Bay Area Generations: Poetry at the Clubhouse

I was watching Tom Brady lead a heroic 4th quarter drive against the North Carolina Panthers; one last play with 3 seconds left on the clock. It looked like the Patriots might pull it off, but Brady’s last pass was intercepted in the end zone, and even though there was a yellow flag on the play, referees recalled the penalty to bring the game to an end.

I thought it looked like pass interference, but that’s just me.

I guess it’s appropriate that I’m in a sports mood, because I just found out that I’m reading at the Sports Basement on Bryant Street in SF next Monday, November 25th. I’m especially honored because it’s a partner reading with one of my favorite poets, Norma Cole, who has been an instrumental part of the SF Language Poetry scene, along with Rae Armantrout, Ron Silliman and Susan Gevirtz.

So if you’re in the ‘hood, come and hear Norma’s fantastic chap poem, 14,000 Facts, and my found language poem, “I Have No Title,” which I’m considering renaming “A Pocket Full of Onion.”

We can talk football, or baseball, or onions, or whatever you’re in the mood to talk about. Or we can talk about how Rae Armantrout borrowed my pen at Naropa once.

I’m pretty open.

Bay Area Generations Reading
Sports Basement Clubhouse
1590 Bryant Street @ 16th Street
7:00pm doors open, 7:30pm reading begins
$5:00 suggested donation (no one turned away)

Hope to see you there!

For more info on readers and on Bay Area Generations click here.

Changes Great and Small: Preparing for Provincetown

Life, as we all know, is unpredictable and that has always been part of its joy and sorrow. Recently and very suddenly, we lost a very good person from my daughter’s school community and today my husband and I went to the memorial service for him at a beautiful Jewish temple. I sat with other parents from school and felt grateful to be there in the warmth of so many families. I learned about the depth of love and the life our friend had lived. I felt the great dignity and sorrow of his family and friends. The music, a woman singing acapella, was keening and sad, yet somehow an expression of the joy we had with our friend. We were there to witness this change in the world and in our lives.

So, I am thinking a lot about change as I prepare to go to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. I’m grateful to have a Fellowship to attend and I was going to work with Kahn and Selesnick on an installation piece, but the workshop was canceled and now I am going to concentrate on writing personal essays with Ariel Levy instead.

For some reason I have been writing more memoirish pieces recently, one of which is going to be published by the Writing Without Walls Reading Series on August 29th. Jeff Von Ward asked for a story on second chances and I wrote about having to drive my daughter across town to the pediatrician’s office in a panic when she almost died from an allergic reaction when she was 14 months old. She’s 12 years old now, but the immediacy of the memory grabbed me and I couldn’t stop writing until I finished the essay.

So I’m taking the cancellation of one class and switch to another as a sign that this is what I’m supposed to be writing. I have some material about my trip to China with my father last year and the stories he told about his father, who was an extra in “The Good Earth” when it was filmed in Hollywood, as well as an opium dealer.

I’m a little scared, but it will be good to delve in to all those notes and maybe take a walk on the beach. This will be my first trip to Provincetown–and it’s during Carnival! If anyone has suggestions on what to do and places to eat, I’d love to hear them. Best wishes to all–wherever your lives are taking you.

Eco-Poetics: Naropa’s Summer Writing Program

My book haul from Naropa!

My book haul from Naropa!

The Naropa Summer Writing Program was good for my writing and for my soul–I met many wonderful poets, including Kristin Prevallet, Rae Graber, Georgia Van Gunten, Eric Siegel, CA Conrad, Anne Waldman, and Rae Armantrout.

The week’s theme was Symbiosis: Hellfire, Drought, and Brimstone: A New Eco-Poetics and I want to share some of the highlights from the workshops, panel discussions, and readings:

–”Do the words you write belong to you? Or are you tapping into a larger field of language?” Kristin Prevallet on the influence of William James and stream-of-consciousness on poetry.

–”Memory is not archeology.” Kristin Prevallet

–Poetry as a prophetic tradition–language as music. Paraphrased description of Jerome Rothenberg’s anthology, Shaking the Pumpkin.

–”The way you treat the land is the way you treat yourself.” Orlando White

–The Idle No More movement posits that the land is alive, not a metaphor. Sound is a Being.

–”Ecopoetics is about the environment of the mind as well as the physical environment.” CA Conrad

–”Always treat language like a dangerous toy.” Anselm Hollo

–”Mitochondria make energy for the cells, but have different DNA than the cells–like visiting poets.” Jack Collom

If anyone has Naropa stories to share, I’d love to hear them! I’m already plotting to go next summer. . .

Countdown to The Beast!

971444_656648399327_1617458299_nI’m honored to be curating a reading for Beast Crawl, Oakland’s pre-eminent night of literary mayhem! On July 6th, from 5pm-6pm at the awesome Johansson Projects Gallery, Kundiman West and Manifest will join forces to create one mighty reading encompassing Comics! I Ching! Sex! Magic! Cats! and a whole lot more.

Rocking your world will be poets MG Roberts, Yume Kim, Margaret Rhee, Jose Vadi, Rex Leonowicz, Mia Malhotra, and yours truly.

Click on this link for the official deets: Join us and bring your friends!

Kundiman West and Manifest: Join Forces994145_10151699430873846_1423262310_n

Meet Me and Nick Cave’s Soundsuits at EOAGH Journal

My poem, “Meet Me at the Center of the Earth” is up at EOAGH Journal of the Arts, a great online site that concerns itself with reading “as a process, the productive chaos of investigative poetic work.” There are some cool poems by Steve Benson, and Christine Kanownik.

As an experiment, I am embedding a pdf of my poem here because it has a rather sinuous shape and odd line breaks.

Whew, it worked. And because I love them so much, here’s a photo of some of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits, which inspired my poem. It would be amazing to see them in motion, no?


Tag, We’re All It!

Tag, you’re it!
The Next Big Thing!
I was tagged by MG Roberts in The Next Big Thing!
The Next Big Thing! as you may know is a multi-branching dna strand of poets twisting and tagging each other in the cybersphere about their digital and actual words as books or chaps, perhaps bound projects. It was spawned by Carol Mirakove.

The Next Big Thing questions:

What is the working title of the book?
Whiskey, Water, and White Dwarves. It’s based on a Kundiman Retreat prompt that challenged me to include Jack Daniels whiskey and the phenomenon of White Dwarves in astronomy in the same poem. So much fun!

Where did the idea come from for the book?
This book is packed with my obsessions: magicians, taiko drumming, the lion house at the SF Zoo, an imaginary meeting between the Buddha and Donald Trump, manatees, hypnogogic dreaming. It makes sense, I swear.

What genre does your book fall under?
Hybrid prose poem/flash fiction/experimental poetry/tantric meditation. Is that a recognized genre?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Someone a lot more flexible than I am. Someone who can do a backbend properly.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
We are dream and we are dreaming and it’s a good thing!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m embarrassed to tell you how long I’ve been writing these pieces. But I’m glad they’re together in a manuscript now!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’m always inspired by people and the world around me in its glorious chaos that somehow falls into place.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s the only book where you’ll read about goldfish farming in poetry. I think that’s true.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m looking for a publisher. Anyone interested in taking a look at the manuscript can email me at:

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:
Sean Labrador Y Manzano, Oliver de la Paz, Samantha Giles, Colleen Lookingbill, Lisa Buchanan, Paul Ocampo, Margaret Rhee

AWP 2013: Poetry Blooms in Boston

Thanks for stopping by to say Hi! I hope you’re having a fantastic AWP and are inspired to write, write, write when you get home and recover from the excitement.

A short hello about me: I’m a poet and book reviewer whose work can be heard on the online show, Poet As Radio. I earned my MFA from the University of San Francisco and was recently awarded a Kundiman Fellowship. My writing has appeared in Drunken Boat, Versal, EOAGH, Spiral Orb, The Collagist, Mead Magazine, Eratio, and other journals. Currently I’m working on a chapbook titled “Whiskey, Water, and White Dwarves”, as well as a series of essays on tantric meditation and poetry.

I’ll be staffing the Kundiman Booth at AWP (#408) on Saturday from 11:30am-5:30pm. Come by and we can talk poetry and play a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.

Take care, dream big, and I hope we cross paths again soon!

Quiet Lightning + 826 Valencia = Pirate Lightning!

A rousing time was had by all at the February 4th celebration of young readers, put together by Evan Karp, Chris Cole and the good folks at 826 Valencia. The authors were at the top of their game and the Pirate Store was absolutely SRO. Allie read Gillian’s poem, “How To Be a Circuit” in the second half of the evening. Then they skedaddled home to hit the books since it was a school night!

How To Be A Circuit

First you have to choose whether you are
a parallel circuit or a
series circuit choose if you have a switch
or a lightbulb or a
buzzer or if your inside inside
Rudolf the red-nosed Reindeer
but even if you choose a bee that flaps its wings
you have to have a flowing connection of electricity
maybe from a batterie or an outlet
the connection has to be clear
If not,
the light or buzzer goes out
for a series circuit you’re in a loop, you’re more
but to be a parallel circuit is more complicated
but if one goes out the others stay on
hopefully your batteries will never go

And you can read the entire sparkle + blink 36 here!

Poetics of Trance

Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon

Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon

What is the difference between sleeping and trance? Dream and waking? Consciousness and free will? Conditioning and personality? Check out Drunken Boat 16′s folio on Trance Poetics and get the 411 on all this. Kristin Prevallet has curated a wide-ranging exploration of trance poetics in forms aural, visual, and written, including my poems, “Hypnogogic,” (based on a most intense waking dream state), “In Full View,” “Lucid: One Dream,” and “You Know Where You’ve Been.”

You can click on the “listen” button by each poem to hear an extra feature if you so desire. Poetry as the Fifth Element in a garden, from a visit to Portland’s wonderful Lan Su Chinese Garden accompanies “Hypnogogic.” There are background tidbits in the recordings of the other poems too. If I had realized that the recordings were going to accompany the poems, I would have made my voice sound sexier. I thought the recordings were going to go on a blog or archive somewhere else. I must have been sleeping. :-)