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!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Worth is the wrong word

It's hard to trust anything today, but no joke: this is a real thing that really exists right this minute.

{Worth Is the Wrong Word, Black Cake}

It's an album of poems about worth. About money. About cost. About riches. About greed. About price. About payment. About jobs. About debt.

But probably not in the way you're thinking.

It is free, but if you have money or you hate money or you know what things are worth to you or you love to give and you want to support Black Cake, you can do that too.

I worked for weeks on this. It was harder than any other chapbook I've ever put together. Someone had to teach me how to use Garageband. Someone had to lend me a microphone & stand & audio interface. It's painful to hear your own voice. It's crushing to be the person responsible for making the poem you hear played back to you match the way you imagined it to be when you hear it in your head, or when you wrote it. But I did my best & now you can hear it like I say it.

The bonus is that it is being released at the same time as Danniel Schoonebeek's Trench Mouth, which is sick & impressive & just as angry.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Let's see how much we've lost

"I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I've lost." 

This quote from Nan Goldin sums up exactly how I feel when I think about the spring blossoms that are happening right now, about their beauty & importance & abundance & brevity.

But maybe knowing you can come here & see them forever is like having them again.

{Neighborhood walks, Minolta X-370}

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One way to live is to break the rules of death.

When I said I wanted to avenge
my sister’s murder, I meant please
sew my eye to hers, so I can see
the moment of her death.

A prayer is a story. A psalm is a story. A death is a story. Revenge is a story. Sadness is a story. Loss is a story. Anger is a story. The hand of God is a story.

This chapbook is a story I made out of the poems of these stories.

You can order one directly from The New Megaphone, or you can pick one up at Powell’s.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My goodies

Coming back from AWP, I filled my conference tote with all the books I'd gotten while I was there -- they were many & it was heavy. While walking away from the Amtrak station in the drizzle, I slipped on a Sweetgum seed-pod & as I stumbled to get my balance, my bags swung forward & I fell flat on my face on the wet street in front of Danniel & Mathias & Minetta.

& everything got dirty but my books & I were fine.

When I got back home, I spread them out & cataloged them for Lisa Marie Basile, who wrote an article about what books writers bought at AWP. Here's the breakdown by type, with a bonus list at the end.

Full Lengths:
DJ Dolack's Whittling a New Face in the Dark
Brian Foley's The Constitution
Justin Marks' You're Going to Miss Me When You're Bored
Shelly Taylor's Lions, Remonstrance
Seth Landman's Sign You Were Mistaken
Luke Bloomfield's Russian Novels
Steven Karl's Dork Swagger
Lonely Christopher's Death & Disaster Series
Michelle Taransky's Sorry Was in the Woods

Rauan Klassnik's Sky Rat
Matthew Dickman's Wish You Were Here
Sarah Bartlett's Freud Blah Blah Blah
Chris Tonelli's Increment
M.A. Vizsolyi's Notes on Melancholia
David Koehn's Tunic (Translations of Catullus)
Marina Eckler's Bridge to Island Cabin
Johnny Ray Huston's I Bark for My Living

Dispatches from Abandoned Architecture (book of recreated postcards)

Things I didn't buy in Seattle because I can get them in Portland:
Jack Spicer's Holy Grail
Greta Wrolstad's Night is Simply a Shadow
Nelly Sachs' Glowing Enigma

Things I missed but don't know how & now have to order from the internet:
Daniel Borzutsky's The Book of Interfering Bodies
Sawako Nakayasu's The Ants
Francesca Chabrier's Throw Yourself into the Prairie
Sommer Browning's Backup Singers

Things I would have gotten but didn't because I already had them or they don't exist yet:
Danniel Schoonebeek's American Barricade
Jeff Alessandrelli's This Last Time Will Be the First 
Emily Kendal Frey's Sorrow Arrow
Paige Taggart's Want for Lion

See the full article on Luna Luna if you'd like to know what other's bought.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Walks, Barricades, Chapbooks

The next week is going to be a big one for me & poetry. It could be a big week for you too, if you want.

This Saturday you could come to the marathon reading of Lisa Robertson's Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture being held in the YU kitchen. I'll be reading a section, along with a slew of other readers. So many poets, so few spaces -- RSVP for (free) tickets, so you can come & go as you please!

Sunday is the launch of Danniel Schoonebeek's American Barricade. Come to Crema & listen to him read you all the reasons you'll want to walk out with his book. Rounding out the reading is Zachary Schomburg, Rich Smith, Stacy Tran & yrs truly.

Monday, just head over to the big Powell's for Smallpressapalooza to hear me read, along with Jeff Alessandrelli, Ross Robins, Dena Rash Guzman, Emily Kendal Frey & more & more. You'll be able to pick up the first existing copies of my new chapbook, & if I die, make me how you are.

In my off moments, I will be sitting in front of a microphone, voicing words to create an object I can then share with you.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Set it off

If I did another presentation on Feminine Mesmerism, this song would be playing during my intro.

Can't get enough.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sometimes, the only enemy one has is one's self

I have two sharp little shards of poems in the issue of Pinwheel that just launched. I'm in good company, so stay awhile once you get there.

Monday, February 24, 2014

It's AWP week, so here's my AWP things:

In brief:

I'm reading twice, once for Singing Saw (Thurs, 7-9, Cairo) & once for New Megaphone (Fri, 3-6, Belltown Pub).

I have a chapbook launching at AWP from New Megaphone called & if I die make me how you are & I'm very excited about it.

I'll also have poems in the issue of Big Bell that will premiere at AWP.

The rest of the time I will be wandering around the book fair with a tote full of whiskey (find me) or sitting in the hot tub or eating Katsu Burger or wishing we had a big table in our hotel room so we could play Alhambra.

See you there.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'll bring the shame

The second round of letterpress notebooks from Eight Eleven Press is out & they're even better than last time.
They're white inked in Futura on Pinball Press notebooks & guaranteed to make everyone around you kinda uncomfortable when you pull it out to write in it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Do you want to think about fear? You already are.

Julia Cohen is spending this week blogging for The Best American Poetry, & her format is a sweet little powerhouse of multitasking. Not only does she have a personal narrative going on in each post, she also presents & assess a specific poem from a different online journal, & then designs a creative writing exercise to create a similar poem based on the elements & structure of the poem.

The only thing more incredible than what she's doing is the fact that she did it for a poem of mine called "We are not hostages so much as we have been tasked to hold up this wall forever" that appeared not so long ago in Better Magazine. We had a phone conversation recently about terror & revenge & interpersonal relationships & then she laughed & called me a transpersonal warrior.

& so I am. 

I can't wait for the rest of the week's offerings, & I'm curious to see the results if anyone tries the writing exercise she suggests to recreate a poem of mine. I may even try it, because I think your own writing rules are always foreign to you once you see them exposed.

Sidenote: I also do not like to be the last person awake in my household. One of the most comforting things in the world is hearing someone watching tv with the volume down low or having a quiet conversation in another room while you drift off to sleep.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Is this the way you wanted to find out

Recently Joshua Marie Wilkinson wrote a little essay for us at Draft about his writing practices & places, about guilt, self-deception, & being a conduit.

When he says "I’d work in these little scribbly fits and bouts. I made notes all over everything," I feel surprisingly relieved. My purse is full of receipts with partial phrases & my bedside table is covered in index cards. I always feel like this isn't really working, because I'm not taking time out to write or putting together complete sections of poems. But really, slowly, the work does collect. I'm pretty sure I wrote most of my MFA thesis that way.  

If you want to know what he writes when he writes, PEN put up a long poem of his chosen by C.D. Wright.

& if it makes you think about your own writing life or creative processes or how or why you make work, I'd be very interested in hearing about it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


My chapbook is having a very good week & it's only Tuesday.

For one thing, it's available right now in Powell's. Nothing makes you feel quite as real as having something you wrote in Powell's, right up next to the books in the Small Press section with a little shelf-talker & everything.

It also made it on to Dan Brady's list of the best seven chapbooks he read in 2013, which is deeply flattering.

Although it's only been out a little over a month, there's less than 10 copies left at Greying Ghost, which means my chapbook & I owe everyone that's bought a copy so far a lot of thanks.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

If you need light then you need light

It's been cold times these last couple of days: in the 30s when we're lucky & in the teens when we're not. Snow fell. Pipes froze.

But when the sun shines (& it shines) I look at these pictures from my time in LA with Lauren & wish I was back there for a few days, picking persimmons & waiting on the full moon & stringing jewels into the timeline of stars.


Of course, in the end everything is as it should be, because the temperature goes up & the washer works & even while I was in that sunny city I couldn't resist a long late afternoon walk through the Rose Garden, with the cooling air & the dim light & the blossoms getting me as close to my home as possible while I was away.

{L.A., Minolta X-370}

Monday, December 2, 2013

holiday helpers

I think $7.50 is already an insanely cheap price for the chapbooks at Greying Ghost Press, especially once you see all the work that Carl puts into them. 

But today you can buy all of your friends handmade art-objects for even less. Use the code HOLODAZE13 for 40% off your Greying Ghost order through Etsy. It'll be an honor if you're thinking of getting my chapbook, but there are also plenty of others to choose from (Justin Marks! Eric Amling! D.J. Dolack!) as well as a lot of fun letterpress gift tags & ephemera.

This is a sweet way to support a small press & give handmade gifts & participate in cyber monday without any of the usual guilt & panic that accompanies holiday shopping!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shop small

(the shore in parts), my Greying Ghost chapbook, is on the front table at St. John's Booksellers as part of the Indies First initiative!
Right now it's the only place in town where you can walk right in & walk right away with the chapbook!

If you don't make it to St. John's, I hope you made it to some other small bookstores on Shop Small Saturday to see authors you love & help support local businesses & knock some gifts off yr Xmas list!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Work begets work

I brought the leftover letters from my party message banner out to Shotpouch Creek, thinking I could make a few phrases & hang them around the property.

It was quite a puzzle, because there was only one T & no vowels save three E's, one O & one Y. We coaxed two 0's into service, but that was about all we had to work with.


Everyone at the cabin at the time got really into the project & we all made phrases of our own.




In a tribute to my lovely friend Emma I put up some of the banners at night, lit only by a flashlight.

I made banners up until the minute it was time to leave.

{Shotpouch Cabin, Minolta X-370}

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Object lesson

This is an object that was made during long days sitting at the riverbank, watching the forest of another state in front of me & feeling the sand cover itself over behind me. This is an object made from the tallying of riverbank objects & personal objects & temperature & opposition & the struggle with another:

Greying Ghost has made this object into a beautiful book: the cover is so thick it can stand up on its own, the deep imprint of the letterpress makes everything printed on the front a tactile experience & the insides, well, hopefully they'll turn you over.

These poems are always trying to build you a story out of objects: glass shard, leather cord, black chalk; blanket, pearl, egg shell; stone stack, mirror, cave; burnt branch, milk tooth, copper pin. These poems are always trying to get at you.

Let them. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

out of/into

I came up out of the cabin & out of the creek & out of the woods & out of the dark & out of the silence just to head into the place the least like where I was: LA. 

So, LA -- show me what you've got for me. What I've got for you is a mouthful of poems, some of which are with my constant collaborator & co-reader, Lauren Eggert-Crowe. We'll be reading alongside the wonderful Maggie Nelson Sunday at 5 at Hitched!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Types of travel

If you are in Seattle, come out Thursday & I will take you to the farm & to the shore & to the cave & to the boat: to the places I love. I'll be reading with Matty Dickman, who has been writing poems recently that make my heart come out of my body & Danniel Schoonebeek, who has been touring the country in preparation for his upcoming Yes Yes Books book, American Barricade, & razing it in his wake.

& if we are all as lucky as we can be, I might have a stack of freshly pressed Greying Ghost chapbooks in hand!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Autumn Cabin No. 2: Kerr Lake Cracker Shack

The second cabin of fall is squarely fixed in summer glories thanks to Florida weather.

The cabin is a cleaned up version of the original '20s cracker shack hand-built by the couple who lived there. (At first, the inside of the cabin was honestly like something out of Silent Hill.) It's nestled under water oaks dripping with Spanish moss & very close to the lake, so the view of the dock standing above the still water makes a perfect frame to the morning.

We arrived after a long drive through the Ocala National Forest just as the hunter's moon was rising. I stayed out on the dock to photograph it, in spite of the mosquitoes & bats & it was worth it.

The next day, my whole plan was to read Agatha Christie in the sun, swim in the lake (yes, there are gators. But what are you going to do?) & watch the light change back into the dusky color we'd arrived in.

Which isn't to say I didn't see some of the fall colors I was expecting.

{Lake Kerr, Minolta X-370}

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I was alone / I thought about

The drive out to the Guard Station was five hours long, so I drove ten hours in two days. Alone. I drove through small cities. I drove through farmlands. I drove thought the National Grasslands. I drove into the Ochoco National Forest & up a mountain.

I saw fields of cattle that stretched endlessly. I saw packs of wild horses. I saw a herd of antelope. I saw deer bolting out of the road. I saw the sunset turn the mountains pink. 

Mostly, though, I thought. I thought about distance. I thought about the unhappiness of keeping things to one's self. I thought about the unhappiness of seeing beautiful things alone. I thought about reproducing moment for others; whether friends were enough; longing; social complexities.

I thought about the plains, about how pink the light of the sun could be. I thought about houses set back from the road; land ownership; isolation; sufficiency. I thought about food.

I thought about how you can hear the same song on the radio many times on many stations, but never the song you hope to hear.

I thought about what it meant to be free of something. I thought about driving off the road; being lost; survival; instinct.

I thought about being let down; the many levels of unfairness; ways to get what I wanted & ways to get out of what I didn't. I thought about card games. I thought about desire & practicality.

I thought about dying languages. I thought about sounds that were unrepeatable. I thought about sounds that are unknown to us.

{Minolta X-370}

Friday, October 25, 2013

Autumn Cabin No. 1: Cold Springs Guard Station

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to head out with some friends to an out-of-use guard station in Cold Springs, in the middle of the Ochoco National Forest. The cabin was spacious & beautiful, with heat & a fridge & lights powered by kerosene & a wall of bells that one sounded out alarms.
At night we went out to see meteors but instead clouds covered over the sky & it snowed. I stood on the porch & let the snow fall on my hair like a veil.
In the afternoon we packed up a thermos of whiskey hot chocolate & hiked up to see the nearest fire lookout.

We also found what was perhaps an abandoned mining site, with its dilapidated house & crumbling ore sorting facility & broken clay pipes & sealed up entrances, which was just the sort of place of terrors one would expect to find a disposed of deer carcass with its head perfectly intact & carrion rising away from the ripped up bag & scavenged body.
& just like that, the adventure was over. 

{Cold Springs, Minolta X-370}