
And, if this is a politically minded weblog entry, thus concludes probably the only politically minded weblog entry I shall ever write.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Good Quotes Found in an Old Notebook

“Writing is revenge on circumstance.” -- Louise Gluck

“…not being omniscient is a really big drag for me…” -- Charles Harper Webb

“I don’t think rhetoric works better than overhead projectors. Easier on the eyes, harder on the soul.” –- Francois Camoin

“Perception is the first act of imagination.” –- William Carlos Williams

“I must make that which is not whole my sanctuary.” -- Paul Valery

“Write like gods. Not like clerks.” –- Molly Daniels

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Nooooooooo!

Here's a draft I've been working on. I dunno.

Cape Disappointment, WA
Is that how you are these days?
Like the Graveyard of the Pacific?
I am a bit.
--Anne de Marcken


This shore shall be named
after my disappointment so that

my disappointment can jut far
out into the ocean.

Future travelers will have to build
a lighthouse to warn passing ships

of my disappointment, which is
a threat on foggy nights.

Lewis and Clark will plant
a flag proudly atop

my disappointment,
though I had claimed it first.

Troops will arrive
to fortify my disappointment.

My lush disappointment which
supports a bounty of vegetation

and therefore allows wildlife to thrive.
Eventually, a national park will be

erected around my disappointment
and tourists will flock. On legal holidays,

on Sundays after church, families
will picnic along the sands of my

disappointment. I should be --
but how can I be? -- glad

for them. My disappointment
has erased all our names.

YESSSSSS!!

You may have to scroll a bit, but I hope you'll be as relieved and elated as I am that Jon Pack approves of giant fiberglass statuary.

I lopped my hair off into a long bob and dyed it black. I feel like Siouxsie Sioux-Tyler-Moore.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Crow on the Left Weighs 3,000 Pounds


I am going to suffer yet another insufferably bad photo of me to share this piece of fiberglass statuary with you all. I have made reference to the world's largest fiberglass crow on many occassions but had not, as yet, coughed up proof.

This is another of those combinations that just slays me. You see, my bird fetish is well-documented, but my strong feelings in favor of large fiberglass statuary has remained somewhat private. It took me a while to come to terms with it.

See, what I believe to be my very earliest memory is this: one of my parents placed me on the mocassin of the statue of Hiawatha which looks out over Lake Superior in Ironwood, MI. My paternal grandparents lived there. The folks wanted a photo, so whoever put me up there stepped away from me to get out of the shot. I remember how nervous I felt because I thought I'd lose my balance and fall, and furthermore, there were some holes in the fiberglass where the mesh underneath was showing that I thought I could perhaps fall through. I have a physical memory of figuring out how to maneuver my limbs if I was compelled to have to crawl down myself. I was pretty sure I would not succeed without injury.

It was dread-inspiring and kitschy fun. I was on a big foot! I could plummet to my death!

I revisited that statue of Hiawatha a couple years back and was surprised to learn that the top of the foot is just about 18 inches long or so. This means I must have been a peanut when the photo was taken, less than a year old.

Plus, anyone who hasn't visited the midwest should know that almost every small town has its fiberglass mascot. These crows are in Belgrade, MN, by the way. (Plus I'd like to mention, it was 20 below zero, Belgrade is 2 hours from the Twin Cities, and the crows were our sole destination. Al and Johanna rock.) Where I was born, Bemidji, it was Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. There are giant carp, cowboys, snowmen, milkmaids. These, evidently, define something about us. And I used to be embarrassed of that. Can you imagine?

(photo: Al Iverson)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Thanks, Nebraska

Sarah and Juliet and I enjoyed twenty hours of Lincoln, NE. Check out what our beloved hosts Mathias
and Zachary had to say. Though I missed both the Roller Skating Museum and the Telephone Museum, I enjoyed my tour of the Schomburg Library and had reason to deeply explore my feelings concerning mesh shirts. More later...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Well Hell.

No fair! I wanted to be scary. My favorite color is blood red and I rejected authority in high school and still this is my result:

You Are Not Scary

Everyone loves you. Isn't that sweet?


It's because I said I like kitties. I know it!


In other news, I found a new reason to be psyched about the Lincoln Trip: Ta Dah!

Crap. I am not scary. At all.

OH WAIT I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE KITTIES!

I went back and retook the quiz and ONLY changed my dream pet from "kitty" to "medium sized dog" (named Solomon) and this is my new result:




You Are Scary



You even scare scary people sometimes!



Now I wish I were less scary.
Ho hum.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Peanuts will be provided!

The Clean Part folks really make the coolest reading posters I have ever seen.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Yet another poem I wish I wrote

Nostalgia for the Infinite
-by Christina Davis

Each time we moved,

I wanted to come back as a tree
and each time we stayed, as a bird.

Does anyone ever ask to return as himself again?

I wanted to be a tree
and myself-seeing-the-tree,

a bird and myself-being-the-bird.


O creatures-in-law...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Two June Readings

St. Paul, MN:June 15th, 7:00pm: Micawbers Books
Lincoln, NE: June 17th, 7:00pm: The Clean Part Reading Series

Both with Sarah Fox and Juliet Patterson.
You can refer to us as this lot.
No you can't.
But I still hope anyone in the neighborhood will come on out.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Fargo and First Graders

My friend Steph just sent photos from the reading at Zandbroz in Fargo last April. This is the very first display we came across of Sarah, Juliet, and my books!
I also tried to scan in the small article that was printed in the Fargo Forum which my mom just brought over last week. Not because it's ever so titillating to get press, but because on THE BACK of the cut out article, there was a story about some teens who tried to rob David Copperfield and how he used sleight (sp?) of hand to show them his pockets were empty. This combines two of my favorite subjects: illusionists and foiled robberies!
In other news, if anyone ever becomes overwhelmed with the knowledge that poetry is underappreciated in our country, I highly recommend being a guest poet in a first grade class. I had the honor of visiting Farnsworth Elementary last Friday and hearing the work of the students in Mr. B's class, who are hard at work on such technical elements as rhyming "bat" and "cat." One of the most imaginative poems I was read concerned a line of coyotes (cuyd = coyote)searching for limes while grownups hid on the ceiling. I loved it! After my hour was over and I had to leave, I was given a standing ovation and bumrushed for hugs by a quarter of the class! I would be curious to visit other higher level classes now to try to pinpoint at exactly what age it happens that creativity and genuine emotion are successfully trained out of the majority of us.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I am just collecting samples today

Um...Look at this.

The intersection of Silly and Heartbreak

BERLIN (Reuters) - A swan has fallen in love with a
plastic swan-shaped paddle boat on a pond in the
German town of Muenster and has spent the past three
weeks flirting with the vessel five times its size, a
sailing instructor said Friday.

Peter Overschmidt, who operates a sailing school and
rents the two-seat paddle boat on the Aasee pond, said
the black swan with a bright red beak has not left the
white swan boat's side since it flew in one day in
early May.

"It seems like he's fallen in love," said Overschmidt.
"He protects it, sits next to it all the time and
chases away any sail boats that get anywhere nearby.
He thinks the boat is a strong and attractive swan."

Overschmidt said the swan will figure it out sooner or
later but hopes he won't be too heartbroken.

"I'll wish him all the best and hope that he doesn't
make the same mistake again," said Overschmidt."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Help I don't get it

This is a general call for assistance of the weblog variety.

First off, why why oh why are my sidebar links to the poems I wrote and the general goodness so large and ruddy compared to the regular links? I swear it looks exactly the same in the template gobbledygook (shut up, Al).

Second, why are all my links underlined? Do I have a choice?

And third, I'm trying an experiment.

I did it I did it! I made an intext link. Is that called a hyperlink? I don't care. I will enjoy the smartypants rush in all its fleeting glory.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Beginning the Fast

Call this era the New Somberness.
Call it Ghastly Lighting.
Call this era There’s an Antique
Mall In My Heart.

When I was more certain,
more self-assured,
I was more
of an ass, true. But

I didn’t ask permission to hunker
down under a day (pleeease)
the size and usefulness
of a white elephant.

Please?
Oh honey please! I must
go more bravely. This
crouching doesn’t count.

As if I am made with a glass handle
And all the world wants to lift my lid.
Call this era Liberating My Idiom.
Call it Nothing. Not even hunger.

I have been a traveling salesman afraid
to look in my own suitcase!
I have had the best things happen to me!
There is something left to be desired!

Oh, honey, what an ass.
Call this era Ode to Scissors.
Call it Learn to Make My Own Fun.
I keep a box of broken habits under my bed

for sentimental reasons. Call it Mustering
the Courage to Set the Box on Fire.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

List Deal

Some time back, my friend Allison asked a group of us to list our all time favorite top 5 books of poetry. Here's my top 10, in no particular order and subject to additions at any moment. (This is a really hard game!)

Four Quartets: T.S. Eliot
The Book of Gods and Devils: Charles Simic
Book of My Nights: Li-Young Lee
View with a Grain of Sand: Wislawa Szymborska
Return to the City of White Donkeys: James Tate
Steal Away: C.D. Wright
Final Harvest: Emily Dickinson
The Four Questions of Melancholy: Tomas Salamun
The Dream Songs: John Berryman
Tristimania: Mary Ruefle

Does anybody have a list of their own or a favorite book I maybe don't know about? I could use a good read.

Monday, May 15, 2006

SOMETHING BLUE

-for Meg Rains

Everywhere blue existed
first, we are tourists.

So when the couple was wed,
they felt compelled to extend

a formal invitation to it. Blue,
the local authority, zipped up

a party dress and used eyedrops.
The entirety of the being of blue,

the long, personal history of blue
(which includes, but is not limited to,

the efforts of dyed blossoms beneath
grocery store neon, and later,

the vases dumped down the sink,
the sorrow of rivers

which empty and empty
and never become lakes,

and every lake collecting
sunsets and other vessels)

participated in the ceremony.
Therefore, everything changed.

For once, no one, not even the rain,
forgot the sky. The clear May sky,

which gladly dressed one – then
two – birds on a branch

preparing to bloom.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Chicago is "just right" for me!

That is a quote from a very fine t-shirt.
Every time I visit Chicago, I want to move there. After the wonderful readings at Danny's Tavern and the Book Cellar, I am eagerly awaiting the trip photos. Of friends, amazing friends, mainly, but also of the long and ever growing list of oddly combined words. A restaurant awning proclaiming "Patio Beef" was the clear winner this afternoon. (Which reminds me, on the trip to Fargo last month, a sign selling "elk" and a sign selling "violins" were posted next to each other in the same field. It's just an amazing world, really. Those landowners are special enigmas to me.)
Clearly I have made it home safely and am wildly overtired.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

History, a Round



I feel so techno-savvy when I can upload photos. But when the text stays in one place--THAT will be a real success. So another experiment: my pal Al sent this photo to me which he took with his camera phone. (Those words "camera phone" don't even look right together yet.) It's Juliet, Sarah, and me reading a poem as a round at the book launch at Bryant-Lake Bowl. Have I mentioned what a huge fan I am of both their work? Huge.

Thursday, April 20, 2006



This photo is from a few days before the book launch last month, at the home of Dobby and Kathy Gibson. Dobby caught the signing of my very first copy -- which is wonderful since I hate and avoid photos, then later wish I had more than memory as documentation of...everything.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Most of What I Read

I always keep a list of books I've read in the back of whatever journal I'm filling. Seemed fun (for me) to put the info all in one place. It's a bit skewed; for example, I generally read a Russian novel every winter, but I've been stuck halfway through The Idiot for two winters running now. Also, I forget to add things if my little journal's not handy, and I also reread so very much more than I relist.

June 2005 through October 2006

1. Franz Wright: Walking to Martha's Vineyard
2. Edmund J. Bourne, PhD. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
3. James Tate: Return to the City of White Donkeys
4. Charles Simic: Selected Early Poems
5. Ha Jin: Waiting
6. Flannery O'Connor: A Good Man is Hard to Find (millionth reread)
7. Shakespeare: Hamlet (millionth reread)
8. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: The Leaf Storm and Other Stories (reread)
9. Bitter Fame: the life of Sylvia Plath
10. Sophie's World
11. Dante: The Inferno
12. Dan Brown: the da Vinci Code
13. Sarah Fox: Because Why
14. Juliet Patterson: The Truant Lover
15. Tomas Salamun: the Four Questions of Melancholy (millionth reread)
16. Carol Bly: Beyond the Writers' Workshop
17. Barbara Ehrenreich: Nickel and Dimed: on (not) getting by in America
18. Joshua Poteat: Ornithologies
19. Nick Flynn: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
20: Charles Simic: Aunt Lettuce, I want to peek up your skirt
21. James Tate: Absences
22. DJ Dolack: The Sad Meal
24. Anna Moschovakis: I Have Not Been Able to Get Through to Everyone
25. Amanda Nadelberg: Isa the Truck Named Isadore
26. David Sedaris: Dress Your Family in Courduroy and Denim
27. David Sedaris: Me Talk Pretty One Day

November 2006 through June 2007

28. Wicked
29. Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club
30. Striving Towards Being: The Letters of Thomas Merton and Czeslaw Milosz
31. Augusten Burroughs: Running With Scissors
32. Amy Sedaris: I Like You
33. Dainis Hazners: (Some of) the Adventures of Carlysle, My Imaginary Friend
34. Cynthia Cruz: Ruin
35. Jeffrey McDaniel: The Splinter Factory
36. Joshua Marie Wilkinson: Lug Your Careless Body Out of the Careful Dusk
37. Steve Healey: Earthling
38. Gertrude Stein: Tender Buttons
39: Tenaya Darlington: Madame Deluxe
40: Gretchen Mattox: Buddha Box
41. Ralph Angel: Exceptions and Melancholies
42. Kate Greenstreet: case sensitive
43. Hart Crane: the Bridge
44. Paige Ackerson-Kiely: In No One's Land
45. Matt Hart: Who's Who Vivid
46. Zachary Schomburg: The Man Suit
47. Nick Hornby: How to be Good
48. David Sedaris: Naked
49. David Sedaris: Holidays on Ice
50. Felstiner: Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan
51. Samuel Beckett: Happy Days
52. Mary Ruefle: Indeed I was Pleased with the World
53. Nick Hornby: A Long Way Down
54. Cintra Wilson: Colors Insulting to Nature

**To update: I have given up on this list after discovering goodreads.com.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Past Readings

2006

March 26th: Book Launch Party at Bryant-Lake Bowl, MPLS, w/musicians Peter Schimke and members of Mystery Palace

April 19th: Globe College Library, Oakdale, MN

April 29th: Zandbroz, Fargo w/Sarah Fox and Juliet Patterson

May 10th: Danny's Bar, Chicago, w/Sarah Fox and Cris Mazza

May 13th: The Book Cellar, Chicago w/Carrie Olivia Adams

June 15th: Micawbers Books, St. Paul w/Sarah Fox and Juliet Patterson

June 17th: The Clean Part Reading Series, Lincoln, NE w/ Sarah Fox and Juliet Patterson

October 13th: Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn with Fred Schmalz and DJ Dolack

October 29th: Benefit for Drew Gordon, Xelias Aerial Arts, MPLS

November 8th: Black Dog Cafe, St. Paul w/Terri Ford and Eric Lorberer

2007

January 21st: Riot Act Reading Series, Turf Club, St. Paul w/ Laura Brandenburg, John Colburn and Paul Dickinson

March 3rd: Apache Cafe, Atlanta GA: 100% Dynamite Blow Up reading: Black Ocean, No Tell Books, Pilot Books and Octopus Books

April 19th: the Pump House Reading Series, La Crosse, WI

April 25th: Globe College Library, Oakdale, MN

May 6th: Jewel Box Theater, Seattle, w/ Anna Maria Hong, Amy Schrader and Kary Wayson, presented by Cranky Magazine

July 29th: Turf Club, St. PaulRiot Act Reading Series w/Sam Osterhout, Laura Brandenburg and Paul Dickinson

August 24: Magers and Quinn, Uptown Minneapolis w/Juliet Patterson and William Stobb!

2008
March 30:
  • The Riot Act Reading Series


  • April 27th:
  • St. Paul Art Crawl Group Reading
  • The Carleton Building

    June 14th:
  • Talking Image Connection
  • The Soap Factory, Minneapolis

    June 22nd:
  • Avol's Books
  • Madison, WI, w/ Rauan Klassnik

    June 23th:
  • Quimby's
  • Chicago, w/ Rauan Klassnik

    June 25th:
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Fine/Maxwell/Rerick house reading w/Rauan Klassnik

    August 1st: Cantabria Coffee Co. Bemidji, MN, 6:00 PM w/ Erin Lynn Marsh

    August 20th: Bedlam Theatre w/Julie Doxsee, Paul Dickinson and Laura Brandenburg and with music by Frances Gumm and Beatrix Jar

    2009

    February 16th: Exploding Swan Reading Series, St. Louis, w/John Gallaher, Vincent Guerra, and Chris Tonelli

    March 8: Final Imaginary Press Reading, Minneapolis, w/Jen March and Jenny Browne

    April 18th: Jeff Skemp's opening reception, Minneapolis, w/Sarah Fox and John Colburn

    June 12: Form and Content Gallery, Minneapolis, w/Rachel Moritz, Sarah Fox, Sun Yung Shin, and Laressa Dickey

    July 22nd: Pocket Lab Reading Series, Rogue Buddha Gallery, Minneapolis, w/ Farrah Field, Jared White, Michael Walsh, Amy McCann, and Lara Crombie

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    semi-formal C.V.

    Current Position________________________________________
    July 2005 to Present
    Globe University – Full Time Liberal Arts Faculty

    Primary duties:
    • Teach foundations of writing, composition, literature, creative writing,
    communications, film in society, and humanities courses
    • Serve as faculty advisor for Globe’s literary magazine, the Creative Quill
    • Organize two yearly group readings for faculty and students
    • Participate in inter-faculty mentorship
    • Participate in faculty retention committee

    Education________________________________________
    M.F.A. Creative Writing, 2005
    Vermont College, Montpelier, VT

    Critical Thesis: The Wrong Answers or None at All: Not Knowing and Poetry
    Senior Lecture: In Order to Stop Imposing: A Surrealist Parlor Game Salon
    Creative Thesis: Upon Arrival: Poems

    B.A. English with a Writing Emphasis, 1998
    College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN

    A.A. Liberal Arts, 1994
    Minneapolis Community College, Minneapolis, MN

    Teaching Experience ________________________________________
    The University of St. Thomas: 2006-present: Adjunct Faculty

    • ENGLISH 111: Critical Reading and Writing – Fiction and Nonfiction – 2
    sections
    • ENGLISH 112: Critical Reading and Writing – Poetry and Drama – 1 section

    Globe University: 2005-present: Fulltime Liberal Arts Faculty

    - HU320 World Literature
    - HU150 Introduction to Literature -- multiple sections
    - HU121 Film in Society
    - HU100 Introduction to Humanities -- multiple sections
    - CM050 Foundations of Writing 1 -- multiple sections
    - CM052 Foundations of Writing 2 – multiple sections
    - CM111 Speech Communications
    - CM121 Composition – multiple sections
    - CM210 Introduction to Creative Writing -- multiple sections
    -CM220 The Art of Persuasion
    - CM311 Communication Theory

    The Loft Literary Center: Summer 2005: Creative Writing Instructor

    • The Writer is in the Midst: Allowing Uncertainty, a
    creative process writing course

    Rasmussen College: Summer Quarter 2006: Adjunct Faculty

    • BO97 Foundations of English 1 -- 2 sections
    • E150 Success Strategies -- 2 sections

    Book Publication and Manuscripts________________________________________

    -Ghost Fargo, poetry collection. Nightboat Books, spring 2010.
    -Two Museums, poetry chapbook. MaCaHu Press, 2009
    -Or Else What Asked the Flame, poetry e-chap w/Mathias Svalina. Scantily Clad
    Press, 2008.
    -Upon Arrival, poetry collection. Black Ocean Press, Boston. 2006.
    -How Birds Work, fine press chapbook. Fuori Editions, Minneapolis. 2002.

    Poems in Anthologies________________________________________
    “The Black Suit.” Lush: an Anthology and Cocktail Guide. Spout Press (fall 2006).

    “Daedalian,” “ My Dearest Memory,” “Birds of Appetite,” and “ To A Margin.”
    SHADE: An Anthology. Four Way Books (2004) 76-81.

    “The Moon Pretends He Has A Crush” and “As She Approaches.” Gazelle Poets
    Anthology (spring 1997) 6-8.

    Poems in Literary Magazines________________________________________

    Selections from "Because of the Curses." Handsome, forthcoming

    "Ode to Falling Below the Radar of the Gods." Barn Owl Review #2 (2009).

    Selections from "Because of the Curses." The Laurel Review (winter 2008).

    "Thanks, NE," from "the Poor Choruses," and "Ode." failbetter.com (fall 2008).
    .
    “Something Blue,” “Cape Disappointment, WA,” “Ode to Progress,” “Ode to a Dull
    Ache,” and “Tonight.” Handsome, (Winter 2007).

    “Ode to My Screenplay: Pardon My Welschmerz,” Coconut (October 2007) online.

    Two featured poems in Sharkforum. (September 2, 2007).

    “Telescope Psalm” and “Tyros’ World Tour.” Blackbird (spring 2007) online.

    “Erasures from Home Birth.” Konundrum Engine Literary Review (January 2007)
    online.

    “All the Way Home.” Swink 3(winter 2006).

    “Purgatory, ME” and “Hell, MI.” Pilot (fall 2006) online.

    “Embarrass, MN.” The Café Review (fall 2006) 10.

    “History, a Round.” Hunger Mountain (spring 2006).

    “Common Prayer.” Crazyhorse 66 (2004) 95-96.

    “The Motto for Anyone Who Falls into a Black Hole Must Be ‘Think Imaginary’.”
    Forklift,Ohio 13 (2004) 116-117.

    “Mercury Waits Tables at the Macrocosm Café.” Black Warrior Review 30:2 (2004)
    32-33.

    “How Birds Work.” Spinning Jenny 7 (2003) 16-17.

    “Piano Solo.” The Melic Review 20/21 (2003) online.

    “According to Cloud Formations I Will Spend This Day,” “Springtime,” “Ear Ache
    Song,” “News From the Monkey House” and “Here on Somnambulist
    Avenue.” Puppy Flowers 3(2003) online.

    “Passenger Villanelle,” “How to Steal,” “Our Possible Brother” and “Opening
    Remarks.” Fuori 2 (2002) 100-103.

    “Lucky Poem” and “Bank Book.” Spout 26 (2002) 19, 38.

    “Idea For Recurring Dream,” “Below Freezing,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Origami” and

    “Gold Rush Hamlet.” Fuori 1 (2001) 6-10.

    “Peace.” Swerve 7 (2001) 24-29.

    “The Word String Can’t Blister Your Hands.” Conduit 7 (1999) slate ripper.

    “Stella.” Comstock Review 13:2 (1999) 99.

    Academic and Community Service: ________________________________________
    Contributing Editor for Hunger Mountain; the Vermont College Journal of Arts and
    Letters, 2007-present

    Host of the Imaginary Press Reading Series: fall 2006 – present

    Volunteer guest poet: Farnsworth Elementary: spring 2006

    Blake Upper School guest artist: fall 2001
    taught a full day poetry and performance workshop

    Volunteer for several local literary magazines such as Rain Taxi Review of Books,
    Swerve and Fuori: ongoing

    Minnesota Center for Arts Education creative writing mentor: 1998-1999
    corresponded with students through monthly mailed packets

    Co-founder and facilitator of St. Paul Calls quarterly poetry and jazz series: 1997-
    1999

    Frogtown Artists’ Outreach Program creative writing instructor: 1997
    collaborated with artists and held poetry and mixed media classes

    Founder and host of the weekly open mic at The Artists’ Quarter: 1996-2000

    Metro State University guest poet: 1996
    read and discussed work in Sherry Quan Lee’s creative writing class

    Honors and Awards________________________________________

    • 2009 SASE/Jerome Grant recipient
    • 2008 Nightboat Poetry Prize, Ghost Fargo manuscript selected by Franz Wright
      • Upon Arrival manuscript was a semifinalist for the Beatrice Hawley Award
      through Alice James Books, 2005
      • Ruth Lilly Prize candidate of Vermont College, 2003
      • SASE/Jerome Grant finalist, 1999
      • SASE Teacher to Writer Mentorship winner with Roseann Lloyd, 1998
      • Delta Phi Lambda Creative Writing Honor Society inductee, 1998
      • Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society inductee, 1997

      Professional Memberships________________________________________
      • The Association of Writers and Writing Programs
      • The Loft Literary Center

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Initial Contact

    I'm not convinced that I have the technical savvy to maintain a site like this, but I shall try. For example, every time I tried to type a little message in the previous post, the image....mysteriously went away. I give up and am starting fresh here.

    That image, friends, is my brand new first book of poems which the fine people at Black Ocean were kind enough to publish (www.blackocean.org). I treasure it cover to cover and from the beautiful ISBN to the credit for a ghost poem on the last page. I value it as a made thing -- a loving effort. That said, if you do find yourself with a copy and wouldn't mind crossing out the word characters in the poem "The Motto for Anyone Who Falls Into a Black Hole Must Be 'Think Imaginary'" and replacing it with the word dustjackets, that would be a huge favor.