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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Opposite of Golden

A year ago everything I sent out as a submission was golden, snapped up immediately. Journals I withdrew simultaneous submissions from responded with expressions of dismay that they had not gotten back to me in time. Dream journals contacted me and asked to see poems. And I said to myself, "Remember this time, keep it in your heart for the dry spells which are surely coming."

And now is that dry spell. One of them. One of many. Of the many that typify my publishing experience. Nobody wants my work now. Much like before.

And I'm okay with that. I will keep writing. Because I do it for the work. Not for the publication.

(But I admit it--that one golden publishing time last year--that was fun.)

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I visited a candle holder five or six times before I bought it last year and put it into my Christmas stocking. It wasn't expensive--about $6, but I don't like to buy things and not use them--getting rid of stuff worries me: landfills, etc., and keeping unused clutter around in our small Japanese home makes me crazy. But after visiting the candle holder in the store so many times, I decided I had a real jones for it, and got it.

Now I put a candle in my little holder and light it before I write. Different candles--some scented, some not. I even got an LED candle for it (and decided I preferred the smell and warmth of a real candle). I don't know why, but having it in front of me focuses me as I write. I can write for a longer period of time and with greater concentration and purpose when I look and see my candle burning there in front of me.

Can't explain it, but there it is.

New year, new habit, better writing.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Barrow Street

"Word Problem," a poem from my manuscript about my uncle, is in the Winter 2015/2016 issue of Barrow Street, along with work by Travis Wayne Denton, John Estes, B. K. Fischer, Beth Gylys, David Dodd Lee, Stephen Massimilla, J G McClure, Katheryn Nuernberger, Leah Umansky, G C Waldrep, David Yezzi, and many other worthy poets. Check it out.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Writers Who Read

Writer G G Andrew interviews other writers about their reading habits at her series Writers Who Read on her blog. Yesterday I was lucky enough to have been interviewed. Since reading is such a huge influence over writing, this is an important (as well as charming) series. Check it out!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Small Press Book Review: A Real Reader

Taylor Breslin at The Small Press Book Review has reviewed Mendeleev's Mandala, with a view to my earlier book, The Insomniac's Weather Report, which she reviewed a few years ago.

I feel like a real poet! I have a real, thoughtful reader who sees the arc of what I am doing, not just the arc of a single book (which is thrilling enough, when a reader sees that), but the arc of my (dare I say it?) oevre. I am blessed to have been read so well. Thank you, Taylor, and thanks to Mel Bosworth at The Small Press Book Review for facilitating this.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Denali Artists-in-Residence

Here's an official news release from Denali National Park and Preserve. I couldn't be more pleased!

Denali National Park and Preserve News Release

Denali National Park and Preserve Selects 2016 Artists-In-Residence

DENALI PARK, Alaska: Three artists, two writers and one composer will visit Denali National Park and Preserve in 2016 through its Artist-in-Residence program. Two of the residents will visit in March as part of a winter program. Four others will take part in a summer program between June and September. 

Since 2002 more than 65 accomplished artists, writers and composers have participated in the program. Following a 10-day residency, each artist will lead a public outreach activity with visitors and donate a piece of artwork to the program collection. Residents are challenged to create pieces, inspired by their park experiences, which offer visitors fresh and innovative perspectives of the park. 

An online catalog of all works donated to the program collection is available at

This year a total of 150 applications faced multiple rounds of deliberation lasting more than a month by selection panels of subject matter experts, past artists-in-residence, community volunteers and park staff. 

The six new participants for 2016 include:
  • Based in Los Angeles, Alan Chan often takes inspiration from his cross-cultural experience as a resident of the United States, East Asia and Europe, and from visual arts and poetry. He founded the Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra in 2011 and is the winner of the 2015 ASCAP/SJO “George Duke” Commissioning Prize. His music has been recognized with awards and fellowships from ArtEZ (Netherlands), New Music USA, Percussive Arts Society and Los Angeles County Arts Commission, among others.
  • Jessica Goodfellow, a Pennsylvania native currently residing in Japan, is currently working on a poetry manuscript WHITEOUT, about her uncle’s death on Denali, along with six other climbers, during the Joe Wilcox expedition in 1967. She has published two books of poetry: Mendeleev’s Mandala (Mayapple Press, 2015) and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (Two Candles Press First Book Award, 2011; reprinted by Isobar Press, 2014). She has graduate degrees from the University of New England and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and imagery from science and mathematics plays a large role in her writing. She teaches at a women’s college in Kobe, Japan.
  • Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Kathy Hodge took up oil paints as a teenager. She majored in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) at the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, Massachusetts. With a special attraction to the natural world, she has participated 12 times as an artist-in-residence in national parks and forests. She has exhibited her work in many solo shows, most recently showing paintings from the Tongass and Chugach National Forests.
  • Emily Jan, of MontrĂ©al, draws inspiration from eclectic experiences of a life spent largely on the road as well as from the culture of scientific inquiry that characterized her upbringing. In her hands, common North American materials (wool, wicker, recycled cloth, and found objects) are transformed through labor-intensive processes into hyper-realistic sculptures and installations populated by real and imagined flora, fauna and artifacts. Recent projects include residencies in the Peruvian Amazon and at the Elsewhere Museum in North Carolina. She is currently working on a book to be published in 2016 by Les Éditions Roselin.
  • Sara Tabbert returned to live and work in her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska in 2000. Her print work and carved wood panels are included in public and private collection across the state. In 2008 she had a solo show at the Anchorage Museum and in 2013 she received a project grant from the Rasmuson Foundation. In addition to a previous residency in Denali in summer 2008, she has been an artist-in-residence at Zion and Isle Royale National Parks. She works actively in the state’s Artists in the Schools program and enjoys the opportunity to meet and work with young artists.
  • Kathryn Wilder earned a Master of Arts in creative writing from Northern Arizona University and is currently participating in the creative nonfiction program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A nominee for the Pushcart Prize, Western Heritage Award and Hawai`i’s Elliot Cades Award, she edited the Walking the Twilight: Women Writers of the Southwest anthologies and co-wrote Spur Storyteller Award finalist Forbidden Talent with Navajo artist Redwing T Nez. She lives and writes among mustangs in southwestern Colorado.   
For more information about each artist visit the park’s website at

The next open call for online applications to determine residencies for 2017 is scheduled May 1 - September 30.

Displays of donated visual art are currently offered within the park at the Murie Science and Learning Center and Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, as well as the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in downtown Anchorage and in the Fairbanks Public Lands Information Center located in the Morris Thompson Visitors Center. During the summer visitor season, there are additional displays at the Denali Visitor Center and Eielson Visitor Center.

The Murie Science and Learning Center is open daily 9 am – 4:30 pm as the winter visitor center, providing visitor information and backcountry permits.

For more information about Denali National Park and Preserve, please visit the park’s website at or call the park’s information line at 907-683-9532, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. dailyStay connected with "DenaliNPS" on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and iTunes – links to these social media sites are available

Friday, January 8, 2016

Submissions Call: Science Poems

Here's another call for submissions that interests me, and maybe you'll be interested too. (This is cut and pasted from the website of Event Horizon Magazine). More details here.

Event Horizon Magazine is hosting a science poetry competition with a grand prize of $500.

Official Rules

Theme: Submitted work shall be inspired by and/or incorporate scientific thinking, concepts, or principles.
Eligibility: This contest is open to everyone. However, the following individuals are NOT eligible to participate in this contest: the staff of Event Horizon and their immediate family.
Prize: The winner will receive $500.00. In addition, the winning submission will be published in Event Horizon’s April 2016 issue.
Competition Timeline:
  1. Submission deadline – 11:59PM on 29 February 2016
  2. Winner announcement on Event Horizon website – March 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Submissions Call: Theme of Japan

This call for submissions was recently passed along to me. Could be of interest to you, too.

Poetry East is looking for submissions for a special issue on Japan. Anyone interested? Here's what their email said:
We are currently accepting submissions for Poetry East #88, a special issue on Japan. It will be released Autumn 2016, so if you would like to submit a piece to the journal, please submit your query letter, typed manuscript, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage to us. We do not accept email submissions. In your packet, also please include your name, address, and contact information (phone number and/or email), so we can email or write your back as soon as possible as to whether your piece was accepted in our upcoming issue. Our address is below:
Poetry East
Department of English
DePaul University
2315 N. Kenmore Ave, Suite 312
Chicago, IL 60614

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ringing in the New Year

So much good poetry news for the New Year.

My poem that I only just found out two days ago was on Verse Daily in November, "On Hearing of Your Hearing Loss," is on that website again--as a favorite of the year 2015.  Thanks to Verse Daily, and to Ninth Letter for being the original publisher (and here's the permalink).

And, I'm so pleased that the Motionpoem based on my poem "Crows, Reckoning" and made by Alex Hanson and Edward Chase Masterson, has been released by Motionpoems. Thanks to Todd Boss and to the filmmakers at Commandr, and to everyone. It's a serious dream-come-true to see this happen. And there's an interview done by poet Avra Wing to celebrate the release. Yay!

What a great way to ring in 2016.