Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MOI FAVORITE 2013 POEM (to date...)

Just got back from a whirlwind-ish tour of Eastern Seaboard. Returned to a stack of review copies for Galatea Resurrects -- which you poetry lovers should CHECK OUT HERE! And among said stack is a book that I picked up for a coffee break and it contains what may end up being my favorite poem read for all of 2013! That would be the poem "prayer for dropouts" in John Colburn's magnificent collection, PSYCHEDELIC NORWAY (Coffee House Press). Superb poem -- it begins ominously:

may you not wander into the empty trailer behind the warehouse and may that boy’s face disappear from your memory; may that boy get old and balance branches on his head stupidly

may those four smeary mean in the clearing not notice you, may their faces distort as they turn to look and may they see nothing

then alchemizes itself into pure song without diluting the power of the dark, until the poem finally ends in magic:

and when you hatch, may you be carried across the earth by a woman, by a feather, by drumming

she is the woman who wove the old world, which she now balances casually on her head and you are free of it

and may you know how you got free

and may you receive this magic all the days of your life.

Inspirational to see such writing. Great to discover a poet new to me and whose poems I now shall stalk into the future: John Colburn!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Based on the first (not top, first) 50 books I've loved and listed on Link In To Poetry, these poetry publishers are doing a fabulous job by moi taste (based on that they're represented with more than one beloved book):

Ahsahta Press
Coffee House Press
Dos Madres Press
Insert Blanc Press
Ugly Duckling Presse
Wave Books

I like creating lists because list-making offers heretofore unknown revelations. Like, from the above list, I would have expected only two of those publishers. Well, I'm glad to know this info... now, onto other lists:

As you can see from the above, the house  grapes are still green.  They'll probably ripen while I'm out of town for the rest of July.  Well, the yellow squash, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, strawberries and recently the tomatoes have come out out! Which is to say, here’s the latest update of my Recently Relished W(h)ine List below. As ever, please note that in the Publications section, if you see an asterisk before the title, that means a review copy is available for Galatea Resurrects! More info on that HERE.

13 jalapeno peppers
3 yellow tomatoes
3 red Heirloom tomatoes
2 yellow cherry tomatoes
5 green figs
4 Meyer lemons
6 yellow onions
27 apricots
34 yellow squash
20 strawberries
5 Italian cucumbers

THE PLUM-STONE GAME, poems by Kathleen Jesme (gorgeous. LinkedIn Recommendation #44)

* THEN GO ON, poems by Mary Burger (awesome. Discerning and intelligent. LinkedIn Recommendation #37)

CAN IT!, poetry/memoir by Edmund Berrigan (alchemized numerous influences into his own admirable voice. LinkedIn Recommendation #46)

100 SCENES: A GRAPHIC NOVEL, asemic poetry by Tim Gaze (wonderful. LinkedIn Recommendation #21)

BIG BAD ASTERISK* , poems by Carlo Matos (witty and pleasingly unusual. LinkedIn Recommendation #50)

* BLUE HERON, poems by Elizabeth Robinson (exceptional)

*  DIARY OF USE, poems by J. Vera Lee (interesting)

SELECTED POEMS OF SALVADOR ESPRIU, Translated from the Catalan by Magda Bogin

* WALKING AMONG THEM, poems by Max Winter

* MEMORY FUTURE, poems by Heather Aimee O’Neill

* PRO MAGENTA / BE MET, poems by Corina Copp

* A DISTURBANCE IN THE AIR, poems by Michele Poulos

* A MAP PREDETERMINED AND CHANCE, poems by Laura Wetherington


VELLEITY’S SHADE, poetry by Star Black with paintings by Bill Knott

* HOUSE ORGAN, No. 83, Summer 2013, literary journal edited by Kenneth Warren (as ever, a good read)

* 6X6 #22, December 2010 Ugly Duckling chap literary journal featuring Lily Brown, Chris Hosea, Aaron McCollough, Jennifer Nelson, George Eklund, Ryan Murphy (another good read)

UNDERSTANDING ILOCANO VALUES, cultural study by Tomas D. Andres

SALVADOR, journalism by Joan Didion

THE BOOKSELLER OF KABUL, journalism by Asne Seierstad

IN THE LAND OF UNLIKENESS, novella by Jim Harrison

ETHAN FROME, novel by Edith Wharton

GOOD TO A FAULT, novel by Marina Endicott

THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X, novel by Keigo Higashino

HELLBOX, novel by Bill Pronzini

SILKEN PREY, novel by John Sandford

THE HIT, novel by David Baldacci

ABOVE SUSPICION, novel by Linda La Plante

AIRTIGHT, novel by David Rosenfelt

THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT, novel by Laura Lippman

GILDING THE LILY, novel by Tatiana Boncompagni

BETRAYAL, novel by Christina Dodd

2003 Filhot sauterne
2009 Beaux Freres Pinot noir
2000 Domaine de Chevalier Semillion
1996 Branaire Ducru
2003 Bert Simon Serrig Herrenburg Riesling Auslese
2012 Kelly Fleming sauvignon blanc
2009 Araujo sauvignon blanc
2004 Araujo syrah
2004 Colin-Delejer Chassagne Montrachet La Maltroise
1990 Gaja Spress
2006 Aubert Ritchie Vineyards chardonnay Sonoma
2002 Blankiet Paradise Hills merlot
2007 Peter Michael “La Carriere” chardonnay
1991 Philip Togni cabernet
2003 Peter Jakob Kuhn Oestrich Lenchen Riesling Beerenauslese
2005 Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Richard for THIS.

And to Mark for accepting and publishing [FROM] 147 MILLION ORPHANS: A HAYBUN


The universe of [147 million] "orphans" is a complicated environment -- just witness how I can't just say 147 million orphans without the caveat of brackets and quote marks; no one really knows how many orphans exist  worldwide, and "orphan" is now applied to not just kids without parents but kids whose families are mired in poverty and therefore are "orphaned" into scenarios that might improve their plight (e.g. placed in orphanages for feeding programs or for adoption).

Of late, I've been concerned about a real life situation of an orphan aging out of orphanages. In Colombia (to cite just one example) studies show that many of the children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen, and of those who survive, as much as 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.

When I was last in Bogota, I had the chance to visit a group home set up for orphans who'd aged out of orphanages with nowhere to go.  These folks had to have a job or be continuing their education in order to get basically a dorm-room in this shelter.  It's a great idea (we have a similar facility here in Napa Valley).  But more such facilities are needed.

I'll leave it there for now. Except to note (more for moiself than anyone else) that Poetry, that hard taskmaster, is more than words.  Perhaps because actions, too, as a matter of technique, are tough to beat for powering up words.

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Or maybe the painted chairs aren't "mini"?  Anyway, the paintings are mini!  What am I mmmmm-ing about?  Well, Blogger has fixed itself and I can post images again which means SitWithMoi is fresh with Jean's 2" x 2" paintings.  CHECK IT OUT, for more on this:

They are sweetly superb!  Thanks again, Jean!

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Friday, July 12, 2013


with Scottish poet Roy Moller.

His piece comes with an illustration but Blogger isn't allowing me to post images, or use the "Compose" function. I have to write new posts using the "HTML" function. Does anyone know how to resolve this -- go back to using the Compose and post images? If so, GalateaTen@aol.com. Thanks!


Thursday, July 11, 2013


I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I love poetry more than I thought, that is, I'm posting more frequently (every morning and evening when I'm in town) on updating the list of poetry publications I've genuinely loved reading. Check it out at Link In To Poetry -- it's up to 34 recommendations this morning. These are books I love for their own words, regardless of the identity of their author, their style of poetry, what kind of wine they drink, et al. Unmediated love (to the extent such can be unmediated). And, given the expanse of moi heart, looks like it'll be updated at least daily so you are invited to continue visiting...! Publisher links are also available in case you want to follow through after your visit ...

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Sunday, July 07, 2013


Las Vegas (the product) is a deadening context for art. With its glaringly- and shamelessly-huge carbon footprint, casinos that radicalize how low human beings can fall, reactionary presence of second-hand smoke, the fragile line between dream and disillusion, such fakeness that even the fake is fake! (see Michelangelo's "David" below) ... one can go on. But the all of it creates an environment where, ironically, the art that successfully struggles against its context -- rises above it, if you will -- shows itself to be great art.

The artworks that gets subsumed into interior decoration for the city's, uh, fake cities ... reveal themselves to be poorer quality artworks.

In this sense, Las Vegas -- by being a deadening context -- also becomes a bottom-line judge revealing whether the art works commissioned from many name contemporary artists are effective.  Only the strongest, really, can withstand being brought down from "fine" art to something ... lower.

Let's cut to the chase: the winner of Best Las Vegas Artwork by totally repelling the sheen Las Vegas would coat over it is a sculpture by Colombian artist Fernando Botero -- here is a bad Iphone shot of it. It was placed by the entrance of a restaurant called (but of course) "Botero" so that's as kitschy a placement as can be. But its setting didn't matter. Botero just shrugged it off to retain its powerful magnificence. The art work retains its soul:

So, what didn't show up as well? Well... sigh: so many choices ... Lessee:

Viola Frey. She had an oversized vase. It's probably a better piece than as presented in its Las Vegas context where it just became an expensive part of hallway decor:

Dale Chihuly. Gorgeous ceiling work ... that, in Las Vegas, just becomes (like Viola Frey) interior decoration, unable (unlike Botero's) to rise above its context:

In other words, the fine art of artists like Frey and Chihuly came off no better than the pretty stuff made to decorate, like this peacock in some storefront:

Another way of putting it perhaps is that it's like the artworks got their souls hollowed out, like this metal sculpture in a home decor store:

Well, but what does one expect of Las Vegas developers who'd put up something like this statue re "The Judgment of Paris" (or "Three Muses," can't really tell and it didn't seem to matter in Vegas) with the impact of faded wallpaper?

or this reproduction of Michelangelo's "David" in Caesar's Palace? Hello? Dear Real Estate Developer -- Please hire a historian as a consultant if you're going to insert historical figures within your themes: Michelangelo, of course, sculpted "David" only about 1,500 years after Caesar ... (or mebbe I'm too tough: those ancient sculptures all look alike, after all...)

Nonetheless, if one is to take an architectural perspective (i.e., context/environment matters), one could argue that Jeff Koons' "Tulips" sculpture is quite successful. Koons' reproduction of flowers using high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating befits the maximized artificiality of Las Vegas (again, I'm talking Las Vegas the product, not its locals):

I could argue that, but even Koons was not immune to Las Vegas' deadening prettifying-for-the-tourists. "Tulips" would have been more effective visually were it not placed beneath a ceiling stupidly decorated with oversized, garishly red butterflies. Waaaay too much make-up, people!

It's apt to see this sculpture by J. Seward Johnson. It's fine work.  But the significance of context rears its head up again to the loss of the artwork. When seen with eyes glazed by Las Vegas' banality, second-hand smoke, and having just witnessed one of Las Vegas workers ending her shift with a tired face, limp casino uniform and undoubtedly hurting feet, the sculpture's pathos ends up clichetic rather than powerful.

I usually think it wonderful when artworks are taken out of the art gallery to be placed in non-gallery settings. In this case, several of these art works would benefit by being returned to the soothing white walled boxes of a gallery -- the problem, of course, is that they were for sale. And were sold and bought. Metaphorically, it's just like this statue below -- rather, a human being paid to become a fake statue:


Having said all that, the poet-critic Thomas Fink had observed to me that visiting Las Vegas could/would be good for my poetry. Since I've returned from this trip, I agree even as I don't yet know what this means. It seems synchronistic, though, as I am working on a manuscript entitled MICHEL'S REPRODUCTIONS OF THE LOST FLAG. Well, I just hope it won't turn me (back) to that poet's drink (and wonderful Las Vegas show), "Absinthe" ...  I've done that poetic research and, as with Las Vegas the Product, am glad I'm over it:

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Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Here are two shots—above is before and below is after the oven—from our “apricot summer” when the hubby prepared an apricot pie with apricots and Meyer lemon (juice) from our gardens. I won’t post a photo of Moi scarfing down a huge slice.

Anyway, here’s the latest update of my Recently Relished W(h)ine List below. As ever, please note that in the Publications section, if you see an asterisk before the title, that means a review copy is available for Galatea Resurrects! More info on that HERE.

In fact, on the list below is a special opportunity to do a review with a young kiddo, tween or teen—isn’t this summer and maybe said young kiddo is driving you nuts around the house? To wit, maybe you and your child—or your child alone—might want to review a unique publication, KINDERGARDE: AVANT-GARDE POEMS, PLAYS, STORIES AND SONGS FOR CHILDREN, Edited by Dana Teen Lomax. It’s also geared for adult reading but it does provide a unique opportunity to involve kids in not just poetry but avant-garde approaches! Moi email: GalateaTen@aol.com

5 green figs
4 Meyer lemons
6 yellow onions
27 apricots
23 yellow squash
15 strawberries
3 Italian cucumbers

WHAT’S IN STORE, poems by Trevor Joyce (oh such a lovely lovely achievement! It’s my loss I come belatedly to this 2007 book; it is a gentle feat!)

DOOR OF THIN SKINS, poems by Shira Dentz (poems which as a sum (as a collection) is more than its parts (individual poems). Good example—an urgent motivation—as to why poetry should be more than verse. Novelistic in scope. Searing, thus moving in content. Ambitious and effectively so in form.)

From THE GOLDEN WEST by Jason Morris with sketches by Jason Grabowski, along with Thoreau's ECONOMY with drawings by Jesse Schlesinger and a poem by Thomas Carew (a feat and a treat, especially with the fabulous production of Alone Company Editions / Publication Studio that elevate the project to book art.)

FUR BIRDS, poems by Michelle Detorie (was pleasantly surprised at its charisma. A feat.)

THREE POSTCARD POEMS by Amanda Laughtland (fabulous. click on link!)

* MILK & FILTH, poems by Carmen Gimenez Smith (potent with many pleasingly unexpected twists)

THIRTY-FIVE NEW PAGES by Lev Rubinstein, note-card poems translated from Russian by Philip Metres and Tatiana Tulchinsky (fabulous! LinkedIn Recommendation #7)

FRIGHT CATALOG, (visual) poetry by Joseph Mosconi (wonderful conceptual underpinning. Unique and delightful! LinkedInRecommendation #13)

NO OBJECT, poems by Natalie Shapero (smart, as the saying goes, as a whip)

* EVERY POSSIBLE BLUE, poems by Matthew Thorburn (wonderful, playful poems)

LO, BITTERN, poems by C.J. Martin

ONE PETAL ROW, poems by Jaimie Gusman

TINDER // HEART, poems by Lisa M. Cole

* STRIVEN, THE BRIGHT TREATISE, poems by Jeffrey Pethybridge

MIND OVER MATTER, poems by Gloria Frym

SECOND NATURE, poems by Jack Collom

RISE IN THE FALL, poems by Ana Bozicevic, with drawings by Bianca Stone


* KINDERGARDE: AVANT-GARDE POEMS, PLAYS, STORIES AND SONGS FOR CHILDREN, Edited by Dana Teen Lomax (wonderful sense of play. Also suitable for adult readers)

HORROR CLOSE-UP, anthology edited by Conrad Kisch (a Danish children’s book that reprinted two zombie poems by Tom Beckett—so proud as his publisher!)

A THING AMONG THINGS: THE ART OF JASPER JOHNS, essays/criticism/meditations by John Yau (magnificent! LinkedIn Recommendation #10)


GIFT FROM THE SEA, meditations by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (doesn’t go deep enough. Shows just how difficult—and admirable—are the achievements of such (journal/memoir) writers as Anne Truitt, May Sarton and Jennifer Moxley)


THE CARETAKER, novel by A.X. Ahmad

HIGH CRIMES, novel by Joseph Finder

THE WANDERER, novel by Robyn Carr

THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN, novel by Jennifer Probst (got this as brain popcorn for travel reading and because poetry was cited when I flipped through it. Having read through it, that’s just awful poems in there! But then, so is the prose… I finished it; didn’t want to give up. Of course, sometimes, one should just give up.)

2011 Layer Cake South Australia shiraz
2010 Catena malbec



... and so I'm reading THE GRAND PIANO by reading one poet at a time through his/her contributions in the series' ten volumes. The idea is, if I'm moved to do so after the individual reads, to then compare this type of reading with reading each volume as published in order to determine the significance of "collective autobiography," the terms upon which the project presents itself to the world. The seventh poet I read (after Lyn Hejinian, Ron Silliman, Tom Mandel, Bob Perelman, Kit Robinson, and Carla Harryman) is Rae Armantrout...

whose contribution is a page-turner (just like Hejinian's). Gulped down its effectively minimalist approach (yes, shows up in her prose too) like 'tis a cold draught of water in this heat we're having in Napa Valley.

Armantrout's writing is quite appealing -- a sense of the "amiable" even came up in a couple of places during my reading, which is a feat(?) partly because there's also a lurking healthy sense of skepticism.

Her statements involving the body are fresh and makes one think. Synchronistically, it resonates as I happened to read her contribution while reading John Yau's moving meditation on Jasper Johns and the artist's concern with the passage of time including bodily dissolution. 'Twas interesting to see the two texts in the same space as each other.

Anyway, Armantrout's contribution to The Grand Piano is a treat. A. Treat.


Tuesday, July 02, 2013


My first poetry book is BEYOND LIFE SENTENCES published in 1998 by Anvil, one of the Philippines' leading presses. That book has stayed mostly in the Philippines, though some of its poems appeared in my other books (like THE THORN ROSARY). Now, about 15 years later, I understand it will be released as an e-book.

If I had heard the news of its e-book version (that presumably widens its audience) say, seven years ago, I probably would have cringed. I would have doubted some of those "baby poems" notwithstanding Nick's (too generous) blurb. Now, I only feel gratitude at the continuing interest in those poems -- Nick was also the first to tell me that one should never begrudge (so to speak) one's early poems. I'm happy and relieved that, on this matter anyway, I've matured.

(Interesting to hear that one of its poems, never reprinted aftrer its appearance in BLS, was recently quoted in Goodreads ... thank you to the quoter ... particularly as this poem has an interesting history: it was first published in a journal but the journal's editor was extremely pissed at having to publish it as he didn't like it, but didn't want to renege on his commitment to publish a poem by me; obviously, he was expecting one of my -- how to put it -- more straightforward poems, rather than the pomo density I tossed his way.  C'est la vie ...)

Thanks to Anvil to all involved. When I know details of the e-book's release, naturally I will post. And I will be grateful to post.

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Monday, July 01, 2013


So there's a lot of contemporary poetry out there.  And since I READ A LOT of it -- part of my poetry practice (don't ask) -- I thought there might be at least one person who wouldn't mind receiving recommendations from a voracious reader who reads poetry unconstrained by schools or styles (I'm positing that'd be Moi).  Entonces, you are invited to


my newest blog, and a blog of poetry recommendations (goal is to make daily recommendations) based on what I loved/love from my readings.  There are some poetry publications I might respect and admire but not necessarily love.  Just sayin'...I know it's all subjective -- but one wants to pay attention ...

Anyway, hope this blog is useful to at least one person out there from moi nine billion peeps.  Just remember this blog's slogan:

"Poetry are like daily apples -- they help you grow!"

Read that with a Forrest Gump accent, why dontcha!

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Didi Menendez consistently does a great job with Poets & Artists, and the Summer issue is out!  I'm delighted at the company that surrounds my poem "The Empty Flagpole."

If you click on above link, you will end up at the issue -- it may seem like you have to purchase to read the whole issue but if you click on "Preview" you can see the whole thing online. Of course, a purchase for poets and artists is also always a good thing!

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