Artist’s Books

I’m taking an artist’s book class this summer, and we just made our first real book. I love it—it’s small and cute and I made it myself from scratch:

It’s still blank inside. I haven’t figured out how to get a poem into it, but I have an idea of what I’d like to have on the pages. But it will probably end up being a different class project.

Right now I’m working on an altered book project. It’s been tough for me because I don’t think of books as objects, I think of them as texts. I’ve had a hard time divorcing the book from its contents. I’ll post pics of that when it’s done, too. I mean, if it’s any good.

Brevity Is the Foal of Twits

My first reader spent some time with the prose poem chap recently, and yesterday we went through the poems and discussed which seemed to be working, which were “okay,” and which weren’t working at all.

It was comforting to have nearly all of my intuitions about the poems confirmed by an impartial third party. In the poems, I think it’s readily apparent which were written first and which are most recent. The early poems lack a sort of nerve. They’re a bit more melancholy while the newer poems tend to end with panic, shock, or some other kind of sudden turn (which may be melancholy). The new poems seem sharper to me, but that’s perhaps because they have yet to be dulled down by my repeated readings of them.

In the writing of these, it became clear they are a study of relationships. Love poems, a lot of them, and unloved poems.

I do not know why prose poems bring out the love poet in me, but it’s common for them to skirt issues of romance. Earlier I had been working on a series of prose poems called “Explanations & Advice for _____.” Perhaps they will find new life in this series.

I’m slowly, with each project, cannibalizing my thesis manuscript. It feels good.

Into Perfect Boys Such Holes Are Pierced

Yes. You can believe the hype surrounding Siken’s Crush. I’m only halfway through it and already it’s one of my favorite books of the year. It’s different. It’s risky. It’s visceral. Those things I love.

Big kisses to Louise G for letting this one nose its way out of the ms pile.

The Joy of Blogging

With all due respect to my friends, colleagues, and mentors in the MFA program, I was thinking the other day that if I had been blogging prior to entering the program, I might have made a different decision.

And this is with the full disclosure that I loved my MFA program, loved working with the tremendous artists enrolled with me in my courses.

But blogging has been surprisingly educational for me in a way that my MFA program couldn’t have been. I’ve been in touch with and heard about poets I never would have encountered outside the blogosphere, and I’ve been able to make really positive connections with other working poets around the country and, in some cases, in different countries.

Maybe I should say that blogging has been a wonderful complement to my MFA—not a replcement for or revision of, but a comfortable dovetail.

Basically, for you, this means Thanks.

Hot Man On Man Action (hMOMA)

It’s getting hot in here, and not because it’s summertime in Arizona. Check out the foxy studs I’ll be sharing my nights with:

Richard Siken (Crush)
Mark Doty (School of the Arts
Dan Bellm (One Hand on the Wheel)

And just for good measure, these ladies will be hanging out:

Harryette Mullen (Sleeping With the Dictionary)
Gina Franco (The Keepsake Storm)
Jenny Factor (Unravelling at the Name)

I’m calling it pornetry.

This Is What You Get

That offhanded remark at AWP (“I haven’t been writing prose poems lately at all”) and the sudden realization that it was true have led to 34 prose poems since April.

I’ve written little else.

I poured some of them together over the weekend to get myself thinking about which poems to write to go in between the poems I’ve put together. Some of them I love. Some of them I’m not so fond of anymore. Some of them I don’t quite get. But I’m enjoying writing toward understanding whatever it is I’m doing. I enjoy starting with a word and moving outward, like a ripple. That’s how I’m doing this. From the word. A self-imposed writing exercise with legs.

I’m obsessed with that phrase “be bird for you” lately. Oh, do I want to be bird for you. Baby, I’ll be meat for you if only you’ll salt me clean.

A special message goes out.

It gets complicated. But I enjoy my little life.