Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I just had the best review I'll probably ever get. No matter what. Because it's the first time anyone has ever said such things about my poetry. The Pedestal just posted a review of Femme au chapeau by Terri Brown-Davidson that makes me want to quit sending out envelopes, stop plugging my book and stay home and write. And work hard. Because she completely connected with what I was hoping I was doing.

It's an experience that will stay with me. It's funny, because my first book had a scathing review -- or I thought it was -- from a poet who's now a good friend. This friend thinks I made great progress between books. It's the sort of critique you believe, coming from someone you used to consider an enemy. (I won't mention the days of pin-sticking-in-doll thing, or the dark curses flung in despair -- kind of like what we watched on Rome.)

When strangers read exactly what you wrote in a poem, how does it make you feel?

Wonderstruck here. Like this magic machine made of words really works, revolves and throws out sparks and beams. Creates a laser line that connects us right through.

Oh yeah. The link to the review.

Should Be Working

... is the sign that could be inscribed over my head today, but instead here I am, blogged down.

I should be working on fundraising, poetry, housecleaning, cooking, dog-walking and various other things. My excuse is, I'm sick. Just the right amount -- not too sick to eat, nor too sick to enjoy being lazy -- and not so well as to feel the shoulds pressing hard on my shoulders.

Oh, that's a nice set of words for a poem: "shoulds pressing hard on my shoulders." The d sounds, the s sounds, the rd and dr sounds. Hmm ...

Readings last weekend at Valencia and Ina Coolbrith Circle were wonderful. Attentive audiences, great fellow poets sharing the podium. I enjoyed Ilya Kaminsky's reading even more this year than last year. His work makes me nostalgic for Russia, and I've never even been there. The people in his poems are archetypal, could be my family. David Alpaugh was, as always, hilarious and witty. Daniel Y. Harris's work was unusual and thought-provoking, though a bit over my head, as I'm not familiar with his terminology.

And of course, the reading organizer, John Amen, was wonderful. His work blends surrealism with heart, quite a stirring combination. John is celebrating the release of his new book, More of Me Disappears. Interesting title. I felt that in his reading Saturday, more of him appeared than in the reading last year. Great new work. I forgot to pick up a copy, but am going to order it. John and The Pedestal are a phenomenon. You should read and submit. The Pedestal is going to be very big. And I'm not just saying that because they gave my book a fabulous review. ... Okay, but I am linking you directly to the review. I mean, anytime you get called A Poet to Watch, you should make sure everyone in earshot hears it, right?

The weekend confirmed the fact that I really like poets. They're so inward and sensitive. You would never see a poet crusading for the gun lobby, would you? And why is it so hard to find conservative-sounding poets? Has the new GOP banned poetry, along with everything else cultural?

If I'm offending anyone, I apologize. I'm not saying poetry makes you liberal, just sort of seems as though conservative poets aren't being heard from much. Like the new formalists.