Wednesday, February 22, 2006

two new words

gewgaw & flarf. Both borrowed from Ron Silliman's blog. Look 'em up--they're good 'uns

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I got a kick out of this

...and so, re-posted from C Dale Young's blog:


Don't think for one fucking instant
that I don't have a broken heart.
The man in briefs in an infinite sea
believes there is no subconscious
nor is he aware tempora exists.
Don't think I have not eaten
in the most beautiful Chinese restaurant
in the world. Don't think I have not written
on the walls of my bathtub.
Don't think I have not poisoned a snail.
Don't think I haven't ignited
the sulfur of the fortune teller.
Of course I have written a poem by Dean Young!
More than once I have written a poem by Dean Young.
More than once I have left them by your gate.
More than once I have stuffed the eucalyptus leaves
in your mouth. More than once I have lived,
more than once I have died because of it.
I love you. This remarkable statement
has appeared on earth to substantiate the clams.
Perhaps now we can reach an agreement in the Himalayas,
returning shortly thereafter as gods, the kind kind
largely ignored by larger and more sensitive organisms.
Don't think I wasn't shocked when
you were a traffic signal
and I a woodpecker.

--Mary Ruefle

(a poem titled "A Poem by Mary Ruefle" appears among Ruefle's work but was written by Dean Young)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Talking science with your pets

Explaining Relativity to the Cat

Imagine, if you will, three mice.
Contrary to what you have
heard, they are not blind
but are in a spaceship
traveling near the speed of light.
This makes them unavailable
for your supper, yes.

So these mice, traveling near
the speed of light, appear
quite fat, though there is
no cheese aboard. This is
simply a distortion of mass,
because the mass of a mouse
is nothing more than a bundle
of light, and vice versa. I see
how this might imply mice
are in the light fixtures,
undoubtedly a problem, so let me try again.
If two people attempted
to feed you simultaneously,
no doubt a good situation,
but you were on a train
traveling near the speed
of light, the food would
appear unappetizing, falling
to the plate in slow motion,
an extended glob of protein
that never smelled good,
if you ask me, train or no.
The affinity of the food
for the plate, what we call
gravity, is really just
a stretch in the fabric
of a space-time continuum,
what happens when you
have sat in a seat too long,
perhaps on this very train.

Oh kitty, I know how you hate
to travel and the journey must
have made you tired. Come now,
lick your coat one more time
and let us make haste
from this strange city
of light and fantastic dream.

--Jennifer Gresham from
Diary of a Cell. ©Steel Toe Books.

(the class presentation we did on this was the best. presentation. ever.)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Two Ploughshares Poems

Canister and Turkey Vulture
by Nicole Walker

You don’t bug the cops
but you fly like a feather-minded bullet,
fasten the updraft, pivot the jet.
You are the in between
the so far as
the as to.
You note every missing shingle
every drop of vapor
everything that stands between the oh so obvious
and the almost can’t imagine.

Peck the eyes out of the sun.
Cannot see you.
Throw away air,
pound the dust with your demanding wings,
promise that water and seed and enough claw and straw
will mark your rolling
will scrape the sky
keep it from falling.

Promises Promises
Who knew the sky so heavy?
Who knew speed
could catch light’s comeuppance?
Who knew together they would sag,
ruffle, catch, and molt?

by Larissa Szporluk

A bell is gonged,
the body of a girl
curled up inside it,

a town grown wild,
dogs sniffing skyward—
gong, gong.

They listen all night
for the girl to fall,
her stomach to growl,

or is it a foot
in a mindless gallop,
snorts of delight

as the gods take up
the virgin-offer,
or is it a weird

and beautiful gargle,
the lovemaking sound
of a deep-sea diver?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Elliot Bay Readings;jsessionid=FA6627D86A6E5C968A8411E11A583BA6

So much poetry! The Writers in the Schools reading will undoubtedly be killer.

January 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Catherine Wing reads here this evening from her new poetry collection, Enter Invisible (Sarabande), the second title in the Woodford Reserve Series in Kentucky Literature. Now based in Seattle, she grew up in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and, along the way, has also had work appear in The Chicago Review, Field, and Poetry. "Every publisher announces a debut collection by claiming that the poet's voice is fresh, groundbreaking, surprising. Wing's actually is all of that...she creates dazzling, surreal vignettes populated by strange characters who seem both recognizable and dreamlike...Wing is an impressive talent, well worth watching." - Booklist.
Thursday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m.

This evening brings two fine Seattle poets together to read from new chapbooks that have been published by Seattle’s LitRag Press. Christine Deavel, also known for her vital part in poetry matters here as co-proprietor, with John W. Marshall, of the wonderful Open Books: A Poetry Emporium, is here with Box of Little Spruce. Some of the poems have appeared, along the way, in Fence, Iowa Review, and LitRag. Kary Barrett Wayson, a 2004 The Nation/Discovery Award-winner, reads from Dog & Me. Some of this work has appeared in Field, Mass Ave., Seattle Review, Poetry Northwest, LitRag, and a few of the Pontoon anthologies. Also expected to be on hand tonight are some past and present issues of LitRag, the literary journal (see

Sunday, January 15 at 2 p.m.

Co-presented with VOICES IN WARTIME. The poetry of Brian Turner, who served in both the Bosnia-Herzegovina conflict and the Iraq War, has been compared to the wartime poetry of Komunyakaa, Sassoon, and Anderson, among others. His powerful collection, Here, Bullet (Alice James), has received positive attention in Military Review, Library Journal, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. He and his work were prominently featured in the acclaimed documentary film, Voices in Wartime. "Turner has sent a dispatch from a place arguably more incomprehensible than the moon—the war in Iraq—and deserves our thanks." - The New Yorker. "Readers take note: 21st-century poetry, as such, may well begin here." - T.R. Hummer. Joining Brian Turner here today is peace and social justice organizer Andrew Himes, editor of the anthology, Voices in Wartime: A Collection of Narratives and Poems (Whit Press) and executive producer of the film, Voices in Wartime.

WRITERS IN THE SCHOOLS Faculty Group Reading
Saturday, January 21 at 2 p.m.

Presented by SEATTLE ARTS & LECTURES. Eight local writers-in-residence from Writers in the Schools, a program of Seattle Arts & Lectures that serves over 7,000 students in nineteen regional public schools, share the stage here today to present new work. EMILY BEDARD, poet, screenwriter, and editor of Crab Creek Review; ROSALIND BELL, novelist and screenwriter; LYN COFFIN, writer and actor; SIBYL JAMES, author of six books, including the Vietnam travel memoir Ho Chi Minh's Motorbike; poet SIERRA NELSON of The Typing Explosion and currently the Vis-à-Vis Society; poet REBECCA HOOGS, author of Grenade; and poet CODY WALKER are all expected to be here. Please join us. Read more about Writers in the Schools at

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Poetry Northwest-Seattle Event

Here's the reason why this is exciting, from C. Dale Young's blog: "I just received a Press Release. Apparently, Poetry Northwest has been resurrected. David Biespiel has been named their new Editor. It will be twice yearly, instead of quarterly. Not sure what role the University of Washington will play in the magazine in the future, but apparently the magazine is back. It was one of our oldest poetry magazines before it lost its funding at UW and died."

They're based out of Oregon now.

You're invited...January 20, 2006
Join the editors of Poetry Northwest at the Elysian
Each month we get together for a cocktail, & this month we're having our drink in...Seattle!
Please join us.

Dig out those nickels & IMBIBE at your leisure
MEET the editors
SUBSCRIBE to the magazine (if you haven't already!)
& go home HAPPY

the facts:
cocktail hour, friday, january 20, 2006, 5:30 pm till whenever
at the elysian brewing company, 1221 e. pike street

All are welcome. Spread the news.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Love Letter

Dear love, though I am a hopeless correspondent,
I found your letter habits lacking too
Till I received your card from H.-lulu.
It made me more-than-slightly-less despondent
To see how you transformed your ocean swim
Among dumb bubble-blowers into meters
And daffy rhymes about exotic tweeters
Beyond your balcony at 2 a.m.

I went to bed when you went to Hawaii,
And shut my eyes so tightly I saw stars,
And clenched my sheets like wadded-up memoirs
And made some noise like wah-wah-wah, i.e.,
I find your absence grimly problematic.
The days stack up like empty cardboard boxes
In ever-higher towers of cardboard
Swaying in senseless-lost-time's spooky attic.
I'll give the -atic rhyme another try.
To misconstrue the point-of-view Socratic,
Life is a painful stammered-out emphatic
Pronunciation of the word Goodbye.

Or, as it came out on the telephone,
Sooner-the-better is the way I see it:
Just say, "I guess not"; I'll reply, "So be it."
Beloved, if you throw this dog a bone,
TO readopt the stray-dog metaphor,
I'll keep my vigil till the cows come home.
You'll hear me howling over there in Rome.
I have no explanations, furthermore--
But let me say I've had it up to here
With scrutinizing the inscrutable;
The whys and how-comes of immutable
Unhesitating passion are unclear--

I don't love you because you're good at rhymes,
And not because I think you're not-so-dumb,
I don't love you because you make me come
And come and come innumerable times,
And not for your romantic overcoats,
And not because our friends all say I should,
And not because we wouldn't or we would
Be or not be at one another's throats,
And not because your accent thrills my ear--
Last night you said not "sever" but "severe,"
But then "severe" describes the act "to sever"--
I love you for no reason whatsoever.

And that's the worst, as William S. the Bard
Wrote out in black-and-white while cold-and-hot:
Reasons can be removed, but love cannot.
The comic view insists: Don't take it hard,
But every day I'm pacing up and down
The hallway till I drive my neighbors mad,
And evenings come with what-cannot-be-had
As lights blink on around this boring town,
Whence I unplug the phone and draw the shade
And drink myself half-blind and fantasize
That we're between the sheets, your brilliant eyes
Open me and, bang, we have it make--
When in reality I sit alone
And, staring at my hands, I think "I think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink"
While hating everything I've always known
About how you and I are sunk as well.

Under the aspect of eternity
The world has already ended anyway.
And, without you, my life can go to hell
On roller skates, as far as I'm concerned.
Two things are clear: these quatrains should be burned,
And love is awful, but it leads us to
Our places in the human comedy,
Frescoes of which abound in Italy.
And though I won't be sitting next to you,
I'll take my seat with minimal complaints.
May you sit in the company of saints
And intellectuals and fabulous beauties,
And not forget this constant love of Trude's.

...totally fun, occasionally over-the-top. Enjoy!