Friday, July 30, 2010

Save the Coast, One Subscription at a Time

You love great contemporary literature, right? Of course you do, you're reading this blog. And I bet you love the environment, too. And you've probably been tearing your hair out, like I have, over the debacle that is the Gulf Coast Oil Spill. Well, Gulf Coast, University of Houston's literary magazine, has a plan. The income from all new subscriptions ($6 from every $16 subscription) will be donated to the Gulf Restoration Network, to help clean and restore the area impacted by the spill. Even better, by participating in this subscription drive, you will receive a free copy of a Gulf Coast back-issue. Visit the Gulf Coast website for details.

While you're at it, consider subscribing to these fine gulf coast-area journals:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Angelheaded Hipster

Franco is so cool, he gets to play both James Dean and Allen Ginsberg:

Stylistically, this movie already has me in its clutches. If the trailer is to be believed, it will do what most poetry movies don't -- recreate the poem visually. I've got my fingers crossed for this one.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Movie Monday: I've Been Watching...

viewing partner: Isaac, post-Vegas trip
stars: ***
notes: Yes, we finally saw this, just so we were in on all the "wolf-pack" references our friends were making. If you're wondering, we are a three-wolf wolf-pack.

viewing partner: just myself
stars: ****
notes: Guy Pearce in drag is - dare I say it? - fabulous. I want to drive with him across Australia in a big pink bus.

viewing partner: a group of gal-pals, of course: Noel, Liz, Naomi, and Alyssa
stars: **
notes: Even the warm raspberry champagne snuck in to the theater couldn't dull the pain that was basically two hours of purposeless costume changes.

viewing partner: alone again
stars: ***
notes: Standard 80's fare. Seeing Vincent D'Onofrio as an oiled up, blonde and busty "Thor" was totally worth a viewing.

viewing partner: Isaac
stars: ** 1/2
notes: Unfortunately suffers from the "Batman Forever" syndrome: too many villans, not enough character development. But still love RDJ.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Mouthful of Bliss

Pear season has officially started here in the Sacramento Delta. The river road is crowded with large trucks hauling sky-high crates to packing sheds, where the fruit will be washed, wrapped, and shipped off to those of you who get your fruit via supermarket. Me, I'm waiting for my farmer to bring home the first Comice of the season, an unbearably sweet dessert pear that, paired with Cypress Grove's Purple Haze chevre, makes me melt into a pool of bliss. Seriously...poems should be written about it.

Matthew Gavin Frank would agree. A fellow former Sundevil and out-of-this-world writer, Frank (Gavin Frank?) has a great article up on the Poetry Foundation website, "My Dinner with Dubie," about the connection between poetry and food. Read it while nibbling on something that makes your hear flutter. Like Comice and chevre. Or chai tea as Dubie drinks it...with butter. What's your favorite poetry-worthy food?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What a Crock(er)

Sacramentans rejoice: the Crocker Art Museum is expanding. I drive by the museum every day on my way home from work, and I am excited by what I see. While I know that some locals have a nostalgic soft spot for the original Victorian house, I believe the open layout and lighting of museums such as the SFMOMA or the Getty are much more conducive to a positive and impactful art-viewing experience. Not to mention the fact that more space means more art (whether in scale or volume). And that is almost always a good thing.

Though the new wing is flanked by the busy I-5, the pictures in Dwell's recent article promise a place of tranquility and reflection worthy of the (hopefully) world-class art to be housed within. According to banners displayed on the old Victorian, the grand opening is slated for 10/10/10. Here's hoping the new building is a perfect 10 as well.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Stephen, I knew we were soul-mates. According to the website I Write Like...

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Want further proof? I recently discovered the joys of mowing the lawn. Afterwards I drank a cold beer. With my dog. Then, I fought an ancient demon with with help of my folksy neighbors. And then, there's this:

Even our author photos are similar!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Local Arts 3: Wild, Wild West Coast

Can you see the Pacific Ocean from your state's (or province's) western border? Then this call for submissions is for you. Breadline Press, co-founded by Brian Schlosser and Richard F. Yates (the poet, not to be confused with the WWII-era author), is looking for poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction from West Coast writers, including those in Western Canada and Mexico. There are no restrictions on content or length, but location is a must: you must call the West Coast home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Local Arts 2: What's the Opposite of Ekphrasis?

Whatever it is, North Lake Tahoe Arts Center would like you to participate. In a recent call to artists, the Arts Center announced it was looking for submissions of fine art media, including painting, photography, fabric art, sculpture, jewelry, functional art and craft, which incorporates or is inspired by a favorite poem. The application fee for the November exhibit is $15.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Local Arts: Gems of Wisdom

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep

~W.B. Yeats

Barnes & Noble is partnering with the California Assisted Living Association and AgeSong Senior Communities to host the Gems of Wisdom Poetry Contest. This contest, open to all California writers who consider themselves elders, has no entry fee, and the prize is inclusion in the forthcoming anthology Gems of Wisdom: 365 Days of Poetry and Prose by Elders, to be published by Barnes & Noble in 2011.

If you consider yourself a writer of a certain age, and would like to submit a piece for consideration, please visit the AgeSong website for contest rules.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Friday, I'm in Love


Merwin (yep, still celebrating his recent appointment as poet laureate)

mountains (miss them, now that I'm back in the Delta)


dogs (mine's happy the Fourth is over).

So here's a poem for the weekend that combines all three:

The Mountains
by W.S. Merwin

There are days when I think the future sets
beyond the mountains
then I lay me down
in fear of departures

and a heavy
net drops on me when I wake
far in the night
borne on
and the whole air
around me crying for you
when you are still there
and a dog barking
beyond it
at an unknown distance

on and on

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Unconventional Pair

William Carlos Williams wrote that "It is difficult/to get the news from poems," but the Learning Network, a blog affiliated with the New York Times, is proving him wrong. Each Thursday, the weekly poem featured by Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry Project is paired with a recent news item. In much the same way that a rare steak is complemented by a great Cabernet Sauvignon, a complimentary news story brings the relevance of poetry as an art form to the forefront. See, poems can be timely as well as timeless. That's pretty cool. Check out these two recent poetry pairings:

June 17th: "Fishing, His Birthday," Michael Sowder/"Dad Yields the Last Word," Michael Winerip

June 24th: "The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog," Alicia Suskin Ostriker/"Radio Program About Faith Defies the Skeptics," Samuel G. Freedman

July 1st: "Denial," Patricia Frolander/"Getting on With Life After a Partner Dies," Jane Brody

Then check back in with the Learning Network each week to read more. After all, as William Carlos Williams said,

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Weekend on the Farm

Happy Independence, friends!

Newsflash for NPR Listeners...

One of my favorite writers, W.S. Merwin has been named the 2010 Poet Laureate of the United States -- hooray! You can read some of his work here and congratulate him here. Or, you can listen to Fresh Air on NPR today at 10am, when Terry Gross will interview both Merwin and Stephen King, another favorite of mine. I haven't been this excited for a radio show since Pearl Jam was live on air in 1994.