Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A poem in two parts:
Mousy Blonde

My cat drags a movie star onto my feet while I'm sleeping. Under the covers, on top of my feet! The movie star is wet and still. My first thought, octopus under my toes, then I wake up shrieking. The cat shrieks in response and plummets into a wall. When I turn on the lights, I can't see the movie star; she's under the covers. So I make that quick ugh, ugh, sound you make when you don't know what something is, but you're sure it's disgusting. I stand by the door and rip back the covers. The movie star lies there curled up, covered in creamy suede and cat snot. Oh Christ! I yell at the cat. What the hell is wrong with you! I see my window's open and slam it shut; that's probably how the movie star got in. I go to the kitchen, cursing at the cat, to get some rubber gloves so I can haul the movie star from my bed. The cat jumps up on the sink and offers me his cheek to kiss -- he thinks if he pretends, we can both get beyond this.

The grey and white cat crouches
on the roof in the snow, watching
me through my kitchen window
as I add pepper to the rigatoni.
I talk to it in a high-pitched
voice -- the voice I use for babies.

Why is the past always lodged
in my teeth? Milk in glass bottles
balancing in unstained aprons.
Red-checked tablecloths hanging
from a clothesline. I had hoped
to escape through the oven,
crawl through to the library
made of chocolate, to the fields
of redeemable coupons.

See that woman? If I open
the window it disappears under
the trees . You'll never know
what I felt for her, the go-carts
filled with exclamations points.

How you love cheddar,
everyone keeps exclaiming.
How large your front teeth are,
and how small your hands.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hey y'all,

I'm thinking of starting a link list of places where you can send your poetry books for review, kind of like here at New Pages, and here. I think I'll probably post it on word press, because you can't start new pages here on blogspot? At least I haven't figured out a way. What do you think?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Genesis 1

a barefoot girl leads a speckled pony
into her room, the pony looks over
his shoulder, constipated or sad

she slowly spreads lotion over her knuckles,
trying to get out the blisters, the bite marks,
listening to women breathe on the other side of the wall

she pretends not to notice his scars,
the way his hair catches in his wine glass,
the way his mouth can't close on one side

she offers him her silk hem, and he chews,
his broke jaw working sideways, until her whole
dress dissolves

until she is naked, until the entire dance floor
vanishes, the stars like little forks, pricking and pricking,
until they are alone and married in the snow

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I'm looking for reviewers -- if you have a journal/website/etc. where you regularly write reviews, please let me know, and I may be able to send you a free copy in exchange for a review.

Here's the whole flyer of info for the book; spread it around!


A fierce book of poetry based on historical and mythical saints and cannibals, including Saint Claire and Hansel & Gretel.

Reviewers say:

"it's hard to tell at times who are the saints and who are the cannibals... Hamm explores the boundaries of the body in exquisite detail; puberty, cancer, eating disorders, and the lure and horrors of modern medicine escalate into fertility rites, witches, and the heartbreaking loss of childhood. These poems do not dally in Victorian daydreams or ruffled pinafores. They are feral. They shriek and bite and get under your skin."

Rebecca Loudon
Author of "Cadaver Dogs"

Sample Poems

In This Dream, The Sky Signifies Memory

I’m standing in my blue flannel nightgown
at the window. The tops of the California oaks
shimmer below me in the wind. I’m walking barefoot
down the center of a gravel road -- I’m sweating
and my nightgown pinches at the armpits, the neck.

I am getting a baby out of a drawer. The baby
is the color of fog: he is sleeping or dead.
He is too heavy to carry, so I leave him
by the side of the road. I am spitting out persimmon
seeds into the cup beside the TV.

I am climbing a ladder over a hedge made of old
keyboards and kites. I am waking up; I am not
wanting to wake up. Someone is calling my cat.
My cat purrs and spits into my eye. She has
gathered tigers around me. I put on my pointed
leather slippers and climb on to the back
the biggest one. We go searching for my baby.
The sky is the color of water, falling.

Modern Maid

Joan of Arc works at the Gap.
Her armor, nearly invisible under
the florescent light, catches on the sweaters
she folds, so that cashmere threads
follow her everywhere, a crimson cape.
She can't remember how she got here:
most days, can't remember her name when she gets up,
but knows where her keys are,
and what bus to take to work.
God speaks to her sideways,
flickering reflections in the
napkin dispenser at the diner,
upside down when she licks
the ice cream clean from her spoon.
Joan sees pinions behind her when she uses the ATM.
There's angels, sometimes angry and frightening,
often white, and always in her dreams.
They smell like straw and milk...
Joan is sixteen. She's always sixteen.
She's so blond her eyebrows disappear.
She has freckles and is serious,
chews off her lipstick.
She'll heal you if you ask nice,
and go back behind the 501s with her.
Her name means "God is gracious."
Sometimes when she's stacking the perfume
called heaven
she remembers this is true.

About the author:

Christine Hamm is a PhD candidate in English Literature, specializing in 20th century poetics. She won the MiPoesias First Annual Chapbook Competition with her manuscript, Children Having Trouble with Meat. Her poetry has been published in The Adirondack Review, Pebble Lake Review, Lodestar Quarterly, Poetry Midwest, Rattle, and many others. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, and she teaches English at CUNY. She has performed all over the country, and was one of the featured poets in the Poetic Voices Festival of Hartnell College. The Transparent Dinner, her book of poems, was published by Mayapple Press in 2006. Christine was a runner-up to the Poet Laureate of Queens.

For poetry samples, go to: chamm.blogspot.com


82 pgs

Ships in 1-2 weeks

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pathogen I

Skinned rabbit on a pile of tires
next to the filling station.

Bright bugs around our faces,
lit orange by the falling sun.

You reach into the wet gears
of your bike, your knuckles huge,

bruised the color of soft avocados.
What kind of street is this, I ask --

you are caught in the bike chain,
in loosing and refastening its teeth.

Red-faced men in baseball caps
drive their mustard pickup next

to a pump: the bell rings twice.
The blue woman in the florescent

glass booth nods to herself, reading
intently, doesn't look up. You fall

back on your ass, gasping. Above us,
a moth clinging to a bulb opens its brown wings.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My friend Ellis is doing a workshop...

award-winning novelist and Columbia writing professor Ellis Avery presents...

West Village, NYC
Monday through Friday, April 1-30, 9-10am
$20/session. Pay for four in advance, and the fifth is free.

Ellis wrote her first novel, THE TEAHOUSE FIRE (Riverhead 2006) in an hour a day over a period of years. For the month of April only, five mornings a week, one hour a day, she will open her home and writing practice to people who want to challenge themselves to write daily in a silent, focused, community environment. We'll use exercises and give each other a little positive feedback to warm up and cool down, but the core of this practice is DOING the work, not showing it or talking about it. Use peer pressure to your advantage: write your morning pages, or write your novel!

Come write for a few days, come once a week, or challenge yourself to write five mornings a week for a month: all are welcome. For location information and to register, please contact ellisavery@gmail.com.

Ellis is also available for one-on-one manuscript consultation, $80/hour.

coming this fall...
COMMIT TO YOURSELF: a creative writing workshop. Details available on ellisavery.com

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Picnic Games

A blue blanket. Clouds, the sick yellow light.
A dark blond curl by an open mouth. A bottle

of beer. A bottle of milk. A bottle of beer, in a row
next to her hip. Panties cut high on the thigh; skirt

lifted over her head with a stick while she drowsed.
Cicadas, low then loud.

Scuffing the mud under the picnic table with our bare
toes. Flies settle; Suzy is stung. We hop and stomp,
tumble the raw hotdogs, the bottles of orange pop.

Two long sighs. Her fingers shuffle at the skirt
over her face, push it away. She knocks over

the milk, struggles to sit up. Another firefly.
Then, another.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Me, reading some stuff. Yes, this is kinda old, but I just figured out how to embed a video.

Call for submissions below.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Call for submissions:

I am collecting an anthology of poems and more that celebrate Sylvia Plath's life and work, but do not fetishize her suicide and death. Please submit your poems about Sylvia Plath for an anthology to come out in Fall of 2011. All poems must be either a response to her work, or her life, with one caveat -- they cannot be about death or suicide. Work will be looked at more favorably if it responds to, for example, The Bee Poems, rather than "Daddy" or "Lady Lazarus". The book will be published through Fat Gold Watch Press. Authors will get reduced price copies.

Please send three to five poems as either an rtf or doc attachment. I cannot accept docx. For the subject heading, please write, Sylvia poems, your name. For the cover letter, please include a short bio -- 150 words or less, and describe how your poems are a response to her work or life. If there's a particular poem you are responding to, please tell me its name. Submissions are due July 15, 2010, and you should hear back by September 15. I am also considering essays, shorter than ten pages (double spaced), and black and white artwork.

The anthology will not be published if there is an insufficient amount of submissions.

Send submissions to: ceehamm@gmail.com.

Fat Gold Watch Press

Monday, March 01, 2010

Why Didn't You Save Me,
You Continue to Ask

July, the month of smoke, the month
of long dry houses, burning.

How to make a bong with a knife
and a salt shaker, a knife and a shoelace,
a knife and a human hand.

You yelled once-- a long, dog-
like sound. Something yellow in my

peripheral vision. A bruise on your jaw,
a new white around the rims of your eyes.

Nyquil and orange juice, wine and five
Sudafed, we were chopping aspirin
into powder: what could we do
to the inside of our noses?

We used lighters covered with hearts
to melt my Breyer animals
into the shape of a boat:

the calves,
the tiny horsemen,
the stiff collies, bending slow

then quick to the flame