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Monday, March 22, 2010


Fewer Than Ten Days Til NaPoWriMo

Spring is here, which means that NaPoWriMo stalks the land, ready to bring poetry to all and sundry. Will you take part?

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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Thursday, March 18, 2010


Beware the Ides of Napowrimo

Lo, the Ides of March are past, and do you know where your poems are? If not, why not sign up for NaPoWriMo? Soon you will be awash in poetic splendor!

And this weekend, poetry comes once more to the DC Arts Center:


@ District of Columbia Arts Center
3:00PM, March 21, 2010





Please join the In Your Ear Reading Series for a reading by Farrah Field, Chris Nealon, and Shafer Hall at 3PM on Sunday, February 21.

Farrah Field's poems have appeared in many publications including the Mississippi Review, Typo, Harp & Altar, La Petite Zine, Copper Nickel, Effing Magazine, and Ploughshares and are forthcoming in Mantis, Cannibal, and Memorious. Rising, her first book of poems, won Four Way Books' 2007 Levis Prize. She lives in Brooklyn where she co-hosts a reading series called Yardmeter Editions. She blogs at adultish.blogspot.com.

Chris Nealon grew up in Binghamton, NY, and moved out west in the mid-90s, where he lived for about 15 years, teaching at UC Berkeley. He recently moved back east, and teaches in the English Department at Johns Hopkins. He is the author of two books of poems, The Joyous Age (Black Square Editions, 2004), and Plummet (Edge Books, 2009), as well as two books of literary criticism: Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall (Duke UP 2001), and The Matter of Capital: Poetry and Crisis in The American Century (forthcoming from Harvard UP, 2011). He lives in Washington, DC.

Shafer Hall is a senior poetry editor for Painted Bride Quartely, a poetry curator and host for the Frequency Reading Series, and a poetry bartender for poets in New York, but mostly he's a poetry writer from Texas who loves to write poetry. His poems and collaborations have appeared in the Indiana Review, Eyeshot.net, Unpleasant Event Schedule, and many other journals. His first collection of poems is available from No Tell Motel.

Admission is $5.00.

District of Columbia Arts Center is located at 2438 18th Street NW in Adams
Morgan, Washington, DC, between the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park metro
stations. For directions, see the DCAC web site at

posted by Reen |link| 1 comments

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Your Personal Theme Song

So, sometimes I associate songs with someone I know. Certain songs either (a) are sung/played in such a way so as to be instantly linked in my mind with a certain friend or relative's attitude toward the world (or, conversely, my attitude toward them), or (b) have substantive lyrics that describe (literally or figuratively) a certain person's situation so as to do one of the two things of (a) -- either express their attitude toward the world or mine toward them.

Does this happen to you?

It doesn't happen so often to me, but maybe for four or five people, I have definite songs. They don't have to be super close to me. Some of them mere acquaintances, but something struck me about them in a way that could be nicely linked up with a song. There's something almost involuntary about it. Deep-seated. This always happens to me long after I first heard the song and liked it. Suddenly I'll meet a person who matches that song perfectly, and from that day forward, the song is associated with them, even though I first heard it and had an affection for it much prior to that.

I won't tell you the people, but here are the songs that I have linked to individuals:

1) Pavement -- Shady Lane
2) Paul Simon -- I Know What I Know
3) Wilco -- I'm the Man That Loves You
4) Wilco (again) -- Poor Places
5) Paul Simon (again) -- Kodachrome
6) Beck -- Lost Cause

Now, there are other songs/artists I associate with people because I listened to that song with them, or I know they love that song, or something. But these are a few instances where my identification of the person with the song has nothing to do with whether they like or even have ever heard the song. I independently arrived at an identification of the person with the song, so that now, whenever I hear it, I think of that person. Also, now that I think of it, this only happens with dudes! I have no lady-specific songs.

Maybe the fact that Wilco and an un-Garfunkeled Paul Simon shows up twice says more about me than anyone I know, but there you have it. How's about you?

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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The side-windows of the 1978 Ford Ranchero are trapezoidal in nature. To wit:

posted by Reen |link| 1 comments

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Shot Through the Heart, and Thou'st to Blame

Oh, how I love Hark, A Vagrant. The continuing series of comics based on novels whose covers were designed by Edward Gorey pleases me. Also see: Tesla, the Celibate Scientist and Party Times With Richard III.

Earworms of the Week: The Macarena, You Can't Hurry Love, Bungalow Bill (which I always thought was Buffalo Bill when I was a kid. I mean, Bungalow Bill? Who gets nicknamed for a small, rural cottage?)

Yesterday, I bought seeds. But not tomato seeds. I have given up on my grand tomato-raising plans, as it is inevitable that I will be frustrated by squirrels. Instead I have decided to focus on turning our back balcony into a flowering bower of awesome. That also produces beans.

To this end, I have purchased packets of seeds for two types of runner/pole beans that are supposed to have crazy flowers and do well in hot, humid climates, as well as a packet of sweet pea seeds.

I also bought two packets of kooky heirloom watermelon seeds, which I plan to unleash on Ryan's backyard. I'd like to see a squirrel carry off a 15-lb watermelon, I tell you what.

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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Monday, March 08, 2010


Newsy News

A new installment of the hypothetical library invites you to learn what really happened.

Birds LLC is live and offering a $20 pre-order special on its first two books, Elisa Gabbert's The French Exit and Chris Tonelli's The Trees Around.

More people are signing up for NaPoWriMo. Will you be one?

Also, as a reminder, Big Game Books is accepting queries regarding full-length poetry manuscripts through the end of this month.

Finally, it is actually turning into spring. I did not have to wear a hat to walk to the subway today. Hatless! And without hat-hair. Glorious. Also, I braised a five-pound brisket on Saturday. This means my house is awash in meat.

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Come, All Ye Fateful

Today was gray and soggy, like an unattended bowl of off-brand cereal.

But I've had many poetry thoughts buzzing around. I actually stopped on my way to the subway today several times in order to take down my thoughts. I probably looked like a caricature of a poet, sans ostrich plume and flowing tunic. And Prince Valiant haircut. My hair is more "disheveled elderly person" than "princely helmet."

I am also rife with cooking thoughts. This weekend, I shall create a feast! And perhaps buy an expensive casserole dish!

A Short List of the Most Ridiculous Cooking Implements I Own:

A citrus zester
An avocado slicer
A loosebottomed tart pan
Porcelain ramekins of assorted sizes
An ice-cream machine

I cannot yet bring myself to purchase a double boiler (why not just put a glass bowl on top of a pot of water?), or any of the newfangled items meant to either chop garlic or make lemons/tomatoes/onions/etc last for seventy times their normal shelf life. I have, however, been coveting an immersion blender...

Today, for various reasons, my bosses asked me to look up things with very very long odds. So here are some long odds for you:

Chances of being struck by lightning in a given year: 1 in 750,000
Chances of being diagnosed this year with the Black Plague: 1 in approximately 17 million.
Chances of a given cow's hide becoming part of a football used during Superbowl play: also 1 in approximately 17 million
Chances of winning the Powerball jackpot: 1 in 200 million.

This means that, for every Powerball jackpot winner, 11.76 people get the plague, and 11.76 cows are on a field of GLORY.

I also learned that there are estimated to be between 10^20 and 10^24 grains of sand on earth. My job is weird.

posted by Reen |link| 4 comments

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Poems, Book Design and NaPoWriMo

Allo! I have been hiding, reading books and scrawling things down on wee scraps of paper. In the meantime, there is some news!

First, I have two poems in the new So And So.

Second, designer-extraordinaire Charlie Orr has a new project, The Hypothetical Library, wherein he designs covers for books authors don't think they will write, but kind of wish they could. The first installment is here.

And finally, March has arrived. Less than one month until NaPoWriMo! The list of participants is slowly growing. Will March turn it into a floodstorm? I sure hope so!

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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Saturday, February 20, 2010


Many thanks to Wade Fletcher and Joe Hall for inviting me to read at Cheryl's Gone, and to my co-readers, James Belflower and Laura Ellen Scott. I had a wonderful time -- the atmosphere at Big Bear Cafe was laid-back and friendly, the audience receptive, and I got to read some brand new poems. It's always a little frightening to try out something squeaky and untested, but it all went well. I had that little reading high you get after it's all over and no one has thrown any tomatoes.

Speaking of readings, tomorrow brings us the new installment of In Your Ear. This month, we're featuring Ken Jacobs and Todd Colby. Come on down! Here's the details--


@ District of Columbia Arts Center
3:00PM, Feb 21, 2010




Please join the In Your Ear Reading Series for a reading by Todd Colby
and Ken Jacobs at 3PM on Sunday, February 21.

Ken Jacobs has lived in and about Washington D.C. for more than thirty
years. A new pamphlet Sooner from Phylum Press was released in
December 2009.

Todd Colby has published four books of poetry: Ripsnort (1994), Cush
(1995), Riot in the Charm Factory: New and Selected Writings (2000),
and Tremble & Shine (2004), all published by Soft Skull Press. Todd
has performed his poetry on PBS and MTV, and his collaborative books
and paintings with artist David Lantow can be seen in the Brooklyn
Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art special collections
libraries. Todd serves on the Board of Directors for The Poetry
Project, where he has also taught several poetry workshops, and he
posts new work on gleefarm.blogspot.com.

Admission is $5.00.

District of Columbia Arts Center is located at 2438 18th Street NW in Adams
Morgan, Washington, DC, between the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park metro
stations. For directions, see the DCAC web site at

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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Thursday, February 11, 2010


I Read You Poems

Hey DC! I will read you and your snow some poems! Next Thursday, the 18th at the Big Bear Cafe. Happily, all these many snow days have allowed me to revise a bunch of poems. Whew! If all my work days were basically 4-5 hours each, I would be so much more prolific than I generally am.

Anyway, come out and see me! There may be prizes. I enjoy motivating people to hear poems. Perhaps a wind-up toy is in your future, potential listeners!

Anyway, here are the details, if you do not feel entirely like clicking through:

Me! And James Belflower and Laura Scott, Thursday Feb. 18, at 8 PM at Big Bear Cafe, 1700 1st St NW Washington DC (at 1st and R). Be there or be too quadratic.

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The View From My Home Office

Jeff just took this artsy long-exposure photo of the view from my home office window. Lo and behold the insanity of Snowverkill. Brick walls have blossomed with snow-lichens. All day the winds have blown like something out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel. I distinctly remember a passage in one of those books where they had to string a rope between the house and the barn so they could go out and feed + water the cattle in the barn without getting lost in the white-out of a Dakota blizzard. DC is kinda feeling that vibe today. Which is insane. DC = south of the Mason-Dixon, = "a city of northern hospitality and southern efficiency" = we do not have snow. We have long, sultry, 2000% humidity summers wherein the most one can stand to do is to smoke expensive cigars and eat heirloom tomatoes while rocking in a rocking chair and sipping gin rickeys. We are not prepared for all these wintry shenanigans. The freaking National Guard is out and trying to plow. Madness.

In good news, I have not choked on anything or ridden a combustible conveyance these 24 hours. I was scheduled to take a trip in the snow today to deliver service copies of a filing to the post office (about 2/3 of a mile away), but my boss emailed me in the morning and put the kibosh on that, for which I was quite grateful (and which was just as well, because, unbeknownst to me, all DC post offices closed at 11 am out of sheer panic). Had I ventured out into the snow this morning, I would have likely met the same fate as the Scott Antarctic Expedition. Instead I filed the submission online, with a service certificate that said "I will serve with hard copies as soon as it is practicable to do so." Which ain't right now, fer sure. Ay-ay-ay.

Jeff says he would have stopped me had I tried to go out, which is good. Nevertheless, I dressed in my best snow gear, with long underwear and giant socks that I bought prior to a 1998 ski trip to Andorra. I also found the ski goggles i bought for the trip and fitted them inside with an old pair of teensy eyeglasses small enough to fit inside the goggle lenses. Despite these precautions, I would probably have died. And if I made it to the post office, only to find it closed, I would have become a modern Vesuvius: a small, bright, hot spark among the hideous snow.

For more pictures and an accurate psychological portrait of this hellscape, check out Ryan's blog. In the meantime, there's a possibility we'll be getting MORE SNOW next week. Isn't that....funny?////??? HEE EHHE Excuse me while I devolve into hysterical Victorian insanity mode...

posted by Reen |link| 4 comments

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010


24 HOURS IN HELL: New Sam Raimi movie, or my life?

If you guessed (b), you're right! Last night, I choked on an onion, and Jeff had to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Fearsomely delicious! Then, this morning, I got up at 7 am, trundled my way over 2/3 of a mile of snowy/slushy crags, and promptly got on a metro train that caught on fire. Yes, my train ran over an electrical cable that had somehow fallen down...inside the subway tunnel. I have no idea how this happened, but I was in the first car (the one that actually ran over the cable), and was treated to an extemporaneous fireworks display, replete with booming explosions, large flames, and acrid smoke that filled the car and sent us screaming into the aisles and down into the next car. Then about 45 minutes in the smoky, bombed-out train, awaiting rescue. Then I got into work, where there were no support staff, so I had to do a bunch of filings myself (all for a court located well outside DC, so they, unlike the DC/Federal government, are not closed), which involved stumbling my way through a bunch of procedures I had never done before, dealing with an administrative support center whose personnel told me they could not give me a certain phone number because I didn't already know it, and otherwise going through the utterly insane motions of acting like it was a normal day when in fact it is the day of SNOW-VER-KILL: The Reckoning. And yes, it is already snowing again, like the dickens. Jeff and I went for dinner near our metro stop and when we got home, we both looked like windblown yetis. And there was snow in my pants. Feh.

posted by Reen |link| 5 comments

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