Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Submit or Rue: Knockout

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (ONLY 3 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER): The 2009 Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize. Final judge: Carl Phillips. Deadline: 8/1/09. Prizes include $300, $50, and $25 gift certificates to Powell's Books and publication of winning poems in Knockout. Guidelines here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Post-Baptism Smiles

IMG_1825, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

This past weekend my aunt and uncle came up from Long Beach, CA, to be the godparents of L.

It was really unbearably hot in the church. On top of that, L. didn't want to stay still, thus generating more heat.

The service was a very long hour and fifteen minutes in the heat with a squirmy baby.

Life was hectic for the past 48 hours, but now we're all smiles.


It's been a muggy 80ish degrees around here. Very uncomfortable working conditions.


The reason why I'm concerned about the working conditions is that I feel like I'm on the verge of a productive burst. I'm getting ready . . .

I'm not sure how, exactly, I'll be productive, but I feel like I've been playing the waiting game and now I'm getting restless. It's a weird way to work, I know, but that's just my deal. I've tried to retrain my brain, but I wind up resenting the writing desk. So I've fallen into this rhythm which, so far, has kept me writing.


Current spin:

A.A. Bondy.

Friday, July 24, 2009


There are things that need to be done in order to keep the peace in a family. Tomorrow, one of our peace-keeping deals will be to get L baptized. Rather than subject Meredith to my mother's scorn, we've both decided to go to Asuncion Catholic Church and spare my son from, in my mother's point of view, eternal damnation.


So things have been busy around here. Guests are coming for this momentous occasion. My aunt from Long Beach, CA, will be getting a vacation from her eroding state to visit a northerly eroding state.


Sorry, cynical and snide today. I'm actually moodier in person. Ask Meredith. She knows.


I'm going to send bits of my chapbook off to journals later this week. As I was prepping my submissions log for the oncoming Fall rush, I noticed something--a little less than half of the poems that were taken in 2007 to 2009 were taken by online journals. The bulk of my acceptances are with the more traditional print journals, but more and more of my stuff can be found online these days. Just a little something that caught my attention.

My bosses at WWU don't care, either way (or at least that's what they say).


The reason why it could be a concern is that I go up for tenure this year. I don't foresee any major difficulty . . . I just have to keep doing what I'm doing.


Current spin:

Julie Peel. More Summery music.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Props to WWU Creative Writing Students

Robyn Bateman - December 1992 from Christian Saxton on Vimeo.

A video written and directed by WWU Creative Writing Students. Wow.

Slightly Overcast, Chance of Reading

Deception Pass Bridge, originally uploaded by rattybill.

The writerly-type weather has returned to the Pacific Northwest . . . at least my part of the Pacific Northwest.

I've got a list of things to do a mile long and still I manage to procrastinate. I suppose it's par for the summer course.


In other news, I've had some recent journal publication successes. So all's not lost.


With July ending, a part of me feels my summer break's just melting away. But then almost in the same moment, I remember I teach on the quarter system, so I've got until the end of September.


I am trying to teach myself how to play the guitar and the ukulele . . . so there's that.


Current Spin:

Zee Avi. Ukulele player and inspiration.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shutting Up. Keeping My Head Down.

I realize I spend a significant amount of time complaining about not writing.

This, I believe, is the natural ebb and flow for a writer. I know I need to get sick of hearing myself complain about non-productivity. When you're in the presence of a nag, the initial effect of the nag is nullified (YMMV). I know, at least, when my folks nagged me as a teen, I didn't get anything that they had wanted done until after they stopped nagging me. So, I'm still giving myself the finger and doing my own thing--watching The Wire. Eating potato chips. Surfing the web. I do feel myself getting bored of my leisure.

Soon, I predict, I'll get off my ass and start to work on some new materials.


So, what's on my plate--well, there's this matter of reading 32 books. Again, I put that number out there arbitrarily. I felt it was a goal that I could achieve during my summer break. Alas, I've not been reading as much as I have in the past for a number of reasons. Not all of the excuses are good excuses, so I'll spare you from hearing them.

I've also got three writing projects. I worked on one of them in June--my little chapbook. I'm going to work on converting that into a book-length collection. It needs an interruption, I feel. It's too much of one particular tone and there's not enough movement to keep a reader interested for anything longer than a chapbook.

There's also the poems I wrote to take a break from some of the newish fatherhood poems I had been writing. I've got about fifteen rhetorical poems (they're in couplets) that I think would be an interesting collection.

Finally I've got a project I started about five years ago that I've stopped, focusing on migrant Filipino workers in the middle part of last century (weird to say last century).

So you see, I could be really really busy right now, but I'm choosing not to be.

I feel like I'm biding my time before I head over to the Camano Island house.


I am, however, discovering lots of good new music:

Rural Alberta Advantage. Seems like a lot of the stuff I like these days is from Canada. What does that say about me? Maybe it has something to do with my proximity to the US/Canada border . . .

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Focus! Focus!

I've been having a tough time concentrating these days. The child is ambulatory . . . well, not just ambulatory, he's a dynamo. He's in the climbing stage, so he's getting on top of everything--the fireplace, the sofa, the dog. I have to be ever vigilant, so I really can't do much of anything except keep L preoccupied.

I really shouldn't use my son as an excuse for my not writing or reading much this summer, but it's true. He's quite a big reason for my lack of productivity.

There is hope, though. August is just around the corner and I plan on writing a poem a day as I do every August with my usual online writing group.


I've got a stack of beautiful books on my desk. Just received Jonathan Thirkield's The Waker's Corridor from The Academy. I've also got Myung Mi Kim's Penury and Michael S. Harper's Use Trouble. I've also got The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor.

Maybe being in their proximity will urge me to write.


I am, however, currently commenting on a friend's manuscript, so I'm doing something poetry related.


Manuscript 3 is out of my house.


My house is hot.


Current Spin:

We Were Promised Jetpacks.

The Present Tense

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Is getting guilty

First off, my current theme song:


Now, I've been sucked into the internet vortex. Clearly I need to get off my ass and start creating art, but I've never been one of those artists who could sit for hours on end in front of a pad, typewriter, computer screen and grind. I'm not a grinder.

I like this one story I heard about Dylan Thomas the other day . . . Apparently after an all-night bender, he woke up the next morning and went to his writing shed, as per his ritual. He sat there for several hours writing nothing. Finally, he wrote "Oh!" as in the poetic "Oh!" Thus, fulfilling his writing obligations for that morning.

So . . . this blog is, in a way, fulfilling my "Oh!" quota.



It's too damn hot to sit still, though now there's a very pleasant breeze which is bringing along with it some very unpleasant pine pollen.


My 160 GB iPod is almost full. How ya like me now, Best Buy jerk?.


Speaking of audio, I've been recording MP3's of myself. Anyone know how to attach 'em to a blog? I'm assuming I need to go to a third party site like Youtube or something.


Children next door . . . screaming.


Current Spin:

Vetiver. I like how it's Karaoke-ready.

Recent Obsessions

Things that have been keeping me up at night:

1. The Wire
2. Wagons
3. Bears
4. Garageband
5. Lawnmowers


Not much to say. It's the dog days of summer. I'm not feeling much motivation to do anything at all.

I did just polish up a chapbook which I'm going to chop up a wee bit. But after that, not much writing. I'm good with that. I did write a poem a day for a week in June. I'll pick it up once again in August.


Saw the new Harry Potter movie. Definitely scary and not for the youngish like the other movies were. I do like the raging hormones part of the story. Great fun.


What've you been up to?


Current Spin:

The Starlight Mints.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'm taking my time this week to get back into poetry writing after having spent last Tuesday through Sunday in the presence of amazing poets, activists, and teachers during the Kundiman retreat.

It does take a lot out of me traveling cross country . . . more so than it had in the past. And for this 6th annual retreat, I stayed up till 3AM for almost every night.

As you can see by the pictures below, much fun was had, as well as much writing. My enthusiasm for writing is recharged, but physically I need to recover.


I've got a stack of books here staring at me, wondering if I'm going to fulfill my 32 book obligation for the summer. I'm wondering that myself.


Ha . . . iTunes is currently playing

Talk about flashbacks. I remember I drove all the way to Salt Lake City Utah to see DM way back during the Violator tour. They were going to play in an outdoor stadium but a major storm caused all kinds of problems, so they had to postpone the concert and move it into the big indoor auditorium. But the funniest part about going to see DM was all the goth boys and girls with dripping black makeup and mud as they slid down the grassy/muddy banks trying to leave the outdoor stadium. Ha.

So my friends and I wound up staying one extra day to see DM. We drove home immediately after the concert (home was 6 hours away). We cranked the AC to keep us awake. I'll never do that again.


The real current spin:

Lightning Dust.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kundiman 2009: Workshop

IMG_1234, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

See, we really are doing work. . . .

Kundiman 2009: ???

IMG_1351, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Bet you're wondering what's going on here.

Kundiman 2009: BANJO!

IMG_1384, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Esther plucks.

Kundiman 2009: Karaoke Madness

IMG_1437, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Sing it, sisters!

Kundiman 2009: Bros 2

IMG_1444, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Kundiman 2009: Bros

IMG_1448, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Some scenes from this year's Kundiman Retreat

IMG_1450, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Soham serenading Sarah.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Kundiman 2009

IMG_1063, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

I'm writing to you from the fabulous Alderman Library.

The coffee machine is humming behind me and there's lots of writing going on.

I'm glad I'm here.

Travel was hell.

I woke up early Tuesday morning so that Meredith could take me to the airport. My flight was scheduled to depart at 7:30AM. Anyway, no hitches until the plane got on the runway, when it was discovered one of the engines wasn't working. So the took the plane back to the gate and had all of the passengers deplane. The pilot said that the delay could be anywhere from 2-3 hours. It was, of course, longer.

I wound up getting rebooked to a later afternoon flight. I originally would've gotten in to C-ville at 7PM, but instead got in at 11PM. At least I made it.


Anyway, the Kundiman Retreat is in full swing. The fellows are, as I mentioned, writing. Workshops will kick off this afternoon and boy am I impressed by this group. Some of the folks have already published a couple of books.


Current Spin:


Monday, July 06, 2009

A Kiss Before I Go

I'm getting ready to head to Charlottesville, VA, for another Kundiman Asian American Poetry Retreat.

This year's faculty includes Myung Mi Kim, Rick Barot, and Staceyann Chin.

Should be quite fantastic and quite hot.

I'm also bringing a small karaoke machine. . .

I'll try to blog on site with pictures, of course.


Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't plug an upcoming reading of mine as well as a bunch of readings for the PAWA Arkipelago Reading Series. Check the info here:


Have to say that I love the layout of Cue. Makes me want to update my own website.


So, how's the summer reading going? Slowly. I did just finish Joel Brouwer's Exactly What Happened.

Still trying to finish Almanac of the Dead. My mistake was to take this "project" on starting with a very dense and epic novel. So, I might put it down for now and keep on going through my stacks of poetry books and thinner novels.

Ultimately, what I'm finding is I'm distracted by parenting, The Wire, and deadlines.

Enough excuse making. On to the next book--I'm looking at Laura Walker's rimertown.

I'm intrigued by her atlas poems, and the delving into the memory of her small rural town.


Current Spins (Songs that remind me of Summer):

Icicle Works, and

The Dream Academy, and

The Kinks.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Stuff online

A long poem of mine can be found at Guernica Magazine.


For those of you who are interested in my recent radio bit, I've been told the show won't air in Bellingham until Friday and that the podcast will likely be available around the same time. If you're really curious, you can check back with the Chuckanut Radio Hour's Website.


I've been a busy bee indeed. Parenting, reading, writing, building garages . . .

I'm only three weeks into my summer and already I feel it sleeping away from all these projects.


I need to buckle down and finish reading stuff. Not enough hours in the day, people. What I wouldn't do for a 25th or 26th hour. To think of all the things I'd get done.


Nothing beats a good cover. Try this:

And compare it to the original: