Today I’m a Different Age.

October 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

MOUSE

Fine days, time’s mice, bit by bit
You nibble my life away.
Lord! I’ll have lived to twenty-eight,
Lived badly, I should say.
Guillaume Apollinaire
***
Today I hit the road for Provincetown. If the Cape is the Grinch’s green finger, I’ll be at the very tip of that finger.

Some Words in an Order: Writers Process Blog Tour

September 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

The fantastic, writerly, readingly Alex Crowley has tagged me in this Writers Process Chain Letter Blog Tour, for which I am grateful. Go read his answers and then get to work. What are you still doing here? Go. 

If you’re still here, here are my answers to this thing, which I am doing because I fear that if I don’t, I’ll never find my one true love, or everyone will send me poop in the mail, or something.

1) What are you working on?  

These days, I’m trying to find my way back to the fine, fine art of writing one poem at a time. I don’t know when I started to feel less in touch with that—maybe the deeper I got into “working” on a “manuscript”—but the poems I’m writing now, when I’m writing them, haven’t yet announced themselves as being a part of any one particular thing and I’m finding I’m satisfied with that. More than satisfied. I’m excited. I don’t know what they might become. 

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t know about differs, but I know that I often feel like the eyeballs in my poems turn inward, see thought machinery coming from the inside and maybe they project that onto the outside world, when they see it. I admire rich imagery in poems but my poems don’t really have that. The things they “see” feel, to me, like patterns. Boxes with thoughts inside. Definitions. I’m realizing I’m really into definitions. The way time moves, and how things can’t necessarily happen simultaneously but you can play with the time of their happening with tenses, with language, until you can somehow muscle past, present and future into a single sentence. 

3) Why do you write what you do?  

I’m pretty into the idea that we write what we want to read but haven’t yet found in the world. I’ve found lots of things in the world through reading that have made me feel connected to the world; I’d hope that something I write might make a person feel that uncanny, rippling pleasure of being somehow understood by an art object. Also, I like the experience of making feelings and movement in others out of language and imagination. Poems are only language and imagination. Both of those things are free and I am lucky to be free to use them. It’d be a crime not to use them as much as possible.

4) How does your writing process work?  

I write sentences in a very big blank book. I try to exert as little control as possible. It’s not an entirely automatic, capital-S Surrealist exercise because often enough in the writing I find myself becoming interested in ideas and sometimes I allow myself to pursue them, but the goal is always to follow language first, to make myself available to it. Later—hours, days, weeks later—I transcribe the sentences on my laptop and take stock. I start moving them around a bit, changing them, acceding to patterns that emerge. During this time I’m also trying to make myself available, trying to listen for connections and ordering principles, trying not to be a person with an ego who can fall in love with the sound of something and decide at that point not to go any further. Sometimes this process yields nothing I want to revisit. Sometimes, there’s a poem I like. I try not to think of the nothings as failures, though that’s maybe the hardest thing to do. They’re just practice, like everything. A sharpening. As Jack Spicer might say, I’m honing myself and my machinery so that when the eventual transmission comes I’m the best receiver I can be. 

Up next: 

Michelle Chan Brown

Lisa Fay Coutley

“[She has] no ideas but in[stead here are some] things.”

August 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

photo 1 (2)

* This is a photo of the new Timber which, holy Annie Paradis Kendra Bartell Julie Carr Eleni Sikelianos Mathias Svalina, Batman, it’s a smokin hot issue. I’ve got words in here, and on the world wide internet, along with a video in which my bookcase takes up 75% of the frame. That bookcase is 100% better than my poem(s). I’m looking at it now and it’s doing the bookcase version of nodding, which looks like standing still and holding all the books.

* This photo also features my to-do list white board. (Not pictured: all the items on my to-do list, uncrossed off. “Write blog post” is not on this list.) 

* I have a couple of poems over at The Awl, which you can read if you want to know about one of my favorite uncommonly misheard song lyrics or how skylines sometimes make me feel like a jerk

* One time, this really good Julia Cohen wrote this really good book called Collateral Light. I read it and wrote a review of it and it’s up now at Jacket2

* This book The Answer to the Riddle Is Me by David MacLean is very good and you should read it instead of my blog, Mom. 

* Recently I have been riding a lot of my bike. It’s a lovely turquoise color.

Summer, So Far.

June 19, 2014 § 1 Comment

juxtaposition

“A juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities.” —Andre Breton

In Brief:

I had great time teaching a class on the surrealist image at Writer House in my wonderful hometown. I taught a riff on it here at Young Writers for our model day, tailored to our summer theme: remix. I called this surrealism-inspired version a “Dreamix.” Naturally.

Even though I’m in Virginia for the summer, Brooklyn Poets is featuring me this week as their Poet of the Week. Click to read my feelings on our recent GOP primary.

I wrote a review of Amy Lawless’s marvelous My Dead, over at Sink Review. It’s a baller issue, as anything that begins with poems by Ben Mirov generally is.

Two years ago, this time, I got an email from Timothy Donnelly telling me he liked one of my poems. Today, it’s up on the internet over at the Boston ReviewIt has trains in it. Go figure.

It’s Counselor Orientation Week at Young Writers, which is one of the longest weeks of the year, and busiest, and sweatiest, and best.

Headstand, Almost.

May 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Headstand
Some news is I’ve been working on my headstand. It’s coming along.

Some other news is I’ve been hoarding news to give you in one big digest. Are you ready for it? Here it is.

* In October I’m heading to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, where I’ll write things near water until May. I’m excited, and grateful, and contemplating taking the opportunity as a seven-month social media break.

* I have a couple of poems in Night Block‘s second issue, which is very good and you should read it.

* You can start your Night Block perusal with these lovely poems by Chen Chen, who I have not met but will meet in a week because he’ll be at the Tent workshop, where I will also be. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been in a position to think about poetry and Jewishness with folks who are equally excited by that idea (though I’ve been doing a lot of reading in this crazy awesome book on my own). I can’t wait.

* I have a new website! Every bit of it was made by the love of my damn life, Mike Devine, whose Twitter and Tumblr continue to get tons of retweets or notes or internet points or whatever makes things meaningful in this world we live in. Click on them now. You will laugh til you pee.

* Not to bury the lead, but I’m in second place in my Game of Thrones fantasy league by one point. Here’s hoping Tyrion and Oberyn go tell it on The Mountain.

Things That Have Happened, Things That Are Going to Happen

March 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

BOR

Issue 7 of Barn Owl Review is ricockulous. Everyone is in it. I can’t even list them all. (Glen Shaheen! Erika Meitner! Corey Zeller! Tyler Mills! & more!) I have a folio of poems in there that happens to accidentally create a little arc wherein my brain turns into a cave.

Ed Mullany’s eerie Figures for an Apocalypse is a winter must-read. I review it over at The Collagist, which is also home to the likes of Janine Joseph’s beautiful poem, “Electromyography.”

I’ve got a lil poem up on the Bushwick Sweethearts Reading Series‘ site, which you can find by clicking on the man in the blue shirt who’s falling with his face away from you. Or you can click here. The poem makes reference to “ice milk,” the existence of which may be corroborated only in a single soft serve machine in Newcomb Dining Hall at UVa.

*
Some Upcoming Excitements or, Poem-related Activities in Which Some Travel Is Involved, are these:

The New Southern Voices Reading Series in Spartanburg, SC
with the totally extreme Eric Ekstrand!
Friday, March 21 @7pm

UC-Boulder MFA Reading
in which I’ll read some poems in Colorado and talk some about being a post-MFA person in the world
Saturday, March 29 @5pm (location details TBA)

*
But tonight: nachos forthcoming from the oven at precisely 9pm, in front of which we’ll plant ourselves to watch the True Detective finale, which may or may not make reference to this or this. Fingers crossed.

Drop in the Bucket.

February 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Event Barn Owl

If you live in Seattle, you’re not me. But I’ll be at that AWP business, reading off-site at a couple of things and trying to see how many rooms I can get into without a lanyard (for the THRILLLLLLS!!). Details in the above flyers, or below, spelled out more orderly-like for you fools:

Wednesday, 2/26
Birds of a Feather: Barn Owl Review and Thrush
7pm doors; 8pm poetry
Re-Bar

Friday, 2/28
THE EVENT: SpringGun, Subito, Timber & Noemi Press
6:30pm
Barca

Otherwise, I’ll be like a bird in poetry: all up in it. I’m sure we’ll run into each other.

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