Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Poem Draft of 2008

First off, three poems in the new issue of Oranges & Sardines. Enjoy!


I Resolve

to shut the door and steer our house from drafts, ruddered
and shifting in its hollow weight. I resolve to steer us clear of rocks.

I will man the crow’s nest and keep my eyes zeroed in
on the graying coast. I resolve to be attentive and not shirk

duty. I resolve to fold laundry, to clean the edges of the baseboards
with the vacuum’s pointed nozzle. I resolve to sparkle. To be

sonorous. To be hearty and heartfelt. I resolve to understand
the aches of everything—your sleeplessness, our dog

with his chattering jowl, the moss on the roof of the house. I swear
I’ll be more lovely. I’ll shine and clink. I’ll ring like a chapel bell’s peal.

I promise to know my chronic bogs more deeply, to be real
in the face of this common adversity lest I sink us

together. If so, may some paleontologist in a future new year
come upon our bones clustered in mud and find us beautiful

clutching each others hands, fetal and serene. May we be sequestered
by some museum as an example of this primitive love.

May we shine, wicked and straight like icicles
in our plastic display cases.
Dear, bring me back. I resolve

to hear your call. There are hungry flowers that tug at my mouth.
Their petals are like the softly furred lobes of a child.

I am not a resolute man and my collar is haphazard.
It swivels at every flash and beep. Keep me still.

My brain’s on a constant go. Put your hand here
on my heart and tell me to promise. Feel it pulse. Feel it slow.


Thanks to Erika Meitner for this prompt. Jotted this down quickly after the initial idea that I needed to repeat an idea/image.


My real New Years Resolutions:

1. To be a better husband and father.

2. Get more sleep.

3. Be a more "active" writer/poet--if I sliced up the usage of my hours when L. is asleep, I bet I'll find plenty of time to write, submit, and edit.

4. To eat better--I've been in a hurry lately and that's done damage to my diet.

5. To slow down in all things, but especially in the way that I relate to people.


Current Spins:

Eef Barzelay.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Placeholder Poem


The falcon is directed by an arm,
flies into the sky and does not return.
The falconer stands astonished,
dangling the leather hood. A little
wine, some mild laughing, and the king
forgets, but the falconer lies in bed
staring at the ceiling or the plate
of stars at the bare window.

Then in the dark there is a sound,
and the bird has returned to him,
knowing the way by night, flying in
to the falconer’s chamber. Proud
as a cat it drops the prey: a debt.
It looks at the man with one eye,
speaks in one of the falcon
dialects, unable to express
where it has been as it toured the sky.
Did it follow above the lake,
the village, forest and mountain?
Does it recall

By night a forgotten name
will rise to the unfortunate
who stood there silent and foolish
by day. The falcon knows the falconer
with both its eyes. Like memory, it
returned when it was expected.
Like memory it is a weight on the arm,
missed sorely when it is missing.

--Laura Jensen from Memory.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

RIP Eartha Kitt

Farewell and purr!

The de la Paz Ski Lodge: Dec. 24

The de la Paz Ski Lodge: Dec. 24
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
This one's sort of a "before" picture. It's since snowed an additional 8 inches.

The stairway is now a bobsled chute

The de la Paz ski lodge: Dec. 25

The de la Paz ski lodge: Dec. 25
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

The de la Paz ski lodge: Dec. 25

The de la Paz ski lodge: Dec. 25
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Oh Christmas Tree!
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Happy Holidays, all!


A quiet Christmas eve and day. I spent time shoveling snow, running the dog, working on the shop/basement storage, and hanging out with the family.

We watched ¿QuĂ© he hecho yo para merecer esto?. I must admit I fell asleep during the movie, not because it was boring but because I had woken up early and lately I can't start a movie at 9PM without falling asleep.


It's been snowing the past 11 days which has created over 3 feet of accumulated snow. Photos later today.


Current spins: These Brooklyn Vegan MP3 Christmas Songs

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nerd Love

The new X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer:


It could be really good or a load of crap.


Really, it doesn't matter. I'll still see it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
By Tina Roth Eisenberg


Happy Winter Solstice!


My poor parents are stuck in Sea-Tac airport. :-(


So glad I'm not traveling. So glad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

iPod Divination: A Writing Prompt

Take your MP3 Player, put it on shuffle, and shuffle through the first five songs.

Now write a poem using something from two of the titles, something from three of the songs' lyrics, and one thematic concern from a song.

Here are my songs:

The Primitives, "Way Behind Me."
The Innocence Mission, "My Waltzing Days Are Over/Minta's Waltz"
Daft Punk, "Da Funk/Dadftendirekt" (WTF?!)
Billy Bragg & Wilco, "Christ For President"
Of Montreal, "Art Snob Solutions"


Ha! I'm in trouble!


Clearly, I should be writing instead of playing on the internet.

Through the Window

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
He can barely hold himself up to look out the window now and he was a bit startled by all the snow.


So I'm telling myself that I'm going to start a long poem . . . only problem is what the hell do I want to write about for several poetic pages?

Magic Time & Space Bending Balloon

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Nothing Much is New in the Snow

It is the first time that “poetry’s old-fashioned praise,” as Robert Frost called it, will be featured at the ceremony since Bill Clinton's second swearing in back in 1997.

Alexander, 45, would be only the fourth poet to read at a swearing in after Frost, who read at John F. Kennedy’s in 1961; Maya Angelou, who read at Clinton’s in 1993; and Miller Williams, who read in 1997, according to government officials.

Thrilled that Elizabeth will be reading.


My parents are driving up today. Our region's been blanketed by snow and there have been multiple accidents on the freeways, so I'm a little concerned. Anyway, I've been busy tending to their new house. Mostly, though, I've been living. I've been enjoying my vacation even though I have mountains of work to get to.


I'll get to my literary stuff soon. I just need a break. I promise. Another round of submissions must go out and I want to get the manuscript up and running for the January deadlines.

Current spin:

Chad Vangaalen not only plays instruments, he is also a visual artist and he animated this video himself. This bit is from an earlier album. I've been listening to Soft Airplane

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oliver's Top 5 Albums of 2008

I know there are lots of lists out in web-space that are doing the exact thing that I'm doing. That's okay. It was fun to puzzle over this small list. In doing so, I came to the realization that honestly, it wasn't a great year for albums. Mind you, there are some great albums out there, but I found that there are a lot of artists who put out a fantastic single but the rest of the album couldn't hold up.

I didn't consider genre when I came up with this list. It's merely a list of what I've been playing quite frequently. And I acknowledge that some albums came out earlier than others which might unfairly weight my choice. Yes, I took that into consideration.

So, without further delay, here are Oliver's top 5 albums from 2008 based on the play count on my iTunes:

5. Girl Talk Feed the Animals. The link is to Greg Gillis (Mr. Girl Talk himself) demonstrating his mash-up skills using a track by Elvis Costello. This album made the top 5 because I didn't get tired of listening to it. Listening was always a joyous endeavor--there'd be snippets of tracks from Journey, AC/DC, No Doubt, Nirvana . . . on and on. What happens when you throw a party and everyone comes? You get this album.

4. Shearwater Rook. Gorgeously depressing music that reminded me of another fine band, Talk Talk . . . at least Jonathan Meiburg sounds like Mark Hollis.

3. Okkervil River, The Stand-Ins. Funny, but Jonathan Meiburg used to be in Okkervil River. Anyway, I'm a big fan of "literate" rock albums. This one had a narrative arc that kept me listening.

2b. Juana Molina's Un Dia. Okay, so I was a little surprised that she moved to number two, but I checked the frequency of times played and . . . well this was the second highest played albums on my list. Lovely tapestries of sound, is how I describe this. Think Bjork if Bjork were Argentinian. I often listened to this album when commenting on my students work because of the trance-like state I need to be in in order to slog through the paperwork.

2a. TV on the Radio, Dear Science. Mixing harmonies with crunch guitars, these guys made one heck of an album. Dear Science beat out Un Dia by one album spin. I often listen to this album at the gym and I'm at the gym almost every day, it seems. I love the urgency of this album.

1. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes. Call it a Pacific Northwest bias. I was in love with this album before it was even released when "Winter Hymnal" was making the rounds in the Spring. They definitely sound like Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and that's a good thing.

Honorable Mentions in no order:

Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
The Walkmen, You & Me
Brian Eno & David Byrne, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Thanks for the reminder, JG).
Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Lyrics Born, Everywhere at Once
The Roots, Rising Down
Thao, We Brave Bee Stings
Blind Pilot, 3 Rounds and a Sound
Sigur Ros, Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust
She & Him, Volume One
Santogold, Santogold
Ra Ra Riot, The Rhumb Line
Madlib, WLIB AM - King of the Wigflip
Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue
Cat Power, Jukebox (WAY back at the start of the year)
Beck, Modern Guilt
The Airborne Toxic Event, The Airborne Toxic Event
Black Keys, Attack & Release
Hot Chip, Made in the Dark
Blitzen Trapper, Furr
R.E.M., Accelerate


It was a lean year for Hip-Hop. I can usually think of more Hip-Hop albums that warrant multiple re-spins, but like I said earlier, there were a lot of good Hip-Hop singles, but then the rest of the album would be full of . . . well, crap.


My grading is done! Yay! I'm freed up to . . . well, to write lists of my favorite albums of 2008.


New To Do list:

1. Finish a pedagogy essay
2. Submit poems to three journals
3. Complete grant application
4. Create syllabus for Asian American Lit. class
5. Organize new manuscript and prepare it for submission
6. Caulk the soffit-gap on the underside of my parents' new house
7. Apply poly-seal to parents' garage
8. Install rubber flashing in parents' attic opening
9. Write poems?

*10. Be a dad (#10 trumps all of the above)


Current Spins: Ha! While I was coming up with that list, I was listening to Neil Young's Chrome Dreams

Current Reads: The new Rolling Stone, Native Speaker, and Kimiko Hahn's Earshot.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow days in the country

Yes, it has snowed in the Foothills. Foolishly, I left the hummingbird feeders out and now the sugar water is frozen inside them, making them look, very much, like rubies.


The snow makes it difficult to go to town, though the good people of the county services do plow the road, the snowboarders start heading to the mountain, making the driving slow and treacherous.

We've been having to go to town for the past couple of days to take care of the last bits of school business and dealing with things for my parents' new house. I'll be glad for a break.


Speaking of breaks, it's almost officially the holiday vacation for me. I just have to do my grade calculations.


Larghearted Boy, one of the music blogs I follow (it's listed in the column on the right), is displaying its best of 2008 lists. I love these best of lists because I get introduced to things I wasn't aware of, but I also like the conversations it sparks. So in a post or two I'll make my top five albums of 2008 list, just for show.


I still owe y'all a post on my manuscript thoughts, but I've been dealing with other people's poems for awhile--


Current Spins:

AND . . . The Roots. Talk about disparate . . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To All My Teacher Comrades Out There

Good to see the prof was a sport.

Get your grading done! You can REACH!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Balance & Balancing

First, this creepy Christmas video:


I'm in the home stretch as far as the quarter goes. Poetry portfolios are piling up, but I can grade them fairly quickly. All in all, a great pair of classes and a solid bunch of students.


I booked my flight to St. Louis, MO for the River Styx at Duffy's reading. I'll also be reading at SIU Carbondale. I'll be in that part of the world from January 19th to the 21st.

Then it's off again to the Midwest for AWP.

Then AGAIN in March for the Good Thunder Reading Series.

I'm glad I'm staying put for the holidays.


So about my manuscript-making commentary. I'm so glad a lot of you have chimed in and have sent me e-mails.

I've forgotten to mention that I'm a big fan of balance. It's a principle that relies not only on my intuition but on the poems I've written. It also may determine whether I'll be writing more poems for a collection.

Anchors, to me, are poems that I use to force balance in a collection. I've already talked about long poems or multi-sectioned poems in previous posts. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention titles as anchors. A title can suggest a context, linkage, a chronology. Kingdom, Phyla, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species . . .

So looking at my tentative titles in the previous post, I've got a lot of poems with similar titles. Now, I could certainly section 'em off, but what I'm leaning towards doing is distributing them. I don't think I'd be interested in reading a book that has a section where every poem starts with "Self Portrait. . . " All those "Self Portrait" poems are narratives, too, while the Childhood poems are pretty lyrical. There's no way I could pull off having those poems cordoned off in separate sections because the transition from one section to the next would be too jarring. So I'll be using the Childhood poems as chronological anchors, placing them at specific intervals in the manuscript--beginning, middle, and ending.

But there's a part of me that wants to disrupt the notion of a chronology, so I think I'll use the fatherhood and self-portrait poems as counter-anchors. I don't want the collection to merely move forward through time.

I'll play with my manuscript order a bit and I'll post my tentative Table of Contents later.


Current Spins: R.E.M., all their I.R.S. records catalog.

Current Reads: Student Portfolios and Thesis Projects. Yay!

It's a Bear Market.

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

R.I.P. Odetta

Odetta's rendition of "Water Boy."


Had a big party at the homestead. I "brewed" my homemade chili and my mother fried her famous eggrolls. Other folks brought a variety of foods. All told, I think we had over 40 people over at our place. Good times.


My family was very excited about the de la Hoya vs. Pacquiao fight.

And while I was interested in the fight for mostly cultural reasons, I could not bring myself to shell out the $55 needed for the cable package. Still, I've been getting text messages from friends and some family about the fight.

He is the first Filipino and Asian boxer to win four world titles in different weight divisions. He took over as the Ring Magazine pound for pound number one ranked boxer in the world on June 9, 2008 after Floyd Mayweather, Jr. announced his retirement from boxing.


I'll post more on my manuscript structuring philosophies/thoughts. It's the weekend and I need a break.


Current spins: Blackstar f. Common.

Current reads: Jack Gilbert's The Great Fires: Poems, 1982-1992.


Ha! WV=scangon

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Kermit Rocks

Sorry. Couldn't resist this moment of levity:


More thoughts about the 3rd manuscript. Sandra beat me to my next topic which is the use of a long poem to anchor or serve as the fulcrum of a book.

I did this in both my books: Names had two longer poems, one at the opening and one in the middle. Furious Lullaby had two as well, with "Aporia" serving as the spine/fulcrum for the book and "The Devil's Book" serving as the poem that moves the book like a pendulum, pivoting at the fulcrum.

I'm in the middle of writing, what I think will be a long poem. A student in my 460 class challenged me to follow through with one of my infamous Rube Goldberg poems. So I had to write this poem that reconciled all these disparate elements--an indigenous bird, the word "alphabet," a neighborhood cat, the word "condom," the use of twine as a psychological image. Anyway, I wrote a many-sectioned poem which I may expand because it touches on all the things I had been writing about.


Sue's requested that I post some poems here, but many of them are either out or forthcoming. I can, however, give you the titles of poems I think fit manuscript 3 arranged according to thematic lumps:

Self Portrait Poems
"Self Portrait Besides a Dead Chestnut Horse"
"Self Portrait with Taxidermy"
"Self Portrait in My Mother's Shoes"
"Self Portrait as a Small Town"
"Self Portrait with What Remains"
"Self Portrait on Good Friday"
"Self Portrait with Schlitz, a Pickup, and the Snake River"
"Self Portrait Descending Slowly into the Atlantic Ocean"

Syllogism Poems
"The Surgical Theater as Spirit Cabinet"
"Ablation as the Creation of Adam"
"Insomnia as Transfiguration"
"Ghost Hunting at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium as Physiography"
"Autumn Scene as Lullaby"
"Colony Collapse Disorder in Honey Bees as Eschatology"

End of the World Poems
"Eschatology Through a Confluence of Trees"
"Eschatology on Interstate 84 at 70mph"
"Eschatology in Five Acres"

Fatherhood Poems
"The Boy with the Fiddle in a Crowded Square"
"Prayer for What Won't Happen"
"No One Sleeps Through the Night"
"In Defense of Small Towns"
"Autumn Song in Four Variations"

Childhood Poems
"When I was Born"
"At the Time of My Youth"
"And When I Grew Up"
"At the Time of My Death"
"How I Learned Quiet"
"Sticks and Stones"
"The Poet at Ten"
"Cussing in the Playground"

That's 31 poems in various states of completion. I've got a few I've left out for now because I'm still trying to figure out how to integrate them.

My first thought would be to look at the "How I Learned Quiet" poem and maybe take my cues from that.

Sorry, gears are clicking and I'm thinking aloud. If this bores you, I can talk about video games. ;-)


Speaking of video games, a few that I've recently played incorporate a moral component. I've been playing Fable II and the way your character is perceived determines courses in the game. The same is true for my latest obsession, Fallout 3.

Pop culture, yes, is still culture and it does say something about the society that generates it.


Current Spin: Bon Iver

Current Read: Still Chang Rae Lee's Native Speaker




The list of the NEA Poetry Fellows

Link here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Strays and Straying

A few folks have sent me messages, backchannel, about my manuscript organizing principles. I have a few general ideas that guide me through the assembly of the process, but for the most part I use my gut.

One of the main principles I think about, though, is the tone of the overall manuscript once poems are placed side by side by side. For me, it's great to have a uniform tone because it helps me recognize whether a set of poems belongs to one manuscript or is what I'd consider a stray or something for another book.

However, the uniformity of tone can also be a problem. If you've got a whole bunch of poems that are basically doing the same thing, then the inertia of the book isn't going to take the reader forward. Hell, if I read a book of poems where the tone of the book is "one note," then I know I'll be bored and I'll put the thing down.

Therein lies the problem with my third manuscript. I'm at the juncture where I've identified that I indeed have enough poems for a third book. I am, however, aware of the fact that the poems I've currently got are all in the "minor keys." While I can see this as an opportunity to generate newer and perhaps more tonally diverse poems, I'm already weary of the process it took to generate work.

Another principle I think about is point of view, which ties in fairly closely with my idea about tone. Currently, the point of view of the manuscript is 1st person with an occasional foray into 3rd limited. The 3rd limited moments are to be understood as the same character as the 1st person pov. At no time does the manuscript's pov waiver from the subject which, I believe, is creating some problems--the character is not advancing the narrative because he is not changing. A big F'ing problem, since as I stated earlier, the narrative's loosely biographical. So perhaps I should take up skydiving, bungee jumping, or take up water polo.

As for my principles on a narrative--while it worked to have a fairly traditional/linear organization for Names that ain't gonna work for this new project. And you could also argue that Furious Lullaby had a linear narrative. The first section of Furious Lullaby built up to the middle section which was a "dark night of the soul" section, followed by a section of clarity (not resolution). So what's the narrative of book three? Maybe this is the problem. I don't know. Here's what I do know: when I started the poems for this manuscript my life had undergone some major changes. I got a new job. I moved. I got married. I got cancer (minor cancer, mind you, but still), and I had a child. Somewhere in the chaos of my life change, there's a story I as writer have a responsibility to craft.

And speaking of responsibility, my baby's sleeping close to my stomach under my hoodie sweatshirt. Fatherhood has added urgency to my art.


It's the end of the quarter and my students are spent. I am spent. I taught two very unique classes--one on short prose (prose poems, short-shorts, and lyric essays), and one on traditional forms.

This past quarter was quite taxing on me as a reader because on the one hand, I taught a class which asked the writer to eschew the principle of the line (but not the sentence) as musical, temporal, visual, and narrative guide, and on the other hand, the other class celebrated lineation as a musical, temporal, visual, and narrative guide.

So I was of two brains when I commented on student work and found myself quite tired after marathon sessions of commentary.


The moving of my parents is in full effect. I got the keys to their house and checked it out. It's a cute little rambler. It's all one level with, perhaps, a step or two up from the garage. Nothing that would cause my parents' knees to give out. The former owners have left a lovely cedar play fortress in the backyard. The backyard still needs to be fenced off because there's a wee drop off into a green zone.

Lovely place for L. to spend his days, though. The house is in a clean, quiet neighborhood close to my work place and my gym.

Ah! Convenience! My parents are going to save my sanity and my pocketbook (no babysitter fees!).

Current Spin: Laura Marling--"Failure"

Current Read: Still reading Chang Rae Lee's Native Speaker

Current Xbox Game: Fallout 3 (I am an unapologetic gamer).

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

I am here. I am here.

Juana Molina's song "La Verdad."


I've been thinking about this third book. Its mechanics. The way it ticks. There are high places and there are low places but there are few places in between.

And that's the problem with it at the moment. That at times it takes itself too seriously. That it's much too me. And I'm finding in my edits, that I'm saying "I am here and I am here and I am here" far too much. I suppose that's what happens when you write some moderately confessional long narrative poems.

Strategies for the other books were actually quite easy. In Names, I had a character who wasn't me. So naturally, I could have other characters who also weren't me describe or define the main character. There was distance.

In Furious Lullaby, I had the "you" address. And unlike the common practice in poems that use "you," "you" was not the poet but someone external to the poet. So naturally, it was easier to offer direction/instruction for readers.

But now I'm stuck with lots of these confessional narratives that are lightly veiled in fiction, but are certainly about me. Oh what to do?

Ever get tired of listening to yourself?


The academic quarter is drawing to a close and I'm beat. Juggling the teaching gig with the new parental duties is tough. Never mind that I also have to write as part of my "job." There is never enough time. There never was before I became a dad. I'm feeling mildly squeezed.

The kid's damn cute, though.


Mere's birthday is tomorrow. Happy birthday, love!


Current Spins: See the above Juana Molina track as well as all her albums. Great grading music.

Current Reads: Chang Rae Lee's Native Speaker for a class I'll be teaching.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back from over the hills

Thanksgiving with the parents was great. All told we had about 24 people come over to the home of my childhood for dinner. We had 21 babysitters for the weekend, which was spectacular.

Unfortunately, I left my camera at home.

Anyway, highlights of the trip were of course the family and the non-stop eating of very non-traditional Thanksgiving foods like lechon and pancit. Don't get me wrong, though. We did have a turkey and we did have mashed potatoes, but we mostly had some variation of a Filipino/Chinese dish.

Another highlight was marathon stretches of Guitar Hero with the younger cousins. The youngest of my cousins who came is thirteen and the oldest is twenty-three, so they were all thrilled by the XBOX. I had to buy a second guitar controller, but it was worth it.

The lowlights were the actual travel--it took us ten hours to drive to Ontario. We hit very dense fog in the mountains which slowed us to 30mph, and we could barely see 100 yards ahead.

Another lowlight was, unfortunately, the town itself. It's a very different place from where I had grown up--poorer, empty. There's a maximum security prison nearby which wasn't there during my childhood. Consequently, the families of lots of the inmates have moved into town to be near their relatives and it's drastically altered the culture of the town. My folks had their business broken into a couple of weeks ago and there has been a rash of burglaries. Never happened in my childhood.

Which brings me to the other lowlight--I had to pack up all the crap from my childhood room. My parents, as I've mentioned, are moving to Bellingham. They didn't want to touch the stuff in my room because they 1) didn't want to pry and 2) they had no idea what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to trash. Honestly, I'm not very nostalgic for things, so I ended up dumping a lot of things in the garbage. The room's fairly empty now, except for the furniture.


Meredith and I got to take in Quantum of Solace which was a bit more like the traditional Bond films in terms of some elements. Craig's Bond is arrogant, almost joyless, but clearly a physical weapon. I liked the first film with Daniel Craig as Bond a lot better than this one. At least the poker scenes in Casino Royale created suspense. I don't think I ever felt suspense in the new film . . . just disjointed.


It's official. Heroes sucks. It's a victim of bad writing. Seems like the creators of the show don't read comic books. What made the first season great was the various Heroes discoveries of their powers and the human elements--estrangement, uncertainty, discovery, and joy. The last two seasons show a steady decline in the writing.

Here are a list of some problems I have with the show:

Hiro is too powerful and over-relied upon for narration. The time jump thing was novel at first but it's created some problems in the writing. I mean, hell, if he can jump through time AND space, then why can't he just fix everything? At least make his powers debilitate him in some way.

There are too many power absorbers--Silar? Peter Petrelli? Daddy Petrelli? No, no, no. So then what's the point? Marvel does it right with their character, Rogue whose ability causes her great emotional hardships.

God, I'm such a nerd. Let's just say that I was skeptical of the television series to begin with and now in its third season, my predictions for the show are coming to fruition.


I've been in the process of writing multiple series poems. They're all for different manuscripts, I'm certain.

Series 1 = Self Portraits (I've got twelve of these poems)
Series 2 = Simile Poems (I've got about eight of these. Titles have this characteristic: _________ as __________)
Series 3 = Fatherhood Poems (I've got maybe ten of these)
Series 4 = Manong Poems (Fifteen of these poems. Historical fiction poems focusing on a few Filipino migrant workers back in the 1940's).
Series 5 = Dear Empire Poems (Twenty or so in various states. Epistolary prose poems)
Series 6 = Nocturnes (Three poems)
Series 7 = Eschatology Poems (Six Poems)

Series 1, 2, 3, and 7 seem to fit together in a manuscript because tonally they're similar. The POV is the same or can be easily revised so that the POV is consistent.

Series 4 is all by itself.

Series 5 and 6 seem a likely pairing. The Noctures are in third person and very objective while the Dear Empire poems are quite intimate. Perhaps a bridge series is needed.

Looks like three manuscript projects to me. Each project has had its share of some pubs--The poems from series 1,2,3, and 7 have had the most pubs, followed by the poems from Series 4. Series 5 and 6 just had a few picked up in the Summer, so it's a burgeoning collection.

I don't normally work this way, mind you. I'm just finding that my writing energy comes in spurts. I'll bang out a few poems in a series, come back to the series, run out of energy, and start something else.

More on this later in the week as I do a bit of thinking.


Current Spin: Neutral Milk Hotel

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Want to Use a Theremin During My Poetry Readings.

DeVotchKa "C'est Ce La" from Marshall J. Baumgartner on Vimeo.

The above video is of DeVotchKa performing their song "C'est Ce La," live at The Vogue in Indianapolis.

Dig the theremin. ;-)


Speaking of theremins, wouldn't it be an interesting poetry reading prop? I know a couple of poets have a shtick, maybe the theremin could be mine. I'd open each reading with the Original Star Trek Theme Song. I'd boldly take the audience where no man has gone before . . .


As you can see, I'm a bit loopy. I need a vacation and it's coming up. The family and I are heading over to Ontario, OR, as I've mentioned in previous posts. Ontario's my childhood home. It may be the last time I see the place for a long time since my parents are moving to Bellingham. They just bought a house in town. Let me tell you, Meredith and I are relieved. We love L., we just need help. Our house is way out in the country, so our working logistics are complicated. We've been handing off L. between classes. Meredith's classes end at 11:50AM and mine start right at 12PM. We literally hand the baby off in his stroller in the hallway. With my parents moving here, not only do we get free babysitting, but Meredith and I will also get time to actually spend time together. As I've mentioned before, I've not seen a movie in a movie theater since this summer and there are a number of films I want to watch.


My uncles and aunts will also be going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. It'll be very crowded. Growing up, we had no family in the states. For the most part, we were the only Filipino family for miles. My dad has successfully petitioned all his brothers and sisters over for citizenship and most of them live in Portland, OR. So not only will my parents be closer to us, but they'll be closer to my aunts and uncles on my father's side. That's a relief for me as an only child. My parents are getting older. It's visible, the way they move around now. They're still quite active, but they're slower and they're very concerned about our hilly Western Washington.

Ack, didn't mean to be glum. The bottom line is we'll have a crowded and happy banquet come Thursday.


L. just squawked at Gordon on Sesame Street. I squawk at Gordon too. Dude was around when I was watching Sesame Street and he aged very well.

Current spins: Calexico's "Carried to Dust," and The Rachel's "Songs for Egon Schiele." The Rachel's is good writing music. Very moody.

Current reads: I'm ashamed to say that I've been reading these books and nothing "literary."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Interlude: A Conversation with Mama de la Paz

[Telephone Rings]

ME: Hello?

MOM: How's Lucas?

ME: Um, hi mom.

MOM: How's Lucas? What's he doing? Can you put him on the phone?

ME: Sure. (putting the phone next to Lucas)

LUCAS: (breathing heavily and reaching for the receiver)

ME: How's that? He's playing with something right now so he's a little distracted.

MOM: Oh. Your Tita bought him some clothes.

ME: Great! (hears a slot machine sound in the background) Um, is that a slot machine?

MOM: We're at the airport.

ME: What? Why are you at the airport?

MOM: We went to Las Vegas. I told you that. Didn't I?

ME: No.

MOM: I don't like Las Vegas anymore. The Mirage is changed. I couldn't find the buffet, and when I did, it was $27. They had a Japanese food section, a Chinese section, a Thai section. (slot machine sound in the background)

ME: Um, are you playing a slot machine now?

MOM: Yes. I put five dollars in. I have to go. Bye. (hangs up phone)

ME: Mom? Bye.


Neil Young fans, go here

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sexy Sexy

MiPo's Sexy Issue is up! Check it out here. There's a great interview with Terrence Hayes.


Speaking of sexy, here's Jenny Lewis:

Strangely, she's also here on the Bolt soundtrack. I wonder if she was "drop[ing] acid on [her] tongue" for this newer production? Gotta love her, though.


Rec. letters that were on my plate are now finished. I can now resume my normal life. My students are great, but some of them really need to research their prospective schools. Some of them just don't fit the school's aesthetic at all. Perhaps, though, that's the point. Maybe they're trying to go in a different direction, though I doubt this is truly their intent.


Thanks to CDY for my latest internet addiction. I'm currently listening to a sample of Ryan Adams.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Warm Sounds

Mr. Bobby "Blue" Bland for you. I first heard "Two Steps from the Blues" when I was in grad school at ASU. I was over at Michael Guerra and Thea Kuticka's house and Michael had this song playing during a party. They had stained cement floors throughout their rental house, so the sound kicked into every single room. On top of that, the deep tones of this particular song shook the windows. Wow.


Speaking of my ASU days, much has been made of the current crop of potential grad students who have asked for letters of recommendation from me. And I've been a bit whiny, so sorry for that. Thinking back on what I did for grad school, I was no different. I had been a pre-med student prior to my rebirth, but a lot of the core principles of my pre-med lessons were still intact--namely when you want to get into med. school, you've got to apply to a lot of schools because it's ultra competitive. So I applied that practice when I applied to MFA programs. From the top of my head, here's where I applied back in 1995:

American University
Arizona State University
Penn State University
University of Maryland
University of Oregon
University of Pittsburgh
University of Virginia

Mind you, there weren't as many MFA programs out there. I didn't apply to U of Iowa because, well, as you can see, most of my selections were coastal or semi-coastal. I didn't want to live in the Midwest because I had been living in Los Angeles for five years and I figured I wouldn't be able to stomach the cold (sorry Midwest people). I got into all the schools I applied to except UVA.

ASU called me first and they were actually the VERY last application I had filled out. I even had to send it via FedEx because I was running out of time. If I remember correctly, the deadline for the ASU app. was at the end of January and I received a call from them the second week of February. Penn State and U of Oregon called me, maybe a week or two after ASU accepted me. Then came U Maryland and U Pitt. Emerson and American never called me, they just sent me a mailed acceptance letter. UVA's rejection letter came fairly early, like in the early months of February.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say about this whole process is that I don't think it's the same process any longer. I think it's much more competitive. There are a lot more schools and there's a lot more attraction to MFA programs for undergrads. Additionally, a lot of schools are now creating Creative Writing majors, which really wasn't happening when I was in school. Mind you, these are my observations. They're not based on any statistics or statistical analysis. It's just what I see.

So I GET why my students are applying to so many schools. Totally.


Almost done with the letters, so I'll get parts of my life back soon. Until then, I've got three letters I have to create and a few more that I have to print and stuff into envelopes.


The budget crunch has hit Washington State and I'm worried, especially since WWU is a state school. We're a union school now, so there's a bit of a safety net, but still, something will get squeezed at it will affect the family in some way, I'm sure.

I want to go to a movie.


I know what I want for Christmas . . . how about debt relief?


Currently reading American Born Chinese for my Asian American Lit. class next quarter. The special theme of the course will be Asian American Masculinity--because I am the prime example of the Asian American male (chuckle).

Currently spinning Paste Magazine Sampler #49.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Kid Koala on the turntables, ladies and gents. One in a line of many Asian American turntable gurus. And damn, how did he know exactly where the individual notes were on the record?


I've been chatting (grumbling) about all the requests for letters of recommendation that I've been receiving and I've been having conversations with Mere about why I do so many. Because of the sheer volume of the requests this year, I've been a bit grumpy about the process, but you know, I chose to be an artist in academia in order to support fledgling artists. Does that take away from what I do in poetry? Sometimes--these rec. letters are difficult and time consuming, but ultimately this is the path I chose.

It's not for everyone. There are lots of non-poetry things that I have to do in order to be a part of academia and, I'm sure you're all aware, that sometimes it can seem like hoop-jumping.

Still, there's nothing more gratifying than when an undergraduate student that you've been working with closely has been accepted into a grad school (not just in poetry, but in any discipline).

I was a teacher before I was a poet--when I was an undergrad at Loyola Marymount, I was a chemistry T.A. and a biology T.A.. This was long before I decided to go into the writing field. So, I've had the teaching bug for awhile now. Handling the teaching bug takes effort and so does writing rec. letters.

Okay, I've talked myself back into finishing up my rec. letters. Thanks for listening to me talk myself off of the roof.


Heading to Eastern Oregon for Thanksgiving. While I'm looking forward to seeing my family I'm not excited at all to be driving ten hours with an 7-month-old. Yuck.


Current spins--The Grey Album. I could tell you how I acquired this illegal bit of art, but I won't. I did not obtain it from the link, I can tell you that much.

Current readsNational Geographic Magazine.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Sometimes Don't Know What I'm Talking About

First, go here and check out these MP3's of Johnny Cash singing with Bob Dylan: An Aquarium Drunkard's Music Blog.

Then, tell me . . . isn't it Miranda July in this Blonde Redhead video? Strange.


Other music news, Neil Young is going to release a 1968 Live Album. I heard the "Sugar Mountain" track here.


A student asked me how to read line breaks and I found myself saying something I heard from an old teacher--that a line break was "half a comma." WTF?! I'm sounding more and more like my old profs. I THEN followed up by saying, "Yes, a line break is musical, visual, and narrative in nature, so you need to honor them as you read them." Woah. There are some gray beard hairs in my milk.


Current spins--See the above Dylan/Cash link.

Current reads--Student poems. Want a peak?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Steady as a Freight Train

DVD Teaser Trailer for Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison.

I'm not sure if the film has actual live footage of Cash performing. It seems like it's mainly interviews and photos. Still, might be worth putting on my Netflix queue.


48 Hour Rule in place. As soon as a rejection rolls in for a batch that is not simultaneously submitted, out it goes again. So, today a batch is going out. There's no time to grieve.


We're at the high water mark of the quarter, where papers are coming due, students are catching flu, and the sky is no longer sunny and blue. (Sesame Street taught me how to rhyme today).


Looks like it'll be a partly sunny day. I need more sunlight--feeling a bit slothalicious. I need a million dollars, too. Got a grant from school which'll help me survive the summer without teaching, but just barely. People need to pay artists. let me tell you . . .


Currently reading Tinderbox Lawn by Carol Guess. ;-)

Also reading the latest issue of The Missouri Review and the latest Rolling Stone. Interesting article about Republican gaffs in the recent election found in the latest RS.

Currently listening to St. Vincent, Madlib, and Cold War Kids (shout out to Lee H.).


HA! Word Verification=acelit

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Freak Folk--Those hairy dudes from Seattle do good.

Fleet Foxes - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

This video combines two things I love: Paris and spontaneous (or seemingly spontaneous) musical activity. Watch it all the way through.


I know I've been complaining a bit 'bout time and all that (L. is falling asleep in my lap as I'm typing), but it's good for us to gripe once in awhile. I generally don't complain--it's not how I'm wired. I'm just a bit overwhelmed.

For my work, I've been bombarded with a tremendous amount of requests for letters of recommendation. By my count right now, there are at least ten students who are applying to multiple schools that are requesting letters from me. Their dossiers range from completely organized to absolute messes. And truth be told, while a lot of these students may get accepted into some schools, chances for funding are slim. I'm just being real. I want all my students to get into grad schools, if that is truly what they want, but it may not happen for a number of them. That's a big part of my stress, I suppose.

On top of all that, we're nearing the end of the quarter, so students are, for the most part, check out of classes already.


Since classes started, I've only written one poem. That's the usual pace when I'm teaching. Maybe a poem or two here and there, but for the most part long bouts of nothing. This year, though, I'm finding I'm quite frustrated by my glacial writing pace because I really am almost done with my third manuscript and I've started a fourth. I've never had so many projects going at once. I just wish I had time to finish what I've started.


So the Fleet Foxes video is to calm my stirring brain. Deep breath. Deep breath. Sigh.

Daddy's Glee (or There Must Be Indie Hipsters on the Sesame Street Staff)

Tilly & the Wall on SESAME STREET from Team Love on Vimeo.

Saw this Tilly and the Wall bit. They're a funky little band. All their percussion's done by the tap dancers you see in the video. At first, I thought it was a gimmick and that it'd die quickly, but they're actually still around after a couple of years.


Mixed day on the writing front. On the one hand, I've been getting handed rejections left and right. On the other, I did get a mini-grant from the school so that I can at least write this summer.

I'm very close to finishing up my third manuscript. All I need is two weeks. Just two weeks. Maybe Christmas break will be productive.


I'm mightily tired these days. It gets dark at 4PM here. I need a vacation.

Luckily Thanksgiving is around the corner. I was hoping that I wouldn't be traveling, but it looks like we've been summoned to go to my parents house in Oregon. It'll be my last Thanksgiving in the house where I grew up. My folks are moving closer to the grandchild very shortly. They're closing on a house. I'll be grateful when they get here because Mere and I do need the help. It's tough work raising a kid in a household of professionals. Don't get me wrong. I love the little guy. We both do. We just need an hour here and there for our careers which allow us to take care of the little guy.

I can't wait for free babysitting. So I suppose the travel to Oregon will be worth it. I'll take a few last photos of the place. Maybe see a few old neighbors and friends . . .


I want to see Quantum of Solace very badly, but I can't seem to find the time. It's been over four months since I've seen a movie in a movie theater. You just can't go to a movie theater with an infant.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stephanie Strickland at WWU

Stephanie Strickland will be reading from her new book, Zone:Zero.

The reading will be held on Thursday, November 13th at 4:00-5:30 at Western Washington University's Wilson Library, Room 167.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why we love Keith Olbermann and Countdown in the de la Paz Household


Props to CDY and Collin for posting this on their blogs.


Perez vs. Sharp, another civil rights case in California, happened in 1948. Sixty years is not that long ago. . .

Sunday, November 09, 2008

We got a good one

Barack Obama and Joe Biden: Champions for Arts and Culture

Adding a few things

Added a few links to music blogs I follow, since so much of my brain has been involved with music lately (politics aside). More links to come.

Nothing Profound

Nope. Nothing profound to say. Just posting out of some weird feelings of obligation.


Okay, maybe I'm thinking about changing/updating the blog look. I'm a little bored of the all-black background and also the focus of the blog's changed a bit over the years. Originally I thought I'd be speaking eloquently about poetry and teaching, but after a long day of teaching the last thing I've wanted to talk about was poetry. Don't get me wrong, I still love talking about poetry . . . but I can only blog in very brief spurts, so I'm finding my discussions about poetry or anything that I sincerely care about beyond my family has been clipped.

Like, I'm having interesting conversations with my students about the prose poem, but . . . baby's crying. Ack. See?


I'm rambling. I know. That's ok, I suppose. Maybe I'm in a blogging rut.


HA! Word Verification: buster

Mornings are this

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I've been underwater

Meredith, L., and myself attended a spectacular election day party on Tuesday--complete with fireworks. Lots of cheers. Lots of high-fives. We drank champagne.


My students were amped for the election. During small groups workshop, I told them that the youngest person should be the first reader. As I was walking around the room hearing their ages, I realized that for a number of them, this was the first election where they could actually vote. A handful of my students who reside in different counties missed the Tuesday class because they were voting.

Boy, it was hard to keep them focused in class.


While I feel relieved and elated that Barack Obama won the election, I'm incensed at the passage of Proposition 8. My sister-in-law and her spouse plan on being a part of the litigation frenzy that will happen and I absolutely will support them both monetarily and spiritually.


GLAAD and Asian Pacific Islander Outreach:

GLAAD Works with No on Prop 8 for Asian Pacific Islander Outreach

GLAAD has been working closely with the No on Prop 8 campaign to share its messages of marriage equality and fairness with people from all across the state including communities of color. GLAAD and the No on Prop 8 campaign collaborated to conceptualize and produce print, radio and television advertisements reaching Asian Pacific Islander communities across the state. The ads in Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese and Japanese feature prominent Asian American leaders including California State Controller John Chiang, Board of Equalization Chair Judy Chu and Rev. Dae Jung of the First Congregational Church. Both Chinese and Korean advertisements were created to counter false claims about marriage for same-sex couples impacting schools and churches.

GLAAD also recently partnered with Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California to secure media coverage for their joint press conferences in Los Angeles and San Francisco on why Asian Americans should vote no on the unfair ballot initiative. High-profile Asian American public officials, community leaders and celebrities spoke out at the event including actors George Takei and John Cho, Survivor: Cooks Island winner Yul Kwon, journalist and scholar Helen Zia, Board of Equalization Chair Judy Chu, and California State Controller John Chiang.

George Takei

Check out It may be slow because I know it's been receiving heavy traffic lately.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dance Off!

Election Watch

Currently, I'm flipping channels while watching a sleeping baby. So much riding on this election . . .


I lived in Pennsylvania in 2000, and I remember going to bed thinking that Gore had won. What a horrible thing it was to wake up the next morning hearing otherwise. I was tuned to NPR constantly.


My students were anxious during class. They were watching the clock and talking excitedly about the elections--so good to see.


Been listening to The Pretenders lately. I don't know why.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Joe Six Pack vs. Joe the Plumber

See more Thomas Haden Church videos at Funny or Die

Halloween's a Buzzin.

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
My busy bee and my queen bee.


Crazy busy this past week. Students have come to my office almost every day of the week so I haven't gotten a lot of work done.

Everyone seems to be worried about graduate schools these days.

My truck's in the shop getting both fender's repaired. For now, I'm driving a sleek black Hyundai Sonata rental car with an auxiliary plug for my iPod and XM satellite radio. Insurance is paying for the car, so no worries.

In other busy buzzness (yeah, lame), I'm trying to figure out the schedules for my various Midwest trips. On January 19th, I'll be reading in St. Louis for the River Styx Reading Series and I might be heading over to SIU Carbondale for a reading . . . it's still in the works.

I'll also be going to AWP in Chicago from February 11th-15th where I've got two panels and a book signing.

Then later, I'll be at the Whidbey Island Writers Association Conference from February 27th to March 1st.

Finally, at the end of March, I'll be the Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer at the University of Minnesota at Mankato. It should be fun! I may try to swing over to New York before the residency with Meredith and L..

Overall, I'm getting tired just thinking about my winter schedule and I'm worried that I'll be missing too many classes--not that my students would mind.


Busy bees can have fun, though.

I've been listening to Bruce Springsteen and Grampall Jookabox.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weighty Issues

Originally uploaded by melodramaticam.
"P" is the letter of the day on Seseme Street, so here is a Powerful Pachyderm.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Old School

The book, 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die has me going back into my CD catalog. It's really cool to see some of those old albums in that volume. Additionally, I've been introduced to some new work.

Back catalog-wise, I've revisited De La Soul's THREE FEET HIGH AND RISING, which was ground breaking. All those skits, those fillers, and the exquisite sampling (for which there were many lawsuits).

I'm also listening to Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. No, I've never listened to this while watching The Wizard of Oz. Have you?

Finally, there's a reissue out now of Iggy Pop and the Stooges' Raw Power. This version's actually mixed by Iggy and NOT by David Bowie. It's interesting to see hear the differences. The Bowie version sounds overproduced. This reissue sounds . . . well, raw--maybe truer to the punk movement.

So, in the spirit of 1000 Recordings, I'm remember five "old school" poems that pushed me towards writing poetry as a calling. There are a lot of recent work that sets my pulse, but I'm just thinking about the poems that stayed with me even before I got my MFA.

These five are just off the top of my head and NOT in any order, plus reasons why:

Li-Young Lee's "The Gift." I was a social worker when I first read this collection, dealing with a schizophrenic in an assisted living program. The patient would take long, medical-induced naps and I would spend hours reading while he slept. ROSE was the one book I kept rereading and "The Gift" in particular, was the poem I kept returning to. It's hard for me to articulate the relevance of my reading this poem and the hours I spent working in the assisted living program, but strangely they fit for me because both things, at the time, seemed ultimately important.

Galway Kinnell's "Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight." Maybe because I'm a new father and this poem is, to me, about fear and about blessing. Anyway, I bought THE BOOK OF NIGHTMARES for my very first advanced poetry workshop when I was an undergrad. There were a bunch of grad students in that class at LMU. My good friend Joseph Legaspi was in that class as well as Kristen Tracy. It was Gail Wronsky's Graduate level workshop and I was a sophomore in the class. Somehow I got into the class because I had entered the campus poetry contest and took second place (Joseph took first). Because of the award, I decided to try my hand at poetry and . . . well, Galway's book and especially the poem stuck with me.

Sylvia Plath's "Mary's Song." Because today I can still remember the opening stanza--"The Sunday lamb cracks in its fat/ the fat/ sacrifices its opacity. I read this poem as an undergrad and I can confidently say that this is the poem that awakened the notion of sound as a unifying impulse in the written word.

James Wright's "A Blessing." Gosh darnit, he knows how to end a poem and to write with such economy.

Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays." Talk about economy--he's immediately rhetorical with "Sundays too . . ." and the repetition of "What did I know" towards the end of the poem. My goodness, how seemingly effortless it was for him to get to a point of hard, bare-faced ambivalence.


Just came back from a grant-writing workshop. I've been to a few of them in my past. This one was quite good. It was run by Artist Trust of Washington, and I hope they do more workshops. It was also VERY good to see some students there. Even though they're not eligible for grants, this is stuff they need to know and stuff I never got when I was an undergrad.


Poetry reading tonight for The Whatcom Poetry Series.

Nance Van Winkle and Dan Raphael will be reading at 7:30 in the Lucia Douglas Gallery. It's a great space for a reading.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kick Out the Jams


Today, I will attempt to convince several twenty-somethings that formal poetry is not only "good for you" but that it's possible to write a "kick-ass" pantoum.

I know this. You, dear reader, know this.


Going to a grant-writing workshop this Saturday. Frankly, I suck at writing grants and I need help.


As I mentioned on Facebook, I'll be spending a lot of time in the Midwest this coming winter (what's considered Midwest, by the way? Is Chicago Midwest?) I'll have stops in St. Louis, possibly Edwardsville, IL, Chicago, and Mankato, MN. That's not one trip . . . that's several different trips spread out over three months. Yeesh.

Now that I'm a dad, these trips are getting harder and harder to take. But take them, I must.


Currently reading Salvinia Molesta.

Currently listening to the above band, Orquestra de Casino de la Playa . . . but I'm also listening to Husker Du

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've been a busy bee

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Yes, that's L's Halloween costume, sans the feet from his pjs.


I mentioned that I was down in San Francisco for a wedding. It was a gorgeous affair. So many couples were getting married that day and shouts of joy echoed through the halls. Later, we partied. There was much to eat and drink.

For L's aunties who we love, Vote No on Proposition 8


I'm reading 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. I'm a sucker for big lists. What I like about this particular book is that in addition to the selected recording, Tom Moon also offers additional catalogue selections and then other artists who you might be interested in.

I've heard a lot of the rock/electronica/hip-hop/ and jazz collections. I'm really awful with the classical, country, and world music collections. Guess I'm not as well-rounded as I thought I was.


Teaching forms to undergrads isn't so bad . . . it's the workshopping that's difficult.

City Hall in SF

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Perfect Gentlemen

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
The de la Paz men in their finery.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Off to a Wedding!

Off I go with M and L. to San Francisco for the weekend to see S & C get married. Be good!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Crappy Day

So, on top of having a cold and feeling generally lousy, I got rear-ended today with L. in the car. But not only did I get rear-ended, I rear-ended the car in front of me. I was stopped at the stoplight in a 4-way intersection when I got plowed into by a lady in an oldsmobile. Her front end's mashed up. My rear and front are a bit dinged--the front end got the worst of it with the imprint of a pick-up's hitching pole imprinted into my fender. The car's still drivable and no one was hurt, but what a pain in the ass. L. was screaming his head off after the impact, but he wasn't hurt. Just scared. Again, we're okay. Everyone's okay.


At least it's Wednesday. That means the week's half way through.


All that said, I need to pack for a trip to SF on Thursday. We're heading out to celebrate Mere's sister's wedding. Unfortunately we won't be in SF for long . . . in and out rather quickly and heavily scheduled. For those of you in the Bay Area, this is me waving to you.


I'm just miffed. That's all. This too will pass.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Righteous Groove

Sister Rosetta Tharp cutting it with her axe.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Poll on PBS

Courtesy of Chicky:

"PBS has an online poll posted asking if Sarah Palin is qualified.
Apparently the right wing knew about this in advance and are flooding the voting with YES votes.

The poll will be reported on PBS and picked up by mainstream media.
It can influence undecided voters in swing states.

Please do two things -- takes 20 seconds.

1) Click on link and vote yourself.

Here's the link: Click Here

2) Then send this to every single Obama-Biden voter you know, and urge them to vote and pass it on.
The last thing we need is PBS saying their viewers think Sarah Palin is qualified."


I'm sitting in my home office glancing over my shoulder as I type this. L is in the co-sleeper fitfully sleeping. He'll doze for about 15 minutes, wake up crying, and then fall asleep again with assistance. So it's a little tough to do things around here during my "morning shift."

I've got this poem idea in my head and I've already got a title, but I ain't got time to deal with it. So I had to write out the title and save it on my hard drive, lest it float away into the ether.

Hold. The child awakens.


Okay, now that he's back asleep. Hi again.


Mornings are cold these days. I woke up and I could see my breath in the bedroom, so I suppose I need to turn up the heater (don't worry, kiddo's actually very warm). The leaves are turning colors here and I've got to find some time to clean off my roof and the gutters.

Fall is my favorite time of year. I tend to overheat. It might be hormonal. Anyway, I love Fall because I can wear just the right amount of clothing. I'm not a fan of shorts for daily wear. I'm a pants and sweaters kind of guy.


My parents have been looking for a house near us for the better part of four months. There are plenty of houses around here, what with the crappy market, but they can't seem to agree on what they want. It's driving me a little nuts. They actually put in bids for two houses (not at the same time) and they retracted both times. I feel for the realtor. Really, I do.


For some reason, I've been humming this song:

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday

The weekend starts after I teach my classes today. Whew. It's been fairly busy, but I'm at that point in the quarter where I've got a bit of a rhythm with my classes and my schedule. That's always a good and comfortable thing. I know poor Mere is WAY busier than I am, so I feel guilty. If it's any consolation to her, I haven't been writing jack since I sent out my work. I've got a couple of essays I need to finish up. Maybe I can get to 'em this weekend.


I didn't like the Town Hall style debate. I thought it was fairly boring and a bit over-moderated as opposed to the prior debate which was under moderated. I kept hearing stump speeches and no actual . . . well, debate. Still, I do think Obama won the round. McCain looked rather old and seemed to have trouble walking as he entered the arena. And if I hear "My friends" one more time . . .

And WTH does "That One" mean?

Listening to:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Feeling a Bit

overwhelmed these days. We're in the 3rd week of the quarter and poems are coming and going across my desk. I'm getting a lot of students visiting during my office hours to talk to me about their futures, grad school programs, etc., and in the meantime I've got poems to send out and grants to apply for--one of which I need to rewrite tonight.

Oh yeah, and then I have to be a fully attentive dad. I swear I'm getting so forgetful these days. I've been leaving things. I've been misplacing keys, wallets, etc.. And for those of you who know me, I'm usually quite together . . . anal, in fact.

Today, so that I could take a shower, I moved the exer-saucer into the bathroom. It's fine because L. loves his exer-saucer and he giggles while I'm doing my thing, so it's all good.

Sorry to complain. Okay. Back to it.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I've been quiet for a spell 'cause I've had visitors, but there are many things I've been chewing on for the past few days.

There are several reasons why Trickle-Down economics don't work. The idea that we provide benefits to the rich/wealthy suppliers and that their good fortune will "trickle-down" to the middle-class or the poor--it'll only work if there is no corruption at the top. What we so often see is the rich/wealthy selling to each other or providing each other benefits to keep each other on top.

Now, apply the theory of trickle-down economics to the arts . . .


Concerning Gov. Palin, and the debate . . . I'm a bit upset with Gwen Ifill. It seems to me that in some ways she allowed Palin to skirt the issues she was supposed to address in her allotted time. Rather, there was a lot dancing, highlighting, and bullet-pointing without any substance.


What's wrong with sounding "Professorial"? Personally, I want to elect someone who's smarter than me. Further, I don't want to be "best buddies" with my elected official. I want someone who can run a country and not someone who's my peer.


In lighter news, I'll be heading down to San Francisco for my Sister-in-law's wedding. Alas, I won't have time to mingle. We get into SFO at 10:30PM, the wedding's Friday, and then we had back home on Saturday. Maybe I can loiter in SF some other time.


I'm rereading Joseph Legaspi's IMAGO and I'm reading Meteoric Flowers by Elizabeth Willis.

I'm listening to Hot Chip, and Okkervil River, and The Knife.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

RePuglican Convention

. . . in honor of this blog's mascot.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"I love carrots!"

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
See title.


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Bears in the woods.

Currently Listening to . . .

Horse Feathers, Curs in the Weeds


The quarter is in full swing. We've been trying to figure out our child-care times. So basically there are a couple of days in the week where we pass the baby like a baton.


I've been keeping close tabs on the financial crisis. Madness. It really is.


In light of the madness with the housing market, my parents have decided that it's a good idea to buy a house.

It's true. My parents are planning to buy a retirement house nearby. That'll help with the kid-care, for sure, but our area's not cheap so I'm worried 'bout their savings.


In spite of all my worries I have not caught a cold . . . yet.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

If Your Strength is Foreign Policy . . .

. . . don't you think you should be able to say Ahmadinejad?

Also, shouldn't you know the name of the president of Pakistan?

Oh my.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And so it begins

The official start of the quarter was yesterday, but for me the teaching part starts today.

Two fun courses: ENG 460--Multi-genre, which I'm teaching as a conversation about prose poems, short-shorts, and lyric essay forms.

ENG 453--Advanced Poetry, which I always teach as a poetic forms class.

Fun abounds.


I'm listening to this and having fun. Every track is like playing "Name That Tune."

I'm also listening to these guys.


I'm still in the throes of submitting work. So far, 5 journals and they all take online submissions. I can't tell you how much time I've spent converting and compressing documents. I made the mistake of upgrading my Microsoft Office program to 2008, so I've been changing every .docx document BACK to .doc or .rtf



L. is with a babysitter for the first time. :-(