Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Current Events on the Poetry Front:

I got a message from Marvin Bell the other day. He's going to be editing the fourth volume of "New Poets / Short Books" published by Lost Horse Press, and he wants me to be one of the three featured poets in the collection. Nifty! Even though I was in the middle of frantically tying up loose ends before moving to Colorado (and had just finished grading finals) when I got his message, I squeezed in a few hours with my new manuscript.

You can read about the New Poets series here, on the Lost Horse Press website. (There's a menu button that says "New Poets Series". Pretty simple.) Basically, Marvin picks three poets each year to feature in an anthology of sorts. We each submit 20ish pages of poetry, about a chapbook's worth. They're edited for the next month or so. Then the press prints 500 copies (a small run, but it's a small project, in theory) with the three books inside.
My small book is titled Me and Coyote, and, of course, I highly recommend it for your reading pleasure. I'll definitely be posting a link here later on, in April most likely, when copies become available and you are pushed and shoved to buy one. Or you could just get a copy off amazon.

I finally got a sophisticated About the Author photo taken by Sara Randolph, an awesome photographer in the Columbus area. Look at some of her work here! She was a pleasure to work with. I met her downtown and we made a mad dash to get some shots taken by the older brick buildings downtown between torrents of crazy rain. Anyway, I'll be picking up the finished product tomorrow evening, and I hope I'll get a minute to post the photo. Mostly so I can sit here looking at my own blog thinking, dang, I'm pretty!


Still currently entered in the Cider Press Review book award contest. Anyone else heard about their past scandal? And the rebuttal? I'm still not sure what to think. I guess I'll have to wait and see what the results are.


My writing group met for the last time today! I'm sad to be leaving, knowing that I won't be able to sit down with Crystal and Charish every other Thursday over our portabella paninis at Fountain City. Boo. (By the by, Charish has her own poetry blog here.) I hosted our last meeting and we feasted on my homemade baguettes, some brie, and gingerbread cookies. Yum.

I got a quick picture of Crystal (left) and Charish (right) before we wrapped things up. Nice, no?

I started thinking about the other writing buddies I've left in different parts of the country... then I thought maybe I'd share some photos of those writers with you.

Wish I'd gotten a picture of Karen and the crew in Atlanta. I did have a wonderful writing partner in Atlanta named Christa Shelton, who now does some wonderful work with Help4Youth, a non-profit organization that she founded with Joshua Olatunde. They perform for school assemblies and encourage kids to understand the sciences through art--a great concept. Here's a photo of the two of them from a camping trip we all took to the Gulf coast:
Here's a photo of the writing group before Atlanta, when I still lived near Anchorage, Alaska:

That's Connie Ambler (left), me (center), and DeeDee Zobian (right). A nice couple of ladies! But before I was in Anchorage, there was my group in Vancouver:

(Why this picture is so incredibly small, I have no idea.) That's Katherine Van Shoonhoven (left), who has a gift with watercolor...check out her work here... and Gregory Manin in the middle. Miss our sessions too! Of course, I can't leave out those critics with whom I met every six months for the past two years (another wee photo):

That's Deb Tenney (left), Linda Weiford (center), and Adrianna Buonarroti (right). These women have been able to critique my work at all hours, in all moods, while cooped up in dormatories and windstruck hotels on the Oregon coast. They're brilliant writers. Deb's work you can find on her blog. Linda's been writing non-fiction and working as a journalist for years; she's gutsy and smart and, well, loud, but in a really eloquent way. Adrianna's got an intricate magical realism novel going right now and has been working under the mentorship of Molly Gloss for some time. Adrianna's probably one of the most patient people I know, in practically every respect.

Well, I guess I should end this post. I'm all nostalgic now. To Crystal, Charish, Christa, Karen, DeeDee, Connie, Katherine, Gregory: Thanks for the help! Hope you're all still writing...


Thursday, December 3, 2009


I was gathering my purse and coat after the last reading of the year for Arden's Student Reading Series (Selena Anderson and Kristin Taylor were wonderful) when a nice-looking fellow approached me with a question. He wanted to know if he could find my goat poem anywhere, that he and his wife had both enjoyed it at my reading in October. Two things occurred to me: 1) I rarely get requests from people who don't look crazy. 2) I haven't even sent the goat poem out to publishers, and I have no good reason for that. This poem is a lightweight and has been read several times at readings in Oregon.

Of course, it helps to be in the same place for longer than 6 months at a time; a permanent address makes submitting work a hell of a lot easier. I haven't submitted to more than 10 journals or so in the past year. However, I think I might be in Colorado for at least one solid year (starting next month) and should probably consider pushing my work "out there" more often. Any suggestions on a nice home for my poem "What I Need"?


what I need is a goat
a mountain goat, a billy goat
a pretty little pygmy goat
with knobby Puck-like horns
salt-and-pepper coat
tight as a drum
a big balloon belly
I need a goat
to keep in our yard
to follow me everywhere
to take to work
I need a goat
who’s appetite incarnate
who would swallow
the moon
if he could but reach it
a goat to eat
tin cans pizza boxes
orange peels and
dirty napkins
eat gifts we don’t want
broken bookcases
worn out shoes
the chess set we never use
recipes gone bad
beer bottles band-aids
pictures that make me
look fat
I need a goat
to choke down books
with bad endings
stupid poems
utility bills
magazines with celebrities’
butts on the cover
I need a goat
to help me teach high school
devour late essays
uncomfortable chairs
broken pens bad erasers
sticks of chalk
pounds and pounds
of coffee grounds
makeup bags compacts
confiscated ipods and porn
I need a goat
with an appetite for words
who will gobble up
every fuck! I say
when I should’ve said darn
every wrong definition
every mispronounced name
every last crumb
of ridiculous chit-chat
I need a goat
a pretty little pygmy goat
to live in the yard
so every time you said
something you wish
you hadn’t we could
pour it into his dish
stroke his prickly ears
while he slurped it up
and ate the bowl
washed it down with a pair
of mismatched socks
we could name him
Poppy or Sunflower
or Butchie or Bert
and we would feel better
the house would
stay cleaner
life would be easier
if I had a goat