Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blood Lotus Issue 9 now available

The latest issue of Blood Lotus is now available. It includes wonderful poems, stories and non-fiction pieces by a number of fantastic writers -- including yours truly. My two poems, "Evolution" and "Local Commercials" can be found withing the 90+ pages of this fantastic journal. So go. Check it out!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Glass: A Journal of Poetry Volume One Issue Two Now Available!

Glass: A Journal of Poetry Volume One Issue Two is now up and ready to be read. The new issue can be found here.

We're very proud of our second issue. It includes thirty five poems by twenty nine poets. The contributors include: Kathleen Boyle, Ryan A. Bunch, Susan Deer Cloud, Naomi A. Glassman, Katie Hartsock,Todd Heldt, Saeed Jones, Kyi May Kaung, Michael Keshigian, Steve Klepetar, David W. Landrum, Richard Lighthouse, Patrick Loafman, Dan Nowak, Patty Paine, Allan Peterson, Caitlin Ramsey, Tad Richards, Kim Roberts, Janice D. Rubin, Benjamin Russell, Mel Sarnese, Michael Spring, Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, Andrew Terhune, Steve Trebellas, Jean Tupper, Samuel S. Vargo, and Maw Shein Win.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Versal 6 Now Available

Versal 6 is now available! This journal out of Amsterdam contains my poem, "This small poem." It is my second internation publication and it is one I'm very proud of. So, if you're in a good bookstore, look for Versal. If they don't carry it, tell them they should. Here's the full list of contributors to this issue:

Wiljan van den Akker, Shifa Ali, Larissa Andrusyshyn, Matt Anserello, Jennifer Arcuni, Jenny Arnold, Rane Arroyo, Tom Bass, Ewan Cameron, Logan Chace, Selfa Chew, Lakey Comess, Francisco Cunha, Marosa di Giorgio, Joris Diks, Ben Doller, William Doreski, Magdolene Dykstra, Carolina Esses, Magdalena Ferreiro, Ana Fornaro, Anthony Frame, Lara Frankena, Dana Gentile, Ericka Ghersi, Cynthia Grier Lotze, Marilyn Hacker, David Hart, Derek Henderson, Takashi Hiraide, Rozalie Hirs, B.J. Hollars, Sandra Jensen, Andrew J. Jones, Toshiya Kamei, Sándor Kányádi, Michael Karman, Nabil Kashyap, Ko Kooman, Dawn Lonsinger, Rachel Marston, David Miller, Kelly Moffett, Jane Monk, Emmanuel Moses, Jennifer D. Munro, Mace Murakishi, Sawako Nakayasu, Alistair Noon, Emelie Östergren, Miroslav Paral, María Cecilia Perna, Alex Piperno, Jeannine Marie Pitas, Amy Purifoy Piazza, David Ruhlman, Danielle Smits, Paul Sohar, Julian Stannard, Jean Tripier, Xiao Kaiyu.

I've been looking through it and I have to say it is killer collection of poems, stories and the coolest, weirdest artwork I've seen in a long time. And one of the mazing things is that my good friend and former teacher, Rane Arroyo, is included in the issue too. And we're only separated by a few pages. It's weird to have my poem nearly next to my poetry professor's poem.

And, as if this whole experience wasn't cool enough, the issue was accompanied by a postcard from the journal's poetry editor. Now, to give context to this postcard, though the editor had no idea of what I am about to say, you need to understand that my small poem is literally a small poem -- it is two, two line stanzas. So, including the stanza break, it is only five lines long. But it is surrounded by these three page poems and seven page short stories. And I'm not exactly a famous poet so, all in all, I had insecurities about being in the journal. But then I read the postcard:

So, not only am I incredibly honored to be a part of the Versal family, I can easily say, without a doubt, that this has been the most positive and enriching publishing experience I've ever had.

So, again, go to your favorite bookstore and look for Versal. If they don't have it, tell them to subscribe because journals like this need to be supported.

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Neon Issue Fifteen now available

Neon issue fifteen is now available. Here's the word from the editors:

"Issue fifteen of Neon is now here, featuring the work of Jane Flett, M.E. Silverman, Miranda Merklein, Martin Hayes, Craig Caudill, Luigi Monteferrante, Christopher Barnes, John Oliver Hodges, Tricia Asklar, Noel Sloboda, Howard Good and Morris Collins.

There's a long preview posted online and you can order printed copies or download the full thing from the store. As always, the content in this issue is excellent, and the printed booklets for some reason look particularly fine. We hope you'll take a look."

If you can find a copy, check it out. And send a congratulations to my good friend, Howard Good who appears in issue fifteen.

Note: Howie, you beat me to Grand Rapids. I got to Neon before you. Can't wait to see which journal crosses our paths next.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Two Poems Accepted by Blood Lotus

More great news: Blood Lotus, an online literary journal, has accepted two of my poems for their upcoming issue. Look for "Evolution" and "Local Commercials" in their June 2008 issue!

I'll also announce when the issue is available.

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Postmodern Guernica to be Published by Imaginary Friend Press!

My first chapbook, Postmodern Guernica, has been accepted for publication by Imaginary Friend Press! Yay!

Not much in regards to info, yet. But once I have more I will pass it along.

Until then, check out Postmodern Guernica's opening poem, "World News," published in issue 19 of Perigee.

Oh yeah: YAY!

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rane Arroyo's Same-Sex Séances

Rane Arroyo's Same-Sex Séances is now available from New Sins Press! Order this book immediately! Seriously.

I think I've read Same-Sex Séances about seven times since my copy came in the mail. I love Arroyo's work and I have favorites and this is quickly rising on my list of his best books.

And to make things even better, it includes Glass: A Journal of Poetry, the poetry journal I edit with my wife, in the acknowledgements page:
Now, if poems charted like songs and if I had an iPod (and if I knew how to download and track the songs I listen to on my iPod), then a number of these poems would be at the top of my list. Obviously, "Brokeback Mountain" is one I love since Glass was fortunate enough to publish it. But also, the incredible "Slow Change," the heartbreaking "The Piñata Boy," and the intoxicating "What Daniel And I Talk About When We're Naked" are right up there as soem of my favorite poems of all time. But the killer in this collection is "From The Book Of The First Serpent." This poem alone makes Same-Sex Séances worth the cover price.
What are you waiting for? Order the book!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy National Poetry Month!

Happy National Poetry Month. For more information, check out the Academy of American Poets' National Poetry Month website.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Curling Up ... 3/27/08

Well, my student papers are finally graded. And while I have a little bit of work left to do for my classes, I am pretty much free from my never-ending job this weekend. It has been a rough couple of weeks so I am rewarding myself with an easy weekend of going to the park (weather permitted), having lunch with my wife and one of our old friends, and laying on the couch reading some of my favorite books of poetry. Here are the books that are waiting for me at home:

Rane Arroyo's Home Movies of Narcissus

Rane Arroyo's fourth book is probably my favorite of his many books (though Pale Ramón is close). They're all great, but this was the first of his I read and it is the one that got me to fall in love with how he writes. It also includes two of my favorite poems, "Death of a Poet's Cat" and "Papo Auditions for the Role of Romeo."

Rane is also a former teacher (as if anyone is ever a former teacher) of mine and he remains a constant mentor and friend. It is never a bad day when you get to check out out of his books.

Sharon Olds' Satan Says

Sharon Olds' The Father may have a special place in my heart because of its importance in my own development as a writer, but for my money, poetry doesn't get much better than her debut, Satan Says. Dark, disturbing, haunting, and beautiful, this is an incerdible book. And it merges those qualities, which we expect from Olds' poetry, with a softness and a sweetness that I absolutely admire.

In my opinion, it is her best book (though all her books are phenomenal) because it is the most complex, emotionally.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke's Dog Road Woman

Allison is another former teacher, current mentor and friend of mine. She is also a killer poet, a master of narrative with a smart ear/eye for imagery and white space.

Her latest collection, Blood Run, is on my must-read list, but for now I am returning to fond memories of her workshop and literature class by revisiting Dog Road Woman. If you get a chance, pick it up, if only for the beautiful and astonishing "Year of the Rat" - twenty pages of the best poetry you'll ever read.

Tony Hoagland's Sweet Ruin

I fell in love with Tony Hoagland's Donkey Gospel before I ever read his first book, Sweet Ruin. And while Donkey Gospel is the book people tend to talk about, I love Sweet Ruin more. Much like Old's Satan Says, Sweet Ruin, to me, presents a much more complicated picture of Hoagland's subject matter (here, as with most of his work, it is men and masculinity).

I don't know. The characters here feel more real. And, more importantly, the poet loves the characters more in this book. They aren't asses (as in Donkey Gospel) or narcissists (as in What Narcissism Means to Me). In Sweet Ruin, he acknowledges the problems within these characters, the ruins, but also acknowledges the greatness of these people, the sweetness. I appreaciate that about this book.

Yehuda Amichai's The Selected Poetry Of Yehuda Amichai

Hands down, probably the best political poet of the twentieth century, Amichai's selected poems are incredible.

Buy this book. Now!

Read this book, especially "God Has Pity on Kindergarten Children" and "First Rain on a Burned Car."

What are you waiting for? Go get the book!

And Allen Ginsburg's Collected Poems 1947-1980

And that just leaves Ginsberg. My poetic father (Whitman is my poetic grandfather and Olds is my poetic mother, in my views).

I won't be reading this whole collection this weekend, but I will be happily curling up, cat on my lap, blanket snug around my shoulders, reading the Howl and Kaddish sections.

At that seems appropriate. As I near the end of another semester, another year, of teaching, Ginsberg reminds me of the dangers of madness. And I use Ginsberg to inspire my students against madness, writing on the last day of classes in large, crazy letters across the board, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness."

Happy reading!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Sharon Olds to Read at The University of Toledo, Aril 18th, 2008

Sharon Olds is coming to my alma mater, The University of Toledo, next month. Here's the info about the event:

"Sharon Olds, award-winning author of 8 volumes of poetry, will deliver the annual Summers Lecture on Friday, April 18th at 4PM. Reception to follow!"

And here's some info about Sharon Olds, for those of you who don't know about her, taken from the The Academy of American Poets website:

"Born in San Francisco on November 19, 1942, Sharon Olds earned a B.A. at Stanford University and a Ph.D. at Columbia University.

Her first collection of poems, Satan Says (1980), received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. Olds's following collection, The Dead & the Living (1983), received the Lamont Poetry Selection in 1983 and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Her other collections include Strike Sparks: Selected Poems (2004, Knopf), The Unswept Room (2002), Blood, Tin, Straw (1999), The Gold Cell (1997), The Wellspring (1995), and The Father (1992), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

About Olds's poetry, one reviewer for the New York Times said, 'Her work has a robust sensuality, a delight in the physical that is almost Whitmanesque. She has made the minutiae of a woman's everyday life as valid a subject for poetry as the grand abstract themes that have preoccupied other poets.'

Olds's numerous honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Ploughshares, and has been anthologized in more than a hundred collections.

Olds held the position of New York State Poet from 1998 to 2000. She currently teaches poetry workshops at New York University's Graduate Creative Writing Program as well as a workshop at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island in New York. She was elected an Academy Chancellor in 2006. She lives in New York City."

This is a huge deal for me for a few reasons. First, because UT is my alma mater and one of the schools I am currently teaching at, I am incredibly proud of my connection to that school. Second, since I live in Toledo, I am excited about hearing Olds read. Lastly, as noted in my review of Justin Kaplan's Walt Whitman: A Life, Olds is one of the three American poets from whom I trace the main subject matter of my work (her The Father has been incredibly important in my poetic development, as have all of her books).

To celebrate this news, here are some Olds related items:

"Open Letter to Laura Bush"
by Sharon Olds

Laura Bush
First Lady
The White House

Dear Mrs. Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House.

In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, and in terms of the desire that poetry serve its constituents--all of us who need the pleasure, and the inner and outer news, it delivers.

And the concept of a community of readers and writers has long been dear to my heart. As a professor of creative writing in the graduate school of a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of some magnificent outreach writing workshops in which our students have become teachers. Over the years, they have taught in a variety of settings: a women's prison, several New York City public high schools, an oncology ward for children. Our initial program, at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely physically challenged, has been running now for twenty years, creating along the way lasting friendships between young MFA candidates and their students--long-term residents at the hospital who, in their humor, courage and wisdom, become our teachers.

When you have witnessed someone nonspeaking and almost nonmoving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and essentialness of writing. When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely nonspeaking and nonmoving (except for the eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person's unique story and song.

So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the wish to invade another culture and another country--with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain--did not come out of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top" and forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths. I hoped to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny and religious chauvinism--the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and diversity our nation aspires to.
I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its writing--against this undeclared and devastating war.

But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.

So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.


And here's one of her poems, from The Poetry Foundation's Website:


Brushing out our daughter’s brown
silken hair before the mirror
I see the grey gleaming on my head,
the silver-haired servant behind her. Why is it
just as we begin to go
they begin to arrive, the fold in my neck
clarifying as the fine bones of her
hips sharpen? As my skin shows
its dry pitting, she opens like a moist
precise flower on the tip of a cactus;
as my last chances to bear a child
are falling through my body, the duds among them,
her full purse of eggs, round and
firm as hard-boiled yolks, is about
to snap its clasp. I brush her tangled
fragrant hair at bedtime. It’s an old
story—the oldest we have on our planet—
the story of replacement.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Curling Up ... 3/8/08

It's the end of Spring Break and I've been curling up on the couch with a number of different books and journals. A little while ago, I began rereading Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross. I've been doing an exercise in my class where I ask my students to think about "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in light of its cultural context in order to understand the song. Ever since, I've been on a big Nirvana kick. This culminated in a recent visit to the library where I found a copy of Kurt Cobain's Journals. I have to admit that I feel a little weird reading Cobain's journals. The book is a compilation of photographs of his actually journal pages. I feel like I'm prying into something very, very personal. And I imagine if someone were reading my journal like this. A very strange experience. And yet, I can't put either book down.

At the same time, I got a nice surprise this week. I thought my subscription of Poetry Magazine had ended. Apparently, it hasn't because I received another issue in the mail this week and I've been reading through it. The editors have added a new twist to the journal: they've included a short Q & A for every poet published in the issue.

And to complete my week, my new subscription to Black Warrior Review started yesterday. I haven't had a lot of time to read through either journal but I have managed a quick glance at some of the poems. And it amazes me how completely different they are. Poetry is very traditional: full of rhyme and meter and form. BWR seems much more avante-guarde, more postmodern, more diverse. It is fascinating to put these two journals, which are two of the most prominent American poetry journals, next to each other and to see their wild differences. From what I've read so far, I have to admit that I like BWR more than Poetry. I don't know. BWR seems to be more of my scene than Poetry.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

... So Goes the Nation

I'm taking a time out from poetry to celebrate with my fellow Hillary Clinton supporters, especially here in Ohio. Because I'm proud of my state. Because I'm proud that Ohio for electing a woman. Because I'm proud my state picked the right candidate.

For a county by county map, which shows my county, Lucas County, going Clinton, click here:


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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Glass: A Journal of Poetry Volume One Issue One Now Available!

Glass: A Journal of Poetry Volume One Issue One is now available. Head over to http://glass-poetry.blogspot.com/ and check out all the wonderful poems.

The issue includes 35 poems by Rane Arroyo, Anne Baldo, Tom Carson, Lisa Fay Coutley, Jeff Crouch, Lightsey Darst, Taylor Graham, John Grey, Peter Gunn, Adam Houle, Joseph Hutchison, Jackson Lassiter, Frederick Lord, David McCoy, Ryan McLellan, Amanda McQuade, Sally O'Quinn, Adam Penna, Kenneth Pobo, Joseph Reich, Celeste Snowber, Ray Succre, Daria Tavana, Allison Tobey, Carine Topal, Davide Trame, JR Walsh, Lenore Weiss, and Martin Willitts, Jr.

Here's looking forward to Volume One Issue Two, due out on June 1, 2008!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Timothy Geiger's The Curse of Pheromones Accepted for Publication

Great news from Timothy Geiger. His second book, The Curse of Pheromones, has been accepted for publication by Main Street Rag.

Tim's first book, Blue Light Factory, is difficult to find, but if you have a really good bookstore in your area (like Toledo used to have), they can likely track one down. Tim's poems are haunting and beautiful and I can't wait to see The Curse of Pheromones.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

"This small poem" Accepted by Versal

I'm going international again! Versal has accepted my poem, "This small poem" for their upcoming sixth issue, due out in May, 2008. Versal is published out of Amsterdam (as my wife says, the Dutch get me), so added to my recent UK publication, this means I'm really internationally unknown.

I'll post when the issue is available.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Review: The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi

"A culture forges myths for many reasons," Susan Faludi writes in The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post 9/11 America, "but paramount among them is the need to impose order on chaotic and disturbing experience - to resolve the haunting contradictions and contain apprehension, to imagine a way out of darkness." The imposed order and the way out of darkness, according to Faludi's third nonfiction book, occur by re-establishing mythic models of American masculinity and femininity. Faludi is a writer of gripping skill with a knack for reportage that illuminates and explains American culture and The Terror Dream may well be her masterpiece (quite an accomplishment since she had already written the masterful Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women). To start her cultural analysis of 9/11, Faludi does not start on the day "that changed everything."
Instead, she begins, with her title and her epigraph, in the mid-1950s with Alan Le May's novel, The Searchers (1954) and the film adaptation staring John Wayne (1956). From this, Faludi takes us on a journey through the post 9/11 world to show the re-emergence of the John Wayne/ Daniel Boone mythos that defines male (active and strong hero) and female (passive and weak victim) roles in American culture.

But first, some things that The Terror Dream is not. It is not an attack on the War in Iraq or the build-up to that war (the war itself is only briefly mentioned near the end of the book, though there is a chapter that reads the Jessica Lynch "rescue"). Nor is it a partisan criticism of George W. Bush (in fact, nearly as many pages are spent on Senator John Kerry as Bush, which is also true of Laura Bush). The book is neither a history of the September 11, 2001 attacks nor is it a criticism of the those events. It is a gender analysis of America's reaction to 9/11, socially, culturally and politically.

The Terror Dream is a smart, engaging and enraging gender analysis of the American response to 9/11. Faludi argues, through carefull cultural research (which includes forty pages of footnotes) how the response to 9/11 became a return to the American pioneer myths that defined gender roles in America until the feminist movement of the second half of the twentieth century. In this myth, the roles are clear: men should be "manly men" and are always heroes, protectors and saviors (like John Wayne in The Searchers). Women are always victims, damsels in distress in constant need of protection by their male counterparts. The weaker the women, the stronger the men will be. The stronger the women, the weaker the men, and therefore the country, will be.

She charts this by analyzing cultural artifact, most commonly newspaper articles and TV news reports but also television shows and movies. And her gaze moved quickly over cultural items I enjoy, including John Kerry (whose attempt at über-masculinity with his gun poses during the 2004 election, she says, played right into the myth's hands), Sex & the City (which, after 9/11, started marrying and impregnating all four of the fabulous, sexual and single women on the show) and Marvel Comics (which aided the transformation of the Bush Administration into real life superheroes). In fact, her descripiton of the reaction of Andrew Sullivan, a blogger I often read, toward Susan Sontag's September 24, 2001 article from The New Yorker (he called her an "ally of evil" and "deranged") had me running to this blog to take him off my links list. In a wonderful reversal of the 9/11 gender roles (a common occurance in my pro-feminist marriage), my wife came to Sullivan's rescue, reminding me that Sullivan has learned a lot in the past seven years and not to jump too quickly. But Faludi's book has me reconsidering (and re-analyzing) much of the past seven years (I suddenly know why, less than a week after 9/11, while I was working in a video store, the movies in the Western section were constantly checked out).

It is a fabulous read full of insights into the attacks against feminists, from both the rightwing and the mainstream media, the hyperbolic nature of gender in our recent political elections, and the transformation of unwitting and often unwanting average Americans into heroes and victims. She defends the 9/11 widows who, supposedly, spent their money on plastic surgery. She looks at the real numbers regarding the influence of supposed "security moms" during the '04 election. She analyzes the capture, rescue and the national/political/media narrative of that capture and rescue of Private Jessica Lynch. She looks deeply into the use of fear to convince women to get married (quickly) and start having babies (just as quickly) immediately after 9/11. And she brings it all into perspective with a detailed account of how this hero/victim myth started during early pioneer America. She then tracks the myth as it re-emerges during various crises of American history.

Her writing is sharp, vivid and intoxication. At times, she her language is shockingly, bitterly and wonderfully caustic (as she leads into her analysis of masculinity during the 2004 Presidential election, she writes, "In the post 9/11 effort to restore Americans' confidence in the country's impregnability, national politics would become increasingly deranged."). And her words are sorrowfull as she describes the atatcks on strong minded women who had the courage to question the media and the government in the aftermath of 9/11. Her discussion of the viscious and brutal response toward Barbara Kingsolver (one of my favorite novelists) is heartwrenching. But Faludi understands Kingsolver's, and the other women who were told to "shut-up, we're at war". She's experienced it herself as she has charted the socio-political gender wars over the past twenty five years (an example: one reviewer at Amazon.com wrote of Faludi and The Terror Dream, "I'd hoped that this woman had disappeared, but here she is again, like recurring rash [sic]." The title of the post is "Put a cork in it, Susan" and the poster goes on to say Faludi's thesis "holds on for dear life" in the face of a history that discredits the thesis. Of course, the writer then lists a litany of examples of male hero/female victim motifs and myths that confirm Faludi's thesis.)

In the end, Faludi asks simple questions: "For a moment on the morning of September 11, we were awakened to the reality of our weakness and vulnerability. The revelation was too disturbing to bear and we soon turned away. What if we hadn't? .... What if the nation had responded to 9/11 differently? What if we hadn't retreated into platitudes and compensatory fictions? What if we had taken the attack as an occasion to 'confront the truth'?" Unfortunately, we didn't do those things. Which is why The Terror Dream is so important and so necessary.

For a preview of The Terror Dream, check out this op-ed by Faludi from the New York Times (9/7/07): "America's Guardian Myths".

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Neon Literary Journal Issue 14 is Now Available

Neon Literary Journal issue 14 is now available. Included are my two poems, "Don't Blink" and "Withdrawal in West Virginia: A Letter." My copy hasn't yet come in the mail, but based on the PDF proof I was sent, it [It] looks like it's a fine issue. Here's the blurb from Neon's website:

"Issue fourteen of Neon is here, and it is every bit as magical as expected. It contains the work of Rupert Merkin, Jenn Koiter, Grant McLeman, Jonathan Greenhause, Lynn Patmalnee, Curtis Smith, Anthony Frame, Brent Fisk, Sarah Hilary, J.A Tyler, Phil Gruis and Jarod Rosello. It is, approximately, the best thing ever."

Okay, that's just me gloating: I love seeing my name in print. But if you're interested, go to their website for more information, including a preview (my poems are not included in the preview) as well as information about subscriptions and about purchasing individual issues.

This is a UK journal, so be prepared to be asked for pounds rather than dollars.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Review: Walt Whitman: A Life by Justin Kaplan

I've spent the past two months or so reading Walt Whitman: A Life, Justin Kaplan's biography of Walt Whitman. Whitman is one of my favorite poets and one of three American poets from whom I trace the main subject matter of my work (Allen Ginsberg and Sharon Olds are the other two). Whitman has appeared in a number of my poems and I am -- and always will be -- jealous of the rhythms he developed. So I decided to read a biography of him and Kaplan's looked quite good.

And it is. Kaplan relies heavily on letters between Whitman and his friends and on letters others wrote about Whitman. His research is extensive and thorough. And while he often refers to Whitman's poems, he doesn't spend too much time trying to connect Whitman's life with the work he wrote. Kaplan also does not indulge himself in long passages of psychoanalysis of Whitman, about which I was happy.

Kaplan's biography focuses mainly on Whitman's family and the circle of friends Whitman kept close (and whom he, at times, pushed away). He also focuses on Whitman as a worker. Much of the book revolves around Whitman's financial struggles and on his attempts to hold a steady job working for printers and newspapers. By choosing these foci, Kaplan is able to investigate Whitman's personal life and his publishing life (since, as we all know, Whitman was primarily a self-publisher, though Kaplan's biography does give great detail about the places where Whitman published individual poems and the few publishers who gave Leaves of Grass a selling shot). His descriptions of Whitman, his family, and his friends are vivid and engaging.

There were some disappointments with the biography, though. Kaplan has chosen the common technique of beginning the biography with Whitman's death and then moving into his birth. While this made for a wonderful opening, it ultimately meant the biography ended anti-climatically. I also felt let down during the chapters on Whitman 's nursing experience during the Civil War. I expected a lot more information but Kaplan, for one reason or another, seemed to rush through this part of Whitman's life.

Still, the biography was informative and entertaining. Knowing about Whitman's relationship with his mother is illuminating as is knowing about his interest in Opera and phrenology. And the book has some fun facts about Whitman that are worth telling at dinner parties (did you know, for example, that Whitman's brain was sent to the American Anthropometric Society to be measured, weighed and studied? Did you know, further, that the brain was accidentally destroyed when a lab worker dropped it on the floor? And, did you know that Whitman wrote and anonymously published reviews about his own work?). It was also a lot of fun to watch Whitman evolve the "official line" about who he was, where he came from and why he wrote as he did (ever the control freak, Whitman insisted people see him as he wanted to be seen).

And in the end, it is a biography of Whitman. Even if Kaplan's writing had been terrible, which it isn't, it is full of wonderful snippets of Whitman's poems, like the most beautiful eulogy ever written in English, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd":

"When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring."

Does it get any better than that?

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Review: Poetry February 2008

I recently finished the last issue of my subscription to Poetry, the February 2008 issue. And what an issue. It features poems by Louise Gluck, Samuel Beckett (trans. Philip Nikolayev), Heidy Steidlmayer, Lynn Emanuel, Jorie Graham, Jeffery Schultz, Lisa Williams, Larissa Szporluk, and Molly McQuade. Also included is a portfolio of poems by George Szirtes based on photographs and commentary by Peter Campion, Alexei Tsvetkov, and D.H. Tracy. The issue is packed with great poetry and great commentary on poetry.

Easily my favorite poem of the issue was Jorie Graham's poem, "Full Fathom," and I commend the editors for their creative use of pagework to fit the poem into the issue (the poem is aligned sideways, moving from the bottom to the top instead of from the left to the right, and is placed on a fold-out page). The images are striking and exciting and the momentum of the lines is incredible.

Jeffery Schultz' "J. Learns the Difference Between Poverty and Having No Money" is equally as impressive, with powerful lines and momentum. But this, for me, was the most emotionally powerful poem of the issue.

I also recommend George Szirtes' portfolio. Though I think Poetry emphasizes formal poetry too much, these rhymes and rhythms never felt forced to me. The images that accompany the poems (or do the poems accompany the images?) are incredible and "Ross: Yellow Star" is an absolutely incredible poem.

But the highlight of the issue for me was Peter Campion's essay, "Sincerity and Its Discontents in American Poetry Now." It is a smart essay about the battle between "truth" and "art", between emotion and beauty, between ... well, between the basic questions of art: should we be "true" (whatever that means), can art be emotionally charged or must it me cold, ironic and distant, and must poetry, in its role as the conscience of the nation, be cynical and caustic or can it be inspirational and (dare I say it) sentimental? I'm not sure Campion ever answers his questions (not sure anyone could) but his commentary does give us the best poem in the entire issue: Maurice Manning's "Where Sadness Comes From."

It's Poetry, so do I need to say that it is good? No, all I need to say is I will certainly miss my monthly fix of good poems and good poetry commentary.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rane Arroyo's Same-Sex Séances now available for preorder from New Sins Press

Rane Arroyo's forthcoming collection of poems, Same-Sex Séances, is now available for preorder from New Sins Press. The collection will be released in March, 2008.

Go to their catalogue and buy Rane's new book!

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Howie Good's Chapbook Strangers and Angels available from Scintillating Publications

Howie Good's latest chapbook -- his third -- is available from Scintillating Publications. Strangers and Angels can be ordered by PayPal for $6ppd. Go check it out!

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Dan Nowak's Recycle Suburbia wins the Quercus Review Poetry Series Annual Book Award

Dan Nowak's first book of poems, Recycle Suburbia, has been selected the winner of the Quercus Review Poetry Series Annual Book Award and will be published in the near future!

Congratulations to Dan on his first book. I'll post when the book is available.

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Rane Arroyo's The Roswell Poems now available from WordFarm Press

Rane Arroyo's new collection of poems, The Roswell Poems, are now available from WordFarm Press.

Read some of the book blurbs and then buy the book!

UPDATE: Feb. 25, 2008:

I received my copy of The Roswell Poems in the mail this week. The book is beautiful and the poems I've been able to read so far are fiercely fabulous.

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Two Poems Published by Perigee

I've had two poems published in the online journal, Perigee.

My poems, "Promenade Park" and "World News", are now available in issue 19 of the journal. Go check them out!

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Two Poems Accepted by Neon Literary Journal

I've had two poems accepted by Neon Literary Journal.

Issue 14, due out in February, 2008, will include my poems "Don't Blink" and "Withdrawal in West Virginia: A Letter".

The cool part about this: Neon is a UK journal. Yes, I am now internationally unknown. I'll let you know when the issue is released.

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FrameWork 2.0

I'm working on setting up this new blog. It is an updated version of my previous blog, FrameWork, but with some major differences.

I want a place to announce my successes and this blog will be that place. But I also want to be able to announce other people's successes. So, when friends and family members have great news, I will post that information. And if you, dear reader, have successes, please email them to me and I'll likely announce the success here.

As I am a poet, the majority of what will be posted will have to do with poetry (where I'm publishing, where my friends are publishing, etc...). And I will try to post some calls for submissions that I see. If you read a call for submission, or if you are an editor with a submission call, send it to my email address and I'll post it here.

These posts will be coming at random rates as it will all depend on when success happens. But, with any luck, there will be a lot of success and therefore a lot of posts.

I hope you enjoy.

-Anthony Frame
FrameWork 2.0
frameworkblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

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