Friday, December 30, 2011

This Year's Resolution

Change everything.
That's all.
No, I don't mean that literally.
Of course.
I mean it, though.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Melusine...

... is out.  And I'm posting about it absolutely everywhere, including here.  And then I'm going to get some sleep, I hope, after eating a salad and maybe some ice cream.

Update:  I was apparently so tired last night that I forgot to actually include the link in question.  It's here.

Friday, December 9, 2011


It's been a really tough couple of weeks, but one of a handful of bright moments came when I received two literary goodie-packages in the same day:  the new issue of Tiger's Eye with three of my poems in it, and The Medulla Review anthology featuring one of my poems.

I feel a strong need to write something in the way of poetry to help me work through some really sad recent news, and I did start on a piece last week, but I know you can't rush these things.  In the meantime, I'm working on the new issue of Melusine, hoping to launch it by Sunday night.  This one has a photo essay and some fun cover art by a promising new photographer, so I'm looking forward to seeing it take shape soon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review of Judith Skillman's The White Cypress

My review of Judith Skillman's new collection has been published in The Iowa Review's blog -- very happy to be featured there, and I've become quite a fan of Skillman's work over her last few collections, so it was a pleasure to be able to delve into the particularly rich material she covers in this one.

And that's about all the news for today.  Late autumn still has me feeling a little drowsy and a little taciturn.  I think some humans still have a gene for some vestigial form of the hibernation instinct.  If I were a scientist instead of a poet, I would check into that hypothesis.  But the very fact that I would posit it is probably sufficient proof that I am not a scientist.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In the Book, So to Speak

Daylight Savings Time hasn't even ended yet and there are still plenty of green leaves on the trees, but I'm already feeling that late autumn melancholy.  Maybe it was the freak October snowstorm last week, which was just an annoyance for me in that it reminded me winter's going to insist on coming around again this year, but it knocked out my parents' power up in Pennsylvania for almost a week, which was pretty scary.

And maybe I drank a few too many jack-and-cokes last night because I was feeling stressed about various non-writing-related things that just haven't been going so well lately.  But at least on the writing front, life has been kind lately.  It's good to have at least one area of life going one's way at a time.  At the least.  More would be OK, too.

So here's my entry in the Poets & Writers directory:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blue Trajectory (My Chapbook) is Now Available...

So October has been a good month, lit-wise.  I now have some really exciting news to share.  My chapbook, Blue Trajectory, is, as of today, available from Dancing Girl Press and can be purchased here.

I can't wait to see my copies.  Dancing Girl's editor, Kristy Bowen, did such a beautiful job with the cover.  I'm really proud of how it looks, and I hope anyone who checks it out will enjoy what's inside.  I think the poems sort of cohere; for the most part, they feel like they belong together.  Some of them started out as part of another chapbook project with a slightly different theme, but they ended up following a different, well, trajectory, and I'm happy with where they ended up.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two Posts In One Week

This one is just a short note about something I was excited to learn, that a book review I wrote will be appearing in The Iowa Review's online series.  I am excited because it's a great journal and because, at the risk of sounding mercenary, as I'm not exactly flush with cash, the compensation they offer is welcome.  But I'll be even more honest and admit it's really more the idea of being compensated for a piece of literary writing than the check itself.  It just doesn't happen too often these days, and I can completely understand why.  We can't afford to pay at Melusine.  No independently funded small journals or presses can.  There was a time, oh so long ago, when all creative writers were paid for their words, and those times have been fading faster and faster.  I'm not really here to lament that fact.  As long as there are day jobs or university positions and writers' retreats/workshops/conferences or coffee shops, writers who want to write and need to write will find a way to write and earn a living as well as long as there are people who read, even if those people are solely other writers.  But the people who read do have to continue to exist, in order for the writers to continue writing.  Long may they.  We, that is.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Month, Another Random Update...

So now it's October.  (I always feel proud when I manage at least one blog post a month.)  In lit news, I got word yesterday that one of my poems, published in an online issue earlier this year, will be featured in The Medulla Review's second print anthology -- good times! 

Before long, I'll need to start work on Melusine's first print edition -- kind of a daunting task, I must admit, since I haven't dealt with the offline printing process since my college's lit magazine, and that was not self-funded.  But it will be kind of exciting.  I'm looking forward to starting the selections at the beginning of the year -- the fun part.  The new online issue is slated for late November, which has been the pattern for the past few years.

In more monumental lit news, I was happy to hear that Tomas Transtromer got the Nobel.  Yes, he happens to be Swedish, but he's a hugely influential poet, not just in Sweden or in Europe but the world over, and has been for some time.  And the man is 80.  Now is the time.  He fully deserved it, and I think it was a good choice.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review in Lines+Stars

Now that it's September, and feeling like September, with the remnants of a hurricane cooling us with a week's worth of rain, a little news:  my review of Holly Karapetkova's debut collection, Words We Might One Day Say, appears in the new issue of the D.C.-based journal Lines+Stars.  Read it if you get a chance.  I seriously enjoyed and recommend the book in question.  The rest of the issue is worth checking out, too, with the theme of "Distractions & Amusements."  Now that it's September, of course, I'm wishing I had taken more vacations this summer.  But even though we mostly "staycated" this year, we did manage to get in some distraction and amusementNow it's back to businessMostly.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Well, it's been a little while again, despite the resolution to post here more frequently.  (Maybe I should just stop making resolutions -- err, I mean post more often ;)

But I've been keeping busy with a bunch of stuff, some of it writing-related.  I'm finishing up the final revision draft of my chapbook and hope to send it out at the end of the week.

And then I'll probably take a hiatus from poetry for at least a few weeks, maybe a month, so I don't get that awful feeling of, oh, if only this new one could have gone in there; it's oh-so-much better than the others -- a feeling that often turns out not to be true, fortunately.  No poem seems quite as perfect as it did the first moment after it was written.  A workshop instructor once gave the wise advice that there should be a cooling-off period, at least a counting-to-10 period before sending a composition that still has that "new poem smell" off to a journal (imagery mine).  Its imperfections will become apparent enough within 24 hours.

And I answered some editorial questions on behalf of Melusine for the "Six Questions For" blog, if you want to check it out here.

Well, until next month, I guess... enjoy the rest of your summer.  It is too dang hot lately, but then winter is too dang cold.  That's the way here in the Mid-Atlantic, anyway.  At least there is September coming, and eventually another May...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Melusine

I have once again been burning the midnight oil working on a new issue of Melusine.  (It's still Friday somewhere—specifically west of Vegas.)  Melusine 3.1, the Spring/Summer 2011 issue is up for your reading pleasure, if you're interested.  I think it turned out pretty well.

In other writing news?  Hmm.  I'm writing, indeed.  Been sending stuff out here and there, including some fiction.  Starting to polish the final draft of the chapbook manuscript, which is exciting.  Despite the heat here in D.C., I love summer, but there's at least one reason I'm looking forward to Fall this year...

Friday, April 22, 2011

In the "Nice Problems to Have" Category...

... I had to decline an acceptance for publication of a much earlier version of the chapbook manuscript that will be published by Dancing Girl Press this fall.  As an editor myself, I feel sort of shabby about having to withdraw a manuscript after it was accepted, but I honestly believed that a year was the cutoff time to expect an answer one way or the other, since the maximum advertised wait time had been six months, and it's been over a year and a half.

I also feel shabby for complaining about wait periods, but it can be hard to wait sometimes, especially when it comes to "firsts."  It was the same way while I was waiting for those first few journal publications, and this will be my first print chapbook.  But sometimes with my own journal, I end up making people wait longer than the advertised time, and I feel shabby about that, too.  It happens, and there are generally reasons -- the chief one being time and the lack thereof.  The press in question is one I admire, and I know they are swamped with manuscripts.

But all's well, and I'm proud to be appearing with Dancing Girl Press, which to be honest was my first choice of publisher for this chap, although the version that DGP accepted wasn't the first one I submitted to them, and I have to be honest again and say that I'm really glad that's the case, because the revised lineup I have right now is the first one I feel really 100 percent confident about sending into the world.  I tried to convince myself I felt that way about the previous versions, but it was more like 99 percent and falling with every re-reading.

That doesn't mean I think this iteration is perfect, or that any poem I'll ever write will be perfect, whatever that means, much less a book of 'em, but I feel good about it, and not afraid to see it in print.  Let's be frank one more time:  the thought of seeing one's work in book form for the first time is exciting, but that's a different matter than feeling OK about the work itself.  I feel OK about this work.  (And I'm fighting off with a stick the temptation to add a disclaimer, like "for the moment," durnit.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Mirth

Yesterday my copy of the new Tiger's Eye arrived containing my poems "Sunday Blue" and "Mountain Bird."  Beautiful issue with some really nice stuff, from what I've read so far.  Looking forward to reading more tonight.

In other news, so glad it's March.  I just realized that March is possibly my favorite month.  It's not that I enjoy the weather and landscape of this end of the month -- the snow's usually gone and not much is left but the accumulated dreary -- but I do like the sweet anticipation of April.

By the time April actually hits, the daffodils in front of our house have shot up, the cherry blossoms are out in full force downtown and so Spring in D.C. has essentially hit its peak, always leaving me feeling that I've missed something.

On this side of the month, it's all about the waiting.  All the good parts of the year, while not here quite yet, are swiftly on their way, and that always gets me to feeling giddy, yet still somewhat serene, because we're not there yet.  There's still time to be reflective.  Maybe this time of year has even prompted a few (mostly harmless) bouts of hypomania some years, but I'm no psychologist, so we'll just call them "happy spells."  And wish a happy March to you.

Update:  Less than an hour after posting this, I learned that the new issue of The Medulla Review had launched, featuring three poems of mine.  Read the whole awesome issue here, or my poems here.  March is coming in mirthfully indeed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dancing Girl Press Lineup for 2011-12

I'm excited to see my chapbook title ("Blue Trajectory," also the title of this blog, not coincidentally) in the Dancing Girl Press Lineup for 2011-12.

Looking forward to the fall!

Also looking forward to the spring and summer in between.  Winter, on the other hand, does not agree with me, although it is growing on me enough to be tolerable.  I do find snow and even ice storms pretty and inspiring to look at, and sometimes a long weekend spent mostly indoors, writing, cooking, napping and watching movies, is kinda nice.  This last weekend was one of those, and the back-to-work transition has been tough.  The caffeine never quite kicked in today.

But then I'm always sleepy in the winter.  All in all, if winter were downsized to half its length and the rest were split between spring and fall, I would be quite happy.  Even the humid Washington summer could handle another week or two tacked on, I think — at the beginning, not the end.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What a Weekend

I got some really wonderful news on Thursday.  My first print chapbook, Blue Trajectory, will be published by Dancing Girl Press as part of its 2011-12 series, with the date tentatively slated for this fall.

I am pretty excited about this, so excited in fact that I remained cheerful on Friday even upon learning that our furnace is broken and needs replacement, and that the replacement won't be arriving at our house until Monday.  After looking at the weather forecast, though, I started to get a bit apprehensive about my prospects of not freezing to death...

Well, before long, I was looking up pet-friendly hotels by the beach and was once again high on life until learning that the one with the jacuzzi was booked and the rest tended to be highly insect-infested, based on the consumer reviews.  I guess it wasn't surprising that hotels that allow pets have insects or that the only pet-friendly hotel in town with a jacuzzi was booked, given that there is a new casino complex opening in town this weekend.

However, my mood was restored when my partner exhibited his latent HVAC  prowess and came up with a temporary fix for the furnace that involved a little rigging and him keeping an eye on it for the few minutes that it's running.

So, all in all, things are well in my little world, although I was deeply saddened, not to mention freaked out and angry about the shooting incident in Arizona yesterday... another reminder that the polarizing, incendiary political language is damaging our country.  Sure, the guy is obviously a deranged individual. But it's not enough just to say that.  He is a deranged individual in the context of Arizona circa 2011.  I hope what happened will make people come together to reflect, but in light of recent trends, I'm afraid that's not what will happen.  I really hope I'm wrong.

Monday, January 3, 2011


As a kid I made at least 20 each year.  Now I am more realistic, and just barely managed to come up with nine:
  1. Write stuff in this blog, like this, even if it's silly, because that is what a blog is for.
  2. On the other hand, take breaks (whole days, if possible!) from the Internet now and then, because sometimes I suspect I am losing touch with three-dimensional reality.  Also, the iPhone.  It's neither a wedding ring nor a medical bracelet and shouldn't be treated like either.
  3. Reach out more to friends and engage in simple kindnesses to acquaintances, even if it means risking occasional failure.
  4. Worry less about deadlines and goals in terms of how they may validate my existence and enjoy more the process of getting there.
  5. Cook food from scratch more often, or ever.
  6. Clean the house more, because doing so always makes me feel better about life in general, and besides that, I'm less likely to trip on things.  Also, be more responsible in general (although I didn't want to jinx that one by giving it its own number ;) 
  7. Learn to play the Moonlight Sonata.
  8. Read more books, and less random Internet miscellany.
  9. Write more—poetry, fiction, nonfiction.  Write better, sure.  That's always the goal.  But, especially, write more, since the one has a way of leading to the other.
Happy New Year!