Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Am reviewing the manuscript for THE THORN ROSARY. An interesting side-effect of doing a Selected (albeit only of those poems in the form of "prose poem") is seeing with almost-fresh eyes which books were the most effective. THE THORN ROSARY selects, courtesy of editor Thomas Fink, from 12 books (and some "new" prose poems). When it comes to prose poems, I expected REPRODUCTIONS OF THE EMPTY FLAGPOLE or THE BRICK to hold sway. But, unexpectedly, THE SECRET LIVES OF PUNCTUATIONS competes for the top of the heap with this hindsight-reading-exercise.

Well, good for you, ye secretive punctuations....I love surprises! And I (sometimes) love poetry paradoxes, to wit--

It's a nice surprise, particularly as the SECRETIVE PUNCTUATIONS is among my least-popular books based on poetry sales. Yet, somehow, I think that's fitting...

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Sunday, June 28, 2009


I'm slipping....been so busy and so behind that I've not bought many new poetry books of late. But I still managed a few:


SELECTED POEMS 1956-1975 by Diane di Prima

A self-designed limited edition book by Lorna Dee Cervantes (ordered it; can't wait to see it)

FOR GIRLS & OTHERS by Shanna Compton

MY ZORBA by Danielle Pafunda

WARSAW BIKINI by Sandra Simonds

[The last three purchases reflect Galatea Resurrects' support of their publisher, Bloof Books (though await invoice).]

Sadly, I'm a believer that the interior "W" will profile the current recession (notwithstanding current uptick, will contract again shortly thereafter). So keep buying poetry publications -- believe Moi, their publishers will need your support!


Thursday, June 25, 2009


Over at Zoland Poetry, Craig Santos Perez reviews DOVEGLION: COLLECTED POEMS OF JOSE GARCIA VILLA released by Penguin.

Many fine points in this review for which I am appreciative -- thanks to Craig for his attention and work.

Unfortunately, it recycles a widespread misperception about Villa, to wit Craig's last paragraph which mentions Villa's "blind spot" in that Villa presumably possessed an "unwavering belief that social, cultural and historical concerns had no place in poetry."


Factually, Villa believed no such thing. I feel the need to e-note a correction as this is such a common enough misperception that I wasn't surprised -- though was dismayed -- to see it pop up in Craig's review.

I could wax longer but ... let me just note that for the record.

Right now, I just wish to Rock with You, Michael Jackson...R.I.P.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm appreciative of New Mystics' review (thank you Joey Madia) of Ernesto Priego's NOT EVEN DOGS! The review -- picked up as well by Book Masons -- can be seen HERE, though I am purred to feature this excerpt:
The poems of Mornings and Territories operate like prayers and self-assessments (calling to mind the poetry of McKuen and Kerouac), referencing both directly and indirectly, Buddhism, haiku, koans, quantum physics, Tao, and the like, with lines such as:

poem is
more than this

world in
a sand grain

heaven in
a wild flower (p. 16)

Grass moving slowly
the sculpture
watches (p. 45)

I have grown accustomed to the artist reflecting on one’s art through the art itself as part and parcel of the Meritage Press philosophy, and Priego does it as well as anyone I’ve read thus far.

The review also waxes enthusiastically about the hay(na)ku. But it does something new in locating the book within the "Meritage Press philosophy". While people are aware of my press (that Kevin Killian has called "small but mighty"), MP's eclecticism, you see, doesn't make it one of the hip presses to talk about -- not that I'm complaining; I like the difficulty of being categorized whether it's for moiself or moi projects. But Madia observed something about MP that even I was unaware of. To wit, this excerpt:
Meritage Press philosophy, and Priego does it as well as anyone I’ve read thus far. He also works with similar metaphorical themes as, for instance, Jean Vengua in Prau (which was published a year after Not Even Dogs), when he employs nautical imagery:

A writer is
a sailor,

considering wreckages, […] (p. 22)

Got that, MP authors? Michelle? Tom? Mark? Allen? Jukka? Bruna? Garrett? Bill? Nick?, just to name a few.... If you haven't already, you need to write a poem employing "nautical imagery" to be authentic.

Synchronistically, whilst editing the manuscript for THE THORN ROSARY, I just had to change in one poem the word "masts" to "sails" (since I hadn't been aware of the error, which did appear in its first book appearance at REPRODUCTIONS OF THE EMPTY FLAGPOLE). There is something about the sea/ocean that grabs me as a diasporic.

Having said that, I can't swim. Such, are the paradoxes of poetry.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My son started summer school yesterday in part to improve his English. The paragraph below is, verbatim, from his homework. I, uh, poeticized it by uplifting it to a poem. After laughing moi butt off, of course I had to poeticize it -- lookit what mi hijo said!
English Lesson

Michael: I have to write about someone I admire. Like mi Papa.

Michael's Mom (raising an eyebrow): Papa?

Michael (quickly): Okay, okay. Mi Mama!


Mi Mama is a person I admire because mi Mama es mayor. I first heard about ella when I was aprendo de mi Mama. At first, I wasn’t very impressed. But when I learned educasion de mi mama, I decided that this was a very special person. Ella is best known for primer libro de poemas, which happened 11 anos ago. At that time, she was joven con no mucha experiencia. Since that time, she has escribe 15 mas libros. Why has ella been so successful? I think it is because she trabaja mucho.

From the mouth of babes, yah? But what is it with that Babelfish? I asked it to translate "Mi mama es mayor" and it spouted off, "My breast is greater"!! I looked it up because I don't know that phrase "es mayor"; Michael had explained it as that it's something the kids say when they're impressed with someone, "like Obama". I was like, I see: Moi and Obama...the Great Breast and the Great Orator...

(To the hubby, I'm sure he would have written something absolutely outstanding about outstanding Toi if Moi hadn't cheerfully supplanted you...)

Anyway, Michael is also an excellent athlete, excelling in soccer at school and having done superbly so far with swimming and tennis lessons over the past week. To wit, another photo:


Monday, June 22, 2009


Making art with words is just plain silly. Because beauty is savage and alphabets are the product of civilization. And what is civilization except people figuring out how to live with one another without killing one another. The process is incomplete. The world needs readers.
--John Olson

Now that's what I'ma talkin' about! Poetry ain't words! If you wish to upgrade your reading from moi blather, enchanting though such blather is, GO HERE FOR JOHN OLSON'S EXTREME READING! Brilliantly and hilariously illustrated by Steven Fama.

Elsewhere, I am looking forward to reading the new winner's book of the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize: by Neil de la Flor. Poets from fifteen countries plus the U.S. entered our contest this year judged by Forrest Gander. Information on finalists/runners-up HERE.

Elsewhere, I relished yet another book recently that contains hay(na)ku: Mark Young's MORE FROM SERIES MAGRITTE (Moria Poetry, Chicago, 2009). Wonderful read! Check it out, and here's moi latest Relished W(h)ine List:

5 artichokes
20 green onion stalks
12 onions/scallions
23 strawberries
11 yellow squash
5 zucchini
50 basil leaves
2 cucumbers
25 pepper leaves

ANALFABETO: AN ALPHABET, poems by Ellen Baxt (lush gorgeous language; uncertainty's blossoms grows beautifully here)

TERRACOTTA WORRIERS by Mark Young (I'll read anything by this poet; this one's free HERE)


ODES TO ANGER, poems by Jason L. Yurcic

TAKE IT, poems by Joshua Beckman

DICK OF THE DEAD, poems by Rachel Loden


LIGHT FILLING MY BONES, poems by Dorothy B. Anderson with cut-paper illustrations by Donna Bruhl

SPIRITS, Spring 2009 (Indiana University Northwest literary journal), Ed. Dylan McKee

ANTHOLOGY SPIDERTANGLE, visual poetry anthology Edited by mIEKAL aND (made me so happy to peruse its pages)


THERE IS NO ME WITHOUT YOU: ONE WOMAN'S ODYSSEY TO RESCUE HER COUNTRY'S CHILDREN (story of Haregerowoin Teferra), investigative journalism by Melissa Fay Greene

THE RUSSIAN WORD FOR SNOW, memoir by Janis Cooke Newman

A GIRL NAMED MARIA, memoir by Valerie S Kreutzer


ROADSIDE CROSSES, novel by Jeffery Deaver

ASHES TO ASHES, novel by Tami Hoag

WICKED PREY, novel by John Sandford

1998 Wild Duck Creek Estate Springflat shiraz
2004 Dead Letter Office shiraz
2007 Judds Hill pinot noir
1994 Penfold Bin 707 cabernet
2003 Donnhoff Norheim Dellchen Riesling Auslese
1999 Behrens & Hitchcock "Ode to Picasso" NV
2006 Miner Family Sangiovese "Gibson Ranch" Mendocino

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Saturday, June 20, 2009


One of the pleasures of doing a book of "uncollected poems" is (re-)discovering many old poems, old friends, whose existence long slipped through the sieve that is my memory. Among my excavations are:

-- a trio of poems from a summer spent hangin' out with Philip Lamantia, the poem "Pygmalion's Embrace" which is the architectural plan for a physical poetic space I'm creating viz Napa Valley terrain, my first (and so far only) translation of a poem into my birth tongue Ilokano, ekphrastic "baby poems", the poem "Justice" through which I'd achieved a goal of garnering for the wine cellar a jeroboam of the Judds Hill Winery cabernet by winning its annual poetry contest, and the series "Girl Singing" which includes "The Secret Life of an Angel" that generated 151 multi-genre responses or translations from 47 poets worldwide to create the anthology 1000 Views of "Girl Singing" edited by John Bloomberg-Rissman and released by Leafe Press (U.K., forthcoming later this year).

These sure aren't poems that deserve to be ignored....and I'm happy to bring them to the forefront of attention, hopefully yours when FOOTNOTES TO ALGEBRA is released later this year.

Gads--I'm especially delighted to recover the poems writ for/with Philip. Dude was special -- one of these poems involves Philip's attempts to educate me about agriculture. The following is the bibliography for the poem entitled "Once, Philip Lamantia Said Within One Breath":
“The origins of agriculture—a biological perspective and a hew hypothesis” by Greg Wadley & Angus Martin (Australian Biologist 6:96 – 105, June 1993), with specific references to:

Brantl, V., Teschemacher, H., Henschen, A. & Lottspeich, F., 1979, Novel opioid peptides derived from casein (beta-casomorphins), Hoppe-Seyler’s Zeitschrift fur Physiologische Chemie 360: 1211-6

Cohen, M.N., 1977, Population pressure and the origins of agriculture: an archaeological example from the coast of Peru, in Reed, C.A., ed., The origins of agriculture, Mouton, The Hauge.

Dawkins, R., 1989, Darwinism and human purpose, in Durant, J.R., ed., Human origins, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Lee, R.B. & DeVore, I., 1968, Problems in the study of hunters and gatherers, in Lee, R.B. & DeVore, I., eds, Man the hunter, Aldine, Chicago.

Zioudrou, C., Streaty, R. & Klee, W., 1979, Opioid peptides derived from food proteins: the exorphins Journal of Biological Chemistry 254: 244S9.

So I hope that makes some of youse curious about moi forthcoming Footnotes to Algebra (BlazeVOX Books, 2009).

Thank you for reading. I am glad you are reading here...

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I know I've got direct credentials as well as having edited fiction, not to mention just having released a novel (grin), but it still feels weird to be working on a blurb for a fiction book.

I sort of think asking a poet to blurb fiction is to give up on the idea of its commercial possibilities, possibilities that have always rarely existed for poetry. Perhaps this is a sign of the times?

Maybe fiction is just following in poetry's footsteps. To wit, have you noticed more and more that -- no doubt with the proliferation of printing technologies that ramp up the number of published poetry collections -- more blurbers are not necessarily "established" poets (however one defines "established") but simply other poets who've mustered respect in their own quarters of the poetry world? Nor does it matter anyway in terms of sales as the impact of blurbs on sales is insignificant when poetry sales in general is insignificant (?).

Now, we get to a situation like I'm in where Moi is giving a blurb to a fiction work. Hey, I like the writer's work and don't mind doing so. But ...

... Or maybe just another possibility exists. Perhaps the fiction world is just dying to hear from Moi! Maybe I'm HOT! and didn't know it! (Ah the stuff I say before that proverbial first cup of java....)

Or, I need to focus on novelizing THIS!


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Thursday, June 18, 2009


Since THE THORN ROSARY is my first "selected poems" project (though it was editor Thomas Fink who selected said poems), it started me off thinking last night about all the poems I've written which never got into any of my books, from which a Selected then could occur.

I felt bad for those poems, those "uncollected" ones so far.

So I dived into the files, apologized to those poems who didn't survive my haphazard, global e-desk, and collated together a manuscript. Then I queried a publisher and the publisher bit--thank you, BlazeVox! Forthcoming then before THE THORN ROSARY (Marsh Hawk Press, Spring 2010) will be a new poetry collection ... whose subtitle explains it all:
Uncollected Poems 1995-2009

FOOTNOTES TO ALGEBRA (whose title was inspired by Marne Kilates who once published some of my poems in his lovely poets Picturebook and called them "algebraic") should come out later this year.

Well then, I feel better now...spiritually. For my love, I select all of you poems! All of you!

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"Mi Mama"

The new SPD catalog arrived today. So while perusing its many lovely offerings, I came across the page which mentions my two most recent books, NBE and TBCK. I showed the catalog to Michael who happened to be nearby.

Intently, he looked at the catalog, then looked at the reference to my books. Then he read out loud my name, as if to make sure I had written them. Then he said, "Mi Mama..." like he's proud of me...

I've noticed that when he's happy, he (unconsciously) inserts -- as if for emphasis -- the possessive before referencing me or his Dad. Well. I'm happy, too! Here is Moi son! Who can make me feel taller than a ... well, you know:

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Naturally, I also inspire others to ... uh, Say Moi Name! Say it Clear and Say it Loud, Amen! To, wit: One of the Radiant Finns waxes HERE.

Thank you Karri Kokko, A Finn-With-A-Name-That's-Huh!-Actually-Quite-Pinoy...Y'all in Finland watch for their Vizpo workshop with guests Vispo Workshop Geof Huth, Christian Bök and Derek Beaulieu...

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Monday, June 15, 2009


Yes, folks. That's Frida Kahlo's famous and infamous "Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace." While I'm not using that image, apt though it could be, for the front cover of moi forthcoming THE THORN ROSARY, said image has the power I desire. I note this as the brief missive on prior post has encouraged some artists to send images. I thank you for your suggestions and time; and in response to a question on what I'm looking for -- I'm looking for the type of impact effected (viz multi-layered references) by many of Frida's paintings. Hope that clarifies (though it probably doesn't...)...

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Sunday, June 14, 2009


My Selected Prose Poems book is entitled THE THORN ROSARY (forthcoming in Spring 2010 from Marsh Hawk Press). I'm looking for images that I might be able to use on cover. For minimal compensation. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to contact me at GalateaTen@aol.com

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That is, the latest release from SPIRITS, Indiana University Northwest's literary journal. And this one includes two poems, yes, but one of them is one of those poems I'd forgotten I wrote...and whose text wouldn't otherwise be known to me since I've lost a copy of it, too. I guess I'd better type it up from my contributor's copy since someone, in the next century, would be bereft without it...

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Thursday, June 11, 2009


moon, wheeling
just like me.

synaptic trash
caught sweet
in blue-violet mercies

glory-headed girl,
smashed diamond skies

tilt a-whirl,
twist and all-fall-down.

river coursing
bloodstream’s ancient dreams

Isn't that lovely? That hay(na)ku sequence is from "Our Rowdy Pack Song" by Holly Anderson and Caroline Beasley-Baker. the latest addition to qarrtsiluni's special issue on the Economy! Thanks Holly and Caroline!

Somewhat relatedly, Lorna Dee Cervantes has a very special offer HERE (scroll down). Click on link for whole post, though I reproduce details here--from Lorna:
I'm producing 50 self-designed books hand-stitched in signatures in its own gift box. Desperate times require desperate measures, requires love. These are lovingly produced and all about love. Desperate price of $10 each. $12.50 to mail ($15+ if you're nice.) Send by snail to:

Lorna Dee Cervantes
3181 Mission Street, #16
San Francisco, CA 94110

I may even write you a hay(na)ku on each one.

See -- you may get a LornaDice hay(na)ku!

Last but not least, I am behind on many projects, in part because my international adoption process took at least a year longer than expected. This means that I'm behind on producing THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY. It will come -- but it just may come out next year instead of in 2009. More details later, but, you know -- I'm working hard on that and many other delayed things...Thanks for your patience.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009


This week is the last for my son's sixth grade schoolyear. Today, his school held the Awards Ceremony for 6th and 7th graders. I wasn't expecting him to get anything since he'd have been only in school for a couple of months. But Moi son received a certificate of recognition for


My son is an artist! Which is ... interesting. If he remains an artist, he'll be an interesting tree to watch grow. Here's the acorn Michael and his Colombian tutor Juliana at Yosemite...in front of one of the biggest trees in the world. A harbinger, Moi foretells!

As for Moi and the Hubby? We're the, uh, fertilizer, I suppose....


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Monday, June 08, 2009


A scholar is writing on moi Selected Prose Poems manuscript, THE THORN ROSARY, forthcoming in Spring 2010. Saw an early draft of her Afterword...and I am both laughing pounds off moi ass and hoping that I just may have done something right in this poetry thing. Because if my poems, in being analyzed, bring in such disparate analytical references as
Greenwald, R. How to Find a Husband After 35: (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School). New York and Toronto: The Random House Publishing Group, 2003

Quindoza-Santiago, Lilia. Sa Ngalan ng Ina: Isang Daang Taon ng Tulang Feminista sa Pilipinas (In the Name of the Mother: One Hundred Years of Feminist Poetry in the Philippines), 1889-1998. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1997

then I might have achieved an early poetics conjuration:
To bring a poem into the world
is to bring the world into the poem

More marketing details later. Right now, I just want to laugh.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009


Ach: ye lingo de vegetables. So the hubby says we can harvest crooknecks from the garden. Smartly, I riposted, "What the *)&%$^ is a 'crookneck'?" So goes moi city slicker garden ... that I see is beginning to give city slickers a bad name. Ah well...here's the latest Relished W(h)ine List:

5 artichokes
8 scallions
5 strawberries
5 yellow squash (duh, crooknecks)

ARRANGING THE BLAZE, poems by Chad Sweeney (highly-pleasurable read as the boy sings himself into a man)

TRUST, poems by Liz Waldner (each poem a luminous gem)

INTERVENING ABSENCE, poems by Carrie Olivia Adams

IDENTITY THEFT, poems by Catherine Daly

HAVE A GOOD ONE, poems by Anselm Berrigan

TRUE CRIME, poems by Donna de la Perriere

FORT DAD, poems by Stephen Paul Miller

BALLISTICS, poems by Billy Collins (enjoyable food-wine)

IN SEARCH OF SMALL GODS, poems by Jim Harrison (checked this out, along with the Billy Collins, from the local library as they'd just acquired them and I wanted to prove there is demand for poetry books)

AS A FRIEND, novel by Forrest Gander

THE WINTER SUN: NOTES ON A VOCATION, poetry/memoir by Fanny Howe


SO MUCH TO BE DONE: WOMEN SETTLERS ON THE MINING AND RANCHING FRONTIER, history/memoir anthology Edited by Ruth B. Moynihan, Susan Armitage and Christiane Fischer Dichamp

THE SURVIVOR'S CLUB, novel by Lisa Gardner

THE BODIES LEFT BEHIND, novel by Jeffrey Deaver


PROMISES IN DEATH, novel by J.D. Robb

DARK HARVEST, novel by Karen Harper

HEARTSICK, novel by Chelsea Cain

SWEETHEART, novel by Chelsea Cain

1973 Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet (Aw Yeah! 1974 won the Paris Tasting but this is the better year....astonished and gratified it's survived to now)
2000 William Lefevre Les Clos chablis
1989 Ch Pichon Lalande
1993 Togni (corked)
2004 3Rings Shiraz Barossa Valley
1992 Ravenswood Pickberry
2006 Napa Cellars Zinfandel NV
1986 Ch. Pichon Lalande
1995 Pesquera Alenza
2001 Artazuri (Navarrs)
2001 Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile
1998 Wild Duck Creek Estate Springflat shiraz


Friday, June 05, 2009


I just added several fabuloso titles to the list of Available Review Copies for Galatea Resurrects. As the next review deadline is Nov. 5, 2009, don't you want to spend part of your summer vacation engaging with a poetry book? Go HERE to check out the review copy list! It is a Goooooood List.


Thursday, June 04, 2009


I just helped out on the judging of a poetry contest. Yech and blech. There's been a lot of stuff said about poetry contests. Here's another reason against them: reading through all the submissions is the worst way to experience poetry. You're reading stacks and stacks of manuscripts and the point is to narrow it down to one "winner"? Well, then you read for failure. You read by proactively looking for flaws: cliches, weak diction, randomness around those line breaks or caesuras, stultifying ego...and when you find those problems, you are glad as it means you can more rapidly go on to the next manuscript on stack -- this was my initial screening experience and those that passed muster on this round, I then tried to read from a more pleasurable point of view.

But from that initial screening of, sigh, so many manuscripts, the mouth's suffering from the lingering bad taste....not to mention I feel like I want to punch somebody. What an experience....for which:

Life's too effin' short. I was reluctant to do this contest which traffics in much higher volume than the modest ones I sponsor for moi kababayans, but I owed. Still, next time, both my elbows will have to be twisted before I replicate this experience...that I can sum up in one word: IDIOCY.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I just had the most FUN FIVE SECONDS (give or take 3 seconds) recording a poem for Qarrtsiluni's special issue on the Economy, co-edited by Anna Dickie and Pamela Hart. A lotta fun eroticizing oil prices, is all I can say. I'll post a note here when it's up and online!

This issue is also an interesting themed issue worth reading. Click on excerpt from Editor's Call below for their approach:
Economy has its roots in Greek — oikos and nomos — meaning the principles necessary to maintain the household. It’s a thoughtful word. The study of economics, until the 18th century, was a branch of philosophy.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009


What would an immigrant think of a U.S.-American flag painted by someone who doesn't believe in fixed identities? What would an adoptee -- who likely will grapple with identity issues all his life -- think of same?

Here is Michael with Jasper Johns' FLAG at SF Moma:

Just as I don't believe in the fixed identity, I don't believe in the fixed poem. So, something happened yesterday that hasn't happened to me in years. An editor came back with one of my submissions suggesting a change. To me, the change didn't improve the poem. But it didn't make it worse either. The change just made the poem different. So....I okayed the change. No ego-investment there; what mattered is someone chose to engage with the poem differently than I did, and that's legit.

It's the core that matters -- I still needed to have some place from which I determined, the change didn't worsen the poem. As for ever-grappling with identity-in-flux issues, what I learned is that openness to change will ultimately strengthen who you are.

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