Writer Norelle Done has created a cool blog about Seattle-area writers and the publishing world. She’s posted dozens of interviews on a huge range of topics. Earlier this month, she talked with me about how I became a writer, and about the process of writing and shaping Every Dress a Decision. You can read Norelle’s interview with me here, or browse the site at SeattleWrote.com.
The Bellingham Review has added audio interviews to its online issue, and I’m delighted to be the first writer featured by editor Tyler Koshakow. Fun to be on the other side of the interview process! We talked about performing poems aloud, my influences, the process of composition, the Seattle literary community and why I call myself a “poetry evangelist” and not a critic. You can listen to the interview here or check out the online edition of Bellingham Review Issue 65 Fall 2012.
I’m delighted to be part of a brand-new program to connect book groups with poets. It’s called “A Poet at Your Table” and is offered in cooperation with the Seattle Arts and Lectures Poetry Series and Crab Creek Review.
A Poet at Your Table
It’s one thing to enjoy an evening out to hear a poet perform in a large auditorium, but what if you could listen to a poet talk about her work in the comfort of your own home? Washington state boasts an impressive group of poets who want to connect with readers and book groups.
Join our first annual A Poet at Your Table season and receive an evening with an award-winning Pacific NW poet each time your book group chooses to read a book by one of our writers. A poet will visit your book group to discuss the process of creating her book, read poems, answer questions. We will design a presentation that best fits your needs. In addition, your group can receive a 15% discount on subscriptions to the Seattle Arts and Lectures Poetry Series.
For more information please contact: PoetAtYourTable(at)gmail(dotcom)
1) What do we have to do to prepare for A Poet at Your Table ?
~ Besides reading the chosen poetry book, no other preparation needed. Whatever your book group usually does is fine. Just let us know what works for you.
2) How far in advance do we need to book our poet?
~ A month in advance would be great but you can contact us on shorter notice and we’ll try! We travel, we teach, we write, so give us your top three choices of poets, and we’ll do our best to accomodate your schedule.
3) Do you have a web site where we can review the books and learn about the poets?
~ We encourage you to check out the websites of our eight poets and see which of us seems the best match for you.
4) Our book group is in Kitsap County — is that too far for A Poet at Your Table?
~ We have poets throughout Washington! We will do our best to match a poet with your location.
5) Can we choose more than one poet to visit?
~ Absolutely! You could invite two poets to come on the same evening or one poet per month.
The beginning of wisdom is in getting things
by their right name.
Ear. Nose. Eye.
We teach every child
to point and name.
The child goes to school,
learns “he” is the norm,
“she” the grammatical
variant. When the place
between her legs is left
unnamed, what lesson
does the child learn
but that what she discovers there
doesn’t quite exist
(except to be washed, face averted).
Eventually she’ll find
the language and labels
a linguistic burka, rooted
in pudere: be ashamed.
She’ll find the dysphemisms
of juvenile slang—
metaphors of confused fascination—
(Might as well call it Australia.)
Quarter of a million words
but not one with the raw
authority, the accurate—forgive me—
of the thing itself. So taboo
as to be nameless,
that place all human aching starts.
The final line is borrowed from Li-Young Lee’s “Self-Help for Fellow Refugees.”
This is a poem I’ve been trying to write for a long, long time. It finally came together under the pressure of a deadline. I’d been asked to write a new piece based (as loosely as desired) on the theme of pie and/or whiskey for the Pie and Whiskey reading at Get Lit! this year. I abandoned several fruitless approaches–jettisoning a version that included a long list of popular euphemisms–and let the poem be shaped by the reality that I can’t find language that satisfies. (An early version of “Untitled” appears in the Pie and Whiskey chapbook published by Lost Horse Press in April 2012.)
I’ve posted it here because when I began including it in readings, people (both men and women) asked me where they could find it. You are welcome to share the poem with others if you’d like, but please be sure to include the attribution to Li-Young Lee’s poem.
At 7pm on May 30, I’ll be reading with poets Kathleen Flenniken and Dorothy Trogden at the University Bookstore. Here’s one of my favorite of Dorothy’s poems. It’s in her collection TALL WOMAN LOOKING from Blue Begonia Press. Come hear her read. She’s marvelous, and I believe this is her first reading in Seattle.
Desire, a Hungry Lion
A hungry lion is loose in the streets of May.
How difficult it is for you to know what you require
at any passage of your life
yet something sees and knows and waits
until you open your door and go forward to meet it,
to offer what has been taking shape within you.
Hold out the tempting crumbs in the palm of your hand
and quietly wait until you feel the touch of the velvet muzzle.
Look well at the fur and claw of wildness, your brother.
The stars need darkness or you would not know them.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Desire a Hungry Lion, Dorothy Trogden, Elizabeth Austen, Kathleen Flenniken, Tall Woman Looking, University Bookstore, Washington state poet laureate | Leave a Comment »
Congratulations to Connie Adams and Molly Sutton! They are the lucky winners of this year’s Big Poetry Giveaway. Connie’s name was drawn first, so she gets her pick of EVERY DRESS A DECISION or Christine Deavel’s WOODNOTE.
Check out Molly’s blog at http://www.mapsandpoetry.blogspot.com/
Thanks to everyone for entering. Happy reading!
It’s that time again! Blogger and poet extraordinaire Kelli Russell Agodon has created a very cool way to celebrate National Poetry Month, by inviting bloggers to give away free books of poetry. I’m participating again this year, and will give away a copy of my book, Every Dress a Decision, and a copy of Christine Deavel’s Woodnote.
Every Dress a Decision is my first full-length collection. The sudden and mysterious death of an older brother forms the narrative spine, as the poems move from shock and grief through the attempt at reconciliation and forgiveness. Other poems concern a complicated decision not to have children, love and marriage, the attempt to find a form of spirituality that values the body, and the particular experiences of a woman alone in the wilderness. I’m honored (thrilled, really) to tell you that Kelli is also giving away my book at her blog this year, so you have two chances to win it if you enter here and at her blog, The Book of Kells.
Woodnote is one of my favorite new books, and (full disclosure) Christine Deavel is one of my favorite people. She’s the co-owner of Open Books, one of just three poetry-only bookstores in the United States. The moving and layered poems in Woodnote are (among many other things) intensely elegiac without being nostalgic. The poems enable me to borrow Christine’s close and precise attention to the world, and I believe her when she writes in “Hidden”:
What is hidden
like what is beautiful
is in the eye
I’m grateful for what Christine’s eye shows me about the interior and exterior landscapes of domestic life and a small town in the midwest. Read a review.
Here’s how The Big Poetry Giveaway works:If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Every Dress a Decision or Woodnote, please leave your name and email address by midnight, April 30, 2012 in the comment section of this post. I’ll randomly select two lucky winners for the books during the first week of May 2012.
Learn more about The Big Poetry Giveaway, at Kelli Russell Agodon’s blog. You’ll also find links to other blogs where you can enter to win even more free poetry books!