Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hot Metal Press

My poem "My Father's Ashes" now appears in the new issue of Hot Metal Press. I'm honored to be in such a gorgeous issue filled with so many fine poems.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Patry Francis

Debut author Patry Francis, a waitress and mother of four, has had the unthinkable happen: the release of her novel The Liar's Diary virtually coincided with her diagnosis of cancer. She has been hospitalized several times and undergone multiple surgeries.

So the blogging community--spearheaded by Patry's friends--is coming together to offer PR for the paperback release of The Liar's Diary, which will be featured on hundreds of literary blogs.

Here's what people have said about The Liar's Diary:

"The Liar's Diary is outright chilling." — New York Daily News
"The new questions and revelations just keep coming. But the final mystery is a twist you'll never see coming and one that is ultmately satisfying...Readers will be heartily rewarded." — Ladies' Home Journal

"Patry Francis's debut novel compels the reader to surrender to the horrible tension between a mother's loyalty and suspicion in the face of a terrible crime. The Liar's Diary twists and turns, but never lets go." — Jacquelyn Mitchard

To read Patry's blog, click here. To read more about the novel, click here.

Lately I've been reading . . .

W.H. Auden, poet, prophet, provocateur. Here are three poems.

Epitaph on a Tyrant

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented
was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.


The Question

All of us believe
we were born of a virgin
(for who can imagine

his parents copulating?)
and cases are known
of pregnant Virgins.

But the Question remains:
from where did Christ get
that extra chromosome?



Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's carnal ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find our mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Spring is Here

Spring semester, that is.

It's still miserably winter here with rain, rain, rain and the longest cold-snap in recent memory. I long for this.

This semester I'm teaching Fiction Writing and Introduction to Creative Writing. Hi to all my students who've found me here!

The Center for Literary Arts spring events include the following:

ZZ Packer, who is now on campus for the semester as an endowed chair. She was named Best of Young American Novelists by Granta. Her story collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, is our campus book selection. She's currently working on an historical novel about the Buffalo Soliders, which I'll be sure to ask her about when I interview her on-stage February 27.

On March 12 & 13, American Book Award-winning poet Kimiko Hahn will be here for several events. Her work is edgy and rich. Read a few of her poems here.

Hahn's husband Harold Schechter will be joining her and giving a talk the day after hers. Schecheter is a writer of historical true-crime classics and a series of mystery novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe.

Other events include talks by Nick Taylor, SJSU professor and author of a forthcoming Civil War historical novel, and an evening of poetry featuring Ishmael Reed, Boadiba, Neli Moody and others.

Check out the CLA website for more information on any of these events:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Letters to the World

This gorgeous book (which includes one of my poems) will be released February 1 by Red Hen Press. Here's the lowdown:

Letters to the World is the first anthology of its kind—a feminist collaboration born from The Discussion of Women’s Poetry Listserv (Wom-po), a vibrant, inclusive electronic community founded in 1997 by Annie Finch. With an introduction by D’Arcy Randall and brief essays by the poets themselves reflecting on the history and spirit of the listserv, the book presents a rich array of viewpoints and poems. Letters to the World is a remarkable example of how the Internet has radically rearranged associations among poets, editors, and readers.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Book Should be as Good!

A video about the book that's publishing my six-word memoir:

Ribbons of Sky

Ribbons of Sky

for Kate and Annie

Who can beat the beauty
of this slow ribboning of sky
stacked blue on gray soon yellow
now peach in deep December
highlighted in one window wet
with color winking green all straight-up
lucky bamboo stalking skyward
overlooking sweet-red wilted autumn
stored still in red vinca geranium
whose pink dendrobium orchid neighbor
quietly wildly partners with winter?

--Al Young
December 16, 2007

* * *

I'm honored to say that California Poet Laureate Al Young wrote the above gorgeous poem for Annie and me. When we returned from Hawaii, I shared my photos with him--and he serendipitiously realized this photo of a sunset on the Big Island is a perfect match for the poem.

Check out Al's great new website here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Good Way to Start the New Year

My poem "Elephant" was chosen by the "Verse Daily" editors and is here today!


I'm off on several different trips over the next few days, including Monterey, which this website calls a "heavenly slice of California." Indeed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who's Your Candidate?

The following is an interesting way to find out which candidate you agree with on the major issues. Answer a few questions then click the "Find Your Candidate" button. It will also show how the rest of the candidates rank according to your preferences:
Here are my results in order:


How can it be that for me, Romney comes before McCain?! The most surprising one, though, is that Edwards is so far down on the list. I wasn't planning to vote for him anyway. Still, this makes me want to investigate him further.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Very Cool

I just found out that one of my poems will be appearing on Verse Daily this Friday, January 11. Apparently the Verse Daily editors chose my poem "Elephant" after reading it in Alehouse. I enjoy reading Verse Daily; it will be plesantly surreal to see my poem there, I'm sure.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Where Have We Been?

On the big island of Hawaii, we swam in the warm water, ate papaya with lime every morning, read on the beach, watched humpback whales from a boat, hiked through rain forests and across a volcanic lake, kayaked, snorkled ... and during one of my snorkling excursions in a pristine bay, eight spinner dolphins joined me. I didn't have to pay $200 to swim with the dolphins at a resort; I was just out in nature and they swam with me. This wasn't a vacation; it was the trip of a lifetime.