Friday, July 30, 2004

Guardian Unlimited Books has a great Poetry Mood Matcher that tells you what sort of mood you're in and prescribes a poem appropriate for that mood. Great fun!

The fact that I ended up with a Walt Whitman poem seemed auspicious, since my novel-in-progress is centered around Walt Whitman (and the word auspicious is auspicious in itself! One of my wonderful UCLA students sent a link to show me that the word "auspicious" comes from the Latin for "bird seer"! I wish I had known about this when I was writing The Book of Dead Birds.) I love when signs and omens pop up in my writing process--they keep me going, help me feel I'm on the right path.

A not so auspicious thing today: I received official notification that both of my hardcover books have been remaindered. This of course makes me a bit sad. I'm just grateful that the books continue to live on in paperback. Maybe I can become part of the Rock Bottom Remainders band now--I can shake a mean tambourine!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Every February, UCR hosts a wonderful Writers Week, with free readings/panel discussions/etc open to the public. They always print up a big poster with all of the authors' names and photos on them. When my son was two, he was fascinated with this poster, which I had put up on our fridge. He would point to the pictures, and I would read the names to him, and eventually he memorized all of them. One day, I brought him with me, in his stroller, to a panel discussion. A dreadlocked man walked into the room, and Arin said "That's Quincy Troupe!" Everyone was quite shocked and delighted that this tiny person knew who the poet was. And then Ronald Sukenick walked into the room, and my son yelled, with great glee, "Sukenick!" (it was his favorite name on the poster.) I've had a soft spot for Ronald Sukenick ever since, and am sorry to hear of his recent passing.
Thank you to everyone who came to the Poetic Justice concert--everyone who performed (you were incredible!), everyone who got doused by the sprinklers, everyone who came to see the show and ended up helping us chop vegetables in the catering tent, every single wonderful person who walked through those park gates--your presence was deeply appreciated. I am very grateful. Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong logistically did, but it ended up being an amazing evening, nontheless. Sometimes beauty can come out of chaos. It did on Saturday. Thanks again to everyone for making it happen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Some more wondeful poets have recently been added to the Poetic Justice line up:
Juan Delgado and Richard Beban.
You can purchase or reserve tickets for the event online now at Inland Abolition. If you want to join us for the dinner, please let us know by Thursday, July 22nd (and let us know whether you'd prefer a vegetarian or chicken entree.) Thanks! 

Monday, July 19, 2004

I got stung by a jellyfish yesterday, and I've been giddy about it ever since. I keep saying it out loud: "I was stung by a jellyfish!" I can barely believe it. I've always loved jellyfish; I'm tickled that one tasted me, brushed up against my legs. It hurt like hell--like being stabbed with hundreds of tiny shards of glass on the inner flesh of my knees (I wonder if the jellyfish mistook my knees, those pale globes, for other jellyfish from a distance. When it came up to say hello, maybe it was shocked by the opacity of my skin, the hardness of my bones; maybe that's why it unleashed its venom.) I am waiting for my superpowers to kick in--maybe I'll become Jellyfish Girl now. My niece was stung, too; I think both of us will be floating around town soon, our tentacles undulating, our spines dissolving, our domed heads gleaming in the sun.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I mentioned the upcoming Poetic Justice concert in a recent post, but I thought I should give the full scoop. It's coming up soon--please spread the word if you know anyone in Southern CA!

Here is the text of a letter I sent out to friends and family recently (at 4 in the morning, actually--I couldn't seem to sleep last night)...

>I hope you will be able to join me on Saturday, July 24th for Poetic Justice: An Evening of Spoken Word and Music in Opposition to the Death Penalty. We have assembled a beautiful group of artists from the Inland Empire and beyond to speak out/sing out/strum out against execution. Performers include renowned slam poet Rachel Kann, singer/songwriter Mark Nemetz (Bucksworth), traditional Mexican vocalist Ana Gonzales, myself, and many others. Comedian Jonathan Solomon, who has performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, among other venues, will be our MC.

>The concert will be held at White Park in Riverside, on Market St. between 9th and 10th. A delicious optional dinner will be served at 7:00. $35 will bring you dinner, the concert, and free membership in Death Penalty Focus (normally $35 in itself). The concert will begin at 8:00. Tickets for the show, without dinner, are available for a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds will directly benefit the Inland Empire Chapter of Death Penalty Focus. Advance tickets are available at local coffee houses, or you can purchase them through me or Carolyn Boyle ( Tickets will also be available at the door.

>If you have any questions, or if you would like to help out at the event, please let me know. We still have vending space, if anyone is interested in selling art/crafts/etc. Advertising space is still available in the program, as well (it's very reasonable.)

>Thank you for your support! I very much hope to see you there!
Moondance: Celebrating Creative Women, just published my poem, Matt, Hang Gliding (and chose it as one of the "best in theme"--the theme of this issue is "wind", which happens to be a recurring theme in my own work, and has been from the time I wrote my first poem!) It's interesting that Matt's hang gliding has come up twice online in just a little over a week--I referenced it in my post about my Antioch reading, as well. Matt hasn't flown in about 10 years (and I actually wrote the poem around 15 years ago, when I was an undergrad). I'm happy he's more earth bound these days, but it's cool that his flying experience has found a way to seep into my work.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

My interview with Connie Martinson will be streamed this Tuesday, July 6, 9am PST, at Connie Martinson Talks Books. It will also be aired on select cable channels throughout the country that day--check the website for details. I had a great time with Connie, but I don't think I'll be able to watch the interview--I feel funny when I see/hear myself on tape. I mostly hope sweat isn't pouring down my face--those lights were hot!

Friday, July 02, 2004

Mark Sarvas was kind enough to post my account of my Antioch reading at his most excellent literary blog, The Elegant Variation. It was a very intense night for me. I think my heart is still pounding hard!

My short short story, Rapture, is now up at Vestal Review, too.

Thanks to everyone who came to see me read in San Francisco--I had a blast!