Friday, November 29, 2013

Sandra Beasley's "Small Kingdom"

It is the day after Thanksgiving. There was no turkey. But there were magic tricks. And whiskey. I made my signature dish of kale& butternut squash over herbed polenta with blue cheese crumbles& pomegranate seeds with a drizzle of balsamic fig reduction. The reduction alone takes two hours (while I stir and watch old X-Files on Netflix) and makes me smell wonderful. 

Now it's black Friday and I am still in my bed mulling over a dream of margaritas and buttery nipples on the topside of a cruise ship. I have never been on a cruise, though sometimes that three-hour ferry to Vancouver Island feels like it should count as one. No buffet. 

This morning I finished (re)reading (every time I come to this book I come to it new) Juliana Spahr's This Connection of Everyone With Lungs and I finished reading Lisa Jarnot's Black Dog Songs, which is incantatory in its sounds and repetitions, a book I am sure I will return to for this, but never in its entirety. I have also been paging through The Arcadia Project while thinking about what models I may use for the class I'm teaching at the Hugo House next week on ecopoetics. 

For now though I've turned to Sandra Beasley's Theories of Falling. I have only read Beasley's poems in journals and always liked them. Then her work came up at a dinner with somany poets a few weeks ago (initially in relation to allergies) and so last week while perusing a friend's shelves I decided to borrow her two books of poems and overall am finding I like them very much.


Who doesn't love a small kingdom?

The lion has her pride, the mole

her starnosed tunnel. My mother

grows three kinds of basil, and I

collect movie stubs in a box marked

Memories. A whelk knows only

the golden ratio of its chambers,

the figure 8 of nerve endings—

drawbridge mantle, moat ocean.

Washed up, its perfect enclosure

reeks of salt. I sort by color.

I file by coast. I know a man

by the cans and coffee cups

he leaves in his car, the thick

puppy mess of him. Who doesn't

dream of cleaning out her small

kingdom, tilting the whole stable

on its Augean edge? Who doesn't love

the disaster of her own making?

Boy, give up your slow reach

before I try to fix your life, before

I let your shell jangle to dust

in my pocket, before I burn

your operculum gate for incense.

I don't know how to keep you

without killing you a little—the way

my mother pares down the rosemary

each year to keep its flavor bright.

The way we must make all loves smaller

before they can enter our kingdom.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Percival Everett



The ritual of making
dies upon completion.

The body remembers,
like making love.

The body remembers
the gestures,

the midair changes,
the fall of an arm,

the angle of approach,
of withdrawal.

A calligraphy
survives completion,

but the making
is long long done.


The midair
are the

Catch me
I release,
if you please,



Monday, April 22, 2013

Upcoming reading...

Hello! I promise to get better at updating once I graduate, but! I wanted to shout out about this reading that happens in a few days:

This weekend there is the hard-to-remember-the-name-of-no-matter-how-many-times-I-hear-it Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues reading series on Saturday, April 27 at 6pm. I will be reading at Liberty Bar in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle with my friend, and one of my very favorite poets Tarfia Faizullah, a former classmate from WWU who has taken the noir side of the fiction world by storm and whose second book has just come out Urban Waite, as well as others I do not know as well, but am equally excited to read with: Jamaal May, Tara Conklin, and local Seattle luminary Tara Hardy.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cally Maude and I spent much of the day on the couch today. With books. And internet news. But mostly books.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lambda Literary, etc.

Super excited to have this interview up on Lambda Literary:

"I realized that what conspiracy theories are—if they aren’t true—are our way of seeking order, of making sense of the chaos of these terrible events..."

In other news, I am not going to AWP this year. Something about six hours on a plane. And Boston in winter. Also, I'm responsibly wrapping up this quarter's teaching. I'm not an old pro like some people who can take week 9 of a 10-week quarter off without everything falling apart. I jest!

But I am loving my students this quarter. Last week we talked about revising creative work. Something that I do all the time, of course (and obsessively!), but not something I've ever actually thought about procedure-wise. The process of constructing a lesson plan around teaching non-cw majors how to revise creative writing was really instructive. And actually forced me to reimagine two recent poems to their betterment. Accidentally.

I also learned, for example, that I will panic students who hear me say that rarely does anything of mine see the light of day before it has undergone 20-40 revisions. We talked about 3 being the vital low number of revisions: global, paragraph, sentence. (Or in poetry, of course, global, stanza, line.) And then fourteen strategies for paragraph- and sentence-level considerations.

It seems impossible to believe that things are winding down. One quarter left of grad school, round two. Come June I will have one degree in fiction, and this new-minted poetry degree. I feel like I could do it all over again. I like being in school, and hope that the teaching I hope to do in the future allows me to feel in some ways that I'm in that cycle of endless accretion of knowledge.

All I ever want is books and good conversation. Well, a few other things too.

Safe travels y'all.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Books read in 2012!

About half of these are repeats / books I've read before. Several of these books I also read more than once this year. As Sheri said, yes, I am in grad school. The land of close reading. I'm currently working on finishing up my "critical thesis," focusing on books that have both prose and lineated poetry. My five favorites (if I count only "new" reads; i.e. Crush is still my favorite, and I still want to marry Liz Waldner, and I still want to marry Anne Carson, and Karen Volkman, and Richard Greenfield, etc, etc) were: Letters to Yesenin, Tjanting, My Life, The Vicious Red Relic, and Point and Line. Tjanting changed my life. The Vicious Red Relic was unlike anything I've ever read, and the other three favorites? Well, damn if I don't wish I'd written them myself. The Apocalypse (#3) was also life-changing in that part of it became the epigraph for Waiting Up for the End of the World. Without further ado... the list:

1. Letters to Yesenin – Jim Harrison
2. Dismantling the Silence – Charles Simic
3. The Apocalypse – John of Patmos
4. Dream Songs – John Berryman
5. Trilogy – HD
6. That This – Susan Howe
7. The Home Book – James Schuyler
8. Fjords vol. 1 – Zachary Schomburg
9. Splay Anthem – Nathaniel Mackey
10. The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song – Ellen Bryant Voigt
11. High Windows – Philip Larkin
12. Tjanting – Ron Silliman
13. The New Sentence – Ron Silliman
14. My Life – Lyn Hejinian
15. Meditations in an Emergency – Frank O’Hara
16. Eyeshot – Heather McHugh
17. Under Albany – Ron Silliman
18. 3 Poems – John Ashbery
19. The Lost Son – Theodore Roethke
20. 7 Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking – Tan Lin
21. Slow Lightning – Eduardo C. Corral
22. The Latest Winter – Maggie Nelson
23. Selected Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
24. Kora in Hell – William Carlos Williams
25. Out – Ronald Sukenick
26. Close Your Eyes Look at Me – E. Marie Bertram
27. Museum of Accidents – Rachel Zucker
28. Erasures – Donald Revell
29. A Point is That Which Has No Part – Liz Waldner
30. Homing Devices – Liz Waldner
31. Facts for Visitors – Srikanth Reddy
32. Voyager – Srikanth Reddy
33. Point and Line – Thalia Field
34. The New Black – Evie Shockley
35. My Common Heart – Anne Boyer
36. Delivered – Sarah Gambito
37. Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie – Joshua Harmon
38. So We Have Been Given Time Or – Sawako Nakayasu
39. Girls – Nic Kelman
40. Savage Girls and Wild Boys – Michael Newton
41. Anabranch – Andrew Zawacki
42. The Vicious Red Relic, Love – Anna Joy Springer
43. In Media Res – Karen An-hwei Lee
44. The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound – Marjorie Perloff & Craig Dworkin (ads)
45. Peculiar Motions – Rosmarie Waldrop
46. Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry – Gary L. McDowell and F. Daniel Rzicznek (eds)
47. Clamor – Elyse Fenton
48. The American Prose Poem – Michel Delville
49. Deepstep Come Shining – C.D. Wright
50. Heart First into the Forest – Stacy Gnall
51. Dora: A Headcase – Lidia Yuknavitch
52. The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me – Maged Zaher
53. The Balloonists – Eula Biss
54. This is Not a Novel – David Markson
55. Except by Nature – Sandra Alcosser
56. The Guardians – Sarah Manguso
57. The Pharmacist’s Mate – Amy Fusselman
58. Paris Spleen – Charles Baudelaire
59. The Very Thing That Happens – Russell Edson
60. The Elusive Embrace – Daniel Mendelsohn
61. Letters to Wendy’s – Joe Wenderoth
62. Plainwater – Anne Carson
63. Free Verse – Charles O. Hartman
64. The Book of Embraces – Eduardo Galeano
65. Within the Context of No Context – George W.S. Trow
66. Spar – Karen Volkman
67. Sad Little Breathing Machine – Matthea Harvey
68. Crash’s Law – Karen Volkman
69. Speedboat – Renata Adler
70. The World Doesn’t End – Charles Simic
71. Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy – Keith Waldrop
72. Early Poems – Charles Simic
73. Saying the World – Peter Pereira
74. Paterson – William Carlos Williams
75. Goldbeater's Skin – G.C. Waldrep
76. There Are Three – Donald Revell
77. Invisible Bride – Tony Tost
78. Melancholia – Kristina Marie Darling
79. Bin Ramke – Matter
80. A Carnage in the Lovetrees – Richard Greenfield
81. Just Whisper: A Valentine – C.D. Wright
82. The Firestorm – Zach Savich
83. Remote – David Shields
84. Crush – Richard Siken
85. Notes from Irrelevance – Anselm Berrigan