Monday, February 8, 2016


Emma & I can't get enough of our little buddy Medjed! We made a little animation to celebrate his awesomeness!
I mean, right?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tiny month, tiny list

Just a few places you might want to send work to during this longest of shortest months.
Ahsahta Press {Mar 1}

Tupelo Press {Feb 29}

FENCE {Feb 4}
Jenny {Feb 7}
The Collapsar {Feb 15}
Phantom {Feb 23} {poets without a full-length}
Gulf Coast {Mar 1}
Black Warrior Review {Mar 1}
TYPO – Poetry and Disability Issue {Mar 1}

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Everything you do counts

In the end I'm so glad I sent to the Cartridge Lit chapbook contest, even though it meant being mocked by the friends who were at my house waiting on the holiday dinner (of course, as soon as I explained my abysmal send-out rate for the year, they totally understood). I didn't win -- that honor went to Jane Childs -- but I was a runner up, along with pal & fellow UofA MFAer Jamison Crabtree, & Cartridge Lit is going to publish both of our chapbooks.

I can't think of a better home for Everything makes a noise when it reveals itself, a chapbook of little prose poems I wrote about Silent Hill, than Cartridge Lit. The site is dedicated to writing about video games & all the chapbooks they have done so far have been really textured & interactive.

Although it won't be out before the end of the year, I'm still excited to see what they'll do with it. I'm hoping for something a little meandering, like an obscured cyoa that pushes readers towards one path to the end, rather than being able to see the entire thing in one go.

However it comes out, it's nice to feel a single action's effects rippling out into the new year.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Take it back

I had every hope of submitting like my old self this month. On the 15th I said no to friends (unheard of) in order to submit to Rattle & Sixth Finch, opened my comp to find it frozen, tried to restart only to have it turn itself off, & then my HD basically imploded.

After a full weekend attempting to copy/rebuild/repartition/remount the hd, the computer worked but everything was gone. I'm sh*t at backing things up, so the last time I saved anything was in August...of 2014. It turned out I had saved the last 12 documents I was working on in Drive, but that's not much.

I missed 2 of my deadlines right off the bat -- of course it's partially my fault for waiting till the last day, but I could not have expected that kind of setback. My files are now all over the place in no particular arrangement & I lost the file that tracks all my submissions & previously published poems.

When I finally sat down to submit to Diode I found out I'd gotten the date wrong -- submissions were due the (fateful) 15th, so I couldn't even do that. I hunted around for another place to send a chapbook & then realized maybe I shouldn't be looking for a place to send something just to fulfill a promise to myself. Maybe I shld really be looking for where I belong.

So I am officially letting myself off the hook for whatever I said I'd do this month & trying again next month with a new goal: find a place I really love & submit there.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


One day about a year ago, I stumbled onto an article about an obscure Egyptian god who was having a bit of a revival after his image was shown at a museum in Japan. When you see the original artwork, it looks a bit like a time-traveler is trolling you -- he's just a sheet with eyes & legs. He's like the original prototype for a ghost. 

I obviously squealed & immediately searched for an adorable little figurine or something else that I could get. I couldn't believe there wasn't really anything available. Obviously I needed to change that.
& voila!
Medjed! His adorableness kind of belies his brutality -- he was an invisible god who meted out punishment by smiting people with his eyes. & apparently he was thought of a bit like a bodily incarnation of social ethics!
The Medjed pin is the second in the line for It Will Be Known to Us, my little collab project w Emma Trithart. We're so dang proud of this guy & happy to have him our our lapel!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

We can always do better

In taking stock of my year, I realized that I'm great at sharing places that are open for submissions, but not very good at actually submitting to them. It turns out I only submitted one poem (in Jan) & responded to 3 solicitations in all of 2015.

That is a really significant decline from past years & I don't feel very good about it. I tried to start to remedy that as best I could by sending out a chapbook submission on New Years Eve (with guests in the house, while I waited for dinner to finish cooking), but I'm committed to doing better this year from the very start.

Do I really need a resolution to get me to do more of the thing I love? Apparently.

So here we go: this month I will send out one chapbook submission & three poetry submissions! Want to play along? Here's some options for you.

Yes Yes Books {Pamet River Prize, 1st or 2nd book, women & gender-queer authors, Feb 1}

Big Lucks {Best Prize, POC, Jan 15}

Rattle {Jan 15}​
Diode Editions Chapbook Contest {Jan 15}

Yes Yes Books {Feb 1}

w/ deadlines:
Duende {Jan 8}
Sixth Finch {Jan 15} 

FENCE {Feb 4}
Gulf Coast {Mar 1}

smoking glue gun
The Volta  

Witch Craft Magazine

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Unexpected glories

I can honestly say I never expected to be listed as one of Powell's Staff's top 5 favorite books of 2015, & yet, there I am. At Night is listed as one of Kevin Sampsell's top 5 recommended books from this year!

Looking over the list reminded me that I still need to read The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro & The First Bad Man by Miranda July, & I also found a book apparently I have to read, as it was on a lot of the staff's lists: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. (Also pretty interested in Preserving the Japanese Way by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's been as dark as it will ever be

Today is the first day of winter. The day will have one more second of light than yesterday. It will go on this way until the days seem endless.

This is how change happens: fractionally. & so I too want to change just a little at a time. 
Yesterday I built a very simple Yule altar, in hopes of a very simple season ahead. I carved the rune for travel into my little homemade walnut shell candle, in hopes that I could relocated my priorities, that I could see the right path for myself & take it.

I want to give myself less as a present this year. I want to clear out the excesses I've accumulated; want to say yes to less; to carve out more time for the things I want to do; to let boredom creep back into my life, since that is when I do my most creative thinking.

& little by little, one tiny decision at a time, I know I can have it.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Last week Harriet rounded up three of The Best Best Poetry of 2015 Lists of the Week, and At Night was sitting pretty on to two of them!

1) Entropy's Best of 2015: Best Poetry Books & Collections
2) LitHub’s 30 Must-Read Poetry Debuts From 2015

&, um, did I just get quoted on the Poetry Foundation's blog?


Monday, December 14, 2015

Why not

It's been a while since I did one of these, but now the time is right:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Three is a lucky number

Apparently I've got a solid theme of threes going on in my life, as my book was a top 10 SPD bestseller for a third time this year! 

This is an amazing & joyful fact & I adore everyone who bought a copy & made it possible!

Heaps of blessings on everyone who got At Night & made this possible, & also on all poetry readers in general.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

three in a row

One of my favorite things about video night was when a block of songs would come on that shared a theme -- a trilogy of hip hop, or black & white, or ethereal goth, or '80s pop, or whatever.

A week ago I watched this Rose McGowan video at the newly revamped (tho less frequent) video night at Beulah & it immediately brought to mind two other videos, so here's my own little video block (maybe actually connected under the umbrella of "eyebrows").

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I want everything I want

When Emma drew this illustration for Every day I learn to survive the day, & then the day is over, I just knew she was a representative of me. It's hard to explain, but easy to feel. I made her my avi, but I wanted more -- I wanted her to be a real object I could carry around with me. I've been pretty caught up in the rush of enamel pins that are having such a resurgence, & it hit me that this would make a perfect pin, & fulfill so many of my dreams at once. & so it was.

This brutal beauty will be hanging out on my coat all winter. Maybe you need a little strength as well. Friday the 13th she launches into the world. Find her if you want her.

As a very crazy bonus, if you are currently a Black Ocean 2015 Subscriber, not only do you get all the books for $10 & free shipping, you also get one of these ladies with your December books. If you want to be a subscriber for this years books, you can still do that. & get a pin. For free.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Who will replace you

During my time at MFA, I suffered a heartbreak which left me "not writing" for pretty much an entire semester. I put that in quotes because I don't think I've ever truly stopped writing, though I have stopped noticing the changing ways in which I write. In this case, it was in bitter little fragments jotted down on random index cards I always had lying around.

So in spite of all the times I couldn't turn in a packet, I still managed to build a manuscript culled from all the little stabs of writing, & turned in a tiny book of tiny, brutal poems. Minuscule hardly even begins to describe them, some of which were merely a title. I carry on this tradition even now, thanks to Twitter, which is designed perfectly for this kind of writing.

The brevity of these poems lend themselves to single panel animations pretty well, & Emma & I have been working together to make them into little self-contained events. We had a lot of luck making them into a larger narrative as well as letting them stand alone. But one level of atmosphere that was missing was sound.

In order to get a fuller effect, I wanted to make a gif with sound (which someone pointed out to me was "just a movie") & thanks to Emma & Ryan & I working together, we managed to make this, just in time for Halloween:


I'm super happy about how it turned out & already have big plans for the next one!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Try again

I recently saw a map of favorite Halloween candy per state & candy corn came in at the top of OR's list. I totally believe this, because candy corn is actually really good.

I know that it gets a pretty bad rap, although I'm not sure why, because I love them. But before you buy that bag just to fill a glass hurricane enough to anchor a candle for a seasonal display, try this trail mix suggested by Emma!

Spoiler alert: it's candy corn plus peanuts. Everyone I've served it to has loved it -- even people who don't really like candy corn. 
If you want to see even more cute drawings of these two, check out Emma's post about it, but the quick version is you put equal amounts of peanuts & candy corn in a bowl & voila! Pumpkin carving party snacks. (Yes, you will be having this at my pumpking carving party. What.)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Old habits die hard

I can tell I've slipped back into my bad habits again, last minute-ing everything in a wild panicky flurry, but anything that gets done is a victory, so here we go:

Full length:
Tampa Review {Oct 31}
Academy of American Poets {first book, Nov 1}
Fordham University Press {don't know anything about this, but CD Wright's the judge, so..., Nov 7}
Yale Series of Younger Poets {first book, Nov 15, I dare anyone I know to win this. Please.} {Also, my favorite part about the guidelines is that yr manuscript must be 48-64 pages. Is this the new length of a book of poetry?}
Nightboat Books {Nov 15}

Black Lawrence {Oct 31}
Little Red Leaves {Oct 31}
Tupelo Press {CD Wright is the judge of this too!, Oct 31}
Finishing Line {Oct 31}
Sixth Finch {Nov 3}

I'm finding it hard to keep up with all the journals lately -- too many is a good thing, but it's still too many -- but pretty much any place you like is open right now, so pick 5 & send!

Monday, October 19, 2015

People want you to read my book

& I am one of those people.

I'm pleased as punch that At Night was tagged as recommended reading (along with a bunch of other haunting books that I have just ordered) over at Story Animal.

​In case you're not sure what the book's all about, or if you'll like it, you can check out reviews by Sonya Vatomsky in Fruita Pulp​ & Jess Schnabel for the Bloodmilk Book Club​, as well as the mini-review by Kristen Evans in her recommendation!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A what
But really, if I can't actually become a demon for Halloween I need someone to help me be a Midinette.

Monday, October 12, 2015


I love collaborations of all sorts, but lately I've been over the moon (no pun intended) about working together with Emma Trithart on animated, illustrated poems. We worked together on the day of the recent Super Blood Moon Eclipse to make this foreboding sweetie in celebration:
This wasn't our first foray into gif poems, but I've apparently been so remiss that I didn't even mention when our first collaboration came out as one of Poor Claudia's 10 Sources
It's a stark little narrative called Every day I learn to survive the day & then the day is over, which has actually spurred us into our next big undertaking, which I'm hoping to be able to tell you about soon!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Remove, reappear

There are things I've wanted to say, but I've held back, or I haven't figured out how to say them, or the climate has been so wrong it didn't seem worthwhile. & so I've stayed away.

This has always been my answer: remove. Move backwards until you can move forward. Or move at all.

The bad news is that makes a lot of silence here. The good news is it looks like I'm moving again!

I've got a lot to catch up on, but I'll start with this: At Night has made it back into the top 10 books on SPD's poetry bestsellers list!

I love thinking of my book out there on the shelves of bookstores across the country, just waiting to be found by the right person, or imagining them in the hands & homes of so many friends & strangers.

If you don't have the book already & want it, or have the book but want a copy to share with a friend, SPD is offering it for 40% off using the code SPELLBOUND during their Season of the Witch sale. You've got until Nov 1, but why wait?

Move while you can.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Airing forever

A while ago I read a handful of poems & talked about At Night with Selina Scheumann for KMSU's Weekly Reader & now the podcast of the aired interview is up on the site.

I'm pretty sure they cut a whole bunch of giggles (though you can still hear a few laughs that escaped the editing process), because I remember having a lot of fun doing this & Selina was so sweet.

It was a strange feeling to be sitting at my dining room table, staring into my kitchen, talking into the open air, hoping I was actually answering the questions that were being asked from so far away. Now it's strange to think anyone at any time can sit in on our little chat & have me read to them. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

So, what? You sold 10 copies?

My book is performing tiny miracles without me: it made it all the way up to #7 on SPD's Bestseller List!

I can't say that everyone who heard the news understood its significance, but if you're a writer & yr on a small press & yr reading this, you probably do!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The future determines the past

There is going to be an extra second added to our night tonight & it got me thinking about technology & time & I realized I'd been keeping a bunch of tabs open that fit, so I finally put together another TinyLetter.

It's full of ancient computers & clocks, the dreams of computers & their take on the meaning of life, the pitfalls of uploading our consciousness to the internet or linking our consciousness' together, & the fact that we now know the future determines the past.

Bonus link! Tonight is the bright return of the "Star of Bethlehem" after 2000 years. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A vast & timeless dark

Publisher's Weekly just did a super accurate review of my book ("Incantatory, ruthless, and seductive, the poems in Ciccarello's debut roam a vast and timeless dark" "Duplicity and concealment govern the transactions both between people and within them" "a strange and commanding poetry of atmosphere") & I was thrilled.

There is something so verifying about having your book reviewed by Publisher's Weekly. Something that makes being an author just an ordinary fact. Like, there it is out there, just a regular book living its regular life.

This is, I think, especially important when you are on a small press, because you will not get the kind of coverage a larger press might provide, & perhaps most important if you are a poet. Because the sad fact is that everyone outside of the poetry world treats you like a hobbyist.

I am lucky enough to live in a place with a large poetry community, with tons of poets as friends, to have people say "Oh, it's on Black Ocean? That's great!" because they know how great it is to have a book out with Black Ocean. But everyone I encounter outside of that world stuns me with questions like "Did you publish it yourself?" or "Can I see it?" (like, am I carrying around a copy of my book at work? No.) or "Can I have one?" (Yes! Please take yourself to the Hawthorne Powell's & bring it up to the cash register like you would for any other book.).

All the comments are prefaced with this kind of "Awww, cuuuuute!" attitude that disregards the hard work I've put in (getting an MFA! Holding onto a futureless job because it gives me time to write! Actually writing!) & the competitiveness of the publishing world I've had to overcome to make this book a reality. I know that they don't know any better, but it still disconcerting to see how trivially you're taken by the world at large.

I'm really interested to hear if this is shared by everyone in a creative field or endeavor, or if it's limited to poets, so please feel free to share yr experiences with me.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Celestial Magic

Yesterday was the solstice--the longest day of the year, the shortest night of the year & the official start of summer. I packed my day as full as I could, spending time with women who were important to me, bringing new treasures into the house & being outside as much as possible. 

I also celebrated by building a Litha altar filled with things from or that remind me of the beach, which is what I most want to experience right now (because it has already been so unseasonably hot & dry). I carved the rune for daylight into my candle & let it burn while I looked over the beliefs I had written down during the equinox & thought about what I could do next.

Some of the things I wanted to make true by believing in them did happen (friends continue to gather around me! I was not sad when people who were wrong for me left my life! I came to terms with some emotional junk surrounding money!) & some of them I clearly need to keep believing in (handling my responsibilities on time! Clearing my space! Making space for thinking!) to see the changes come to pass.

This is a time when the power of light is at its highest, as is the power of water. Which means it's a time to gather together strength from seemingly opposing places & put it to good use. These changes can be as small or as large as you'd like them to be. You can make things better for yourself. You can make things better for others. 

It is also important to keep reminding yourself to make the most of the time that's being given to you. Don't let all those extra hours of daylight go to waste! Don't let abundance make you lazy!

Right now is the time to recognize that you are being given more & do your best with it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Baby tour

I'm off to the east coast tonight to start my first mini-tour as a Black Ocean author, which means I'll be sitting in dark airplanes while everyone sleeps so that I can hang out with some of the best people I know & read from my less-than-sweet little book.

I'll be spending a whole lot of time traveling & reading with two of my favorite people -- Brian Foley & Janaka Stucky, as well as S. Whitney Holmes, who I haven't yet met but can already tell I'm going to adore, but there are also so many people who I can't wait to see, from dear old friends I wish I got to spend more time with, to new pals I'm thrilled to get to know better!

So if you are around any of these places, I'll hope to see you in Easthampton on Thursday night (7pm, private residence, get in touch for details), or Boston on Friday night (7pm, Brookline Booksmith), or New York on Sunday night (7pm, Sunview Lunchnet)!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Don't change

Portland has undergone a lot of changes (which I don't feel are for the better) in the last year, the most recent & most personally crushing of which is the end of Sunday night Eye Candy at Beulahland.

If you have visited me over a weekend, you probably already know what this is & how much I loved it. If not, I'm sorry that we never got the chance to go together, because it was the most fun. Every Sunday night for the last 4 years a vj organized a by-request video night, playing videos from every genre on a big screen. & almost every Sunday night, I was there. 

In the summer of 2011 I had a lot of personal turmoil & the scene I was most entrenched in suddenly seemed unsafe & unwelcoming. In the midst of trying to find out if I still had a place in this town (or if I should leave it) I met a couple of incredible people (Steve Leathers being the one who immediately comes to mind as having changed my life at the time the most) & started two of my longest running Sunday habits -- brunch with pals (that turned into the now-in-its-3rd-year Joy Brunch Club, a story for another day) & "video night" at Beulah.

At first it was mostly people that had moved from Arizona & had known each other previously. Then it started to shift to brunch club buddies. At its height it also included a bunch of poets. In the past months its dwindled to some of my close work friends who get together to play games before the night begins, Ian Whitmore (the other staunchest supporter & most frequent attender of the night, who I actually met there) & a few neighborhood regulars. But at every stage, I felt safe. I felt like I had a space I was happy to enter, an event I was always looking forward to.

I found new songs to love. I saw videos that seemed impossible. Videos I never wanted to watch again. Videos I wanted to carry around with me forever. I argued about artists. I flirted. I found out how much that Len video cost. I ate pie. I discussed the arc of how videos had changed over time. I met new friends. I got a million Halloween costume ideas. I remembered songs I hadn't heard in years. I dragged people into the photo booth. I drank SO MUCH WHISKEY. I danced in the narrow space between the tables. I sang Lit lyrics at the top of my voice.

I feel kind of adrift now that it's ended, losing the thing that helped me feel like I had a place in the hard times & that made Sundays one of the best days of the week, & wonder what can ever take its place. In the meantime, I leave you with this video, which a friend says has become my anthem. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Double down

Today two wonderful things coincided -- a poem from my book went up at The Academy of American Poets as their Poem-a-Day (& out in their daily mailing, which I suggest you subscribe to, if you don't already) & I visited Jeff Alessandrelli's poetry class to talk to his students about my book. 

One of these things is amazing because my poem went out into the world at large, to a huge & anonymous audience, where people are free to respond to it in whatever way they wish, or be utterly unmoved by it, or not even engage with it. Good luck out there little poem!

The other is amazing because it put me in a classroom with a small group of people that had read my book -- more than that, had critically discussed my book -- & were now facing me with questions. It reminded me of my favorite part of teaching, which is discovering & addressing students' concerns.

The world of my poems zoomed in & out for me today, making me a little dizzy, but I feel eternally grateful for all the attention these poems are getting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth is just another word for home

{Lake Kerr}
I used to be so good about sharing the photos I took with my Minolta while camping or on road trips or little overnight stays near the coast or at one cabin or another. So many places I visit are so astoundingly beautiful & so many of the photos I take are nature-filled (maybe I should get better at taking photos of the people I'm with?) that today seemed like the perfect day to choose some gorgeous landscapes from all the piles of developed film I've got sitting around & post them here.

{Cannon Beach}
{Sauvie Island}
{Lake Kerr}


{Nehalem River}
{Lazy Bend}

{Sauvie Island}
I hope this is just the spark I need to get back into the habit of sharing more of the photos I take, especially as summer approaches & heading off into the outdoors starts in earnest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What more could you want

I always forget how good the book deals are at AWP -- I'm pretty sure it's the cheapest you can find books all year & the shipping's free (because you lug them back yourself, which is the only downside).

This might be second best: SPD has a 48 hr code (APRIL2) that gets you 25% off all poetry titles & free shipping.

SPD just got my book in stock (whee!), & is chock-full of things that might have sold out at AWP (like Siken's War of the Foxes) or that you plumb forgot you wanted while you were there.

{Also, I just picked up a copy of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa from Canarium for $8 & free shipping; you might want to do the same.}