Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can't Beg a Post.

Since I can't seem to post anything much here, I will point you instead to the guest author bit I did today here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Heeeerrrre!

Available for purchase: Amazon page for O Dear Deer,

and locally at Webster's Fine Stationers.

I'm incredibly excited about this book and grateful for everyone's kind words and support!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Winners of the Big Poetry Giveaway!

Okay! It's the morning after, and I have generated randomly. Thank you to my twenty lovely commenters. This was fun. (Sorry for my random generator BIG FONT type on the second one--it's early on a Sunday morning, and I can't figure out how to get the HTML down to normal size quickly. But they were generated fairly and squarely...)

The person who will receive a copy of my book, In Defense of Objects, is the twelth commenter, Guy ‘Dhyan’ Traiber. I'll be sending you an email for contact info pronto!

True Random Number Generator 12Powered by RANDOM.ORG

The second person to win, who will receive a copy of Bluets by Maggie Nelson is the nineteenth commenter, Samuel Sargent, who seems to have gotten exactly what he asked for! Hope you love it.

True Random Number Generator 19Powered by

Just give me a few moments to collect myself, and I will send out the contact emails for your mailing addresses, and your new treasures will be on their way to you. Thanks for participating!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Big Poetry Giveaway! 2011

I am excited to participate in the annual Big Poetry Giveaway project in celebration of April being National Poetry Month and, well, in celebration of poetry! The Big Poetry Giveaway was conceived of by poet and editor Kelli Russell Agodon as a way of making poetry more available to and inclusive of more readers. I am happy to participate.

In the spirit of sharing a love for poetry, poets are giving away two books -- one of their own and another they love. All you have to do to be entered in the drawing for free books is to leave a comment on this post (comments here are moderated, but don't worry--I will post them ASAP) that includes your email address, so that I can get in touch with you should you be the winner! On May 1st, I will use a random number generator to identify the winner and will let you know by email that you have won. It is my responsibility to mail you the books, wherever you may be, so really, this is a win-win-win situation for readers! Just make sure you leave your email address so I have a way of getting in touch with you.

Now, for the good stuff. As my first giveaway, I am offering a copy of my first book, In Defense of Objects, which won the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize from Bear Star Press in 2009.

For my second giveaway, I am offering Maggie Nelson's Bluets, which her press, Wave Books, hasn't even identified as poetry but rather as "Essay/Literature," but which for my money is experimental verse.

Ostensibly an extended rumination on the color blue, Bluets is also an obsessive cataloguing of the loss of love, which includes a total of 240 musings that will have you believing in the power of blue:

89. As if we could scrape the color off the iris and still see.

152. Holiness and evilness aside, no one could rightly call blue a festive color. You don't go looking for a party in a color that hospitals have used to calm crying infants or sedate the emotionally disturbed. Ancient Egyptians wrapped their mummies in blue cloth; ancient Celtic warriors dyed their bodies with woad before heading off to battle; the Aztecs smeared the chests of their sacrificial victims with blue paint before scooping their hearts out on the altar; the story of indigo is, at least in part, the story of slavery, riots, and misery. Blue does, however, always have a place at the carnival.

225. Shortly after finding out about the bluets, I have a dream in which I am sent an abundance of cornflowers. In this dream it is perfectly all right that that is their name. They do not need to be bluets any longer. They are American, they are shaggy, they are wild, they are strong. They do not signify romance. They were sent by no one in celebration of nothing. I had known them all along.
I had many favorite poetry books this past year, but I chose this one to give away because I've been working on a series of poems myself that are so tightly bound thematically as to be obsessive themselves, and so Nelson's work intrigues me. It is a sort of contemporary sonnet sequence--the amalgamation of ideas, images, words; all the looping back. And my own work has been moving in more experimental directions lately, so I've been reading a lot of hybrid forms. Plus, Nelson is a fellow L.A. poet!

This drawing is open from now until the end of the month. Please leave your name and email address in a comment before midnight on April 30th, 2011, to be entered. And check out the other poets who are participating in the Big Poetry Giveway on Kelli's blog. There is a list on the left-hand side with links to their sites. You may end up with a whole lotta free goodness!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Young Deer Are Fawns.

Long time, no blog. But as this thing is supposed to behave to some degree as a crass platform of self-promotion, we will be concentrating our energies there today.

On March 1st, I received word that I had won the first annual Eudaimonia Poetry Review Chapbook Prize! And I was thrilled. And completely grateful that my second book of poems was going to be published.

I worked on my chapbook, O Dear Deer, , for more than a year. It began in November 2009 as a response to being impaneled on a jury in downtown L.A., on a gang-related murder and attempted murder trial. It is not a retelling of the facts of the trial or even really about my experience as a juror, although the book reflects some of my ambivalence about that job, certainly. It is more like a preoccupation, an obsession even, with the larger questions that were at stake for me during that process, and the questions I imagined might be at stake for the defendant, the victims, the families, the witnesses, the lawyers, the judge, the other jurors. Or not. I don't know. But, for me, the haunting question was about who these people would be if they had never encountered each other on that particular day in the summer of 2007. If they had all walked down different paths to become different people. And the idea that maybe those doppelgangers exist somewhere, out there, just beyond where we can see, leading a life of our own other making. Maybe we live all the lives we make possible to ourselves, even if we live them (only) in our mind's eye, or in our dreams, or in our regrets. Or if our families live them for us. Maybe those other selves keep on walking.

I was likewise grateful for the words of poet Evan J. Peterson, who served as judge for the chapbook contest and wrote the foreword for the book. Here are some excerpts drawn from the press release:

While many of the final selections were strong, the winning chapbook is a "stunningly rendered place of violent simplicity. It bewilders me while asking me to be wilder." The author, he said, has created "a hypnotic landscape of image rhyme that is better than surreal -- surrealism tries too hard. This is the dream space, the real dream space, and it feels effortlessly accurate. This collection shaves slivers from my bones."

That makes me happy. Very, very happy. The press (Squall Publishing) will be releasing the chapbook (which is a short and tightly-thematic collection of poems) on July 1st. It is available for pre-order on Amazon here.

In the meantime, here is an excerpt from the book, a poem that originally appeared in Eudaimonia Poetry Review's issue devoted to the finalists:

Closing Arguments

What can we say,
O our dear Deer,

but that the bare bodies of trees
spring from your head.

Their winter shape is all
the testimony of the world--

fork after fork dividing in dark
threads, every possible annex

to open sky. From some branch
farther on, we must look lucky here--

so much slant left, so many
yeses and nos--we tangle

ourselves in want, even the heart
crosshatched with artery.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fish Boxes.

Recently, R. pointed me towards a paragraph from a short-story called "The Patch" by John McPhee that appeared in the Feb. 8, 2010, issue of The New Yorker. He got my attention by claiming that he thought it came close to offering a metaphor for my aesthetic, my muse. That it sounded like the way I think about information, about history, about language, as I write poetry.

Okay, so he got my attention. Here's the McPhee paragraph--a story about fathers and sons and fishing, which, in and of itself, does not sound much like my writing. But this:
Pickerel have palatal teeth. They also have teeth on their tongues, not to mention those razor jaws. On their bodies, they sometimes bear scars from the teeth of other pickerel. Pickerel that have been found in the stomachs of pickerel have in turn contained pickerel in their stomachs. A minnow found in the stomach of a pickerel had a pickerel in its stomach that had in its stomach a minnow.
is fantastic. Must. Now. Write. Poem. About. Pickerel.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hahamongna Blog Day.

Here Is A Place

[*excerpted* *cut* *not whole any longer*]

. . . There is there.
All our looking at things
should not make there
There is not here . . .

Here is a place, Hahamongna,
where two fingers touch.

On July 12th, the Pasadena City Council will decide whether to proceed with a plan to build soccer fields in Hahamongna Watershed Park, between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Arroyo Seco. I may write poetry, but I am also a soccer mom. My daughter belongs to the AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) Region 13 (Pasadena, Altadena, La Canada). By definition, by regulation, all soccer fields are the same. Thus there is always an alternative soccer field. Yet Hahamongna Watershed Park is unique. Why would we choose to replace what is rare with what is routine?

More information about the proposals to build soccer fields in Hahamongna Watershed Park, the five unique habitat zones that make up the park, and what you can do to protest this proposal, is located at

and at the following local blogs, all of whom are participating in this online day of protest:

Altadena Above It All
Altadena Hiker
A Thinking Stomach
East of Allen
Finnegan Begin Again
LA Creek Freak
Mister Earl's Musings
My Life With Tommy
Pasadena Adjacent
Pasadena Daily Photo
Pasadena Latina
The Sky Is Big In Pasadena
Webster's Fine Stationers Web Log
West Coast Grrlie Blather

**Image courtesy of **