memorial for a brilliant woman

Friday, October 31, 2008

Joey's Hotdogs! musical comedyimprov tonight

Come on over to Ridgefield Parkway at the Exxon to Joey's Hotdogs! The ComedySportz I Prov musical comedy improvisers will be making it up for you from 5-8pm!

And the HotDogs are DELISH!!!

I'm the piano player-

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Here's your Joe-the-plumber

I have to laugh at those commercials, all full of nice looking white folks that are certainly higher on the economic ladder than I am (can you afford a plumber? I can't).

This guy is so busy protesting, he hasn't had time to register for community college.

how the hate increases, how the fringe grows...


So whomever wins, does it make it better for the rest of us? The fear and anger generated by the media and the republicans only encourages this kind of nonsense.

I don't have any poems about intolerance. I may have to figure out how to put these feelings in a one.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MobyLives (the whale is out there, man!) is back

My favorite publishing news-commentary site is back!!


Wry, fun, and accurate- how else can I describe it? Go read!

There's poetry tonight:

Poetry Reading
Rich Murphy
Thursday, October 30th
7 – 9 pm
Barnes & Noble @ VCU

Rich Murphy has taught creative writing in Boston area colleges for many years. He now teaches at VCU. His credits include three chapbooks and a book of poems The Apple in the Monkey Tree by Codhill Press. His poems have appeared in Rolling Stone, Poetry, Grand Street, and The London Magazine.

Derek Walcott has remarked “Mr. Murphy is a very careful craftsman in his work, a patient and testing intelligence, one of those writers who knows precisely what he wants his style to achieve. His poetry is quiet but packed, carefully wrought, not surrealistically wild, and its range not limited but deliberately narrow. It takes aim.” Poet Rane Arroyo has written of Family Secret, “Sometimes I feel sorry for hetero writers! So much of their relationships are prescribed and the challenge is up to the artist to present relationships in a new way without destroying expectations. I’m happy to say Rich Murphy ignores all these directives as nonsense. His poems are maps of complicated straight lovers; the keys to this book are the strict use of language and love of discovery.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To publish or self-publish??

It's a big question with more than one good answer.

Without an 'in' as an MFA or money to enter contests, even good poets can languish forever without much hope. Even if you are a chosen one and get a contract, it's years off and has limited saleability anyway.

Here's a good page on thoughts of others (some well known)

I have almost a dozen 24-30 pages chapbook I've kinko'd (actually most recently Staples- MUCH cheaper) and I've decided I want something a little more substantial.

I'm going to publish a P.O.D. book at It will contain my poems about women, women's stories, daughters, mothers, you know. Why those poems?

1) They've always been popular
2) many of them have been published
3) I have a LOT of them
4) when I took a workshop with Denise Duhamel this summer, she said the ones I had there were some of my best work.

I'm still in the set-up phase, it will take at least a month. I haven't got the money for an ISBN right now but maybe I'll get some extra jobs between now and whenever and be able to include that. I know a number of poets who don't bother, the poet has to do all the leg work, publicity, marketing anyway.

Sure there are some small houses out there, but no one really local who can get me what I want (and lord knows no one wants poets anyway).

What's the worst that can happen? If I'm not happy, I drop the whole thing. If I like it I will sell a few and some people might enjoy my poems.

I can hear some academic types clicking their tongues because it won't be a REAL book, it might keep me from entering some contests and all that- but the truth is I may as well buy lottery tickets with the money I'd spend on contests- I'm more likely to succeed!

So keep an eye on this page and see what happens.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wojahn wins the Weinstein!

David Wojahn was awarded the $10,000 Carole Weinstein Prize for Poetry.
Congratulations, David!

Announced Saturday night at the Library of Virginia book awards. (posted by the RTD at 10:37)

That oughta 'bout cover his lack of a raise from the state!

Somebody go update his wikipedia page!

While we're on that- why can't newspapers include links in their stories, or is that something just the Richmond Times Dispatch doesn't do?? I mean, it's so easy- this whole post took me less than five minutes, research and all-

Thursday, October 16, 2008

poem accepted!

poem accepted at Night Train-

Just started submitting again after an almost year long spell of 'busy-with-other-things.'

Good to get a quick acceptance to spur me on.

Friday, October 10, 2008

a cholent and a rewrite

poem removed for submission and more rewrites

Rubbin' elbow grease with writers

at the James River Writers festival-

Last today and best- Diane Mott Davidson- the culinary mystery writer - and a really nice person! She did at least 2 sessions today not feeling well, but didn't say a word about it until the end (and only to the last three people in the room). Had great advice, solid 'do your homework' stuff, sure, nothing new, but she's so personable and smart- I can't wait to hear her again tomorrow! (Jann Malone is a great interviewer, too).

Frankly, the attendees seem to be a step up this year- I never heard the idiot questions (maybe I was facilitating good sessions) but this group seems sharp, smart, and deadly serious about craft. No 'where do you get your ideas?' or 'how do I make money?'.

The poetry session was pretty good- though the title was a little off-putting "Happy poems-Are they ever possible?" The usual suspects were there: Claudia Emerson, Buffy Morgan, David Wojahn, Ron Smith (I do love them all, particularly Claudia, but geez- are there no other affordable poets in driving distance? - see below -My complaints are moot- I think there was only one hardcore poet in the crowd anyway- me- the rest were fans or dabblers).

Like most panels with indeterminate subjects (example:the memoir session hit the ground running)- it started off like an awkward first date- a little tentative until everyone got into a groove deciding what the title of the session really meant- I'm not really sure it got there, but the charm of the panel won at last, mostly due to dog doo and pigeon poo poems (sigh).
note to shann- the conference needs a way to make additional handouts when needed or tell panelists to not bring them

Maybe I'm a little spoiled by the Dodge Poetry Festival, where only Sharon Olds and Brenda Hillman comported themselves like goofball types who wandered all over the page and insisted on body parts as poetic device- everything else there was amazing!

but I digress- no one here was a goofball- though a personal note to David Wojahn- don't quote David Byrne to an over-sixty audience and think they'll get it- they won't. And maybe edit for time-

just saying (I liked the poem BTW)

tomorrow is another day....

and a little more about THIS and THAT
I think I offended a friend earlier this year by speaking my mind, but there must be a way to make poetry more important (and not so local) at one of these gigs- how about Charles Jensen from the Poetry Center? James Harms from West Virginia? BJ Ward (in New Jersey), I could go on- Ted Genoways was here Wednesday night- I dunno- I could suggest a dozen poets.

The other thing- David Robbins listed a zillion Richmond writers and not ONE poet- I know he could care about poetry, but we are actual writers- Diane Mott Davidson, upon being asked who she is reading right now listed poets- even the fact she'd just gotten Billy Collin's new book in the mail before she left-

Full disclosure- I'm a volunteer, I didn't pay to attend. I did, however, work all day today. With only one poetry session paneled by folks I already know well, I can't recommend this conference to a writer who only writes poetry.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

another rewrite (here today, gone tomorrow)

'poem removed, you missed it!
Excellent reading by Kevin McFadden and Ted Genoway last night at the Library of Virginia- terribly underattended, though- a lot of people missed some excellent poetry!

* poem removed*

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Two Local Poets make good!!

Check out these two over in the 40 under 40 list at STYLE!

Allison Titus and Joshua Poteet

Support Your Local Poets!!

(IOW BUY THEIR BOOKS- order from Fountain Bookstore, local independent!)

Tonight- Poetry at the Library of Virginia

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Poetry of Ted Genoways and Kevin McFadden

Time: 6:00 PM–7:30 PMPlace: Lecture Hall, Library of Virginia FREE EVENT

Join us for poetry readings by Ted Genoways (Anna, Washing: Poems) and Kevin McFadden (Hardscrabble). Genoways, the editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, won the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize for Bullroarer, his first book of poems. Anna, Washing features poetry set in the 1897 Klondike gold rush. McFadden, associate program director for the Virginia Festival for the Book, has published in a wide array of journals, including Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and Southern Review. McFadden’s Hardscrabble examines American identity through the latent possibilities of language. Co-sponsored by the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

chicks read

Womenspeak, all-female, all writers read tomorrow at art6 gallery from 3-5pm.

come listen, come Support

your local poets!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Billy Collins new book- buy it in hardback

You will want to, after reading this review

I saw Collins read at least three times at the Dodge festival last week. He is charming, funny, wry, and an excellent poet. I've heard people dismiss his work- well, whatever- there are plenty of poets to read out there, he's just one-one of MY favorites.

I read about half of the new book and found so many of the poems to be spot-on as a voice of my world. He's a bit older than I am- nine years- but still close to all the things I know and have seen. Together, we've seen the Twilight Zone, the Cleavers, the Kennedy's, watched cigarettes go from a relaxing weight-control aid to a horror movie monster. He knows my language (as does Tony Hoagland- my FAVORITE poet).

He read the poem "January in Paris"- it is a wonderfully crafted piece. Or is he just blowing smoke?