Thursday, May 19, 2016

Poetry Reading on Friday, May 20

I am excited about this poetry reading in Chicago on Friday, May 20, 2016! Doors open at 7:00 at 914 W. Lawrence, and the art gallery is on the 4th floor. Come early to see the art! I get to read with the fabulous poets listed here, who start us off at 8:00 p.m. I read after that, probably around 9:00 p.m. There will be refreshments--must bake cookies!!--plus beer & wine. (So I hope there will be potty breaks!)

I have been reading my poems outside, now that it's sunny again, and trying not to be too nervous. Sunshine aids with that, but on the night of the event I will be indoors and trembling. But all shall be well! There will be much love in the place, including friends, family wamily, and encouraging strangers.

Come hear Susanna Lang, Kristin LaTour, Donna Vorreyer, Valerie Wallace, and me!

I'll be reading from my new chapbook, ABCs of Women's Work (Red Bird, 2015), and this poster comes from the cover of that! Both of these great posters are by Paul Ryan, who runs the Lagoons Sessions reading series and Lagoons Editions, a small press. Our paths crossed years ago in a small writing group in Chicago, and I am glad they have crossed again! Random coincidence: cross stitching!

I also plan to read a couple poems from two previous chapbooks, choosing poems with "women's work" in them and honoring the work of the women who run those small presses: Kristy Bowen of Dancing Girl Press and Margaret Bashaar of Hyacinth Girl Press. You go, girls!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bluebird of Happiness

This morning I saw the bluebird of happiness in my own backyard! Actually, three of them. Actually, they might have been the Brewer's blackbird, as seen here. They were small, dark blue, shiny, and feeding along the ground. Two were at either end of a shared dandelion stem, like Lady and the Tramp in Lady and the Tramp, having spaghetti. Then the third arrived, and, just as I got my husband to join me at the window, they flew away. Sometimes, that's life.

Or perhaps it was this guy. By Edward Lear.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lagoons Sessions

Poster by Paul Ryan
Friday, May 20, 2016
Uptown Arts Center
941 W. Lawrence
Chicago, IL

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Poison Ivy & Arsenic Lobster

My son was a big Batman fan as a kid, and he grew up to draw this Poison Ivy car! You can see more of his drawing and design at his Sketch Blog, and I offer this today in celebration of the new issue of Arsenic Lobster, which contains a poem of mine called "Poison Ivy."
There's a whole array of wonderful stuff, as usual, in this issue, and editor Susan Yount's introduction is like a poem in itself.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Such a busy month! But so far, I do have 27 new poems! They await re-reading and revision, and I have more to write before the month is out. In the meantime, here are two poetry posts involving collaboration:

1) The new poetry feature at Escape Into Life: Lissa Kiernan and Maureen Alsop, with art by Sara K. Byrne.

2) A lovely blog post by Maureen E. Doallas in Writing Without Paper, with poetry, art, and video by Lucien Stryk and Suzanne Stryk.

Plus, random Sibling Revelry by the Callaway sisters!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

It's Over

It'll be hard to kick the habit of reading, and I may fail, but I am entering a super busy time, and I can't read any more novels for a while! Ack! I'm glad I went out in a blaze of gold-feathered glory with The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. It seems people either love this one or hate it, so I am among the lovers.

One friend found it "tedious." I never found it tedious, but I did bog down a bit in the parts about casual drug use. I guess that's tit for tat with the narrator talking about "the boring part" of It's a Wonderful Life, referring to the love scene and singing of "Buffalo Gals." So we're even steven on that.

But I loved being dropped in a Dickens-like or Dostoyevsky-like plot with plenty of characters to care about and cringe at, and I loved the philosophical moments, earned by both narrator and author.

Here's one:

Only here's what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted---?  What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster? 

You hear the narrator's earnestness here, and also the terrible danger.

If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away?Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement, the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name? 

I don't know the answer to these questions,* but 1) I think it's important to ask them and 2) I have known people who had to throw themselves into the bonfire. I don't want to judge them! I want to understand them, and this book helps me with that, and it also comforts me, as I am, while not as wild as this fellow, still not on that path-to-the-norm that leads in the opposite direction. I'm on a meandering path, as I've mentioned before, and I like "the boring part" of It's a Wonderful Life as well as the sometimes cut-from-late-night-television scene of the floor over the swimming pool coming apart, etc. It is a wonderful life, but much harder for people with PTSD or disaster or crappy circumstances. They don't get to fall laughing from a dance floor into a perfectly safe swimming pool when the earth opens up and swallows them.

April is about to swallow me: poem a day for National Poetry Month, various events and writing deadlines, work, and the daily chores. Much as I'd like to be a slattern on Slattern Day, I'm doing the laundry....

*Nor do I know why it's "towards" in one spot and "toward" in another. What is the difference between the two? (OK, fine if this the boring part of the blog post.)

Thanks to Wikimedia and the public domain for Jimmy Stewart and Red Kimono on Roof by John Sloan. Thanks to Donna Tartt, Carel Fabritius, Mother Nature,and the Audubon Society for the goldfinch.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

While I Was Reading...

While I was reading The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, which I am still reading, as it's a long novel, nature's first green, which is gold, appeared outside. Yes, the forsythia has bloomed! Many green things are pretty darn far up out of the ground. On the trail, bright blue scilla is blooming, as it is, in a very pale blue, almost white, in my mom's yard, where it is gently spreading.

Today I was out in my own yard raking--again!--the last of the fall leaves, which have been protecting one of the flowerbeds. I heard a wee bird with a big voice--it was a chickadee!

But the goldfinches will be back for the catmint. The catmint has not yet poked up from the ground, but an actual cat pokes around daily, eyeing the birds from a perch on the air conditioning unit behind a mugo pine, where cardinals nest annually. Nobody is safe out there!

Thanks to Wikipedia for The Goldfinch, by Carel Fabritius.

Don't tell me what happens. I already know not everybody likes the ending. But, yes, I am...chained.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Touchy Subjects

We've had a lovely Easter weekend with family, involving jelly beans, a car wash, ham, card playing, Jesus, chocolate in various shapes, got-your-nose eggs (filled with jelly beans), and a long walk into town and back, Saturday, before it rained, Sunday. I read through chapter 33 of We Make the Road By Walking, by Brian McLaren, before a class on it this morning, and I finished Touchy Subjects, by Emma Donoghue before everybody arrived for the holiday, so I wouldn't be pulled away from conversation and games by the need to read a short story! I remember reading a review of this one when it first came out, and sort of shrugging internally, but after reading Room I wanted to try another book by her. I appreciated the variety/focus on relationships & babies and "touchy subjects." Somehow this probably helped me stay away from touchy subjects at the gathering!

And here are two bunnies touching each other and some bagpipes.

Because bunnies.

Also, my son left his car top, newly washed, in his bedroom. Hard to explain. I guess that would have been the picture to show you.
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