Thursday, December 31, 2009

We'll cross that bridge

Sunday, I spent the entire day writing four rhyming poems. I wanted to get the lines short and the language and the rhymes dense. I kept thinking "chewy."

It was fun.

I felt that I needed those rhyming poems to serve as a bridge in my collection of (now 17!) prose poems, something to provide a little variety of form and format the way a bridge in a song provides an interlude.

But I'm using the bridge to separate something into two, not to bring two sections together. Hmmm...

As we hover on the cusp of a new year, a bridge seems like a good metaphor for many things not crossed yet, not burned yet, not worried over. (Although I do remember riding along in Costa Rica one lane over from a gaping hole in the bridge, with the river rushing far below.)

This year has been exhilerating and sometimes exhausting. I'm ready to bridge to a new one.

How about you? What are your bridges? And do you ever feel the need to just shake things up?

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I don't smoke and I don't have a dog, but...


I do have poems in the new issue of The Smoking Poet.

And I'll be guest-editing
the spring issue.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Every word counts

At my job, we look at a lot of customer comments to find out what's working for people and what they are having trouble with. Recently, we learned that people want a word count, and they want to put that into their document.

Our response? A new Writer's Guide video.




More footage of the Montford Press studio, and maybe a helpful tip or two.

P.S. This is my first time embedding a video; not sure how to get the dimensions right.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On a happier note, new poems online


The new issue of Ekleksographia, guest-edited by my good friend Judith Skillman, is now live—and it includes two of my poems.

Monday, December 14, 2009

All this and...

You can find a cartoon, a hint, and a kick-ass poem by Marjorie Manwaring over at Blue Positive.

I also like that bit about the fog.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sound and passion

On the radio yesterday morning, I heard an interview with Chris Delaurenti of the Seattle Phonographers Union. He talked about field recordings and improvising with found sounds to record compositions.

I thought of that last night while we were watching the movie
August Rush--during the scene when Evan/August is hearing all the sounds in the city and "directing" them. It was a found-sound symphony.

Throughout the movie, I was inspired by the immense passion by the characters, their passion for music and the way they were consumed by it. I'm still thinking about that today. I'm more the kind of person who seeks equilibrium, stays far away from the deep end, but I'm always wondering what it would be like to embrace a desire that fully.

But I also realize that the main characters in the movie were also looking for something else, and were looking for it through their music, with their music. In that way, using your art as a tool for seeking, maybe we aren't so different.

How do you embrace and balance your art?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A little can go a long way

Yesterday, I received another contest form letter rejecting my manuscript. Nothing unusual in that, except that the editor wrote at the bottom:

Sorry - It's a strong & moving mss -


That's enough to keep me going for another year.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Alchemist's Kitchen cooks up 10 ways to send out your poems

Over in the Alchemist's Kitchen, Susan Rich provides 10 recipes to make poetry submissions more fun (or less daunting).

I especially like #2, and I think I'll try it. For #8, I haven't had so much luck with those journals, but I'd say Crab Creek Review. For #10, I confess my number is closer to 15 (instead of 6 or 7).

Do you have any special strategies for sending work out and then sending it out again?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to Emily...

If you're in the Seattle area, come on out Saturday to bid Emily Dickinson happy birthday.

The quick details:

An Early Birthday Celebration in Honor of Emily Dickinson Saturday, December 5 at 2 p.m. at the Elliott Bay Book Company (free/no tickets needed)

From the official PR:

This may be jumping the gun just a bit, as Emily Dickinson's 179th birthday is not until December 10th, but it¹s nevertheless time for some observing of the beloved poet¹s life and work with a discussion of some recent Dickinson scholarship, and a reading of some of her poems and letters.

Traveling here today for the festivities are Dickinson scholar Ellen Louise Hart, a contributor to Reading Emily Dickinson¹s Letters: Critical Essays (University of Massachusetts Press, edited by Jane Donahue Eberwein and Cindy MacKenzie), and Holly Springfield, founder of the Portland chapter of the Emily Dickinson International Society.

Ellen Louise Hart is also co-editor, with Martha Nell Smith, of Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson¹s Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson (Paris Press). The Elliott Bay Book Company is located at 101 S. Main Street (at the corner of 1st Avenue S. and S. Main St. in Seattle's Pioneer Square).

All are invited to read a favorite poem or letter of Dickinson's, a poem or letter of someone else's or their own in honor of her birthday!

This is extra-exciting for me, because Ellen is a longtime friend of mine from the '80s.

I have my poem picked out. Do you?