Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Keeping My Head Above Water

Yes, Fall is in full swing. We've turned the heater on and the maples are starting to turn near my mountain home. That means lots of things to me . . . namely the rhythmic cadence of teaching, prepping, grading, and commuting is now in full swing. Yet this year I feel really off balance.

Part of it might be because the commute with the baby is really tough. Especially dropping him off before work when he's much more aware and feels the separation more vividly than he had in the past when our neighbor babysat for us.

Today he cried a ton when we handed him over to my parents. Ugh. Not fun. Still, I think the rhythms will become seamless soon. I just need to get over this damn cold.


I'm meeting with Cara Jaye Thursday, to pick her brain about possible covers. She mentioned she may be interested in producing one specific to Requiem for the Orchard which would be really cool.

Current Spin:

Taken by Trees.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Father n' Son Bonding Day Tomorrow

My dad and I are headed down to Seattle to watch the Seahawks play the Bears. It's amazing how expensive an NFL game can be. I tend to think that it's actually a better game on television . . . especially if you have a large screen HDTV. Regardless, it should be a fun day, despite the parking headaches.


Other things--just got back from Snohomish, WA, where the Artist Trust was having their 1st quarter board meeting. I read a couple of poems and talked about how the GAP grant benefited my career. I was happy to make the trip.

One thing the board members seemed to wonder was how to reach more artists. There are a ton of artists in Washington state, and it seemed like they felt they weren't reaching enough artists.

My deal is I'm pretty independent about researching these sorts of things. I know where to find stuff, and the web's pretty good about helping me find stuff. One thing they wondered was why artists weren't members. My thinking--well, there's a membership fee and so many of the events are in Seattle, not everyone will actually benefit from a membership.


Current Spin:

Tiny Vipers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


The first day of teaching for me. Lots of the same students from my previous classes, so I must be doing something right, since they keep taking my courses.


I had to wake up bloody early this morning. 6AM. It turns out I was right about my travel estimates--it takes me approximately 45 minutes to get from my doorstep to my parents' doorstep in Bellingham (they're babysitting L.). From there, it takes approx. 15 minutes to get to my office. And then my classes are all on the fourth floor across the quad, so by the time I've hit all the crucial points I need to hit prior to my teaching times, class begins.

Yes, minutiae, but I hate being late for things.


My first class was my prose poem/short-short class. I spent the morning confusing students about genre . . . confusing myself, even.

My next class was my prosody/forms of verse class. The two courses couldn't be more different.


I'm doing a big happy publication dance today.


Current spin:

Ra Ra Riot. Love the skateboarding. Makes me feel nostalgic.

I have never skateboarded in my life, but the very act makes me nostalgic for a past I've never had. What does that say about me?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back into the Fall

IMG_2151, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

First, there's this picture taken of a can of lard in my sister-in-law's house in SF.


Sorry I've been away. Very busy these days, what with the new quarter upon me and my tenure and promotion stuff coming due.

I managed to fill two three-ring-binders full of evaluations and other goodies. And my chair stressed that I "streamline" the file, so it only represents the five years I've been at WWU and not the four years I had been at Utica College. Hell, if I included that stuff, the file would be five binders thick. I remember how evaluation-happy that place was.

I had two teaching evaluations every semester on top of my 4/4 teaching load at Utica College. Yeah . . . five binders would be about right.


I'm back from San Francisco. It was a lovely visit. I got in touch with many fabulous Kundiman poets as well as Barbara Jane, Oscar, Craig, and Javier. And it was also good to see D.A. Powell at the PAWA reading.


Two classes this Fall: ENG 453 (which I teach as a poetic forms course) and ENG 460 (which I'm teaching as a prose poetry course).

I just finished up and printed the syllabi. Wish me luck.


Current Spin:

Yo La Tengo - A Take Away Show - Part 2 from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Yo La Tengo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tito Joseph

IMG_2134, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Here in San Francisco for the pair of readings listed below. Not much time to blog, but thought I'd leave you with a sweet picture of the fab poet, Joseph O. Legaspi, and my rugrat with hummus on his face.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two Readings in the Bay Area and Other Stuff

Reading #1:

Come & hear beautiful poetry, libate, and mingle with an all-star line up with Kundiman poets, the first time together on the West Coast! This special collaboration with Achiote Press and Kundiman is a special opportunity to fundraise for Kundiman, a dynamic arts organization dedicated to fostering Asian American poetry. As part of their mission, Kundiman provides a retreat for emerging Asian American poets at the University of Virginia every summer. This reading celebrates the publication of “Here is a Pen:” An Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets, a chapbook anthology published by Achiote Press, edited by Ching-In Chen, Margaret Rhee, and Debbie Yee. Chapbooks will be available for purchase. All proceeds go to Kundiman.

We look forward to seeing you!

Where: UC Berkeley at the Barbara T. Christian Room, 554 Barrows Hall

When: Thursday, Sept 17th

Time: 11:30: Chapbook & Book Sale and Light Reception

12 – 2: Reading


Joseph O. Legaspi is the author of Imago (CavanKerry Press), winner of a 2008 Global Filipino Literary Award. Born in the Philippines, he currently resides in Manhattan and works at Columbia University. A graduate of New York University’s Creative Writing Program, recent works appeared in Callaloo, North American Review, Poets & Writers, New York Theater Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gay & Lesbian Review and the anthology Language for a New Century (W.W. Norton). A recipient of a poetry fellowship from the
New York Foundation for the Arts and an Urban Artists grant, he co-founded Kundiman (www.kundiman.org), a non-profit organization serving Asian American poets. Visit him at www.josepholegaspi.com.

Oliver de la Paz is the author of three books of poetry, NAMES ABOVE HOUSES, FURIOUS LULLABY (Southern Illinois University Press), and the forthcoming book REQUIEM FOR THE ORCHARD which was selected by Martin Espada as the winner of the 2009 University of Akron Poetry Prize and will be available in the Spring of 2010. He is a recipient of grants from the Artist Trust of Washington and from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He teaches creative writing at Western Washington University and is the co-chair of the Advisory Board for Kundiman.

Debbie Yee is a trusts and estates attorney, Kundiman fellow, arts enthusiast and crafts explorer. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 32 Poems, OCHO, Fence and The Best American Poetry 2009. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from UC Berkeley. Debbie blogs irregularly at www.debbieyee.com.

Neil Aitken is the founding editor of Boxcar Poetry Review and the author of The Lost Country of Sight, winner of the 2007 Philip Levine Prize. His poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, The Drunken Boat, Ninth Letter, Sou'wester and many other literary journals. He lives in Los Angeles where he is currently pursuing a PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.

Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart's Traffic and a multi-genre, border-crossing writer. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she is a Kundiman, Macondo and Lambda Fellow. A community organizer, she has worked in the Asian American communities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Boston. Her work has been recently published in journals such as BorderSenses, Rio Grande Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, OCHO, Iron Horse Literary Review, Water~Stone Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, Verdad and the anthology Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves. A co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Partner Abuse in Activist Communities, forthcoming from South End Press, Ching-In is currently in the process of editing an anthology on gender, militarism and war from the perspective of women and non-gender-conforming people of color. In Riverside, California, Ching-In is a member of the Save Our Chinatown Committee, a grassroots organization focused on the preserving the archaelogical heritage of Riverside Chinatown.

Generous Support from:

Achiote Press

UC Berkeley, Asian American Studies Program

UC Berkeley, Asian Pacific Islander Working Group

Donations for Kundiman gratefully accepted.

For more information, please visit:

Kundiman: http://www.kundiman.org/index.html’

Achiote Press: www.achiotepress.com.

PAWA: http://pawainc.blogspot.com/2009/09/pawa-arkipelago-reading-series-saturday.html

Questions? Please email: kundimanwest@gmail.com

* * *

Reading #2

Please join us for the next reading in the PAWA Arkipelago Reading Series

Where: The Bayanihan Center 1010 Mission Street @ 6th Street, San Francisco

When: Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Who: Oliver de la Paz, Joseph O. Legaspi, Mari L'Esperance, and Theresa Calpotura (guitar).

* Both readings are free and open to the public.

* Special book raffle drawing opportunity for those who go to both UC Berkeley and PAWA readings!

* * *

Last minute things before I leave for San Francisco. My tenure review file is due on Wednesday and I fly out on Wednesday, so pretty much everything is due between today and tomorrow for me.

I've somehow managed to compile four and a half years of an academic career at WWU into two very large binders.

If I were to combine all the stuff from my other teaching gigs, I would have easily exceeded four large binders. Especially since I taught a 4/4 teaching load at my previous employer for a total of four years.

I somehow feel that I've left something out. . .

* * *

Current Spin:

Headless Heroes. "Just Like Honey" (Jesus & Mary Chain Cover)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Not a whole lot going on . . .

. . . but I feel a slight obligation to update the on going saga of me.


I'm in the denial phase of my soon-ending summer vacation. I'm realizing how much I actually have left to do, both academically and professionally.

You see, it's the year that I go up for tenure and promotion and I need to turn in my binders very soon.

I've been very diligent about making sure my I've crossed my "T's" and dotted my "I's."

Still, there's a lot of work to be done. Curriculum vitae to update. Holes to be punched.


Otherwise not a whole lot going on. I'm getting ready to head to San Francisco for two readings: the Kundiman/Achiote Press reading on Sept. 17th and one for the PAWA Arkipelago Reading Series on Sept. 19th.

Meredith and L. are coming, so I may be a bit frazzled. I'll try to put on my game face. :-|


Current Spin:

Taken By Trees. "Lost and Found." If you recognize her voice, she's the female vocals in the very famous Peter Bjorn & John hit, "Young Folks." This is from her first solo album. Her new album . .. glorious. Just can't find any tracks to play for you.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Resting with a tiny head on my arm

I'm trying to blog with my toddler sleeping soundly in the crook of my arm. I'm finding that the spacebar on my laptop is entirely too loud. He's been asleep since 11:30AM. It's 1:39PM right now and Meredith, my parents, and my aunts and uncles have gone shopping, leaving me with L. and Jake in my parents' B'ham abode.

Uh . . . little baby twitch. I'll type slower.


In case you missed it, Joe and Chenelle Milford have archived yesterday's interview here. In that interview, we talk about hacking up ant hills in cubist paintings.


I'm feeling oh-so non-literary these days. I want to watch a lot of sports on cable, work out at the gym, and soak in these last days before school starts up again, but I realize I need to work on my syllabi for the upcoming academic quarter, so naturally my head will be thrust back into thinking about literary works that could provide good models for would-be writers.

Again I'm teaching my ENG 453 course, which is the advanced poetry course and which I always teach as a forms class. I'm also teaching ENG 460 again, which I'm teaching as a prose poem class--our ENG 460 is labeled as a multigenre course and I find teaching prose poems as a blurring between fiction, non-fiction, and poetry is a useful approach.

See . . . all of a sudden I'm thrust back into the literary.


Here's a non-literary moment for you--my current spin:

Coconut Records. Yes, that's Jason Schwartzman.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Tune in Tonight

I'll be on the Joe Milford Poetry Show tonight at 7:00PM EST, 4:00 PM PST.

I'm not sure what we'll be talking about, but it should be fun . . . and you can hear how funny I sound over the phone.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

They're All Going Out! All of Them!

Yes, that's right . . . I've sent seven packets of poems out into the world. I'm not sim-subbing them because I just don't want to do all the heavy tracking that I had been doing the past year. And with a lot of the pieces being submitted electronically, there's no need because the turnaround time has been really fast.


I'm not ashamed to admit that I totally want The Beatles Rock Band game.


I'll be on the air tomorrow at 6:55 PM EST: Joe Milford Poetry Show.

Current Spin:

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Took a mini hiatus--thoughts on submissions, post hooplah

Just a small one. Seems after all the hullabaloo, I ran out of things to say.


Currently in the throes of putting together small manuscript packets to send out to journals. What I'm finding is I'm running out of stuff that holds my confidence. I suppose this is natural--a lot of the stuff that has my confidence is either picked up, out, or in limbo somewhere.

So here I am, sitting with a whole lot of work that I feel needs work, or work that feels reliant on other pieces. I'll still send them out, but I need to be careful about how they go out to face the world.


Suffice it to say, I'm less confident about sending out work that isn't already in a pre-conceptualized manuscript form. It's just easier for me to construct packets of poems when I already know the relationship that occurs between poems. These newer pieces are new new. I barely know who they are.


My oddness, when it comes to submissions, also stems from my concept of a poetry book. I read poetry books cover to cover. I'm not a page flipper. I don't go after single poems, I read the whole collection. So I'd like my submissions to also provide some kind of cohesion in terms of concept. When an editor gets my stuff, I want them to think, "Ah, now here's an obsession. Here's an idea." I also compose in this way. I write strings of poems as opposed to single poems.


So here I am with a new season of submissions, and I know I've got lots of poems as individual entities, but they seem strange things to me, in light of the work that I've been doing over the past two years. Here's hoping I get to know them better.


Current Spin:

J. Tillman. The drummer of the Fleet Foxes who has a forthcoming album.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

And Then September Came

September marks the end of my month-long writing exercise for August. As I mentioned in the post, it was fruitful, but in different ways.

I don't think I broke any major ground on a project I felt compelled to pursue, though I did feel I continued some projects that I had already started.


Thanks to all of you who sent me little notes via e-mail, the blog, or Facebook. It really does mean a lot and I'm quite excited about this book prize.

It was an unusual occurrence, given this was actually the first time I had actually sent the manuscript out. I can't tell you how many times FURIOUS LULLABY got submitted, considered, and ultimately rejected. I was fully prepared to send the manuscript out for consideration like I did for my previous publications.

Anyway, I feel lucky. Blessed. All of the above. I'll say no more about this except thank you, once again.


I'm getting ready to make another paella--not the spinach one, a four pepper vegetarian paella. Perhaps I'll take more photos.


Current Spin:

Mark Kozelek. "If You Want Blood, You Got It." Heh, The Red House Painters do AC/DC. ;-)