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}

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's real

Last week was incredible & overwhelming: it was my birthday, I found out I have another chapbook coming out, & Black Ocean officially announced the publication of my first book, At night.
If you follow me on instagram, you probably already knew this, but I hadn't made any kind of real announcement, because it never felt real. Hearing that the book was taken, signing the contract, adding it to my bio -- it still felt like a dream.
This is the project that I always hoped would be my first full-length collection. This is the press where I always felt that my work (& I) belonged. I got everything I wanted: how can that be real?
But it is.
The poems in this collection are an extension of the very brief, very raw poems I wrote for my MFA thesis (none of which have ever been published), wherein I cobbled together a little village that existed outside of any discernable time & made poems to fill it up.
After I finished my MFA, I kept thinking about the village, about how everything that happened there happened at night. I started to think about all the things that happen at night, every night, everywhere.
All the poems were titled “At night.” They were some of the first poems I ever sent out (in 2008!) & my first ever publication (at Glitterpony!) included an At night poem.  My first two chapbooks were from this manuscript. 
These poems became the home of both real & personal darkness. I filled them with my fears. They became little pockets of damage & hope. They became a space for contradictions & impossibilities. I let the dead rise because I want to rise after I’m dead, but I’m terrified of the dead rising because I am still alive. I don’t want to be betrayed, but I am. The poems could reflect that, or take it away. I want revenge, but I can’t have it. The poems could confirm that, or make it untrue.
I wrote these poems over the course of years, during which I started new projects, finished smaller projects, thought I’d moved on & found out I hadn’t. I finally knew the manuscript was complete when I couldn’t write any more of them. It was like I’d learned an entirely new language for the poems I’m writing now & couldn’t go back.
It’s sad to acknowledge that I won’t be making any more At night poems, but it thrills me that now I get to share them with you. & also, it’s relieving to know that I have done my very best with them & now I’m free to put all my energy towards the poems that come next.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

the new serialized

Black Balloon Publishing is doing an amazing job turning the 36 chapters of Great Expectations into 36 tweets.

Gems include:

Spinster gets off watching Pip verbally abused by a classist chick. Pip reflects on shit like class. A stranger gives him 2 pounds. #blessed

Pip continues to think Estrella wants to marry him even though literally everyone else is like, "LOL, no way."

I hope they do this to every book.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

do it while you're thinking about it

Today the Ruth Lilly nominees were announced & maybe friends of yours were among those named & maybe that got you excited to work on your own poetry & maybe you have some stuff you want to send out & here it is, the end of the month & that means places are closing up shop & that means you should get your work in while you can.

Here's some help: a little list of places that are open, plus what they are open for.
Gigantic Sequins (poetry contest + journal)
Big Lucks (journal)
Boaat (journal + chapbook)
Greying Ghost (chapbook)
Tupleo Press (full length + chapbook)
Subito Press (full length)

& for just the ladies (or lady-identifying, or otherwise marginalized)
Ilk Journal (journal)
Banango Street (journal) (guest edited by Julia Cohen + Emily Kendal Frey)
La Vague Journal (journal)

Some of these places I love, some of these places are new to me. But whatever you decide to do: good luck.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lost shots

It is usually the case that I take way more pictures I love than I feel I can post on Instagram. Here's a little collection of photos from the last month or so that didn't make it into my stream, but are favorites of mine all the same.
{iPhone 4s}

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Poet voice

Not too long ago, Rich Smith wrote an article for City Arts urging poets to stop using "poet voice," as it was annoying to audiences & usually in no way served the poems being read.

This has been a surprisingly polarizing article. I thought we could at least agree on how terrible "poet voice" was (both in the "academic" & slam poetry worlds, although each has their own distinct poet voice), if not how to go about remedying it, but apparently even that's up for debate.

At any rate, I feel flattered to have been called out as someone who was doing an enjoyable alternate to poet voice during my readings. I think readings can be a powerful way to experience poetry or get to know a poet or be taken through a poem in a totally foreign (to you) voice.

I'd like to be a better reader, to craft the perfect delivery for each of my poems, & I think this article, at its base, is asking us all to do just that. Which hopefully we can all agree on.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Whose voice is that

I firmly believe you are not supposed to hear your voice from inside of your body while you hear it from outside of your body.

Only one of those things can happen at a time, or your (my) brain will implode. But speaking into the mic at the first Black Cake Live reading I could hear my own voice coming through the speakers while I read. & the more I heard my voice from outside of myself while speaking, the more distracted & cotton-mouthed I became, until I just began swallowing my own words.

Which is sad, because these are some of my favorite words. Especially the last three poems I read, which are all new & so so much fun for me to read. Just the same, I think you should have a listen because Kelly Schirmann did an incredible thing putting together & recording this reading & releasing it as an album.
The other people who read may not have the same hang up, so you can hear things (possibly) go as planned for Zachary Schomburg, Emily Kendal Frey, Sarah Russ Woods & Robert Duncan Gray.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Attention & need

I've been reading what feels like a whole heck of a lot lately, & as I work through which pieces I love to read most often, I've been trying to memorize more of my poems. There's something so powerful, so intimidating, about saying crushing things while not looking away from the audience. I mean, intently looking at them while you say what you need to say. 

I was recently asked to record a poem from Julia Clare Tillinghast's B.I.B.L.E. in preparation for the launch of the book. I picked the part I most wanted to memorize & recite, the part that connected most to me. The part that needed me to not look away while I said it.
This is entirely beautiful to me:
If you want to hear more, you can pick it up here.

If you're reading somewhere soon, don't look down. Don't look down.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

like & like

The only thing more enjoyable than other people liking what you like is other people liking what you've made.

I only thought of the farm got a little love while it was up on the Volta this past month, & I am thankful for that.

Mark Cugini thought it was what's poppin' over at HTMLGIANT, & Danniel Schoonebeek claimed, quite rightly, that it was a poem of others.

What I really want to know, though, is where is everyone in their lives that they'd rather be on the farm?

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Thinking about this reading thrills me. 

Thinking about reading at this reading thrills me. Thinking about reading with Zachary Schomburg, Emily Kendal Frey, Sara Woods & Robert Duncan Gray thrills me. Thinking about hearing these readers read at this reading thrills me. Thinking about how you should be there, you must be there, but if you cannot be there it will all be recorded & released as its own record so you can still listen to it thrills me. Thinking about how you could be there & be so happy to be there & hear everything, every last word & whisper, & then later listen to the same thing, exactly as it was, any time you want thrills me.

I'm thrilled. You should be too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

well lie down harder

don’t make eye contact
im not im not making eye contact
well you’re giving him some sort of encouragement
no im not im like lying down
well lie down harder 
“Okay, this next one is called Elegy in Amber”
oh my god how many elegies even are there in the world
is he going to play all of them
Yes. Absolutely, in so many ways, this. & other Women Listening to Men in Western Art History.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Sundays have always been a writing day for me. When I first moved to town post MFA, Donald Dunbar & I would get together & write at the downtown Stumptown. We would talk about what we were reading, where we were sending out to, where we'd been published. It made me feel like I still had the community I'd just left in Tucson.

Over the years, I've held on to that. Lauren Eggert-Crowe & I would get together over gchat to collaborate on Sundays, since we live far apart, resulting in a lot of new work for both of us. I still meet people (usually Ethan Saul Bull & Flo Von Grote) at a cafe to write most Sundays. I feel like I've accomplished a whole lot in the last couple of years on just this one day of the weekend.

In the spirit of the day, I want to have cafe time with everyone. What are you working on? What have you been moved by lately? Where are you sending your work? Any new lit mags you've been impressed by?

Are you holding on to any projects you're proud of, or about to finish up something new? Maybe you should send it in to one of these places I love.

Currently accepting full length manuscripts:
Currently accepting chapbooks:
I want you to win everything. Get to it!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer solstice

Summer is my time. The long cloudless days, the late dusk, BBQs on warm nights, trips to the beach, the yard full of clover & the field full of lavender. Everything about it delights me: sundresses, bare feet, iced tea, sugar snap peas, blueberries, camping, swimming in the river, reading in the sun, sangria, sweet corn, cherries, sleeping with the windows open, nectarines, Radlers, gardenias, driving with the sunroof open, strawberry rhubarb pie, shamelessly drinking shandies, shelling with my mom, how warm the Gulf gets, what a fine mood everyone seems to be in.
Today is the longest day of the year (5:22 sunup to 9:03 sundown for me) & I'm making the most of it. I built a little altar to warmth & abundance & fun & color & blossoms & the seaside, & to blueberries, which are pretty much my mascot. I carved the rune for sun into my candle & thought about how now the days are getting warmer but also shorter, so I'm trying to absorb all this sunshine to carry me through the times when I feel cold, & to provide to others now & always.

Now it's time to make Cava sangria & start the BBQ. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fiesta mantra

I have been staring at this picture since it was released on Tuesday. It's so happy & bright & full & THE FLOOR IS MADE OF EYES.
It's going to be my summer's visual mantra. Every time I throw a party, I'm going to mediate on this scene & then make it so.

If you also want to visualize this party all summer long, you can find the last two of them at Tiny Showcase.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Everyone closes their eyes

Today I deliver your Sunday Service on HTMLGIANT.
The poems that are up now are the first published pieces from Don't be like that, a chapbook-length project I've been holding onto for a while.

You should think of these poems as a short sermon from a holy book none of us want to look upon.

What you’ve done so far, you’ve only done to their bodies.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Rider / Lantern / Saber

Probably when Curtis picked this image for the Ink Noise reading I was headlining, he had no idea how appropriate it would be. But lately I have been reading sagas & legends & writing poems that raise the pavilion & form the crest of my own knight.

To read alongside me, I bring you Lindsay Allison Ruoff, Ethan Bull & Graham Hunter Gregg in his first Portland reading. Don't underestimate him just because he's untested in the field. Everything we do will be devastating.

We begin the campaign tomorrow at 8 at the Jade Lounge.

Monday, June 2, 2014

my father in the field

Sometime during the night the new issue of The Volta came to be & with it, my poem about the farm & the mountain & the family & the spade & the bag & the ditch.

This is one of my most beloved poems, & easily my favorite to read out loud, because in its simple way, with its repeating activities & quiet story, it becomes something hypnotic.  

I think you are the best reader of the poem, but if you want me to read it out loud to you, you can play the bonus audio track from my Black Cake chapbook that's included. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

This life

I just want to take a moment to remind everyone that mortality is real & the only defense we have against it is to give those around us as much energy & respect & honesty & attentiveness as we can muster.

To love them more than we think we are capable of, even.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The tower

Two weeks ago, Kelly & I headed out to the coast for a little stay in Garibaldi, which is my new favorite town in Oregon. We stayed in a little Inn in an industrial cul-de-sac, right across from this marina where we saw a little jellyfish hovering in the shallow water.

 On the way into town I had noticed this massive tower standing in an empty field & I couldn't stop thinking about it. As soon as we had settled in we went back to see it. The top is either crumbling or unfinished, the gigantic door is so high off the ground it's impossible to imagine anything getting into it, & I can't begin to think of what it was used for. I think about it so often it's started seeping into my writing.

As the evening came on, I walked to the outlook facing the harbor & wrote on a bench by the water for a while, watching people come up & photograph the gorgeous park jutting into the bay in front of me. When it got too chilly to sit still any more, I walked along the train tracks bordering the beach & looked out into the Tillamook Bay. I envied everyone who has that as their everyday view.

There were multiple docks surrounding the cul-de-sac, where people gathered to fish or pull up crabbing crates, so the skies were full of seagulls & the water full of cormorants, & a lone seal hovered near the docks. 

At night we sat in the little room & wrote. I taped a polaroid I'd taken during the day to the wall above the bed, so it'd feel more like home.

In the morning the sky was sunny but the wind was picking up & we had gorgeous things to see in the area, so we walked to coffee, ate some chocolate chip cookies from the office as we said goodbye & headed to the Cape Mears State Park. 

On the way out I couldn't help but photograph this smaller but no less creepy tower. I'm already plotting my return.

{Garibaldi, Minolta X-370}

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I know bad magic is real

Tomorrow night Melissa Broder & I will gather in the dark on the steps of Mt. Carmel church to read poetry to those who come to us

On the long night flight to NY, instead of sleeping, I worked on a poem called "Witches Be Trending." It's absolutely true. & probably not what you're expecting. 

We won't be alone. You shouldn't be either. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vacation forever

The other night I had dinner with a friend who said I was always on vacation. While that isn't literally true, because life, I think it's psychologically true. I try to be on vacation all the time. It's mostly a matter of framing: sitting in the backyard is a vacation, if you want it to be. Get a magazine, get a shandy, don't look at the phone: holiday!

Recently I went to Ashland to read with with Jeff Alessandrelli in celebration of his new book, This Last Time Will Be the First, which you should get if you do not already have. Any trip out of town is automatically a vacation in my mind, but this one had a long drive, aka road trip (vacation bonus points).

The night was devoted to the reading (& Blood Moon viewing), but in the morning we went to walk in the park everyone in town told us we had to see (being tourists = on vacation). 
{Lithia Park}

We went to the historic graveyard (historic sites? You guessed it: vacation.)
{Mt. View Cemetery}

& then had another road trip back home, with more chances to photograph more gorgeous sights.
{Ashland, Minolta X-370}

I haven't been great about sharing my endless adventures, but I'm about to change that.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


It turns out the rest of this month is bringing readings!

Today I'm reading at the Powell's on Hawthorne at 4pm, alongside personal favorites Matty Dickman & Francesca Chabrier, as well as Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen.

Tomorrow Jeff Alessandrelli & I will be taking a road trip down to Ashland to read at Bloomsbury Books at 7pm. If you know anyone in that area, send them, please, because Jeff's book, This Last Time Will Be the First, is a killer & he reads so so well.

I'll also be reading at Ristretto Roasters on Sat the 19th for the release of Rachel Springer Dunbar's beautiful Poor Claudia chapbook, Hive Mind. You do not want to miss this because somehow she convinced the incredible but elusive Paul Longo to read & this might be the only time you hear him all year. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

The difference between full & filled

The first full week of National Poetry month was indeed a full week for me.

The first of the month saw the release of my audio chapbook, Worth Is the Wrong Word, over at Black Cake Records.

I did an episode of The Casserole with Chelsea Kurnick on Thursday night, which involved a mini reading & interview,  & if you missed it, you can still watch it here.

A brief essay I wrote on how reading your work out loud can be a path to editing (something I relearned while putting together my Black Cake chapbook) went up on NPM Daily yesterday.

I'm also trying to write a new fragment/draft/poem a day for the whole month of April. It's a bit of a struggle but I usually end up with some workable stuff by the end of the month & you can't really argue with that.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the month brings me!