Monday, December 21, 2009

Musing a Bit on Prostitution

So, in John Irving's novel A Widow for One Year, there is quite bit of time spent in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, which I happened to walk through when I was 14 or 15. I was a little bit shocked then, mostly amazed. I think having been there probably enhanced my tolerance and compassion for this kind of work later, as a grown up, having read a lot more about a lot of things.

Notably, the connection between sexuality and spirituality and some things about sex workers and the sex trade. I don't want anyone to be forced into sex work, or kidnapped, or offered some legitimate job as a waittress or seamstress, only to be trapped into prostitution. But I liked the idea that young women could observe in order to find out if this was work they wanted to do. I doubt that very many women or men with other options do want to do this work, but some surely do. So I don't want the work to be looked down on, nor the workers to be in terrible danger, especially since this is known as "the oldest profession" and the demand never stops. I am glad there are spots--in Amsterdam or Nevada--where the work is legal, regulated, and somewhat safe.

Nor do I believe all the people who dismiss prostitutes or porn actors as having fully chosen their line of work. Many haven't. Choice was absent, minimal, or compromised in complicated ways.

And I sure came to love or care about the prostitutes in Irving's novel, yet another testament to his storytelling skills. I care about all the people in his books, even the assholes, as I can hope they will change...for instance, if they read his novels. (Snake eating its own tail a bit there, I know.)

To all the sex workers who chose their work and like it and want it, happy holidays. To all who don't, I hope you find a safe way out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Widow for One Year

This was one of those odd days, full of coincidences. It is Maud Gonne's birthday, and this bit of Yeats was posted at the Writer's Almanac today, in celebration of it:

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

This is also on p. 513 of John Irving's novel A Widow for One Year, which I finished up today, reading the Yeats verse shortly after seeing it at the Writer's Almanac. Since Yeats is quoted earlier in the book, too, I was having this folding-over deja vu feeling....and all of this happened shortly after watching Stranger Than Fiction again with my daughter, who woke up wanting to watch that movie with her breakfast today. I cried at the end, at the lovely narration.

Then I told her that I do think fiction can save our lives. I alluded again to the "news of the world" that can be found in poems, something I'd told her about earlier this year. Some of us can only do art; it is our thing to do in the world. "Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." My hand writes. My mind reads and writes, all the time. It is what I have found to do. I get so tired of people who tell us to do something else, or think there is only one thing to do and we should all be doing it. "Make money" or "Social justice" or whatever it is. If you want to make money, go make it! If you are capable of enacting social justice, enact some! I will, in my quiet ways, do what I can do best. Which is not, evidently, those two things! But please don't judge or terrorize me for that.

This is a nice novel from 1998, which I am just getting around to reading now. I was busy in 1998. But I tend to read things at the right time. I mentioned here that I had started A Prayer for Owen Meany several times before reading it straight through, and I read it, not knowing its full subject matter, after revisiting the Vietnam War through a museum exhibit. Everything came together. So now I am in another John Irving phase, it appears. I read one bad review of his newest novel, the kind of review that reminds me why I don't like to read reviews. Leave him alone! Let him write. He cares about people and their happiness. He knows crap happens, and he writes about that, too. This is his form of social justice. And it's how he makes money. Let him. It's what the world keeps indicating that it wants. Then, when somebody does it, you get jealous and kick him. Or call him sentimental or predictable. Sigh...

Anyway, I like Billy Collins, too. Sue me.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Seamstress

I am reading The Seamstress by Frances De Pontes Peebles for a book group I'm in.

"As seamstresses, both she [Emilia] and Luzia knew how to cut, how to mend, and how to conceal." This of course reads as metaphor for things we might do in life, or things we might do as writers or poets, as well as things we would do as seamstresses. Good and great seamstresses also have to know how to be meticulous in taking measurements, and the really great ones can envision the garment on the body and in pieces, cut and laid flat on the table. Umm, Dexter flash there. The cloth, not the body, are cut up in pieces in that last passage...though there are some decapitations in the novel, as it turns out.

"Any seamstress could be meticulous. Novice and expert alike could fuss over measurements and pattern drawings, but precision didn't guarantee success. An unskilled seamstress delivered poorly sewn clothes without trying to hide the mistakes. Good seamstresses felt an attachment to their projects and spent days trying to fix them. Great ones didn't do this. They were brave enough to start over. To admit they'd been wrong, throw away the doomed attempts, and begin again."

Now this last was both inspiration and comfort. I have indeed thrown away sections of my life and whole poems, or major parts of poems, starting all over again! There are times when this can make me, or anybody, feel like "a quitter," and aspects of our American culture that certainly reinforce that. But now that the American "career" is switching over to perhaps 10 years per job before a major change, and 1-3 year stints before a 10-year commitment even begins, this attitude may change. I always love the excitement of change and new beginnings, keeping the edge, not being bored, etc. in work life. As a writer, I can indeed let something go, however much I love it, if the needs of story or poem itself are other than my needs.

I was talking to my daughter yesterday about this, showing her two poems I'd been working on and had let sit long enough to drastically reduce and alter so they could breathe and speak. When I was younger, I didn't know to do this...then I learned it could be done, but it was hard...and now it is a way of being for me.

I hope this means I am capable of becoming a great "seamstress"!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Reading my own poems....

Aauugghh! I just wrote about self-absorption, and for the past few days, I have been reading little packets of my own poems over and over! Well, it's actually the responsible and generous thing to do, and I know that, but it's making me feel self-absorbed! Did I say, "Aauugghh!"

There are several readings coming up, and I need to gather, practice, and time my work so I don't exceed the time limit! And so I feel prepared and comfortable reading! And know what I'm going to say in the little preparatory remarks!

The first is our Living History poetry reading at the McLean County Museum of History. Seven of us will be reading, the 7 current participants in my Poetry at Babbitt's drop-in workshop at Babbitt's Books. It's an hour-long program, 7:30 to 8:30, and the museum closes at 9:00 p.m., and it is courteous to stick to the publicized time, let people go after an hour of poetry (potty break, etc.), and leave time to chat with poets and each other and exit the museum, and leave time for us to chat and also help clean up! So I've told everyone 3-5 poems, 5-7 minutes, and keep rehearsing my own poems, down to 4 very pertinent and appropriate ones, but one is long and so I keep timing out at 10 minutes. This is annoying! Ultimately, I may cut yet another poem even though it went out on some of the PR!

I am also doing an hour program for the Mornings with the Professors program at Illinois State University on November 6. I'll be talking about inspiration, composition, and revision of particular poems and need to give them a packet of them to look at while I read aloud. So I keep refining the packet--it was a dozen poems, then I added 3, thinking it was too short, so I had 15. Then I read aloud, adding the explanatory material extempore, and it was too long, so I took 3 out, not exactly the same 3....still too long, and now I'm down to ten. I think this is the right number!

Meanwhile Broken Sonnets should be mailed out on Monday, to me and to those who pre-ordered it from Finishing Line Press, and those two readings are coming up in November and December, so I will be rehearsing, and timing, and self-absorbed all over again all too soon!

Friday, October 16, 2009


I have been re-reading Plainsong by Kent Haruf in preparation for a meeting of the book group I'm in. I understand this was on our President's summer reading list, too. It's a lovely book that shows people being both mean and decent to each other, which is the way life really is, in a way that encourages us to choose and admire decency. Nice thing to read in an age where much of the culture seems to choose and admire mockery and meanness!

I've been pondering the self-absorption of writers and artists a bit, too. I am one, so it seems OK, possibly even decent, to ponder it--the risks, the strategies to avoid too much self-absorption, the evidence. Recently I joined Facebook, on the recommendation of friends, and it's a good way to stay connected and re-connect with old friends, I agree. And for several years I've belonged to an Internet writing site, where people can share and "workshop" their stories and poems, but also, more recently, keep up with each other's personal as well as professional lives in online journals and blogs. I have about a dozen people at one site with whom I stay pretty connected, and many friends at Facebook, of course, but a smaller number who regularly post a comment or a "Like." I scatter myself around and post little comments and "Likes" pretty frequently, as human connection is good! It seems decent to let my pals know I see what they are saying!

At both places, I notice the phenomenon of people who post pretty constantly, but seldom comment on the postings of others. It's the old Read me, read me, engage with me, but don't expect me to read you or engage with you thing. I should not be surpised, but somehow I am still irked. Of course, some of them are lurkers...reading but too shy or insecure or jealous or...well, what? what is it?...too something to let another person know they are there. The only catchall word I can find is "self-absorbed," so that's the way I think of it.

At work, I read a fabulous fun introduction by Ray Bradbury to a collection of 13 tales by Theodore Sturgeon, a writer he admired and that's why he was gathering the material and editing the book. The introduction was generous, very funny, and very admiring but also boiled down to the wonderfully honest admission I can summarize (and nearly directly quote) as this: You are such a good writer, I hate you. I am jealous of your talent and success, and I hate you. I have read your work all these years, and I love it, and now I am doing this. And I still hate you.

It gets at the jealousy/rivalry thing, and of course we know Bradbury doesn't really hate Sturgeon. He loves him. But that little irksome kernel of hatred is still there!

Nonetheless, Bradbury behaves decently--connects with the man, does him a service, promotes his work, writes to and about him. And really, deep inside and blazoned on the outside, and spiced with humor, loves him.

OK, let me go a teensy bit further here. I read the work of my poet friends. If they tell me about a journal they are in, I order that issue or go to that website. If they write a book, I buy it. (A few times, I've received the book as a gift, or in trade, or as a review copy, by chance, but mostly I buy it. Often, I have to save up to do so and can't buy it right away. I have mouths to feed at home.) Then I let the friend know I have read the book, or received the book, or read the individual poem. I try to convey my thanks and delight and support earnestly, honestly, and without too much gush, which might embarrass them.

I have to say I seldom receive the same courtesy or encouragement back. It sort of astonishes me. Mainly because often these same people DO respond to my communication of support with great thanks--"I'm so glad you enjoyed the book," they'll say. "It's nice to know someone is reading it." As if no other friends have let them know! Or, "You are the first one to really get what I was trying to say," which indicates that friends have commented, but not specifically or intelligently, probably not reading closely enough...or maybe at all?

So why don't these same people ever say something friendly, or encouraging, or specific back to me?!

OK, that's my moaning self-absorbed, self-pitying moment of the day. Now I'm off to make some roasted red pepper soup!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Sun

I've been reading The Sun, October, 2009. I love The Sun. I first received it as a gift subscription and have maintained it ever since, except for maybe a 6-month period when life was disrupted.... I like pretty much everything about it, down to the letters to the editor, which have the same excruciating honesty as the Readers Write section. I love the poems, I love the stories, I love the essays, and I love the general outlook--which contains generosity, liberalism, optimism, and realism in just the right mix.

I have based poem assignments for my little class on poems found in the pages of the The Sun! I have found and contacted some of its writers by email, to thank them for their work, and I have shared particular pieces with my mom, my son, my daughter, and a friend recently. Stuff in The Sun makes us think of our individual relationships, and our own lives, and do particular things about them.

My friend who gave me the original subscription just borrowed the August issue, which has an article/interview on deep breathing exercises that can do the same thing LSD can do to the brain, but safely. She had misplaced or loaned out her copy, and needed to share the article with a friend; likewise, I want to share the article with my sister, an expert on deep breathing, yoga, theatre, body/mind. I had already discussed this particular article with my daughter, recently a Beatles fan, and alerted to altered states, thanks to the film Across the Universe with all those great Beatles covers. Same friend also loaned me all those issues from the subscription lapse, but she wants them back!

So The Sun inspires a lot of sharing, but also some "keeping," some treasuring.

I recommend reading it, then subscribing. One thing I love about it is that it has no ads. We subscribers keep it alive. That, too, is a direct relationship, and a kind of deep sharing.

And it keeps the editor, Sy Safransky, free. Independent and free.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Walk in the Cemetery

It's been a long time since I wrote in this particular blog...alas. I blog elsewhere as a version of myself, a funny version, and I write in a regular journal with a pen, and I write poems, etc., etc., but lately I've been very busy and not writing about what I'm reading, which is what I mostly intended to do here.

I've been in the cemetery, in fact. As Sarah W. Davis, the wife of David Davis and a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln and Davis rode the circuit together in Illinois--remember those stories about books in Lincoln's saddlebags?--and one season Sarah and her son went along, literally, for the ride! She had 7 children, but only 2 lived to adulthood, and after the loss of one child she took her son George with her to join her husband and Lincoln and spend what today we'd call "quality time" together. When Davis was a judge in Washington, she wrote him many letters. When she and her husband were in Chicago on business in April, 1865, she wrote a letter to her surviving children, telling them that their father would start that night, Easter Sunday, April 16, for Washington to attend to the affairs of the assassinated president. I just performed that letter in Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington, Illinois, where Sarah is buried.

It was a pretty intense experience--the grief and anger at the loss of our President! Recreated sometimes 16, sometimes 24 times a day, for schoolchildren on field trips or for the general public on weekends. Some days it rained. The last day it was 38 degrees! But audiences came and loved it, as they do every year. This year, all the characters--who are real people buried in the cemetery--had some connection to Lincoln, as it's his 200th birthday. What an honor to work with fellow actors, writers, and museum volunteers who put this event together.

So I've been busy, scattered, and focussed for the past several weeks--preparing for this, finishing up other tasks, and carrying on a normal family and work life.

I've kept reading, I've had thoughts, whole paragraphs have spun out in my head, but....sigh....

More to come.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Colette, The Garden of Reading, Etc.

I work in a used bookstore, Babbitt's Books, and the main hazard is bringing home a lot of books. (Fortunately, I get an employee discount, most are quite cheap to begin with, I can trade for books I bring in from home, and some are even free, donations that would otherwise go to library or sometimes even recycling!) So when I saw The Garden of Reading: An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Short Fiction About Gardens and Gardeners, edited by Michele Slung, and containing "Grape Harvest" by Colette, I snapped it right up. (I brought in 3 trade paperbacks from home to trade for this hardback, first edition, second printing.)

This short story is what I meant about Colette in my previous entry, my similarity to her. She talks about the grapes, other fruits, food in general, the landscape, the sunshine, sweat, blushing--all human and sensual or sensory and natural things.

The book contains quite an array! "The Tree" by Rosamunde Pilcher, "How the Crab Apple Grew" by Garrison Keillor, "Earth to Earth" by Robert Graves, "The Lawnmower Man" by Stephen King, "A Curtain of Green" by Eudora Welty, and even "See No Weevil" by James Thurber. I can't wait to read more! Even Barbara Pym is here with "So, Some Tempestuous Morn." She's another I've been compared to, as a writer, oddly enough, as she seems the opposite of Colette. Pym is subtle and restrained where Colette is lush and free. And Pym is also very funny, as I recall.

***pause to read story, to ponder comparisons***

This is indeed a first edition, the kind with numerous little typographical errors--missing punctuation and capitalization, letters misread (scanned?) leading to things like "lie" instead of "he" and "lip" instead of "up," but I have been able to decipher what was meant in the Pym story. It is a first U.S. edition, so the corrections were not made from the first UK edition, and if there is never a second edition, no corrections will ever be made. Still, a pleasant reading experience--just of the thought of this gathering is a delight. As is reading Pym again. And Colette.

So, this comparison thing. People like to pigeon-hole, to categorize. I understand categories as a way to arrange and remember thoughts--a classical rhetoric kind of thing, memory enhancer, logic inducer. And then applied to science, as a way to arrange our discoveries and definitions of species. But the categories do not always fit, or hold. Likewise, with comparisons.

People compare me to other writers because they don't know what to do with me. Perhaps I am an original, and they want to figure me out by comparing me to Pym or Colette, such different writers. Or perhaps I am not original enough, not yet creating my own category. On the other hand, as it sometimes takes years and years for a poem or a set of my poems to find a home, perhaps I am original indeed, more like--yes, a comparison!--Emily Dickinson!

I do retreat into the chapel of my own back yard, the wild Edenic garden there, the gradual prairie restoration via wildflowers and perennials, many from seed (various daisies, purple coneflower, pinks, love-in-a-mist, sweet alyssum, golden columbine, nasturtium) but also clippings and transplants (hosta, spiderwort, bleeding heart, mountain bluet, coral bells, Sweet William, pink yarrow). The nasturtium are annuals, but they grow so well here. I planted them late, after the wild violets bloomed, thinning them out to make room, so we will have bright red, orange, and yellow blooms a little later in the season.

I write at our picnic table (husband's 50th birthday present from Chicago and Michigan friends a few years back) in morning or evening.

Also blooming: red clover, which has somehow survived the rabbits, daylilies. The golden columbine are dropping seed, and I am gathering some, too, and also the seed of wild purplish red columbine from along the fence, to plant in the fall for next season. The bleeding heart dropped seed, too, so I hope it will spread where it is, coming up after the red tulips. And this was a good year for deep purple iris, too, which I had dug and moved around last fall to encourage growth.

Comparisons. If I write a "nature poem," some compare me to Mary Oliver when I am more like Louise Gluck, if like anyone, in The Wild Iris, my favorite book of poetry. Edgy, and all about God, whatever God is, and the gritty small truths, side by side with the majestic ones, about Nature. And beauty.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Fog of War

Tonight I had "a driveway moment" or rather "a garage moment" with NPR, Terry Gross playing her interview with Robert McNamara shortly after he published his memoir, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, followed by her interview with filmmaker Errol Morris of The Fog of War: 11 Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. That was a fabulous documentary, very brave and complicated, paradoxical, yes, somehow evoking a fog.

I ran in from the garage and turned on the radio on the kitchen counter, moving from my daughter's pop station back to WGLT, the local NPR affiliate, to hear the rest. Fresh in my mind is the Vietnam exhibit at the local history museum, a very thorough explanation and depiction of the larger context of the war and of its very real and personal effects on local people--soldiers, family, protesters, journalists--as well as the country and the world. I grew up during that time but was too young to understand it, or to protest it, though I knew something was wrong about it. I have spoken since to veterans, seen the documentary, read some of the literature that emerged from that difficult time, seen some of the feature films.

McNamara's agony impressed me, as did his loyalty to the president who asked him to serve, Kennedy, and then the president who took over, Johnson, and to our country. He really believed, as I did, growing up, that a nuclear war would be the end of the world as we know it, and that the Cold War was a troubling thing, and I see better now, "in retrospect," how this must have factored into his difficult decisions to support a war that troubled him. I was moved in the interview when he spoke of the Quaker who burned himself under McNamara's window to protest the war. Here was an action like that of the Tibetan monk who burned himself to draw attention to the war. Before that, so many Americans went blithely on, not realizing the trouble.

Poor McNamara. What a dilemma, seeing the war as "unwinnable" and still sending soldiers to it, knowing about Agent Orange, and still exposing soldiers and civilians to it. What a weight of trouble and evil. But he must have felt the alternative was even worse. Hard to know what he thought--that fog again.

Anyway, now he'll rest in peace.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wait! I'm on Facebook?!

Yes, it has happened. Numerous people, including my sister, my friend Kim, and my dad, suggested Facebook as a nice place to post photos and reconnect with old friends, so I've done it. I'm there. (And I've linked from there to here, in my dubiously vague technological way.)

And indeed it is nice. I found my friend Dan, who had just gotten married, and old friends from high school, college, graduate school, City News Bureau, and theatre and poetry strands of my life. When I say I've done a lot, I mean it. There are whole sections of my life that I've sort of lost track of...truly forgotten...but then a little tidbit of information will set the memories tumbling out.

Also, I would like to put people in touch with each other. I am a bit like Amelie from the film Amelie in that regard. People who saw that film have actually pointed this out to me, and the corollary aspect: that I need to get my own life together and/or figure out what I want, not just help other people fall into happiness. (I think I have fallen into happiness lately, by just falling, free-falling, letting go...into a deeper kind of acceptance. I will never figure out "what I want" as I seem to live quietly inside what is, and all the trouble I've ever had was from wanting something, or thinking I did. Does this mean I'm finally a Buddhist?! Probably not. See Molly Peacock's poem, "Why I Am Not a Buddhist" for further illumination.) When I began this paragraph, I mean to offer, as a specific example, that, on Facebook, I told my friend Dan about my friend Curt's gig on Thursday night at a bar in Brookfield, Illinois, as he is much closer than I am and might actually be able to go! They don't know each other. But they might enjoy each other, and they have people and geography and some experiences in common. That's the Amelie-on-Facebook aspect of all this.

My sister and niece sent me a Which Tarot Card Are You? test thingy, and I took it, and I am the Queen of Wands. (This is either phallic or magical. Or both.) Here's the little description:

The essence of fire behaving as water, such as a rainbow: The natural embodiment of passion and sensuality, who is always the center of attention. One who reflects the desires and ambitions of others, and ignites them. A radiantly vital person, cocky and charismatic, who sees what she wants and goes after it.

So, some of this fits, and some exactly contradicts what I just said about never knowing what I want. Maybe it means I know what I want in that particular moment--a spontaneity, trust-the-universe kind of thing--or maybe it means I have always wanted the same thing: a quiet happy life loving family and making art. And I only ever do that. If I try something else, I fail (which is always good, as it teaches me something, even if I don't interpret it correctly at the time and have to keep re-learning it, a kind of reincarnation) or walk away, and go back to the thing I really want (which remains mostly unknown to me except in the moment I articulate it and in this ongoing elemental way). Long, rambling, complex, self-absorbed sentences! That's also me.

Somehow, yes, I reflect the desires and ambitions of others, and ignite them. Sigh....

And somehow, yes, people perceive me as passionate and sensual, and I probably am...but they take it to mean something else about me. I am these things in a Colette kind of way--enjoying the natural world, the company of women as well as men, in a kind of sustained innocence. Hard to explain, but I'm it.

...pause for pseudo-research....

Except for most of the facts and details of Colette's life! Um, I just read the Wikipedia article on her, and she was, well, firmly bisexual, for instance. I am not. I am, er, firmly heterosexual. But I can kiss a woman professionally onstage, and have. Me, Colette, Madonna.

I was/am an actor and writer, but not like Colette: not enslaved by a philandering charlatan husband, and not ever wildly (financially) successful! But I have read her short pieces about the natural world and they are touching and beautiful, and that's what I mean!

Fire behaving as water, eh? I connect with water, and am a Pisces, and like to swim and, if there were another animal life for me, I'd like to be a dolpin. Maybe I was! Fire, eh? Rainbow, eh? Radiant, eh? Well, people do call me radiant. What do they mean?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Deep red-orange daylilies

Deep red-orange daylilies suddenly appeared in my garden, below the tall spotted orange ones. Over in the daisy area, orange instead of yellow daisies opened, too. Is this a response to the heat, the recent rain? I love the wonders of nature, slight variations, etc. I see why Loren Eiseley and Charles Darwin and other naturalists and scientists get excited by all the little changes!

It also feels, in a purely coincidental way, like a quiet little commemmoration of the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, themselves suddenly joined by coincidence. They were part of my childhood; their deaths bring change of a non-garden variety very close.

Tomorrow I will walk in the heat to the local university campus to teach a little poetry workshop to a group of writing fellows, with the Illinois State Writing Project. Then over to the bookstore to work a bit, if there's something appropriate to do, then lunch with a co-worker and former co-worker. Later, there's a visitation for a friend's mother. Then a "date" with my husband at an art opening. Busy day indeed.

But each morning starts these days with lap swimming at the local outdoor pool. I love being in the water.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Googled myself...

...I Googled myself, which is good to do now and then to find out what anyone might be saying about me (sigh...usually nothing...) and discovered myself to have won an Honorable Mention in the New Women's Voices competition at Finishing Line Press!

This is delightful news. The same thing happened to me last year, with the same press! I was a finalist in last year's open chapbook competition, and, since they offer publication to all 10 finalists, I have book coming out this fall, called Broken Sonnets.

You will soon (around July 16) be able to order it at their New Releases page, same link as above, just seach for link at top of page.

The new book is called Living on the Earth, and that publication process will start in a while, and take a while. But I will post links to advance sales, soon as I figure out how!

Wait! I have a blog?!

I signed up here in order to leave a comment at someone else's blog, and here I am! Apparently I was here before, as I already had an account I had forgotten about and had to reset my password, something that will no doubt come back to haunt me...but I'll cross that little technological bridge when I come to it. Sigh...

I do a guest column called "The Poetry Cart" at the Web Log for Babbitt's Books, where I work, so I have added that to the blogs I follow here. Please feel free to add comments there, to visit the store in person, and/or to order books online. It has a great selection of poetry, rare books, ephemera, lots of cool stuff.

I am a poet, in various print and online publications, and I fear things like Facebook and MySpace. I am so...technologically challenged and old-fashioned. But I read a lot of poetry and will perhaps comment on it here!

I love reading in general, so I may comment on books in general here, too. I don't have much of a web presence, or my own web page yet, though everything around me says I must, sooner or later...but in the meantime, you can find me here!