Monday, February 28, 2011


Happy to provide an advance look at a worthy project, viz a blurb (unedited) I wrote for Tom Hibbard's forthcoming THE SACRED RIVER OF CONSCIOUSNESS:
Empire so often come to this: "potholes imitating frozen potholes." The poems in Tom Hibbard's The Sacred River of Consciousness reflect on various crimes by humanity by simply reporting them. That Hibbard's language is poetic rather than journalistic does not mask the realities being referenced -- how "At times life does unfold / as though civilization were garbage." The suffering disenfranchised, the suffering environment, the corrupted governments, the dysfunctional relationships -- how did compassion evaporate? That question is but one of many begot by these poems. For the poems also ask "at what time does the candle make crimes unredeemable." The answer could be: upon the lighting of the candle or consciousness of those events, hence the import of Hibbard's poems. If these poems facilitate the consciousness where the New York Times et al has failed, the river may yet turn sacred again. For the sake of the world, open yourself up to these poems.

Here's the rest of my latest Recently Relished W(h)ine List below. Starting with this list, I'm going to add something different -- to wit, if you see an asterisk before the title, that means a review copy is available for Galatea Resurrects:

THE LUNG OF THE POET, poetry broadside by Michael Leong (brilliantly fresh!)

THE SACRED RIVER OF CONSCIOUSNESS, poems by Tom Hibbard (see above blurb)

* CLICK AND CLONE, poems by Elaine Equi (witty as ever)

* TESTIFY, poems by Joseph Lease (admirable political poetry in a way where the words surface lightly--even ineffably at times--even as the words sear, in turn, emphasizing message)

A NIGHT WITHOUT ARMOR, poems by Jewel Kilcher (Too bad the publisher HarperCollins didn't provide a good poetry editor -- not necessarily talking about individual poems so much as the structure of the collection)

MORE FROM SERIES MAGRITTE, poems by Mark Young (always a delight to read his poems)

A, poems, photographs, visual poetry and more by Sophie Robinson (movingly evocative)

EYESHOT, poems by Heather McHugh

LIKE THE RAINS COME: SELECTED POEMS (1987-2006) by Mercedes Roffe, trans. by Janet Greenberg

UNION, poems by Don Share

RESIN, poems by Geri Doran

ACROSS STONES OF BAD DREAMS, poems by Zvi A. Sesling

THE NEW POETICS, concept-poetry by Matthew Timmons (well done!)

ECCOLINGUISTICS, literary zine edited by Jared Schickling (valuable reading)

ESQUE, literary journal co-edited by Amy King and Anna Bozicevich


PORTA POTTIES OF THE WESTERN WORLD, VOLUME 1, photographs by Jenifer K Wofford (never have I been so enchanted by toilets)

DREAM SYMBOLS, illustrated explanation of archetypal dream symbols by Sara Phillips


FOREVER PARENTS: ADOPTING OLDER CHILDREN, memoir by JamesE. Kloeppel and Darlene A. Kloeppel

A FOREVER FAMILY, memoir by John Houghton

JUST GIVE ME BORSCHT, memoir by Matthew Bingham

PARENTING FROM THE INSIDE OUT, psychology by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell

HUSBAND AND WIFE, novel by Leah Stewart

I'D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE, novel by Laura Lippman

HELL'S CORNER, novel by David Baldacci

THE COBRA, novel by Frederick Forsyth

THE EXILE, novel by Andrew Britton

A WOMAN CALLED SAGE, novel by DiAnn Mills

1994 Judd's Hill Cabernet NV
2002 Gumpara Victor's Old Vine Barossa Valley shiraz
1994 Dow
Travigne house chardonnay
2004 Trevor Jones Dry Grown Barosa Shiraz
1993 Peachy Canyon zinfandel Paso Robles Dusi Ranch

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Friday, February 25, 2011


Issue 8 of SENTENCE: A JOURNAL OF PROSE POETICS is now out, and includes "A Forum on the Prose Poem"--I'm in good company with other commentators:
Robert Alexander, Nin Andrews, Sally Ashton, Steven Bradbury, Susan Briante, Christopher Buckley, Jeffrey Davis, Michel Delville, Paul Dickey, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Elisabeth Frost, Gloria Frym, Jeff Harrison, Bob Heman, Brooke Horvath, George Kalamaras, Janet Kaplan, David Lazar, Rachel Loden, Gian Lombardo, Robert Hill Long, Amy Newman, Renee Rossi, Nikki Santilli, Catherine Sasanov, Daryl Scroggins, Terese Svoboda, Eileen Tabios, G. C. Waldrep, Charles Harper Webb, and Gary Young.

While you might need to peruse the issue itself for the others' contributions, I am about Poetry-As-Gift and so happy to reproduce my commentary below:

I love abstract expressionism, specifically in painting the way brushstrokes can seem—through their energy—to extend past the edge of canvas. As if a canvas cannot contain the painting. It’s an observation that led me to prose poetry because of the form’s lack of a line-break. In prose poetry, I not only wrote long lines that became a paragraph but attempted lines that seem to continue past their last words (for the same reason, in some prose poems I deleted the ending period to the last sentences). I came to love the prose poem for finding in its form the ability to present a poem that cannot be contained by the page.

Perhaps this mirrors how the poetry experience can continue past the reading of a poem—how a poem might inspire further reflection and even action.

In later explorations, however, I realized that the poem’s ending is just part of the story. The beginning of energy (or lack thereof of a “beginning” or “end” to energy whose edges need not exist) might also be explored—I manifested this exploration by writing paragraphs that can be published in one order but also shuffled out of order (e.g. in poetry readings) and, due partly to their abstraction, are still effective if they emotionally resonate with their audience.

Perhaps this mirrors how the poetry experience is subjective, and sometimes cannot be contained by narrative linearity.

In my experience then, the prose poem has shown itself to be a form [sufficiently supple to be one] of infinite expanse.

It'd be interesting to see how other prose poem practitioners approach the form. And if you want to correlate moi poetics to the actual poems, feel free of course to check out my Selected Prose Poem project, THE THORN ROSARY, which encompasses 12 years of writing prose poems.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Gabriela and Achilles...


Monday, February 21, 2011


IN the latest review of SILK EGG! Here's an excerpt, with said "portrayal of moi," by Joey Madia in New Mystics Review:
...Jorge Luis Borges’s “Library of Babel” (which also inspired Umberto Ecco’s Name of the Rose), a geometric wonder of a library wherein is contained all the possible combinations of words for every book ever written, or yet to be. Picturing this wondrous place one cannot help but to also imagine the weathered librarians, hunch-backed monks, rebellious demons, be-spectacled book collectors, and half-mad writers searching for new inspirations in its leaf-laden passages…

It is here, in this chamber, this mansion of the mind, that one best sits while reading SILK EGG, peering through the windows of hotels and apartments, restaurants and lighthouses, vineyards and wine cellars in places ‘round the world, with their self-isolated population of affluent and emotionally detached men and women reaching across chasms of hurt and apathy to try and connect with one another. Their places of cold confrontation and passive habitation are dressed in silk and pewter, rose and diamond, jade and moss, snakeskin and ruby, linen and leather, tulip and truffle, and opium and orchid.

They try and fail, and try again, their short-armed gestures and hollow words falling between the spaces, back into the library, where they reconstitute in new forms and better possibilities as we grab and grasp and turn them to our use.

Yes dears -- Moi is really just a weathered librarian, hunch-backed nun, rebellious demon (Hi Fallen Angels playing poker in the upper left-corner of each room in which I step!), bespectacled book-collector and half-mad writer! I wonder if "hunch-back" might have been a typo for "humpback" but I actually like the concept of being bowed by hunches! (Quasimodo--I never considered you ugly!)

And if you're intrigued by SILK EGG's review, hey it's also available for TRADE HERE!

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Sunday, February 20, 2011


I'm a poetry publisher. So it pains me to admit that I've moved more books in the first two days of my poetry book trading project than I often sell in a month!

I'm not really in pain -- I reconciled long ago with the limited commercial possibilities of poetry book sales. But I still want a wider distribution for poems! So check HERE for the latest list of books available for trade.

And because, like that character in Richard Brautigan's The Hawkline Monster (who'd partly inspired the hay(na)ku!), I like to count, I'm now keeping tab of successful poetry trades HERE. Even if the momentum slows down, I want to relish these stats. And, hey, why don't you help keep the count going? Trade me poetry books!

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Friday, February 18, 2011


In the first day that I called out for poetry book trades viz MOI COMMUNITY BOOKSHELF, 18 books moved. That's 18 poetry books that got traded into a space of being read anew. Not bad for 24 hours!

And I've also added more books to the list of available poetry books ready to be traded. Check out the Gift Economy HERE!


Thursday, February 17, 2011


I was a laughingstock again at the bank. Yesterday, I went in there to deposit some, ahem, revenues for Meritage Press. Two checks, totalling $20. Yay!

Okay, I know it ain't high finance. But did that bank teller really have to bust out giggling? (It's a small town -- they know Moi.)

Anyway, it's always a challenge to actually sell poetry books. Much of these copies (outside of the textbook-enforced assigned market) circulate in other ways, like through poetry trades. To wit, I sent this missive out recently to a couple of Listserves; I am happy to also offer it to you, moi 9 billion peeps:
Dear All,

In my house recently, books seemed to have become like an alien invasion, starting to cover every inch of the house. So I did some pre-Spring Cleaning and moved a ton of books from floor to bookshelves. In doing so, I came across multiple copies of the same title as my past messiness must have made me forgot what books I'd already owned or where I'd put them (e.g., it seems like I bought Van Gogh's Letters a dozen times...).

For poetry books, I decided to offer my spare copies for trade for other poetry books. (I also thought the poets who wrote these books might favor me trying to further circulate my spare copies for possibly more readers.) I list those poetry books at my "Community Bookshelf" here at (under the "why not?" category, I tossed in some books I publish viz Meritage Press as well as some of my own). If you'd like to trade a poetry book (including your own) for any of those books, contact me and we'll set it up.

If you have a spare copy of a poetry book to trade, check my list of owned poetry books first to see if I already have it. My Poetry Library is listed here at

P.s., in most cases I only have one spare copy -- so first come, first served.

I suggest reading poems daily, Peeps. They're better than apples!

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I find this photo hilarious -- a bride and groom by Stella Lai's installation, "Don't Touch Me."

I've always thought this installation is one of Stella's best-conceived works. Those heads are wax. Then she crocheted blue and white masks to put over them, such that they'd come to form the phrase "Don't Touch Me" when you walk away from the wall and look at them from a distance. That is, the phrase is not evident if you're nose to installation.

So many concepts--both art-world bred and general--are addressed by the installation. Lissen up for your art-reading du jour:

First, this is an exercise in making and not just concept, referring to ye olde discourse in the art world. Crocheting all those masks must have nearly given Stella carpal tunnel syndrome (said syndrome being a sign of the commitment to the making). And yet what are being made are repetitive, both the molded heads and the masks, such that it evokes the factory, except the factory is one. It's worth noting that the artist had come to install it in the house and after the installation, she then signed her signature on the wall beneath the piece's lower right-side corner. By itself, that gesture says something about the commercialization/commodification of art, nay the fragility of existence! -- how, if the signature is part of the work, and I believe in this case it is, then the installation is no longer independent by itself but tied to the life of the house (which can be sold, demolished, damaged by an earthquake et al). If the house owner had to move from the house, for instance, is this an art work that can be moved/separated from the house? Take that, ye art collectors vs art appreciators!

Second, and I do believe Moi contributed to this (such is my role for ye artists, of course), by happening to have a white wall for the installation. That is, this area is the house's foyer and the hubby and I determined a long time ago (much to the distress of some visual artist friends) to keep the walls free of art, in part to focus the eye to the view of nature just beyond the French doors opposite the front door. We made an exception because the installation, with all of its white heads, is not obstrusive. Not obstrusive -- almost invisible, like the hidden subtext of this work by a Chinese female.

Or, perhaps, Chinese-American now since she's been working for years now in the U.S. where she surely couldn't escape ethnic / immigrant issues including the stereotypes of Asian Americans and/or Asian American females. So, close up to the installation, you don't see the message of "Don't Touch Me." What you see are faces, but you may not necessarily see the true face or identity -- they are masked!

You have to walk away from the installation in order to see the true message, "Don't Touch Me"! There has to be distance between you and the installation. If the installation is a persona, it means you can't be infringing on that persona(l) space. You can't be colonizing that space. You have to be respectful.

But the message is obviously belligerent. Well, belligerence is not what's been associated with certain stereotypes of Asian(-American) females, yah? What are those stereotypes? Quiet, model minority, demure, exoticized for the male gaze et al -- all disputed by belligerence.

Indeed, in order for the work to be installed, the wall behind it had to be penetrated as many times as there are heads. That is, each head is at the end of a big nail that had to be screwed into the wall. The act of installation was a furious experience -- loud, noisy, messy. It was not ... demure. I can easily imagine the act of installing to have been a performance of acting back at how the Asian American female has been objectified in the past.

Indeedy, you can push the above lines of thought to say the impossible commercialization of the installation says something about the impossibility of owning the (Asian American) female body -- doesn't that resonate in light of such matters as the mail order bride, sex slavery/trafficking, domestic worker abuse etc?

Okay, nuff said. I can say more and I could have said the above more intellectually but what do you expect from a two-minute posting? Let me now get to the point of this post (hah). We interrupt our regular programming to share photos from a wedding that took place on Galatea a few months ago. The groom is our best friend, such a good friend we built a house just to throw him a wedding someday. Which is not to say we don't feel sorry for the bride. But, okay, Best Friend: here are the scenes from the crime of your bride's appalling taste (and don't forget what I said about us Asian American females!):

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Monday, February 14, 2011


Aaww sniffle. I never thought I'd get this esteemed token of parenthood (as I thought Michael was too young for it). But I got it -- yes indeedy! Now I truly feel like a parent because my child just gave me a (drum roll...!)

                  Play-Doh sculpture!!!!

And it's brilliant, of course -- a cradle, a hand, some cotton for a soft layer for the papier-mache heart that I've temporarily taken out of the cradle so you can see each piece in their glory!

And of course Michael also made me a handmade card -- it's the one on the left, with the hubby's mischievous one on the right:

At the moment, the cards are right on MOI DESK, and life is Good!


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What a Valentine's Day Present! Here is Michael wearing a tie for the first time! Muy guapo, si?!

The Valentine he's holding is not actually for Moi. It's for a girl in school who happens to be five miles taller than he is ... but I digress for moi amusement... Anyway, he's wearing a tie as the school apparently is having some sort of Valentine's Day lunch ...

And Valentine's Day is special for another reason! We just got the results of one of Michael's standardized tests. After less than two years of English, he tested 91% in Reading on a national percentile basis, which means he reads as well or better than 91% of kids his age in the United States!! Gee, do you think being the son of a poet helped? Preen.

Modeling helps, of course. Not only are there stacks of books all over Galatea's mountain, but there's this beneath the library stairs

and this atop one fireplace

The hubby and I are very pleased, of course, and I can't wait to tell Michael the news and celebrate tonight!

Having said that, questions abound -- as manifested in this "Hearts for Haiti" painting that I picked up at his school's recent fundraiser for Haiti Relief (I also thought the image befits poetry:

The results of this particular standardized test offered national percentile stats (like the reading one I share above) and a more localized percentile statistic related to a peer group of students described as "members of a small and highly competitive group of students who plan to attend some of the world's best independent schools". Within this peer group, Michael's reading at a 49% percentile.

Okay, do we understand the significance of this statistical discrepancy? 91 minus 49 is 42, which means that the quality or standards of (reading) education at "best independent schools" is so much higher (by at least 42 percentile-related points) than the sources for the national standard, e.g. public school! (42% is still great, by the way, given that he's only been at English for less than two years, versus peers who presumably have gotten the best available education all their lives.) In math, the discrepancy between Michael's peer ranking between the higher national standard vs "best independent school" standards is 72 percentile points!

Here is the class divide: without money (though these "best schools" also offer scolarships), this higher-quality education is not affordable by most. And yet I remember when I went to public school. I actually attended Gardena High School just south of L.A. which was most recently in the news for a shooting rampage! From Gardena High, and without any of the extra tutoring for classes or SATs as well as despite the presence of some of California's biggest gangs, I and others were able to be accepted by Harvard, Yale, Princeton and, in my case, Barnard College. In my day, public schools were still able to give this type of education to those students who wanted to excel academically. Public education should be the one equalizing arena where young people get equal opportunity (that was the real Golden Street for Moi as immigrant kid!) -- what happened to that ideal?

I am pleased with Michael's scores -- but I don't fool moiself. To be judged as doing better than students in schools getting subpar education is not a good threshold. We need to do a better job educating our kids! We need to support programs like THIS about Teach for America -- note what its founder Wendy Kopp says:
"When kids facing the challenges of poverty are given the chances they deserve, they excel," Kopp said. "The [Teach for America] vision is that one day all kids in America will have the chance to attain an excellent education."

Kopp ... says she's witnessed real change during her organization's existence when problems are tackled aggressively.

"Incremental change does not change lives," she said. "We need transformational change. Fifteen years ago we would not have been able to take you to one school in New York City facing challenges of poverty [that was also] putting kids in a trajectory where they would have the same educational outcomes as kids on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

"Today, we can show you 40. They are changing the trajectory of kids.

Progress, but we need more progress! I don't see why Michael who is reading better than 91 percent of his peers in the country, is only reading as well as barely half of those attending private schools et al. The last thing education should be is ... private!

Forgive the rant, but this really pisses me off. Here I am intending to post another preening post about my son and I end up ranting. No wonder poetry has a limited audience -- oh yes, it's all related!


P.S. Speaking of parenting, Tim Yu has one of the better takes on Amy Chua and her "Chinese" parenting -- CHECK IT OUT!

In fact, let me try to regain the cheery note with which I began this post ... by showing how I'm parenting Michael the non-Amy Chua way. Here is Michael in his new outfit for his latest activity: fencing! Here he is raising the foil at a sculpture by Stella Lai:

And here he is with a bemused Achillas as witness:

Let's be en garde on the deterioration of quality education, please. How else can I find readers for moi books?!

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Michael's humanities teacher had assigned the students to write fiction. Michael wrote a five-chapter novel entitled FITTING IN, which is especially brilliant, not because he happens to be son of a fiction writer but, because he's been learning English for less than two years.

But everyone in his 8th grade wrote fabulous work, such that the humanities teacher recently set up a "Reading Tea" where parents were invited to hear everyone read their favorite excerpts and then have a Q&A. What a fabulous way to give affirmation to the students' hard work!

I walked into the classroom where the reading was to be held. There was a table by the door with some cookies and hot water and tea bags. Suddenly, my son -- MY PUBERTY-RIDDEN SON! -- was greeting me at the door, guiding me to the table, and asking if I'd like some tea. Startled --THEN AMAZINGLY GRATIFIED OVER SUCH CIVILITY THANK YOU GOD! -- I eked out a "Yes." And I watched my son awkwardly put hot tea in a cup, put in a tea bag and give it to me. Then he led me to a chair where I could sit for the festivities.

THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL! My son will yet grow up to be a gentleman, transcending recent knucklehead behavior! YEAHHHHHHH!

Never has tea tasted so delicious!

I am not a tea-drinker, by the way.

Anyway, he read his short story which was about the experience of a newly-adopted boy throwing a party without his parent's permission. It mentioned a hard-working Dad who often traveled away on business -- just like, ahem, the hubby! So the story was actually good in becoming a door to discuss how the hubby doesn't like traveling away from the family but it's his responsibility etc etc.

When you adopt, especially an older child, the "files" you get about their backgrounds are never complete. I've learned things, horrific things, about Michael's past from reading various stories he's written as class assignments. Horrific things ... that become yet part of the steel underpinning to my work-in-progress 147 MILLION ORPHANS. This manuscript also made major progress this week -- I think I figured out how it can become my first book-length poem (in the haybun form).

I've tried writing book-length poems before and failed miserably. And I've been affectionately egged on by my long-time editor Thomas Fink to do this form, in part because...I've never done it! Well, looks like I'll soon be putting a check-mark in that box! When it happens, I shall drink tea to celebrate the successfully-earned intimacy with such an alien!

Poetry is so mischievous with me -- of course that book is likely to be longer than my COLLECTED NOVELS. But, of course....!

Speaking of which, SILK EGG only been out a month. But it's already worth $149! Well,in Hong Kong dollars, that is. THIS IS AMUSING -- love that book description they chose. Guinness Book of World Records, Moi awaits you!

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011


This is definitely a synchronicity vs. a coincidence. Shortly after finishing a review of Nicholas Manning's first full-length poetry collection, NOVALESS (ELEMENTS TOWARDS A METAPHYSICS), I was asked to do a blurb for his forthcoming and second full-length poetry collection: HOMO SENTIMENTALIS: A GUIDE IN VERSE TO MODERN EMOTIONAL INTIMACY. What timing -- Nicholas hadn't known, btw, that I was reviewing his first book (and said review will be in next issue of Galatea Resurrects). Anyhoo, here's the first-draft blurbie of his second book:
In Homo Sentimentalis' epigraph, Milan Kundera notes, "As soon as we want to feel (decide to feel...), feeling is no longer feeling but an imitation of feeling, a show of feeling." How might that be reconciled with the actual poems wherein may be found such effectively moving text as "the moment your hair / ’s height falls * down covering / my lit body in threads / of unthinking / light"? Perhaps that it is as difficult to be artificial as it is to be sincere? Perhaps that intention (e.g. a privileging as Kundera describes the raising of "feelings to a category of value") may not manifest itself when the raw material, words let alone poems, is so subjective (or, to paraphrase one poem, are doppelgangers to their referenced realities)? The genius of Nicholas Manning's Homo Sentimentalis is that one is moved to deliberate on these questions and care about such answer(s) as they surface or not. It is pure poetry -- ungraspable but nonetheless meaningful, just like those asterisked stars interspersed throughout the poems for glimmers of, though they may not actually be, light.

And in addition to having perused Nicholas' manuscript, here's the rest of my latest Recently Relished W(h)ine List:

(Listing this harvest has a fizzling-out feeling; hence, this shall be my last post about this Winter Garden 2010-2011)
500 pounds of olives (but sadly went all to compost due to City Slicker's ignorance of pressing olives for oil within 24 hours of being picked)
35 pounds of honey
18 persimmons
101 Meyer lemons
11 oranges
1 head of red lettuce
4 heads of green lettuce
2 bunches of kale

THE HISTORY OF VIOLETS, poems by Marosa Di Giorgio (I am ECSTATIC to have found the poems by this Uruguayan poet -- thanks to Ugly Duckling Presse for publishing and Jeannine Marie Pitas for translating -- it's a wonderful collection!)

NOVALESS (ELEMENTS TOWARDS A METAPHYSICS), poems by Nicholas Manning (a rare, unique pleasure that seduces both heart and mind, entonces, as well an admirable balance. Check out its, pun intended, harmonies!)

HOMO SENTIMENTALIS: A GUIDE IN VERSE TO MODERN EMOTIONAL INTIMACY by Nicholas Manning (see above. read in manuscript)

MEMORY CARDS: ASHBERY SERIES by Susan M. Schultz (read in manuscript. Fabulous! Await the whole series coming out from Dusie--it'll be a great read!)

PHANTASMAL REPEATS, poems by Guillermo Parra (Loved it loved it loved it! I felt the Milky Way shift, to paraphrase an Arthur Sze poem, when I read these...)

STYLING SANPAKU, visual poetry by Vernon Frazer (much fun!)

ETYM(BI)OLOGY, poems by Liz Waldner

WAIT, poems by Alison Stine (gothic in an admirably yellow vs black way--which is to say, admirably unexpected)

THE ECLIPSES, poems by David Woo

PRIVADO, poems by Daniel Tiffany


MY KAFKA CENTURY, poems by Arielle Greenberg

WHATEVER SHINES, poems by Kathleen McGookey

THE CORYBANTES, book-length poem by Tod Thilleman

BRILLIANT WATER, poems by Christopher Merrill




SAILCLOTH CHILD, poems by Christopher William Purdom

CHINESE NOTEBOOK, poems by Demosthenes Agrafiotis, Trans. by John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis


EL GOLPE CHILENO, poems and art by Julien Poirier

THE NEW TOURISM, poems by Harry Mathews

VERSE. Vol. 27, No. 1, literary journal co-edited by Brian Henry and Andrew Zawacki

THE THIRDEST WORLD, fiction and essays by Gina Apostol, Eric Gamalinda, and Lara Stapleton



PUKKA, THE PUP AFTER MERLE, memoir by Ted Kerasote

DELIVER US FROM EVIL, novel by David Baldacci

2002 Hutton Vale Grenache Mataro Eden Valley
2007 Domaine Serene "Yamhill Cuvee" Willamette Valley pinot noir
2003 Bert Simon Serrig Herrenberg Riesling Auslese

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Sunday, February 06, 2011


First, Jean continues her engagement with SILK EGG! And I like how her second post about moi eggs concludes -- I think the making of art can "stave off anonymity or death." Not necessarily the resulting art (or poem) itself, mind you. But the process of its making. I think all artists know this -- in that space of making, there's not even such a thing as sanity vs insanity. Anyhoo, thanks for the yum yums, Jean.

Second, we celebrated Mom's 81st Birthday! With a book! Yay!

Third, the comments over MOI DESK evolved all Daniel Spoerri-like. Why, I even got an offer for which billionaires would release their billions! Whereas all Moi needed to sing forth, and I did, was the "humble hi-hello-hi-hi"! Here's THE DESK, btw, that has much potential, it seems, to get me into much mischief. But that would make sense -- here's where many poems are born!

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Friday, February 04, 2011


Got a new navel-gazing project on -- another from my "list as autobiography" explorations. It's WHAT'S ON MOI DESK!

I invite you to check it out -- it's got a comments section, and I would think that ending letter in the inaugural post is worth at least a comment or two. It relates, after all, to this blonde described as "so gorgeous...should be declared illegal":

And if you go to MOI DESK, you'll see her in a bathing suit in some faux animal print... Yawn.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011


I recently did some major book shelving, trying to get many books offa moi floors. But lookit what stubbornly remains on the floor--stacks and stacks of review copies for Galatea Resurrects!

Well, I just realized that in the last two days, I ended up writing three book reviews after simply picking up review copies at random, which is to say, there are TONS OF GEMS among these review copies! Won't you please help clean up my floors by volunteering to review some! You'd be doing yourself a favor! More info HERE!


Wednesday, February 02, 2011


As I was saying,
"Of course, it's no coincidence that someone who always puts out hir best effort may end up being the best at it. But not all the time. Life is not a goal (to be the best). Life is more of a process (attempt one's best)."

Look at this, Amy Chua. Coz my kid Michael, who accomplished the following in Algebra, is also learning the electric guitar!

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Oh hey. I just want to drop "Amy Chua"'s name to boost my internet traffic of nine billion peeps to 90 billion (for some reason, poetry alone ain't doing that traffic boost). Anyway: Yale prof Amy Chua. Chinese mothering. Many of you no doubt have heard of the controversy (though did you know she's Filipino-Chinese?). This leads me to this photo of an "extra credit" homework Michael recently did to create a mock front page of a newspaper addressing Orwell's Animal Farm:

Amusing, no? The Galatea Times? The superimposition of an article on the beef-packing industry with the novel's narrative. But here's the thing: Michael was the only one in his class who did the extra credit aspect to the homework.

Why is that? Why was my son the only one who did the extra credit component? Why did he ask me after he turned in the exercise why he had to do it when nobody else did?

At first, I was at a loss on how to answer his question -- remember that we're still structuring his post-adoption "New Normal" and the hubby and I are trying to instill the importance of a good work ethic and the value of education. But how was I going to answer his question -- by saying that other families didn't care as much about homework?

Then the Chinese-Mother-Tiger in Moi reared and said, "Let me give you a tip: unless you're a straight-A student, always try to do all the extra credit assignments."

As I write this, Michael is a solid B student, which is actually impressive given that he's in arguably the best middle school in the area and is in 8th grade within two years of having been previously in Spanish-only 4th grade (2nd grade if you consider the math skills with which he entered the U.S.). Was my Filipino mothering too tough? I don't think so. But I suspect that it is indeed tougher than how many parents do their parenting.

But it also relates to this: why was my son, coming out of Spanish-only crappy orphanage schooling, able to be in 7th grade Honor Roll at a U.S. public school within a year after he got to this country? Sure, he and I homeschooled for a summer beforehand -- but I don't think the answer has to do with my great parenting/teaching skills. I think it has to do with the degradation of public education: e.g., how merit has been diluted by simply-finishing-homework as a grade subsidy!

Still, I'm no Amy Chua. Look at the above image again. If Chua had tossed back at her child a handmade birthday card as not being good enough, she probably would have told Michael to re-do the above mock newspaper, too. It's a bit sloppy, there's white space where there shouldn't be, and the playing around of fonts for the headlines is not realistic. But he did spend all of Sunday morning (when he could have been tossing a football about) doing the project, and I chose to respect his time and effort. Here's my take on being the best:

It's not, as Chua says that (many) Chinese parents understand, that Most things aren't fun if you're not good (read: best) at them. The key is simply that children (all humans) should always be encouraged to attempt their best.

There's a big difference. If Michael did his best effort and he only came up with a mediocre result because, in a particular subject, that's all that he truly was capable of, that'd be fine with me. Because. He. Still. Gave. His. Best. Effort.

Of course, it's no coincidence that someone who always puts out hir best effort may end up being the best at it. But not all the time. Life is not a goal (to be the best). Life is more of a process (attempt one's best). Therein, btw, goes the link to poetics! Anyway:

Got it? Okay. Learn from me: I'm an expert at this you know. After all, I've been a parent for nearly two years!

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Ahhhh: contexts indeed! And. now. : SILK EGG has caused the cerebral scholar Leny Strobel to engage in a shameless "illicit affair"! Like I was saying, reviews should be about what's yummy!

I like this excerpt
What is so special about Her birthland is replete with child soldiers? Just one sentence that would take a Nicholas Kristof an entire NYT column to expound on.

if only because I'm a fan of Nicholas D. Kristof's heart. Who'da thunk he'd show up in reference to my work? I did. That is, I hoped -- and now it happened! Poetry, too, is about faith!

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