Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Somehow, this all made me think of poetry. I really have no explanation as to how my mind works these days. My writing's been really episodic of late. I'll write a bit, then move on. Write a bit, move on, etc.. I do believe that it's been hard for me to buckle down with my writing because of this commuter lifestyle I'm leading at the moment. Here's the thing . . . I tend to think of myself as a "project" writer. When I have a project in mind, I hang on to that project. Some may call that writing from obsession. . . I suppose I do obsess.
But when I'm commuting every other day through traffic, much of my non-travel days are spent thinking of travel, gearing up for travel, preparing my classes which I travel to . . . Additionally, it's not easy traffic (though Meredith's got it worse). There are lots of nutso drivers traveling the strip of I-5 we negotiate. On top of that, the weather's far from ideal for driving in the dark. And yes, it's dark when I leave my house and it's dark when I get home.
Needless to say, I haven't found a place of reverie that I enjoyed the years when I was living closer to my place of employment. My preoccupations have been consumed by gas prices, 60 mile drives, the cars around me.
In other news, I have been writing, though not as spontaneously as I once have. It'll come. It'll expand. It'll crack.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
I was trying to remember the last time I ever went "Trick-or-Treating." I think it was sometime around seventh or eighth grade. I can't recall what costume I wore for that last spin around the neighborhoods. It was probably something cheap, homemade, definitely not one of those glossy, plastic, store-bought costumes. I do remember that I didn't go as far into the neighborhoods as I had in my younger days. The whole idea of wandering in the sharp evening air left me with many doubts about the efficacy of "Trick-or-Treating" as a means of achieving a sick candy buzz.
I suspect I stopped dressing up for Halloween because I was tired of pretending. It all probably had a lot to do with going through puberty . . . I was in a hurry to be somebody, but I wasn't sure who that somebody was just yet.
Anyway, kids will be swarming the streets this Monday. We live in the suburbs, flanked by homes with children. Meredith's filling our candy cache. I did a little decorating around the house, stuffing a garbage bag witch with newspaper. The witch is a cheap 99 cent decoration, but she has her charms. There are also rubber bats, plastic spider webs, and jack-o-lanterns set here and there. Meredith has also bought me a costume. . . It's a felt Devil's mask. I suppose I'll carry my Halloween demons with me when I answer the door to the tune of sappy Halloween sounds (a disc Meredith also bought). Mere, of course, has a Frankenstein felt mask. The dog shall remain unmasked, though we do have a pink wig he likes to wear. He's pretty certain he's a dog. He likes being a dog.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Also, school seems to be running full tilt. I know now I don't feel as wound-up about prepping for classes. A routine has settled in and that always seems good for both my teaching and my writing.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
If you're curious, here's the reading list:
Models of the Universe. Ed. Stuart Friebert and David Young. Oberlin: Oberlin College Press. 1995.
Edson, Russell. The Tunnel: Selected Poems. Oberlin: Oberlin College Press. 1994.
Volkman, Karen. Spar. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. 2002.
Simic, Charles. The World Doesn't End. San Diego: Harcourt Brace. 1989.
Tost, Tony. Invisible Bride. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 2004.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
The even is co-sponsored by Cave Canem and Bloom Magazine.
TAKES 3 TO TANGO: A DanceParty Extravaganza
Ever want to dance true tango style? Rose in your teeth? Love in the air? Well, cariño, your time has arrived. Takes 3 to Tango features tango lessons, free flowing wine, glittering poetry and dancing to your favorite hip hop and funk beats! Come on out and shake your groove-thing for a fabulous cause. All proceeds will benefit programs for LGBT, African American, and Asian American writers. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to The Red Cross Katrina Disaster Relief Fund.
• Free Tango Lessons from 8:30 – 9pm
• Open Wine Bar from 9 – 10pm
• Free Gold Roses given out (for dancin’ and romancin’ of course!)
Your Illustrious Host Committee:
Minnie Bruce Pratt, Mark Doty, Regie Cabico, Father Francis Gargani, Bishop Alfred Johnson, Walter Mosley, Vijay Seshadri, Patricia Smith & John Yau
Saturday, September 24, 2005
The LGBT Community Center
208 West 13th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
8:00 p.m – Midnite
$20 Advance Tickets
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Monday, August 08, 2005
And as for the Pacific Northwest. . . it's beautiful and sunny. I can see the mountains in the distance and there's a nice cool breeze blowing through the windows.
I'll write more soon.
Monday, July 25, 2005
I've been packing all day. Meredith and I have decided that some of the stuff we have shall remain in boxes for awhile, since we only plan on living in our new place for a year. Nevertheless, that's a lot of boxes. We're running out of places to put them. I've packed up all my books, CD's, and most of my closet. We just have the office and a few odds and ends left to put away. We've made pretty good time. The movers will be here either Friday or Saturday. I love how they dictate when the move will actually take place.
Anyway, I'm going to be away from blogland for what's likely to be a couple of weeks.
Until then, I want you all to be safe, be well, and write beautiful poems.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Anonymous (The Love Song Scholarship)
The Chang Family
Nick Carbo (The Carbonator Scholarship)
Melissa Nolledo-Christoffels (The Wilfrido D. Nolledo Scholarship)
Oliver de la Paz (The Carlos Bulosan Scholarship)
Rigoberto Gonzalez (The Con Tinta Faculty Scholarship)
Mary Chi Kim
The Peters Ruston Bequest at The University of Virginia
Jon Pineda (The Alice Selover Scholarship)
Eileen Tabios (The Galatea Scholarship)
The University of Virginia Alumni Association
C. Dale Young (The Young Ten-Loy Faculty & Student Scholarships)
The New York Foundation for the Arts
Also proper credit to the faculty for the retreat: Lawson Inada, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Patrick Rosal
To the staff: Sarah Gambito, Joseph Legaspi, and Vikas Menon
And finally, to the fellows who were the stars of this retreat.
Middle Row L to R: Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Patrick Rosal, Purvi Shah, Sarah Gambito, Chi Lam, Jennifer Fang-Chien, Phayvanh Luekhamhan, Ching-In Chen, Margaret Rhee, Melissa Roxas, Joan Dy
Back Row L to R: Oliver de la Paz, Jon Pineda, Gein Wong, R.A. Villanueva, Joseph Legaspi, Yuzun Kang, Neil Aitken, Lawson Inada, Jee Leong Koh, Marlon Esguerra.
Not pictured: Rona Jia Luo (Sorry Rona!)
The lovely Sarah Gambito, Executive Director and co-founder of Kundiman
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Fiction Spy and guitarist extraordinaire, John Wei
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
The crowd at Orbitz watching Kelly Tsai on Def Jam
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
AMAZING day today. Jon Pineda taught the "Spark Writing" session and used Du Fu's line, "One by one the stars go out" as the prompt. The fellows went straight to work and churned out amazing poems that left many of us with our jaws on the floor.
Later in the evening, we had the Kundiman Gala retreat reading. There were lots of tears of love and lots of celebrations. It's hard to really describe it and do it justice . . . Anyway, each of the three groups had to designate a reader for the gala to read alongside the faculty. Patrick as always wowed us with his fabulous reading. Aimee was equally as spectacular. . . and Lawson offered his spot on the docket to his workshop students. Together, they performed a fantastic collaborative piece while Kelly Tsai did interpretive movements.
We loitered around for a bit after the reading and then we all headed to Sarah and Joseph's suite. Patrick, Jon Wei, Ron V., and Jon Pineda jammed on guitars while the rest of us were drinking bad whiskey. We capped off the musical celebration with the Kundiman rendition of John Cougar Mellencamp's Jack and Diane
After, we went as a whole conference to Orbitz, a bar on The Corner. They tuned the television to HBO's Def Poetry Jam and let us watch Kelly Tsai's fabulous performance.
All in all, we had a very busy day. I'm tired and again it's almost 2AM.
Friday, July 15, 2005
After we wrapped up on the basketball courts, we headed out to The Jabberwocky, a local college watering hole where other Kundiman folks were gathered. Patrick bought a bunch of folks some shots. Everyone was talking poetry. At this point it's close to 1:30AM, so I headed on back to the dorms.
Apparently folks were up until 3AM singing Bob Marley tunes. Again it was tough getting up this morning. Thankfully, Jon Pineda's leading the Spark Writing sessions today.
Stay tuned, more coming.
P.S. I guess you'll have to wait on Kundiman pictures until I get back. I stupidly brought the wrong adapter. Sorry!
Thursday, July 14, 2005
In the evening, we shared one poem. All the poets were fantastic. We were even in tears for some of the readings.
I picked up Lawson Inada later that evening and he was is usual self: charming as all heck. I consider Lawson kindred of sorts because we know some of the same Japanese American families from my home town.
The next day, we did the usual orientation stuff and students broke into their respective workshop groups. I'm a bit tired at the moment, since I didn't get to bed until around 2AM and I've been up since 7AM. I'm on a break right now, so I may take a nap.
Anyway, I've been snapping away with my digital camera, so I'll post some pictures soon.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
In fact, he doesn't seem to notice much of anything. Last night I was doing a little more packing when the fireworks started to go off in the park. We live across the street from a ski slope where they launch the city's big Fourth of July Extravaganza. Anyway, the fireworks were booming above our heads. We both went to the back deck and watched a bit. Jake's ears just raised a little. He pointed his nose skyward looking at the explosions, then he sat down and demanded attention. Basically he sat in front of me obscuring my view of the festivities.
Everyone in Utica seemed to be at the ski park. Some annoying people attempted to park in someone else's back yard, citing that it was "Bob's house and Bob lets us park there." Maybe so, but the tenets who live there and pay Bob rent had no place to park. There were loads and loads of cars stacked fender to fender down all the side streets leading to the park. It's a wonder where all these people come from, since most of the time I find the place to be a little dead.
At the end of the night, around 10 or so, they fired all the fireworks. Jake didn't seem to mind that, either.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Also, Meredith and I settled on some movers after going through a lot of hoops in terms of scheduling site visits, negotiating prices, accounting for reimbursement with our various institutions, etc..
Finally, we found a rental house! It'll be in Lake Stevens. That's further south than I'd like to be, but it'll definitely be better for Meredith who has to commute every day. Moving day's only three weeks away!
Monday, June 27, 2005
Recently, I got bit by the tennis bug. When we were in Paris, I tried to get tickets to see the French Open and got as far as the gate. Now Wimbledon's on television and I've been watching the matches. I've been driving out to the courts and practicing serves. I'm glad that I can still hit a serve, though it's pretty much the only shot I have left. It's funny, but it's one of the harder shots to execute after time off and yet it's giving me no trouble. The problem now is my groundstrokes are bloody awful. I've been spraying balls all over the courts. There's a hitting wall on one of the courts and I've been trying to hit against the thing. I'll be doing fine for a little while, then frame a shot and spray a ball over the fence. It's all quite humiliating.
Anyway, our friend scheduled lessons with a tennis pro at her club and the DUDE had me running all over the court. I think he thought I was younger than I looked. Let me tell you, I was sucking wind after twenty minutes. He did mention that he could tell I used to play a lot, and that made me feel better about my game.
So, if I've been away from blogging, it's partically because I'm trying to salvage my tennis game. Maybe I'll see you guys on the courts?
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Friday, June 17, 2005
I stopped reading Satanic Verses because of portability. There are a few things that crossed my mind as I started to read the novel: 1) It's a big book. 2) I'm going to travel a lot 3) I'm going to visit some folks in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia 4) I'm a bald Asian man and I don't want to wander airports carrying Satanic Verses when I know in my passport I have a stamp from Morocco. (By the way, on my recent international flights, my trip to Morocco surfaced every time I passed through customs).
So as you can see, these are my reasons for not finishing things. I guess I should read poetry books instead of novels, yes? Although I can say that I finished The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks while I was in Paris, so I have one novel down. The goal that I set every year is to read at least four novels for the summer. I'm well short of that goal at the moment. I'll keep trying.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Mass was in session in the Sacre Coeur and you're not supposed to take photos of the inside, anyway. Apparently it was kids day because there was a throng of children surrounding the altar to the front on their knees with several nuns.
We had just hit the Rodin museum before closing time, so the park was nearly empty.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
I'd give you details, but I think Aimee should post first. Anyway, here's a teaser image. Our dear friend Patrick wore a shirt I covet. Check out the cuffs! Totally cool!
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Monday, May 16, 2005
Wed. May 18
Arrive in Charles de Gaule airport, Bercy gardens, Pere La Chaise cemetary.
Thurs. May 19
Ile de la cite & Marais (Notre Dame, Place behind Notre Dame, Concergerie, Sainte Chappelle, Pont St. Michel, Petit Pont, Pont Neuf, Place des Vosges, Opera de Paris Bastille, Musee Picasso, Hotel de Ville) Ice cream across from Pont au Double “Le Bertillon.”
Fri. May 20
Beaubourg & les Halles (Pompidou Center, Café Beaubourg, Forum de Halles, St. Eustache church?, La Samaritaine dept. Store, Jardin des Tuileries, Le Louvre, Palais Royal, Rue de Rivoli, Hot chocolate on Rue Rivoli, Jardin de Tuileries.
Sat. May 21
St. Germain de Pres & Latin Quarter (Les Deux Magots, Brasserie Lipp, Musee d’Orsay, M St. Michel, M Odeon, little streets back where toy shop is, Pantheon) Moules frites restaurant down from Pantheon Bateaux mouche daytime.
Sun. May 22
Jardin des Plantes & Invalides & Eiffel Tower quarter (Institut Musulman, Institut du Monde Arabe, Napoleon’s tomb, Musee Rodin, Trocadero, gardens at Troc., Eiffel Tower).
Mon. May 23
Place de la Concorde, walk up Champs-Elysees to Arc de Triomphe, Petit Palais, Grand Palais.
Tues. May 24
Dinner: Le Relais de Venise steakhouse, 271, bd Péreire (Porte Maillot) 17th Arr. Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur, St. Pierre de Montmartre, Au Lapin Agile, Place du Tertre, Place des abbesses, Moulin Rouge, Dali or Fourney museum).
Wed. May 25
Porte de Vanves--strolling Montparnasse-Crepes for lunch, La Defense (la Grande Arche, office buildings).
Thur. May 26
Somewhere in there, we'll see the new Star Wars movie. When we get back, we've got to high-tail it to Aimee's wedding. The Summer kicks off with a bang!
Friday, May 13, 2005
I just went through my closet. There were over two-hundred unclaimed portfolios handed in by students. I was going through some of them and I was shocked at how I had forgotten so many names/faces. I used to be really good at keeping names and faces of students straight, but now I found I couldn't remember 3/4ths of the folks.
So now, I'm offically on Summer Vacation. I lounged around the house today, drinking coffee slowly, and watching recaps of SportsCenter. I checked my e-mail a half-dozen times, and I read trashy pop-culture magazines.
By the way, Meredith and I are going to Paris this coming Tuesday. For those of you who are LOUSY at keeping secrets, it's sort of our pre-honeymoon.
I'll bring back some cheese for you guys.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
For those of you unfamiliar with a couple of folks, might I direct your attention to the work of Brian Turner and Steve Scafidi?
Brian's a sweet guy. I met him at AWP in Vancouver this year. His favorite drink is a White Russian. Check out his poem, "Here, Bullet."
And Steve's a cabinet maker living in West Virginia. He's also a sweetheart. If you listen closely to the audio recording, you can hear chickens in the background. I recommend "To Whoever Set My Truck on Fire."
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
I have to say that I also write when there's music going. The music has to be all instrumental, though. There can't be any vocals, otherwise I'm apt to get Earworms. So the music I listen to ranges anywhere from Classical (rarely), to Classical Jazz (most often), to odd-ball instrumental groups like The Dirty Three and The Rachel's.
Still, a lot of writers I know need complete silence. What type of writer are you? Do you need the background noise to compose? Do you utilize the sounds in your environment? Do you need absolute silence when you write?
Monday, May 02, 2005
I had promised my Advanced Poetry class a pizza party, but I have no money. I mean, really. . . I have no money. So I'm not sure what to do. I think I can scrounge together a few leftover pieces of candy and cookies.
One of my former professors came in on the last day with a bottle of port. I suppose I could do that, but . . . I don't really like port, and I don't want to part with any of the liquor we have in the house.
Got any suggestions? Should I just bag it and say I can't buy you guys pizza because I'm poor, or should I try to put something together with whatever's in the house . . . OR, should I bite the bullet and buy a damn pizza?
Friday, April 29, 2005
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
The first ritual is to make sure all the dishes in the sink are cleaned. This is to ensure that when I pour myself a pot of coffee, I will not be setting coffee mugs on other dishes, in dirty sinks, on scummy plates. Chances are, I'll use the mug over and over again.
The second ritual is for me to clear my desk. Clearing the desk takes place in phases. The first phase involves balancing the checkbook. I make sure all the ATM receipts, slips of paper, etc., are accounted for, properly tabulated, and shredded. I then pay the bills. Papers seem to come at the end of the month or during the middle of the month when bills start coming in. Bills are also responsible for most of the clutter on my desk.
The third part of my ritual is settling correspondence. E-mail piles up in my virtual mailbox, so I weed through the spam, old messages, listserve nonsense, and other stuff. Because of the high volume of computer viruses at my current institution, I often have to run a virus scanner which usually takes an hour or two.
Fourthly, I vacuum. The floors need to be cleaned. When I'm walking barefoot in the apartment, I don't want to step on pebbles, chiggers, stickers, bits of staples, nails, or any serrated edges of any kind. It's important to be comfortable when grading and I'm most comfortable in socks or bare feet. Vacuuming is a safety precaution.
Fifthly, I scan all the television channels to make sure nothing important is showing or will show. I start from channel 1 and go all the way up to the 400's where the cheesy music channels reside. One time I settled on a Curling tournament and sat transfixed, trying to figure out the rules. I still don't get that sport. It's basically bowling on ice, right?
Sixthly, I call mom.
Seventhly, I walk the dog. Brisk walks are neccesary for hunting dogs like Jake. If Jake does not get his walk, he whines like a two-year-old. If I want an optimum paper-grading environment, noise like dog-whine must be eliminated, so I take Jake on a two-hour walk through the Switchbacks.
Eighthly, I delete all the phone messages on my school phone.
Ninethly, I recycle all the magazines I've read. For some reason I keep getting Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly. I think I got roped into subscribing to them when purchasing something for my digital camera. I, according to Papatya Bucak, am a danger-prone consumer.
Tenthly, I call dad. He and mom use different phones.
Finally, I settle down to grade papers. I'm still wondering why it takes me so darned long to finish. . .
Friday, April 22, 2005
They're now giggling in corners, passing notes, reverting into junior high kids.
All I can say is, the end is neigh.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Travel back to the past to your senior prom—it’s 1985 again!
Put on that Molly Ringwald pink, don that rhinestone glove and Get into the Groove.
Bring your main squeeze or your best friends. Or, better yet, come stag—awesome!
This multimedia Prom Gala will feature:
•Open Wine Bar, 80’s Cake Reception
•Dancing to Your Favorite 80’s and Hip-hop Beats.
•Performances by Award-winning Asian American Artists
•Favors: Choose between a Class Ring or a Satin Orchid Wrist Corsage
•Karaoke Election of Prom King & Queen
Friday, April 29, 2005
10 pm – 2 am
Open Wine Bar from 10 pm – Midnight, Cash Bar Afterwards
The Poetry Project
St. Mark’s Church
131 East 10th Street (2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Limited Advance Tickets are available for $35. Click on below button to purchase.
At the Door, Tickets will be $50
Poetry Project Members may pay $30 at the Door
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space. Must show proof of Project Membership at the Door
Why go to The Total Eclipse of the Heart Prom?
•All proceeds from the Prom will benefit Kundiman’s 2nd Annual Asian American Poets’ Mentorship Retreat at The University of Virginia.
•You want another chance to meet “Ducky”
•You were in the closet and went to prom with someone of the opposite sex (who had a crush on you).
•You can’t wait to “get physical” to Purple Rain and Take on Me.
•It’s Totally Rad!
This is activism for the fabulous and mischievous. For one night only, Kundiman, The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and today’s brightest Asian American talents offer you the chance to experience prom as it should be.
Def Poetry Jam poet, Regie Cabico will host.
Named one of A. Magazine’s hottest up-and-coming Asian American stand-up comics, Regie Cabico is also a spoken word artist and poet. He won MTV’s Free Your Mind competition and appears on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.
Ishle Yi Park is a Korean American woman who has been published in The Best American Poetry of 2003. She has been twice featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and performed her poetry on the NAACP Image Awards. She has a CD entitled “Work is Love,” and an upcoming book called “The Temperature of this Water,” which will be released this year. Ishle currently lives in New York.
Patrick Rosal is the author of Uprock Headspin Scramble And Dive. He has been a featured poet on BBC radio’s World Today.
Tina Chang is the author of Half-Lit Houses. Her poems have been included in several anthologies including Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation.
Lisa Ascalon, a Poet-in-Residence for Poets and Writers, has performed spoken word at Nuyorican Poets Café and Bronx Academy for Arts and Dance.
Friday, April 15, 2005
You're The Guns of August!
by Barbara Tuchman
Though you're interested in war, what you really want to know is what
causes war. You're out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they
really are. Nevertheless, you're always living in the past and have a hard time dealing
with what's going on today. You're also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in
the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Pulled this from Charles
Thursday, April 14, 2005
I’m writing to you on behalf of Kundiman, a 501c3 non-profit literary company dedicated to the discovery and cultivation of emerging Asian-American poets. One of our main programs is a Summer Workshop Retreat where nationally renowned Asian American poets conduct workshops and provide one-on-one mentorship sessions with participants. These year’s faculty include: Lawson Inada and our own Aimee Nezhukumatathil & Patrick Rosal. More information on the 2005 Retreat can be found here: Click here
I’m writing because 6 of our talented participants cannot afford the $300 for room & board for this Retreat. (Kundiman does not charge for workshops and programming) As Kundiman is such a new non-profit, we are not able to provide the type of financial aid we would like to be capable of.
If you are interested in sponsoring a scholarship for one of our 6 poets, please let me know at email@example.com $300 is all that it takes. Kundiman will name the scholarship according to your wishes. Your scholarship will be published on the Kundiman website. And, after the Retreat, you will receive a poem and letter from your sponsored poet. As most of you who are writers know, most poets receive little financial remuneration for their efforts. These emerging writers are coming to this craft for love of the word and the power of the word. Please help support this next generation of dedicated and enterprising Asian American writers—who are so worthy of your attention and support.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Monday, April 11, 2005
Moving sucks, in general. I hate moving. I think, in my adult life, I've moved a total of eight times. All of them were painful moves. I hate looking for a new place to live. I hate packing. I hate gathering up enough newspapers and magazines to use for packaging materials. I hate unpacking. I hate connecting up utilities. I hate driving with all my stuff and worrying about what condition they'll be in once I reach my destination.
When I moved from Arizona to Pennsylvania, I rented a Ryder truck. I towed my own truck on the back of this thing. On top of that, my dad and Rosie, the wonder pug (RIP) rode in the front with me. The truck had no cassette deck and a broken radio.
Anyway, I think I'm getting enough money to hire movers. Praise movers. Praise them.
Friday, April 08, 2005
I've tried to be magnanimous with my books, but I like possession. The greatest gift a person could give me would be a label-maker.
Here is my thesaurus. Here is my chair. This is my telephone with its bright blue buttons.
The window to my office shows my dowdiness. My jeans are from yesteryear. So is my mug.
I have an earache which makes me hum.
Students knock at improper moments--food in mouth, teacup.
Friends say coffee is my oeuvre. I make a mean vat of Supremo.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Pulitzers for Literary Arts:
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Doubt, a parable by John Patrick Shanley
Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford University Press)
de Kooning: An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (Alfred A. Knopf)
Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser (Copper Canyon Press)
Ghost Wars by Steve Coll (The Penguin Press)
Second Concerto for Orchestra by Steven Stucky (Theodore Presser Company)
Sunday, April 03, 2005
2. Still sick. Was sick Wednesday, got worse Thursday, got better Friday, got worse Saturday, much better today. Still sick, though.
3. Blogroll: Paul Guest, Aimee Nezhukumatathil (spell her full name program people), C. Dale Young, C.R. Jensen, Jennifer Thornton, Nick Carbo, Eileen Tabios, David Hernandez, Janet Holmes, Victoria Chang.
5. Crepes are good for dinner.
6. More people reading from papers than I ever remember at AWP. I hope it's not a new trend.
7. Book fair drive-bys done: 22
8. Books purchased: 15
9. Journals obtained: 1 (It was free, and don't give me grief. I subscribe to a bunch)
10. Virgil Suarez had another of his famous random parties. I'm not sure if the cops came this time.
11. Alcoholic beverages consumed: 3 beers (HA HA HA C.DALE! Missed me!)
12. Cool people to chat with: lost count by Thursday.
13. Tired. Very tired.
Monday, March 28, 2005
The sad thing about this refund . . . it's not really my money. It's going straight to debt-payment. Big frown.
I've learned a number of things from my tax accountant, though. I've learned that I'm not declaring enough of my purchases and I clearly need to be more meticulous in my record-keeping. In one instance, I had forgotten that I had bought bookshelves in the Fall. Lucky for me, the accountant asked me if I bought books and whether I had purchased shelves to house those books.
Hell of an accountant, I must say.
Friday, March 25, 2005
My parents never gave me Easter baskets. Instead, Easter was about church and going to three-hour-long masses. It was definitely not one of my favorite holidays. Mass was presided over by a humorless man who was Scottish. His booming criticisms of modernity shook the panes of stain glass. I hated going to mass. I hated it even more on Easter Sunday because of the length of the mass and the knowledge that after mass I would participate in the town's annual "Easter Eggstravaganza."
The one semblance of a "traditional" Easter in my household would arrive wheen my parents allowed me to participate in the annual "Easter Egg Hunt." Other kids got baskets and pet bunnies, and all that, but my parents were pragmatists. "What do Easter baskets have to do with god?" they asked. I never answered back because I could never think of a viable reason. And anyway, Easter baskets and Easter candies were never a part of their culture. A few blocks down, Ontario High School football field would be transformed into a mass of agitated five to ten-year-old bodies. Sprawled out before us were several thousand plastic eggs. This was no hunt . . . this was gladitorial combat. In October, I had witnessed one young football player's arm break and hang at his side after getting tackled. Teeth were knocked out on this field. Shoulders were dislocated. Now we were all young boys and girls on this same field, prepared to show the other boys and girls no mercy. High up above the lawn, parents would sit and gossip. Our payoff would be a sugar-induced high that would last for five hours. The payoff for the parents? A free viewing of the carnage.
The officials for the event lined us up at the edge of the track. The plastic eggs looked like they were melting in the sun. Once the starter gun fired, we were off, scooping the pastel-colored plastics from out of the grass and into our faux-wicker baskets. They were hot to the touch, but we could all tell that something was inside of each of them. Each of us had our individualized dream of wealth and power. Perhaps they weren't filled with chocolates. . . perhaps they were filled with cash?One girl had fallen and scrapped her knee in the grass. She was still in her church-going Easter clothes and her once-white dress was now a series of grassy smears and soil. The contents of her basket spilled all over the grass as swarms of children dove for the eggs tumbling in every direction. They looked like little piranhas we had seen on film during a biology class, tearing into a wild boar who tried to cross the Amazon. Bits of bone and the boar's snout would bob to the surface, then sink into the dark waters.
I was never one of the kids who grabbed the most eggs. Additionally, I was never the kid who was too slow, leaving the field empty-handed. I always had just enough eggs to take home. Invariably, the chocolate inside of the eggs would be soft, melting right out of their foil.
Easter weekend's coming and I'm helping myself to Meredith's basket. There's a pile of unpeeled chocolate egg wrappings making their tinny sounds as I set them down. I'll probably have to refill her basket at some point . . . Maybe I'll get her another basket.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Anyway, since AWP is just around the bend, I've been thinking about the book selling industry and how poetry is marketed. I had an interesting discussion with Karl Kageff, over at Southern Illinois University Press, and he said poetry books are very expensive to make with little return in profit. He spoke with me about the artwork and the imagery on the covers . . . he also mentioned the paper and the very unique editing needs that a collection of poetry has, as opposed to an academic book (what SIUP is used to publishing).
He's right, of course. We as poets are the top consumers of poetry books and there aren't that many of us (although it might seem like it come book-contest season). We also produce gorgeous books compared to these: Clicky!
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Monday, March 21, 2005
Nothing is so beautiful as spring--
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.--Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
-Gerard Manley Hopkins
Saturday, March 19, 2005
By the way, this is the beach in Nerja, Spain. It's gorgeous there. Go when you can!
Alas, this has taken me away from blogging. Please understand.
By the way, this is a true example of some of the work I need to finish by Sunday. Spring Break ends on Monday. *sob*
Friday, March 11, 2005
Now, as far as the heading for this entry . . . her students used my book as one of their required books for the course. In fact, some students wrote papers on my book.
The sensation was flat-out bizarre. So then, when I sat down and started conversing with the students the following conversations started taking place:
/Hyperbole mode on
Student 1: So, can you tell me about your obsession with religious symbolism and religious terminology?
Me: Uhhhhh . . .
Student 1: Because, it seems that your defrocked Catholic thematic concerns are pervasive throughout this text. Care to comment?
Me: Uhhhhh . . .
Student 2: Yes, I noticed this too. Tell me about the halo symbols throughout? Are they really halos?
Me: Yes. I don't know. . . yes?
Student 3: And in another passage, your character, Fidelito, miraculously ascends . . . heavenward? How can that be because there's no direct mention of god in any of the pages.
Me: There's not?
Students 1-4: No.
Student 4: You also have your character return two poems later, after his ascencion. Is he a Christ symbol?
Student 4: Hmmmm. . . That's what I thought. But that's weird, because most of the religious gestures that your character makes are very . . . tribal? Is that correct? Maybe superstitious without the idea of a church organization would be a better way of putting it.
Student 2: Yes, because your character worships things like the wind and the rain, you know?
/Hyperbole mode off
Ok, in all seriousness, it was flattering and alarming to have had my work read so closely. I tell you, I discovered a lot about my poetic obsessions sitting in that class.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Anyway, I opened up the windows, grabbed a broom, and tried to whack the icicles off their ledges. It was more difficult than anticipated. I was literally winded after my efforts. Try balancing half your body outside a window while you're swinging away with a broom. It's not easy.
The forecast calls for more snow this week. *sigh*
In other news, I've got a reading at Union College this coming Thursday.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Anyway, I shoveled a ton of snow (we got about five inches of snowfall last night), and while doing this work, my thoughts returned to Sevilla.
Ah! Sevilla! We drank Sangria and had Tapas while watching the other tourists. Several bands wandered by while we were soaking in the sun. Every once in awhile, the bells from La Giralda would boom.
*double sigh* One more week until Spring Break, Oliver. . . One more week.
Monday, February 28, 2005
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Friday, February 25, 2005
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
I've been battling these "easily-offended" types who keep returning to the reading series I'm currently running. Why they return, I'll never know. Anyway, this is directed towards the man who gave me suggestions on how to run the reading series:
My co-coordinator and I have decided that despite your recommendations, we will continue to have readings by authors who are Black, Gay, Chicano, Asian, Jewish, Native American, Risk-Takers, Mayhem-Makers, and Outsiders. We will also happily invite people who write poems and stories where there is sadness, violence, grief, death, general discomfort. We regret that we cannot provide you a solid venue for your anesthetized version of entertainment, but we can recommend a decent pediatric office where you can read Highlights and spend hours on end circling the hidden items in the "Find the Hidden Objects!" page.
I have no interest in playing Muzak over the loud-speakers for an hour for the benefit of said "easily-offended" types.
Now. . . disclaimer aside, Patrick rocked. The students loved him and many of them walked away excited about poetry. You should've seen the line of folks anxious to speak with him after his reading. The audience did sing-alongs and hooted and hollered after almost every poem.
Good show, brother!
Friday, February 18, 2005
Thursday, February 17, 2005
"You've put me in an uncomfortable position, sir."
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.