Wednesday, September 29, 2004


So am I the only dork going to the Dodge Festival this weekend?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Issue 5

Just received my contributor's copy of Good Foot. Fellow bloggers who also have work in issue 5 are Shafer Hall, Adam Clay and Danielle Pafunda.

Monday, September 27, 2004

This Week at the No Tell

Molly Arden, the girl your mother always warned you about, has a room this week at No Tell Motel.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Here Comes Tony

Taking a break from painting the dining room to send you over to Here Comes Everybody to check out the interview with Anthony Robinson.

Friday, September 24, 2004

First Round at Vs.

The first round of poems at Vs. is up -- click on the Debate link to read them. All of the participants are supposed to vote for our favorites. I don't entirely understand the process, but if somebody has an issue with my poem they can challenge me to a fight or duel or smack me in the face with a pair of gloves.

It's An Old Discussion . . .

. . . for me at least. As an undergrad in the early 90's the whole women in poetry topic had always been been presented front and center in my education to the point of where I tired of it. By the time I got to grad school in the late 90's I was more interested in catching up on the classics and filling in what I perceived to be major holes in my reading (something I'll probably be doing for the rest of my life. For instance, I've read nothing by this Zukofsky guy). I never felt like women didn't belong or contribute to poetry or that it had much bearing on me or what I could do. The fact that in the past women were shut out seems to be part of history and what can I do about that? Well, I can study and learn from it but I don't necessarily identify with it. I definitely don't feel like it's something I have to break free of and prove myself from.

At Bennington there was a woman in my class, my age who had a very different view. She said the only female poets she studied both as an undergrad and as a masters (literature) student were Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore (um, not even Plath, Sexton, Stein or Dickinson?). She was desperate to discover women writers. So maybe my undergraduate experience was more unique that I thought.

In general, I tend to lean towards reading male writers. A quick scan and estimate of my bookshelves are approx. 60% male. When I think of who are my favorite poets, a lot more men pop into my head than women. I'm neither ashamed nor proud of this -- it's just the way it is. I've always believed I identified with writers' works, not so much them or their lives.

So imagine my surprise after editing No Tell Motel for such a short time and discovering my editorial tastes have been decidedly female. So far, of all the poets we've published or scheduled to publish, 67% are women. Someone suggested that perhaps it was because our girlie pink design discouraged men from submitting and attracted the ladies, but that doesn't seem to be the case either. As of today, 55% of our submissions were sent by men.

My initial response was one of concern. I didn't want people to think we were (gasp) women-centric. I thought about it a little longer and decided that my fears were silly. There are plenty of journals that regularly publish issues that are 60-80% male with no apologies or explanations so why should we feel the need to? I've heard male editors ruminate on their male-heavy journals and ask should they be publishing more women and my only response is publish what you love. As a woman, I'd be insulted if I discovered the only reason an editor picked my work was because of what I was, not because they believed in the poem.

Molly and I publish the work we love and begrudgingly pass on a lot of pieces we like. If the truth is that for years I have been denying to myself that I do indeed think with my vag, well that's just something I need to accept on my own terms. I'm not at that point. We feel strongly about the poems we're publishing and think most of our readers will too. Vag or no vag.

As for more dudes publishing books and winning contests, I'm just guessing here, but I have a feeling a lot more men are submitting to those things. I have no stats to back that statement up, just an anecdotal observation among my peers. A lot of my female poet friends simply don't submit, or submit very rarely.

Whatever the reason is, I don't spend too much time worrying about the fairness or equity of the system. I'm just plodding along, writing, reading, submitting, trying to place my damn manuscripts. If I'm 80 and still bookless, that's when I'll spend my days damning you piggish white men keeping me down with your mathematical equations and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Today's Mail

Chapbooks received today from Allyssa Wolf (No Tell Motel contributor, week of October 11th):

Three Poems by Patrick Herron (Gateway Songbooks, 2004)
M, The Dancer by Allyssa Wolf (Gateway Songbooks, 2004)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

No Tell Gift Shop

It was bound to happen, No Tell Motel merchandising! Finally gifts for those hard-to-buy-for loved ones. My dad's birthday is tomorrow and I've already ordered him one of everything. Much cooler than a Home Depot gift certificate or getting him a "ridiculously fancy" socket set from Sears that he's going to immediately exchange for a more practical one after my stepmother accidently runs over the package in the driveway.

Even better, pick up something extra pink for someone who has no idea what the No Tell is and see their response, "What the hell are you trying to imply?" or "Are you hitting on me?"

All proceeds will go to supporting the journal and martini mix.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


No Tell Motel is the Featured Site this week at 42opus. We're hot for discretion and for positive attention.

Also, the latest issue of 42opus is available. Check it out.

Monday, September 20, 2004


New issue of MiPOesias. Lots of wonderful poets including E. Ethelbert Miller, Gabe Gudding, Zachary Schomburg, Paul Guest, Tony Tost, Michael Schiavo, Daniel Nester, Diane Wald and many others.

This Week at the No Tell

Amy Gerstler brings her tequila and poems to No Tell Motel this week.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Pathetic Life of a Poet, Part 4

I noticed on Dan Nester's blog that he was was giving a reading in D.C. today and I thought it would be fun to attend. Tender Buttons was up for it too and agreed to meet me at the Dupont Circle metro. What should have been a pleasant afternoon and an escape from a second day of painting the living room wasn't quite what I had hoped.

I left my house a little late and was concerned I'd arrive 5 to 10 minutes into the reading, so I decided to put the pedal to the metal as they say. For someone with an expired registration this wasn't very keen. I got pulled over by an unmarked police car not even 10 minute from house. When the officer came to my window I said, "My registration is expired" to which he replied, "Yep and you were going 55 in a 35."

He asked why my registration was expired and I told him it was because I needed a new muffler to pass emissions. He asked why I was speeding and I answered, "Because I'm late for a poetry reading." With a straight face and no hint of inflection, very matter of factly he repeated "You're late for a poetry reading" and went back to his car.

I knew I was fucked and reminded myself that it's no big deal, poetry readings never start on time and it's would be OK to sashay in a few minutes into it. But this police officer was taking a long time in his car and then a squad car arrived. The two officers were talking and looking at me which I thought was curious because I didn't have any warrants our for my arrest and aside from my speeding and expired registration, I was guilty of no other criminal activity.

When the officer came back to my car he explained that while my car was registered to a Rebecca Livingston at my address, she had a totally different social security number and birth date. He asked for my social security card. Now I started to panic, I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure under the Patriot Act law enforcement officials are allowed to probe the arses of any suspicious types or persons of interest. In addition to being an irresponsible speeder, I now might also be a terrorist. The thought would not have crossed my mind except that two years ago a poet friend of mine was on his way to read to children at a library, got pulled over for an expired registration, didn't have any identification (he lost his wallet the week before) and spent the day in the pokey. All I could think about was how I wasn't cut out for jail, not even for a couple hours. Was it time to start practicing my scowl?

Turns out the officer was a kind man, had no intention up sticking stuff up my ass and only ticketed me for the expired tag. A much cheaper ticket and no points on my license. Perhaps it was my beat-up, filthy, 10 year old car that sounded like a lawn mower that made the whole "late for a poetry reading" believable.

So I was 25 minutes late and totally missed Dan's reading. Sorry buddy, I was looking forward to it. Maybe I'll make it up to NYC in the near future and catch you there or maybe in July when you reading in Pittsburgh. If only my old man had DSL at his house, I'd visit up there all the time. (p.s. Dad, thanks for the tomatoes.)

Afterwards I went out for an early supper with TB, gave her a belated birthday gift and enjoyed a sub-par meal and slow service at The Front Page. I stayed out for a long time hoping that by the time I got home, Chris would be all finished with the painting. When I called him from the metro at 8 p.m. he informed me he hadn't even started. His back was still sore from yesterday and he was unclear about what color to use on the trim (lame excuse). So I didn't get out of painting today either.

But we're finished in the living room and will do the dining room and foyer next weekend (we settled on Adobe Straw and Eggshell Cream). Tomorrow we're going to look at new floors.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Hmm . . .

Aimee Nezhukumatathil gets engaged and suddenly I'm on a crush list. How 'bout that? Let this be a lesson, stick around long enough, wait for the dust to clear and eventually somebody will have to notice you.

Of course, reading about all these boys' sorrows made me reflect and now I feel crummy. 10 years ago when I got engaged I don't recall any boo-hooing over my being taken off the market. Some people said I was nuts to be getting married, but I don't think there was any lamenting of missed opportunity.

Ah, but that was 10 years ago and now I'm, what do they call it, grizzl--no, experienced. Yes, I'm experienced and men can't turn experience down. Go me. My dawn has come!

Big Money

So Tupelo Press' cash award for this year's Dorset Prize is $10,000. Not that any of my manuscripts have ever fared well over there in the past. I like many of the books they've published, especially Jennifer Michael Hecht's The Next Ancient World and Anna Rabinowitz's Darkling.

Last year's Dorset Prize was $3,000. This is a hefty increase. It makes me wonder how they're able to offer $10,000 this year. Do they collect enough in contest fees where they can pay the prize, the judge, printing costs and do marketing for the book? Did they get a grant that I haven't heard of? Are their books sales that good? I'm not trying to imply suspicion, just curious. Good gracious, I heard of five figure advances before--from my non-fiction and novelist friends.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

They Publish Poetry?

See, I always subscribed for the articles.

Yeah, but I have too much on my reading pile and will be letting that subscription lapse at the end of the year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

My Latest Opportunity to Sell a Story to the Tabloids

I just got news from Greg that a mutual friend from CMU is on ABC's new reality show, The Benefactor. Actually I hadn't even heard of the program until I looked it up on my Tivo. I missed tonight's episode, but got a season pass for the rest. Hopefully Spencer didn't get booted off the first episode.

Now I never dated Spencer, but a few weeks after his failed bid for Student Senate President he did send me a witty and marvelously charming e-mail asking me out. Of course I figured his rise to power failed so I declined. I was 20 years old and didn't have time to hitch my wagon to a mere footnote in history. Guess I wasn't a very good judge afterall. Looks like Spence has a few more footnotes left in him!

Speaking of history, someone suggested I was a "midwife to history" for publishing Molly Arden's work.

Speaking of men I did date (like a really long time ago), congratulations to Marcus and Cecilia and welcome to their new son, James.

Update 1:54 a.m.: According to the episode guide: "Mark admits that Spencer and Shawn came close to being cut, but it's really down to William and Grayson;"

And according to Greg: "Well, Spencer screwed up right away, but he's still going... He didn't call the game "stupid" like the first guy axed, but he did fail to stand up for the women when they came in. "Spencer, you screwed up again!" Mark yelled from the control room."

Chris predicted that this woman will "kill Spencer."

To which Greg replied, "Well, after Linda came out of her interview, Spencer asked her how it went. She said, "He asked who the biggest ass was. I told him, 'Spencer.'"

"Spencer kept railing on how much of a risk-taker he is. "I'm a big-time risk-taker." And he uses "lame" a lot."

Greg concluded with, "I'll also note that Spencer pronounced Jenga more like 'jinga.'"

So not only does Spencer look exactly the same, it sounds like he is exactly the same.

This is much cooler than Pat's (from the Right Angle) brief and disappointing appearance on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Informal Poll

If you had the option to sign up for a brief weekly newsletter announcing the featured poet at No Tell Motel, would you?

Whooptey Doo (finger circling in air)

Sam finally put his blog back up using an engine powered by chipmunks.

I tried adding him to Blogshares so I could own his ass, but got this message: "This URL is currently blacklisted, meaning it cannot be added to the system for active trading. The site was delisted 18:49 08 Aug 2003. If you believe this is in error, please contact us for assistance."

Blacklisted, figures, commie.

Monday, September 13, 2004

This Week at the No Tell

Shanna Compton cozies up with us at the No Tell Motel.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Vermont Foilage Report

Looks like we're going to be a week or two early for the real changing.


September 7th, 2004

George Buzzell, Orleans County (Northern Vermont): This season is promising much beauty. Already, the red maples are displaying scattered magentas, which is something not emphasized every year. Individual other maples -- “signal" trees” -- are also whispering "good things" to eyes eager for colors beyond imagination. Thus far, Vermont's 2004 foliage season appears right on schedule.

David Paganelli, Orange County (East Central Vermont): Only very minor color (< 1%) so far in Orange County but these cool nights and sunny days make it feel like Fall. Due to above-average rainfall this growing season, pastures and hayfields are lush and bright green, almost like the bright green of Spring. Trees are healthy, with lush full crowns. This has the makings of a banner foliage season.

Brian Stone, Chief of Forest Management, State of Vermont: A trip to Burlington (Northwestern Vermont) on Monday revealed the early tinges of fall color creeping onto the landscape. A cloudy, gray day didn't enhance it at all but the discerning eye can begin to see the early signs. A red maple tinged with burgundy, a very scattered sugar maple here and there, beginning the turn to yellow and a lawn tree or two with leaves on the ground portending the change to come.

Russ Barrett, Washington County (Central Vermont): Not much happening in Washington County that I have seen with the exception of spotty color in excessively wet areas or where trees are showing signs of stress.

Jim White, Bennington County (Southern Vermont): Early color in soft maples in the wetlands along Route 9.

Jim Tessman, Franklin/Grand Isle Counties (Northwestern Vermont): Not much is happening yet. Some of the swamps like Fairfield swamp off Route 36 have some color (mostly red).

Ray Toolan, Lamoille County (North Central Vermont): Other than a little early color in isolated spots, there is nothing to report at this time other than it is a beautiful time to ride the ridges.

Jon Bouton Windsor County (Southeastern Vermont): Only very scattered trees with colors other than green in Windsor County.


Where did the week go?

We're heading up to Vermont Friday morning for a friend's wedding. I've been to Vermont a bunch of times, but never during the autumn.

Today is Tender Button's birthday. I hope she likes maple syrup.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Update: One Smooth Mofo

We weighed Clyde last night -- Our scale may not be perfect but it confirmed our suspicion that Clyde is indeed losing weight. His peak was 21 pounds a few years ago, 19 pounds last month when the diabetes was diagnosed and last night he clocked in at 17 pounds! Check out this svelte bad boy!

Smoked Corn or Pepper Cake?

The ceiling is patched. Chris did a good job. We decided to go for the whole shabang and redo everything. In two weeks we're going to paint the living room, dining room and foyer. But there's so many choices out there. Too many choices. Paint colors are unnecessarily complex. Here's what we narrowed it down to:

Wall: Parisian Taupe/Trim: White Luxury
Wall: Sandstone Cover/Trim: Swiss Coffee
Wall: Harvest Brown/Trim: Off White
Wall: Adobe Straw/Trim: Eggshell Cream
Wall: Smoked Oyster/Trim: Popped Corn
Wall: Pepper Spice/Trim: Cinnamon Cake

Monday, September 06, 2004

This Week at the No Tell

Heidi Lynn Staples checks in this week at the No Tell Motel.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


Is anyone going to Geraldine Dodge first weekend in October?

Last time I went was four years ago. I brought Tender Buttons (it was her first poetry festival). She asked if everyone would be wearing berets. I laughed and assured her, no way. When we got there we saw at least 100 people wearing berets. To this day, TB still busts my chops.

Friday, September 03, 2004

What Was Once Our Living Room

Inspector Chris hot on the trail of the leaky pipe.

Aha! Thank you $220 plumber!

I don't know, the look is kind of growing on me. Kind of avant-garde, wouldn't you say?

Now who's going to clean this shit up?


Two online journals that recently closed up shop: Surgery of Modern Warfare and Taint.


Chris was close with the first hole, but then he went the wrong way with the next four. I have some pictures of damage. We'll be busy patching this weekend.


Just got the OK from Chris to call a plumber. I left a message with a place his mum recommended that offers same day service. Hopefully someone will get over here in the morning.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


Four giant holes in the ceiling and still no clue where the leak is. Fifth hole is about the be cut. Chris is calling them "freedom holes."


We don't have a chair high enough for Chris to get a good look inside the ceiling. He's on his way to his mum's to borrow her step ladder. I don't have a good feeling about this. Keep the faith. Keep the faith.

Busted Pipe?

We were out this evening having dinner with friends only to come home and find water bubbles and stains on our living room ceiling. It's not a leaky toilet or sink, it appears to be a broken pipe. Chris is going to poke a hole in the ceiling and "fix it." I asked him if we should call a plumber, but he says the plumber would just poke a hole in the ceiling and fix it the same way. I'm putting faith in Chris because I read somewhere that's an important component of marriage. I fear by the end of the night our ceiling is going to look like swiss cheese and our carpet will be a swamp.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


If your e-mails to me or to No Tell Motel have been bouncing, please leave me a message in the comment box with your e-mail address. A few weeks ago Chris installed spam filtering on all incoming messages into our network and its been blocking a handful of legitimate messages. I don't see what's being blocked and although Chris is supposed to be checking the logs every night, he doesn't exactly have an eagle eye. That's right, I said it.


Recently I received an invitation from Marc Pietrzykowski to participate in his new project, Vs., and online journal of deliberative poetry. What's deliberative poetry? From the About section of Vs.: "Using poetry to argue, debate, and deliberate about issues extra-poetical lost favour in the English speaking world around the time of the Romantics, and we hope to reintroduce the practice. Using poetry to insult, berate, and slander one's fellows also has a long history in the Western scheme of things (and others) . . ."

It sounded fun so I'm participating. Nine other poets and I have three weeks to respond in poetic form to the question: ""What can poets do to help improve the quality of public debate in the U.S?"

I never really thought about that before, but I'm going to have to decide on a strong position before I start writing.