Saturday, April 30, 2005

Happy Birthday,Mickey Z!

For your birthday, a semi-found poem:

Things He Found on his Birthday Cake

a mushroom, frogs, ladybugs, violets, strawberry leaves,
a sketch book, a diary, waterlilies, cattails, a clock, rocks,
a mouse, a garden, ferns, raspberries, snails, lady slippers,
a whirl-i-gig, bachelor buttons, sunflowers,
decorative home decor, paint, designs, patterns, flowers, bugs, butterflies, leaves, wood, cutouts, birds, birdhouses, trees,
a cherry, a bunny, rabbits, a book, canvas, a file box,
candles, a wheel barrow,
a daisy, wild roses, violets, cornflowers,
a wishing well, squirrel,
squirrel and moose, actually,
squirrel and moose
Hey, what stupidhead made this quiz?

You are Marilyn Hacker. You write about the
everyday, especially when that everyday
involves the exploitation of women.

Which 20th Century Poet Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

It's so simplistic! Hacker is about alot more than that!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Oh, and Safe Word has been selling like crazy, 4 books in the week and a half since I posted it here, as compared to 6 books over 6 MONTHS for Discount Heaven. Hmmmph. Gotta show a little leg, I guess.

I'll be reading from Safe Word at Galapagos May 16th, as part of the SMUT reading series. The ad I came up with for the reading goes:

I've been bad...

Wanna hear about it?

with a vintage picture of kid in the corner with a dunce cap on. I figure that's coy and suggestive enough.
So I've been working on a poem about the mall, because to me, a California girl, the mall is heaven. Seriously. No, seriously.

Anyway... I got selected to be an intern at Lungfull!, a literary journal run by some of NYC's young poetry greats. I am very happy about this. Although sometimes I worry I'm a little too silly and hysterical to deal with high level poets. I'll make jokes no one will get and they'll just stare. Then I'll start crying.

See, this is why I can't keep a job.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Heh. I've been had.

The quote from the last post is actually from a subsidy publisher, I just found out, when they asked me for 1000 bucks upfront. And, if you read the quote below carefully, you realize that it could apply to almost any collection of poetry by anyone. Eh. Sigh. Guess I'll just go back to trying to get to publish me. If anyone wants to know the name of this slippery devil AKA publisher, email me at inktastesbitter at I don't want to print it here because the walls have eyes, or, er, ears, tongues, whatever.
Okay, now all that hand wringing is out of the way about nothing happening soon enough -- I just got this from a publisher I submitted my book manuscript to:

christine,I love what you did here. Time and narration as a seeming transparent voice but the voice has a bad breath that gives birth to visions and a very strong strong stronger voice that could at first have been suspected. The poems go back and forth and right thru one another. It's such a clean and unique collection as if it could go on forever, the discovering and then digging into time to find a passage and then the vision and then the voice resting again. A great dreaming circle.
Yesterday I went to the Frequency Reading at the Four-faced Liar. I got to hear Jennifer Knox read! Who is a fantastic chica and I’m just completely surprised that I didn’t hear about her earlier. Very funny and odd, just like I like ‘em. And I got to hear Todd Colby again. He had one piece where he repeated “sweet” a lot that reminded me of Gertrude Stein. Hearing him read his stuff definitely adds another dimension to the work. And I was also reminded about the first time I heard him read, at Galapagos in the Burg, right after or right before September 11. And now I’m reading at Galapagos, in 3 weeks. But I’m nowhere near, even in the same ballpark, or same state, or even same country, in terms of poetry quality. I bought Todd’s Tremble and Shine right before I heard him read. The cover is a painting by his wife and is the sort of outline mixed in with negative space with photorealism that I love. I think Martin Mull does something similar. It’s all very psychologically suggestive. The book is a nice, unusual size, smaller than normal, has a good feel to it when you hold it in your hand. Amy Fusselman read as well, something really compelling about art and Gilbert and George and writerly writers versus non-writers.

I also got to meet Shanna Compton, who admitted to reading this blog! And she admitted this in public! She was sweet and not as fierce as her poetry suggests. Also taller than me. All the poets were taller than me. Metaphorically as well as physically.

Sigh. Goddamnit, I’ve been writing poetry for 4 years, and I want some results! I love going to readings, but sometimes it’s a little depressing to see how comfortable other poets are, how fantastic words and images just seem to arrive in their poetry as if plopped by angels, how sure they are in their poetic skin. I feel so far from that.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Okay New York poets, does anyone know anyone who got a NYFA? I just got my rejection letter yesterday, and so did everybody else I know. So who got the golden ticket?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

OMIGOD i sold a copy of safe word already i'm so pleased and just not believing it with the immediate action and the dollar in royalties !already! if the person who bought it cops to it i'll send you a nice card to say thanks
I know everybody reading this is way beyond beginner, but if you could pass this around:

Beginning Creative Writing
The Women’s Studio Center is offering a class for beginning writers. Even if you’ve never written a poem or short story, you are welcome here. The class will cover the basics of fiction and poetry, with assignments and in depth analysis of what makes fiction and poetry work. Classes are very reasonably priced (under $160) and perfect for the beginner who feels intimidated. Our classes are warm, nurturing and small. You are guaranteed a great deal of individual attention from the instructor. Classes start in May, so sign up soon. There are a few slots left.

Classes are led by Christine Hamm, an experienced teacher and award-winning writer. Christine has a MFA and an extensive publication history. Please call 718-361-5649 to sign up, and Write to for more details.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I'm trying to avoid writing about "rape murder and sex, sex, sex" as someone recently summarized my poetry. Comments? Please.
As the Crow Flies

on days when wind lifted the house
creaking like a boat my mother was afraid
wouldn’t let me drive the sedan
wouldn’t give me the keys wind would send
the pines down on me she said
I watched our neighbor spread the blue
speckled wings of the parakeets over her hand
a sharp instrument like the front teeth
of an angry dog she clipped
the important feathers so the birds stayed caged
if I was quiet leg over windowsill keys in my shorts’
pocket wind shoving me into the roses then I
I hung my head out the red car’s window loved
my hair tugged back by speed my t-shirt rippling
shell flowers at my throat steered with one finger
no brakes
no brakes I was heading for something big fast
leaves through the front door blown open
my mother was afraid maple leaves skittered
spiders down the hall over the Persian carpet
my mother was afraid perhaps I was not really
related my voice too loud
my eyes too dark and small hard to read
I ran too fast from the things she walked towards
she was concerned about my breasts too naked
I was always too naked she said no matter
how I dressed
and in the desert sometimes the mothers are afraid
they spread the legs of their daughters with a broken
bottle they slash they take away the keys
the freeway long the hills moved like cats stretching
I was heading for something big the wind rocked
the car and my mother was afraid

Maybe too much repetition? Does it hit you over the head with a message?
SAfe WoRD is up!

All the smutties Christine can offer. Dirty! Toilets! Penises! Typing! in verse or verse-like forms.

safe word.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I'm feeling a little meh about this one.

The Museum of Fire

The Fire Warden is in charge of you,
where you go, what you see, who
gets saved. All exits are heavily guarded,
and the heavy guards can make you cry
by twisting your hair or beating your dolly.
They have that right.

Down this hall we find the room of escapes,
including stages which burst into flames
seconds later, velvet curtains strange as wings
which slowed a fall, and glass that shattered
with the tap of a breath to let a child out and up
into the fireman’s arms.

This is a display of plan B, the window method,
after the door to the only way out steams
and glows at you. See how she hangs from
the sill by her fingertips. Notice the wind,
how it has made a fan of her skirt and the one
black slipper, fallen.

You can almost hear it, the sparrows across
the street, the low dark hum of the flames.

Come closer. See how her fingers seize and grasp
but her shoulders are almost there, loose with
resolution. She senses there might be broken
glass below and one ankle is weak (there is a cost
to fleeing) but

this is how a woman escapes,
just lets go.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I finally decided to start doing readings again. I already have my first one lined up, at SMUT, which is a free-for-all performance, burlesque, reading event most Mondays in Williamsburg. It's at the uber-trendy Galapogos, which is the first place I saw Todd Colby read! so I'm very exciting about reading there. I'm going to read my... dirty poems. Seriously. I am. Surprised?

I'm also going to put together a little chapbook of the smutty stuff to sell at the reading -- I wanted to call it "Safe Word," but there's already a book by that name. I was thinking "edgeplay," but I don't know if that would mean much to people.

So, anybody want to go to SMUT this Monday and get a feel for the landscape? Elise Miller, an extremely cool and funny chica, will be reading from her book.

My reading is scheduled for May. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Making a Baby

First, roll your husband off you.
He's no help, just sleeps and whines.
Get dressed. Go to the ATM
machine in the bodega next door
and withdraw 60 dollars.

Take the N train to Union Square.
Get off the train and exit on the east
side of the park. You may have to go
up some stairs. Take your time, you
are expecting a baby!

When you are at the top of the stairs,
proceed to the Toys R Us.
There are many escalators inside,
many children. Occasionally one
will dart in front of you. You have
to remind yourself to hold still, not
to grab her, tuck her under your arm,
and rush from the store.

Try not to imagine how she would
eventually emerge from under the bed
and eat her oatmeal, dress in her bright
t-shirt with the stars everywhere, wear
the lace skirt with tennis shoes, how
her voice would rise at the end when
she calls you, mama?

Instead, ride the escalator to the 4th floor.
There, next to the window, you will find
him. Ignore the felt orange skin.
You will need 4 double D batteries.

The cash register has a line of children
in front of it. Look above their tossing
heads at the wall. There's an elephant.
With polka dots.

When you get him home, you find
certain spots on his chest and chin
to push. If you do it just right, he
will wave his arms and legs.
Sometimes, he asks for a blanket.
Sometimes he says, pick me up,

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Thanks everybody who left me questions to use in the interview. I was going to use them in my interview at StoryCorps, but then I chickened out and didn't go, and just stayed in bed, shivering under the covers and berating myself for being such a wimp. I often get this social anxiety thing which makes me blow off social obligations and also gets friends to hate me.

Anyhooo. I'm sure I will incorporate the questions into future exploits, one way or another.

Also, I put together another chapbook manuscript and submitted it!

Yeah! One thing I'm not scared of is submitting.