Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NaPoWriMo Participation List

I'll be posting a list later tonight of folks participating in NaPoWriMo. If you'd like to be included in this list, drop a note in the comment box or e-mail me with your name and link to where you'll be posting your poems.

Sandra on NaPoWriMo


Monday, March 30, 2009

This Week at No Tell

Nicole Cartwright Denison is a woman in love this week at No Tell Motel.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't Forget the Reason for the Season

I'll be celebrating NaPoWriMo here at this blog again this year. I'm doing the authentic, original, true NaPoWriMo, the one created by Maureen Thorson. Don't let the greeting poem industry co-opt our holy month. NaPoWriMo is not a charity! It's a gift. Everyday you come here and I will write you a present. And no, there's no registry, request line or wish list, you take what I write and you like it and you say thank you.

One poem a day. They'll stay up for the entire month of April. I will post audio of some at the Bloof NaPoWriMo celebration along with other poets like Shanna Compton, Danielle Pafunda, Jennifer L. Knox, Anne Boyer, Sandra Simonds, Maureen Thorson and others.

This will be my third year doing NaPoWriMo. For those of you who expressed concerns that putting drafts of poems on a blog means nobody will ever publish them, I should say that so far over 80% of my NaPoWriMo poems are published in magazines (both print and online, some "big" and some "obscure"). Many of the poems from NaPoWriMo will be in my upcoming book, God Damsel.

NaPoWriMo: the feast of poem creation.


Friday, March 27, 2009

In Bed

I'm picking up Chris at the airport this afternoon. He's been out of town for two weeks. As soon as he gets home I'm officially on strike. This weekend I'm going to sleep in to 4 p.m. on both days and will require breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed -- served at the same time. I just hope Chris isn't the kind of guy who'd throw a gal out of bed for eating brisket.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On Sunday I heard Anne Gorrick, Maryrose Larkin and Mark Cunningham read at Bridge Street Books. I don't get to as many readings as I'd like and this one did not disappoint, thankfully. I even got a chance to share my Other Rebecca wisdom by buying Maryrose a bag of potato chips for her sore throat.

Maryrose mentioned something about my poems that I found a little startling, she said I write in threes (phrases of three). She heard me read at the Cadmium Text Series last year and apparently that struck her -- so I'm going through my poems and I'm starting to see it. That's not all, I frequently dream of 3's -- 29 dreams in the last year, my most dreamed of number (ten coming in second at ten times). And of course there's my famous "if you have an unwanted triangle, use your own algorithm" dream. There were three annoying things in that dream: flies, a bee and Phil Collin's singing on the television. I kind of feel all Battlestar Galactica -- I have all these pieces without the sense of what to do with them. When is my season finale so I can get my explanation? Will I be underwhelmed with my explanation? Probably. There's no impressing me.

In the past, Jill Essbaum suggested my frequent 3 dreams have to do with the Trinity, but I'm quite sure that in my case, it does not. Just like my dream-snakes are not penises, OK Miz Essbaum? Ok. I dreamed of those this morning. Big sci-fi python-type snakes. I had a hose that I was using to spray the path I was walking so I wouldn't slip. A snake coiled up my hose forcing me to abandon it. I kept walking without my hose and then a smaller snake in a bush bit me in the arm. Ouch. I felt it when I woke up. I'm just thankful it didn't bite me in the ass. How embarrassing would it be to have to blog about that!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I owe many people e-mails and I am slowly working through them. I'm exhausted. Gideon is sick AGAIN. I'm behind on projects AGAIN. I'm just not hustling right now. I'm in no mood to hustle. Spent the afternoon pretending I was sick too, watching cartoons with Gideon.

This morning it took me over 30 minutes to transcribe one of my two dreams. In fact, I had to stop in the middle so not to be late for Gideon's speech therapy and continued when I returned

Sometimes I have very long, detail oriented dreams that just go on and on. In this dream there was a veterinarian office, which was also my dentist, two distinct visits to my dentist, brightly colored foamy substance all over the dentist's office that was attributed to an exploding squirrel, a very suspicious nurse who interrogated me as to why I was in waiting room, a guy with drinking straws poking out of the skin on his face, two poets, one of whom I had to make clear I AM NOT PLAYING FOOTSIES, and the other showed me a gift that I hoped was for me, but was really for his daughter, a school bus with strange graffiti that used to belong to the Obama campaign, an irresponsible man who was supposed to be my father and made me late to my first dentist appointment, a book review magazine that I already read, women folk not wanting to sit next to one another, an ugly green outfit, plans for a family photo shoot and a wild accusation that I bought a dog brush.

This is why I'm so tired.

This Week at No Tell

Derek Henderson is unlabored, unmiseried in our condition of the human this week at No Tell Motel

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gideon with Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii (his favorite by far)

Gideon with Frank O'Hara

Gideon with Getrude Stein

Gideon with Obama Hope

Friday, March 20, 2009

After a night of sleep and being away from numbers, I am no longer feeling any embarrassment. In fact, I walked Gideon to his daycare while wearing my leopard flannel pajamas despite his protests regarding my attire.

No shame here!

Spent the day doing taxes. For the the better part of the day it looked like we were getting a refund. We haven't received a refund in many years. Well, we're not receiving a refund, I just didn't immediately notice that one piece of paper had two distinct forms on it. There was income to still be declared. That not yet taxed kind of income. I went from a sense of pleasantness to eating a plate of pastries even though I wasn't hungry. That and TurboTax said that we're at "high risk" for an audit because both of our businesses spent more than they brought in (even though I spent much less in 2008). So we're likely candidates for a financial cavity search because we're both big losers. Well, I was always a loser, but usually Chris does better and I get to hide my poetry business behind his "something people want to pay for" business. Well, I have receipts and shit, so I shouldn't worry about it.

Taxes are the only thing that makes me feel any embarrassment for being a poet and publisher. The only time I ever feel like a fraud is when I declare to the government the monetary worth of what I do everyday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Conversations and Connections Conference

For the third year in a row I'm participating in the Conversations and Connections Conference. You really shouldn't hold that against the conference -- it's a good conference for those trying to enter and navigate the world of literary publishing.

April 11, 2009 - Washington, DC

Amy Hempel is the featured speaker.

Magazines, presses, universities and organizations participating: 32 Poems, Baltimore Review, Barrelhouse, Beltway Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Chesapeake Reader, Failbetter, Gargoyle, Gettysburg Review, JMWW, Keyhole, Lines + Stars, No Tell Motel, Peeks and Valleys: A Southern Journal, Poems Against War: A Journal, Post No Ills, Potomac Review, Smartish Pace, StoryQuarterly, Twelve Stories and Entasis Press, No Tell Books, Publishing Genius, Tupelo Press, TwentyThree Books, Willows Wept Press and FC2 (Fiction Collective 2), Johns Hopkins University and Montgomery College

I'm moderating the following panel:

Rethinking Methods in Poetry Publishing (Reb Livingston, No Tell Motel and No Tell Books; Adam Robinson, Publishing Genius; Kyle Dargan, American University and Post No Ills; Deborah Ager, 32 Poems)

Is poetry and poetry publishing *really* dead? Or is it in a transformative state? This panel will focus on many options one has to sharing poetry with an audience -- from traditional print journals, diy-ventures, online magazines, micro-presses, nano-presses, blogs --and newer outlets for books reviews and criticism. Discussion will also revolve around how communities and groups can help support and promote their own artists and panelists will debate when (or even if) "legitimacy" is a "legitimate" concern.

The best part, for just $5 you can go on a date with ME (or other editors from many of the above listed publications). That's only 50 cents a minute! I know I'm only a poet, but I think I'm worth it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rauan Klassnik's Negative Review of Michael Schiavo's Negative Review

Will there be a negative review of Klassnik's negative review of Schiavo's negative review? Somebody get crackin'!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spent the afternoon enlightening Intern Kurt.

We went through some No Tell titles and I explained decision processes and behind the scenes stuff.

He had questions.

Apparently some of the things I told him directly contradicted what he's learning in college.

I was about to tell him to stick that college learning in . . . then it occurred to me that's probably a bad idea, considering he's only half way through college and an early disdain for his lessons will likely not help him in life and starting next year his college will be giving him credit for this internship and I'm friendly with one of his professors, so . . .

Instead I told him to keep in mind that there are many ways to approach poetry and publishing -- and his teachers may have particular goals/needs that other poets may not.

Then I told him that if he sticks with poetry for many decades, lovely poetry groupies will swarm -- once he hits 60 or 70.


Then I regaled him with tales of crusty poet coots being inappropriate towards me and other lady poets.

I really think he learned a lot today.

He also displayed patience every time Gideon interrupted us.

And when Gideon gave me a tattoo. (rub on)

And when Gideon asked me to read his Chinese fortune sticks.

Kurt told Gideon a joke about rain and cats and dogs and poodles.

Gideon told him it wasn't very funny.

Gideon was a little threatened by Kurt at first.

I didn't think Gideon would undertand what "intern" meant, so before Kurt arrived, I described him as "my helper."

That was a poor choice of words.

Gideon is "my helper."


When I realized my mistake, I tried distinguishing between "big helper" and "little helper."

The damage was already done.

We worked through it.

Kurt the Intern: Luckiest guy on Earth.

This Week at No Tell

Mike Young spills this dust all over your hair this week at No Tell Motel.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Saw Twilight last night. Thought it was kind of dreamy. Thought what my life would be like now if I had met a vampire in high school.

The boys I dated in high school were pretty dopey and immature.

Chris thought the "cinematography" was good, but otherwise thought the movie was lame.


Sundress' Best of the Net Anthology

is live

Clay Matthew's (first published in No Tell Motel) "Poem in Which I Sort of Break Down" was selected and

Mia Nussbaum's "Saw This & Marked It" (first published in NTM) was listed as finalist.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Xantippe is online now

New issue of Past Simple (Ireland, Scotland, and Britain issue)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm haut and borderline goth chick

Let Me Help You Radically Makeover Your Poems

If you're in the DC area and considering taking a poem-writing class, but don't want to take one of those boring, normal poem-writing classes, those things called "workshops," maybe you should sign-up for my poem-writing class at the Writer's Center:

Kooky Creations and Radical Revision

Description: This workshop focuses on non-traditional, unorthodox ways to create and edit poems such as “inspired” translations, collage and alchemical revising. Exercises are designed to push students out of their writing comfort zones in attempt to generate different types of works than they’re used to writing. We will also apply radical makeovers to existing poems in the hope to transform them into something completely new. 6 sessions.

Part of this class description was cut by the Writing Center for space purposes. That part read: "This class is for the poet who finds him/herself in a writing rut and is ready for a dramatic change in process and result. Not recommend for the adventure-queasy or for poets perfectly satisfied with their current writing style."

Now, I never taught a writing class before -- which I believe makes me infinitely more qualified than any other teacher. I'll keep the poem writing real. I don't live in a classroom, I live in a house, cluttered with toys and I buy my food at the grocery store.

You can interrogate me about this class on Saturday at 1:00 at the Open House. The Open House runs from noon until 3 p.m.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It was warm yesterday. Last night Chris said it was going to be warm today. I sent Gideon to school dressed as if it was warm. It was not warm. I realized my mistake when we got there and all the other kids had winter coats and hats and Gideon only a hoodie. I dropped him off and then came back with a coat and hat. The preschool office lady told me that by returning with the coat and hat I earned my "good mom" points. So I guess that means I was a crappy mom for only 20 minutes this morning.

I can live with that.

* * *

At last night's reading, during the open-mic portion, I learned about God and drugs and where to score drugs. I was unfamiliar with most of the drugs mentioned, probably because I'm somebody's mother, but TB and TV were there and they're not somebody's mother and were able to explain it all to me.

* * *

After I got my Google phone (in "bronze," which is really fancy talk for brown) I gave Gideon my old pink razr. Now his favorite phrase is "Hello Moto." He says it all the time. I know, how 1999.

We're having an ongoing disagreement about who grew in whose belly. He's quite sure I came from his. So I found his sonogram pictures to show him what he looked like when he lived in my belly. Using his pink razr, he took pictures of the pictures on my laptop screen.

What an old soul.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Reminder: Reading Tonight

I'm reading tonight at 8 PM at Busboys & Poets (Shirlington). Woo-hoo.

This Week at No Tell

Eleanor Stanford follows her traveling coop, pecking the ground clean this week at No Tell Motel.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Reading on Monday

For those of you who missed my reading on Thursday, you get another chance tomorrow night.

Monday, March 9, 8 PM at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington (Arlington)

Featured Readers: Reb Livingston & Drew Anderson, aka Droopy the Broke Baller

Open mic to follow

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Tour

I decided it would be a good idea to subject myself to some ridicule here. So I took some pictures of my bookshelves which turned into pictures of my office. I haven't decided which picture to send to HTML GIANT but thought I would rid myself of some pesky mystique and give you a tour:

(Click on pics to see larger photo. Click on larger photo to see REALLY big photo if you want to read book spines and see dust)

When you walk into my office this is what you see:

When I use my laptop, I sit on this red chair. Sometimes I get chilly and wrap Gideon's baby blanket over my shoulders.

When I use my laptop, I prop my feet on this office chair:

I have a desk:

That I use to make my child-like art:

And cast spells, I'm in the middle of a love spell (so I can better embrace the love around, not trying to make anyone fall in love). One candle is labeled "Reb" the other "Love." I really should finish that spell up sometime soon.

These are some books I use regularly for my dream and poem (same thing) research.

I have four large bookshelves and one small one. On the small one I keep my to-read books:

Supposedly I read all the books on my big shelves. In the random silk satchels are Tarot decks.

And here's my ugly storage closet full of No Tell books, packing supplies, suitcases, Christmas wrap, air bed, blankets and other misc crap:

Thank you for taking my office tour.

Friday, March 06, 2009

About Last Night

Had a good crowd at last night's reading. Lots of people who don't normally (or ever) attend poetry readings. I like those crowds. They tend to actually consider your poems, or at the very least express that consideration instead of mumbling "Why is she reading? I should be the one up there."

Or at least that's what I mumble to myself at poetry readings.

For instance, several people wanted to speak to me about my "unusual" words.

Human: There was one strange word in particular I wanted to ask you about, what was it?

Poet: Um, telewrath?

Human: No.

Poet: Gloomporn, pyroassed bootyshawl?

Human: Oh god, no, even I could figure that out . . . oh wait, I remember, Woe-Dodo, what the heck is a woe-dodo?

I had a similar conversation regarding the word "Miscreant."

It was cool.

Host: Contessa Riggs

Dan Vera and Michael Gushue

Charlie Jensen

Suffering Husband

Rauan Klassnik

who as you can see I keep my distance from because he writes some twisted shit and I'm somebody's mother.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Trying to impress on Gideon that just because a one-in-a-half-year old repeatedly puts things in her mouth despite being told not to, that doesn't make her a bad baby. Trying to explain that there are no bad babies. That all babies put things in their mouths because they don't know better. That he did it when he was a baby. That someday she'll grow up and stop doing it too. I tell him the story about how I once found a nickel in his mouth. Point out that he does naughty things himself sometimes like home vandalism and toilet busting yet he's still good. That everybody does naughty things. Even Mommy. He nods his head in agreement to that statement. Apparently I'm quite naughty.

Yet he still likes me. But he's firm that he doesn't like the baby because she puts things in her mouth. Some babies are bad he tells me like I'm naive and need the world explained. They're not friends anymore. He refuses to play with her. It's causing issues at daycare. I tell him that he's the big boy and he needs to be sweet and good to the baby, even if she doesn't listen and puts things in her mouth. I ask him to tell me some of the good things the baby does. He tells me that she takes a nap after lunch. That's wonderful!, I respond. Does she giggle? Just a little bit. Does she like the same cartoons as you? Yes. Does she like to play with toys? Yes, she puts them in her mouth. She's a bad baby.

I'm failing in my communication.

He's four, I cut him lots of slack. Tell myself that this is an age-appropriate view of the world and his will evolve over time.

And if not, he can always grow up to write poetry reviews for major publications. He's got the declarative statement-making and dismissiveness down pat.

Reading Tonight

I'm reading with Rauan Klassnik and Contessa Riggs at 8 p.m. at Sova, 1359 H St, NE, Washington DC.


It's one of those must-attend events.

Get there on time, I'm reading first.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

more cheese please

Speaking of online chapbooks, I have one coming out soonish from Scantily Clad Press. It's called Diminished Prophecies and Chronicles. I strove for divinity when I wrote it.

After it comes out you can tell me if I reached the status of Goddess, even if for only one brief nanosecond.

Or you can call it "cheddary ass muck" and give it a 1 star rating on Goodreads using your fake troll profile so I won't hold it against you when you submit your own poems to No Tell Motel.

Out-of-Touch and Living Under a Rock

Haven't heard of Tryfon Tolides either.

Now I don't claim to know all contemporary poets writing in English or even most. But I read a fair amount and I often at least recognize a name, even if I'm not familiar with the name's work.

This confirms my sense that big name publishers don't have nearly as much to offer poets as one might think. If that's your dream, maybe inquire as to what exactly are your expectations from such a situation. I know in many cases, the sales are still pretty negligible. Big publishers don't seem to bring a whole lot of readers or name recognition to poets -- which might be why they frequently stick to publishing late-career poets who already developed a strong readership (via indie and university publishers) and already won "big" awards. A poet may be "rewarded" for her decades of work by a contract with a big press and if there's indications that an expensive book tour or advertising may succeed with an already big name, a big press might step up to the plate. Maybe. But it seems in many cases a newer/younger/less-established poet doesn't benefit a whole lot. Much of the task of getting the work out there still seems to fall onto the poet no matter who the publisher turns out to be.

I know this isn't a scientific way to track readership, but most online chapbooks seem to reach more readers (who are at least interested enough to comment on and rate the work) than this major contest winner. Dickman seems to have more of a readership, but as Michael discussed, Dickman does a lot of self-promotion. I bet that has a lot more to do with it than the actual award itself.

I don't really care who wins what book award and which big press publishes whom. It doesn't stop me from doing what I want. I do care a bit about (some) poets (who I know and care about) who seem to put so much stock in all of these labels masquerading as achievements. Writing the divine book is the true achievement -- and that's what your readers (if you're fortunate enough to have them) care about. That is what you're really being judged on -- at least by anyone you should give two shakes of a rat's ass about.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

AmeriCAN Poets

I am officially out-of-touch. I had no idea there was a set of young twin poets gobbling up awards and accolades. I think I saw the name "Matthew Dickman" in an announcement for the APR//Honickman Prize when I flipped through an APR, but I am completely unfamiliar with his or his brother's work, other than what I've read in this damning review by Michael Schiavo.

I link to it mostly because Michael lists Jill Alexander Essbaum's Harlot as one of the "recent collections by young American poets writing wildly interesting, vital work, who address the concerns of their country and of their generation in a myriad of intelligent and advanced styles."

You thought Harlot only addressed giant cocks, didn't you? Well then, looks like you need to think a little longer on that.

(Heh heh, "longer" joke specifically for Jill's benefit.)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Rauan Interviews Rebecca

Rauan Klassnik interviews Rebecca Loudon

Enchantment is a large part of my life but maybe not your typical garden variety Leprechaun or even fairy tale types of enchantment. I did not come from a happy suburban family, but I don’t write about my upbringing, my family of origin. My enchantment, my idea of enchantment, my ability to be carried away to other worlds through enchantment (animals, books, music) was a gift I was born with. As a child I would collect bees in Mason jars and carry them to my bedroom or under the porch and I would pet their delicate fur and speak to them and I truly believed they understood me. I always set them free and I learned that once you have captured a bee in a jar, you can remove the lid, but the bee won’t fly away for an entire day after that lid is removed. I learned how to view and absorb the natural world by collecting bees and frogs and tadpoles and stray cats and vicious dogs who came to me and jumped on me in joy. My grandfather had two horses and I rode them from the highest hill in Coeur d’Alene Idaho, rode them every weekend down into the forest where I spent hours playing in the creek or simply talking to the horses or brushing them or singing to them. I found bears and wolves and cougars in that forest, but they never frightened me. I didn’t do so well with humans. Humans in my young world were dangerous. Animals were magic, yes. They brought comfort.

This Week at No Tell

Sarah Mangold is a waspy reluctance to what it truly is this week at No Tell Motel.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Laura Ellen Scott's synopsis of the entire AIW/George Mason Fiction Writing Seminar.

Chris: Facebook is full of creeps and stalkers.

Me: And your wife.

Bernadette wrote about the New Media panel on Saturday. It went well. I wasn't there for the morning sessions, but was told there was kind of a downer "we're so screwed" vibe in regards to all the things that are going away (book review sections, brick and mortar bookstores, mid-lists, etc.), but our panel put a more positive spin on possible opportunities. A lot of people thanked us. Nobody yelled at us. Usually when I'm on a panel at least one person starts yelling at me, so I consider this an overwhelming success.

Some people suggested to Bernie and me that we could really make a lot of money with our ideas on poetry publishing and promotion.

It was adorable.

New Issue of Sir!

I also have four poems in issue #2 of SIR! along with poems by:

Chris Tonelli (featured poet), Sara Guest, Carrie Hunter, Aaron Burch, Sarah Bartlett, Mark Leidner, Ryan W. Bradley, Reb Livingston, Jennifer Pieroni, Paul Siegell, Corey Mesler and Spencer Troxell

New Issue of Wheelhouse Magazine

I have four poems in this issue (Lament for Attire, Lament for the Obvious, Lament for Availability and Lament for Jolly Good) along with poems by:

Rachel Zolf, Rob Halpern, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Amy King, Ana Bozicevic, Matina L. Stamatakis, Andrew Lundwall, Larissa Shmailo, Joe Balaz, Meghan McNealy, Jeff Crouch, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, Nico Vassilakis, Juliet Cook, Carol Novack, Stan Apps, S. Jason Fraley, Patrick Carrington, Kristina Marie Darling, Joy and Dubblex Leftow