Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Ok, here's the quiz

Alright, as I mentioned earlier, I give quizzes in my creative writing class. The scores were low for both sections of creative writing. I went over all this material in class AND I even repeated some questions from an earlier quiz. Here's the quiz. I'll post the answers later.

1. Answer the following questions about this particular form.
a. Which verse form has the following rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg

b. What are the last two lines of this form called?

2. Scan the following lines and provide the correct name for the rhythm and meter.

Playing his Beethoven


3. Scan the following lines and provide the correct name for the rhythm and meter.

Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn; and, cauldron bubble.

4. Define "Typography" and explain its use in poetry

5. Give me an example of onomatopoeia in a line.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


To my dear friend Sue Allspaw Pomeroy. Brilliant poet and new dog owner. ;-)

Mini Plug

Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation

Saturday, October 30, 7 PM

Victoria Chang, editor of Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (U of Illinois Press) and an exciting lineup of young / emerging poets including Jennifer Chang, Tina Chang, Oliver de la Paz, Timothy Liu, Aimee Nezhykumatahil, Adrienne Su, Monica Youn and Suji Kwock Kim. Part of Intimacy & Geography: The National Asian American Poetry Initiative, funded by The Ford Foundation. Book signing and reception to follow.

$5 suggested donation
@ the Workshop
The Asian American Writers' Workshop
16 West 32nd Street, Suite 10A
New York, NY 10001
212.494.0061 tel

Monday, September 27, 2004

Please welcome . . .

Paul Guest to the blogosphere!

Manuscript Submission Season!

Or MeSS!!!

"Furious Lullaby," my second manuscript, has been on the contest cycle for about a year and a half. In that time, I've spent over $500.00 on contest fees alone. So if you can imagine including postage, photo copying fees, envelopes, etc., it wouldn't be shocking if you spent close to $1000 per contest year. That's a lot of dough! That's three 40GB iPods! That's a quick trip to Europe (if you live cheaply)! That's a full set of luggage!

Anyway, it's about time to send your manuscripts out, folks. Especially if those journal subscriptions you get by entering a contest are starting to expire.

Since graduate school, I've had a separate savings account designated just for publishing enterprises. So, from that account I draw out the money to pay for stuff like this.

Also . . . I think you can write off all this stuff in your taxes if you keep receipts . . . right? Does anyone know? I'm pretty sure you can if your profession is "Writer" or "Education," but I better leave that for the CPA's.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

When procrastination is a good thing . . .

I spent the morning playing video games and watching football pre-game shows. How cool is that? Meanwhile, on my desk there are 35 composition essays that need to be graded. (For those of you who don't know, in addition to teaching creative writing courses, I teach two composition courses as well. That's right. I'm in the trenches.) They'll need to get done soon because this week, I'm bringing Sally Keith down from Rochester for a reading at Utica. So there's a lot of micromanaging that needs doing.

I watched part of the Eagles/Lions game and then Meredith and I decided to go up to Old Forge, NY, with Jake. It was gorgeous. As soon as I get my digital camera connected, I'll post some pictures. The leaves are changing color. It's about 1/2 peak right now, so there's still some green around, but the reds, yellow, and oranges are starting to take over.

When I got back, I called Evelina Galang. No answer on both her phones. I hope she's okay, what with Hurricane Jeanne and all. Nick Carbo and Denise Duhamel are down in Hollywood, FL, and that's pretty close to Miami. Papatya Bucak's also down there. . . so I'm worried. Lots of love heading down that way.


To Bino Realuyo!

Welcome to the Blogosphere!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Wireless and my multitasking ways

I bought an Airport Express with Airtunes recently because I'm a nerd. I have to say that this thing's incredible and I'm hooked on wireless. Yesterday evening, I commented on poems, had the television on, and read blogs all at the same time. My cable modem's on the other end of the house, so it was a great thrill to be connected to the internet. Will this gadget help my poetry? Definitely not, but it'll allow me to listen to Bjork's Medulla on itunes while I play with the dog in the living room. :-D

Speaking of Bjork, Meredith and I listened to her while we played LIFE. It was all very eerie with Bjork's gutteral chants and resonant choral melodies reverberating through the apartment while I pushed my tiny representation of myself through the twisted maze of the board. I ended up a millionaire, having won a Pulitzer, a Nobel, and being the discoverer of the cure for the common cold. Sadly, in my real life I have not been feted, honored, or even paid. And if I had in fact, found the cure for the common cold, I wouldn't be suffering from it now.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

You give quizzes?? For poetry??!!!

The answer is yes. I do. And sadly, my students don't fare so well. They're simple questions, really. "In the space below, write an example of alliteration." Or "In the following metaphor, which is the tenor and which is the vehicle?: ". . . the green jungle of our sleep."

Out of 25 total points, the lowest score was . . . well, it was low. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I'm trying to do my part, folks. But it's an uphill battle. The next student that calls a stanza a PARAGRAPH will incur my wrath.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Still coughing

I'm still coughing. Blah. Only now I'm not having coughing fits that wake me up in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for poor Meredith. She's currently going through the same bout with the cold. Alas, we are a sickly crew.

Spent yesterday watching football again. It's such a guilty pleasure. A.J. Feeley was a kid who used to play for my high school alma mater. I remember him when he was a scrawny kid who was the waterboy for our varsity football team. Poor guy got harrassed and harangued all evening! I tell you, I'm glad I'm a poet. There's no tackling in poetry, though I've seen a few workshops where folks were on the verge of coming to blows.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Do you hear that howling wind?

That, my friends, is the collective heartbroken sigh from all the boys (and some girls) in the literary world upon hearing that poet, babe, and ultra sweetie, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, is getting married.

Congrats to Aimee and the D man!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I'm siiiiiiiiiiiick.

I used to say that when I was a kid, pitched at just the right frequency to gel my mother's nerves. I'm actually sick at the moment. It's an early cold season here in Utica. The weather's changing. It's warm during the day and chilly at night. All the undergrads are inoculating each other in their dorm rooms. . . picking their noses and wiping them on doorknobs, desks, podiums. I'll bet one of my students infected my coffee mug while I wasn't looking. I knew I'd be getting sick this weekend. It was only a matter of time. I've been having a bit of trouble sleeping because I've been adjusting to a new teaching schedule which has me teaching 8:30AM classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a 6:30-9:20PM class squeezed between on Wednesday. Anyway, I just got back from teaching a night class and my throat feels like I swallowed a hairbrush. It's hard to be taken seriously when you're giving feedback on someone's poem and your voice cracks in and out.

So I'm nursing my throat by drinking a combination of Echinacea tea, honey, and lemon. I regret being the son of a pragmatic woman, sometimes. I never got to experience a bizarre home remedy for a cold. Any of you have weird home remedies? Just curious.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Happy Birthday to Sarah Gambito!

Everybody . . . do the Hamster Dance!!

Torx Screwdriver, size 8.

I got an Airport card for Meredith's G4 Powerbook yesterday. I'm already on a mini-wireless network, using an Airport Express Base Station (love, love, love). I needed to remove the base of the computer in order to install the card. Anyway, I flipped over her laptop to install the card and lo . . . eight tiny screws with a star shaped impression. I'd never seen that type of impression on a screw-head before. I tried to unscrew the base using a precision flathead screwdriver. That didn't work, and I was bending the screwdriver head. After several trips up and down stairs to retrieve and return tools to my toolbox, I realized that I needed help. I looked at the Apple solutions webpage and it said that I needed an Torx Screwdriver, Size 8. At this point, I hadn't run Jake (the dog) yet, so I suited him up and plopped him in the car. It was a beautiful sunny day . . . slightly warm. With the windows lowered, we hit Home Depot first. I looked up and down the tool aisle and found a set of Torx screwdrivers, but the smallest size they had was a Size 10. I asked for help and a guy named Raoul sidled up to me, wearing his orange Home Depot smock. Together we looked up and down the aisle for the illusive Torx 8. We looked at all manner of combo screwdriver packs, tool kits, drill bits, etc. Finally, he turned to me and said, "Man, we don't have it."

I was dejected and Jake was in the car panting. Jake and I then set off to a smaller hardware store called Hallak's. The minute I walked in, a young man at the cash register asked if he could help me. I asked him about the Torx 8 and immediately he said, "We don't carry it. Go to an automotive store."

So, I jumped back into the car with Jake and we drove to Checker Auto Parts. I went to the tool section and found a Torx set, but none of them were marked with sizes. A fellow at the front desk asked if he could help me. Together, we looked up and down the aisle for the Torx 8. He finally turned to me and said, "Have you tried Home Depot?"

I hopped in my car. Poor Jake was panting and tired. His eyes were droopy. I decided to go home. When we got home, Jake drank eagerly from his water dish as I went back upstairs to retrieve the toolbox. I pulled out a precision flat head screwdriver that I had previously used in a failed attempt. This time, I pushed down a bit harder, turned a bit slower, and watched the screws from the bottom of Meredith's laptop, lift from the case. The Airport card was installed successfully.

The moral of this story? You don't need a stinkin' Torx screwdriver for nuthin'.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

I'm such a guy guy.

Sunday's football day. I basically spent the entire afternoon grading papers in front of the television. I caught a glimpse of the Giants vs. Eagles. I also watched a little bit of the Redskins vs. Tampa Bay. I also watched the men's US Open tennis final. I don't particularly like Roger Federer, but man, does he have a pretty game. I flat out hate Lleyton Hewitt, so I'm glad he lost.

Right now Meredith's washing dishes while I watch the Broncos vs. KC. :-) I tell you, this has been a GOOD Sunday.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

The new G4 computer!

Well, got my old G4 Tower back this morning, complete with a brand new hard drive. The drive's twice the size as my old one at 120GB. Sadly, though, they couldn't save my data. So at the moment, I'm re-installing software. *sigh*

Ah well, so much for this afternoon!

Friday, September 10, 2004

The battle against abstractions: Round 2

I've noticed that when my students switch from writing poetry to the fiction unit, they feel more compelled to describe and provide detail when they write stories than when they write poems.

My first thought is that they see poems as compressed language. Because of that compression, they need to use shorthand (abstraction), in order to say what they want to say.

My second thought is that they view poetry as closely in league with philosophy. A poem is about ideas first and not about image.

Finally, as was stated in the previous post, the abstract language will allow the readers to interpret the poem in whatever way that reader wishes. It's the idea that the poem allows the writer AND the reader freedom. However, the reader is empowered in this model and ultimately, it's the reader who's writing the poem, it seems.

So . . . what to do? More in a few. I've got to teach in ten minutes. ;-)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Kundiman Retreat Photo

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
For those of you who are curious, here's a big photo with all Kundiman 2004 participants. Marilyn Chin's in the front. You'll be able to spot Rick Barot and David Mura somewhere in there. Daisy Rodriguez is to the far right. You'll see the Pornstar and the luscious Sarah Gambito in there somewhere as well.

The battle against abstractions: Round 1

We were talking about images in my beginning creative writing class today. I started talking about abstract nouns like love, hate, justice, etc.. I compared these to nouns I like that are more concrete. Well, the students didn't like to hear what I had to say about abstract nouns. One particular student flat-out disagreed with me. *sigh* It's the same battle I have every year. What is it with abstract nouns, anyway? Why are they so appealing to the younger writer? Of course, I'm pretty sure that it's because folks are not quite equipped with the tools they need to go beyond their reliance on these abstractions and that it's a matter of time and exposure to work, but it's always a divisive point. It's the big speed bump that slows down the progress of a creative writing class as a collective.

More on this later.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Sometimes it's better to be ignorant . . .

. . . when it comes to computers. This weekend I ran a diagnostic test on my G4 tower, since I noticed it had been running slower than usual. I've had the computer since early 2001 and it's been a fantastic help. Anyway, I ran the diagnostic using the disk utilities that come with the computer and I discovered that my Hard Drive was "FAILING" in red letters. I started to freak. I backed up all my teaching files and all my poems. I burned those to disk. I e-mailed copies of my manuscript to myself. I dragged file copies to another hard drive. Basically, I did everything the techies tell you to do. So, I checked online to see what one does when a hard drive begins to fail and it said that I need to replace the hard drive. :-( ACK! I'm worried about the cost. I'm also wondering if the parts will be available for the computer because it's an older model of G4 and the technology in drives, etc. has advanced. Basically, knowing all this stuff has created money anxiety. I don't know if I can 1) afford a new hard drive and 2) afford a new computer. Additionally, I need a computer for teaching, printing, writing, . . . writing you guys. *sigh* Maybe this is just the excuse I need to shell out some cash for a G5. . . :-) I've always wanted one of those.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

We never did this in Sunday school!

And frankly, I feel cheated. Aimee, Barbara Jane, Patrick, Jon, Joseph, Sarah, and myself have gotten into this silly biblical conversation. We're basically embarking on this collaborative project with a religious theme. . . Anyway, wouldn't it be fun to do one of these projects? This one's courtesy of Patrick.