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Friday, June 28, 2013

ode to diode

It's been awhile since I've had any poems published online, but I'm happy to report that I have two poems in the new issue of diode poetry. If you have the inclination, please check them out.

There's also work by Michelle Bitting, Kara Candito, Nick Courtright, Kathleen McGookey, and Brandon Shimoda, among others. Nance van Winckel has some interesting altered book pages and digital collage as well.

Thanks to editors Patty Paine and Jeff Lodge for supporting my work.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Podcast Quote-a-Thon

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts recently, and here are a few excerpts:


From Tieferet Talk, Tieferet Journal's radio show,  an interview of Molly Peacock by host Melissa Studdard, about Peacock's book The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delaney Begins Her Life's Work at 72, which includes the following:

“You can't be jaded if you really attend to detail. Jaded means life is predictable. But life is not predictable in its exhilarating specificity…When you don’t understand the world and when you’re overwhelmed, one thing you can do is simply to describe it. If you describe it to yourself, it allows you at least to recognize it. You may not be able to comprehend it, but it’s there in front of you, in a palpable way that you are saying back to yourself.” Molly Peacock

“She didn’t meet the goal but she met her vision.” Molly Peacock


From the New Letters on the Air podcast, the podcast of New Letters Magazine,  a posthumous re-airing of an interview of John Ciardi by host Angela Elam, including the following:

“I realized the photographer is photographing himself…..” John Ciardi

“…submit one’s self to it in the knowledge that the language is more wise more able than the practitioner…” John Ciardi


From the podcast New Books in Poetry, an interview of James Longenbach with host John Ebersole about Longenbach's recent book The Virtues of Poetry, including the following:

"The idea that we are most likely going to be forgotten should liberate the artist and not constrain him or her." John Ebersole

"...the poet whose deepest inclination is to associate risk with submission...." James Longenbach, as quoted by John Ebersole, reading from Longenbach's book

“You can’t write poems all the time. You’ve got to read a hundred of them in order to write one that’s half -decent.” James Longenbach


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Return of Four Stories Japan!

For all you folks living in Kansai (that's western Japan for the rest of you), Four Stories Japan returns this weekend. Four Stories is a prose reading event featuring four different writers each time, and hosted by the inimitable Tracy Slater (and held regularly in Boston, semi-regularly in Osaka/Tokyo).

The readings this weekend are:

  • Amy Chavez, columnist for The Japan Times since 1997 and author of the books Japan, Funny Side Up and Running the Shikoku Pilgrimage: 900 miles to enlightenment
  • Marc Kaufman, lecturer at Tokyo's Sophia University and fiction and nonfiction writer with work in Narrative Magazine and more
  • Peter Mallett, university professor and freelance writer on classical music and the arts, former arts editor of Kansai Time Out, publisher and editor of Artspace, and author of the novel-in-process Appassionata
  • Tracy Slater, Four Stories founder and author of the book The Good Shufu: A Wife in Search of a Life Between East and West, forthcoming from Penguin's Putnam and Berkley imprints

  • The readings will be held at a different venue from in that past, so click on the link above to get information and directions about that. It'll be Saturday, June 29th, beginning at 5 pm, at CafĂ© Absinthe in Osaka.

    The link will also lead you to MP3s from past readings in both Osaka, Tokyo, and Boston. Check it out!

    Sunday, June 23, 2013

    Full Frontal Narrative

    I've recently finished up a manuscript and am thinking about what to work on next. It has occurred to me that the last time I wrote directly about topics that were painful at the time of writing about them, things I was struggling mightily with while concurrently wishing to conceal this struggle from certain loved ones, was when I wrote my chapbook. My book and my most recent manuscript deal with topics that have some temporal space between them and the current me, and even more space between my loved ones and the troublesome themes.

    It's important to write about what it is difficult to write about, so I thought it was probably about time for me to face up to that again, although the difficulties have changed substantially since I last engaged in such a practice. But the fear is there: the fear of the amount of psychic energy and time it takes to face these scary topics, and more importantly, the fear of the pain that putting this stuff out there in the open can cause to people I love, people who have in part caused the pain but didn't mean to, or did mean to at one time but don't mean it now, or do mean it now but it would still pain them to have it out there in public.

    So I was thinking this through, and I recalled a time when I had asked one of my sisters how she thought our family would react to a poem I had published. "Which poem is that?" she wondered. So I showed it to her. She read it through once, then twice, then said, "I think you give us more credit than we deserve. I don't think anyone in our family would recognize that this poem is about us."

    I was stunned. How could they not see what was there in black and white? And yet they didn't. Which is the wonder of a poem: it's not full frontal narrative even when the poet thinks it is; even when the metaphors and imagery are clear to the poet, there is still the reader's interpretation of both/either the poem and any events represented in the poem, and these might vary mightily from the poet's. Even when it is full frontal narrative, there's still the fact that it's a poem, and doesn't necessarily represent the factual truth, although it must represent the emotional truth.

    I'm still scared. But I think I'm going to start writing anyway.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    On the Birthday of a Son

    This year my older son's birthday coincided with Father's Day, as it does some years.

    My own birthday falls within a few days of my son's, so I too have shared the anniversary of my birth with Father's Day on multiple occasions.

    My mother tells the story of wrapping me in a bow and giving me as a gift to my father on my first birthday, which was also the first time these two specials days happened to coincide. I have always felt funny about the story, smiled awkwardly, wished for the ritual repeating of this story to finally be over for another year.

    But when my son was born within days of my birthday, I almost swooned with the pleasure of it. And  every seventh year when his birthday and Father's Day are one and the same, I am all day giddy with delight, much to (already twice) his chagrin.

    I am reminded, once again, of this quote by E. M. Forster: “For a wonderful physical tie binds the parents to the children; and - by some sad, strange irony - it does not bind us children to our parents. For if it did, if we could answer their love not with gratitude but with equal love, life would lose much of its pathos and much of its squalor, and we might be wonderfully happy.”

    This is how it should be, of course. And I shall sit in my squalor and pathos and observe them as they grow and grow away, my sons.

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    Poems About Fathers

    Poems about fathers:

    from e. e. cummings, "my father moved through dooms of love"

    from Gary L. McDowell, "Shuttlecock"

    from Mark Jarman, "Descriptions of Heaven and Hell"

    from Dean Rader, "Ocean Beach at Twilight: 14"

    from Judy Halebsky, "My Father Remembers Blue Zebras"

    from W. S. Merwin, "Yesterday"

    from Chad Sweeney, "The Methodist and His Method"

    from Donald Hall, "White Apples"

    from Frank Bidart, "Lament for the Makers"

    I also wanted to include a poem about driving by a cemetery and honking towards a father's grave, but I can't find it. I think it's Robert Bly.....anybody??

    Saturday, June 15, 2013

    How to Join CRWOPPS

    I've mentioned before the usefulness of the CRWOPPS-B List (Creative Writers Opportunities List). Today CRWOPPS-B moderator Allison Joseph has posted the following instructions for joining the list as well as accessing the postings without joining. I've posted that information below. Enjoy.


    Dear Subscribers:
    Please feel free to pass on the instructions to join the list to other writers that you know.
    If they do not want to join, but just wish to see the postings, tell them to bookmark
    http://groups. group/CRWROPPS- B/

    Instructions for joining the Creative Writers Opportunities List:

    To join the group, send a blank e-mail message to

    crwropps-b-subscrib e@yahoogroups. com

    You will receive a return email with further instructions.
    (Check your spam folder if you don't see the email right away).

    Or visit
    http://groups. group/CRWROPPS- B/

    and click on "Join This Group" tab. Follow on-screen instructions
    to complete sign-up.

    Allison Joseph, Moderator
    Creative Writers Opportunities List

    Sunday, June 9, 2013

    Homes for Long Poems (or Poem Cycles)

    Places that accept and/or welcome longer submissions of poetry (long poems, poem cycles, or submissions of many pages of poems or many poems desired):

    The New Orleans Review is looking for poetry submissions of 16 - 32 pages for its next print issue

    The Beloit Poetry Journal  "Limit your submission to five pages unless you are submitting a long poem (yes, we publish them). "

    The Missouri Review  "TMR publishes poetry features only—6 to 14 pages of poems by each of 3 to 5 poets per issue. . . Typically, successful submissions include 8-20 pages of unpublished poetry."

    The Alaska Quarterly Review "Poems in traditional and experimental styles but no light verse (up to 20 pages)."

    The Virginia Quarterly Review "Poetry: All types and length."

    At Length Magazine requests poems longer than seven single-spaced pages (thanks to Mari for the tip on this one)

    Michigan Quarterly Review accepts 8 to 12 pages per poetry submission

    Sugar House Review up to 5 poems and 15 pages per submission

    Long Poem Magazine the name says it all (out of the UK)

    Nimrod International Journal Submit "3 to 10 pages."

    Artful Dodge "Please send no more than 25 pages of prose or 6 poems, though long poems are encouraged."

    Gettysburg Review "...interested in both short and long poems of nearly any length or aesthetic bent."

    New England Review "We are looking for long and short poems."

    The Seattle Review "publishes, and only publishes, long poems, novellas, and long essays. Poetry submissions of less than ten pages in length, and prose submissions of less than forty pages, will be returned unread."

    Prime Number Magazine "poems of any length or style" (according to the CRWOPPS list)

    Pedestal Magazine "There are no restrictions on length, theme, or style."

    Stanzas Magazine out of Ottawa, "for long poems/sequences, issues appear at random"

    Permafrost Magazine  "No length maximums, as we like the idea of publishing something truly epic."

    Spoke Too Soon: A Journal of the Longer: "Spoke Too Soon features just a few longer poems at a time, and features curated audio and close readings of those poems."

    The Cincinnati Review: "Please submit up to 10 manuscript pages at a time."

    Eleven Eleven: "For poetry: please limit your submission to five poems or 10 pages, but we’re also open to long poems."

    Third Coast: " Please send no more than three poems at a time (with a maximum of ten pages total per submission)."

    Tahoma Literary Review: "Long poems are especially welcome. Poems six or more printed pages in length will be compensated at twice our customary payment rate for poems."

    Dialogist: "Submit up to five poems of any length."

    Iron Horse Literary Review, The (annual) Trifecta Issue"Poets should submit a single poem, 10-20 pages long. Every June, the three winning manuscripts (one of which is poetry) are released individually, as e-singles . . . attractive, four-color, free electronic issues, each with its own chic design."

    The Volta: "If you have a long poem, sequence, or poem in series you’d like us to consider, please send a query (no attachments) to: thevoltaeditors |at| gmail |dot| com with “Heir Apparent Query” in the subject heading of your email."

    The Coachella Review: "We invite poets to send up to five poems per submission, including all works in a single attachment. There are no restrictions on form or length."

    Fruita Pulp: "Please include 2-5 poems per submission, in a single document. We are open to longer submissions (sequence/set, epic, crown of sonnets, etc)… just make note of why it’s important to you to include the larger body of work."

    Birdfeast: "Submit up to 8 pages of writing (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, your cat's diary; anything goes) in a pdf, doc, or docx file."

    Rappahannock Review: "We accept poems ranging in any length and employing any aesthetic, including free verse, prose poems, and formal poetry. Authors may send up to five poems per submission. Poems may be part of a series."

    Cream City Review: "No length restrictions."

    Menacing Hedge: Although not stated in their guidelines, browsing past issues shows that they will take suites of poems.

    Tenderloin: "tenderloin is a monthly journal that features 5-10 poems by a single author."

    Wyvern Lit: "For poetry, we're looking for clusters, for thematic consistency, for suites of poems both within your own submissions and, ultimately, in the whole of what we publish in an issue. We want submissions of three to six poems with a thread that runs through them, with a yarn that weaves a tapestry of them all."

    Poetry: "submissions are limited to four poems (1 file), and should not exceed ten pages."

    Mudlark: 'issues are the electronic equivalent of print chapbooks'

    Hypertrophic Pressup to 10 poems (maximum 5,000 words total)

    Porkbelly Press: micro chapbooks -- 8 to 10 pages (multiple short pieces or a one or two long poems)

    BOAATYou may submit up to five poems of any length.

    Also, check out the list over at Linebreak's blog, The Line Break.

    I'll continue updating this list as I find more, so if you are interested, check back occasionally.

    If you know of any good homes, please post them in the comments section, or email them to me in the contact section.

    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    Image Poem Iraq

    Friend and poet Mary Bast is co-sponsoring a book project with writer and photographer Joel Preston Smith called Image Poem Iraq.

    Below is information from their call for submissions:

    Image Poem Iraq is a book projected conceived by Joel Preston Smith, a writer and photograph in Portland, Oregon, and Mary Bast, a poet in Gainesville, Floria. The book will 'match' images taken by Joel Preston Mith in Iraq in 2003 (before and after the U.S. invasion) with poems related to specific images that will appear in the book.

    To submit a poem, first view the images in this PDF, and chose one or more to write about. Each poem should be related to the image. Submissions are due on or by September 1, 2013.

    Poets can contribute more than one poem, but the project centers on publishing a book in which each poem (or a series of poems by multiple contribtors) is strongly related to one particular image. There are (as of June 1) 14 images to choose from in the PDF.


    You can  go directly to to get the PDF and more information yourself.

    (Sorry about the wacky formatting in this post. I cut and pasted something and any attempt to reformat it or remove formatting causes the whole program to shut down, so for now we are stuck with this.)


    Friday, June 7, 2013

    Memory and Sleep

    According to recent theory of how memory works, while we are asleep our minds are busy sorting through the day's events, matching patterns up with older memories, and re-storing everything in its new place, with like events. This shuffling of images, old and new, is supposedly what creates our dreams.

    Interestingly, this same theory predicts that all those times your mother said, "You'll feel better in the morning," she was right. As the mind sorts, it also takes the emotional edge off the more painful experiences, or so goes the theory. In the morning, you really should feel a little better about whatever was troubling you the night before.

    Does this surprise me? It does not. I have written before about how the unconscious minds solves problems for me (solving a math proof that eluded my waking mind, finding an error in a client report before it went out, etc.), so to hear that the unconscious mind is looking out for me emotionally as well is not shocking to me, but rather comforting.

    However, I have been wondering if there are times, for the sake of creativity (if not for other reasons), that I would rather not lose the edge on my pain? Are there times when I want to hold on the worst feelings in order to use them as impetus for art (if not for self-flagellation)? And if so, does that mean I should try to stay awake at those times until I feel I am done with the first impression of a bad experience?

    Is that why I have so much trouble sleeping?

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Phil Hansen: Embrace the Shake

    All creative people need to see this TED video by Phil Hansen called "Embrace the Shake." It's about how powerful limitations can be in inspiriting art and creativity. You know this already, but see the heights and depths that Hansen has taken it to. I'm looking differently at my limitations right now...

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Unusual Words -- Illustrated

    Taxi blog has illustrations of unusual and rarely spoken words from illustrationists James and Michael Fizgarald. The words include 'scripturient,' which every writer needs to know, and and 'zugzwang,' which you'll be astonished you've managed so far without knowing. Also, 'yonderly,' which describes me perfectly since my semester has ended.

    And the picture for 'obstentiferous' is genius.

    Check it out!