Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Wasn't There

Image of the Day:  The yellow leaves outside my work window lit up from the gorgeous and generous sun today. 

I have a poem here in Rogue Agent.  A Poetry Story:  that poem, "Girls Who Struggle," was previously accepted at another journal but when the issue came out in which it was supposed to appear, it wasn't there.  So I emailed and the editor said he'd "look into it" but nothing ever came of it.  So I withdrew it and sent it off to various other journals.  Rogue Agent took it and so I subsequently withdrew it from other places.  But then came an acceptance from another journal, who hadn't apparently gotten my withdrawal or had overlooked it or something.  I emailed them back and told them about the mistake and figured, well, they're gonna hate me and I can't submit there ever again.  But then yesterday, I got a very nice and understanding email from that journal, asking me to resubmit when they open. Phew! Very nice. So technically that poem has been accepted three (!) times!  I guess that makes up for some other rejections.   

Also, I had mentioned that one of my poems had been published with the wrong title.  Well, actually, they had told me in the acceptance letter that they had taken one poem with the title "Abandoned Girl at the Source of" but had published that title with the wrong poem associated with it.  So I just assumed that they had wanted to publish that poem ("Abandoned Girl Wants to Peel You Open").  Turns out, no.  They had somehow published the right title with the wrong poem and have now fixed it--thanks!--AND they are nominating it for a Pushcart Prize.  So that is mighty cool. 
So here is the right poem with the right title at the fabulous Amethyst Arsenic journal

And I'm being featured at The Sundress blog The Wardrobe's Best Dressed.  You can check out some poems from my chapbook The Ornithologist Poems here. 

The Marrow

There's a gleam to the trees and meadow
that verges on something heartsick;

convent quiet,
and rich as a jeweller's window.

Facing the lake-water is your bull.
He's concentrated and arcane,

his Dutch yellows make him look mild;
you think he sings to himself.

Like you, he seems to have had
a grasp of what it was to love.

What it is.
And he's lost it.

Michelle O'Sullivan

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Out of the Fall

Image of the Day:  Sleek dark heads of three mink poking out of the fall river.

I got to see that yesterday while walking my dog.  At first I was like, "Seals!" cause that's how seals always pop up in the ocean in Maine, but then my brain registered the river and I realized these were mink. 

Also, I got to see a huge fat raccoon out on my run on Tuesday.  It was so big I wasn't quite sure if it was a small bear or something.  But it turned around to look at me and I could see its tail as well.  I wanted to take a picture but it lost itself in the river weeds. 

I have two poems here in the recent issue of Pith.  I love the found poem that Meg Cowen made with lines from all the poets' poems.  I really love it when editors do that kind of thing.


It's quiet here. A stoic rectitude
Props up the weather-pummeled citizens,
Craggy yet almost cheerful. Uniform
Gray granite cottages, precipitous
And sturdy, make the most of things. The wind
Does all the talking hereabouts, and who
Would think to think about the universe?
Their certainties define them, not their doubts.

Joseph Harrison

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Chapbook: Small Portraits

I am so pleased that my chapbook, "Small Portraits" is to be part of Ides:  A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks.  You can read the press release here at the Silver Birch Blog.  There are fifteen chapbooks collected in this selection, so you definitely want to buy it and check out all the poetry.  You can purchase a copy here at amazon.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Permanently Change

Image of the Day:  Bluejays and tufted titmice squawking at something (I'm assuming a hawk) on my way to the cafĂ© here on campus; on the way back, total silence, the birds gone.

So I have a poem here at Amethyst Arsenic you can read.  Funny story:  The title for this poem is actually the title to a different poem.  I emailed the editors if they could change it, totally panicked at the mistake--and they said they would, but I know life gets busy and they haven't yet.  And now I kind of like this title better than the original title.  I may permanently change it.
Update:  So they changed the poem to the correct poem and have nominated it for a Pushcart Prize!!  That sure makes things better!

From Anne Truitt, in her memoir Prospect:  "We can understand what it is to be human only to the degree that we are willing to endure all that it is to be human" (64). 

"Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself" --I had misread that as empathy is finding echoes of yourself in another person when I first read this.  (Mohsin Hamid in Poets and Writers Sept/Oct 2015 in "The Time Is Now" column.)


Finally, the body is littered with landscapes,
the brain all map and diligent chart.

The three-story row houses line up like memories
over the barbershops and the gas station
along a street grooved with trolley tracks.

A town at the center of a stubbled cornfield
blinks under an unnecessary stoplight,
waits in bone for the winds to come at dark.

There are two lakes breathing in the chest,
one north and large, the other south and smaller,
freezing over each year, but still breathing,

the avenues rough with fleets of gypsy cabs,
the bus idling in front of the YMCA,
the national road with its angry pickup trucks.

There is so much soil in the creases of the skin,
feet black with asphalt, toughened by brown glass.

Finally, the wanderer will settle into one place,
laying the back's weight on the pavement.

The world will take root—
the world will be buried in that place.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Mess, Spilled

Image of the Day:  some bird in the deep woods, calling, calling.

Dreams:  We had forgotten to have someone come into our house while we're away and take care of our pet monkey.  So I leave early--a campground?--and go home and the fridge is a mess, spilled pasta all over the place.  I can't find the monkey and am super trepidatious.... (We do not own a pet monkey, fyi.)

From an interview with Rachel Eliza Griffiths in the recent American Poetry Review:
"Creatively, I had to let go of trying to control myself on the page.  And to give up any attempts to control other people's experience of me" (18).

From Women of Will:  Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays by Tina Packer:
"[Shakespeare] was an artist, and as with all artists, the conflicts they hold beg for attention, so they can be examined, perceived, made whole, made use of"(43). 

I had deja vu when I read this poem and I don't know why...

In the Home for Elderly Vehicular Manslaughterers by the Sea
The guilt, like the sand, is in everything,
being so near, as they are, to the ocean,
being so close, as they were, to the end
of their lives, before they took the lives
they took. Someone should have taken
the keys away. In many cases, they tried—
but the old, mottled, gnarled knuckles
clenched, closing reflexively around
that silver promise, its heft, its glinting
mountainous teeth. And they held on to it.
Now the guilt, like the sand, is on their hands
and on their lips. It's the grit in the food
they can't eat. Lucky the demented ones,
with no idea, no memory, blithely chewing.

Paul Hostovsky

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Image of the Day:  Teeny tiny toad leaping across the road.

Hej Hej!  That's Swedish for hello! Hello!  My family and I took a trip to Sweden a couple of weeks ago and it was so gorgeous.  We stayed on the Island of Vaxholm and took ferry rides out to different islands and to Stockholm.  (I discovered that Sweden has an archipelago several years ago when my boss visited there.)  The shoreline and coast of Vaxholm was so similar to the coast line of Maine it was like I was visiting home.  I definitely could live there.  The Swedish people know their boats--we took a rented boat ride around the island by Beorn who built his own steam boat from mahogany wood and Siberian larch.  It had the feel of a train.  We ate lots of silky salmon and herring, pickled and fresh.  The fresh was so good--I'm on a quest to find local herring and make my own sauces for it.  I also purchased a rolling pin to make knickebrod--the crispy rye bread that went with everything. 

The flight home was fine but eight hours--lots of movie watching.  I got a strange sort of domestic surge when I got home--cleaning out pantry cupboards and canning blueberry conserve, peach jam and chutney.  The chutney didn't work out though and I had to ultimately toss it--after making three attempts to adjust the recipe and get it taste of something other than mustard seed and vinegar.  Maybe next year I'll try chutney again. I did manage to make some yummy gravlax:  cured salmon in my own fridge.  Here's an open face sandwich on my regular homemade bread.  It was yummy!

My son and I tried to memorize this Swedish poem before we went over.  You can listen to it here.  I translated it when I was doing my translation seminar.  Here is my translation: 


The little pink buds
contract in my head

I see out, it is hushed

dark whispering sounds come
my tongue buried under stone

my head finds no rest
even when the tongue was sliced from its cords

the voice was left inside
how could my head find rest

lilac-blue was the weft woven round me
hear, how sound
varies        it is a voice that lifts you

my tongue is buried, my ear shouts
my robe has gone, my head sings