Thursday, December 27, 2007

So Very Handsome!

The first issue contains work by:

Lily Brown, Sommer Browning, Paula Cisewski, Adam Clay, John Colburn, Jeff Downey, Julie Doxsee, Sarah Fox, Kate Greenstreet, Sarah Goldstein, Joshua Harmon, Annaliese Jakimides, Rauan Klassnik, Gabriella Klein Lindsey, Greg Koehler, Marcia LeBeau, Michael Macklin, Adam Peterson, Joshua Poteat, Mary Ruefle, Tomaz Salamun, Marisa Siegel, Brandon Shimoda, Peter Jay Shippy, Mathias Svalina, Jocko Weyland, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Barbara Yien and Jake Adam York

You can get your very own copy here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I have been tagged, I shall tag

Kate Harding has been so kind as to tag me in a roar for powerful words meme. Also, she was so kind as to say some words that leave me blushing with thanks.

The rules as I understand them are as follows: Say 3 things that you think make for strong writing and then tag five more folks.

I am thrilled to participate -- it feels like getting asked to the prom. I will have no problem tagging five writers (except in limiting myself to 5), but I've been thinking since yesterday about how to verbalize what I think makes for powerful writing. I'll do my best.

It's good to need to think about, though. These last months have been active. Writing and thinking about writing have been put on hold to the point where I'm just plain pissed off. Perhaps I can use this as a step back in.

Here goes:

Figure out who you are. Write stuff you'd never show anybody. Talk to yourself. Develop echolalia. Travel. Burn the musty journals that the old you wrote. Find your comfort zone and overstep it.

Get over yourself. Yes, our stories are particular and important, but if you approach something as though it is beyond precious and you are the only one in the world who's ever had such a deep experience, nobody's going to believe you, and nobody's going to want in. Because it's not true that you are the only one who's had such a deep experience. Nearly everybody feels un-understandable like that. That's why good writing works.

Crap. I only have two.

Here's who I tag:

1. Kate Greenstreet
2. David Dodd Lee
3. John Gallaher
4. Kristi Maxwell
5. Matt Hart

The work of all five of these folks astounds me, and they will no doubt have wise and helpful insights to this discussion.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Detachment from the past, which we characterized as the main feature of the post-Christian era, culminates in one way or another with detachment from the earth –“this earth…these oaks,” to recall Vico’s words about the giants who established the first human dwellings. For reasons that remain altogether obscure, Western civilization has decided to promote institutions of dislocation in every dimension of social and cultural existence. The international hegemony of these institutions – metropolis, economy, media, ideology -- has led to an aggravated confusion about what it means to dwell on the earth. This confusion, in turn, veils itself in oblivion. If the “end of history” means anything at all, it means that we now dwell in oblivion – in oblivion of the meaning of dwelling. To some extent this oblivion is only natural, for dwelling does not preserve its meaning by making an explicit issue of itself; it embeds itself in habit, ritual and repetition; but when its meaning has disintegrated or lost its basis, that is to say when it has suffered fundamental traumas, then oblivion becomes a force of destruction rather than of preservation.

--Robert Pogue Harrison, from Forests: the Shadow of Civilization

This is exactly what my new manuscript is about. And now I know that.

I wish my digital camera worked still. I'd like to post a photo of the view from my desk window: Three snow-covered rooftops, and more snow falling. Some treetops and one giant old tree. Occassional flight of the hawk who lives in that tree, and of her new mate. Dusk.

I feel like I know more about dwelling when it snows.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Michael

A bit late in the day, but this is my first opportunity after work to post my annual outlaw rock anthem. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


The Imaginary Press Reading Series blog has been updated with all the latest info about November 16th's star-studded line-up!


In case I have given the impression that dusting is my only joy in life, I feel a need to report that I saw these guys:

And these guys:

In the last couple weeks. Yay

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Coconut 10 has cracked open, revealing tasty new poems by Norma Cole, Carla Harryman, Ange Mlinko, Emily Kendal Frey, Ben Mirov, Caroline Crumpacker, Chad Sweeney, Donna Stonecipher, Lily Brown, Andrea Rexilius, Srikanth Reddy, Erica Anzalone, Ann Stephenson, Carley Moore, Daniel Nester, Paula Cisewski, Paul Siegell, Kristy Bowen, Ben Doller, Dorine Preston, and Morgan Lucas Schuldt. Come see! Coconut 10! Plus, check out the grand opening of COCONUT BOOKS, starring Reb Livingston's YOUR TEN FAVORITE WORDS!!!
Coconut Books!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Don't let my glamorous lifestyle astound....

I have been working too much to be very interesting in the world of blogs.

The two best parts of my Saturday/Sunday were:

1. Loving Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience and staying in it for hours, and

(please wait...there are miles of space between one and two)

2. Learning from a ladies' magazine while waiting for A at the chiropractor that used dryer sheets make excellent dust catchers. Today, between laundry loads, I tried them on the corners of all my wood floors and, wow.

That's right. Dryer sheet experiments comprised a hefty percentage of my weekend fun.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Still (fiberglass) Life with Greenstreets

O man. omanomanoman. Too good. Too happy. No words.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lord Buckley Tribute Returns!!

Sunday September 30, Davis Wilson's “Lord Buckley Runs Wild” + Dean Granros Trio (8:00 p.m, $6).
Davis Wilson, the dapper & hip greeter at the door of the AQ, channels his inner Buckley for this second edition of the live rant. Lord Buckley came to cult prominence in the 1950s with an underground elocution revolution. His elegantly proper manner only accentuated his Love & Mercy philosophical bent, laying down beatnik speechification to the sounds of jazz. Davis Wilson, who has achieved his own underground fame in the basement of the Historic Hamm Building, is a spot-on preserver of the Buckley tradition. Lords and Ladies, you’ll be pleased and flipped to witness the Wilson enchantment, accompanied by musical sorcerers The Dean Granros Trio.

All you lords and ladies, hep cats and cool kitties will be "pleased and flipped" that you made the scene

Thursday, September 13, 2007

First Book Interview #103

Kate Greenstreet has interviewed Sarah Fox about Because Why.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sharkforum this week

I would like to thank the very wonderful poetSimone Muench for featuring some work of mine in her poem of the week series at Sharkforum.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Imaginary, The Thamesmen, The Unicyclists

Before anything else, allow me to direct your attention to the Imaginary Press update.

I've been down with flu this weekend, and it's made me grateful for small favors. I would like to express gratitude for whomever scheduled This is Spinal Tap on prime time tv last night when I had energy for nothing else. Also, I'd like to thank the gaggle of unicyclists (is four a gaggle? I'm not trying to exaggerate) riding down my street as I dragged my sorry self back home from the market with my ginger tea this afternoon. It was a surprise.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Reading tonight!

Juliet Patterson and I will be joining William Stobb for a reading at Magers and Quinn Booksellers in celebration of Bill's brand new book, Nervous Systems!

Here's a little taste of what I think the evening might be like:

(See sidebar for all sorts of details)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I slipped....

...and smoked an entire pack of cigarettes all by myself yesterday. I started early and really put some effort into it. It was revolting. And glorious.

And today I am hoping that one of these cups of green tea will indeed help me feel less like an ashtray on legs.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Best verbal exchange of the week

Me (to class): Do you all know what "pedagogy" means?
Student: Is it a kind of cheese?

It sounds exactly like a kind of cheese. I would like some pedagogy, crusty bread, and a full bodied red, please.

(And, yes, the student was making a joke.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Addiction to Withdrawal

Do you know what are stupid?
Do you know what's more stupid?
Me three days off cigarettes.

There are five ways to fix a run-on sentence:

RUN-ON EXAMPLE: Cigarettes are expensive and unhealthy they seem worth it right now.

1. Make it two sentences:
Cigarettes are expensive and unhealthy. They seem worth it right now.

2. Use a semicolon:
Cigarettes are expensive and unhealthy; they seem worth it right now.

3. Use a semicolon, a conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase, and a comma:
Cigarettes are expensive and unhealthy; however, they seem worth it right now.

4. Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction:
Cigarettes are expensive and unhealthy, but they seem worth it right now.

5. Use a subordinating conjunction:
Although cigarettes are expensive and unhealthy, they seem worth it right now.

I don't even smoke that much, people. I just obsess when feel denied, or when I can feel myself "healing" and "getting healthy". It's totally distracting.

I took a friend up on a MySpace invitation. Another friend suggested yoga.

So I'm all manic back and forth between MySpace and countless sun salutations. These are my current substitutions. It's ridiculous.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Benefit Tonight!!

Hosts of the
Story Stage Open Mic Series
Invite you to

A Bridge Relief Reading
Sunday, August 5, 2007
At the 331 Club
331 NE 13th Avenue, Mpls
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sign up starts at 5:30

$10 Suggested Donation
All proceeds will go to the American Red Cross
Featured Reader: Jen March

The Lit 6 Story Stage, an open mic on the first and third Sunday of each month at the 331 Club in Northeast Minneapolis will be using this week's stage time to raise money for the victims and victims' families of the I35 bridge collapse this past week. We invite you to come and share a story or a poem, or just relax in the friendly, literary ambiance of the 331. The stage will be open to artists of all mediums – please come share your work for this good cause!

Hope to see you there!

Contact Heidi Rivers at 763-458-1431 for more information

Friday, August 03, 2007

Here is some more good news:

I am so very close to spilling the beans about the Imaginary Press Reading Series fall lineup!!! Please check back in the next couple days.

Here's some good news:

Hellooo, Mr. new Poet Laureate!

(I got the news from the ploughshares blog, which is awesome.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Bridge Collapse

I want to thank my friends who have called or emailed to check on us today. A and I are fine. I have heard the voice of everyone I am close to who I'm sure travels the Highway 35 bridge on a daily basis. But I have not heard from everyone I know yet. Please be okay.

It's horrible. At least six people are confirmed dead.

It took a couple hours to get through to one of my closest friends, who would have been on the bridge had she left work five minutes earlier. She saw the whole thing, the fires and all, and is shaken, very shaken, but alive.

Many of the news helicopters filming the collapse were right over my house. It was loud, frightening -- even at this distance -- we live about a mile from there.

Now it's dark and raining. And lightning. And more lightning. I hope it will hold off. I hope they can save some more people.

Curse You, Celtics!!!!

First you take Szczerbiak

And now KG?????

I am NEVER going to get to like a sport.

(disclaimer: except I'm SURE I will love the Lynx if you are reading this, Stephen Burt!)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What are you doing this evening?

I'm reading at the Turf Club tonight with the cool folks of the Riot Act Reading Series, and then we'll all listen to Dreamland Faces on accordian and saw.

I am pulling together a bunch of poems that haven't seen the outside of my office yet. It's scary. Good scary. But scary.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


PESTO! I love farmers' market season. This afternoon I listened to M. Ward and made pesto. Ahhhh.... It's poor man's pesto where you substitute walnuts for pine nuts, but it's not too bad. Last week I made cilantro/pumpkin seed/lemon pesto. 'Twas lovely.

It's a quiet day for me. A is socializing and P is gigging. It's good. I'm so tired of listening to myself talk by the end of the teaching week.

After I'm done writing this evening, I get to watch Rashomon. I'm psyched half because I really don't know enough about Kurosawa and half because Milosz referenced the film a couple times in his letters to Thomas Merton.

If it's a REALLY productive writing evening, I will also treat myself to the last episode of the first season of Wonder Woman.

In other news, my yard is an abomination. Everything is singed and sad except the weeds which are happy and out of hand. Help has been enlisted for tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It helps to commiserate with the wind

Today has been kind of rough going, but then a stumble across this gem from Amy King's blog made things so much brighter!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Technical Help, S'il Vous Plait

I took myself on one of my favorite outings today: through St. Anthony Main, the Stone Arch bridge over the Mississippi, and Mill Ruins Park.

Then I tried to learn flickr. There's a swanky little photo badge down on my sidebar of the whole experience.

BUT, I have seen some folks post slideshows of photos in posts. How do y'all manage that? Please advise.

It seems like a handy skill to learn before the new Imaginary Press season begins!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

Here's me lounging around glutting on entire books while other members of my family did active summer lake things. Later, I did some active summer lake things, too.

My friend who lives in Seattle was just a few lakes over visiting her family, so we met in Detroit Lakes for lunch at this restaurant called Zorbaz that replaces everything uzually zpelled with an "s" with a "z". One of the waitresses wore a t-shirt that read "thirzt nurze". I'm freaking zeriouz.

We were going to meet at a place called the Lakeside Tavern, but we couldn't get in because the band Warrant was setting up. Warrant:

Here's the famous Frazee turkey in sad shape. Somebody hates fiberglass statuary. Or turkeys.

And the ______________ loon. I forget which town. Do you know?

When one leaves the city for the north country, there's the interesting and somewhat pastoral: Amish folks selling handmade lawn furniture in Dairy Queen parking lots, everybody waving at everybody else when they pass, the occassional llama farm. Then there's the creepy undercurrent of anti-choice billboards littering the highway sides and extra seedy "gentlemen's" clubs just outside the small city limits.

A couple years ago my niece snapped a photo of a beauty salon's sign which read "Free Mullet Removal. Buzz Cuts Five Bucks." This trip, we ate in a diner with a sign which read, "She cleans the house, why not the fish??"

But there was some very decent family time to be had. And I plowed through Egger's "Heartbreaking Tale..." and most of "The Noise of Time".

And now I am home.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Even if you are not a fan of jazz I hope you will watch a chunk of her solo!

Here is a clip of the 15 year old sax player, Grace Kelly, who my pal Davis and I went to hear play tonight with Frank Morgan and Irv Williams and Peter Schimke. Holy cats.

Holy cats. Holy cats to the whole night.

Some Gratitude

Many thanks to Chris Tonelli and Open Letters for this very thoughtful review of Zach Schomburg's and my books!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NOBODY can stop the music!

When my pal Davis says he's coming over with movies, I expect perhaps a Herzog marathon. I do not expect the Village People movie Can't Stop the Music.

Oh, MAN! It was really emotional. Steve Guttenberg was full of dreams! Bruce Jenner was constantly taken aback by the loose morals of the Greenwich Village scene!

Here is a fine summary of this astounding film.

This is far and away the best bad movie I have ever seen.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Heads Up!!!! Wednesday, June 27

Peter Schimke Trio
(from Star-Trib)
Outstanding homegrown pianist Peter Schimke has recorded with some of the hippest senior citizens in jazz, both national (singing star Mark Murphy), and local (tenor sax legend Irv Williams, comeback gal Carole Martin). That's not bad for a guy who started out as a new-wave rock drummer! This week, Schimke stars in a trio gig with lots of surprise twists. After an acoustic first set with Jeff Bailey (bass) and J.T. Bates (drums), the group expands and morphs into a quartet with guitarist Dean Granros, as brother Chris Bates takes over for Bailey on bass, and the sound turns decidedly more electric. Schimke will also do some singing, as fans get a preview of his all-original CD that's currently being mapped out in the studio. Tom Surowicz

Price: $5

Dakota Jazz Club

1010 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN

7:00 pm, Jun 27, Wed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Brilliant Future in Entrepreneurship

It's hot.

It's midnight.

My neighbors, just warming up for the night, have made a lateral musical move from bad loud rap to bad loud contemporary country.

For diversion, I have been hacking away at my hair in the bathroom mirror. (It's not all that dramatic -- still past shoulders and all...)

BUT LISTEN TO THIS GREAT IDEA!!!!! Who wants to start a Salon-While-You-Slumber with me? Stylists would make housecalls while you sleep, and you would wake up with a fabulous new haircut. I would LOVE that. I NEVER have time to go and refresh my 'do.

Actually, now that I ponder this further, it sounds a little creepy. People with scissors sneaking into your house and all.

Plus, nobody should want to start that business with me; I'm a beauty school dropout.


A poem by Brian Engel

-for Bao Phi

Leave me a dry leaf
say you've seen a cold drop
of rain from a bird's shoulder

When I fly
I am the wind
powder of chimney tops

There are no dead roses
in my hair no snow
in my fist

My hair is dying
my hair is perfect
your hair is perfect

vultures do drop rain
leaves do curl into seed

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Sunday

Do you ever want to keep typing after a writing session, even though you know the muse has left the building? Maaan.... That's how I wound up with this list of what I recall of my reading material since mid-2005.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You

On a non-Ebay related Internet foray, my mom (hi mom!) came across this review of Upon Arrival by Erin Lynn Marsh and sent it to me. Erin calls the book "pleasingly anomalous", which thrills me, for I imagine the crew of the Enterprise analyzing it with their long range sensors.

I have been receiving literary RICHES recently, and I'd like to share my good fortune with you.

First off, my latest issue of swerve landed in my mailbox. If you don't subscribe to this beautiful, handcrafted literary magazine, you are missing out. Issue 16 features Kate Hall, Chris Hosea, Juliet Patterson, and Lynn Xu.

Then I received my set of Octopus 8 chapbooks.

Then I was able to have the inimitable Ms. Terri Ford autograph my copy of Hams Beneath the Firmament.

And I have a replacement copy of Stephen Burt's Popular Music PLUS a copy of the awesome Shot Clocks, poems and an essay for the WNBA.

All's I want for anymore is some advice from the narwhal, which problem should be remedied any second now!

With all this amazing work for inspiration, I will be wildly disappointed with myself if I can't crank a poem out today. Life has been large lately, and my regular writing schedule has had to take backseat, but today is mine MINE MIIIIIINE!

Please wish me luck.

p.s. If you recall my embarrassing obsession of a couple weeks back, I should tell you that I have settled down somewhat. However, I did place a widget at the bottom of this blog so I can display my lack of authority with a bit of a cocky swagger.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


A is a high school graduate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Our Second Season Finale!

Can you believe it's already nearly time to bid Imaginary Press Reading Series a happy summer vacation?

Come down to Opposable Thumbs tonight (Friday) at 7:30 to hear Ms. Terri Ford and Mr. Steve Healey!

This evening promises to leave you as full of anticipation for the fall as the season finale of

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Paula: Now with extra oxygen!!!

This is Sweet Basil.

This is Samuel Beckett.

I have given up wheat and tobacco for June, just to see what happens. We'll see. Can't really tell any difference due to a lack of the grain yet, but with all the extra fresh air in my brain, I am proud to distinguish the difference between those two things in the photos -- the planting and reading of which comprised some of the nicest parts of my weekend.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Some Beckett

(I was poking around the library's website and suddenlyoutofnowhere remembered this poem I hadn't thought of in years. How does a person forget about a poem she loves so much?)


why not merely the despaired of
occasion of

is it not better abort than be barren

the hours after you are gone are so leaden
they will always start dragging too soon
the grapples clawing blindly the bed of want
bringing up the bones the old loves
sockets filled once with eyes like yours
all always is it better too soon than never
the black want splashing their faces
saying again nine days never floated the loved
nor nine months
nor nine lives

saying again
if you do not teach me I shall not learn
saying again there is a last
even of last times
last times of begging
last times of loving
of knowing not knowing pretending
a last even of last times of saying
if you do not love me I shall not be loved
if I do not love you I shall not love
the churn of stale words in the heart again
love love love thud of the old plunger
pestling the unalterable
whey of words

terrified again
of not loving
of loving and not you
of being loved and not by you
of knowing not knowing pretending
I and all the others that will love you
if they love you

unless they love you

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It was supposed to thunderstorm all day!

Not that I mind a good thunderstorm, but instead we're doing this yard stuff:

I like how when I focus in on a little piece of my yard it can seem so lovely and simple. This seems like a metaphor for anything, I suppose. (By the way, the only thing I have learned about gardening is this: dianthus is sold as an annual, but it is not! It's come back for me four years in a row!)
This is my original iris patch about to bloom in full. I've spread it around to about five other spots.... this one. The yard looks sort of dull. I accept gardening suggestions, especially of the "easy-plants-Paula-can't-kill-and-extra-advice-on-how-not-to-kill-them" variety, since I am still quite a novice. And a novice who only wants to commit to minimal yardwork time.
See? The truth comes out. Here's part of our big jungle-y mess and my teenager being paid to fix it. Yay, teenager!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2 to 7 Dark Confessions

I signed this little blog here up at Technorati about a week ago, and now I am completely obsessed about it. Why obsessed? Because, according to them, I have "no authority yet."

While it's true, in many fundamental ways, that I have no authority yet, I am not usually bothered by the lack. However, Technorati has, like, a system of rules in place to determine how they dole out "authority". And according to their rules, I should have an authority of, oh gosh, maybe 2 or 7 or something, and I WANT MY 2-7 POINTS OF AUTHORITY REAL BAD.

(Why, yes, it is difficult for me not to fix those adverb errors.)

Sad, isn't it? Why such want of authority? Many telling reasons to be sure, but primarily, I am a somewhat methodical person, and when I decide to do something, I need to feel it is taken care of before I can move on, all happy and carefree, to the next little task on my checklist. At this point in my life, I'm just going to admit it: that's how I do.

So I check for my authority every. single. day. Sometimes even with the multichecks. I am stalking myself on Technorati until they give me my dagnab 2-7!!! It's super unhealthy.

But you know what's fun? Surprises.

This nice Chris Tonelli put a picture of Upon Arrival right next to Matthew Rohrer's new beauty and called the two books refreshing! That's swell, and I thank him. Plus I appreciate his choice of blog template.

And this nice Julia Cohen wrote some generous things, too. Julia, I will try not to disappoint you with book 2!

And finally, Erin Lynn wrote something nice about the book some time ago, which I had trouble finding when she told me, for I was spelling her blog's name wrong! Plus, I feel associated with her cat, which I like.

Oh, my. So now you know. Please don't judge me too harshly. Or act like you've never even Googled yourself. You probably haven't. You win.

But I am paying for this bad distraction. All day, this song has been taking up a LOT of my brain space:

...and I figure it's some kind of karma workout. Except (or, rather, in addition) I thought it was sung by Loverboy, and so I spent a good deal of time this evening watching snippets of Loverboy videos.

Nope. Aldo Nova

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Auntie Paula's Zen Hot Dog Bar

Not since the little Sounds Frenchy fondue and charades party I threw myself for my birthday...

...have I enjoyed preparing a theme gathering as much as today's Auntie Paula's Zen Hot Dog Bar:

replete with soy dogs and organic ketchup options.

Here are two of my esteemed guests (though this photo is from a previous function -- my camera is on the fritz)

Happy birthdays, M and P!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Imaginary Press Tonight!!!

Don't miss your last chance to hear
these swell guys read while we can still call them locals!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What do you call it? Fick-shun?

I spent last Saturday reading, in its entirety, this book you should buy(or check out from the library like I did). Other than the ones I teach, and the one Russian novel I promise myself each winter, I don't get around to novels much. When would I?

I have my pal Kate to thank for the Hornby suggestion. Clearly, it's a novel I could plow through in a day, but that was at great cost to laundry, yardwork, feeding of self (other family members were elsewhere), and so forth, for I could not put it down. And it was funny. And I feel somewhat changed after reading it. For the better.

Monday, May 07, 2007


As I strive to improve my photography skills, I must remember the main thing that makes me a rotten photographer is habitually forgetting my camera on the most important occassions.

But folks more responsible than I am have promised to send photos of my Seattle escapade, from which I am returned by redeye entirely sleep deprived (and have done playing a brief stint as "the loopy professor" this afternoon).

Steph and Jacob's wedding was beautiful. I did my best to fulfill my duties as one of the four best women.

The only job that was a little scary was faking a confident saunter in my strapless gown. I think I did.

My favorite job was giving the bride permission to roll up the car windows and cuss cuss cuss with me if things got stressful, though she really didn't take me up on it. Probably on account of the aforementioned beauty going on. And because she's a lady.

My most important sight-seeing trip was to Open Books. A person really can hardly believe it is possible to stand in an
all poetry bookstore, but one can! And it's magical. I treated myself to the new Mary Ruefle and a Celan collection.

Speaking of magical, being able to read at the Jewel Box Theater with Amy Schrader, Anna Maria Hong, and Kary Wayson made me feel like a ruby brooch. Or a hat pin. Or a candy necklace. Something that belongs in a jewel box amongst the real sparkles. Amber Curtis: many thanks!
Cranky is hot. Do you have your copy?

Ooh! I updated the Imaginary Press site tonight. It's Alex Lemon and Steve Burt this month!

My pillow is singing to me. Nighty nighty.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Oh please watch this guy

If only my amp were working I could practice. Here, friends, is my all time YouTube theremin hero! Totally inspiring!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Seven Exclamations

Terri Ford!
G.E. Patterson!
Dobby Gibson!
reading "round-robin style"!
Wed. May 9!
7 p.m.!
Nina's Cafe!
165 Western Ave N
St Paul, MN
55102(651) 292-9816

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thursday, Friday

Thursday, P and I drove to La Crosse for my reading at the Pump House.

David Krump and Bill Stobb (see above) were such amazing hosts! In fact, everybody we met was great, before and after. During the reading, the audience was so very generous and so very attentive. It's them I shall imagine if I ever have another nervous-making reading.

Then we came home Friday, and I bought batteries for my camera so I could take real photos of the goings on at the Imaginary Press Reading Series!

It was astounding! Here's a nice photo of Wilkinson, Svalina, and Doxsee in which the idea of Schomburg is implied. For more photos, visit the Imaginary Press Reading Series blog.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Four, Poetry

1. I was on the radio yesterday. I didn't mention it before, for I feared I might sound like a big knob. While it's true that I accidentally talked about theremins and cocktail waitressing more than I had intended, you can still stream the interview (the 4/12/2007 show) from here. I'm about a half hour in, after an interview with a really interesting Irani memoirist. My primary purpose was to promote this crew who will be gracing us with a reading next Friday!
My secondary purpose was to mention that the Thursday night before the Imaginary Press Reading, I'll be in LaCrosse, and if you happpen to be around the area it would be swell if you could make it.
Those Write On Radio folks are great. You can stream the show every Thursday from 11am-12pm (central time) if you want!

2. Here is a nice article about Twin Cities poetry at

3. My pal Kate Harding and her friend Jillian Dunham have launched a literary blog called the Bibliophilistines. While I've been linked to them on my sidebar for some time, I am so tickled by what she posted today concerning my and my pal Paige Ackerson-Kiely's books that I want to thank her properly. Kate, thank you. Perhaps soon we can meet midway between our towns for fireworks, antiques, and cheese.

4. I just found THIS.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good on the first six notes or so

I have spent a good chunk of my morning attempting to learn "Happy Birthday" on my theremin for all the Aries folks in my life. It's coming along, but it still sounds really whiny and unpredictable, as if Eeyore were huffing helium balloons and singing. To you, Aries. A big earnest offkey birthday croon right in your poor sweet face.
To be fair, my practice schedule is frequently thwarted by the fact that I share the amp of a professional musician who needs it regularly for gigs. And by my lack of structure, hobby-wise.
(Also: my wall doesn't really look that yellow without a blinding digital flash.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

While I was at my first day of the new term...

A's new Doc Marten's came in the mail. Macaroni and Cheese loves it when we get a new box.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

There's a new

Cloud Cult video that I've been trying to post for a long time, but alas, again the new Blogger thwarts me. The video comes from a song on the soon-to-be-released Cloud Cult album, and that makes me happy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

...and sundry

1. Giant congratulations! The wonderful Allison Titus's chapbook,
Instructions from the Narwhal is imminent! We are so lucky.

2. I have a week off!! I spent much of the last couple days outside spring cleaning my yard. The irises are off to a good start and the cedum is budded! I LOVE plants that don't need me too much. And, though I sometimes dread to find what trash my neighbors have been tossing in my yard all winter is hiding under the snow, this year it was naught but a single beer bottle. And Heineken, no less -- quite schmancy for these parts.

3. To further the idea that I listen to no music from the last two decades, I will share my other spring ritual which is this: the very first day it is possible to open my windows I do so and crank London Calling then the Replacements' Hootenany. That's a happy day.

4. It's been a while since I've given a MEHSBM (Movies Everybody Has Seen But Me) report. Here goes: I like Will Ferrell. Enough to rush off to rent Taladega Nights? No. But I appreciated his sweet comic relief in Winter Passing which I watched this weekend, and which I liked, though you shouldn't trust my taste in films. I also liked him in Stranger than Fiction which Sarah brought on our recent writing trip. (I even liked him in Elf, and guess what? There is a narwhal cameo in Elf.)
P and I also watched Ciao, Professore, which was simple and sweet, and Cecil B. Demented which was simple and sour.

5. Hart Crane Hart Crane Hart Crane

My plan is to glut on movies and books and outdoors this week. Please give me suggestions if you have some.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Priests to purify site after Bush visit

Read all about it.

Thanks to my friend Mel who sent this to me.

Film Grant

Are you thinking of charitable giving? If you are, and if you love kickass female indy filmmakers, this is a good time to contribute to the Sarah Jacobson Film Grant. Sarah was a dear friend. I could write for hours about memories with her that span multiple states. But I will limit myself to a light anecdote. She was not only a valiant promoter of hers and other filmmakers' work, she talked up all her artist friends. Once, while doing a magazine interview in NY, she dragged out some poems I had given her to read, and that is how in '94 my first (and only for a looooong time) national publication appeared in this magazine! That remains one of my favorite flukes.

Alternatively, if you are a kickass female indy filmmaker, you should look into applying for this grant.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Imaginary Press Reading!!

Hey folks, it's the big night! The season's launch of the
Imaginary Press Reading Series! It's our spring fling, if you will. Hope you'll come on down to Opposable Thumbs to be swept away by Amanda Nadelberg and Chris Fischbach.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cabin Writing Retreat

This is the monster I'm working on... its entirety. No idea if when I'm done it will be one hundred pages long or three (not hundred, pages long).

Dear S.

Dear M.


This is my lame-o homage to that Flannery O'Connor photograph where she's seated in front of a pretty creepy self-portrait. I'm just including it in between photos from the two trips I swear I was on.

Bonus AWP

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's the AWP Can You Guess Game!

1. To the best of my knowledge, one of these people was the best tapdancer at AWP. Can you guess who?

2. Can you guess how this man feels about snake therapy?

3. One of the ladies in this cafeteria line is about to get a cupcake with sprinkles. Can you guess who?

4. Can you guess who this man is wheeling and dealing with from the corner booth of Gladys and Don's Chicken and Waffles?

There were so many faces I was happy to see in Atlanta. I wish I were a better photographer -- then this would be a longer game!

Can you see me?
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Here's what the other box said:

There are 0 people in the U.S. named Paula Cisewski.
While both names you entered were found in our database, neither was common enough to make it likely that someone in the U.S. has that name.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Down to Business!

Although it is my great pleasure to discuss theremin practice and giant chickens, I feel obliged to also use my humble web presence to collect my poetry goings-on. Here are two of those:

1. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the wonderful poet
Kate Greenstreet for including me in her first book interviews.

2. If you will be attending AWP, I hope you'll come to The Apache Cafe on Saturday, March 3 at 7:00 PM. I'll be reading as part of the Pilot, Black Ocean, Octopus, No Tell Motel reading. It promises to be a good time for all.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Twin Cities Photo Project #1

I guess 14 feet tall was an overstatement, for those who I've told about these roosters. But 9 feet, easy.
I have been passing these guys for a couple of years now; they stay in a little yard ornament shop a couple miles from my home. And while I can't imagine the yard they would be absolutely beautiful in, that may just be a lack of imagination on my part.
Recently, I've been thinking about these guys in a new light. Here's my logic: if I had them hanging around in my front yard, I just feel like robbers would take a look and say, "Huh. I bet there's nothing in that house that we want." Or, at least, it would be a select group of robbers who'd be drawn to them.
(These are not fiberglass statuary, by the way. They seem to be formed from some type of resin.)
I would also like to point out that it was warm enough today for me to exit my car just to take photos of giant plastic chickens. that's melting snow on the sidewalk! Melting!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Theremin Update #1

It is shameful, next to a photo of the fabulous Clara Rockmore, to boast about this, but I JUST PLAYED "MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB" ON MY THEREMIN!!

When I got it a couple days ago, I scared my bandmate J over the telephone with the terrible noises I was making on it.

I was also concerned because when I stood on the other side of the instrument and tried to play it in reverse, I sounded better. I thought this might be one of my dexterity issues since I was originally left-handed. (Left handedness is a mark of the devil, or so believed the elderly farm couple who babysat me, and so I was "retrained".) I still do some things backwards; for example, I waited tables as a lefty and did not know it until somebody pointed it out. It hadn't occurred to me that I might need a left-handed theremin, or even that such a thing might exist! But, happily, it turned out that the volume bar had simply been assembled backwards, and so when it was fixed and I resumed my practice today, I made less horrific sounds.

I'll have some instructional videos in a couple days. But if you had a theremin in your living room, I would defy you to patiently leave it alone!

I'm going back to practice some more. I wonder what I'll play next!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This Just In...


SPOUT PRESS ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE PARTY FOR LUSH: A POETRY ANTHOLOGY AND COCKTAIL GUIDE Show at the Nomad World Pub Features Readings By Local Literary Celebrities and showcases bands from local indie label Afternoon Records.

Minneapolis based Spout Press announces the release party for LUSH: A Poetry Anthology & Cocktail Guide at the Nomad World Pub on Thursday, February 15, 2007. The show will feature readings from the anthology by local literary celebrities with musical accompaniment, chances for audience members to write a poem for performance that very night and drink mixing – from the stage. Both a cocktail guide for poets and a poetry guide for bartenders, LUSH begins with poems. Within each poem is a cocktail. Along with each cocktail is a recipe. Contained within this mixture are comics from local artists. This anthology includes old friends of Spout Press such as Jeffrey Little and JoAnna Rawson who dropped in and decided to stay for a night cap. They are joined by Kim Addonizio, Stephen Burt, Paula Cisewski, Joanna Fuhrman, Sheila E. Murphy and many other nationally known poets. This collection represents some of the best in contemporary poetry, and is equally comfortable on a coffee table, beneath the bar, or shelved along with favorite poetry anthologies.

In addition to the readings, music will be provided by bands from the celebrated local label Afternoon Records (, featuring A Night in the Box and Battle Royale. A spokesperson for Spout Press says “We feel very lucky to team up with Afternoon Records – they are major players in the future of music in Minneapolis.” Pulse of the Twin Cities has called Afternoon Records “the premier force” in music for the younger crowd in Minneapolis.

The Nomad World Pub is located on the West Bank at 501 Cedar Ave S. Minneapolis 612.338.6424

About Spout Press: Spout began as a quarterly literary journal in 1989 and has garnered a national following, publishing the finest in contemporary experimental writing. It is the longest running and most stable literary journal in the Twin Cities area. In 1997, Spout expanded into Spout Press and has published the titles A Definitive Guide to the Twin Cities in Poetry and Prose; i’m right here; The Hotel Sterno; Blink; Beware; The Book of Arcana; and LUSH: A Poetry Anthology and Cocktail Guide.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Et tu, Blogger?

I have been trying to respond to comments for three days now. It won't let me. I transferred over to this "new blogger" and it has stolen my thunder.

Thoughts? Advice?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sarah Fox and I have translated each other's work

This was such a fun project. Many thanks to Konundrum Engine!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Are You Seriously Serious??

None, and I mean NONE, of my students know T.Rex! I know this because I do a sentence review lesson for some writing classes that goes like this:

1. Simple sentence:
I love 70s glam rock.

2. Compound sentence:
I love 70s glam rock, and I love classic punk rock.

3. Complex Sentence:
Because I love 70s glam rock, I own all early Bowie on vinyl.

4. Compound-Complex Sentence:
Because I love 70s glam rock, I own all early Bowie on vinyl, but I have the T.Rex collector's set on CD.

(Teachers: you can borrow that. I know it's awesome.)

SIDENOTE: I asked my class Monday night, "Do you know any 70s glam bands?" and one of my students said, "Uh, Foreigner?"

So here are some fine examples. Perhaps obvious choices, but the line "Well you're built like a car you've got a hubcap diamond star halo. You're built like a car O yeah," is equally important to me as gems such as "I drive a Rolls Royce 'cause it's good for my voice but you won't fool the children of the revolution no no no"

Consider this a public service announcement.
T. Rex - Life's A Gas (Beat-Club)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Riot Act Reading Series

If you are free, won't you come on down to the Turf Club Sunday at 7:00?

I have the pleasure of joining Laura Brandenburg, John Colburn, and Paul Dickinson for the Riot Act Reading Series festivities of that evening.

Some nights, it is quite acceptable to wear your square dancing getup here. I'm thinking Sunday is one of them.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

One, Two, Three

1. Rain Taxi is having an auction right now! You have until Sunday to bid on some extraordinarily sweet bits of lit.

2. Why hadn't I read Dainis Hazners' (some of) the Adventures of Carlyle, My Imaginary Friend yet? Am I the last person on the planet, or can I recommend it to you? And you'll tell two friends?
Last Saturday night I was home in protest of the below zero, but at 11 pm I cracked. My new poem jones was too. And the need to hold the new books in my hands. I scraped the windshield and warmed the engine, and Hazners' book was one of seven I glutted on at Half Price Books (the only shop open at that hour) and I am so glad to have finally found it.

3. That reminds me, while I was protesting the below zero earlier in the week I caught this PBS special on a Napa Valley art collector named Rene di Rosa who, in his gallery, refuses to label the pieces of art. He says he got fed up going to museums and watching people walk right past the art object to read about it and find out what to think. (It was in that spirit that I chose my seven aforementioned poetry collections, refusing to read the bios and blurbs, and I have never made better choices.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Altered Images- Happy Birthday

I tried posting this five hours ago, so if it shows up twice, well, double happy Capricorn extravaganza to all the ladies, especially Kate on her specific especial day.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Story of How Birds Work

Here is a really nice article by Chris Godsey in MPLS/St. Paul Magazine about my favorite jazz combo on the planet.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Gold Bracelets Shall Deflect More than Bullets!

I feel I should post something meaningful and searching here to mark the new year. I have reflected on my priorities and my habits. I have made lists.

And then, ultimately, all I can find a way to share is this: many of my most heart-felt resolutions culminate in the concrete facts that in 2007 I am playing charades on my birthday and going as Wonder Woman for Halloween.

But, you know, the costume with the skirt.