Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Postmark for Poets on the Coast ~ Midnight Tonight!

Women Writers-- Last Day for Poets on the Coast Retreat in Oregon at Discounted Rate

We're filling the final places for this retreat (thank you to the women who have
signed up and written us over the last 2 days!) and there was a question I
wanted to answer--

If I want to sign up, but am not paying by PayPal, can I email you the 
registration form for Poets on the Coast then mail the check today 
on May 31?

Answer:  Yes.  That is absolutely fine.  Just email us the registration form 
so we can hold your place and mail the check today.  As long as it's 

May 31, you are welcome to the discounted price.  


Kelli and I met yesterday and some of the topics poets want discussed
are putting together a chapbook and questions on publication, so those
will be two things we will definitely be discussing. The number one thing
that everyone is excited about is a private one on one meeting to discuss
your work, your life, your questions ...

Plus, yoga in the morning if you choose, chocolate, beach and writing
time, dinner together in one of the most incredible hotels around -
the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

All information and registration for Poets on the Coast can be 
found here.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Dream of Honey by Matthew Sweeney

A Dream of Honey
I dreamed that bees were extinct,
had been for decades, and honey
was a fabled memory, except for jars
hoarded by ancient, wealthy gourmets.
Honey was still on the shelves, of course –
that’s what they’d named the sweet concoction
chemists had arrived at, and it sold well,
not just to those who knew no better,
and the day was coming fast when no one
alive would be able to taste the difference.
Then one Friday morning in Riga
a peasant woman arrived by horse and cart
at the old Zeppelin Hangars market
and set up her stall with jars of honey
flavoured by the various flowers. Around her
sellers of the new honey gawped, then sniffed
as she screwed the lids off, then glared
as her jars were snapped up in minutes,
and she climbed on her cart again
and let the horse take her away.
In the dream, e-mails sped everywhere
about this resurrection of honey,
and supermarket-suppliers scoured Latvia,
knocking on every door, sending helicopters
low over houses, looking for beehives,
but after a month they gave it up,
and the woman never appeared again
though rumours of her honey-selling
came over the border from Russia
and continued beyond the dream.

Room is Running Out at Poets on the Coast - Monday is the Deadline for Saving $

Join us for poetry, peace, and writing prompts. All this and snacks, too.

Join Kelli Russell Agodon and me for our first ever Poets on the Coast: A Retreat for Women Writers.
We have only a few spaces left and you know it would be cool to join us. Women are coming in from all corners of the country to be part of this event. We have poets and non-poets, journalists and children's book writers. A love of language and an openness to experiment is all that's required. See you in Sept.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

And Sometimes a Ticket is Just the Ticket

St Stephen's Green, Dublin

Sometimes deciding on a plan is as simple as hitting "submit" on an airline's website. Yesterday I bought a ticket for Dublin and so I am Ireland bound this summer. This will be my third visit to Ireland but my first time in the southwest of the country. I will begin my travels in Dublin, then County Cork and then anything is possible. Before I bought this ticket, I was anxious and depressed about my life and suddenly with an adventure on the horizon all that's changed. I now love my life again. It is with a bittersweet taste I realize I will be gone during some of the most beautiful Seattle weather and the garden will move on without me. So why am I leaving? What calls to me across the Atlantic? Is the thirteen hour flight with an eight? nine? hour time difference worth the trouble?

In a word: yes. Of course Ireland is a country of poets and gorgeous besides, but that's not why I go. I've worked in Gaza and South Africa, bartended in Scotland, monitored elections in Bosnia and here's the secret: I travel to feel the world more intensely than is possible at home. I go to see who I am stripped of comfort and middle class privilege. Of course just that I have the freedom to travel means that last sentence is highly suspect, actually wrong. What I mean is that when I travel, I connect more fully to a basic humanity. My mind is open to possibility in a way distinctly different from when I go for a morning walk where I live. There is danger and ecstasy possible in travel -- in the discovery of a sculpture or the sight of a mountain view.

When I travel alone I'm a stranger in the world. And really, aren't we all strangers? I travel to find myself lost along a Spanish dirt road or in the middle of a city park. I make momentary friends with taxi drivers who recite Patrick Kavanagh by heart. I go in order to challenge myself to love life with all my heart.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dreaming of Travel: Needing to Decide Soon ...

Cork City, Ireland
This afternoon a colleague stopped me on the stairs of our faculty building. Have you decided? she asked. She didn't have to explain. At our college, summer begins in two weeks. Everyone is talking about their upcoming trips to London, Istanbul, Croatia. Most of my friends are far better planners than I am. I'm decidedly slow. There are so many places in the world to visit. How to choose just one? Or two? And let's be honest. My last international trip ended in wildfires and an early evacuation home. Travel is complicated. Like love.

And yet I need it to feel alive. Travel challenges me and makes me confront the unknown within the world and within my own body. I promised my friend (she has at least four separate trips planned this summer!) that I would work on getting something figured out. And immediately I remembered an artist residency in Ireland that I'd read about - Anam Cara in the southwest of Ireland. Then I remembered I had friends in Ireland. I like to travel to artist residencies and I like to see friends in faraway places -- places that I have some familiarity with. This would be my third trip to Ireland but my first trip to the southern area.

My goal is to decide on an adventure by the end of the weekend. This is the time of year that airline tickets start to skyrocket. Kayak says three tickets left at this price! I am open to any and all suggestions.
Where was your best travel experience? Where shall I wander this time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are You Still Putting Off Your Blog? Smart Tips by Midge Raymond

Well, the tips are to actually get you started blogging. Or to reinvigorate a blog that's become stale. I hope to follow at least half the good advice presented here. My one quibble is with the emphasis on staying on topic. However, since my blog is meant to cover the creative writing life, that leaves a great deal of room for new ideas. I especially like the idea of essentially having a weekly column like January O'Neil and Kelli Agodon do for Confession Tuesday or Thankful Thursday. Maybe I will try this.

 Since today is Thursday let me say I am thankful for smart writer friends like Midge, Kelli, and January for their generosity of spirit and their best words in the best order. Happy day!

Book Promo 101: How to create a successful blog

The first bit of advice most writers get about book promotion is usually: “Write a blog.” And it’s great advice. Yet writers often think, “Wait…I’ve just spent six years on this novel, and now I have to write more?”
Well, yes.
Of course, some published writers are published solely because of their blogs (there are too many success stories to name, but surely you’ve heard of Sh*t My Dad Says and Julie & Julia). So if you’re writing nonfiction, you’re at an advantage; whether it’s cooking or travel or advice for moms, nonfiction lends itself well to blogging. If you’re enough of an expert in something to write a book about it, you probably already have a blog, which means you’ve got a platform and you’ve got great stuff to take to agents and editors.
But if you’re a fiction writer or poet, you may not have considered writing a blog. You may be far more interested in writing drafts of stories and poems than in trying to create content for blog posts and worrying about building an audience. And I feel your pain; I put off blogging as long as I could, until I finally gave in and started a version of this blog back in 2006.
When I began my blog, I was juggling a zillion things and barely had time to write as it was — and I wondered why I should write a blog when I could be writing stories. To continue reading click here...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I have loved this song for a long time

I have loved this song for a long time but not known who sings it. How happy I am to be introduced to Yael Naim  who was born in Paris, France to Tunisian Jewish immigrants from Tunisia. At the age of four, she moved with her family to Ramat HaSharonIsrael, where she spent the rest of her childhood. She served in the Israel Defense Force as a soloist in the Israel Air Force Orchestra.

Yes, it's a pop song, but sometimes there is a good reason that pop songs are popular. This is the song that got Naim noticed when it appeared in an advertisement for Apple Computers. This video however, has a different message. It makes me happy each time I watch it.

Thank you to Kelli Russell Agodon for posting this today and solving the mystery of an otherworldly voice that has haunted me for months.

I am excited to be part of this journal - handmade and gorgeous

I learned about this journal when I was on a panel on publishing with Jennifer Borges Foster at Richard Hugo House last year. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to be part of this project. Jennifer is a visual artist and poet -- Filter is the artistic endeavor that brings her different talents together. Jennifer is also a superb gardener; she's someone in Seattle that I would like to know better. However, if you don't live in Seattle, you can still order copies of Filter. Each is a work of art and are collected by art collectors. How cool is that? (To order see the very end of this post!)

The Filter Vol. III Release Party will be: Friday, June 17th, 8p.m.at the Fremont Abbey, 4272 Fremont Ave North, Seattle, WA 98103

An evening of readings from Zachary Schomburg, John Osebold, Stacey Levine, Maged Zaher, Karen Finneyfrock, Ed Skoog, Elizabeth Colen, Elissa Washuta, Susan Rich and Sarah Bartlett . Freshly letterpressed copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Filter Vol. III has arrived. This 3rd issue of the entirely handmade journal is a box of wonder: The cover has a paint-by-numbers theme, and the box structure is letterpress printed by Kate Fernandez of Fernandez and Sons. The book will be filled with brilliant work in individually bound chapbooks of prose and poetry, with art postcards and posters that you can remove and display.
The contributors in Filter III are:
Yusef Komunyakaa, Zachary Schomburg, Stacey Levine, Amanda Manitach, Maged Zaher, Sharon Arnold, Martha Silano, John Osebold, Rebecca Brown, Counsel Langely, Ed Skoog, Karen Finneyfrock, Sean Ennis, Sarah Mangold, Gala Bent, Rachel Contreni Flynn, David Lasky, Elizabeth Colen, Sandra & Ben Doller, Brandon Shimoda, Ben Beres, Brandon Downing, Sarah Kate Moore, Dan Rosenberg, Susan Rich, Susan Denning, Sid Miller, Sarah Bartlett, Shawn Vestal, Marie-Caroline Moir, Lucy Corin, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Jill McDonough, Jessica Goodfellow, Jessica Bonin, Friedrich Kerksieck , Erika Wilder, Elissa Washuta, David Bartone, Chris Dusterhoff, Britt Ashley, Becca Yenser, Anne Gorrick

Tickets for the Filter release party are on sale now through Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, and $5 for students and seniors.

Copies of Filter may be purchased at: tickerfinch.etsy.com

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Makes This Writing Retreat DIfferent From All Other Retreats? Many Things ~

What makes Poets on the Coast different from any other writing retreat you might attend?

1. We will provide gourmet chocolate to inspire you.
2. The sound and scent and sight of the ocean will infuse your dreams with new poems (we expect).
3. You will have a private time to discuss your writing with Susan or Kelli at no extra charge.
4. There are two cats on the property to keep you company (or you can close your door).
5. As poets, we have been on many different retreats and given hundreds of workshops, but this is the first one we've actually designed. We are invested in making this an amazing weekend for everyone.
6. The weather on the Oregon Coast in early September is magical.
7. The breakfasts served (included with your room) are legion for style and size.
8. Optional morning yoga relaxation will be available to you from one of our participants (free).
9. Our group is diverse in age, geography, ethnicity... All women welcome regardless of genre.
10. And did we mention the dinners? Food, laughter, and lots of writing. What could be better?

Register by May 31st to receive a free copy of Crab Creek Review and a $50 discount!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Sarajevo hard at work
I am so glad to be back home in the craziness of end of the quarter (almost) grading and the sense that summer will come soon with (finally) time to devote to my writing. In the meantime, I capped off my year of travel with a marvelous weekend at the Massachusetts' Poetry Festival in Salem, MA. Organizers of this festival understood the playfulness of poetry festivals and saw to everything from poetry trains and trollys to memorable sessions on Lorca and Bishop. I've been to dozens of poetry festivals and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival ranks as a world class event.

I don't know all the names of the village of volunteers that made this event possible, but I do know that three key players were Michael Ansara, January O'Neil, and Jennifer Jean. I tip my poetry cap to you!

As a former organizer for Amnesty International USA, I know all the energy and months of planning it takes to pull off an event with an outdoor stage, several different venues, over a hundred (!) poets, and a series of musical acts. Please forgive me for not mentioning special projects like The Poetry Dress and other amazing things that were included in this festival. As a participant, I gave a workshop, "Speaking Pictures" and spoke on a panel on "Lives of the Poets" my job was easy. I worked with the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) and was overwhelmed with the warmth and cooperation that everyone I encountered there from Michelle Moon to the museum security guards showed me.

I'm still thinking about what made this event so important for me, but for now let me mention some personal highlights.

Mark Doty speaking on Dutch Still Life at the PEM

Lloyd Schwartz on Elizabeth Bishop at the PEM

Meeting an old friend in the women's bathroom at the PEM

Spending time with new friend poets Joseph O. Legaspi and Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Duende on deck

More to come!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Count Down to Massachusetts Poetry Festival - See You in Salem

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival has something for everyone. Here is a list of resources and events for teachers. And here is the schedule for all the cool events going on this Friday and Saturday. You can sign up for what you would like to attend (this is especially important for the workshops) or just browse the offerings. See you there -- along with Mark Doty, Jericho Brown, Brian Turner, and January O'Neil. PS Recognize the photo? This is Salem City Hall.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Best Women's Travel Writing Hits the Bookstores and iTunes

I'm happy to announce that The Best Women's Travel Writing, 2011 edited by Lavinia Spaulding and published by Traveller's Tales is now alive and well in the world. I'm thrilled to have my travel essay, Blue Gates, set during my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zinder, Niger included in this strong collection. There are a dozen readings scheduled all over the United States --- two of these will be in Seattle. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 22nd at Elliott Bay Book Company. If you are traveling this summer you can catch up with us 7:00 pm Tuesday, October 4th at Wide World of Books and Maps.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Introducing the Jack Straw Writers - Hear Them This Friday @ 7pm

This September I was thinking about the fact that I am no longer a "young" writer, nor am I an "emerging" writer now that book three is out in the world. Somehow I've become a writer that is in a postion to help mentor other writers. Maybe we are all mentoring each other? I think so.

So when Joan Rabinowitz of Jack Straw Productions contacted me to curate this year's Jack Straw Writing Program it seemed the perfect opportunity to work with a group of writers. These writers (some with books, some not-yet published, some who are publishing books in 2011 for the first time ) were a delight to read (chosen from about one hundred writers) and great fun to get to know.

 Poets, fiction writers, memoir writers and non-fiction writers --- these men and women have more in common than I realized at first. Many of these writers are global travelers concerned with issues of immigration and migration of both people and goods; other writers tell of their own lives: a doctor concerned with women's health, a woman magician in a man's world, a former nun. Come to Jack Straw 7:00 pm this Friday, May 6th and you will hear Harold Taw, Nora Wendl, Ann Teplick and Maritess Zurbano. The Jack Straw Writers Program is celebrating its 15th birthday; come be part of the festivities. $5 suggested donation gets you a copy of this year's anthology and refreshments.

What is Jack Straw Writers Program? How can I apply to be a Jack Straw Fellow? All information on the Jack Straw Writers Program is available to you right here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday on Tuesday: Jeannine Hall Gailey Reviews The Alchemist's Kitchen

Many thanks to Jeannine Hall Gailey who reviewed The Alchemist's Kitchen in the current issue of Rattle.
Here is my favorite part of Jeannine's review:

This is the kind of book you want to linger over and savor, as Rich’s poems bring the reader into a circle of awareness: to the flavors, the undercurrents of poignancy in the familiar and the exotic, in the world around them.

You can read the rest of the review by clicking here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Join Kelli Russell Agodon and me for "Poets on the Coast" ~ Register Now While Rates Are Low

And the winners are ...Rita Mae ... Congratulations to you both!

True Random Number GeneratorAnd the winner is Rita Mae for enjo  17Powered by RANDOM.ORG

And the winners are ...poet Luke Johnson of Seattle, WA

And the winner is Luke Johnson of Seattlefor The Cartographer's Tongue!True Random Number Generator  28Powered by RANDOM.ORG