Monday, November 30, 2009

Santa Fe Jazz & Poetry at Blue Chip Contemporary

Jazz and Spoken Word
at Blue Chip Contemporary
Monday, Dec. 7
7-9 p.m.

Blue Chip Contemporary
(formerly Chado Contemporary Art)
112 W. San Francisco Street
Santa Fe

Multi-flutist Windy Dankoff, guitarist Denny Cicak and poet Wayne Lee
of Santa Fe will be joined by percussionist Griffin Brady of Buffalo, NY
for an evening of jazz and poetry. The four will collaborate in various settings as they explore the relationship between improvisational music and the spoken word.

Windy Dankoff chose to learn the flute in 1971 because it would fit in his backpack.
He now uses flutes of all shapes and sizes to play improvisational music based on
classic jazz, Native American, Indian, and who-knows.

Denny Cicak can't remember what song he's supposed to be playing at any given point in time, so he often improvises while the other people in the group play or sing whatever they want. This creates a fresh and interesting sound that can go in unlimited directions. Occasionally, after the music starts, the entire room will empty in seconds, creating a uniquely spacious atmosphere and an all-pervasive silence when the songs are finished.

Wayne Lee has been a commercial fisherman, professional actor/dancer, anodizing technician, waiter, account executive, carpet cleaner, journalist, marketing consultant, public information officer, tutor and small business owner. He had to write poetry to figure out who he was!

Griffin Brady performs in a number of groups including On the Sly ( and the Joseph Glarner Blues Band. He can also be found on the educational workshop circuit in schools all over Western New York with the Rural Percussion Project and all over the East Coast
acting as a supporting player to master drummer Bernard Woma.

Seating is limited. Call (505) 820-0562 for more information.

Thanks to Santa Fe poet Rachelle Woods for this info

Friday, November 27, 2009

mots homophoniques

Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames or Mother Goose goes franco(homo)phonic.

The actor and polyglot Luis d'Antin van Rooten turned classic nursery rhymes into 18th-century French poetry in Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames (hint: try saying it out aloud).

Audio clips, podcast and 18th woodcut illustrations at A French excursion for classic nursery rhymes

Hamilton Stone Review: Call for work


Hamilton Stone Review is currently seeking work for its February 2010 issue. Please send contributions (along with short bios) in the form of .doc or .rtf attachments as well as (to be on the safe side) in the body of your message. And please be sure to include "HSR20 submission from [your name]" in your subject line.

Send to:

And, if you will, pass this notice along. Thanks.

Cross posted from the Poetics List, a moderated poetry discussion and announcement list. Check guidelines & sub/unsub info:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

from the other P&W

New from Poets & Writers
·       Calendar
She Writes, a Web site [and Ning network] established for women writers, has joined the ranks of literary social networking utilities. Launched in June it aims to provide a place "where women writers working in every genre, in every part of the world, and of all ages and backgrounds, can come together in a space of mutual support."

·       Writers Recommend
In the latest installment of Writers Recommend, author Laura van den Berg writes, "When I'm stuck on how to do something, I'll reread a book that accomplishes what I am attempting -- The Quick and The Dead by Joy Williams is one I return to often -- and try to figure out how the author pulled it off."

·       G&A: The Contest Blog 

Journal Prizes Writers' Vocal Stylings, Microfiction for Microbrews & more

·       Job Listings: Search for jobs among P&W's frequently updated job listings.
o      Creative Writing Teachers, Gotham Writers Workshop
o      Visiting Position in Poetry, St. Lawrence University
o      Axton Fellowship in Fiction, University of Louisville

(Like what P&W has to offer? Consider subscribing. Subscribe online now and save 50% off newsstand price)

Poetry Int'l Web: Poem of the week, ROOFTOP


sitting alone on our rooftop we feel as if we are sitting huddled in
some crowded basement

sitting like that the world’s voice sounds like continuous firing as if
with eyes and ears shut we are letting some brown airplane pass

a voice that could be a rooftop and sitting on the rooftop of the
house under it listening to the world that sounds like being fired
upon we were slowly losing the basement from under us which we
saw being created sitting alone on the rooftop

have you ever counted how many airplanes pass over you in one

Kiyoko Nagase

© 2001, Giriraj Kiradoo
© Translation: 2009, Rahul Soni

Giriraj Kiradoo page:

If you do not wish to receive the Poem of the Week anymore,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Poetry Daily: Three Poems, by Archestratos

Archestratus was also a foodie: 'Hedypatheia' (‘Pleasant Living’ or ‘Life of Luxury’) was one of the earliest cookbooks

Blogged with ShareThis

Call for Participation: Reimagining the Poet-Critic

March 12-13 in Humanities 210, UCSC:  "Reimagining the Poet-Critic: Practice, Pedagogy, Poetics"

The UCSC Department of Literature invites you to participate in a discussions and investigations surrounding the role of the poet-scholar in this two-day conference at UCSC.  As a practitioner of both the arts of poetry or other "imaginative" writing and more theoretical or critical work, the poet-critic or poet-scholar inhabits a compelling space both inside and outside the university.  

We are interested in the relationships between these two activities and the ways they come together to affect the reading and writing practices of the poet-critics themselves and their readership.  As many poet-critics are read within college classrooms or are themselves professors or teachers, we are interested in the relationship between such critical/creative writing practices and their pedagogical implications.

This conference will provide an occasion for dialogue across genres, disciplines, readerships and pedagogical practices that will focus on the potential for creative and critical thinking both inside and outside the classroom that practices of the poet-critic can invigorate.

The conference will consist of six panels across March 12th and 13th.  We will have three papers for each panel and only one panel in session at a time each day.  Each panel will feature an invited respondent and three papers. The conference will also include a pedagogy colloquium and short paper workshop as well as multiple poetry readings on and off campus.

Panel topics include:
  • Historicizing the Poet as Intellectual
  • Poetics and Reading Methodologies
  • Poetic Epistemologies and Alternative forms of Scholarship
  • Writing and Thinking Between Genre
  • Poetic Conceptualisms and Poetic Productions
  • Poetry and Pedagogy

Confirmed panel respondents so far: Craig Dworkin, Sina Queyras, Juliana Spahr and Vanessa Place.

Instructions for paper submissions and pedagogy colloquium mini-papers: send 350 word abstracts to *both* organizers and by Dec 17th. Accepted papers will be notified by December 22nd and completed papers must be sent to conference organizers by Feb 15th.

Jessica Beard
UCSC Department of Literature
Doctoral Candidate
Associate-In Creative Writing

Call for Artwork/Poetry/Text Hybrid Experiments

Creative Responses : The work of Arakawa and Gins has been extremely influential for poets and artists. At the Second International
Conference in 2008, a number of distinguished poets, performance
artists, and media artists contributed to the program.

We invite new creative responses that develop, investigate, explore and inflect aspects of Arakawa and Gins' written, drawn, built and unbuilt works. We can accept creative responses in the following forms:
  • textual or graphic (which could include poetry in any form, visual works and/or image/text hybrids)
  • net-based interactive works (flash, etc.)
  • net-based video.

In addition to the web exhibit, University of New Orleans Press has committed to publish a collection of the creative responses in book form.

Proposal Website

AG3-Online will run from March 12-26, 2010.

Submit proposals by December 1, 2009, with final projects due February 1, 2010.

Proposals should be emailed to <> and should include:
  1. A 100-200 word description of the work, including how the work fits the theme. Please include links to relevant or past works.
  2. If the work is already complete, include either a url to the work or an attachment (open office, MS word, PDF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.). Net based video should include a link to a preview version on youtube or some other location. Do not attach files larger than 5 mb to the proposal submission.
  3. A short bio.

The Creative Responses section of AG3 is curated by Bill Lavender,
Alan Prohm, and Jason Nelson.

from Buffalo Poetics - a moderated list that I cannot recommend too highly. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Saturday poem

I subscribe to a number of "poem by email" services [?] for my delectation and yours ~ plog fodder. There are many: some better than others. The topic might make an interest plost someday. The Guardian'd Poetry section is one of the best


Sent to you by none via Google Reader:


from The Shadow of Sirius, by WS Merwin

It appears now that there is only one

age and it knows

nothing of age as the flying birds know

nothing of the air they are flying through

or of the day that bears them up

through themselves

and I am a child before there are words

arms are holding me up in a shadow

voices murmur in a shadow

as I watch one patch of sunlight moving

across the green carpet

in a building

gone long ago and all the voices

silent and each word they said in that time

silent now

while I go on seeing that patch of sunlight © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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Friday, November 20, 2009

Call for Submissions, various & sundry

Deadline: December 1, 2009
The winning manuscript will be chosen in April 2010 and will be awarded with the publication of a beautifully designed, letterpress-printed, limited-edition chapbook printed and bound by artists at the Center for Book Arts. The winning poet will also receive a cash award of $500, and a $500 honorarium for a reading, to be held at the Center in the fall of 2010. This year’s judges will be Terrance Hayes & Sharon Dolin.
Please submit a collection or sequence of original poems or a single long poem not to exceed five- hundred lines or twenty-four pages (no translations). The cover page should contain the manuscript title, author’s name, address, phone number, and email. The author’s name should not appear anywhere else. A second title page should be provided without the author’s name or other identification. Please provide a table of contents and a separate acknowledgements page containing prior magazine or anthology publication of individual poems. Manuscripts should be bound with a simple spring clip.
NOTE: Poems may have appeared in journals or anthologies but not as part of a book-length collection. Reading Fee: Please send a $25 check payable to The Center for Book Arts. Please Include: A #10 self-addressed stamped envelope for notification of the winner. Manuscripts will not be returned.
Send Entries to:
2010 CHAPBOOK COMPETITION The Center for Book Arts 28 West 27th St., 3rd Floor New York, NY 10001(212) 481-0295 or visit Sharon Dolin
Deadline: December 31, 2009
Winner to receive $1000 and two copies of the Poetry Prize Annual
Open to all poets who have not yet published a book of poetry, including small press, chapbook or trade book. For more information please visit us online, or contact Kevin Bowen ( at The William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences.
Red Thread is a collection by 54 modern American poets sharing what hooked them on poetry and made them fall in love with the music of words. It is a heartfelt, sometimes funny, sometimes profound look into the poetic mind. Laced with poems and photographs, this book engages the reader on many levels. Be prepared to think, laugh, cry and be amazed.
To order, please go to:
Deadline: December 15, 2009
Grist is a new national literary annual arising from support from the University of Tennessee. We feature world class fiction poetry and creative non-fiction along with interviews with renowned writers, and essays about craft.
Grist: The Journal for Writers
English Department
301 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996
Animals, Creatures, Wild Beasts and Dwellings.
Wild Apples seeks submissions of visual arts, poetry, essays and creative nonfiction. We have a special interest in work that engages themes of nature, sustainability, spirituality, global interdependence, compassionate engagement, or sense of place.
Prose - Send us a letter with a brief description of your proposal. Articles run 600 - 2000 words. Prose queries may be submitted by email.
Poetry - Submit up to 5 poems by mail with a SASE with sufficient return postage. Include your name on each page. No email submissions.
Visual Art and Photographs - Submit on CD/DVD or email Low Resolution jpeg files no more than 72 dpi. Please send up to 8 images.
Please include a brief bio/artist statement with your name, email, and address.
Send email queries and art submissions to
Email any questions to Wild Apples Editors
P.O. Box 171 Harvard, MA 01451

ALIMENTUM announces its first Poetry Contest!
DEADLINE: December 1, 2009.
First prize: $500 and publication for a single poem. Two second prizes of publication.Final judge: Internationally renowned poet Dorianne Laux.
Submit up to 3 unpublished poems related to the subject of food or drink.
Entry fee: $15, includes a one-year subscription.
No simultaneous submissions.
Winners will be contacted and announced on our website March 1, 2010.
Snail mail only: Alimentum Poetry Contest, P.O. Box 210028, Nashville, TN 37221
Deadline: December 31, 2009
A prize of $2,000 is given annually to enable a creative nonfiction writer to spend creative time in a desert environment. Submit up to 10 pages of creative nonfiction, a project description, and a biography via e-mail by December 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the Web site for complete guidelines.
Ellen Meloy Fund, Desert Writers Award, P.O. Box 484, Bluff, UT 84512.
Individual Artist Grants for Women
Deadline: December 31, 2009
Grants of up to $1,500 are given twice yearly to feminist writers who are citizens of the United States or Canada. The current round of grants will be awarded to fiction writers. Submit three copies of a short story or novel excerpt of up to 25 pages, a project description, a budget, and a resumé with a $20 entry fee during the month of December. Send an SASE for the required entry form and complete guidelines.
Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Individual Artist Grants for Women, P.O. Box 309, Wilton, NH 03086. Susan Pliner, Executive Director.

A big thank-you to poet Elaine Schwartz for compiling and forwarding this list!!

Poems: The Untangled Vine Becomes

11 Homophonic Translations from the Japanese by Tony Leuzzi


Before the dreaded taking leave
you wrapped in a white sheet dim
the lights     The room becomes
a cave of recollection     a woman's
laughter     falling water


It is difficult to say
the man who in the moon's pale glow
approached with slow and careful steps
is he who
as dawn crowned the evergreens in gold
darted from my bed


In this irrational season
we knell for no one

If rage unfurls a road
too narrow for our feet

each step we fail to take will leave us
tolling for the birds and rocks


Walking east I call
to mind
             another time

when done
                   with walking east
I turned the other way
and walked alone

because it was the other way


Watching mist rise from distant hills
I am reminded of a time when
after stealing through the woods
I hurried home and saw
a strange man leaning on our gate
laughing with my mother


we are as are you
now know how you know

the untangled vine becomes


When Eve was run from Eden
she came upon and then pursued
a deer which
in its coyness lured her
further and further
into a forest of tombs


A man rapped at my gate for bread
I handed him an urn of ash
which he would later knead to bake
a loaf of darkened bone


The bow bends the rake gathers
The first born has been left to die
beneath a sky so blue
the birds there soar then sink
like small black ships


There are no secrets in this river
A minnow brushes by my knees

On another shore a man
has finished the last of his wine
and whispered from the bottle
before he sent it floating on the water


I am not the mirror's me
but you knew that

having made a he of me

when I reach to touch his face
you're already there

~ Tony Leuzzi, summer '09

Pushcart Prize Nominations

I am thoroughly delighted to announce that my friend Tony Leuzzi, grad school classmate & poet ~ and featured plog poet (March 2009 post, Tony's Trio of Fibonacci Poems), is among this year's Pushcart Prize nominees for "from east to west:  bicoastal verse."

Pushcart Prize 2009 Cover
 And the nominees are:
  • Black Crow ~Dave Morrison, fall '09
  • Letters and Ladders ~Lynne Shapiro, fall '09
  • She gone/She gone 2 ~Peter Cicariello, summer '09
  • The Untangled Vine Becomes: 11 Homophonic Translations from the Japanese ~ Tony Leuzzi, summer '09
  • Before the Iron Age~Michael Macklin, spring '09
  • Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man~Alice Persons, winter '08/'09

Read / revisit the the nominated poems at

Announcement from PJ Nights ~ cross-posted from The (Buffalo) Poetics List. Posting guidelines & sub/unsub info

Ed Note: this plog (aka poetry blog) invites, welcomes, encourages, vigorously exhorts readers and especially P&W Picnickers to send notice of prizes, nominations, readings, publications and so forth

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nov 18 ~ Urban Verbs @ The Harwood

Come to The Harwood for an even of free words and music ~ Urban Verbs: Hip Hop Conservatory and Theater debuts 7pm Nov. 18th, 2009 @ The Harwood Arts Center (1114 7th Street NW, ABQ)

Words by Hakim Bellamy & Carlos ContrerasMusic by Diles (Visceral View Entertainment)

This 90 minute work-in-progress (full production to arrive Spring 2010) excursion travels the border between poetry and music, namely Spoken Word and Hip Hop. Two prolific spoken word performance artists, one producer/DJ and a myriad of topics ranging from the individual identity to artistic insurgency.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Int'l Poem of the week: The electric lights....

The electric lights, it may well be that the electric lights
will prevent the autumn fall
and the bird call at the window,
grey as an overcoat.

The jaw squeezes a verb
and no bird appears,
nothing happens: it’s the autumn
of the falling leaves, that’s all –
no verb can thus fall.

Only the bent,
welded, muffled, cold sound
of a tolling bell,

it may well be that the electric lights
and the stone blocks for example
may well prevent
the irregularity of pavements or the crushing
of hours against each other

it may well be that the shells
of the umbrellas that blur the city
may well draw your name
like in a musical

it may well be that the shops will stay
and the stone slabs will go
and it may well not be
that the rain will insist
in such an iniquitous way.

© 2005, Daniel Jonas
© Translation: 2009, Ana Hudson

Monday, November 16, 2009



"Geocaching, an online game in which players use global positioning devices to track down hidden containers at coordinates posted on a Web site, is soaring in popularity"

Has anybody or group been doing with poems?  I think it would be an interesting challenge/adventure to "cache" poems in tins or boxes - either new or classic ones -  in environments that relate to the poem's contents. Say, different  Wordsworth poems at various, appropriate GPS sites through the Lake District. Frank O'Hara poems on x GPS Manhattan sites. A particular parking plot for Spicer's poem in relationship to  Robinson Jeffers. 

New poems written on and in response to particular sites. (David Chirot writes a poem at x GPS location and Milwaukee poets go on the search!)   Found texts are then scanned, and the sites are photographed with a focus on the facts relate to the poem and then transmitted back to the host site (Class, online mag or what/where ever.). 

I do wonder if anybody is doing this already????

Stephen Vincent
As active as ever, by the way!

Poem of the week: Stone Poems by Douglas Skrief

Canadian poet Douglas Skrief may not be new to you but he is to me. What a treat discovering new poems and the poets who write them. Bio from the Koochiching Economic Development Authority, "Douglas Skrief - An International Falls Renaissance Man" at

And another twitter link to follow poetry online. New Poetry Books at If I've neglected covering twitter as a poetry source (including but not limited to publishing original haikus), I hope to remedy that omission in due time.


Sent to you by none via Google Reader:


via Culture | by Carol Rumens on 11/16/09

Skrief's nature poems sidestep the 'egotistical sublime' by allowing nature to speak

Some poems enrol us as respectful admirers: others walk straight in through an open door in our minds and make themselves at home, admired no less, but also intimate friends. I felt this about Douglas Skrief's new book-length sequence, Stone Poems, and I have chosen a handful of separate poems from different sections to give you a glimpse of its pleasures.

One way in which contemporary nature poets subvert the Wordsworthian "egotistical sublime" is by giving the natural world its own ego and voice. Ted Hughes and Alice Oswald employ this technique: the poet's thoughts "too deep for tears" are transferred to "the meanest flower" itself. Such dramatisation allows the writer unostentatiously to be present, while accessing unconventional or more powerful forms of utterance.

The ancient boulder which talks to the poet in Stone Poems inhabits the south shore of Rainy Lake, in the US/Canadian border region of the Upper Midwest. "Court records," Skrief writes, "say that for over half a century my family has owned the Northern Minnesota bedrock on which the stone sits. The records do not mention the stone." Skrief has rectified this: the stone has become its own vivid historian, and the poet owns it in the sense that he has fully imagined it.

Describing his educational background, Skrief lists Harvard and Oxford and "the sweat lodges of the Ojibway". So it seems he may owe his vision not only to the Romantic poets but to the animistic beliefs of this Native American people. His ease with a natural world infused with consciousness permeates all his observations.

Skrief's imagination is nonetheless soundly scientific: all the elements in his universe cohere as a vast family-unit, whether they are gases, glaciers, coyote or human beings. Time often seems compressed, as if, as some physicists believe, events are simultaneous. The inevitability of evolution and change also comes across strongly in the later poems. When the boulder describes how its lichens are learning to break down "the latest particulates" emitted by nearby industrial workings, we are reminded of nature's prodigious adaptability. Whatever its terrors, progress is seen as inevitable, already implicit when the lichens "first saw a two-leggèd skip a flat stone".

There are five sections in the sequence: Origins, Visitors, Awakenings, Words to the Word-Giver and Change. The boulder begins by recalling its originary "time amid stars" and "the crush/ before upheavals of deep horizons". It remembers how "A she-mastodon's single tusk dislodged iced lichens" and then evokes its human visitors: the priestess and the shaman, the fur-traders and "frost-bit men culling pine". In sections 3 and 4, the poet's personal relationship with the boulder is considered, and its own "character" emerges as it talks with the poet more intimately, and absorbs and reflects a more complex consciousness. The tone is authoritative, calm, amused, occasionally cranky or challenging, but un-judgmental. This stone values language, and sometimes addresses the human "Tongue of Creation" in a prayer-like chant. Whether rocks or pebbles, canticles, stories or haiku-like snapshots, the poems combine melody and harmony, clean outline and dense texture.

Together they form the portrait of a man and a boulder; they are also the celebration and song of a particular region, its wildlife, its history, its native and immigrant cultures. But these Stone Poems are good travellers: they talk to any reader willingly, as if they shared our own profoundest memories, too.


For a moon, round an ash-wood fire,
seven warriors counselled, content
this point was theirs. One dragged his leg.
Another, with oak-bark skin, picked at scars
on his left shin. A boy, with the voice
of a brook, assented to every plan.
They laughed. They called him
On their last day, they re-lashed spears,
ochred faces and launched their craft.
That evening a white-tailed coyote sniffed,
then lifted his leg – his scent a mix
of juniper berries and dead mice.
(from Visitors)


Words can't reattach a weasel paw left in a trap
or replant spruce seedlings uprooted when stags rut.
Moose shed their racks, and mice feast.
If I cracked in half, part of you would die –
your words careening like fireflies in a jar.
Be a grizzly. Swat open the anthill.
Release your needles to the squalls.
Let storm-washed gravel fret your banks
before frost sets the clay.
(from Words to the Word-Giver)


A shot. An elk avalanched, antlers
balanced even as it collapsed.
I'll be here in the morning.
It may not look like courage.
(from Awakenings)


They flamed unwavering, long into the night.
Not stars washed up on the far beach.
Not lightning bolts persisting on singed retinas.
Not campfires diminishing to coals
as old storytellers lost momentum. No.
Streetlights. Houselights. Car lights. Approaching
till we could see up close how brashly they vied
with the splendid humility of the auroras.
(from Change)


Ants build mounds with my castoffs.
Bears splinter wild plum bows.
Frost heaves fox holes as easily
as fire sears dry yarrow. Their dreams –
all memory. You pile stones, yank up
the reed bed, mow the poplar volunteers.
Promise if you ever choose to move me,
Word-Giver, you'll start with a prayer.
(from Change)

Thanks are due to the author and to Starhaven for permission to reprint these poems. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Self Publishing with Bookemon

Self-publishing software. No cost to create books. Preview, publish. print - retain copyright. Bookmark:

 Design and Make A Book With Simple Free Guide | Bookemon, creator of a unique online book creation and sharing utility. Upload your graphic or photo files to our online Bookbuilder where you can add clip art, backgrounds, and text content. Publish and share online or order hard copy as bookstore quality book
Delivered by, the tastiest bookmarks on the web

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cowboy Poetry Newsletter

Find the current newslettter and details about the information mentioned in this newsletter--with links and more--on the newsletter page at

Friends of,

We hope you'll come by the BAR-D and view all of the latest news and features.

There's a new Art Spur featuring a Tim Cox painting, Christmas at the BAR-D is getting underway and submissions are open, you can get involved in next year's 9th annual Cowboy Poetry Week, there's a new (fifth) edition of "The BAR-D Roundup" coming...and there are continual postings of news and features about classic and contemporary cowboy poetry, Western music,  Western radio, events, and more.

You can view vintage and modern photos in "Picture the West"; read regular columns, including Jeri Dobrowski's "Cowboy Jam Session" and "Rick Huff's Best of the West Reviews"; check out the events calendar for a gathering near you; learn about new books and CDs; read about people, organizations, museums, and the latest in the news of our wide community; and much more.

Find the latest news here:

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Saturday poem by John Glenday

Blogged via Google Reader:

(the can opener was invented
forty-eight years after the tin can)
When you asked me for a love poem,
(another love poem) my thoughts
were immediately drawn to the early days
of the food canning industry –
all those strangely familiar trade-names from childhood:
Del Monte, Green Giant, Fray Bentos, Heinz.
I thought of Franklin and his poisoned men
drifting quietly northwest by north
towards the scooped shale of their graves
and I thought of the first tin of cling peaches
glowing on a dusty pantry shelf
like yet-to-be-discovered radium –
the very first tin of cling peaches
in the world, and for half a century
my fingers reaching out to it. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Author-friends, We Have A Winners

The Rejectionist, snark queen & book bloggng role-model, presents winners of rejection letter writing competition


Sent to you by none via Google Reader:


via The Rejectionist by The Rejectionist on 11/9/09

Oh good lord almighty, Author-friends, we knew you were clever and talented BUT REALLY THIS IS TOO MUCH, and, thanks to you, we have spent our ENTIRE WEEKEND IN AN AGONY OF INDECISION. But it was a deliciously happy agony, all the same. We laughed so hard we cried, ladies and gentlemen. We are so proud of you. For reals. EVERY ONE OF YOU deserves a pat on the back and a nice pastry (except for maybe one or two persons who mistook "incorporates foxy assistants" for "please pen a totally delusional and fairly creepy fantasy about the office help," AHEM).

We were expecting awesome, but we were not expecting quite so much awesome, and thus have revised our contest slightly by incorporating a small quantity of Additional Prizewinning Categories, as is our Prerogative. Because YOU have inspired US to be a little more amazing, ALL of the following longlist of persons may feel free to email us at rejectionistandyourmom [at] with your mailing address and, as promised, either your query letter or the first five pages of your manuscript, and we will presently a. mail you a treatlike item and b. provide you with insightful critique of said query letter/pages BECAUSE THAT IS THE SORT OF GENEROUS, SELFLESS PERSON WE ARE.


HONORABLE MENTIONS; Or, The Longlist of True and Total Amazement

Best Musical Number: Jess Haines

Best Zombie/Best Insinuation That Reading Young Adult Literature Is More Fun Than Our Actual Job, Which is Definitely True: Rachel Menard

Best Usage of the Acrostic From Someone Who Probably Does Not Need Our Help With a Query Letter: Janet Reid

Most Pleasing Haiku: Hiero

Most Delightfully Succinct and Deliciously Subtle: scott g.f.bailey

Most Severely Mindblowing Misappropriation of Canonical Text To Create A Narrative That Cannot Exactly Be Described As a Form Rejection But Is So Amazing We Had To Make Up A Special Category For It: A TIE between Ink ("OMFG MY HEAD JUST MELTED," says Chérie L'Ecrivain) and Ulysses ("ULYSSES WINS, although he seems to be laboring under the misapprehension that you have cleavage," says Chérie L'Ecrivain)


The Right Honorable Compositor of THE MOST AMAZING Form Rejection in the History of the Universe is...

BRIAN BUCKLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please don't be offended. Your query's horrendous.
We can't understand why you'd bother to send us
a missive so deeply in need of an edit
we wanted to vomit as soon as we read it.
Its hook was insipid, its grammar revolting,
its font microscopic, its manner insulting,
its lies unconvincing, its structure confusing,
its efforts at comedy less than amusing.
We think that on average the writing is better
in comments on YouTube than inside your letter.
"No matter," we said to ourselves after retching,
"The novel itself may be perfectly fetching."
On reading your pages we promptly were greeted
with something a wallaby might have excreted:
a plot so moronic, a premise so weary,
and characters so unrelentingly dreary,
descriptions so lifeless, a setting so boring
that only our nausea kept us from snoring.
In short: if your book was a vaccine for cancer,
its margins inscribed with Life's Ultimate Answer,
and all other novels on Earth were rejected,
we're still pretty sure we would not have selected
this terrible, awful, impossibly hated,
unspeakably horrible thing you've created.
But thanks for submitting! We hope you'll consider
alternative ways to get published (like Twitter)!


Thank you so much, Author-friends, for making our week. We adore you. ONWARD!


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Monday, November 9, 2009


from the Weekly Alibi

Films by and about writers starts today at Guild. See poets move from page and stage to the silver screen in WORD! ~ billed by Poets & Songwriters Movie Program as "films by and about writers"

WORD! features full-length films on Carl Sandburg, Amiri Baraka, Robert Creeley and more. And while no tribute to spoken word would be complete without a bit about Jack Kerouac or Allen Ginsberg (check), the program's short films also look at local poets such as Richard Vargas, Mary Oishi and Levi Romero.

See WORD! Monday, Nov. 9, through Wednesday, Nov. 11, at Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE). To check out a list of the movies, go to

Women Conspicuous by Absence on Publisher's Weekly 2009 List

Why Weren't Any Women Invited To Publishers Weekly's Weenie Roast?

Publishers Weekly recently announced their Best Books Of 2009 list. Of their top ten, chosen by editorial staff, no books written by women were included. Quoted in The Huffington Post, PW confidently admitted that they're "not the most politically correct" choices. This statement comes in a year in which new books appeared by writers such as Lorrie Moore, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant, Rita Dove, Heather McHugh and Alicia Ostriker.

"The absence made me nearly speechless." said writer Cate Marvin, cofounder of the newly launched national literary organization WILLA (Women In Letters And Literary Arts), which, since August, has attracted close to 5400 members on their Facebook web page, including many major and emerging women writers. "It continues to surprise me that literary editors are so comfortable with their bias toward male writing, despite the great and obvious contributions that women authors make to our contemporary literary culture."

WILLA's other cofounder, Erin Belieu, Director Of The Creative Writing Program at Florida State University, asked, "So is the flipside here that including women authors on the list would just have been an empty, politically correct gesture? When PW's editors tell us they're not worried about 'political correctness,' that's code for  'your concerns as a feminist aren't legitimate.' They know they're being blatantly sexist, but it looks like they feel good about that. I, on the other hand, have heard from a whole lot of people—writers and readers--who don't feel good about it at all."

PW also did a Top 100 list and, of the authors included, only 29 were women. The WILLA Advisory Board is in the process of putting together a list titled "Great Books Published By Women In 2009." This will be posted to the organization's Facebook page and website. A WILLA Wiki has also been started for people to share their nominations for Great Books By Women in 2009. Press release to follow.

WILLA was founded to bring increased attention to women's literary accomplishments and to question the American literary establishment's historical slow-footedness in recognizing and rewarding women writer's achievements. WILLA is about to launch their website and is in the process of planning their first national conference to be held next year.

(Note: until recently, WILLA went under the acronym WILA, with one "L." If you're interested in the organization, please Google WILA with one "L" to see background on how this group was originally formed.)

For more information contact:

Erin Belieu
(850) 559-4030

Cate Marvin
(718) 749-8613

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Equal Voice: Andrew Motion's Remembrance Day poem

Known as Veterans Day on this side of the pond.


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via Books: Poetry | by Andrew Motion on 11/6/09

In this 'found poem' for Remembrance Day, Andrew Motion stitches together the words of several generations of shellshocked soldiers from the first world war to the present

Doctors, historians and other experts have documented the effects of shellshock – thanks to them, we know that the term covers a multitude of ailments, and is the result of far more than just shells going off. But, as Ben Shephard wrote in his history of medical psychiatry, the people who have suffered from it have often been too ill to speak. They have been left out of the record. I wanted to hear from them. This is a "found" poem, a stitching together of the voices of shellshocked people. Their words have been taken from a variety of sources, from the first world war to the present, and are presented in the poem in roughly chronological order. There's a fragment of Siegfried Sassoon in there, but most are from unknown soldiers. Together, they give a sense of moving through time to establish what is horribly recurrent about this affliction. It is a poem by them, orchestrated by me.

An Equal Voice

"We hear more from doctors than patients. However hard he tries, the historian cannot even the account, cannot give the patients an equal voice, because most of them chose not to recount their experiences."

from A War of Nerves, by Ben Shephard

War from behind the lines is a dizzy jumble.

Revolving chairs, stuffy offices, dry as dust

reports, blueprints one day and the next –

with the help of a broken-down motor car

and a few gallons of petrol – marching men

with sweat-stained faces and shining eyes,

horses straining and plunging at the guns,

little clay-pits opening beneath each step,

and piles of bloody clothes and leggings

outside the canvas door of a field hospital.

At the end of the week there is no telling

whether you spent Tuesday going over

the specifications for a possible laundry

or skirting the edges of hell in an automobile.


There were some cases of nervous collapse

as the whistle blew on the first day of battle.

In general, however, it is perfectly astonishing

and terrifying how bravely the men fight.

From my position on rising ground I watched

one entire brigade advancing in line after line,

dressed as smartly as if they were on parade,

and not a single man shirked going through

the barrage, or facing the rapid machine-gun

and rifle-fire that finally wiped them all out.

I saw with my own eyes the lines advancing

in such admirable order quickly melt away.

Yet not a man wavered, or broke the ranks,

or made any attempt to turn back again.


A soft siffle, high in the air like a distant lark,

or the note of a penny whistle, faint and falling.

But then, with a spiral, pulsing flutter, it grew

to a hissing whirr, landing with ferocious blasts,

with tremendous thumps and then their echoes,

followed by the whine of fragments which cut

into the trees, driving white scars in their trunks

and filling the air with torn shreds of foliage.

The detonation, the flash, the heat of explosion.

And all the while fear, crawling into my heart.

It literally crawled into me. I had set my teeth

steadying myself, but with no success. I clutched

the earth, pressing against it. There was no one

to help me then. O how one loves mother earth.


One or two friends stood like granite rocks

round which the seas raged, but very many

other men broke in pieces. Everyone called it

shell-shock, meaning concussion, but shell-

shock is rare. What 90% get is justifiable funk

due to the collapse of the helm of our self-control.

You understand what you see but you cannot think.

Your head is in agony and you want relief for that.

The more you struggle, the more madness creeps

over you. The brain cannot think of anything at all.

I don't ask you what you feel like but I tell you,

because I have been like you. I have been ill as you

and got better. I will teach you, you will get better.

Try and keep on trying what I tell you and you will.


The place was full of men whose slumbers were morbid,

titubating shell-shockers with their bizarre paralyses

and stares, their stammers and tremors, their nightmares

and hallucinations, their unstoppable fits and shakings.

Each was back in his doomed shelter, when the panic

and stampede was re-enacted among long-dead faces,

or still caught in the open and under fire. This officer

was quietly feasting with imaginary knives and forks;

that group roamed around clutching Teddy Bears;

one man stripped to his underclothes and proclaimed

himself to be Mahatma Gandhi; another sat cramped

in a corner clutching a champagne cork; one chanted,

with his hands over an imaginary basket of eggs, Lord

have mercy on us, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.


I could feel the bullets hit my body. I could feel

myself being hit by gun fire and this is what made me

sit up and scream. What I saw round me were others

walking with the bent and contorted spines of old age,

or moving without their lifting their legs, by vibrating limbs

on the ground. All equally unfortunate, filled with sadness.

Dead friends gazed at them. Rats emerged from the cavities

of bodies. Then came trembling and losing control of legs:

you never dreamt of such gaits. One fellow cannot hold

his head still or even stand except with incessant jerking.

Instantly the man across the aisle follows suit. In this way

the infection spreads in widening circles until the whole

ward is jerking and twitching, all in their hospital blues,

their limbs shaking and flapping like the tails of dogs.


Naturally it can save a good deal of time if men,

before battle, have pictures from the Hate Room hung

in their minds of things the enemy has already done,

waiting to be remembered. Starving people for instance

and sick people, and dead people in ones and in heaps.

If that proves ineffective, then treatment is post facto.

Compulsory mourning is no longer recommended

whereby the hospital confines a man for three days

alone in a darkened room and orders him to grieve

for dead comrades. But other cures must be attempted,

and in some cases men wish to return to do their duty.

See, your eyes are already heavier. Heavier and heavier.

You are going into a deep, deep sleep. A deep, far sleep.

You are far asleep. You are fast sleep. You have no fear.


I am quiet and healthy but cannot bear being away

from England. I have been away too long and seen

too many things. My best friend was killed beside me.

I have a wife and two children and I have done enough.

I thought my nerves were better but they are worse.

The first fight, the fight with my own self, has ended.

I may be ready to fight again but I am not willing.

I am in urgent need of outdoor work and would be glad

to accept a position as a gardener at a nominal salary.

My best friend walked back into my room this morning,

shimmering white and transparent. I saw him clearly.

He stood at the foot of my bed and looked right at me.

I asked him, What do you want? What do you want?

Eventually I woke up and of course I was by myself. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Siegfried Sassoon: The reluctant hero

Long a favorite (my plog so I get to flog my faves), war poet, horseman and author of "Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man" as well as the actual source of that definition of fox hunting as "the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible" incorrectly attributed to Oscar Wilde (an obvious magnet for snark attribution).


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via Books: Poetry | by Laura Barnett, Michael Morpurgo on 11/4/09

Cambridge University is on the verge of securing Siegfried Sassoon's personal papers for posterity – his unpublished poems and letters are more relevant than ever, says Michael Morpurgo

I once came across a letter written by a military officer to a soldier's mother. "We regret to inform you," it said, "that your son was shot at dawn for cowardice." I later discovered that more than 300 British soldiers were executed for cowardice or desertion during the first world war. Two were shot because they had fallen asleep on the job.

As far as I know, Siegfried Sassoon didn't write about these soldiers. But what he did do, as I did when I went to the graves at Ypres, was get angry about the futility of the war. In July 1917, Sassoon – poet, diarist, satirist, officer with the Royal Welch Fusiliers and winner of the Military Cross – was away from the front due to injury. He wrote a letter to his commanding officer, declining to return to duty because he believed the war was being deliberately prolonged by those who had the power to end it. "I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation," wrote Sassoon, who was nicknamed Mad Jack by his men, "has now become a war of aggression and conquest."

Sassoon's letter, titled A Soldier's Declaration, was published in newspapers and read out in the Commons; it very nearly got him executed. Now, a handwritten copy of the letter is among the wonderful collection of Sassoon's personal papers – among them the diaries and notebooks he carried with him to the front – that Cambridge University has all but secured for its library. The National Heritage Memorial Fund has today announced a grant of £550,000 towards their acquisition, which leaves just £110,000 to be raised.

This collection is vital to our understanding of war both then and now. The poets of the first world war – Sassoon, and others like Wilfred Owen and Edward Thomas – evoke the pain and suffering of war in a way that I, when I discovered them aged 14 or 15, found riveting. I was a war baby. Born in 1943, I grew up with the suffering of the second world war all around me. I played in bomb sites, and my mother cried often, mourning the death of the uncle I never knew – Uncle Peter, who was in the RAF and was shot down in 1940, aged 21, and whose photograph was always on the mantelpiece. But it was only when I read Sassoon, and the others, that I realised how extraordinarily brave these soldiers, and these poets, were. They faced down the most difficult thing for any of us to face down: our own mortality.

The thing that sets Sassoon's work apart is that he was so connected to his soldiers. One of the previously unpublished poems in this collection provides an account of that connection, and of the wrongs Sassoon felt were being dished out to his men:

Can I forget the voice of one who cried

For me to save him, save him, as

he died?

I will remember you, and from

your wrongs

Shall rise the power and the

poignance of my songs

And this shall comfort me until

the end

That I have been your captain and

your friend.

It's just a scrap torn from a notebook, but it's hugely powerful. Sassoon is more political, more edgy, than the other war poets. But he wasn't always violently against the war. The poem he wrote on the first page of his earliest wartime notebook is also included in this collection. Called Simpleton, it's about his faith that "God marches with the armies". "He loves to hear men laugh," Sassoon wrote, "and when they fall he triumphs in their wounds."

At that time, Sassoon was in tune with the spirit of the war. It was only when he saw the suffering and the pointlessness of it all that he changed his mind. He had a great sardonic wit, too. There's a wonderful short poem Sassoon wrote called The General – about jolly chaps going off to the front, and the general on his horse sending them to their death. Sassoon knew that the soldiers' deaths were coming at the behest of people who didn't understand the military situation: they simply hurled men at barbed wire and machine guns.

Sassoon had the courage to say what, at the time, you absolutely couldn't say, and to some extent, still can't: that there was no point in just going on fighting and fighting. If you read out Sassoon's A Soldier's Declaration in Commons now, it would create the same furore it did in 1917 – because we're exactly where we were then. We're not in a world war, though some might call it a world crisis. But we are still sending young men and women to die in wars that many people in this country don't agree with: wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for supposedly democratic principles – and yet we have a president of Afghanistan who has arrived in the most undemocratic manner. And we have soldiers coming back in coffins.

We're all so adept at turning people into heroes. Sassoon admired the courage of the soldiers, just as many in this country do now; it was the causes he was dubious about. And still, in our wars, with every day, every week, every month that goes by, someone dies. And every time someone dies there's a mother left, a father, a lover, a wife, a child. Sassoon was asking us why men were still dying. His is a voice that really needs to be heard now. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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