Monthly Archives: September 2013



dancing girl press is publishing my chapbook, Future Skirt, and you, YES YOU! can pre-order it. If you want. You know, only if you want to make good choices with your life.




When I used to teach freshman composition, we were instructed to tell our students not to use all caps in their writing, because it feels like shouting.




[All the thanks forever to Kristy Bowen]


Today I tried to sit at a coffee shop and write, but then the coffee shop sort of closed between lunch and dinner because it’s not really a coffee shop, and they didn’t kick me out but they did suggestively turn off the lights. So as an experiment, I tried writing at home on one couch while B played Grand Theft Auto Five on the other couch.

Words written at coffee shop: 0

Words written to the sounds of GTA5: 341

I know for writers of novels, that is paltry, but for a short-winded poet like me, that’s what I call success.

Sometimes, the house of your writing is a body that is actually three men that steal things and create chaos in an imaginary city where everything is beautifully lit.

Lately lots of people have been asking what the fox says, but obviously they are not reading their Jorie Graham because

fox says
                                                  what a rough garment
                                                  your brain is
you wear it all over you, fox says
                                                  language is a hook you
                                                  got caught,
try pulling somewhere on the strings but no
                                                  they are all through you,
                                                  had you only looked
down, fox says, look down to the
                                                  road and keep your listening
                                                  up, fox will you not
move on my heart thinks checking the larder the
                                                  locks fox
says your greed is not
                                                  precise enough.  

Somehow I ended up 2/3 of the way through this book before my brain figured out how to read it. But it’s great. Now to settle into attempts-to-write while short ribs braise in the oven and B grades on the other couch. It’s my intent to let myself write whatever, and just keep going, because I tend in the other direction, and JEEZ look at those gorgeous long thoughts I mean she’s just talking about a fox and it’s delicate and trailing along my brain I can’t get enough and I start to have thoughts like I’m still in the shower and everything’s steamy and full of possibility.

Well. Then. You say Grandmother
let me just ask you this:
How does a body rise again and rinse
her mouth from the tap. And how
does a body put in a plum tree
or lie again on top of another body
or string a trellis. Or go on drying
the flatware. Fix rainbow trout. Grout the tile.
Buy a bag of onions. Beat an egg stiff. Yes,
how does the cat continue
to lick itself from toenail to tailhole.
And how does a body break
bread with the word when the word
has broken. Again. And. Again.

– C.D. Wright

It’s Gameday in America and I am still trying to read. This week has been mentally exhausting. I’ve always had trouble reading and writing when I’m feeling any kind of emotional extreme, so to feel that way for most of the week has left creativity feeling far away. But I don’t want to maintain that emotional extremity, don’t want to be distant from writing. Especially not now, when I’m so conscious of the fact that these months are the last months I’ll get to sit with writing in this way.

There’s been a lot of negative conversation surrounding the University of Alabama lately, and I’ve been so glad to see these issues aired in the national press. When I first told relatives that I wanted to go to Alabama—relatives who all grew up and still live in the northeast—I got a pretty negative reaction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had somebody respond to me in an exaggerated Southern accent. I can’t adequately express how frustrated I’ve been with people who dismiss the South and all who live there.

From some conversations that I’ve witnessed recently, I get the impression that a general reaction is to stay far away from a place where things like this can happen—you know, as though power and race politics have already been straightened out everywhere else. This afternoon, I got the chance to sit in on a Faculty Senate meeting, and after hearing faculty from departments across the University speak with care, passion, frustration, and eloquence about issues of segregation and voter fraud, and the deep-seated culture of apathy that they want to change, and their desire to create a safe and inclusive space for all students, and their insistence not only for continued action but also swift action, and their pride in the fact that it’s Greek and non-Greek students alike who are making noise, I’m really glad to be in this place in this moment. I hope this is a real moment of change, and I aspire to be as fierce as the people in that room.

Stein discovers the self as an incident of the sentence, an obscure moment of the diagram: the self as mere accident of grammar, by-product of whatever conventions govern the relations between subjects & objects. Under the lawful spell of grammar, one finds one’s self a sentenced thing. The pleasure completely exciting of diagramming sentences thus becomes the pleasure of undoing, suspending one’s self-possession in the fault between body and law, the pleasure completely possessing of one’s own suspension.

– Rob Halpern

I’m only a page and half into the introduction to Melissa Buzzeo’s For Want and Sound and I’m already really fucking excited. I’m glad I let go of that other book, so I could be reading this one right now. Just flipping through, it looks like all the things I’m interested in right now: the sentence, white space, fragmented narrative, loooooooong stretches of interrelated pages of poems, a book all together and jamming with itself.