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Showing posts from 2013

A good bet

A couple years ago, amid all the woe-is-books despair over e-readers, I made a prediction here on this blog about how the growing presence of electronic books might positively impact the quality of paper books. According to a recent Salon article called "The year the book became a luxury object," it looks as though I may have been correct in those assumptions. Good news for books arts to ring in the new year!

Pretty good year

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Time to put it all in perspective, so I can put my feet up for the holidays and feel content with my lot in life.


Highlights of the Year 2013:

I had poems accepted for publication in 5 literary magazines this year: decomP, wicked alice, Midway Journal, The Lumberyard, and

LibraryThing Early Reviewers: Love Among the Particles, by Norman Lock

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I enjoyed these re-imaginings of well-known tales in Norman Lock's short story collection Love Among the Particles. Lock enters classic stories like Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after the curtain has closed and the audience is beginning to file out of the concert hall, when suddenly the cast returns for an encore performance--a final scene after the final scene. He also does this with the iconic 1932 film The Mummy and visits Henry James in a fictional New York outside of his own novels. At times I was even reminded of Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics in the more conceptual stories like "A Theory of Time" and "Ideas of Space." Although I certainly wouldn't call these stories easy-reading, I think you'll find that the challenge is worth the time and attention.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Elegy with Osage-Orange

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Next fall Literary House Press will be releasing it's first poetry anthology, The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume. Not only was I invited to co-edit this project, my boss (and LHP series editor, Jehanne Dubrow) also encouraged me to write a poem for it. Here was the prompt: you are given a specially selected sample of perfume and then you must write a poem that is inspired by or engages with that particular scent. We were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic response we received from the poets we solicited to create brand-new poems for this special project and we have been blown away by the results of their writing experiments. 

But when I sat down to complete my perfume-poem assignment, I must admit to being stumped. My chosen scent was Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone. And I liked the scent and it did conjure up some vivid images, but the problem was none of them felt meaningful. A page-worth of purely descriptive passage is great, but why s…

Catechesis

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I'm already starting to think about the shape my next chapbook will take. I want to write a group of poems that mashes folk and fairy tales with Roman Catholicism. I grew up a Catholic, and although my beliefs are certainly more agnostic than anything else, I was shaped by the grand aesthetics and stories of the religion. So these poems will also address childhood, especially in the way children are able to make those associative connections between ideas many adults would assume are mutually exclusive. 


Although, after a few months, I am still only three poems deep, when I found the title (back in June) I knew it would be a project that I would hold onto very stubbornly. 


Catechesis, (noun) oral religious instruction,  formerly especially before baptism or confirmation

That sounds a lot like folk tales, right? And so, even though the poems are still coming very slowly, the ones that survive my revising-while-writing process are strong. They have to have just the right amount of both …

Serendipity in poetry

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I have just returned from a great New England roadtrip in the name of my stepbrother's wedding. On our way to Rutland, Vermont, our route just happened to take us straight through the small town of Hoosick Falls, New York and then on past Bennington, Vermont. If either of those names sound familiar, it's probably because you just read my poem "Shirley Jackson is an Advice Columnist for the Bennington Banner" up on wicked alice. A mere 24 hours after that poem was published on wicked alice, the universe dropped its purely imagined setting into my lap. I love when the universe does that.


I wrote this poem as a kind of love letter to one of my favorite authors, Shirley Jackson, and my favorite of her novels, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. She spent a good portion of her life in Bennington, Vermont and much of her work was set in the midst of the American Gothic atmosphere of the New England countryside. If you have never read her, now is the perfect time of year to …

wicked alice!

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My three poems "[Prospectus:]," "Shirley Jackson is an Advice Columnist for the Bennington Banner," and "Atomic Age 1" are up over at wicked alice for their Fall 2013 series. Except for the last one, these poems are contemplations on the possibilities that await me in spinsterhood. The older I get, the more attractive (and inevitable) those possibilities become. Have a read, if you please.

Forthcoming: Fairy Tale Review!

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On Thursday, I realized another poetry life-goal: Fairy Tale Review accepted my poem "Dorothy" for publication in their Emerald Issue, due out in March 2014. 

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE lit mags and I have been submitting to them for five years now. So I have reached another small landmark in my poetry-life. I would go so far as to say that this is equally as exciting to me as my chapbook acceptance earlier this year.

I am oh-so-happy!




P.S.
I signed my first ever poem contract to give FTR permission to publish "Dorothy." What a strange, happy threshold I've crossed.

Feeling festive

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Heloise, my Underwood Standard No. 4, has a brand-new cozy and a fresh ink ribbon. She is ready to go for Saturday's type-in & letter-writing social at the fifth annual Chestertown Book Festival!


We'll be typing letters and making mail art from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Saturday, September 21 alongside the Book Makers' Exhibition. See you there!

What I'm reading when I'm writing

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Right now, it's:

1.The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales
2.Transformations, by Anne Sexton
3.The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks


 A lot of the poems I write are collages of what I'm reading. I'll take a few pieces from one book, a few pieces from another, and maybe even a piece from one more. Then I throw them into my poem-cauldron, stir them up a bit, and those chemical reactions create a new poem-story. Familiar characteristics are recombined to make a new whole.

The list of books above are helping me with a poem that re-imagines the classic Grimm tale, "The Maiden Without Hands." Key to this re-vision of the traditional story is what I learned from reading the title story of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Scientific anecdotes are, by far, my favorite way into the writing of a poem.

Research is such an essential (not to mention, fun) part of the writing process. Whatever I'm reading ends up becoming a part of what I'm writing.

Poem-children leaving the nest

As the new school year is starting up and all of the college students have returned to campus, it is time to start submitting some poems again. I slacked off quite a bit this summer in the writing department, but I still have a series of five unpublished poems from Imago that can be sent out to find lit mag-homes before the chapbook comes out next year. I also have two final sections of the "Atomic Age" poems to place somewhere. So I've sent some poem-bundles off to the following lit mags:
Bone BouquetThe CollagistSixth FinchSundog LitYemasseeWish me luck!

Letterpress meets iPad

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During our nights in Black Mountain, North Carolina, where we didn't have internet access, Emma got out her iPad and we played around with a fun app called Letter M Press. A letterpress-printing app? Why not! You've also heard of the USB typewriter adaptation for laptops, right? How fun.

Anyway, here's one of the creations we made together on one of those evenings with Letter M Press:


I plan to print this using actual letterpress sometime soon. And, of course, I'll need to print it on the Lit House's Vandercook. It's only appropriate.

Book Festival Type-in!

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Annie and I are prepping for our second type-in and letter-writing social! After the surprising success of our first event, the Chestertown Book Festival invited us to be a part of the 2013 festivities.

On Saturday, September 21, Thread Lock Press and Scribbling Glue will be hosting a type-in and letter-writing social from 10:00AM-noon in a room just off the main Book Makers and Writers Exhibition Hall at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 101 N. Cross Street. 


Here's our brand-new mission statement:
This type-in and letter-writing social is a creative collaboration between Thread Lock Press, typewriter-enthusiast and letterpress printer, and Scribbling Glue, letter-writing champion and envelope-pusher. They are out to reintroduce people to old techniques for creating new and improbable connections.After two solid hours of typing and mail art, we will scurry over to the main Exhibition Hall to man our exhibitor table for the rest of the afternoon. I will be bringing some of my typewriter and…

August is for adventuring

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Last week I drove nine hours down to the Great Smoky Mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina with my poet-printer-bookbinder friend Emma and her boyfriend Nick. We stayed in a little town called Black Mountain and took day-trips into the city (which was only about 15 minutes away). We chose Asheville for the mountains and the letterpress printing and the book arts; and we were not disappointed.


Day One:  Downtown Asheville Breakfast was plate-sized, inch-thick sweet potato pancakes covered in pecans and maple syrup with a dollop of peach butter at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. Then we wandered on to the Blue Spiral 1 gallery, where we particularly went to see a printmaking exhibit by Jessica C. White of Heroes & Criminals Press (and co-founder of Ladies of Letterpress) called "The Adventures of Prudence and Patience." We, of course, discovered much more as we walked around the gallery.We were still full of pancake in the afternoon, so instead of lunch, we decided to head to the…

Dancing girls love typewriters too

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Further proof that my first chapbook found the perfect press. The newest dancing girl press project: an anthology of textual & visual creative works dedicated to the typewritten word called [carriage return]

I'm hoping to write a new poem or two over the next month or so to submit to this fabulous adventure in typewriter ephemera and poetry. I can't wait to see how this book project develops.


P.S.
Tom Hanks is one of my favorite people.

Having a Coke with You

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July has been jam-packed with broadside-printing at the Literary House! We have been rolling up our sleeves, getting good and inky, and having quite a fun time in the process. I am especially excited about the broadside I designed for Elana Bell's poem "How I Got My Name (Jabotinsky)" and how well it turned out. I actually like to think of it as a companion piece to the broadside I designed in the fall for Idra Novey's poem "A History in Six Couplets." Displayed side-by-side, they definitely build on and complement each other.


A couple weeks ago, I heard from Idra again. She told me she was going to be in a wedding at the end of the month, reading Frank O'Hara's poem "Having a Coke with You." She and her friend had the wonderful idea of presenting a framed broadside of this poem to the bride and groom as a wedding gift, and Idra did me the honor of commissioning me to design and print it. What fun! So yet another July broadside was born.

Des…