Monday, July 28, 2008

Ten Things I Learned at Tin House

1. Writers get even less sun than math nerds.

2. A reader can find meaning in any poem.

3. A poem can mean something different to each reader.

4. Reed College has its own nuclear reactor.

5. The f-bomb is de rigeur at public readings.

6. Poets are the Rodney Dangerfields of the writing world: we get no respect, no respect at all.

7. Mosquitos are fond of outdoor readings next to stagnant ponds at night.

8. Jugglers have more fun.

9. There's no substitute for a good story.

10. Writers don't drink nearly as much as archaeologists.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Poetry International

My poem "Walking with the Ghost of John Muir" can be found in Poetry International 12!

I never received my contributor's copy (possibly because I have the most clueless mailman on the planet) but I managed to find one here in Idaho. It looks great!

This annual is always stuffed with interesting poetry, particularly the translation section. If you get a chance, grab yourself a copy.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

After Tin House

It's been a long but incredibly valuable week. Now I want to just sit back and let it all sink in.

In the middle of all the Tin House hubbub, I managed to finish round 18 of 30 poems in 30 days. The latest titles:
1. Cage
2. Wanderlust
3. Landlocked
4. Open Letter to a Secret Admirer
5. The Death of the Blues
6. Death Smiles that Way
7. Ode to a Warbird
8. The Last Bee Buzzes
9. Learning about Mt. St. Helens and Other Things
10. At the Urgent Care Clinic
11. You Could Never
12. Domo Arigato
13. Cafeteria Tale
14. Postcard from a Distant Lighthouse
15. Saturday Night at the Bijou
16. Embers
17. Where the Heart Is
18. The Audacious Turnlow Brown
19. the nautilus swims (haiku co-written with Kate)
20. Lady Liberty
21. The Way Mark Twain Puts It
22. A Pioneer Mother Holds On
23. Dr. Pangloss Takes the Latest Online Quiz
24. Invitation
25. This Visual Echo
26. A Little Wickedness
27. Creation Myth
28. Skeletons of Centuries
29. On the Barlow Road
30. When Things Go On Too Long

I've also had recent acceptances from Literary Mama, Review Americana (already online), and the anthology "In the Telling."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More from Tin House

Yesterday was the halfway point of Tin House; only three more days to go.

Wow, what an amazing experience this has been! I'm learning so much in the workshop that my brain is starting to feel like it's on overload, like one of those machines in a movie that is made to rev higher and faster until it explodes. It's a constant whirr of thought and excitement.

I feel like my poetry toolbox is being stuffed full of new tools. I can't wait to use them all. The flip side, of course, is that there's very little time to try out all these new ideas and techniques for writing and revision. We workshop until lunch, there are seminars in the afternoon, dinner and socializing, and then readings at night, so that by the time I drive home and stumble inside, it's already 10:00 or later. And then there's still the next day to prepare for.

I don't always stay all day, though. I sometimes skip the seminars, go home for a while, then come back for the readings. Sometimes attend the seminars then go home and skip the readings. I'm lucky that I have that option, I think. Just being around so many writers, all talking about their craft, their passion, is intense.

The readings have been incredible. Steve Almond. Aimee Bender. Mary Jo Bang. Anthony Doerr. People whose work is fresh and engaging and irresistibly seductive. I've bought a lot of books. I'll probably buy more.

And it's been a weird week, because at the same time as all of the above, my dryer isn't putting out heat, my A/C isn't putting out cold air, and my kids are far away. The world is a disjointed place, recognizable and yet foreign. I'm looking forward to a respite next week. Vacation. The girls, and a lot of doing nothing at all.

But for the next three days I will continue to read and write, to scribble my notes and listen carefully, and look at this wondrous world, familiar but new.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dr. Horrible is here!

Tin House Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of Tin House and it was blazingly hot. We registered (which meant forking over the rest of the payment), had a brief meeting with our workshop groups, and then there was a reception and the first authors' reading.

Reed has a lovely little campus with gorgeous lawns, wonderful old brick buildings, and enormous trees. But boy, I wish they had some A/C in their classrooms! I practically passed out from the heat while we were introducing ourselves and meeting the instructor. My group spent most of the reception together so we had a chance to talk and get to know each other a little bit. It's great having a whole group that shares the same passion and perspective.

The readings were the highlight of the day. Peter Rock, Eileen Myles, and Dorothy Alison. WOW. They were all amazing, but I have to say, Dorothy blew me away. She was riveting, funny, poignant, and powerful.

I left right after the readings, worn out from too much heat and sun. It wasn't much better when I got home, as our A/C is on the fritz and not working right at all. Here's hoping that today is a little cooler!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tin House

One week until Tin House begins! Is anyone else going? I'm attending the poetry workshop with Mary Jo Bang. This will be my first writing workshop and I'm really looking forward to it, though also feeling a little nervous about meeting so many new people.

Emma and Kate are going to stay with my parents in Idaho for the week and they are so excited they can hardly stand it. It'll be their first time away from home without us. I don't know if I can take a whole week without my girls!

In other exciting literary news, it looks like I'll be participating in at least one (maybe more) book signing for Ruins Terra, which includes my story "Rising Tide," this summer. I'll post dates and locations when I have them...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Two Poems

I have two poems in the new issue of Review Americana, just in time for Independence Day. Enjoy!