Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Providing for your future self

I'm very jealous of anyone who gets to go to the Chapbook Fest in NY today. I've always wanted to be there & have yet to get the chance. But I'm thrilled that one last lone copy of (the shore in parts) will be at the Greying Ghost table (& taken home by some lucky person) & that everyone will be able to check out first hand the magic that is DoubleCross Press, along with some other great chapbook presses.

Everyone who doesn't get to go should still treat themselves to a subscription of DoubleCross' poetry microchaps, among which they will find mine. You buy it now, forget that you signed up for it, then get surprised in the best way when gorgeous letterpressed chapbooks show up in your mailbox month after month!

Trust me: your future you will thank you.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Art is not for anything.

"Art is the ultimate goal. It saves our souls & lets us live happily."

I'm glad I stumbled on this TED talk tonight, because really needed it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

First impressions

I can't believe I haven't yet posted a picture of the very gorgeous cover designed & illustrated by the very talented Emma Trithart! We worked together to make this delightful & just right piece of art that I am proud to have as everyone's first impression of the book!
{The actual cover will have a gold foil symbol & title. Magical!}
If you click on it, it'll take you right to the Black Ocean website, where it is actually available for preorder right at this very minute.

Friday, March 20, 2015

I believe

Spring has come. It has felt like spring here for over a month (seriously, so many things are already done blooming: the cherries, the magnolias, the forsythia, the daffodils--we are now deep into tulips & iris & apple blossoms) but today is the equinox (& supermoon! & lunar eclispe!), the day where finally, again, day & night are equal. Where there will be more & more day every day for months.

I went on a neighborhood walk to enjoy the mild weather & find fallen flowers for my Ostara altar, & a few camellia bushes provided all the flowers I could use (& more).

I wanted my ritual to be as simple & uplifting as the tray of flowers, so I carved the rune for light into the candle & sat on a sheepskin in front of the altar & thought about what I was looking forward to in the coming days.
I wrote down the things I hoped would come true in the next few months, but I phrased them as I believe statements, so they would feel more definite. They're not just things I wish would come true, they're things I believe will come to pass.

One of the things I believed would happen was that I would make more time for my thoughts. It is surprising how overrun I can feel in my own head. I suspect that this will influence a lot of the other things on my list & I hope it also means I'll be writing here more!

I can't wait to pull the list out again at the solstice & see what has changed. I also believe that everyone can take a minute to think of one thing they believe is true &, in that way, make it so.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whatever you've got, give it away

If you've been working on some poems in these dark months & you find them clinging together & perhaps even bolstering each other in their cluster, then I say no one is as lucky as you, because you have a work. Or you are on your way to a work.

You should polish it up & send it away.

Small work? Send it to these presses looking for chapbooks:

Boaat (Feb 28)
Tammy (Feb 28)
Tupelo Press (Feb 28)
No, Dear (1st chap, NYC only) (Mar 2)
Cutbank (Mar 31)
Omnidawn (Mar 31)
Finishing Line Press (Apr 1)
Diagram (Apr 27)

Big work? Send it to these presses looking for a full-length:

Ahsahta (Mar 1)
H_NGM_N (Mar 10)
CSU 1st book (Mar 31)
CSU open book (Mar 31)
Four Way Books (Mar 31)
Essay Press (Apr 1)
Noemi Press (Apr 30)

Not quite enough for one of these things? There are plenty of journals looking for your merry band of 3-5 poems. Just hunt around! (A good place to start is Entropy's Journals & Anthologies Section!)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love everyone around you

It's Valentine's Day, which I've always thought of like Thanksgiving, but for love. Love is grand! It should get a day devoted to it where we all eat heart shaped things & remember what joy it brings to our lives. Even if you don't have someone to love romantically, you are always surrounded by people you love, who want to know you love them, who you can probably love better. Do that today!

Someone asked me recently what my favorite love song was & although I'm still far from answering that, I immediately thought "It's probably a Sam Cooke song" because in my heart the sound of love is a Motown sound. Or those sweet late '50s early '60s "golden oldies" that probably read as sappy or ironic or overwrought now but seem so genuine to me. So I made a little playlist of the best love songs I can think of, the ones that mirror in lyrics & sound the way I think about love. Of course it gets dark & sparse at the end but there's nothing wrong with that kind of love either. 

Love never runs out. Keep giving it away.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Last of the month

All this month I've been featured as the Poet of the Month over at Poetrynet & I haven't even mentioned it yet, which should tell you something about how my month has been.

It's a shame too, because some poems I like very much are up -- a previously unpublished poem from a time I was obsessed with Egyptian myth (but really, when am I not), a long poem from my beloved (& now possibly extinct) & if I die, make me how you are, a poem that I love to read out loud that signaled the beginning of a new series filled with women warriors & a gorgeous tumbling poem that probably very few people have seen, because it was published as a limited edition broadside for Parallax's first issue.
If you have a second you should head over & say goodbye to this month of mine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

Are you really where you are

I don't know how people find time in the end-of-the-year holiday (c)rush of hosting & making & giving & traveling & drinking & parties & socializing to do a year recap -- I certainly couldn't manage. But I also think it's ok not to spend time pouring over the past year, whether it was good or bad, as long as you learned from it as you went along & are starting this year from a place of accuracy.

I noticed that last year I was very concerned with things closing down -- making deadlines, getting in under the wire, catching all those last chances to do something.

This year I'd rather concentrate on things opening up, on the joy of available opportunities rather than the stress of looming deadlines.

That said, there will probably be no more "you have 3 days to send here" posts, but I still love to share the lists of places to submit I keep compiling, so here are some places that are open now.

Gigantic Sequins
YesYes (Pamet River Prize & Vinyl 45 Chapbook Contest)

Each one is a chance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I barely live in this world

A while ago I started a TinyLetter account, because we all know mailing lists are the next old thing, but I never really knew what to do with it. Lo & behold: after posting a list of my open tabs (which were a compendium of ancient spells, songs, clay tablets, & earths inside earth), people actually wanted the links & suggested I make a newsletter of them, so I did.

You can see the first one in my archive & sign up for future ones to be delivered to yr inbox!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Money is emptiness

On Sunday morning I woke up with the ashes of money in my bangs & purse. Saturday night I was a presenter for Poetry Press Week & I am just now processing the awesomeness that happened.
I got to see great performances dreamt up by Jessalyn Wakefield & Samiya Bashir on the first night, & James Gendron & Jeff Alessandrelli the second. There were so many other poets either reading or directing or attending (over 250 ppl came, altogether) & it felt like a big weird family gathering!

For my own event, Donald Dunbar presided over an altar, read poems of mine from a Bible & lit black candles with burning dollars, while his acolytes, Jamalieh Haley & Rebecca Nguyen, dripped wax down the back of his cassock.
Readers I had scattered throughout the audience read lines from a hymnal of the poems I made at the IPRC (with help from Liz Yeary & Jeff Alessandrelli, featuring a cover illustration by Kate Bingaman-Burt), which completed the dark poetic liturgy.
It was amazing to be allowed to create the ideal setting/reading of my work, & even more amazing to not have to be directly represented at all. Poets are very rarely their own audience, having to be their own performer so much of the time, but for one night I was able to just sit & watch, which is a precious gift.  

My favorite photo of the evening came from Poetry Press Week themselves, but a lot of great photos of the event can be found on Instagram & Twitter by searching #poetrypressweek!
Liz Mehl & Justin Rigamonti have created a really unique & impressive show? reading series? event? all those things rolled up into one? & I was so pleased to be included in this one & I can't wait to see more of them moving forward!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Did this month go

with happiness? With travel? With celebration? Did it go with loss? With darkness? With the oncoming cold?

However it went, the month is gone. These are the last few things you can do, so do them well.

Iowa Review (journal - Nov 30)
Vinyl (journal - Nov 30)
Barrelhouse (full-length - Nov 30)
Tarpaulin Sky (full-length - Nov 30)
Fence Ottoline Prize (full-length for women who previously published a book - Nov 30)

Tammy (journal - Dec 1)
Apostrophe Books (full-length - Dec 1)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black on black

I am always so proud of my press, but today I am extra proud of Black Ocean, because they will be donating all the proceeds from their Black Friday sales to the NAACP.

Whatever you decide to spend on today, remember that money has a loud voice -- use it wisely.

Monday, November 10, 2014

the past is the only way into the future

The beginning section of a long poem of mine called The First Day went up on The Fanzine over the weekend thanks to Donald Dunbar, who is curating a Pacific NW poetry tour over there for the fall. The poem was inspired by the rhythms of time in video games: the ability to go back, or to move forward, to feel as though no time as passed at all, to have it keep moving anyway, to have events be different or similar as you go forward, to see the effects of time lessen or intensify as you play.

While yr there, check out work from fellow UofA alums Rachel Springer & Paul Longo, as well as poets Ross Robbins & K. Silem Mohammad & more! I have my fingers crossed that we'll see work in the future from Ethan Saul Bull & Rauan Klassnik & Emily Kendal Frey, but who knows what Don has up his sleeve. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Debt looks the same

Every day this week I am going to be putting aside time to write myself into a new economy for the If Not For Kidnap reading this Fri with Rob Schlegel, who I am really excited to hear read. I want to have a set of all new poems to share about what I've been thinking about lately: namely, the battle that is money.
I'll probably be sharing teaser lines on twitter as I write, because I just can't help myself -- I love to share what I'm excited about, especially while I'm in the process of figuring it out!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

keep watching the clouds appear

I love the gif cover of the new Sixth Finch. I watched it over & over before finally diving in & reading the work inside. I'm so glad to have a tiny, cruel poem I'm excited about appear behind those revealing clouds.

I'm spending my entire day writing with DD & PL, hoping to accomplish more than is probably feasible in a single day & to live for as long as I can inside poetry, setting down the work that is constantly revealing itself to me.

Being able to share this poem reminds me how worthwhile this work can be, & I hope something in the issue spurs you to get down to work too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Poetry never takes a holiday

October is coming to a close & maybe you are struggling to find the last pieces of yr costume, or buying up all the orange lights, fog machines & white balloons you can manage for a party this Fri, or maybe after pumpkin carving parties & scary movies & too many candy corns you are totally over all of it & just want to hand candy to kids that are still super excited about the whole ordeal, but whatever else yr doing, you shouldn't miss these Halloween deadlines:

Copper Canyon Press (full-length - Oct 31)
LRL Textile Series (chapbook - Oct 31)
Black River Competition (chapbook - Oct 31)
Sunken Garden Prize (chapbook - Oct 31)
Boaat (journal - Oct 31)

Barn Owl Review (journal - Nov 1)
Bat City Review (journal - Nov 1)
Columbia Poetry Review (journal - Nov 1)
Cordite Poetry Review (journal - Nov 1) 

Also, AWP early registration ends tomorrow. Don't kid yrself, you know yr going to end up going. Where else are you going to see that many of yr scattered friends at one time? Dig out that student ID if you have it & register now. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

money month

Since I've been thinking about money so much this month, I decided to see where my own money went. It's a weirdly equal pie of nesting supplies, clothes, seasonal fripperies, meals & books. 
October buys

{Jen Delos Reyes' indiegogo campaign to raise money for her book, I'm going to live the life I sing about in my song; two Ikea throw pillows; two nail polishes from OPI's Nordic line; Mathias Svalina's Wastoid (Big Lucks); spiderweb eyelashes; a set of little skull candles; a Cire Trudon Odalisque candle; Kelly Schirmann & Tyler Brewington's Boyfriend Mountain (Poor Claudia) (preorder before Halloween & Kelly will send you a postcard); Pumpkin Spice tea from Harney & Sons; a wool shawl collar cardigan (mine was about 1/10th of the price of the one pictured); a pair of tasseled loafers; a pair of low booties (these are still in the maybe pile -- white suede shoes plus OR fall/winter/spring equals one harsh combo) & a wig which might have nothing whatsoever to do with Halloween costumes.

Not shown: a bunch of books from Dan Coffey's sale; purple & orange string lights; all the pumpkin things at Trader Joe's; a few cocktails & nearly every meal I ate outside of my work.}

Friday, October 24, 2014


My other chapbooks are available somewhere fun, or on sale, but I don’t want to overlook Worth is the Wrong Word.
It was the first chapbook I was able to make an object in this world with just my own voice. It was also the first time I put poems together around the theme of the economics of existing.

There is never enough money. No matter how much money you have, there is never enough. So let’s agree. You don’t have much money. You certainly don’t have enough money.

& all the time you have to think about where that money goes. What it goes to, who it supports, how it supports you.

The best thing about all the Black Cake chapbooks is that if you need them to be free, they are. If you’re not sure that they’re worth anything, or what they’re worth, it’s free to find out. But if you do think they’re worth something, you get to decide what they’re worth. A paperback from a thrift store? A dozen eggs? A drink during happy hour? Cocktails somewhere swanky?

In the end, the amount doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the fact that you are saying it has worth. Even if that is the wrong word.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I'm so excited to see my latest chapbook, "Chief!" featured in Powell's!
It's entirely letterpressed, which is such a feat of love, & it makes me so happy that people get to look at it in all its hand-set glory & feel its gorgeous pages & sneak a peek at some of the poems & then take it home with them!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall is here, but not

October is the for-real start of Fall, though I've been lucky enough for the weather part of that fact to be delayed. I may not get all the cheap corn I can possibly eat, but I am having my way about summer never ending & enjoying laying out on plastic loungers reading magazines & drinking cold brew & eating Roast Peach ice cream & writing on the patio until long after dark.

October is also a good time for stocking up on reading materials for the impending fall/winter. You'll probably stay in more. You'll probably write more. You'll need more than just tv to sustain you. A few places can help you out with that.

Powell's is doing a buy two get one free on select books, with free shipping if you hit $50 & under $4 shipping if you don't. Heck, I would probably just buy two copies of Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm for Xmas presents & keep the free third copy for myself.

Blood Pudding Press is offering 25% off listings that start with the word Halloween, including chapbooks, till Oct 28. Just use the code HALLOWEEN25 in the etsy shop. If you want to see where the whole At night project started, you can get At night, the dead, which was my very first chapbook -- in fact, it was the very first time I ever sent out a chapbook. I was clearly hooked after that. It was also when I reached out to Emma Trithart for the cover illustration & started what turned out to be a long & wonderful string of collaborations with her!

Hyacinth Girl Press is offering a free chapbook with any order (don't worry, you won't get a duplicate of a chapbook you've ordered before through her, because spreadsheets) through the end of Oct. I'm not saying you should get Sometimes there are travails, but if you don't have it, I will say it's a gorgeous little half-sized book with an incredible collaborative cover by RS DeLucco.

Good luck preparing for that impending Fall.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Return to the Autumn Cabin

Today I’m heading out past the grasslands & cattle fields into the Ochoco National Forest to spend a few days holed up in a cabin writing & reading my little heart out (& drinking cold brew made with whiskey instead of water, a concoction it was suggested I name the “hello, goodbye”). Packs of wild horses will run in the hills beneath abandoned fire lookouts (for real) & there will be no phone service or internet or even electrical outlets (also real). By the time I return a new month will have rolled around & with it the end of your chances to submit to these places:

Paperbag (journal - Sept 30)
The Feminist Wire (poetry contest - Oct 1)
Sixth Finch (journal - Oct 15)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Some kind of collection

I just got back from NY late last night & this morning a podcast of the reading I went there to do was released! It can't be a coincidence. Dalton McGee, who runs the Outward/In podcast, recorded the readings for Christie Ann's Texts from My Mom chapbook party. The podcast is a wonderful live recording of the whole evening, so you get to hear all the chatter & laughter, just like at a regular reading. (My portion starts around 22:43, in case you want to cheat.) I read from the newly released (& outrageously beautiful) "Chief!", along with some newer poems.

Also appearing today was the new issue of Boaat, in which there are are two dark little poems of mine. I'm glad to be featured alongside my wonderful brother (Big Lucks founder & host of the above-mentioned reading) Mark Cugini, as well as with work by Nate Pritts, Rob MacDonald, Shane McCrae, Tasha Cotter, Stacy Tran, Corey Zeller & more & more.

This week I was also lucky enough to have a few poems featured over at the Feminist Wire, thanks to TC Tolbert. They're from the chapbook & if I die, make me how you are, which is still one of my very favorites from which to read.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"write on the side"

This Friday I head off to NY in order to read on Saturday night at the Big Lucks launch party for Christie Ann Reynolds' newest chapbook, texts from my mom
 photo tfmm-gif-01.gif
"Ur so sensitive
When I talk about grandkids
I know you are smart
And beautiful but I am deep
In menopause and you are almost

This book is both sad & funny & I read the poems out loud to lots of people & you can too, if you get it. You can pick it up at Powell's if you're in Portland or at the reading if you're in Brooklyn or off the internet if you're anywhere else. There are only 100 of them, so you might want to hurry.

I'll be reading alongside Christie Ann, JoAnna Novak, & Sasha Fletcher & I'll finally get to meet Mark Cugini right to his face, & see Mellow Pages for myself & I couldn't be happier about the whole thing.

See you soon NY!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014


I am still in the middle
of an investigation.
She's a man of her word.

Excepting the back-up.
Excepting this microphone.
I am pleased as punch to announce the release of my seventh chapbook: "Chief!" It is, like the growing majority of my chapbooks, a tiny but complete project that can't be found anywhere else. I tend to work best on small projects, on little self-contained chapbooks, because large projects overwhelm me & seem too hard to organize.

These poems were written about a year ago, while being hermet-y in the worsening fall rains. I watched anime police dramas set in a future full of talking cats & psychic dolls, & wrote an imagined alternate history for a female chief of police. Because of the compactness of the completed chapbook, there weren't many places I could send it, so I put it aside. I read from "Chief!" just once, at Rachel Springer Dunbar's Hive Mind launch, because I knew they would fit right in with her work, & the response was really encouraging. So when I saw that InkPress was having a micro-chap contest, I gleefully sent the chapbook in.

I'm so happy that Joseph Young picked "Chief!" as the winning chapbook & I've been really impressed with the care & attention Amanda McCormick has lavished on the poems. I can't wait to get my own copy. The book looks beautiful--entirely hand set & letterpress printed, inside & out. Amanda even wrote about her process for the chapbook.

Today you have the chance to pre-order the chapbook at a reduced price (it'll be $20 starting Monday). There are only about a hundred of them, & limited editions tend to sell out, so if you want to get to know Chief, you should probably invite her over today.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


You probably already know Paige Taggart from her many chapbooks or her new book, Want for Lion, but you might not know that she makes jewelry. You can find her slangin' them at every AWP & I'm pretty sure it's a poet's rite of passage to get one.
So far I have two Mactaggart necklaces & I get compliments every time I wear them. 
It's hard to pick between the Blue Spears, Tiered Coral, Orange Sequins, Pale Teardrops, or Pink & Black necklace. They're all my favorites. Maybe you should get one for yourself. Or someone else. Or me?
Bonus: if you order a necklace before the 4th, you get free shipping, plus a surprise bangle or earrings added to the mix. 
Further bonus: it's her bday week!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Work vs woe

August coming to a close always brings me a bit of terror. It means that summer is ending, which is something I don't relish. Something I don't even want to face.

Nothing takes your mind off present woes like work, so now's the time to get writing, editing, & sending out, before these places close up.

BLOOF books (chapbook)
Imaginary Friends Press (chapbook)

SpringGun Press (full length)
Lost Roads Press (full length)(only women writers, must live away from an urban center)
Black Lawrence Press (full length contest)

Ilk (journal, women writers)
Black Warrior Review (journal contest)
Radar (contest, women writers)

Good luck out there!

Friday, August 22, 2014

In art, everything social is a trap.

"Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.
{Paul Graham}

I say not just prestige, but money, but likes, but faves, but relevancy, but the opinions of your friends or family or peers, but scene points. Almost everything is at every time trying to get in the way of what only you can do.

Don't let it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gentle reminder

Keeping this quote in mind is a great way to thwart yourself from wasting time, from letting a few hours or day slip away from you. 

It can also be a way to transform guilt over the bouts of daydreaming & lazing (that I'm certainly prone to) into gratitude at a life lived with plenty of room for imagination & creativity.
 {Illustration by Wendy MacNaughton}