memorial for a brilliant woman

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Poetry Society of Virginia Contest deadline approaches!!! Jan 19

Go to the Poetry Society of Virginia website for info on entering the annual contest- our judges are top tier (have included Claudia Emerson and many others) and the cash prizes are sweet- poems not published unless you consent so are still available for submitting elsewhere JANUARY 19 DEADLINE!!!


Friday, January 13, 2012

remembering what was in poetry/ chapter one

I started writing poetry on computers back when Compuserve was king. I belonged to the writers forum and later the poetry forum (there was a brief run of an erotic writing forum- I recall being booted off because someone said I was underage.)

Judson Jerome had been on the forum but died the fall before I found the place.

It was early 1992 when I jumped into the forum with my first serious poems since my teenage years. I had won a scholastic magazine competition with a poem called "To be, to go, to die" in 1967(?) which included a charm for a bracelet I still own. I went to music school and got distracted.

Compuserve had the cafe (for fun), a workshop of some kind, and the hell called "No Holds Barred". After browsing a few days I posted a poem in "No Holds Barred". For whatever reason (my poetry was raw, unformed but not horrid) the regulars did not skewer me, but were kind and helpful. A retired marine named Jerry Jenkins encouraged me to send a poem to the print magazine Echoes for the memorial day issue and I was published.

We had flame wars, later I traveled to England and Scotland, staying with forum friends. I was churning out poetry like time was running out. It's tough to remember details of the demise of CIS, my children were small and I was working part-time. Mostly I remember being exhausted.

I was running open mikes and poetry events from 1996 on, wrote a column for (paid!!), edited an online zine. I attended three Austin International Poetry Festivals, had poems in their anthologies. Compuserve faded away but I had the Melic Natter, Alsops Review's Gazebo, other places for fun and light criticism.

Twenty years ago this month: the forum was first. I have printouts of most of the poems and correspondencies.
Those and the rest are preserved on floppy disks.

I made good friends, still keep in close touch with one.

This is how it began.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Digging up the past (again)

from the melic review- a poem I had forgotten about...

Every so often I'll do a google search and an old poem will appear, like this one from summer, 2000
written after returning from the Austin International Poetry Festival that spring- it is mostly true.


This is the Gospel truth, most likely it was
on a olive seed in a Greek restaurant Friday night,
somewhere in Austin after I did a poetry reading.

It cracked in two pieces like a well-made biscuit splits,
clean but crumbly, next to last molar on the left side.
Didn't take notice right away, I was drinking at the piano bar

in the Driscoll Hotel, figuring it was a hard piece of gristle,
or a chunk of tortilla chip jammed way in the back,
I chewed and jawed all night with abandon,

Too busy carrying on to worry about it much,
I ignored it, acting as if food might be outlawed
by the weekend, and me starving for everything Texas.

I was inhaling barbeque, steak, grilled chicken,
red beans and rice, tortillas off my plate and
into my mouth like I hadn't been home in years,

(I hadn't) I let it fester, digging at it with my tongue.
In the airplane on the way home I ate my pack of nuts
on the other side of my mouth, and didn't crunch my ice.

By chance and fate, I had a dentist appointment
the very next day, so I took my kid in my place
hoping for a reprieve and time to heal the tender spot.

She took one look, rolled her eyes, sat me down
and said, "We gotta get to the root of this one right now,
You want shots or the gas?" and I was stuck for the morning.

Now my temporary crown has abdicated into two monarchies
a week until the real one arrives from the molar factory,
but it was worth it all, at least I broke a tooth and not my heart,

like I did thirty-three years ago in Pasadena when Greg Lind took
Patrice Jordy to Homecoming back in nineteen sixty-something.
Bring me an aspirin and a cold co-cola and I'll tell you all about it.

here's some others from Melic, a right fine journal in its time:

Throwing in the Towel winter 1998
Driving Icarus summer 1999
(I wanted to)  autumn 1999 also apppeared in The Best of Melic, in print 2003
A Parable spring 2000
I have let you autumn 2000
Not by the Book (poems about sex with Martha Stewart) fall 2001
When Billy Collins reads (poems about Billy Collins) fall 2001

After 2001, I was a first reader for poetry (on and off) and CE was a stickler for not publishing the staff unless the work had appeared somewhere else first. I rejected more than one poet who is well-known today. During the next few years I also edited issues of La Petite Zine (prior to Daniel Nestor). I am very proud of my work there (archived here and here) but CE had warned me about working with the publisher. I should have listened.

Friday, January 06, 2012

The more things change... poets at the VMFA TONIGHT!!!

John Hoppenthaler and Deborah Ager will be reading
(see bios in previous posts)

In the place of Bernadette Geyer and Anna Claire Hodge


will be reading!! 6-8pm FREE

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Richmond, VA

First Friday Poets at VMFA 6-8pm Meet Poet # 4

Poet John Hoppemthaler


Meet Mr. Hoppenthaler:

John Hoppenthaler books of poetry are Lives Of Water (2003) andAnticipate the Coming Reservoir (2008), both titles from Carnegie Mellon University Press. With Kazim Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays on the poetry of Jean Valentine (forthcoming from U of Michigan P, 2012). His poetry appears in Ploughshares, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Laurel Review, Barrow Street, West Branch,Christian Science Monitor, Pleiades, and Blackbird, as well as a number of anthologies, includingPoetry Calendar (Alhambra Publishing),Making Poems: 40 Poems with Commentary by the Poets (State U of New York P), September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond (Etruscan Press), Blooming Through the Ashes (RutgersUP), The Sound of Poets Cooking (JACAR Press), and Chance Of A Ghost (Helicon Nine Editions). Among his honors are an Arts Fellowship Award for Excellence in the Field of Literature from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, a North Carolina Community Council for the Arts Regional Artist Project Grant, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Elizabeth Bishop House, and the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities. For eleven years, he served as Poetry Editor for Kestrel, and he now edits A Poetry Congeries for the cultural siteConnotation Press: An Online Artifact and curates a guest-edited poetry feature. He also serves as Advisory Board Member forFairleigh Dickinson University’s Words and Music Festival (WAMFEST). Personal Assistant to Toni Morrison for nine years, he is now an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Literature atEast Carolina University. He lives on the banks of the PamlicoRiver in Washington,NC with his wife, Christy, his stepson, Danny, and their kitten, Obi.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

First Friday Poets @VMFA Jan 6th Poet # 3

First Friday poets at VMFA January 6
Anna Claire Hodge  # 3

Poets at the Virginia Museum January 6th (First Friday) Local Poet Alert!!

First Friday in January at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts you will have the opportunity to meet and hear four WONDERFUL poets reading- Deborah Ager, Bernadette Geyer, Anna Claire Hodge, and John Hoppenthaler. They will read 25 minutes each from 6pm to 8pm in the atrium. Free.
Meet Ms. Hodge:
Anna Claire Hodge is a graduate of VCU's MFA program in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Breakwater Review, Blue Earth Review, Miracle Monocle, Makeout Creek, and Hayden's Ferry, among others. Her work has been nominated for both the AWP Intro Journals award, as well as the Best New Poets anthology. A native Floridian, she is currently a columnist in Orlando.
poems  and another 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

First Friday poets at VMFA January 6 Poet # 2

First Friday poets at VMFA January 6
Bernadette Geyer Poet # 2

Poets at the Virginia Museum January 6th (First Friday) Local Poet Alert!!

First Friday in January at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts you will have the opportunity to meet and hear four WONDERFUL poets reading- Deborah Ager, Bernadette Geyer, Anna Claire Hodge, and John Hoppenthaler. They will read 25 minutes each from 6pm to 8pm in the atrium. Free.
About Ms. Geyer:
Bernadette Geyer lives inVienna, Virginia, where she works as a freelance writer and editor. Shereceived a 2010 Strauss Fellowship from the Arts Council of Fairfax County and isthe author of the poetry chapbook WhatRemains (Argonne House Press). Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Oxford American, The MidwestQuarterly, North American Review, and elsewhere.  Geyer was twice selected asa Jenny McKean Moore Poetry Scholar at The George Washington University, and threeof her poems appeared on Northern Virginia buses as part of the Moving Wordsprogram, sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Division of the Arlington CountyDepartment of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources. Geyer has served as apoet-in-the-schools in Northern Virginia through the Humanities Project of theArlington Public Schools, and collaborated with the Greater Reston Arts Center in2010 on a program to teach students how to write poetry in response to visualart. In 2011, she participated in the 3rd Annual Poetry Expo atMount Vernon High School, in Mt. Vernon, Virginia.
poems (video)   another poem  and another  and one last

Monday, January 02, 2012

First Friday poets at VMFA January 6 Deborah Ager Poet # 1

Poets at the Virginia Museum January 6th (First Friday)  Local Poet Alert!!

First Friday in January at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts you will have the opportunity to meet and hear four WONDERFUL poets reading- Deborah Ager, Bernadette Geyer, Anna Claire Hodge, and John Hoppenthaler. They will read 25 minutes each from 6pm to 8pm in the atrium. Free.

About Ms. Ager:

Deborah Ager’s poetry collection is Midnight Voices. Her poems have
appeared in journals such as New England Review, The Georgia Review,
Quarterly West, New Letters, New South and elsewhere. She’s founding
editor and publisher of 32 Poems Magazine and has overseen the
magazine since its inception in 2003. Many poems first appearing in 32
Poems have been honored in the Best American Poetry and Best New Poets
anthologies and on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily.

poems   and more  32 Poems Journal