Monday, August 31, 2009

Big News Monday

The big news is Mart├Čn Espada chose my manuscript, Requiem for the Orchard as the 2009 Akron Poetry Prize winner. The book is scheduled to be released in the Spring of 2010!

Here's the link: Akron Poetry Prize


Thanks to all of you for putting up with my poem-a-day marathons in August. 3/4ths of the poems in the manuscript have arisen from this exercise.

August Poem-A-Day: Day 31

Thanks for reading guys. This is the last day of August and therefore the last poem I'll be posting up here for awhile.


Thank you and goodnight!


All told, I cheated once. By cheating I mean I posted a revision instead of a new product on one day. Otherwise, all the work I posted was written that same day.

I think I got some good parts of a manuscript or two in there. Nothing new, conceptually for me, just pieces that could work as transitions for manuscript projects I have here and there.

Part way through, it got a little hard to keep writing because of THE BIG NEWS that I was doing a poor job of keeping to myself.

Okay, so that's it for this round of poem-a-days. Thanks all for reading.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 30

Don't have an ending yet, but I used up all my time.



August Poem-A-Day: Day 29


Friday, August 28, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 28

Don't REALLY have a title for this one, so I stuck something at the top as a placeholder.

Submit or Rue: Kundiman Book Prize

The details are here: Kundiman & Alice James.

We hope to continue this cooperative venture for some time. If you know any Asian American poets, please encourage them to submit their manuscripts.


Mega Millions lottery jackpot=$333 million dollars.

What would YOU do with $333 million dollars? Me . . . I'd set up an endowment for a few literary journals and presses. I'd definitely assist in the endowment of Kundiman.


Current Spin:

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band.

Some Newish Poems Online

Check 'em out here on Diode.


Okay, whew. I only have four more days of this poem-a-day thingy. I can do this.


Watched Inglourious Basterds today with my dad. I'm glad Meredith didn't go because I don't think she'd be into the revenge fantasy part of it, or the heavy violence. As ever, this Tarantino film is about film much more than it is about killing Nazis--though this happens and with great frequency. Mind you, I enjoyed myself immensely because I knew it was going to be a "cartoon," but it's not for everyone.

I'm going to try to watch District 9 sometime. Dunno when. Don't tell me anything.


You know how I said there was going to be a big announcement here on Friday? I lied. It'll be on Monday.


Current Spin:

Camera Obscura. I can't believe I heard this in an IGA Grocery Store.

August Poem-A-Day: Day 27



HOOOO! Fading!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 25


Me, Reading Here

The Collagist recently published five poems of mine. Here's some audio of me reading. If you listen closely, you might hear our neighbor's rooster.


Last day at the Camano Island Residency for this week. I'll be back one more time. I'm finding that I can only really sustain short spurts without absolutely going loopy and wanting to scrub floors or something (I am, in fact, currently doing laundry). I'm wired like my mother. I have to be constantly moving--constantly busy. Even when I'm writing poems, as I've said previously, I need to be doing something else while writing poems. That's why I listen to music when I write.

Can you imagine me at a meditative retreat? I'd drive everyone mad.


I'll be looking at a friend's manuscript today as my "book." I've read two books so far. Vijay Sesshadri's THE LONG MEADOW and Sean Singer's DISCOGRAPHY. I'll be reading V. Penelope Pelizzon's NOSTOS before I leave here and then my friend's "book". I've read individual poems from each collection before, but this really was the first time I've sat down and actually read their books from cover to cover. It's interesting to see how each of them have shaped their manuscripts. Vijay has a very long memoir in the middle of THE LONG MEADOW which is interesting, but for me sort of cut the momentum of the book. I loved the poems in the first half of the book, but after the memoir my attention sort of waned. It may be because I picked it up late in the afternoon. I was also surprised by how formal the book was. Lots of perfect rhyming couplets and staggered rhymes throughout the book.

Where Vijay's book was very formal, Sean's book was improvisational. Throughout he's got these wonderful dramatic monologues which remind me of my former teacher Norman Dubie. Lyrically, though, Sean's range seems much more jazzy. Don't get me wrong, Norman's musical, but it's a different kind of music--bluegrass vs. jazz. You know there's a tonal difference just by the simple presence of a banjo. Anyway, Sean has these "Singer" poems scattered here and there throughout the book which serve as an anchor for the structure of the book. I think they're necessary because the disparate monologue voices he has throughout the book could overwhelm a structure, I think.

I don't know much about V. Penelope Pelizzon apart from hearing her read (VERY well) on The Fishouse. And I'm not sure she reads much from NOSTOS on that site. What I do know is that I've had the book on my shelf for some time and had been meaning to get to it but parenting happened.


Papatya sent me a handful of short stories to read and I'm afraid I've only read one, but what a one it was! I thoroughly enjoyed Anthony Doerr's story "The Shell Collector". And I'm talking about the individual story, not the book. Now I'm going to have to track down that book. He's very list-y, which is right up my alley.


Okay, I'm through with being literary--time to goof around a bit. I posted this video on FB because I like it so much, so I'll post it for you here. Current spin:

Donora. "I Think I Like You." The hula-hoopster is Lauren. She's not part of the band.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quick, what's your reaction when you see . . .

. . . a table of contents that looks something like this?:

Camera 1.doc
Camera 2.doc
Camera 3.doc
Camera 4.doc
Camera 5.doc
Camera 6.doc
Camera 7.doc
Camera 8.doc
Dear Empire [these are your beasts].doc
Dear Empire [these are your canyons].doc
Dear Empire [these are your dead].doc
Dear Empire [these are your evenings].doc
Dear Empire [these are your followers].doc
Dear Empire [these are your goods].doc
Dear Empire [these are your holy places].doc
Dear Empire [these are your meadows].doc
Dear Empire [these are your monuments].doc
Dear Empire [these are your nights].doc
Dear Empire [these are your orders].doc
Dear Empire [these are your pastures].doc
Dear Empire [these are your plains].doc
Dear Empire [these are your processions].doc
Dear Empire [these are your questions].doc
Dear Empire [these are your ramparts].doc
Dear Empire [these are your skies].doc
Dear Empire [these are your structures].doc
Dear Empire [these are your subjects].doc
Dear Empire [these are your volcanoes].doc
Dear Empire [these are your winters].doc
Dear Empire [this is your aftermath].doc
Dear Empire [this is your art].doc
Dear Empire [this is your breeze].doc
Dear Empire [this is your city].doc
Dear Empire [this is your contrition].doc
Dear Empire [this is your photo in the absence of flowers].doc
Dear Empire [this is your product].doc
Dear Empire [this is your purview].doc
Dear Empire [this is your rival].doc
Dear Empire [this is your subject].doc
Dear Empire [this is your tremor].doc
Dear Empire [this is your window].doc
Dear Empire [these are your phantoms].doc
Dear Empire [this is your tomb].doc
Dear Empire [this is your photo].doc


I've been organizing a computer file-folder filled with these epistolary poems, plus a few newer things that I've been writing. The number of poems in the folder is 44. Each poem is one page, so that's 44 pages of poems. Too short, I know, but it's a draft of something. I also have in mind distributing the "Nocturne" poems I've been writing throughout this draft collection to see what they look like.

And those poems are here:

Nocturne on Good Friday.doc
Nocturne in Red and Blue.doc
Nocturne with a General at His Study.doc
Nocturne with a Glass of Water.doc
Nocturne with an Errant Horse.doc
Nocturne with a Dictator.doc

The "Camera" poems will more than likely be scattered throughout, and will not remain at the front of the manuscript.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing all morning.

Tired Eyes

IMG_2074, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Me and the boy at the NW WA Fair.


I too have tired eyes. I've been reading all morning. Good stuff, but like I said, my eyes are tired.


I think in the next few hours I'll try to put down some pages and try to organize a new manuscript. It's a very different manuscript--allegorical, dystopian. Not a happy feel-good manuscript, but something I've been working on for the past two years, off and on.


I need to look up some art. Something with orchards or apples.

Current Spin:

The Gossip.

August Poem-A-Day: Day 24


Sunday, August 23, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 23 (Post #1000!)



Yay! Post #1000 on this blog!

In-Laws and the Waning Summer

My in-laws are in town, visiting from Georgia. We only get to see Meredith's folks once a year, so we've been quite busy and quite schedule-heavy the past few days.

All of us went to the Northwest Washington Fair which was quite fun, although much of our experience was going through all the animal stables and seeing the various critters. (If you follow me on Facebook, you know I am now obsessed with Pygmy Goats. I want 'em. I want 'em to clear my six acres of brush.

Anyway, L thoroughly enjoyed himself at the fair and that's really all that matters.


I've been working on two newish manuscripts. I just need time to spread pages across a big table and see what I've got. I'm pretty sure one's almost done and another is about half way there, but I don't have the space to spread out the pages and walk around to see how the connections are made. When the baby's around, anything on the ground is liable to end up trampled, slobbered-on, or eaten.


Mere's dad heads back out tomorrow, but her mom's staying for a longer spell. We'll all head down for lunch at the Camano Island Residency house and then they'll leave me there for two nights while I work on poems. I'm feeling moderately guilty about leaving them, but I also feel guilty for not utilizing this gift of a house. Such is the life of a papa poet, I suppose.


Current spin:

The Do. "On My Shoulders."

August Poem-A-Day: Day 22


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 19


Je m'excuse!

Sorry but I forgot to mention that the first issue of The Collagist is out with some of my work as well as some fabulous prose poems by fellow blogger Charles Jensen. I also dig Christina Kallery's poems. Check 'em out!


I am sorry, but I cannot divulge the secret.


I am sorry that I ate the plums.


Franz Ferdinand. "Sorry for the Angel." Serge Gainsbourg revisited.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 18

Camera 6

The doors of the bear paddock are ajar. Having no bears to house, a door is merely part of the landscape. Therefore the landscape is wide, beyond the margins of the frame. The frame, also, is landscape and therefore no longer banal. Once, there were bears here. They were omnivorous and ate the hard ends of the lettuce thrown into their pen as well as salmon steaks. Once there were spectators on the other side of the lens. They were all beautiful and dull. Banal, despite the frame. The zoo is just a placement of doors without animals. A zoo is a frame with no subject which has the potential to be beautiful.

Oh, the things I have to tell you.

Watch this blog.


A little past the mid-point of the poem-a-day exercise with one slight hiccup yesterday. I'm in between projects right now, so I feel a little torn about which "voice" I'm more interested in at the moment. Then again, I think for now it's just good to write because lord knows once the academic year starts up again I won't be writing much.


Overheard from my mother while talking to my son: "What is that? That's a skank. Skank." she says pointing to a cartoon skunk.

So my son will be calling stinky people skanks from now on.


Very happy today. :D


Current Spin:

Chad Vangaalen.

Monday, August 17, 2009

August Poem-a-Day: Day 17

Fiddling with a ghazal . . . Very giddy today, so this is a revision and not a new draft.


Back from Vancouver

IMG_1879, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Basically it was a trip to Stanley Park and all the various establishments around the park--the aquarium, the petting zoo, the sea wall, etc..

I'm definitely getting a Nexus pass because the border wait time coming back sucked.


The aquarium was L's favorite.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009


I'm heading to Vancouver, BC, with the whole family. Wish us luck!

On the to do list:

1) The Aquarium
2) The Zoo
3) Chinatown
4) Granville Island

What's missing? Any suggestions?


Current Spin:

The Blow.

August Poem-A-Day: Day 15

Posting for the next two days. I'm on the road.



August Poem-A-Day: Day 14

Posting for the next two days. I'm on the road and don't know what kind of connection I'll have.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 13

Second poem of a sequence I started the other day.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 12



Working on a new poetic sequence. There will be more camera poems. Bear with me as I fight this demon.

Cloud in the form of a bucking horse

IMG_1862, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

or . . . kneeling Spartan with shield and feathered helmet.


IMG_1861, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Back of the house

IMG_1860, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

The view from the top of the hill

IMG_1856, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Where I breathe part II

IMG_1855, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Where I breathe

IMG_1854, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Where I write

IMG_1851, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Where I curl my lashes

IMG_1849, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Where I sleep

IMG_1848, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

I didn't make the bed, so I didn't come all the way into the room for a picture. Sorry.

Where I read

IMG_1843, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Residency Kitchen & Living Room

IMG_1842, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

It's a mess because I have books, a toner cartridge, and other things here and there, but it's very sunny and pleasant.

My Island Residency

IMG_1853, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Here's where I've been since Monday. I can only stay for a few days this week. I will be coming back, though. Once Meredith's done with summer classes it'll be much easier to coordinate our schedules, what with the baby and all.

Either way, I've managed to read four books of poetry, write five poems (going to try for more this morning), and I plan on putting together a rough first draft of a new prose poem manuscript. It's been a productive two days. That's what happens when you're working with the proverbial gun to your head.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 11

Another of the Nocturne pieces which are companions to some "Dear
Empire" poems I had written in April. I felt I had needed something
to "narrate" the epistolary poems, so here's more of an attempt at
narrating what looks to be a manuscript sequence.


So, What Are You Up To, Blog?

Spent the morning working on some revisions as well as an essay and some feedback on the manuscript of a friend (who no longer needs the feedback ;-)). Anyway, it was morning of much reading, writing, and thinking.

I'm realizing why I have this blog after having spent the morning looking at a sampling of my poetry. This blog is my break from my poetry. I come here to be distracted because when you write so long about conflict, you want to come to a place of rest. That's more or less why I have musical links towards the bottom right of my right-hand margin.

I'm finding, also, that my prevailing impulse is towards story and a story happens when opposing forces collide. This blog has no story. The main oppositional force to my blog is my not writing in my blog.

The initial impetus that triggered my keeping a blog in the first place is to keep in touch with friends. Thus, the blog is here to ensure me that I am not my poems, though I am also my poems.

The blog, so far, has not interfered with the construction of poems, but rather, has given me the necessary rest I need so I can work on my poems.

The blog is episodic. There is no narrative to the blog.

The blog has a narrative which is the narrative towards disjuncture--to celebrate in that disjuncture.

There are photos of dogs in my blog. There are complaints.

The blog is to show me that I am still me, despite what occurs in lineation.


I'm here at the residency house for one more day, and then I head back home to help Meredith host company from France. I do have access to the house until mid-September, and I intend to utilize the house, which is very quiet and very very lovely. I promise, pictures soon. For now, though, I have to keep my head down at my writing desk.

I'll post my poem-a-day poem tonight.

Current Spin:

The Eulogies: "Two Can Play"

Monday, August 10, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 10


From a house overlooking the bay

I'm currently at the Camano Island Residency house. Oh my god. Photos soon. Until then, here's a video Crystal Williams forwarded to me on Facebook. I laughed and laughed:

August Poem-A-Day: Day 9



This sucker kicked and bucked. It didn't want to be pinned down. Suffice it to say, I went a wee over the 1-hour time limit.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Paella Esmeralda

Paella Esmeralda, originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Since many of you on Facebook were asking, here's the recipe as well as directions. I have a grill and a pretty wide paella dish, so I heat this dish up on my outdoor grill.


4 cups vegetable broth
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped yellow pepper
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 cups chopped spinach
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
2 cups rice
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
pinch of saffron
6 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp pine nuts

In a separate skillet, simmer the vegetable broth, cumin, turmeric, parsley, and basil and set aside for later.

In a paella pan, add the olive oil and the pine nuts and lightly roast the pine nuts. Then add the garlic, the onions, and the chopped peppers to the paella pan until the vegetables are transparent. After a few minutes, add the chopped spinach and the chopped olives and heat until the spinach is wilted.

After the spinach is wilted, add the vegetable broth mixture along with the mushrooms and the rice to the paella dish. Cook until the rice is soft.

Top the dish with grated manchego cheese and a little dash of paprika for color.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 8



This was a "punching-the-clock" poem. I'll try to do better tomorrow. It is Saturday, after all.

Lesser Remembered Songs from John Hughes Film Soundtracks

Oh sure, you remember Pretty in Pink by the Psychedelic Furs. And Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds.

But there were other songs on his soundtracks. Here are some of my favorite lesser known tracks:

Sigue Sigue Sputnik. "Love Missle F1-11" from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.


Charlie Sexton "Beat So Lonely." Some Kind of Wonderful.


Flesh for Lulu. "I Go Crazy." Some Kind of Wonderful


Kate Bush. "This Woman's Work." From She's Having a Baby

Now, I know this is a pretty well known song and Maxwell is enjoying success covering Kate Bush, but did you know the song was in a John Hughes film? Easy enough to forget.


OMD. "Tesla Girls." From Weird Science.


RIP John Hughes.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Boy, I almost didn't make it to the writing desk today.

Baby woke up at 6:30 AM and I took care of him until 2:30PM while Meredith worked. After she got back, I mowed the lawn which took 2 hours (we've got a big lawn). Then I cooked, fed the baby, gave the baby a bath.

As I mentioned in my status update for Twitter/Facebook, while Meredith was reading him bedtime stories, I was the one falling asleep.

So, yeah, I had to push myself to stick with the program today. The poem, however, wrote itself after I figured out the first few lines.


I've got a big stack of poetry books on my desk. Ready, set, go.


I think we're haunted. In the living room, one of L's toys--a puzzle that emits specific car noises when you place the correct pieces into the slots--keeps going off.

I watch too much cable. Clearly.


Telekinesis. I! I! I! went to Tokyo! Drumming! Singing! Wee!

August Poem-A-Day: Day 7


Thursday, August 06, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 6



I was reading National Geographic at the gym and came upon an article about the mummies of Sicily. Here's an image of
Rosalia Lombardo, the mummy that's the topic of the poem. Salafia was her embalmer.


Or at least, they're selling like hotcakes: Handmade notebooks made by Jovencio de la Paz, my cousin.


Speaking of hotcakes, I want some.


Gray day. As opposed to a grey day, which is the British spelling. I remember a particular grad school mentor used to berate people for using the British spelling in their poems. I have to admit, "grey" is sexier than "gray."

I've never had an experience with a journal editor who preferred either spelling. Have you?


Five more days till the Camano Island house.


Current Spin:

The Russian Futurists. The world is not ready for this band yet.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Summer Wane

I feel like my summer is swiftly coming to a close, though I know I still have roughly a month and a half. Things have been busy in a domestic sense, though not in a writerly sense. With my son walking now there's much policing to do around the house. Every corner is a danger. Actually . . . he's not just walking, he's climbing, so there's that.

This all leads me to say that the poem-a-day venture couldn't be possible without the sacrifices of Meredith. She definitely deserves a shout-out here.


Next week I'm going to check out my Camano Island residency house as part of my winning the GAP grant.

I'm fortunate to have two or three projects in hand, and I hope to use the time wisely up there. I've never gone away to write before (never been to a colony or a retreat other than Kundiman--and I work at Kundiman), so I'm worried that I might go a little stir-crazy. But I figure as long as I work at least three hours a day I should get a lot out of the experience.


What books should I bring with me?


I've been following the story of the two journalists who were imprisoned in N. Korea very closely. When I had cable TV, I watched a lot of the profiles on Current TV, the television station that Al Gore partially funds. In fact, the other day at my parents house, I had watched an investigative journalism piece by Laura Ling on the Narco War in Mexico. It's my understanding that she and Euna Lee were doing a piece on the trafficking of women across the N. Korea/China border. Gutsy journalists, both of them.


In many ways, Laura Ling and Euna Lee's story reminds me of Melissa's story.

I've been getting heckled via e-mail from anonymous posters for supporting Melissa because 1) I know her and respect her as an artist and a person and 2) I am in awe of her beliefs and her willingness to fight for those beliefs.

Dear Anonymous, get lost.


Current Spin:

August Poem-A-Day: Day 5


August Poem-A-Day: Day 4



As I mentioned earlier, I had an hour time-limit. I definitely went over the time-limit for this poem, though not excessively so. I was chasing an ending and I'm pretty sure I still haven't gotten it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

Saturday, August 01, 2009

August Poem-A-Day: Day 1

Once again, my annual summer poem-a-day in the spirit of NaPoWriMo. The poems will live here for several hours before I pull them off the site.

My writing group's given us a 1-hour time limit to compose. I admit I went only slightly over for this particular poem.

I'm working on a new series here for a very different project--it's an allegorical manuscript. Tonally, very dark. Here's a taste: