Sunday, December 31, 2006

In 2007

I'd like to welcome in the New Year by wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2007. Be safe and be well.


Should I make a New Years resolution? I'm not too great about keeping to them, though it's good to have goals. I suppose I should, eh?

Okay, I resolve to do the following things:

1. Eat healthier foods. I get the occasional snack attack, but I've been bad this holiday season. Atlanta had fried this and fried that. Needless to say, I gained a few holiday pounds (though it may because I'm off thyroid meds too).

2. Create a new exercise routine. I've sort of plateaued with my current routine and I should probably do more cardiovascular exercises.

3. Prepare for classes sooner. I'm not bad about this, I just would like to be prepared a week in advance as opposed to a day or two in advance.

4. Read more poetry. Nuff said.

5. Write morer poetry. See 4.

6. Make more friends.


Farewell 2006.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tales of MLA

Oh, the stories to tell! For my writer friends out there attending the conference, I wish you good luck. Smile a lot.


MLA's a strange place. I've gone to every MLA from 1998 to 2004, and I've always thought that it's a time when many people in the humanities act inhumane.

For starters, it's held at a terrible time. The weather's bad, so there's the inevitable travel delay. People are getting over illnesses. People are pulled away from their families during the Holiday season. I totally understand how it can make people grumpy. And of course, there's the stress of the job search for both sides of the table. It's stressful for interviewers because they have to sit with some colleagues who they may not like but must sit with for the duration of the conference. There's the interviewees who've got the hopes of future employment. There's the crush of people everywhere you turn, making the whole process a lot more daunting.

I believe an MLA in Chicago had me in one of the slowest elevators ever. I only had one or two interviews, so I wasn't too pressed. There was a pregnant woman (she was clearly in her third trimester) in the elevator riding along with me, and she was towards the front of the elevator car while a fidgety middle-aged man with glasses from an Ivy League school groaned and griped. More people boarded the car, until it was quite full. Finally, our elevator car reached the floor the middle-aged man was trying to get to. He bullied his way to the front and said, "Get the f*%k out of my way, under his breath to those of us in the elevator car, but clearly to the pregnant woman.


I've also found it funny when scholars who study working class lit. show up in tailored Armani suits. You can tell pedigree by the cut of the cloth.

And there's always the ever-present "look at me, not my name tag. Look at me, not my name tag" thing, when we check each other out like new dogs at a kennel.


I've had bad interviews, too. I was ten minutes late for one because I kept missing the elevator up to their fifteenth floor hotel room. It wasn't that I made it to the hotel late. I had been there for 30 minutes. The interviewers generally ask that you call from the front 10 minutes in advance. Any earlier and I'd be rushing them. Meanwhile, the small elevator galley was filling up with people. There were six elevators in a cramped rotunda, and each one was taking a long time. I'd go to one, only to find it stuffed with people. Then I'd wait for the next one and see that it was way across the room. I'd park in front of one, and I'd see that all the elevators except the one I was waiting for had all touched down in the lobby.

Finally, I realized it wasn't going to happen. I had five minutes until my interview and I knew I was going to be made even later if I took the elevator. So I ran up fifteen flights of stairs to my interview.

The interviewers were good-natured about the event. I arrived at their doorstep, panting, perspiring, and full of jokes about the ordeal, which certainly helped me get my breath back.


Still, there are fun times that can be had after a days worth of interviews. I had a great time in San Diego. The MLA in New York was a blast, and I went to see a few plays. And of course, there's the close company of writers that can be found at the end of the day. Sure, you're all going after the same jobs, so there's a little tension, but in the end, commiserating about the interviews is a good way to ease the tension.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Hoops Live

I'm heading into Atlanta to watch the Hawks play the Pacers. Not the best of games, but the seats are free. Really, though, I want to catch up with Adrian and Stacey.

As a child of Oregon, the Trailblazers used to be my team, but when Clyde "the Glide" Drexler left for Houston, I gave up on them. I couldn't stomach the players that came after those title runs in the late 80's, early 90's.

When I lived in LA, I watched the Lakers a few times, but I mostly watched the Clippers because they stunk, but mostly because there were lots of seats available, and you could get up close to the floor. Hell, I went to LMU not for the Jesuit education, but for gym seats to watch Hank Gathers play.

In Arizona, it was the Suns. Rich and I were both hoops junkies. We went to a bunch of the ASU games, and we went to the pro games to watch Jason Kidd play.

These days, I'm not as much of a hoops fan. I'll watch an occasional game, but I'm more inclined to park in front of the TV for pro football.

At any rate, the tickets to tonight's game are free, and it's an excuse to go see some good friends.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Colonies etc.

I'm reviewing all the stuff I need for colony applications. I wish I could attend during "off peak" times, but my calendar is not my friend.

Breadloaf would be fun, but I'm not sure I'm eligible, since Names Above Houses is past its four-year freshness date and Furious Lullaby won't be out until September, though I'll have galleys/proofs soon. And I can't afford to attend without any assistance at this time.

Cornshake's lovely MacDowell photos have me yearning for a studio space. Yaddo looks great too. Unfortunately, EVERYBODY'S applying for the summer. I suppose the one benefit of a quarter system is that classes don't begin until late September, so I can apply for a late August - September date.


I've actually been working quite a bit during this vacation. Part of it is that I'm going to have to go off my hormones, which'll have me fatigued in the next few weeks. I figure, I better get as much done as I can before the new quarter starts.

For those of you unaware, I had a thyroidectomy in October. The endocrinologist needs to zap any remaining thyroid tissue, so he's taken me off the hormone.

Should be fun. I'll be puffy, slow, tired, and constipated. Great Christmas, eh?


Finished reading Major Jackson's Hoops. I'm still thinking about it. It's one of the books I'll be teaching for my graduate course where I'll be talking about manuscript structure.


All the Holiday shopping's done. Huzzah.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I just received the timeline for the book. Looks like we're aiming for September 07. Here's the current Table of Contents:


Hour of Dawn
Aubade with Scorpions and Monsoon
Constricting Aubade
Aubade with Doves, a Television, and Fire
The Devil’s Book
Aubade with a Book and the Rattle from a String of Pearls
God Essay
The Devil’s Hour
Aubade with Constellations, Some Horses, and Snow
Penitence Essay
Aubade with Bread for Sparrows
My Dearest Apostasy


My Dearest Conflict
What the Devil Said
What the Eye Said
What the Scapula Said
On the Pores of the Flesh
On the Pulse Residing Behind the Lobe of the Ear
On the Fenestra Ovalis
What the Ear Said
What the Dead Said
What the Devil Said
On the Epidermis
On the Motions of Death
Epitaph for the Musculature of the Neck
My Dearest Transgression


Aubade with Starlings and Kerosene Muted by Glass
Mysteries Essay
My Dearest Recklessness
Aubade with Memory Crystallized into a Figure of a Dancer
Widening Aubade
Aubade with a Heel of Bread, a Heart, and the Devil
Prayer Essay
Aubade with the Moon, Some Bones, and a Word
My Dearest Regret
Aubade with a Thistle Bush Holding Six Songs

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Possible cover?

By Joel Sheesley entitled
Interior with Crucifix and Nothing Special

The case for the image: I like the quiet of the image, the shadow of the bird house, how mundane everything is.
Does it say Furious Lullaby? I'm not sure.

**Note: Click on the second link on the left**


I'm in Douglasville, GA, at the home of my in-laws. We had a heck of a time getting here. Our flights were scheduled to fly out of SeaTac, which meant we needed to drive south to Seattle. What's more, our flights were at 9AM, so we'd have fought commuter traffic. We decided to stay overnight in Seattle, near the airport. But booking a hotel was a bit of a hassle. A lot of the hotels didn't have power when I initially called. It seems the windstorms from Thursday had wiped out power to much of International Blvd., so all the hotels on that grid were in the dark. Anyway, we managed to get in touch with an Econo Lodge at the 11th hour. The hotel sucked and we got little sleep, but at least we didn't have to drive the horrible I-5 traffic at 6AM.

Our flight connecting from Chicago to Atlanta was delayed for about an hour due to "mechanical problems." So that messed with our itinerary a bit. I'm really not fond of travelling these days.

Regardless, we got here safely, about two hours late.


I spent the morning drinking coffee and bird watching with my mother in-law while my wife slept.


No plans. I'll probably finish reading Major Jackson's Hoops. Quite interesting. He's using a ballad form for some of the early poems, which makes sense, since the poems speak of playground legends. More after I'm finished.

Also, going to re-read Mark Strand's The Making of a Poem for my advanced poetry class next quarter.

Finally, I'm going to work on a few new projects and my tenure review file. We've got lots of down time over here. Maybe we'll catch a movie or two.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Grading in Progress


Yes, it's that time of year. I taught a large, 61 person lecture course. So, rather than reading 61 essays, I chose to give a final exam. Now I'm paying for it. One Bluebook's author has handwriting that looks like this: ........................ And that goes on for 16 pages.

At least I'm putting a dent into my grading. I've finished 'bout half of 'em. I'll try to get through another 15 or so, before I go to bed.


On top of that, I've got poetry portfolios to read. Those aren't as bad, 'cause I've seen most of the poems already and the poems are typed.


One of my favorite children's books was Charlotte's Web. I'm always worried about movie adaptations. I was pretty disappointed by the adaptation of James and the Giant Peach.

I suppose the reason why I'm not disappointed by the Harry Potter series is that I haven't read any of them. . . not a one. To you Potter purists, I know I'm missing out, but I have only SO much reading time.

Anyway, E.B. White's classic is coming out this Friday and I'm going to see that instead of Eragon.


I'm heading to the ATL to visit the in-laws for Christmas. We'll be there for a whopping 10 days. Yeesh. I don't mind Atlanta, but we'll be in the burbs. At least we're bringing our laptop.


O! Blog! Tool of procrastination! How I love thee!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

An Interview

The wonderful Kate Greenstreet interviews me at Kickingwind.

Friday, December 08, 2006


There's a tentative AWP Conference schedule online.

And like every year, there are panels/readings that I'd like to go to that take place during other panels/readings I'd like to attend. They need to make the schedule fit MY whims.

St. Cassian of Imola

December the 8th, I will celebrate the martyrdom of St. Cassian of Imola, patron saint of teachers. Yes, I know his date of martyrdom lists August 13th, but it's the end of the quarter and what better way to celebrate the end of the quarter than to eat shish-kabobs, toothpick weiners, and other skewered goodies.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wrapping things up.

Tonight, I make my final exams for my literature class. Should be fun . . . for me, anyway.


I've got the last batch of poems from my intro class. Pretty soon I'll be collecting portfolios. The quarter seemed to go by so slowly. The winter quarter will be fast, but the spring quarter, I remember, seemed to crawl. That's probably because all the schools in the semestral format are finished a month before us. That's okay, I guess. The trade-off is that we start at the end of September.


Speaking of weird calendars, I had to turn down an offer to teach for a low-res. Alas, my full-time teaching doesn't synch-up with what would've been a great part-time gig. Maybe in the future.


My parents don't read my blog, so I can ask you . . . I need good recommendations for non-fiction. My mother LOVED The Knife Man. She also enjoyed The Professor and the Madman. I need a recommendation that's similar. I don't think she'd be interested in political history, or anything of that nature. Suggestions, please.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm a geek.

I'm excited about this trailer.

Here comes the paperchase

I've got to track down permissions from all the journals, presses, and anthologies. The press has spoken. I'm also thinking about cover art. Rigoberto mentioned that it'd be hella hard getting a cover image for a book with my title. I have one in mind, but I'm not sure if it fits the tone.


It's the last week of classes and I've got a million things to do. I have to finish up my article. I have to make my final exams. I have to prepare my tenure-review files. I have to buy presents. I have to apply to residencies and apply for grants. Overflow!


I'm quite relieved that it's the end of the quarter. It's been a strange one, with the surgery and the weird weather. But it's also been a good one.


THIS SUNDAY, December 10th

POETRY ON WHEELS Floating Bridge Press with support from 4Culture and Washington Center for the Book will host a reading to celebrate "Poetry on Wheels: an Anthology of King County's Poetry on Buses Program" 2pm Sunday, Dec. 10 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Microsoft Auditorium, Level 1. Local poets Madeline DeFrees, Martha Silano, Dana Elkun, Paul Hunter, Joan Swift, Kelli Russell Agodon, Peter Pereira, Jeff Crandall, Susan Rich and others will read selected poems. This event is free and open to the public.