Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tagged! - My 6-Word Memoir

I've been tagged by the Blogalicious Diane Lockward for my six-word memoir.

What is all this you ask? Well, here are the instructions, as passed down from Bookbabie to Blogalicious and, now, to me:

What would you say if you had to summarize your life in only six words? Bookbabie got the idea from a book written by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser, Not Quite What I was Expecting: Six Word Memoirs by Famous and Obscure. It is a compilation based on the story that Hemingway once bet ten dollars that he could sum up his life in six words. His words were—For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Here are the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4. Tag five more blogs with links
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

So, I didn't have to think long about this one. As the stay-at-home-mother of a two-year-old, I don't actually have time to think long about anything. And so my 6-word memoir is this:


I now tag Deb, Sandra, Greg, Shann and Heather.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Portraits by Frida

Frida's first portraits of mommy & daddy. I'm on the left and Peter's on the right.

Thinking in Iambs

Yesterday, my mother-in-law came to play with Frida for 4 hours while I got out and had some "me time." At lunch, over a glass of wine and an antipasto salad, I overheard the folks a couple of tables over (the only other occupied table) discussing the small towns they hailed from. One said "Did you know there's a Victoria's Secret now at the Apple Blossom Mall?"

Sooooo... I started riffing on that and halfway down the page realized I was writing in iambs. I had about half an hour today during Frida's nap to work on it and now have a semi-decent draft of a blank verse sonnet reflecting on my own small town roots.

I also want to blog more on chapbooks and DIY based on Greg's comment on yesterday's post, but I'm being pulled away from the computer by a little girl who didn't nap well today...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Art of the Chapbook

As one whose first "book" publication was a chapbook, I am always interested to see reviewers or blogs paying attention to that method of publication. Here are a couple of blogs I check out regularly for their chapbook reviews.

chap*books, the blog of Plan B Press co-founder stevenallenmay, features mini-reviews of chapbooks from all around the world. His posting of many of the chapbook covers is also a very welcome sight, as many chapbook designers are quite creative with their covers.

Poet Ron Mohring also frequently reviews chapbooks on his blog. Mohring provides lengthier reviews of the chapbooks, along with their covers and a sample poem from each.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Goodbye Story Line Press

Yes, it is official... Story Line Press has closed shop. I've heard from two authors who have acquired the remaining stock of their books. Word has it that West Chester University Poetry Center has bought some of the titles, which it plans to use as the base for the formation of a new public press called Contemporary Poetry Review Press.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Antelope and Other Delights

Peter & I went to the Serbian Crown restaurant for Valentine's Day and I had the pleasure of trying antelope for the first time.

Thanks to Andrew Zimmern, I've pledged to be a bit more open-minded about my dining experiences. So it was with much derring-do I skipped right over the Chicken Kiev on the menu and went for the Antelope with Wild Mushrooms and Port Wine Sauce. Antelope is a red meat, very similar in flavor to a lean and very mild beef. No gameyness (pardon my spelling). Very subtle. The mushrooms were damn good as well.

I even tried some of the Wild Boar that Peter ordered. It was also extremely tasty, but very different than the antelope. The boar was very bold in flavor, yet still not gamey.

If you live in the DC area or are nearby Great Falls (VA) visiting family or friends, you should definitely check out the Serbian Crown. It's quite an experience.

The bartender even wrote "USSR beer" on our check...

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Smattering of Notes

Here's a smattering of notes I took at AWP. Not all earth-shattering revelations, but comments and/or insights I thought worthy enough to jot down in my notebook:

  • Charles Simic, on his preference for notebooks - "I find a blank page more intimidating than a lined page."
  • Greg Rappeleye, from panel on Poetry & Religion - Referred to "shopping mall pieties".
  • Robert Thomas, from panel on Poetry & Religion - "Religious poems need to be so good that non-religious, and even anti-religious, readers will enjoy them. And vice versa."
  • John Irving, on being a student of Kurt Vonnegut - "He hated my semi-colons... Called them hermaphrodites... Said it looked like someone killed a fly above a comma."
  • Chase Twichell, from the panel on the Art of Revision - The difficulty is not finding the words to say something, it's finding the "something". Poems begin in ignorance. Only when she figures out what she's writing about can she begin to write the poem.
  • Ilya Kaminsky, from the panel on Contemporary Fairy Tales in Poetry & Prose - "The silence is what moves us to speak."
  • Mark Strand, from his featured reading on Friday night - When he had difficulty locating one poem he wanted to read, he said "Sometimes our poems fight back." And on the length of his poem The Delirium Waltz (which, I might add, was absolutely incredible to hear him read in person), he said "Only if life is short is this a long poem."
Other great sessions/readings I attended included:
  • Panel discussion on Marianne Moore as a "forgotten foremother" of poetry. I enjoyed this panel quite a bit more than I expected. Each panelist had a unique perspective on how Moore's poetry was an influence on her/his own writing. One panelist paraphrased Moore as saying we "need to be self-aware, without being self-centered."
  • Panel discussion on the Poetry of War, led by Sandra Beasley. Very moving discussion! The panelists each had a different approach to the subject, but the best part of the panel for me was hearing Brian Turner speak of his own experiences, which led to his award-winning collection Here, Bullet. Turner mentioned his reluctance to be pigeonholed as a war poet, but said that he realizes he still has more to say on the subject, and so will continue to write poems on "the war among us."
  • Reading by Marvin Bell. I love Bell's "Dead Man" poems and it was a delight to hear him read some of them -- along with other of his work.
  • Staged reading of John Surowiecki's verse drama, "My Nose and Me," which was the winner of the inaugural Verse Drama award presented by the Poetry Foundation. I laughed hard throughout this spirited "TragedyLite or TragiDelight in 33 Scenes," which contained many literary/cultural references in a delightful way. Some of the references came so fast & furiously that I want to get a copy to read so that I can catch the references I missed. A staged reading is planned for Chicago and is likely coming to the DC area later this year.
  • Martin Amis reading on Saturday night. He read from The House of Meetings, and of course I had to pick up an autographed copy. Some interesting notes from the Q&A: Amis purged his father's voice through "imitation" rather than moving on. Also, Amis said that he believes satire works best in retrospect. "It's hard to do satire on subjects that are still live, or still in flux. There needs to be some time distance."
Whew. I didn't realize how many notes I took. As I said, these are not the true extent of my jottings, but just some of the more salacious.

I love the word salacious.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Upon Returning

Well, two days back into the routine after my "working vacation" in NYC at the AWP Conference.

What a wonderful and productive time. I made new friends, met up with friends I haven't seen in a long time, finally spoke "in person" to some of my blogger/internet friends, shmoozed and purchased a lot of books and journals that I just had to have.

Some of my newly-acquired loot includes:
  • Rick Barot's new poetry collection, Want
  • C. Dale Young's collection, The Second Person
  • Julianna Baggott's Compulsion of Silkworms & Bees
  • Greg Rappeleye's Figured Dark
  • Frannie Lindsay's Lamb
  • Ilya Kaminsky's Dancing in Odessa
  • Catherine Daly's Locket
  • Heather Davis's The Lost Tribe of Us

Journals include:
  • Interim
  • Harvard Review
  • New York Quarterly
  • Hopkins Review
  • Rio Grande Review (awesome redesign!)
  • The Pinch
  • Saint Ann's Review
  • The Kenyon Review (another awesome redesign!)
  • CutBank Poetry
  • Measure

I'm actually not sure if I want to go to Chicago's AWP next year. Don't get me wrong, the conference is fabulous, but Chicago in Feburary? And on Valentine's Day? Plus, I think I've got enough reading to keep me entertained for the next two years. My husband says he'd love to go with me & take Frida to see all the Chicago sights, but I think if there's any family vacationing to be done, I want to be a part of it.

We shall see...