Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An announcement and some aphorisms.

Barbara Jane has some news!


I'm feeling philosophical


This has been the summer of pedagogy essays. I've had multiple requests for essays on craft/essays on poetry/essays on the teaching of poetry.

I have this much to say--there are many things that I cannot teach. I can only hope to inspire.


Sometimes, writing while assisting in the care of an infant feels like having to mow the lawn or do the dishes. Yes, a chore.

Personally, when it comes to making a choice between creating art and being a father, I'll choose being a father.


Narratives tire me. I really hate listening to what I say. If I ever want to go to sleep I talk to myself.


When I put together a book of poems, I look for two things--tonal consistency and tonal dissonance. If a book is tonally consistent, I strive for a movement to disrupt the music. If a book is tonally dissonant, I impose an order, which may for a time be arbitrary.

Both requests are my downfall.


An artist should always strive to surround themselves with art--which is justification for my gigantic music and book collection.


In this summer of comic books to big screen, it's funny to see the marriage between so many films and comics become such a leading story in arts and entertainment circles--I've always recognized there was a relationship there: from the storyboarding process of comics to the storyboarding process of film. Both traditions are wedded so overtly and I see it happening in the poetic line as well.


People wonder why is it that I talk about so little poetry on my blog--the answer is that I blog the most when I'm teaching (during office hours). The last thing I want to do is talk about more poetry. Yes, I love poetry, but sometimes I get tired of hearing myself talk.

Summers, of course, I start to miss the discussions. I also have the luxury of reading during the summer.

I just finished Insomniac Liar of Topo by Norman Dubie--one of my teachers at ASU. I love the man's work, though this book felt the most ethereal to me. My attention was stuttering, and I think that's mostly due to having one ear craning towards my son's co-sleeper.


I see myself gearing up for the poem a day exercise that I do every August . . . my mind is spinning.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The New Face of Asian American Masculinity

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Here's me and Lucas (freshly shorn) heading back to the car after landing in Seattle. Not only am I lugging the son, but I'm also towing a suitcase and a backpack stuffed with a laptop.


Been catching up with life-stuff. You should've seen how overgrown the lawn was. I'm in Get-Your-House-In-Order mode: landscaping, responding to e-mails, sending out mail, etc., so if you've e-mailed me and I haven't gotten back to you, you're probably next on my e-mail reply list.


I haven't seen Dark Knight. :-( Maybe this week?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

L. Doesn't Like the Ocean

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Not much at all.

Notes from Isle of Palms, SC

I almost wrote Isle of Psalms. My dormant Catholicism is stirring.


Got here on Saturday and we'll be staying for a week in this exorbitant/extravagant beach house (8 rooms, 9 bathrooms, swimming pool, a walk from the beach). Among the many benefits of this house--three AC units, TV/DVD in each room and a main room 52" projection TV, wireless internet, fireplace, wood floors, granite counter tops, stainless steel fridge, freezer unit, two ovens, two dishwashers . . .


I had hoped to get a little bit of writing done, but the ocean keeps calling.


L. is not so fond of the ocean, but he likes the pool.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Heading to South Carolina

We're off to S.C. this morning, making a quick stop in Athens, GA to see Mindy Wilson and Mike Mejia.

After, we'll stay with Meredith's 102-year-old grandmother for one night before heading off to the SC beaches.

I think the house we're staying in'll have an i-net connection . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Writing Itch

Still here in Atlanta . . . Douglasville to be more precise. Our support crew flies in today from San Francisco and elsewhere, so we'll have folks that can spell us relief from some of our childcare duties. Traveling with wee ones is hard, though it wasn't harder than I had originally anticipated. I think Mere and I have been adapting well. Some things have gone by the wayside--originally I was planning on making trips to the local gym--but they're not horribly important.

We've been hopping from visit to visit with either my friends or Meredith's friends, so it's been busy, but a good busy.

Today will be calmer, but Friday we head out for South Carolina. We'll see how the Peanut will do.


I'm getting the writing itch, as I mentioned in the title above. For those of you who know me, I'm a binge writer. I, for the most part, don't write until the summer and . . . it's summer. I plan on doing that poem a day thing in August that was so productive for me. Meantime, I'm reading lots of National Geographic magazines. I just got a subscription (it replaced my New Yorker subscription).

Currently, I've got two or three projects that are distinct from each other--they'd be impossible to combine into a single manuscript effectively. That's okay. I'm getting better at knowing what works with what. Hell, it's taken me ten years, but I'm getting better at it. I'm not sure if I can sustain work on any one project, but since I've got a few to choose from, I can keep myself preoccupied for a time.

I've also got a couple of pedagogy essays I need to conjure up, so I've got a full summer at the mid-point.


I'm rather excited about The X-Files: I Want To Believe. I had such a crush on Gillian Anderson who did rather excellent work on BBC's Bleakhouse.

It's okay, though. Mere has a crush on David Duchovny's character, Fox Mulder. I'm careful to make the distinction here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fake Ad?

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
I'm trying to figure out if this ad is fake. Regardless, it's funny.

Natural Light

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
From the Georgian Terrace Hotel lobby.

Sweet Tea

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Met up with Stacey at this eating establishment in Atlanta.

We discussed the finer points of BBQ . . . the noun and not the verb.

Southern Belles

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Here's Meredith & Lucas visiting with the lovely Stacey Lynn Brown.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Heading to Atlanta This Afternoon

Heading out across the U.S. once again. I'll be in Atlanta for the next five days and then from there, heading to South Carolina for Meredith's annual family reunion/beach trip.

While I'm in Atlanta, we'll catch up with the fabulous Stacey Lynn Brown.

I'm also hoping to get food at Mary Mac's.

L. is too young to enjoy the aquarium, though I want to see it. It'll just be tough carrying him around.

We'll also be heading over to Athens to catch up with some friends.

This year's trip should be quite busy!


I still haven't recovered from Kundiman. My sleep's a little off, so going back to EST might do the trick.


I hate it when Netflix movies start to pile up. It makes me feel like I'm not doing my job.


Poems soon. I've just been in motion.

Everyone's Happy

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
We love the remodeled office mom & aunt Suzanne!

Office Makeover Part II

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Moved the desk from one side of the room to the other.

Shout Out

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
To Meredith & Suzanne for surprising me with a TLC-style "While You Were Out" home office makeover.

This is part of the after pics. Those are most of my poetry books (some are in my office at school). The bottom shelf's reference.

Dry Wall is Good

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Here, Suzanne & Meredith covered up the paneling with sheet rock. Looks better, doesn't it?

Before Picture III

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
My computer sat below the window. Here, it's in the process of getting dismantled for the makeover.

Before Picture II

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
That was the wall that now holds all those books. Note the horrifying wood paneling.

Before Picture

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
My book cases were originally where the desk now sits.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The 2008 Kundiman Fellows, Faculty, and Staff

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
The week came and went.

We "graduated" five Kundiman fellows.

We walked back and forth from Brown College to the Lawn.

We walked from the Lawn classrooms to the Cabell classrooms to the dorms to The Biltmore Grill.

We ate lots and lots of sandwiches.

We changed clothes many times because of perspiration.

We had equal weight and equal volume.

We had strawberries.

We had yogurt, though some had more yogurt than others.

We had lessons from Bei Dao.

We had lessons from Tan Lin.

We had lessons from Aimee Nezhukumatathil.

We had a night of sing-alongs.

We had cupcakes.

We had all you can eat from China King Buffet.

Anything else?

You Want a Knuckle Sandwich With Those Fries?

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Yeah, I served hamburgers at the retreat. Believe me, if I didn't, it would've taken forever for everyone to get their order.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Connect Four Master

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Ron V. poses after defeating Kelly T. at Connect Four.

Staffers Unite!

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
2008 Kundiman Staff, from L to R:

Vikas Menon, Jennifer Chang, Sarah Gambito, Oliver de la Paz, Joseph Legaspi.

Queen Bee

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Sarah Gambito takes a rest on the presidential seat.

Dangerous Men

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Neil and Kelly Perform one of Tan Lin's poems.

Frigthening Rendering

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Tan Lin scares the fellows with his drawing of the sun and trees.

Translation Reader

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
I read the translated versions of Bei Dao's poems. I probably butchered the poems.

The Pandas

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
were frightening.

Bei Dao Looked on

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Translation Cupcakes

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
We gave away cupcakes to anyone who translated a poem from another language into English.

Wisdom Shines

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
This is me teaching the first Spark Exercise on Day 1 of the Kundiman Retreat.