Shanna Compton




Brink is now officially available.

I'm pleased to say it has appeared on CAConrad's Best of the Small Presses 2012 list at the Small Press Librarian site, as well as this 2012 Recommended Reading list by Birds LLC, and this Favorite Poetry of 2012 list by Nate Logan.

Get it here, direct from Bloof.

Or as part of one of these special Bloof bundles & subscriptions (which may sell out, since they contain limited edition chapbooks).

Farley's also has it in stock, and it will soon be at the other independent bookstores Bloof usually supplies, as well as Barnes & Noble, et al.

If you must order from Amazon, please use this link.



An animated poem (from Brink)

"Mostly in Lowland Rainforest" originally appeared in the Equalizer. Larger

  Brink is now available from Bloof.


Goodreads giveaway of Brink

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Brink by Shanna Compton


by Shanna Compton

Giveaway ends December 16, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


An interview in the Conversant

Here's an interview with Andy Fitch, in the December issue of the Conversant. (It will also appear in Andy's collection of interviews forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2013.)

Andy read the two books before the split, so we talk about both of them, and why that happened, etc.


I blogged about Joyce Mansour

But not here. At the Best American Poetry blog.

Here's another poem though, from Phallus & Mommies (1969), also included in the Black Widow volume I cite over there. I just can't stop swooning.


Hard calloused dreams
Burst palefully
Through the seams of tasteless
Don't whine for help
Lie bleeding
Life is a perpetual sneeze
Listen to the screech of iron in the rocky
Of an eyeless
To the mouthless prayer of ambiguous men
Stretched out in anguish and surgical green
Sharpen your tongue on the soft white womb
Nestling in formol*
Then all shouting done
Watch brittle sperm rain down like cheese
Collect the bubbles
Hustle sour winds up the sidewalk
Suck the fresh flesh of the ruby
Leave it screaming
No matter
Strange shallow dreams eat at random
And shrink not with age
Soundless laughter like the midnight sea
Will toil back to slumber
And there will the bodiless breaker unroll its metal
Dip thunder and vanish
In a thousand grim echoes
Far beyond the bloody swelling of a mother's breast
"Pardon me," she said dressed in small town bereavement
And Humpty Dumpty closed a huge savage eye

That's a photograph of Mansour with Chilean painter Roberto Matta, 1975. I don't know what they are doing, but yes, it seems to involve her nipples. The two collaborated on a series of his etchings/her poems called Les Damnations, published by Editions Georges Visat in Paris in 1966.



Preorder Brink + 2 readings next week

Bloof has Brink available now for a special preorder price of $10. 
Books will begin shipping on or about 11/23, and the official release date is December 15, at which point it should be available for order through booksellers too.

Also, I will be doing these two readings next weekend, both in Brooklyn:

The Stain of Poetry

Dolorous Bubbles Delirium: A Celebration of Joyce Mansour


Kind words

Here are the first couple of blurbs for Brink.

Shanna Compton is one of those poets I will always read, will always eagerly anticipate the next brilliant collection to read!! “Even our angst feels replaceable / as if it ebbed a little way”—yet another gem for a misunderstood world that we have been waiting to read and to know. BRINK is a word we gather on top of, ready for the pictures around us to modify us into the new.  Not every poet can promise this word, but it’s most fitting for a Shanna Compton book!! The smart poets of my time have been following her all along, and we know the departure she takes with this latest collection is one we can all be excited to take with her!!   —CAConrad

Shanna Compton’s beautiful new book Brink captures the weird and dazzling collision between the suffering and the awe of contemporary existence. As if through a series of discovered polaroids, in one poem she holds up a raw and tender image of a woman isolated in “the domesticated shell,” in another, she holds up a joyful white blur of something we cannot name, but recognize as our own hazy and sweet connection to the world. At once disturbing and triumphant, the poems in Brink work together to create an honest, unexpected, and fascinating lyrical exhibition of the complicated human heart.   —Ada Limón


& closer still

(Updated with final, sans pesky typos &c.)

I revised that raw-Google block I posted Monday (first 20 pp. for the string "on the brink of") to use as the back cover "description." I think it flows much better now when read aloud, so it is, I guess, another poem.

I *might* have a few copies by the time we do the reading at Stain next month. Maybe.


Edging closer to Brink

of bankruptcy of extinction of war of international stardom of collapse of a deep well of calamity of  a rupture of the river of dawn of the precipice of a rupture of saying something further of matrimony of departure of discovery of affection of a cliff of the hill of disaster of tears of a new revolution of paradise of elimination of making a billion of chaos of fame of poverty of something beautiful of suicide of meltdown of Armageddon of laughter of insanity of an arms race of misadventure of divorce of a dream of death of a missile crisis of explosion of a new era of technological advance of new promise of a decision of infinity of financial insolvency of infidelity of modernism of nuclear destruction of global recession of cool of financial insolvency of a groundbreaking moment of losing of achieving of history of a full-scale military confrontation of falling of being washed away of the greatest depression of all time of freedom of victory of change of dishonor of oligarchy of breakup of a new ice age of political battle of becoming of hurricane season of runaway climate change of failure of success of annihilation of closing of default of signing a contract of a clean energy revolution of irrelevance of stagnation of liquidation of a new product announcement


So much has happened

I am going to have to go back and strike through everything I said about this book (Brink). I've changed it so much in the last few months--stripping a few things out, putting in several new things including another long series--that it's hardly recognizable as the book I spoke of then. That's how it goes. Besides, I'm the first one to admit that I rarely get it right when talking about what I am doing. Bear that in mind when you ignore all I've said. Ha!

Point is: it's going to the printer any day now, and copies will be here in a few weeks. There are a few more tinkering things to do with the typesetting, and the cover. I'm not putting any blurbs on it, but a few folks are sending thoughts to use online, etc. 

I've had a lot of help--been challenged too, pushed. My friends are as generous as they are brilliant.


Baroqueify 1

Nada Gordon is teaching a workshop at the PoProj called" Baroqueify!" and she's sharing the assignments on her blog.

This is the first one. 

A Sort of a Song (William Carlos Williams) 

Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
-- through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
the rocks.
And here is me, going for baroque:

As Ordered, Tofu and Some Nougat

Lee Tater, the snake-tattooed waiter 

at the chrome-plated diner under the bridge, 
smokes tons of skunk weed. And his writing
(though it be ostensibly of words) comes slow. 
Dude is neither quick nor none too sharp. 
"OK, striped grilled kewpies, a quiche of water, 
and a bunless tiger burger, got it. You want
fried seeps with that, little lady?" He's so
megacute though, raking his pencil over  
the pad, I don't correct him. "Please. Nested
in compost," I add, nodding vigorously. Eek! 
No idea what buttered sufferings I'll receive to eat! 
I'll not ventriloquize what happens next. Saffron    
scents begin wafting from the green-tiled kitchen
orgasmically as sunspots. When my plate arrives, 
piled with incomprehensibles, all I can mutter is, 
"This rocks."

This is pretty difficult! I got a little caught up in my story here and don't think this is baroque enough. Perhaps I'll improve with more practice. 


And now it is done.

A few days ago I finished the last sequence and sent it to readers and now I have reworked it a bit based on their comments and now it is going in the book and now that is the LAST THING.

It is the absolute last thing.

Except now I have to rework the order because there are so many new things or things I added back after the split of the thick book into two thinner books.

There are enough new things (and re-added things) that this one (of the shorter individual poems and two sequences) feels fresh again to me. Which is how it has to feel for me to want to work on it and have it made into a book and then show you that book and feel OK asking you to read it.

So, this week I will do that: decide on an order. I think I already know that the sequences will come in the middle and at the end, so it's just a matter of deciding if the other poems go in two batches or three batches, and which go together the best.

First though, I catch up with my programming class. I have an assignment due tomorrow. I got behind because I had this deadline and some visitors and went out of town twice also.

I think if you work as a chef but cannot cook vegetables or simply don't care about them very much then maybe you are not a very good chef. I am not going to give you $14 for an oily salad, OK? Or $16 each for tiny oily appetizers that are only three bites. Because you don't have a veggie plate. Last night was the last time.

Probably I will still occasionally give you $12 for a glass of wine but I will not do that very often either.

The poets among ye can read these as poetics statements, if you like.

It's raining.


Has it really been nearly a month?

I still love you, blog. It's just that I've been so busy. Some would say "as a bee." 

In addition to those exciting happenings (which have involved so many hours of delight, aka reading), I have also been working with Peter on his book, and with Charlie on the covers of mine, and on the newer poems that I have added since the split into two volumes. This is all nearing completion. COMPLETION!

I'm working on some other things too, that will not be until 2013 but need some attention now.

And I guess I have been preferring my notebook for certain things. It's difficult, this trying-again-to-blog-after-becoming-unhabituated-to-blogging. I was reading the other day about how hearing loss is for many people so socially isolating, and I have realized that my increasing withdrawal (from the blogs, from Brooklyn) may have had something to do with how I was going deaf. But that's not all. I was too open, and it smarted.

Which reminds me to note that I was in NYC last weekend, for the first time since I got the hearing aids. Brooklyn, you are even louder than I knew you to be, impossibly loud!


Two poems from Brink in the new Horse Less Review.

Horse Less Review #12 includes work by Ivy Alvarez, Kerry Banazek, Megan Burns, Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle, C.S. Carrier, Lisa Ciccarello, Shanna Compton, Mel Coyle & Jenn Marie Nunes, Nava Fader, Rebecca Farivar, Leora Fridman, Susanna Fry, A.T. Grant, David Hadbawnik & Carrie Kaser, j/j hastain, Michael Kalish, Freidrich Kerksieck, Seth Landman, Aubrie Marrin, Rachel Moritz, Sheila Murphy, Jennifer Pilch, Michael Robins, Jordan Soyka, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Robert Swereda, Sean Ulman, Vinny Walsh, Theodore Worozbyt, and Karena Youtz & Scott Abels. Cover art by Vinny Walsh.


Sorry, future.

I hope you know I was kidding about that. As if there'd be a future. As if I'd apologize to it. As if as if as if.

I wrote several blurbs today. All for the same book. I erased all but two, and those two are really the same one aimed a bit differently. I sent one. I hope the publisher and the poet like it. I hope after it is on the cover of the book, or on the internet, somebody will read it and it will convince them to read the poems. So, see, that's a serious sort of situation. How important!

Writing a blurb is still writing. It's reading and writing. It's a review condensed but also probably more personal. It takes as long to think about a book and just write a few sentences as it does to think about a book and write several paragraphs. Probably it takes even more time, because of the constraints of the genre, like, you can't write a blurb that is longer than what will fit on the back of the book, and anyway nobody wants to read you going on and on when they could just read the book itself, and anyway they probably didn't recognize your name in the first place. You've done nothing for anyone. Well, you tried. And anyway, you really liked the book. Love would not be too strong a word. You are always falling in love with books. So it's good sometimes to have an occasion to express it.

Sorry, future, about my tendency to simply gush. But when all the waters of the earth dry up, and the only moisture left in the universe is trapped in the center of stars, or maybe there's a little left in a few moons or the rings of Saturn, perhaps we'll all feel more kindly toward gushing and wonder why so much of the time we absurdly wasted in sere pronouncements of stingy context and name-checking or in saying nothing at all, withholding all kinds of droplets that could have been condensed on a receptively slick, cool surface. Love is so wet! Isn't it refreshing?


I have been typing through Brink. What this means is that I have pulled the poems out of a booklike arrangement and confronted them again individually, by taking one poem at a time and typing it. I type it on my manual typewriter (an Olivetti Lettera like the one above) and on the computer too and sometimes I even handwrite them, because each of these feels different. Retyping is like playing a piece on a piano or something (not that I play piano). I've talked about this before. Basically, I can feel the poem with my fingers as well as hear it and see it, and the manual analog slowness of the typewriter (and also somehow the sounds of this) create a situation in which I and the poem are sharing a kind of physical experience.

I do this with all my poems, eventually. It's interesting to watch how they change. I think it's possible that sometimes the poem as it stands in the end (which is not even to say in a book, because I've changed poems after that too, sorry future) could be the same way it stood the first time, or mostly the same. Revisions are sometimes very minor things like articles or commas. But usually there are words that change, and very frequently the lineation changes quite a bit. Since the way I make lines is almost purely intuitive, that means it's emotional and emotions are mercurial. So I can retype the same poem a dozen times on a dozen days and have it come out differently, even twice in a row sometimes. The core of it probably remains the same most of the time though. And eventually they seem to settle into a form that seems right, and that's what I go with.

Some of the poems in this collection are bleak. I mean, I was directing my thinking intentionally toward Doomsday sorts of themes and naturally that has consequences. Cultivating a climate, like a sort of weather. And sometimes now the weather I'm in doesn't match the weather of the poem, and so there are some clashes and frustrations there too. But if I look at this all as an interesting experiment it's OK and is yes an interesting experiment. Anyway, not all of them are bleak, since my response to despair is usually to crack a joke, or to love something/someone like it's an emergency. [Update 10/22 to say that now that the book is finished, finally, and all the new pieces are in, it doesn't feel so bleak to me after all. I think some of the older poems (the oldest goes is actually 2003 but I guess I lost it for a while; most are 2007-2012 though) trigger certain personal memories about things going on during the years I was writing them, but those things aren't in the poems. These resonances are peculiar to me, and will not be there for readers.]

Not directing toward, letting it drift. The work is actually in keeping it from doing that all the time, isn't it?

So that's the sort of thing I am doing.

I'm writing some new poems to go into it too.

I'm also working on some editorial things, other people's spring books. And we got more chapbook submissions than expected, still reading those. (An update about these things would be more appropriate over there and is coming.)

Sandra is blogging this week at The Best American Poetry blog. Today she wrote about the sonnets that will be in her next Bloof book, House of Ions. Monday she wrote about lived experience and near-death experience and how poetry gets made. And yesterday she posted this conversation about women and poetry and critical work, with Juliana Spahr, Vanessa Place, Sina Queryas, Elisa Gabbert, Danielle Pafunda, and me. Well it was less of a conversation (by the time I came into it anyway to fill in for dropouts) than a sort of questionnaire, but it's still interesting, and we make a few witty jokes too. So, you can click that link to see these posts and our roundtable. I'm looking forward to seeing what she's going to post the rest of the week too.

I'm going to go hike four miles now. The other day a vulture stalked me while I was doing this hike, but I told him he was way too early. I can't help myself: I like vultures.


I have been away.

 But now I am back. So I hope to be back here soon too.

I guess I am just talking to the blog itself.


A few weeks ago...

...I talking with someone who is working on a collection of interviews. I mean he was interviewing me. I was having a hard time hearing (even with the hearing aids + headphones) on my cell phone and he was calling via Skype, but mostly we did OK. Also I'll get a chance to review and add to the transcript at some point. (Which is good, because there are several things I completely missed I think, and a few things I wish I had answered better, and a couple things I wasn't really prepared to talk about because the books are still somewhat in progress.) None of that matters. I'm just setting up what happened: He asked me and I tried to answer, and a lot of the time my answers were experimental. I didn't know what I would say, since I had never tried to say it before.

I will talk more about the interview book at another time, when it's getting closer to being published (not till 2013), because it sounds like it will be a very interesting project and I can't wait to read the interviews with everyone I saw on his list. But right now it isn't the point.

The point is: One of the questions lead to (but didn't start out being about) the sort of shift in tone between one part (Brink) and the next (The Seam). I can't remember right now what the question was, but it was something about my "two modes." I said something like

I wanted the feeling of the language to be heightened, to be--I don't want to say biblical or prophetic--maybe to be more formal, ominous like the situation. I didn't want it to be casual.

Oh look, now I'm quoting myself in a block, isn't blogging fun? But it's just so I can highlight that better, because the statement was sort of buried in that paragraph and I have something else to say about it.

S has started ordering critical studies re: speculative fiction for me, including this one he just gave me today called Rhetorics of Fantasy. (Farah Mendlesohn. It's from Wesleyan, publishers of both Kit Reed who I liked so much at Readercon with her "feral girlscouts" story, and Alice Notley, and a very intriguing bunch of stuff about feminism(s) in SF/Fantasy. Just go look at their list.) So I immediately started browsing this book on the couch, and of course I went straight to the index and looked up estrangement/defamiliarization (but she doesn't mention Shklovsky or the Russian formalists) and then poetry. And I found poetry, American Epic and I thought oh maybe really she will talk about Anne Carson or Alice Notley or someone like that, but it turns out she talks about Poe. Of course Poe is a good American, and I will finish reading it--the whole book, yes, naturally. In order even. Later. But this caught my eye before I started to flip back to the index to try again:
As we move from Poe to Lovecraft, we become increasingly aware of the degree to which the language of the intrusion fantasy, in its search for the contrast between the mundane and the intrusion, is parting company with other forms of fiction and developing its characteristic dual mode: an outer, "real" world depicted in a demotic, often faux-analytic voice, and an intruding "inner world" that must acquire a grandeur in order to communicate a sense of otherness.

There, now, I don't want to stop and explain what she means by intrusion fantasy, and anyway I think there's enough context there to give the gist. But I do want to emphasize this part: the language of the intruding "inner world" must acquire a grandeur in order to communicate a sense of otherness. 

So that's apparently what I meant to say when I was asked in the interview about my shift in tone, heh. I don't know that grandeur is right, exactly, but definitely the tone (or pitch) of the language is one of the ways I have tried to "communicate a sense of otherness" in the poem. But also other choices like the positioning of the two tracks on the pages, distinct typefaces, and other things. One track is much more prosaic than the other, and tends to have longer lines and blockier sorts of speeches (visual arrangement). The other track tends to have shorter lines--some very short interjections too, single words--and that speaker also has much less regard for narrative cohesiveness. (I think she just doesn't care if you know what she is talking about, exactly, so long as you know how she feels about it.) And then the outer-world voice (in my case, a third voice)  is the most demotic, and just like she describes above "faux-analytic" but also sort of officious, and is just in prose. I suppose I had some understanding of these conventions without really thinking too much about them at the time. Except for the frame story--the Archivist's Introduction. I was very conscious that it was a received sort of notion to have that kind of frame to introduce a fantasy. Children's stories might be a good example: Alice's sister reading to her under a tree, before the Wonderland part of the story begins. Isn't that how the beginning goes? Oh except that so-called outer-world is also an intruding world--the Archivist lives in a future even more distant than that of the poem.


Three ideas for covers

I've had one idea for the book covers for a while now--originally it was the idea I had for the combined single book, but when it split into two so did the cover concept. Neat how that worked.

About a week ago, I had another and have been living with that as a second option. Still like it.

And this morning woke with another one.

So I think I can start sketching them now. Each idea is a set of covers, visually relating the two separate books.


“Writing is an act of hope. However gloomy the content of the writing may be, the mere act of putting pen to paper is an act of communication; it presupposes a future reader, and thus a future.”

Margaret Atwood

I guess I would like that a little shorter, to be more quotable: 

Writing is an act of hope. [...I]t presupposes a future reader, and thus a future.

I do feel as though I am presupposing a future, actively or willfully, a little bit magically. And that does feel hopeful, in the face of the sometimes threatening-to-overwhelm concern that there may not be a long one. This isn't personal. In fact, I'd be much more hopeful if it were. Another great dissonance there: the ability (gift, really) to feel so excited, energetic, healthy, creative, in love amidst and despite the decay, willful destruction, greed, war, famine, disease, and "the 32[9]th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average." Absolutely there is friction between the personal and global there, and plenty of the guilt of the complicit scraping against the peace of, not innocence so what, feigned naiveté? I don't know how interesting any of that is to talk about. It's maybe as useful as signing petitions or  the hollow political displays of Facebook. Here are some signifying bumper stickers. I'm groping after another quotation I collected the other day about letting things in and shutting them out, and how both are essential, but I'm not remembering it right now. Is it wrong to indulge the hopefulness, to drift along under the shield of a put-on denial--denial isn't right--pretense? No, it's more like magical thinking than either. I don't know, and maybe I don't have the luxury of caring if it is wrong. It also seems wrong not to squeeze out whatever happiness I can, because how remarkable that I can! The four phases of the hazard cycle are: mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery. But all come after the disaster. So there are five phases to the cycle as I see it. It's certainly a lot easier to imagine and perhaps to deal with a single defined catastrophe than a gradual, decades-long, dispersed sort of wreckage. One book is all internal/external disaster (or decline/decay) and stages of recovery. The other I gave not one future, but three: a disaster (prologue future); the recovery of the "vulnerable community" with the simultaneous recovery of the central individual, though both recoveries are questionably complete or effective (here is the poem's future); and a preparedness/response (in the archivist's frame story, the third future) that sets them up for the next disaster (impending/presumed in frame story, sort of, so a tbd fourth future). Futures, rolling on into the beyond. And yes, that is supposed to be a happy ending.


But without the definite article:


And with it:

The Seam


Not one, but two

John Nicholson, Tectonic Works: Divergent
Plastic resin sculpture, 2007
Ryan Renshaw Gallery

Something exciting has happened. I had not been able to get back to the book since I gave it to my readers on the last day of March. Partially I was waiting until I had more feedback.

But also I knew something was wrong.

What was wrong has become clear. And now I can get back to it. I know what to do.

The book that is scheduled for October is now going to be split into two books. Everyone I've heard from on my editorial panel agrees with this. I resisted at first, have been resisting it for months.

But now it feels right.

I resisted because the two parts of the book share themes, and were written at the same time. For me, it has been very difficult to imagine them not being together.

But the two parts of the book are very different--the first part comprises shorter individual poems; the second part is one long poem (in three sections).

Even though there are elements shared between the short poems and the long poem, the experience of reading them (which my readers understand without my entanglements) is distinctly different. They are very different stylistically. The shorter poems seem stylistically related to my previous books--not the same, but along a continuum. The long poem is not like anything I have written before.

The conversation I have been having with my readers, all of them, as been invaluable. I could not have come to this decision alone, I don't think. I resisted the split, because I thought it meant Either/Or, rather than And.

Intuitively I felt the split, despite resisting it, when I arranged the book. Intuitively I knew when I titled the sections, despite resisting it. The book is full of before/afters, divergences, alternatives, doubled/multiple realties. Intimate/public selves. The books explores all kinds of splitting and suturing.

I guess I should say books.

The Brink, then, will come out in the fall (Nov.) as scheduled.
The Seam, then, will come out in April 2013.

They will be separate, individual, distinct. Two books.
But also together. A set of books.
They will be designed with complementary covers, for instance.

I still have some work to do on The Seam, but I now know what to do there too.

I don't know yet if I will keep or adapt the other, overarching title I had chosen when I had them under one cover. But that is something I still have time to think about!


Perhaps you will look up...

...and see this poem on your bus. If you live in Atlanta. In the future.

It will be part of this cool series, sponsored by the Emory Poetry Council.


Still rolling with the April poetry experiment (though I haven't written one today yet), and as usual I'll probably keep some of these, discard others, or mine them for lines. It's really good to be writing something other than the long poem, I think I already said that. (Though I'll be ready to turn my attention back to that with the readers' comments in mind in another week or two.) I accidentally wrote another sonnet yesterday, meaning I didn't count the lines or try to make it a particular thing, but that's how it came out anyway. It shaped itself and I let it.

We've hiked already 6 or 7 hours this week, obviously I've been dying for the weather to turn, so now that it has I'm wanting to be out in it all the time. I guess I'll start my garden this week. We rent our house, so we can't dig up the yard. I use Earthboxes, which are great because it's all pretty much automated once you get them set up with the potting soil and the organic fertilizer, so long as you remember to water them. I even do that on a timer when we go away during the summer. I am going to plant some cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños (my usual salsa garden) and also a bunch of greens: deer tongue lettuce, heirloom spinach, lacinato kale, champion collards, and some mache. It'll be my first time growing that. I may need another box.

I went to a poetry reading out here the other night and could hear pretty well. I still have trouble with very low-pitch male voices. Maybe I can get the audiologist to adjust for that when I see her in May. I guess I haven't talked about the "new ears" here, just on FB. Well, maybe later.

Oh I'm thinking we can go kayaking soon, on the Delaware. We still haven't done that here, just on the canals, or up in Maine. It looks like there are some good places though. I'm reading up on it.


Sometimes I miss this blog. I was answering some questions a week or so ago for a student who was writing about my poems for her thesis, and she asked about an old interview I gave several years ago. I don't remember what I said in the interview exactly, and have no interest in going back and listening to it, but it was about blogs and stuff. In the questions she asked me though, I had to explain how I thought things had changed, how blogs had been replaced by other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. I don't tweet. I can't even stand to read Twitter feeds. Sometimes I'll try, if there's a particular poet who isn't "talking" anywhere else. But visually I find it a mess. I get pretty instantly annoyed that (at least without my own participatory account) I can't easily follow a conversation, all on one screen. The real-time blur is the exact opposite of how I want to read anyway. This is the same reason I ignore the real-time feed on FB.

Anyway, I'm off track, something FB posts and Twitter (I guess) would not even lend me the luxury of space to do. What I meant to say was that in answering this woman's questions about the role of blogs for poets I remembered what mine used to be for me, and how it was so exciting at first, that people were reading what I was thinking about, and then how suddenly it felt oppressive to be scrutinized. I became a spectacle. This feeling had to do with particular people and the way they read what I wrote here, and how they behaved about it. It was all very weird. But there were good things about it too. Maybe I've been quiet here so long this no longer matters. Marking books as "read" on Goodreads and snapping phone pics of poem passages to share on FB is OK--I enjoy doing those things. But... Oh also then Craig Santos Perez wrote this on Harriet and it made me laugh. I post a lot of vegan food pics on FB too.

So I've been writing mostly sonnets for April, as my daily writing. I didn't go into it with a plan to write sonnets but because I'm doing this with Sandra and she did sonnets last year, I wrote one, then a couple days later another one, and I just keep doing them. For one thing, fourteen lines is definitely feeling a lot different than the long poem (which turned out to be 81 pp in manuscript in the latest version). It's cozy, but also freeing, to have a room exactly that size, fourteen lines. I'm not rhyming or measuring them, but I am keeping the turn at the end most of the time, as a sort of structure. As usual, most of them will not "make" but maybe some of them will. I worry about that later. In April the point is just to go with the experiment and see what happens. I don't know why some people get annoyed or uptight about posting drafts. I guess we're back at the spectacle. Public is a constraint that can be useful. Maybe I mean that.

I'm not going to make any effort to wrap this up, like some kind of essay, as if I have any point I wanted to make. I'm going for a hike before it rains. Then I have to finish the taxes. We get till the 17th this year, you know. I forget why.


NaPoWriMo & forthcoming

Ten years? Can you believe it?

I'll be playing at the Bloof Blog.

Find other participants or sign up yourself: NaPoWriMo 2012, hosted by Maureen Thorson.

& in other news...

I have a couple of poems forthcoming in the next issue of Barrelhouse.

And copies of the new book manuscript--including the finally-at last-oh thank goodness-it's really done-whew long poem "The Seam" are going to readers this weekend. (The Spouse is currently mulling it.)

I'm thinking of changing the book's title again.

I have an idea for the cover design.

Shooting for an October release.


Also appearing

Court Green is consistently one of my favorite lit mags. The dossier this issue is on the short poem, 10 lines or less. Subscribe/purchase.
TOC includes all those pictured above, plus...Evan Lavender-Smith, Charles Jensen, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Sandra Simonds, Erica Bernheim, Benjamin S. Grossberg, Stephen Danos, Steven Toussaint, Maggie Nelson, D.A. Powell, Bo McGuire, Tim Dlugos, Graham Foust, Bernadette Mayer*, James Schuyler*, Ron Padgett, Shanna Compton*, Mary Ann Samyn, Elise Cowen, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Laura Kasischke, Andrew Hudgins, Rachel Zucker, Nicole Wilson, Jan Bottiglieri, Casey Thayer, Susan Cataldo, Jordan Stempleman, Jim Cory, Scott Keeney, Tim Dlugos*, Kathleen Ossip, Larry Sawyer, Margo Pappas, Guillermo Filice Castro, Albert Goldbarth, Richard Fox, Tara Betts, Gregory Brooker, Jo McDougall, MRB Chelko, Guy Rotella, Charles Jensen*, Aaron Belz, Craig Cotter, Mike Topp, Jeremy Halinen, Suzanne Buffam, Elizabeth Savage, D.A. Powell*, Patrick Culliton, Jeff Tighchelaar, Joseph Massey, Robert Creely, Elaine Equi* (* in both sections)
Also, see you at their launch reading in Chicago next week.



March 1-3 in Chicago

Also, I will be reading for Court Green (same night, before I go to this). And most of the time I will be sitting at a table (R 12) eerily similar to this one, at the bookfair:

Please come say hello. I'll have 2+ weeks of practice with my new hearing aids under my belt by then, so I will actually be able to hear you!