Friday, July 31, 2009


Iranians are not backing down, though much, much less news is getting out about their protests. A comprehensive article with many videos of the week's protests was published in the New York Times blog. An Iranian blogger reported that one of the videos shows “mayhem and fire on every corner of Tehran,” on Thursday night. It doesn't appear, the article states, that Iranian protests are tapering off.

Not at all. It rather seems that this is the beginning of a new Iranian revolution. And those are never the work of a week, a month, or even a year. Recall our own American Revolution. Seven years' effort was required to give birth to a new nation. For a wonderful documentary series on our Revolution, rent Liberty! from PBS.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Kelli Russell Agodon was talking about signs, as in portents and messages from the universe, namely a shooting star. It made me think about the way I sat and watched a dazzle of earthbound shooting stars while I was on the East Coast, as a hover of fireflies over a lawn became very personal somehow.

In other signs, more the standard kind, Publishers Weekly is for sale. This publishing industry giant is on the auction block, and it seems to me another omen of the transformation of print publishing into online content. My Sunday San Francisco Chronicle has taken another tack: it's shrinking. I mean literally. The paper that used to doorstop my breakfast table to the point that I wondered if it might tip the table is now a dainty, tabloid size thing. It's hardly larger than the annoying ad wrappers I get in my mailbox. Meanwhile, the Chron's online presence is swelling. They've added a new virtual daily paper you can subscribe to as a subscriber to the print version. If any newspaper is going to figure out how to survive, my guess is it will be the Chron, which is perched at the edge of Silicon Valley.

Will someone please figure out how we should read magazines and journals if we don't want to sit at a computer all day? I know, I know: Kindle. But it's still a screen. Paper has to have an afterlife, post-Internet. We like paper, it's tactile, it pages, we can read it longer without eyestrain. It can support cool fonts. Need I elaborate?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Connections - Poetry and Work

Grant writing and fundraising is the day job that sustains my writing -- you could say I write to be able to write. I've been thinking about how we connect (or don't connect) our day jobs to our writing lives. For those who teach in writing programs, the connection seems obvious, though I've heard teachers say their teaching sometimes makes it harder to write. For the rest of us, engaged in the commerce and service worlds, the idea of a connection may seem more like a chasm. But some of my favorite poetry arises from poets who are or have been fully engaged in non-literary occupations.

I think of poets like B.H. Fairchild, who worked as a machinist and writes compellingly of the world of work and workers in Art of the Lathe and Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest. I think of Paul Hostovsky, who works in the nonprofit world interpreting for deaf people. His poetry is often centered on that work, opening up marvelous windows into places many of us wouldn't otherwise encounter. (Though I do as a fundraiser, working with a school for young deaf children.) And of course I think of Walt Whitman and his drive to be among common people, any people, working people. I wonder what connection to the insurance business Wallace Stevens' unconscious made to his dazzling language.

By the way, if you work in a nonprofit organization that needs funds (there's a redundancy!), you can go to my professional fundraiser website, Rachel Dacus Resource Development. Free estimates on grant projects.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Letters to the World - reviewed

A review by Silke Heiss is available to read at Red Room of Letters to the World: Poems from the Wom-Po Listserv (Red Hen Press; 2008). Heiss says, "The book emerged out of the collaborative efforts of members of the Wom-po LISTSERV, an electronic discussion group of mainly women poets, which has been going since 1997." I'm happy to have my poem "Femme au chapeau" in this remarkable anthology.

Not a lot else on my brain today, having just returned from a week of vacation no superlatives can describe, except to say our luck on this trip was characterized by low humidity and temperatures in the mid-80s in Washington, D.C. in July -- an event everyone assured us was a fluke.

Happy summer vacation, wherever you are!