Sunday, July 31, 2005


Ah, sniffles in Paris. It can't get any more romantic than that.

Chris and I had a lovely dinner at Le Fumoir with Andrew Johnston, poet and editor of The Page. He's every bit the dreamboat I imagined, but you'll have to take my word since he was hesitant to let me snap his pic for my blog. He said he was private and shy, but perhaps he doesn't want his image to mingle on the same page with that of a deranged panty-chewing Lucifer poet. Or perhaps he just wanted to easily deny the incident ever happened if asked ("Reb--who?").

Andrew gave me a copy of his most recent book, Birds of Europe (Victoria University Press) and I gave him the latest issues of The Canary, The Hat and Jen Olin's Blue Collar Holiday (recommended by Jordan Davis). I also gave him a copy of The Displayer, a chapbook of poems by some of the Lucifer folks.

This afternoon Chris and I tooled around the city a bit. He attended a nerd reception in the evening while I read a little and took a nap. The hotel we're staying at is overrun with nerds. Every square inch of lobby space is filled with laptops and ill-fitting t-shirts.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Blogging from Heathrow

Five hour layover in London. I'm stinky, but not as stinky as I was Wednesday. But the seats in this airport -- my ass is in some serious pain. It hurts more than Ken saying he doesn't like my underwear.

Both Matt and Mike blogged about the reading.

The New Sincerity Ain't No Goddamn Son of a Bitch

Friday, July 29, 2005

Just Broke the News to Gideon

No Paris for you! Sorry dude, you're staying in the states with Grandma Morrow! We'll send a postcard.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

About Last Night or Why Does Mommy Smell Like Colt 45?

I have never smelled quite so foul after a poetry reading. Fuck the ozone, Red Emmas needs air conditioning. I can't believe how many people sat and sweated through those readings. They were good readings, but still.

Michael Ball, i.e. series co-ordinator introduces Lucifer.

New poet laureate of Carrboro, Todd Sandvik and wife Laura

Randall Williams

Brian Howe

Marcus Slease

Mike Snider, Me, Matt Shindell

Reading "Pardon My Dragon" with special guest appearance Carly Sachs performing the role, Dead Roses

Carly tied her underwear to mine. Ken said he preferred Carly's tie underwear to my pink satin and black lace boy shorts. This drove me into a psychotic rage. I am posting this picture in an attempt to ruin his life.

Gideon and me recovering this morning -- he spent the evening with Tender Buttons

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Pardon My Dragon

If you're in Baltimore tommorow . . .

7:00 p.m. i.e. Reading Series at Red Emma's

Lucifer Poetics Group

Readers: Randall Williams, David Need, Ken Rumble, Marcus Slease, Brian Howe, Chris Vitiello, Todd Sandvik, Reb Livingston, Matthew Shindell & Mike Snider

Matt, Mike and I will perform our collaborative play, "Pardon My Dragon."

It will rock your world. Yee-haw.

Dear N

Sometimes I pedal a bicycle made for argument.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Dear N

I'm going to show the world how it's done. Just you wait.

Yes, please wait, I'm a little overwhelmed, but I promise I'll get to it and show everyone.

In good time.


This Week at the No Tell

Matt Cox sells musk oil and trinkets this week at No Tell Motel.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Putting Down the Laptop

Been trying to get a million little things done before I leave for Europe on Friday. My fear is that I'll forget to do or bring something. I can see it now, unpacking and realizing there's no underwear in my suitcase and not being able to acquire any in Paris big enough to cover my wide ass.

Did I mention that my latest nightmare is not the usual crazed killer coming after me? No, the latest is that I have three babies (each around 9 months apart) and I keep forgetting to feed the youngest because he's so quiet. It's midnight and I look at Chris and ask if he fed the new baby at all today and he looks at me and says "No, did you?"

p.s. Dad, I've been "putting down the laptop" all weekend.

Friday, July 22, 2005


All the Bedside contracts have been sent out (via e-mail). If you haven't received your contract, please let me know. Also, do let me know if I misspelled your name or something dumb like that. I won't be offended if you point out a glaring error on my part.

That being said, if you owe me your bio or poem file, please get that to me. Yes, I'll eventually track you down, but why would you want to make me do that?

Finally in the end stages of planning my European trip. Have hotel reservations for Paris and Geneva and have picked a hotel in Milan, but for some reason I'm having a problem booking it online. Ordered our Eurail passes. . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Odd Ends

I'm trying to get everything squared away before I leave on the 29th. While in Paris I'll be meeting up with Andrew Johnston of The Page and later Roderick Maclean. That should be fun.


I've sent out about half of the Bedside Guide contracts, I hope to send out the other half this evening.

Helpful hint: When submitting to online journals, submit using the e-mail address where you wish to receive your reply. Don't send from one address and say "but respond using this address." Or even worse, just including your real address in your signature file thinking I'll pick up on the difference. I've responded to hundreds of submissions in a very short time. When responding I hit the REPLY button.


Received confirmation from AWP for the 2006 Bookfair in Austin. No Tell Motel and The Canary will share a table.


Still working with Matt Shindell and Mike Snider on the collaborate verse play we'll perform next week in Baltimore.

It's um, interesting.

I put in an old song my grandfather (Nick, not Charles who sometimes wrote poems) used to sing me:

Nobody loves me.
Everybody hates me.
I'm gonna go eat worms.
Big fat juicy ones.
Little tiny squirmy ones.
I'm gonna go eat worms.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Oh goodness, make one off-color joke about a nutsack and everyone thinks you're angry.

I wasn't angry.

I was flirting.

The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel


Featuring discretion by:

Aaron Anstett * Molly Arden * Robert W. Barnett * Aaron Belz * Jasper Bernes * Remica L. Bingham * Anne Boyer * Elizabeth Bradfield * Gayle Brandeis * Suzanne Burns * Britton Carducci * Laura Carter * Shanna Compton * Bruce Covey * Matt Cox * Laura Cronk * Catherine Daly * Denise Duhamel * Peg Duthie * Jilly Dybka * Jill Alexander Essbaum * Marta Ferguson * Alice B. Fogel * Jeannine Hall Gailey * Amy Gerstler * Jim Goar * Noah Eli Gordon * Anne Gorrick * Carolyn Guinzio * Jennifer Michael Hecht * Shafer Hall * Michael Hoerman * Cynthia Huntington * Charles Jensen * Paul Jones * Kirsten Kaschock * Amy King * Craig Kirchner * David Laskowski * Dorothee Lang * Ann Neuser Lederer * Reb Livingston * Emily Lloyd * Rebecca Loudon * Oliver Luker * Tatjana Lukic * Clay Matthews * Corey Mesler * Charlton Metcalf * Michael Meyerhofer * Andrew Mister * Steve Mueske * Anita Naegeli * William Orem * Eden Osucha * Shin Yu Pai * Cami Park * Karl Parker * Dan Pinkerton * Lance Phillips * P.F. Potvin * Nate Pritts * Francis Raven * Kim Roberts * Anthony Robinson * Ken Rumble * Jenni Russell * Carly Sachs * Christopher Salerno * Standard Schaefer * Zachary Schomburg * Penelope Scambly Schott * Brandon Shimoda * Matthew Shindell * Laurel Snyder * Heidi Lynn Staples * Hugh Steinberg * Matthew Thorburn * Aaron Tieger * Maureen Thorson * Betsy Wheeler * Allyssa Wolf * Christy Zink

Monday, July 18, 2005


Last May when Molly and I were discussing our plans for an online journal, we thought "how can we make a magazine important to Tony Tost's thinking?"

We came up with Testicle: Poems and Theory on Tost's Nutsack.

We thought it would express/construct a (at the least) possible view of what poetry is.

Oh, I'm teasing! We would not limit our journal to just Tost's nutsack, we would explore and contrast it with other nutsacks as well.

Some may find my publishing goals as simply an unambitious offering of (possibly) "good poems." Perhaps if you're not reading or just skimming (which let's be honest, is pretty much the same as not reading so why bother? just to say you saw such and such issue and know what's out there?) that would be a logical conclusion.

Others may expect more than just poems in a literary journal. Some want context and criticism or other genres and visual art.

You got me there. No Tell Motel doesn't offer any of that and won't in the future. Got nothing against any of that -- we just have limited time and resources and we want to do the best possible job with what can do -- which btw, isn't as easy as one may think. Besides, that doesn't really fit with my goals, and yes, one of those goals is to publish "good" poems.

But what are my other goals?

On the screen it's easy for a poet/poem to get lost among tens (or even a hundred) other poets/poems. This encourages skimming and skipping around. Sure, people have different skimming styles. My style is to first click on names of poets I know, then poets I'm familiar with and then unknowns-to-me. I often click on poets with unique sounding names. Sometimes I avoid clicking on poets whose work I've decided I don't much care for. That's a bad thing, I'm limiting myself, building a wall before I even know what I'm blocking off. A lot of online journals' navigation design makes it too easy to disregard and ignore.

So how do I make sure (or do my best job of making sure) each poem I publish is given fair attention AND make it a positive experience for the reader?

How do I offer an in-depth presentation of a poet's work?

How do I encourage readers to make reading/visiting No Tell Motel a regular habit? (What makes blogs so popular?)

How do I both sufficiently honor the poems without overwhelming or turning-off the reader?

I attempt to meet my goals by the following:

Putting the content top-level. Minimizing the amount of clicking one has to do to get to the poems.

Not overwhelming readers (especially new visitors) with too much at once. If a reader decides he/she likes what he/she sees and wants to read more, the achives are just one click away.

Offering readers an intimate introduction to poems, one poet at a time.

Keeping it fresh. I want every visit to be a new experience for the reader.


I don't profess to not have an ego. If you're reading this blog, you are well aware otherwise. But I try to keep my ego out of No Tell Motel and keep it focused on the poems/poets. The context is what the poet offers and I have no intention of adding or taking aware from that.

There are other publications doing that just fine.

On Making Friends -- Burn in Hell!

Just kidding.

Later today (I hope) I'll write a little about my publishing philosophy -- behind my madness.

Last year Tony Tost and I briefly chatted about online journals here during the time I was secretly working on launching No Tell Motel with Molly Arden and Tost was still one of the editors of Octopus.

My initial comments were spurred by Tost complaining how long it took to put an issue of Octopus out because (like print journals) they were doing it in such a way that they had to recreate everything from scratch as if they were using paper. Lots of online journals are caught in this unnecessary situation. I have poems coming out in online journals that are nearly a year behind schedule. Nothing will get your online journal forgotten faster than by publishing infrequently and irregularly.

Fast forward to now, No Tell Motel will be one year old next month and Tost is on the cusp of launching a new literary journal, Fascicle, with (nobody) Ken Rumble and Chris Vitiello (who doesn't know squat about Pittsburgh).

Tost has ideas about online journals. Actually Tony has ideas about poetry too, but that's not what I'm discussing here. This morning I found this announcement in in my Lucipo mail folder: "Tony spouts off on editing journals. Does he think Can We Have Our Ball Back is more important to 'his current thinking' than No Tell Hotel? How about The Canary? The Poker? (Hardly knew her) Why privilege innovation over quality? Does he still have a man-crush on Jacket? All this and less and more."

I'm sure that was just a typo and Tost was not implying that Molly and I or the poets published within are hos. No, he was just trying to get my attention so I'd mention him on my famously popular blog.

In today's post Tost says "While I'm making friends . . ." and goes on to write that journals like No Tell Motel and Unpleasant Event Schedule are "closer to re-packaging current aesthetics/assumptions as opposed to re-conceptualizing or altering them."

Maybe Tost thinks I'll be offended at such statements. I am not. He also prefaces what he writes with what's "important to his current thinking" and "I don't think I'm speaking on the behalf of anyone other than myself here."

I don't believe anyone would think otherwise.

Tost wants to counter the sameness in journals and (apparently) will be attempting to do so using the same publishing model that editors have been since the 19th century (18th?). The issue. Actually, I have a fondness for a lot of tradition, my father escorted me down the isle. Every year I put up a Christmas tree and sing O Tannenbaum. Over my fireplace there's a quaint old-timey tin-type of my great great grandfather Jess Best and his little sister Dolly.

My point was (and still is) that we're using new publishing tools with still many untapped possibilities -- the ability to update "on the fly" (to use some annoying lingo I picked up in the 90's at AOL), the ability to reach a huge number of readers of diverse backgrounds and geography, the ease of reader interaction, and of course sound, video, smell-o-vision, etc. The opportunity to find new ways to collect and distribute poetry are all out there waiting to be discovered and utilized. I keep my eyes open for the buck(ette)s who do that.

What Tost is saying reminds me very much of another annoying corporate catch phrase that was shoved down our throats at AOL. This concept of thinking "out of the box". A lot of the folks I worked with back in the day had very little boxes, because the things that were "out" of their boxes . . .

I'm not implying anything about Tost's box. I'm sure he has a gigantic box. Maybe my comment has more to do with the way he's says what he says?


Tost also admits to skimming journals and I admit that when I'm tired (which seems like all the time) I skim too. When I skim I grasp very little and have to go back another time and re-read that journal if I have any intention of actually knowing/experiencing the poems within.

Tost is looking for an "issue-by-issue a context" to develop, argue with itself, expand itself in, etc. He says "Names, and styles and tendencies, change, but that's different than reading and engaging the back issues of LANGUAGE and accessing a distinct view on the art that one can then endorse, alter, reject, wrestle, mock, grope, etc. A distinct view that one can read come into being issue by issue."

How does one pick up on this if he is skimming, only reading poems by names he recognizes because he's decided the latest issue is only a variation of the same view of the journal?

Again, why issues? Can't the same goal be achieved (better) in a more continuous/regular flow? Why not build and grow within the "issue" -- add, extrapolate, revise, question on the same page as the original texts? Why not have the texts interact with other texts, old and new?

Thinking these goals can be met using issues is working under the assumption that readers won't be skimming your online issues for poems by names they recognize.

There's a reason e-Books haven't taken off yet. People read differently on computer screens than they do with physical books/magazines, newspapers.

I understand a lot of editors prefer issues and perhaps some have taken my comments about the pitfalls of online issues personally. I hope that is not the case. I only publish in journals that I love -- and many of them of do publish issues.

Tost has made it clear. Fascicle is going to rock our world.

Whew, the last guy that said that to me . . .

I'm looking forward to reading (not skimming) the first issue, but right now I won't make any promises about the second and third.

Until August!

MiPOradio First Podcast

This Week at the No Tell

Anita Naegeli makes too much noise this week at No Tell Motel.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Public Service Announcement -- The More You Know

It's generally acceptable to stop and say hello to an unfamiliar baby in a public place if he's with his parents.

But if you don't know the baby or his parents, you may not want to kiss his feet.

For one reason, it may make the parents uncomfortable because they don't know you and may not appreciate your rubbing your lips anywhere on their child.

Also, you don't know the parenting style of strangers. For instance, just a short hour previous to your placing your mouth on those feet, those same feet may have been plunking themselves in a messy diaper during baby's last changing. The deficient mother may have only quickly wiped them thinking "he's getting a bath tomorrow, that'll do for now".

The more you know.

Male Poet Blogger Call

Swim suits, fine, but jogging shorts? Bleh.

Oh and take off those tube socks, else you'll look like a goof.

I suggest hot poet dudes send pics of themselves wearing underwear.

WRCT Day at the Livingston-Morrow Abode

In college I was DJ Lola Coca Cola (yes, that's what I called myself on air) and Public Affairs Director at WRCT. WRCT is where Chris and I fell in love (he was a public affairs talk show host and engineer). The station DJed our wedding.

Precious, I know.

This afternoon I received knitted booties and a hat by Jen Potter (former WRCT Program Director & DJ) for Gideon.

Early this evening I received an e-mail from Wendy Wasko -- (she took part in the WRCT Hot Sex All Night Pajama Party). She inquired about Nancy King (former DJ and talk show host)

Late this evening Sam (former Public Affair Director and one-time coup leader against me) called to say he was stuck at Dulles for the night so he popped over for a couple hours to meet Gideon.

Sam, Gideon (hat by Jen Potter)

Premiere Issue of Coconut

Check it out, yo.

Poems by:

alice notley
david trinidad
danielle pafunda
sawako nakayasu
wang ping
katy lederer
jon leon
amy gerstler
aaron mccollough
sueyeun juliette lee
frank menchaca
shanna compton
ken rumble
lisa lubasch
amy king
bruce covey
laurel snyder
alex lemon

Friday, July 15, 2005


Jordan is keeping a list of poems he's enjoyed (so far) in 2005. Now why didn't I think of that? Sounds like a good project for 2006.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Poster Child

Yes, I sold out my five month son (and I'd do it again, we need the money for our European vacation).

Gideon is the cover boy for the New Sincerity -- a movement I proudly proclaim membership, for real, yo.

And now he's being used as propaganda by its detractors.

This could get messy.

Possible European Itinerary

Ok, I'm a jerk for putting off deciding this -- I was hoping Chris would take care of it. But everyone is just so damn busy. Fine, I'll make the plans. The Paris part is handled. The whole point of this trip is so Chris can defend his paper at this nerd conference. MCI is covering Chris' airfare and hotel room. I'm just tagging along and will be on my own for a good bit of Paris. After the conference is over, the two of us will do a little additional traveling before heading home to discover our son forgot us.

Paris - July 30 - August 5
Geneva - August 5 - 7
Milan - August 7 - 9
Paris - depart on August 10

Any recommendations for nice hotels in Geneva or Milan would be appreciated.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm a Winner!

Jeffrey Eaton and I are the winners of Shafer Hall's I'll Show You My Full Moon Contest.

I might be wrong, but I think everyone who submitted a photo is a winner.

Clearly Jeff took the superior photograph.

But I am mighty, indeed.

Back in Baltimore

Thanks for your "creature" suggestions. I won't go into much detail, but it's for a collaborative poem/performance I'm doing with Matt Shindell and Mike Snider for the Lucipo roadshow in Baltimore at Red Emmas.

Reading info: i.e. poetry series: Lucifer Poetics Group

Wed 7/27 7:00 PM

Lucifer Poetics Group from North Carolina will descend upon Red Emma's for a night of uniquely disparate & experimental poetry- Come early to claim a nook or cranny to listen from- The poets reading are- Randall Williams, David Need, Ken Rumble Marcus Slease, Brian Howe, Chris Vitiello, Todd Sandvik, Reb Livingston, Matthew Shindell & Mike Snider

Dear N

I think if online magazine editors are going to stay married to the print tradition of "issues", they should at least integrate it intelligently.

I like the new format of 42opus -- building its "issue", day by day. Every few days I check it out. There's always new content (just enough for me to read for one visit) and it's top-level. Readers hate having to click and dig around for stuff. Put it where we can easily read it!


I'm a Creature in a Garden . . .

. . . what am I?

Seriously, give me some ideas.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Toonces the Driving Cat

Monday, July 11, 2005

Who Doesn't Hate Men in Discount Underwear?

Check out Lorna Dee Cervantes' very cool poem.

Don't Drop the Baby

For the first time, I dropped the baby.

I didn't exactly drop him.

This afternoon at a family picnic I was carrying Gideon and walking down a hill.

I lost my footing and fell forward.

All I could think was "Don't drop the baby!"

He never left my arms and I managed not to land on top of him.

Yet the back of his head did hit the ground and everyone heard the thud.

He's fine. Cried for about ten seconds.

I'm blogging about this because I feel a tremendous amount of guilt.

Not mentioning it feels almost deceitful.

So there you go. On Sunday I dropped my baby. He's over it.

I'm not.

This Week at the No Tell

Blake Walmsley lightly cascades sheets this week at No Tell Motel.

Friday, July 08, 2005

As Soon As . . .

. . . the clothes are out of the dryer, I'm off to Pittsburgh, y'all, yinz, my precious niblets. The old man has DSL so I'll check e-mail while there.

A Poem at Esther Press

Don't call social services. I'm not feeding Gideon aluminum (or corn, for that matter). Wrote this long before he was ever born.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

July's Crucial Rooster

is here.

What's Happening Around Town (and in some way involves me)

James Wagner has recently changed the format of Esther Press to a poem-a-day. Can there be too many poem-a-day sites? No, I don't think so. There's lots of ways to do it. James is doing new poems. This week he's published poems by Michael Burkard, Sheila E. Murphy and Norma Cole. One of my poems will be featured on Friday. I'll remind you.

MiPOradio has a promo podcast of its upcoming debut. What's nice about this is that you can hear how "MiPOesia" is supposed to be pronounced. You laugh, but I've heard about 4 different variations followed by "I guess that's how you say it." Now you can listen and find out. For one of their shows, I recorded my poem "That's Not Butter" and gave a very dippy interview. Birdie promised that she would edit it and make it sound fabulous. She'll need super-editor skills to pull that off. I really need to lay off the bong before giving interviews.

"Crucial Rooster" will appear at The Happy Booker on Friday. I'll be sending shout-outs to three new books. You'll have to read it to find out which three books. Unfortunately my column writing requires me to lay on the bong.

Apologies to follow on Monday.

I Suck

Over the past couple days I sent out a couple hundred e-mails, mostly relating to Bedside Guide stuff. I was just reviewing some of the e-mails I wrote and I really need to lay off the bong when I'm corresponding. If I sent you something weird or sloppy or just plain insulting, let me know so I can properly apologize.

My numerology report warned me about this: Somewhat contradicting to this show of warmth and affection is the lack of tact and sensitivity you may display a number of times during this month. You may be too intent on forcing people to see life as you do, rather than allowing them their own perspectives and their own rates of growth.

There's still 3 people I need to contact regarding Bedside Guide but it's going to require some level of mental activity so I'm just going to wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I have now responded to every submission for the Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel. If you submitted work and haven't heard from us, let me know. reb (at) notellmotel (dot) org

Tomorrow, er today, I will contact (hopefully) all the No Tell poets whose poems we've already published and want to use again for this anthology.

Looks like the anthology will feature 84 (85?) poets and 97 poems. Assuming everyone we extend an offer to publish accepts.

To say the Bedside Guide is going to be HOT would be an understatement. An immense understatement.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Assigned Reading

Attention all New Beatitudinists, the reading assignment for today is No Tell Motel.

WTF, you ask?

I don't know, if I was going to write a manifesto it would be filled with teddy bears and kittens which is probably why nobody asks me to write manifestos.

Maybe the truth is that sincerity is often yucky, uncomfortable and unpleasant? The pig without lipstick?

I don't know what I'm talking about. Just throwing ideas out there.

A Manifesto

[Warning Unpleasant Imagery -- TB, you definitely won't like this]

Oh boy.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Christmas in July

Do all ice cream trucks play Christmas music? The one near my house does.

Jordan Davis has kind words for No Tell Motel and two of our poets, Elizabeth Bradfield and Catherine Daly.

I've been rereading all of the poems published for possible inclusion in the Bedside Guide antholology and I have to say, we've been very fortunate to have so many amazing poets send in work. Last summer when Molly and I were working on launching No Tell, more than a few folks said that we'd have a difficult time finding enough good poems to publish a new one each weekday. People are such naysayers. No vision. The exact opposite has been true. We end up turning down good work all the time as I'm sure many other magazines do too. Or at least that's what I tell myself when they reject my work.

Yesterday's BBQ was fun. The house still reeks of curry powder. Everyone got a first hand view of why everything nice I own is now covered in baby spit up.

Matt Shindell showed up and we talked a bunch of smack about other poets. We'll be reading together (along with about 10 other Lucipo poets) in Baltimore on July 27th.

Tony just made it clear that I'm a New Sincerist (I was unsure). Now I don't have to go through all the trouble of starting my New PILF movement. Thank god. That would be a party where no one would show up despite having the most delicious punch and cutest finger foods.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Info on the November MiPO Reading in Miami

can be found here.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Slip Sliding

I'm having some serious time management issues this week. Molly and I are trying to make our final selection for The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel. If you haven't heard from us yet, you will, soon. I thought next week was the first Friday of July, but really it was today (er, yesterday, I guess). I didn't realize this until Weds so I missed my "Crucial Rooster" deadline as well. I haven't finished reading the three books I'll be reviewing. Better get crackin'. The column will appear next week.

Sunday evening we're having a small BBQ. Matt Shindell is coming.