Who's the first poet I bump into in NYC? Charlie Jensen as he walked out of Prada. For real. Omigod.
Home-Schooled By a Cackling Jackal
2004 - 2009
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
On the train to NYC, working on the No Tell slush pile -- finally finished OCTOBER!!!!! Only five left in November. Of course I somehow forgot my laptop power cord (!!!???!!!! wtf chuck?!!!!!) and won't be able to work the entire ride. Luckily there's an Apple store within walking distance of the Hilton. That will be the first item on my agenda.
I have a huge, insanely heavy suitcase filled with books. I'm checking out the guns and pecks of my fellow Amtrak riders, looking for a temporary husband. I don't know nothing about carrying no heavy suitcases.
Speaking of guns, there must have been some important people at Union station -- there were dudes with machine guns all over the place.
Or maybe they heard Reb Fucking Livingston was on her way to AWP and decided better safe than sorry.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Mini-Rant (probably AWP stress induced, probably best to skip)
I'm a little frustrated right now. See, I don't mind people asking for favors -- and if I can help somebody out, I like to try. In fact, I think I do more than my fair share of favors.
But sometimes people forget what they're asking is a favor -- not a gimme. If I can't do the favor, it's likely not because I don't want to or don't like you or think I'm too good to be bothered -- it's the same reason most people have -- I have a lot of things to do. I'm not special in this regard, lots of people have numerous responsibilities and can't do everything they're asked. If you're not one of those people, you're incredibly fortunate and yay for you. But if I tell you I can't read your manuscript or need (much) more time that two weeks to blurb your book or write a review or help you on a project you're really psyched about, I'm not being a dick. The worst thing you can reply back is "but it'll only take a few hours." Only a few hours? Oh, well let me just clear off my desk and put your favor at the top of the queue. I'll just do that before I respond to past-due No Tell subs, layout the online galleys, layout the next No Tell title, address and mail out the next round of review copies and the hundred other time-deadline items I have on my to-do list. I'll hand Gideon a pack of cigarettes for him to pass the time.
You don't know what's going on in my life -- that's fine, there's no reason you should. I haven't a clue what's really going on in your life. But why assume that I or anyone for that matter has unlimited time to devote to a favor? Yes, even a teeny one. It's totally cool to ask, and I often do "come through," but if I tell you no -- I'm doing you the favor of letting you know up front that I can't do it. Isn't that better than saying Oh yeah, sure and totally flaking out? I try to be responsible. I consider it irresponsible to agree to do something if I know from the start there's no way. I don't consider sacrificing the time I need for family or my own personal well being to be any kind option at all. Nobody should.
And if you really must pry, I can't do it because running an online magazine takes a lot of time, running a micropress takes even more, I have a young son who, like all children, both demands and deserves a great deal of my time and on any given month my husband is on travel 25-75% of the time, during which I'm a lot like a single mother (except I can't date) -- and my babysitter is in Pakistan for a month -- and guess what, I'm a poet too and I um, need time to write as well. Yeah, sometimes people forget that naughty girls need writing-time too. Just a couple hours is often more time than I can manage to find to write over the span of several weeks.
It's always the people who don't edit magazines, publish books, write reviews, run a reading series or do very much of anything for other poets who are the ones assuring me how their favor won't take too long and how it'll be no trouble for me at all.
Geez, I make time to blog and travel and shop and eat and go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, I must not be that busy. Fine, I'm a total dick cause I take breaks, recharge and treat myself to nice things ahead of your favor.
Favors get put in the queue along with all the other tasks. Everything gets pushed aside, neglected, ignored for family matters. Like I said before, as a busy mom, I don't have the luxury of dying for poetry. I'm also much too pretty to risk baldness and toothlessness from stress and overwork. Sorry, not gonna.
Caffeine Destiny - New work by jeff alessandrelli, sarah bartlett & emily kendal frey, bruce covey, david dodd lee, adam deutsch, katie ford, anna fulford, james galvin, brenda hillman, elizabeth hughey, george kalamaras, éireann lorsung, bill rasmovicz, dan thomas-glass and joshua ware
Anti- - New poems by Karen J. Weyant, D. Antwan Stewart, Jay Robinson, Anthony Robinson, Jayne Pupek, Nate Pritts, Gary L. McDowell, Louise Mathias, Joseph Mains, Tim Lockridge, Rose Kelleher, Brent Goodman, Elisa Gabbert, Adam Fieled, Mackenzie Carignan, and Jeff Calhoun.
This Week at No Tell
Friday, January 25, 2008
Poetry MicroPresses Spotlighted in the Washington City Paper
Pertinent Press: How does an upstart poetry publisher pass the bullshit test? by Amanda Hess
Hmm, don't I come off like the little firecracker? Oh the poor reporter who met me at a diner and endured my two hour tirade! Thank god it wasn't video taped, I could been the next Tom Cruise-esque Micropress YouTube video.
Other DC presses highlighted: Vrzhu Press and Big Game Books
Labels: no tell books
One MicroPress Woe
No Tell Books has a no return policy -- but truth be told, if a bookstore pushes for it, I fold and agree to it. Why? Because if I don't, that means the author gets screwed because the bookstore ends up not buying any books. So I agree on the stipulation that the books are returned in perfect condition. Usually this is the case, the bookstore (almost always an independent) takes care to package the books properly.
But not always. For instance a university bookstore ordered 20 copies for an author event -- that's a big deal and I readily agreed when they pressed for a book return option (as long as they're returned in good condition). They agreed. Today -- 14 books arrived back -- 8 of which have crushed/torn spines (which probably happened in transit, they weren't packaged very well).
Now I'm in the difficult position of either contacting the bookstore and informing them of the condition of the books and hope they remedy the situation or not pursuing the matter and sucking it up -- knowing I can't sell these books. I can still use them as review copies, although the majority of those have already been sent, but there's always requests and AWP is next week.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
It didn't snow one single flake here and although there's still 45 minutes left in the day, I managed not to drive off a cliff. A big accomplishment for me.
The estimate for last week's accident is $1300 and five days of work. I have insurance with a $250 deductible -- so it'll get fixed. My car is 13 years old, I'm not putting any major cash into it.
According to my hairdresser, I am her favorite poet. Probably because she's never read my work. Also, she inquired about Jill Essbaum who accompanied me on my bang trimming in December. Sounds kind of dirty, doesn't it?
I'm guessing Jill is my hairdresser's second favorite poet.
The tiaras arrived today and they are gorgeous! Although mine was supposed to be gold-toned (to match the flecks of gold in my dress), it arrived silver-toned so I guess I'll look like the big asshole at the pageant.
Why am I wearing a tiara? Because I want to. But don't worry, mine looks completely different. It looks like this:
Except it's not gold-toned.
We just made arrangements to spend Gideon's 3rd birthday in Tahoe! We'll be teaching him how to ski. When I say we I mean Chris. Chris will teach Gideon how to ski. When I say Chris, what I really mean is he'll be nearby when Gideon gets a lesson.
I don't ski. I play nickel slots.
Drexel University's College of Arts and Sciences and Painted Bride Quarterly's 35th Anniversary Reception
I'll be joining other editors and publishers in selecting and reading poems from the archives of Painted Bride.
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2008
Time: 7:00 PM
Scheduled Room: Gibson Suite at the Hilton
Art, music, and drinks. Come join us!
The First Thing to Make Me Smile All Day
If you continue to cut checks to have your poems treated like a little show dog up on a pedestal, to have the anus fur of your poems examined for dingleberries, to be tested for obedience, etc., than you are a sucker, a clown, and an asshole. And you can take that to the bank, you dentists in poets' clothing. You simpering, obsequious chihuahuas.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
More snow coming on Thursday, the day I'm supposed to do a million things including getting an estimate for my car damage. Let me check the ole horoscope: The effect of Uranus will likely have you careen off a cliff and/or explode into a fiery ball. Love will touch your day. Also, unexpected monetary gains are indicated.
Yep, better remember to wear my helmet.
This past weekend I answered about 20 No Tell submissions and have approximately 40 left to do this week. If you're still waiting to hear, know your work is being seriously considered. I'll probably fill somewhere from 6-12 slots with these remaining submissions. Just so you know, my co-editor has been quite ill this past year and unable to devote much energy on the magazine. This may possibly be the case for a while longer (although I certainly hope not, I really miss her). For now, it's just me. I'll likely be changing the No Tell reading periods to 2 one-month-long periods: one in the spring and one in the fall. I can't keep up year round (or even half year) with the growing number of subs and I don't like holding people's work for longer than 3 months which unfortunately is the case recently. At the same time, I don't want to bring on other editors or interns or whatever. No Tell is about Molly and me, our editorial direction, tastes and style -- and the magazine isn't going to go on for decades. It isn't meant for that. I'm not sure how much longer it has -- could be a year, could be five, maybe seven. Dunno. I have no immediate plans to cease publishing -- but eventually there will come a time when I'll want to work on another project and I don't think that's a bad or sad thing. Everything has its life cycle and No Tell will never become some kind of long standing institution. Unless perhaps I'm in one myself, with a padded room and no Internet access -- while Bizarro Reb goes on her tired quest for greatness, empire building and canon-making.
For now I'm still having fun so it's all worth it. But every so often relationships have to be evaluated and occasionally one must withdraw her attachment to things that take more than they give.
A few weeks ago I had this dream where I was sitting next to Daniel Craig in an auditorium. I left in the middle of the lecture to head for Europe, but realized I forgot my purse and wallet so I went back and said goodbye to Daniel again. This time we embraced and kissed and he said the loveliest things. Together we went around pulling pranks on people. We went to an artist's studio and found a painting of a heart. Suddenly Daniel wasn't Daniel anymore, he became Clive Owen and Clive painted an arrow through the heart. Then we scuttled away . . . like rats.
Coconut Eleven—featuring spicy new poems by Liz Waldner, Carla Harryman, Dorothea Lasky, Chris Pusateri, Peter Davis, Melissa Benham, Amber Nelson, Kismet Al-Hussaini, Kathleen Rooney & Elisa Gabbert, Anna Fulford, Marco Giovenale, Michael Sikkema, Sun Yung Shin, Maureen Thorson, Jordan Davis, Mara Vahratian, Philip Metres, Janet Holmes, Fritz Ward, Susan Scarlata, Jeni Olin, Jon Link, and Rebecca Hazelton—is now live on the web. Come dine with them! http://www.coconutpoetry.org
Monday, January 21, 2008
This Week at No Tell
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Below is really going to be a pageant -- costume changes, talent competition, interview, judges, hosts -- tiara, the whole deal.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
This afternoon I slid on some ice and bumped into a stopped SUV. Minor accident, small dent and paint scrape (my Acura went under the bumper). Everyone involved is fine and obviously that's all that matters, yet it's disconcerting nonetheless. You think you got everything under control and really, you don't. I always consider little accidents to be reminder messages from the higher powers, you know, check yourself before you . . .
This is all to be expected. This month Uranus is all up my butt (heh). I probably shouldn't be operating any heavy machinery during this transit.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Pull out the dream dictionary
I dreamed of AWP today. I found myself in the Hilton and was like "It's here already?" I walked up to the AWP badge table and the people working it gave me that "you don't belong here" look so I kept on walking. There were all these cured meats, salamis, sausages, baked chickens all around the lobby (meat market!!). I stood in line to get my room key, but realized I had to get a number beforehand (just like the post office). I got out of line and walked past all the people behind me who were now "ahead" of me. I pulled out two numbers and then . . . somehow . . . the dispenser knocked my legs from under me and I fell.
Best of the Net, Of Course
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Mark Your Calendars
The smaller details are still being fleshed out, but it's a go go go for Bloof/Coconut/No Tell Books event on Friday, February 1, 8 PM at the Stain Bar in Brooklyn. Lulu will sponsor it.
Like I said, it's not going to be a poetry marathon. There's going to be 50 of those that weekend. NYC does not need another poetry marathon.
But we have what NYC needs. Oh baby, and what you need too.
Bring your tiara and wear your waterproof mascara.
More very very soon.
Monday, January 14, 2008
For the past three or four years, I've played this game called Blogshares -- a fantasy stock market involving blogs. I'm kind of like an MFA student, I know just enough to be an asshole. Oh I kid! Anyhow, it was only recently I figured out how to buy artifacts so I could monkey with the stocks. To be perfectly frank, I don't really understand the way it all works -- for example, I used a bunch of artifacts to first cause a PR disaster to lower Silliman's blog price, then I restructured the blog so I could acquire 20% of the shares so I could initiate a hostile takeover. This means I bought the stock at 3x the price. After all that, I created some "PR Buzz" to boost the price back up, but it sort of tanked 20 minute later -- and then I decided it would be a good idea to reindex the blog and then it tanked a bunch more. Long story short, I'm down a $130 million dollars. Now I'm waiting for someone to push me out and take the stock away for 3x the price so I can recover some of what I lost, but nobody's done that yet and I'm betting there's a very obvious reason why . . .
. . . anyhow, that was all practice for my main goal, to reclaim my rightful shares of Radish King. See, I owned that stock years ago, and then somebody came along restructured it and hostile takeovered my ass. I didn't even know what happened, but poof, there went my Radish King. As Ms. Loudon's publisher, I feel it is my responsibility to own her stock on Blogshares. You see, I invest in my authors.
A couple weeks ago I tried to take it over, but didn't have enough artifacts and it was promptly snatched back from me. Today (armed with more artifacts), I tried again and again, the original owner just took it right back a few hours later.
Then the current owner invited me to join his/her premier corporation -- a corporation with a code of ethics against "manipulating stock prices." Apparently the way I'd been doing it was nothing more than a series of dick moves -- and the members of this corporation hold themselves to higher standards.
Anyhow, that was nice and all, but I have my own corporation and there I'm the "Alpha Poet" -- like I'd ever walk away from that!
Or would I? Soon after I received the corp invite, this person wrote and explained the benefits of joining: "we can help you increase your artes very quickly by offering cheap deals on the required ideas, lots of useful info to help you succeed with shares and ideas, and corp incentive competitions. . . We also give you a cash premium if you make our corporation your main corporation, along with shares to increase your portfolio."
My corporation doesn't do that -- all my corporation does is offer .01% interest. I don't know how to make it do anything else -- cause I'm a poet!
And then, this person dangles Radish King saying that if I join their corporation and make it my main one (forsaking the corporation I founded!), he/she will give me all the public shares of Radish King.
The only thing I ever really wanted!
Too good to be true? It all sounds a little Scientologisty to me. Am I being groomed to become Katie Holmes' replacement? Once I'm in, is there any way out?
This Week at No Tell
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
DIY: it ain't just for book publishing
Jennifer L. Knox interviewed at Bookslut
When does "the funny" come to you in your process: Do you tend to start with a comic image or thought, or do you keep honing the weirdness until a poem is adequately funny, or some other alternative?
When something pops into my head that’s really messed up, like, “I want to murder that person with piano wire, scoop out their eyes with a melon baller, fill the sockets with tapioca pudding, and a watch a horse make love to the holes,” I write it down. When I hear an odd or funny phrase, I write it down. My friends are hilarious, so I steal big from them. When I write, I try not to censor myself. I do that in editing. I remember a line that included the phrase “menstruates enough for 11 vaginas” that I took out—after a friend begged me to because it made her stomach flip. I’ve been told that I don’t have the filter that other people have for profanity and gross stuff—esp the scat stuff. In real life, this has bit me in the ass many times. Conversely, the actual statements that risk emotional exposure—those scare the bejeesus out of me. So that’s where I’m trying to “go” these days.
Labels: jennifer l. knox
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Another evening in emergency medical care. Somehow, within ten minutes of being put to bed, Gideon managed to dislocate his elbow. This is a feat only a Morrow could accomplish.
Lucky for us were were queued to the top of the list since his screams were disconcerting the other patients in the waiting room. Since we didn't know what happened, they took x-rays to make sure nothing was broken. That was traumatic.
I feel my dreams of a doctor son slipping away, this kid does not like hospitals or medical personnel.
They didn't put him in a funny paper dress, hence no adorably humiliating photograph to share.
Nothing to see here, go on, click on through.
Bedside Guide Reading in Portland TOMORROW
News at Carly's about the release of The Why and Later (Deep Cleveland Books).
The Why and Later, Edited by Carly Sachs
This anthology of poems about rape and sexual abuse - many written by victims themselves, and well-known poets such as Marge Piercy and Adrienne Rich – brings to light a topic that has been all but neglected by the mainstream publishing industry. These powerful poems will shock you with their candidness, touch you with their emotional edge, and amaze you with their perserverence of spirit.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
This afternoon we go to our first preschool open house. When I was a kid you signed your kid up for preschool a couple months before the school session and that was that.
Not that I ever went to preschool, mind you.
Here in Northern Virginia (and probably a lot of other parts of the country) it's not so easy. Admission is done by a lottery system, which means one has to get her child on a few lists to have any reasonable belief he'll get to attend preschool.
Cause apparently if he doesn't attend preschool he'll be forever behind academically and limited doing the only thing dumdums are good at, writing poetry.
Mama wants a doctor. A real doctor, not one of those love doctors.
There's also the looming potty training issue. To attend, he has to be pooping in the pot come September.
And now the added stress, my 2008 Vedic astrology report just arrived and said: "The 5th Lord Venus is not well placed in the dussthana 6th house which is not very good for the career of your son. He will not get very good results in his career during 2008."
Not even 3 and already having a bad career year! I think I'll make some space for him in my cave and together we'll wait it out for 2009.
Shanna Compton interviewed at Lemonhound.
I think DIY publishing and self-publishing is something every poet should experiment with, because it's really fulfilling in ways that even "winning" the submit-reject game will never be. I don't buy into the scarcity-increases-value theory, or the idea that poetry is a rarified experience attractive only to an exclusive group of intellectuals or academics, blah blah blah. Some people like to position themselves and their work that way, and I don't get it. It's not only self-isolating, it's condescending to potential readers. I'm not speaking of difficulty vs. accessibility. It's more an attitude or stance I find off-putting. You know, in the way the stereotypical record-shop guy is a freaking expert but disdains the act of sharing that knowledge or appreciation with anyone--as if musical sophistication and popularity were mutually exclusive.
I know there are probably some people who believe it’s tacky (or whatever) to self-publish, and will prejudge For Girls on that basis, even at the same time they’re buying the new Radiohead album, or seeing the latest David Lynch movie, or coveting a painting spotted during an open art studio tour. But that’s not an argument I feel like having anymore. The poems are the same whether I publish them or somebody else does. It takes no more confidence for me to publish myself than to ask/expect someone else to do it for me. I like retaining control of how the work is presented, what the book looks like, and knowing where it goes. It’s fulfilling for me to take on that responsibility, rather than handing it over.
Labels: Shanna Compton
Monday, January 07, 2008
This Week at No Tell
Nava Fader cuts below the ruddiness, and the honey sinks to silt this week at No Tell Motel.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
And this is how
you get a huge ass tree to fit through the door.
Gideon helped take down the ornaments, but we sent him to bed before the dismemberment.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Oh, and it looks like somebody from the AWP offices is doing blog searches on "AWP Sold Out" -- so you may want to keep your black market badge dealings on the down-low. Knowing them they'll be spending all that registration cheddar on retinal scan security to keep the unregistered filthy masses out of the bookfair.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
No I Will Not Be Attending Your Panel
cause AWP is apparently sold out and I haven't registered yet. I usually do that onsite, but apparently they won't be doing any of that -- so they won't be getting my $180 or whatever dollars.
Now I have a hotel room (took care of that over summer) -- and Bloof Books, Coconut Books & No Tell Books will be holding an offsite event on Friday, February 1 at Stain Bar in Brooklyn. So I'll be in NYC, at the hotel bar (in spirit, with the spirits, guzzling the spirits), I guess, which is where I usually end up anyhow -- and perhaps some kind soul will allow me to borrow his/her badge so I can visit the book fair and maybe attend the Ed Ochester tribute or the Liam Rector memorial.
Blah. I'll probably have to kill someone just to get a drink at the hotel bar -- I practically had to last year.
From the beginning it was obvious Gideon adored the tree. First thing every morning he makes us turn on the lights and every time he comes home he points to it and dances. He spent all of breakfast staring at the polaroid of us cutting it down -- kind of like how one would stare at a photograph of a new love. He insisted on taking the picture to daycare so he could show his babysitter. Poor woman is likely still hearing all about it. Yes, all very cute, I know.
But I don't think he understands that the tree will not be up forever, in fact, it's coming down this weekend. He is going to be devastated. I'm not sure if it would be best to include him in the process and inspire the inevitable meltdown of parting with his amore -- or take it down after he goes to bed and give him the shock of his life the next morning. Maybe start him on an early "I see Christmas trees" neurosis and be all "Tree? What are you talking about? There was never a tree inside the house!" Or perhaps jumpstart him on the cold cruel world and be like "Yeah, the tree is just not that into you, so she left."
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
2007 No Tell Books Subscriptions
are now available here! Get the whole year and save $27 off the retail price. The subscription includes the following titles:
The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor edited by Reb Livingston & Molly Arden
Shy Green Fields by Hugh Behm-Steinberg
Harlot by Jill Alexander Essbaum
Myth of the Simple Machines by Laurel Snyder
Never Cry Woof by Shafer Hall
Baby, that's a bargain.
Labels: no tell books
Jill Alexander Essbaum is the guest poet at Poets.org for January/February:
I believe in the body. The body of work, the body of the poem, the body of Christ, and the best of all bodies, the human body. I mention this because in addition to being unashamedly religious, my poems are also, well, unashamed. Critics and former colleagues alike have hinted at the Donne-esque impulses in my work. Whether or not that’s a comparison I deserve is another story. But the truth is that the Christian tradition is ripe with flesh-conscious apologists. Even the words we use to describe religious experience—the passion, the ecstasy, the rapture—sound less like a Sunday service and more like a roll in the hay. When I write my more erotic poems, the bespoken-of Lover is sometimes a person, sometimes God. In my better poems, the Lover is both. In my professional experience (and forgive the categorizing), the Christian reader has an easier time dealing with the sexual nature of my work than a purely secular reader has embracing the Christo-centric poems.
Labels: Jill Alexander Essbaum
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Concelebratory Shoehorn Review
The First Anniversary Issue of Concelebratory Shoehorn Review is now online.
Read poetry by Peter Riley, Craig Santos Perez, Reginald Sheperd, Tim Ormsby, Kenneth P. Gurney, Reb Livingston, Marne Kilates, and Richard Lopez.
Also included in this issue is the amazing photography of Gundega and the stunning art of Nancy Charak.