Wednesday, March 30, 2005

and now I have a head. It is amazing what you can figure out when you spend hours & hours just trying to post a photo in your profile. My links are next.
I woke up this morning walked to the coffee shop and then walked back home in a thunderstorm. This is my favorite kind of day. I wish there were some sort of exercise program that involved natural elements. Today I am going to the gym to swim up stream or jogging between lightening bolts. Yes, I need an element of danger to move my body. I could try the tread mill with a fork and a toaster.

I also read Wallace Stevens this morning, finished my new issue of Poetry and bought a new couch. I think I might even go to the bookstore and call it a perfect day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Mother’s Definition For Crows

Every September
she’d pull the car to the side
for crows crossing the sky.
A bad omen.
Once one landed
on the hood of her car
and a tree followed.
It was not death she feared
but wings, startled and dense
searching the September fields
for corn. When I told her
in Jung’s book of symbols
birds represent self
the darker the color
the more repress
the need.
She laughed then sighed.
It is all hunger
she said
hunger and flight.

american editors

Well my friends are heading off to AWP and I am at home with sick children. I am comforting myself with the fact that at least I might get some reading in. One of my good friends wanted me to come down to Atlanta next week. She is in charge of the poetry readings with Bly and McHugh. It would have been interesting. I have met Bly several times and he lives here in Minnesota so I am not too sad about that but I really would have like to hear Heather McHugh read.

At lunch we had this great discussion about the worst cover letters ever and some of them are so funny it is hard for me to believe someone is not trying to play a joke.

Hello, my name is ____and I was not born in America. I actually don’t like Americans and they really haven’t produced any important poetry. I am a professor of literature at ____and I teach mostly Americans, they are rude and do not care about books. I am enclosing three poems to be published in your American Magazine. You probably will not like them.

Okay this was so funny to me this weekend that I almost peed my pants. I mean I get, that as a society we have done some horrible things but man, don't you WANT to be in this review.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Dead Racoons and chocolate bunnies

The day started out with an Easter egg hunt in the back yard where Bella while digging behind the oak found a dead raccoon in the grass. She was frozen to the side of the barn. Every spring and summer we feed the raccoons peanut butter and watch the babies grow into fat, furry mommas and papas. They never bother us except they tend to use the kids toys if they are left in the backyard…i.e. they have a swim party at 2 am or try to go down the slide three a time.

Friday, March 25, 2005

if you haven't read the tractor poem on Rebecca's site it is damn fine

known world

I am trying to get through The Known World which won a Pulitzer but so far the only reason I can figure out it won, is that is has enough characters to fill about three towns. Anyway it is historical fiction, I will get through it and I will be a better person and then go back to my beautiful poetry which never confuses me with the thought, who the hell are you.

Two rejections letters yesterday, not that I’m counting but it gets incredibly frustrating when I send out four poems that Carolyn calls my “perfect poems” and they come back to me every time. The thing is, I am also rather fond of them but what I seem to be noticing is that everyone wants you after you get that first book title but what the hell does that have to do with the work in end.

Anyway my job for the month or so says the little scrap of paper by my bedroom mirror is to “just write” not to worry about thing else. Did I mention I will be alone in my house for four days during Spring Break? In mom time that is like a year and a half.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

boom chicka boom Posted by Hello
The rain falls
like a woman
and the sky
is not strong enough.

A fox sits at my window
her yellow eyes
a thousand mirrors
biting at glass.

Tonight we are
each of us
curling our own tails
waiting to be fed.

to yin or not to yin Posted by Hello


Yesterday I got a call from the Minneapolis Institute of Art and they just receive a grant to bring in more art education to the inner city which is wonderful. What is even better is they want me to be the artist. Hopefully I will not jinx myself by writing this.

Lately I’ve been telling the universe I am open to changing my job, to taking different paths. I’ve also told the universe I open to having my book published by a major press but they haven’t gotten back to me on that one yet;)

Anyway we are opening with an exhibit on Japanese Tigers which is interesting b/c they are no tigers in Japan but artists created these creature by stories in the early 17th century and by the closest creature on hand, the cat. And as media comes in to play i.e. the photograph the image of these tigers change.

I have to say I am little in love with the bug eyed creatures. Also to bore the hell out of you Tigers are identified as the yin, the power of the feminine. Don’t tell me there is no connection.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

one of my favorite paintings Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

I am tired. All the business of the last few weeks is catching up to me. I realized this when I found my self drooling over Peter’s pool photos and wondering if I could actually throw myself through the computer screen.

I think I have been reading too much poetry lately. Yes, I did say that out loud. Sometimes I think you have to live a poetic life as much as read about one. I mean all the great artists packed up their bags and ventured off somewhere. I am ready to write a travel grant to study butterflies in Mexico. I have a friend who did that.

The world is an odd place, they actually gave her 10,000 dollars to sit in a field and feel inspired. It is true, I may be resentful but it does feel a bit foolish. I need to write more grants. I need water. I need sleep.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

This is my last stick after this people have to start throwing beer.

What is the strangest compliment you received on one of your poems?

Didi talks about someone coming up (it has to be a guy, yes I know this is sexist but I bet I am right) and saying he masturbated to one of her poems, how you keep a straight face during that I’ll never know.

Anyway my compliment is kind of the 360 of that, one of my poems Hide which I read quite a bit has a section that says

the first time I touched
the fur of my body
my fingers slipped easily into the folds

which means I have to tell (on a good night) 40 strangers that I like to touch myself.

Anyway my compliment was when an older woman came up to me after I read that poem and said, “I am so very proud of you dear.”

I am still to this day not sure if she was proud that I read it out loud or because I could find my vagina.

Friday, March 18, 2005


-I want someone to bury the damn stick or think up new questions.
-I worked for ten hours today
-my new boss from hell made someone cry and it wasn’t me
-I am having 8 eleven year old girls sleep over tomorrow and that beats out anything Dante could think up.
-it snowed two feet or maybe 6 inches, anyway it equals a hell of a lot of stuff on my steps.
-my chapbook it done
-my manuscript is done (again)
-and I am really, really mad at myself for not going to breadloaf and for making money instead
-all the writers I have crushes on are dead which may mean I have some intamacy issues.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Big Stick

Okay chickas Jude gave me the stick so you might want to stand back cause I’m not afraid to use it.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
Dante’s The Divine Comedy

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
I have crushes on writers not characters (those people are made up) though I do think Jane Eyre was pretty hot.

The last book you bought is: I buy books in packs. I haven’t bought one book at a time since I was twelve and received my own allowance.
Velocities: New and Selected Poems
The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
Swallow: Poems
The Porcupine’s Kisses

The last book you read: Mercy by Lucille Clifton and I read it six times. The last fiction I read was The Collected Stories of Grace Paley.

What are you currently reading? Cocktails by D.A. Powell, Blind Huber by Nick Flyn and The Monster Lives Of Boys and Girls by Eleni Sikelianos.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: I’ve actually read this several times and if you have to land a plane or fight a bear I’m your girl.
The Complete Kama Sutra: Eventually somebody is going to show up on the island and if they don’t, hell I have pictures.
Complete Works of Anne Sexton: because I love her and she loves me. (Did I mention I have crushes on dead writers:)
Complete Works of Paul Celan: because I am pretty bi about whom I have crushes on.
Complete Works of Shakespeare: He wrote a hell of a lot of stuff and I love to read.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Emily Lloyd: because she smokes by her computer and this will keep her hands busy.
Wendy Wisner: because I like her and she has her own Wendy House.
Eduardo C. Corral: because his name is fun to say and I am sure he will bring in cute boys somehow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


I just finished writing an article last night that involved the power of poetry and though I am not going to give it all away before the issue goes to print it has led me to think about the danger of poetry. In history poets have died for their craft, where is that power in modern word? What is the last dangerous book of poems you have read?

This has made me evaluate (once again) my own manuscript and how safe I remain and that my goal should not only be to tell my own story but to do so in such a way that I don’t always remain safe.

We have become a complacent people not only in politics but in word. I would venture that the maturity of modern writers don’t believe what they are writing will effect the outcome of history. We have forgotten that words are indeed dangerous.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I was just putting the girls in the car for school this morning and one of their babysitters walked by on her way to high school. She had been in Spain last year and I had not seen her for a while. She then went on to tell me she had been in the hospital and just got out. It turns out she was in lock down which is a horrible place. Surviving adolescence while being an artist is a difficult journey, I am so lucky I lived in a very small town in Maine. The worst adults ever did was tie me to a chair and tell me I had demons. Oh the joys of the Christian right.

I have been thinking a lot about our human journey, Rebecca with mushy lobes, my own daughter’s quick entrance into tweendom and I know without doubt writing has saved me. Why I serve it almost as if it is a deity. As with Jung theory I have enter a deeper room inside myself, a true place because of my art.

Sometimes I forget this I get caught up in all the crap that is involved with being a published writer. I worry about order, publishing credits, that I am not doing something right. Maybe embracing chaos has nothing to do with craziness maybe it is just realizing that the shortest distance between two points in not always a straight line.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Well I did not win the wine but my friend did and I sold her the ticket so I hope that entitles me to a least one good bottle of red. I did however come home with Carmen tickets so I am very happy. I have something to look forward to at the end of April.

I plan to get some reading done today. I have so many beautiful books sitting by my bed. The Academy of American Poets is posting a book a day of the most Ground breaking poetry books. I hate things like this because it shows me how little I have read and I read A LOT but I think I have only about half their list completed.

You know I really need to be independently wealthy so I can get all this poetry and reading done in one lifetime. If the gods aren’t going to give me that I should at least get another life.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


If you could have any three poets write the "blurb" for the back of your book who would it be?"

Math Problem for the day

I am expecting Carolyn’s notes on the manuscript soon so I am in a holding pattern again. Tonight is the big Art Gala—hurray for free wine. I have been informed by my love that I am not allowed to buy any “big” art but I am sure there is a way around the word big. Last year I bought two beautiful black and white photos, one of rocks and another of a woman in Ethiopia. They are stunning. I am still in trouble for those purchases.

The weird thing is, when I was married I could have brought home a painted cow and my husband would have not said a thing. It is funny how we are attracted to different spectrums of people in one lifetime.

Tonight there is a raffle to win your own wine cellar—60 bottles of top end wine. Last year I won the big raffle of a hotel, I am still hoping for the wine. Now if I win we are having a blog party in my back yard.

Now here is a math problem for you, how many poets would it take to finish off 60 bottles and how long?

Friday, March 11, 2005

those fat little ugly babies

My book hates me. I am trying not to take it personally, the way it changes order every time I turn around but today I figured out it was personal. The book does it to make me crazy. Last week I thought I had beautiful poems and today they are all fat little creatures with no home. I have changed the content 60 times and there is no order. I want to see it…I need to see it.

This was my first batch of rejections sending the manuscript out. I told myself there was no way it would get accepted right out of the box but I guess deep down I thought it might because that would explain the hole in my stomach when I opened the letter.

This too shall pass. Tomorrow I will wake up and send those ugly babies off again and hopefully this time they will stand next to each other and behave.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

the staff meeting from hell

Sadly I am being totally serious

So I arrived at the staff meeting to be greeted by those plastic Hawian necklaces and little plastic clappers –we are suppose to use them to cheer each other (dear sweet Jesus.) My new boss then begins the comparison of the staff to the crew of the love boat and for two hours (no shit) we list qualities that make good leaders ALPHABETICALLY. A is for Alert, B is for busy and of course I was getting ready to slit my wrists till we got to M and then for some reason my mouth yelled out MARTINI. Well, that did not go over well.

Anyway it sucks because I love teaching where I teach. I love my clients. I love the kids I work with, some people I have been working with for over five years but I don’t think I will out live this woman. She has been there 6 months now and I bet you a buck she can’t even tell you what I do, but she does seem to know all the actors of 80 sitcoms.

And to make matters worse she is the queen of paper work. I think a small tree was killed tonight with all the things I need to fill out and of course on my own time. Please, please have mercy on me and call in a bomb threat at my next meeting.
Questions For the Day

What font do you use when sending out submissions?
Do have special rituals?
Do send them out in batches, like threes or two?
and what do think was the best title for a poetry book ever?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

to the person who bought my children Best Of ABBA for their birthday-I HATE YOU

Who Wears The Big Hat

Okay I am going to get all feminist on you, so if you can’t handle it as CD says, get out of the room and don’t send me letters. I love it when he does that. Anyway I’ve been thinking about Emily’s poet Laureate statement, along with Carolyn Forché’ never being named poet Laureate of the United States, I believe Lucille Clifton hasn’t either.

If you think about the fact that she IS THE ONLY POET IN HISTORY to have written two books in the same year to be nominated for a Pulitzer that is a pretty astounding fact. What does a girl need to do?

I know a poet laureate fairly well, enough so that if he called me up for dinner I would go and though I like him, I would say he is more then an entertainer than anything else. Not that he is a bad poet but there are certain people who consider poetry their religion and other ppl. who consider it their job and there begins a whole other debate but that's not what I want to talk about today.

In my ideal world which I live in quite a bit, I find it incredibly wrong that people like Clifton may die without ever receiving Poet Pope. Hell with character, it would bother the beejus out of me if I had done the things both her and Carolyn have done and been left out of the loop.

So the question for today is WHY? Do you think it is because they are women? Political poets? Or because they just don’t go after it and play the game?

Monday, March 07, 2005

i know some of you have seen these before but I am trying to find the right one Posted by Hello
for those of you who have a $100 and a Levine fetish this was in my email box this morning.

(There are still a few spaces remaining for this very special benefit
reading by Phil Levine. If interested, please contact Terry Ehret asap.)

Dear Literary Folk,
As most of you know, back in 1999, I co-founded Sixteen Rivers Press
with several other Bay Area Poets. We're a collective publishing outfit
(meaning no one makes any money, but we make beautiful books!), and
we have recently become a non-profit venture as well.

On the evening of April 7, 2005, we will be hosting a benefit reading with
Phil Levine. This will be held in a private home overlooking Sausalito. It
will give 40 people an opportunity to meet Levine in a champagne
reception, and to hear him read from his newest collection, Breath. It's
pricey ($100), so I know many of you won't be able to consider this, but
since the seating will be so limited, I wanted to give any of you Phil Levine
fans first crack at the opportunity.

If any of you are interested, please contact me at my home e-mail
(, and I will make sure you get an invitation mailed
to you.

Good Things To Read On The Web

Stephen Dobyns’s interview at Cortland (I hear their new poetry editor is hot)

and Illya Kaminsky’s discussion about arrogance and Wright’s work.

Mr. Kaminsky is my favorite young poet hands down and if you haven't read his book Dancing In Odessa well that is just wrong.

oh and the Burnside interview with Dorriane Laux was damn good but I think that is just in print.
I always believed vertigo
was a place and not a state of falling
so when you came in the slip, sliding way
to my bed. I was not afraid
though I suppose fear enters.
Isn’t sanity half the quotation for love?
E=mc squared and what follows is light or chaos.
I want to name you vertigo, angle, something solid
like square. Feeling is abstract, yet when you enter
emptiness are you there? And did not Plato
speak of shadows, is it crazy to believe
what you read with your tongue on the inside
of my cave is word. Y=X if the X is constant
yet Y will never equal the sum A.
It is not part of the equation.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

okay so pick a photo below and let me know which one I should donate to the art gala on Saturday. I am on the board to host this big party to raise money so kids can make art, ohhh the woes of the public school system. Don’t get me started and I need to figure out what I am donating.

Odd fact, David Mura’s children go to the same school as my girls. Another not so odd fact, when are kids were in the same class together last year and I told him I was a poet he looked at me like I had gum on my shoe.
please dear lord, let me and rebecca loudon have a better horoscope this week. I can't keep hugging chaos

hmmmm...I suppose I could donate all three but then I have to get the bloody things framed. Posted by Hello

or this one Posted by Hello

okay I need to pick one of photos for the art gala on saturday, which one should I pick, this one? Posted by Hello

Getting old

It was a beautiful spring day here but I heard it was going to snow this week so it will be short lived. I have pussy willows popping out, don’t you love that word? I am sure the other flowers will follow suit. This will be the first spring of my whole life without a lilac tree. I have never lived anywhere, where there was not one in yard. Ours was killed last fall by the freak accident of a lover trying to help “clean” the yard and my beautiful lilacs are gone. I suppose I will turn into one of those old ladies by the high way with scissors and a jar. It is a sad fate when you are not even forty yet.

I’ve always been told I would a fabulous old lady. I think that is the polite way to say, you are incredibly eccentric and eventually that will be a good thing. Anyway bring it on, I need some wisdom in my life. Please don’t let me just get old and stupid.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

person at the window Posted by Hello
My first lover was a pianist
now he is bald,
a truck driver, married
to a woman with my hair.

He was never allowed to date
his parents would drive us to church
while his fingers fell into my body

and before the first hymn
lifting a hand to his mouth,

he’d look over the congregation
a god beginning to play.

For three years he found
the small parts of my desire
hidden, as I stood silent

in worship, a Mary
with all the dead angels at her feet.

And no one ever knew
we were lovers. Even today
while giving a list of names
I do not say his.

But his mother once told me
when I was seven
sliding around in my chair
during the part in Revelations

when Jesus comes again
that I would never find love
because I was one of those girls

who never understood
the word sit.


Okay so the two questions I was asked last night (in between martinis) were

1) Do you think blogging helps your life as a poet?
2) If you could regain one thing in your writing life you believe you’ve lost what would it be?

Well I have no idea if blogging helps me, sometimes I think it does, sometimes I don’t. At times I believe if I was more serious I would just write all the time. But I really wanted a more in depth writing community and I think I have found it here with blogging. It does help to see other people going through the same woes and having the same questions. Still, I use it sometimes to avoid what I need to get done.

The second question is easier to answer and even though I bitch about it, I miss my arrogance, when I first started writing I believed I could change the world. Maybe everyone believes this, I don’t know. I have only been me. But even as a little girl I wanted to be the writer in my generation.

For example, the first time I had my palm read the woman did several double takes and said you will affect countless people and I didn’t even flinch, I was like well I KNOW that now explain who I am going to date. lol

But somehow I think I’ve lost that sense of knowing and it is the thing I miss most. Now I see the amazing writing of other people. I don’t feel like anything I say is new or different and I have to constantly remind myself of my own truth. And I think those countless people may not be my readers at all but the children I stand in front of everyday and say you are an artist, you can do anything.

I’m not knocking that vocation, I love my job but it is not all I want. I want so much more.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The two poets I would have slept with just because they had brilliant minds are Anne Sexton and Paul Celan. Yes I know, deeply wounded people but amazing and there is something drastically different about wounded people verses screwed up people. I would say Sexton and Celan are like two sticks broken in half and well screwed up people are just, well screwed up. And hell that is not sexy.

But this:

Whichever stone you lift—
you lay bare
those you need the protection of stones:
now they renew their entwinement.

Whichever tree you fell—
you frame
the bedstand where
souls are stayed once again,
as if this aeon too
did not

Whichever word you speak—
you owe to

yep, that does it for me. Plus I am listening to the tape Anne Sexton Reads and I have to tell you, I adore her.

The Ten Poems That Define Me

drum roll please

The Unbosoming by Olena Kalytiak Davis
Which Ever Stone You Lift by Paul Celan
Homage to My Hips Lucille Clifton
Alberto Rojas Jimenez Come Flying by Pablo Neruda
Manifesto by Margot Schilipp
Her Kind by Anne Sexton
I Belong There by Mahmoud Darwish
Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith
The Colonel by Carolyn Forché
Variations of Sleep by Margaret Atwood

Thursday, March 03, 2005


I am suffering from submission woes which don’t seem to have a cure except publication. I sent off three batches of poems today, one journal I’ve submitted to three times. The please, dear god take me did not make it into the cover letter but almost.

My problem, besides no desk of my own and 130 boxes of girls scout cookies sitting in my living room, is that I am at the difficult place of “stuck”.

The bigger print journals I need to get into I am “close” to getting into i.e. hand written notes, we fought about this poem at staff meeting yaddaaa ya but at last NO. And it would seem for sanity sake I would forget about them and concentrate on the more “lovely” smaller journals that at this moment I would say have better taste. I don’t know. Maybe because I am nuts…

Okay so my horoscope says to accept chaos and that if I do that, I will find god. WHATEVER. Personally I would like a cabin in the woods, several bottle of Merlot and a good type writer then we will see what deities show up.
This would be me not trusting chaos
Okay somebody tell me how the HELL to get my blog off google so that every editor I submit to when looking up my work will not see my bitchen and whinning.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The moment you come to trust chaos, you see God clearly. Chaos is divine order, versus human order. Change is divine order, versus human order. When the chaos becomes safety to you, then you know you're seeing God clearly.

gockel Posted by Hello
So I still need to figure out how to put another color on the side so I don’t blind poor Rebecca with all this green. Green use to show up in my poetry a lot and now it is deer, deer are everywhere. At least I am through my stone phase but I am still waiting for something original to show up, oh to have an original thought.

I had a good conversation this week with one of the people from gray wolf press. I think I am going to send my manuscript there. It is funny how all your ideas about a book change; when I first began all I thought about was Yale. I did not see anything else and than it began to include a couple others. Still Yale for me will be a hard thing to give up.

I am preparing myself to hear from them at anytime rejecting the manuscript because I think I have about as much chance of being chosen as wings sprouting from my back, still the Vodka is waiting in the fridge.

Right now I just want to concentrate on my work and not worry about publication. I want the joy to come back and I think I have been thinking too much about how to get things done. Oh the balance…
The speaker of the word
and the hearer of the word
and the words themselves—
all three become spirit in the end.

-Mathnawi [VI, 72]

From Jewels of Remembrance, by Rumi

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

oh glorious green Posted by Hello


Good god I have so much to do today and all I WANT to do is finish Mercy by Lucille Clifton. I love her. I grew up with a poet grandfather who had me reading Emily and Longfellow while other girls where learning how to put on make up. I will never forget in high school reading Clifton for the first time and realizing there was a whole other world of poetry.

And by the way I have never been forgiven for leaving form behind, my grandfather is 87 years old and tells me every time I see him that I am not really a poet because I can’t write a sonnet worth a damn. It goes something like you people think this crap you write is poetry….

Anyway a lot of money has gone into therapy because of this man and I am not even diving into my knee jerk reaction about rhyme. The thing is I could win a Pulitzer and he would still be saying this stuff.

Oh well my plea for today is for everyone to go read the next issue of Pleiades, especially page 32 and drink a glass of wine with me. I love the journal, I like my poem…those two things don’t always happen.