Friday, October 28, 2011

Poet for President

Big news for verse-lovers today: Ireland's next president is a poet. Michael D. Higgins, referred to simply as Michael D on his website (and no, he's no relation to the Beastie Boys' Mike D), is a long-time civic leader and politician who just happens to author a few books of poetry, including An Arid Season and The Season of Fire. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any examples of his poems online, but you can listen to him read here and here.

Of course, there's no chance of this type of thing happening here in America. But this makes me wonder...why do the "literary" types keep themselves so separate from politics? Poetry and politics have a long and strong tradition of co-existing in Europe and other countries. In communist controlled central Europe, for instance, poetry was a way to speak out against the government through metaphor.

Here in the good ol' US of A, however, we like our poetry and politics to stay separate.
But given the chance, would you vote for a poet-president? Maybe a Billy Collins/Yusef Komunyakaa ticket? Rita Dove for governor, perhaps? Hey, we've had actors crack the glass ceiling of government...why not give a poet the chance?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Workshop: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

It's that time of the year when leaves turn orange and the morning fog can be seen settling in the vineyard rows. That means it's time for Halloween, my favorite holiday, and the telling of scary stories.


My favorites came from the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series of books, by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. If you're near my age, you probably grew up reading these books as I did, and found yourself simultaneously fascinated and terrified. The pictures alone can haunt your dreams, and the stories are of the classic horror/urban legend type that can be easily recalled around a campfire or underneath a blanket with a flashlight held to your face.


The challenge is to take one of these classics and reboot it. Tell it from another perspective (that of the ghost, perhaps) or change the setting. Modernize the details at will, change the cast of characters, but keep that spooky, spine-chilling atmosphere.



I’m waiting in this car
still warm from bodies’ crush
for your return.
What was that sound?
A creature’s rustle, raccoon
in the weeds? Out there,
an owl screeches
and the hazard lights blink
warning, warning

lighting red the windows
fogged by a last moment’s kiss—
your fingers in my hair,
a nail scraped my neck.
I sucked in one
long, wet breath. Tongued
my swollen lips
as the car rocked
with your exit, your palm's
smack against the hood—
Hey, keep it locked.

You won’t be long. I felt
the need beneath your clothes,
the way your hand
became a fist
around my waistband.
What was that sound?
The swick of a lighter’s flint, a key
searching for the lock?
Your belt, undone, the buckle
dragging past the driver’s side
as you come back to me
in the back seat, waiting,
ready. No, not long.

Thanks to my monthly poetry group for inspiring this post. This workshop is cribbed and slightly altered from this month's prompt, of which the above was my result. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On Translation, Part 2

When "A Ghost Abandons the Haunted" was featured in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry project, I had no idea how far-reaching its distribution would be, or how many people would read it. When I googled the poem, I was pleasantly surprised at how many small newspapers include Kooser's article, and that bloggers were getting in on the action as well.

When I saw the poem up at Larabee and Liza, though, I was beyond excited. Here was another way in which the poem was being translated, this time visually. The painting, with its expanse of white space, captures that feeling of disbursement or of non-being I was trying to evoke in the poem. But it also picks up on the poem's sense of the absurd. After all, being haunted by a ghost is not exactly a "normal" experience, but it becomes truly odd when you pretend like it is. There's something about the way the ghost (or is that the person being haunted?) is waving cheerily at someone or something just beyond the edge of canvas, that feels similarly absurd to me.

In fact, Laura, the genius behind the brush, has done quite a few "translations" of other poets, and her newer work takes the idea of translation in a whole new direction, as she paints and draws directly on old book pages, turning them into new pieces of art. Check out this wonderful transformational work on her blog and her shop.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On Translation

I haven't been here in a while, I know. But when I signed in today, I had a lovely comment from a Spanish poet waiting for me. Jesus Jimenez Dominguez has translated my poem "A Ghost Abandons the Haunted" into Spanish. Beautiful, no?

I was reminded of a class I took on translation the final year in my MFA program. Throughout, we discussed the balance between literal translation and the transference of those less actual elements of poetry: sound, connotation, meter. What we didn't discuss, because we were all native English speakers translating into English, was what translation from English into other languages can do to a work.

In the original English, the poem attempts to transform the strange and frightening (the haunting) into the mundane...I sort of strained the ghost through a list of everyday things: old sponges, celery, a ring in the tub, etc. But in Spanish, the sound keeps that element of strange and scary throughout. Now, the ghost is not reduced by the common things. It infuses them, possesses them, haunts them.

I wonder what would happen if I now re-translated the poem back into English. Would it retain some of this residual strangeness? Would the ghost be stronger or more omnipresent? Would my word choice change to hold on to some of these elements that I love in the Spanish translation? And now, whose poem is it? Maybe the secret truth is that the poem, like the ghost it describes, is permeable. It will continue to change with each reading, each version, each new eye.

Friday, August 19, 2011

On Justice and Other Things

If you know my work, it's probable that you also know dancing girl press. This small press out of Chicago focuses on printing the work of contemporary women poets. It is also the press which released my chapbook, A Classic Game of Murder. And, a while ago, the publisher, Kristy Bowen, invited me and a few other writers to participate in the creation of a poetic Tarot deck. Each card was given to a different writer. They could choose to collaborate with an artist, or create a visual on their own. I was drawn Justice, which is all about balance--between light and dark, good and bad, right and wrong. What better setting for this concept than a rural one, where civilization is constantly battling the wild, and where life and death come face-to-face daily?


Miss Justine suggests I take
two glasses of wine—one for each hand
on the threshold of day, of season.
The spider has nested and the chestnut
drops its hollow currency to the ground
to await its fate: food, or fodder
for next year’s tree, or a darker limbo—
the squirrel’s cool, dry pantry beneath my shoes.
Miss Justine prods a toe—
Good peasant feet, good for balance. For dancing? For walking the fields. To the west, corn glows
in the nuclear light of a dying sun.
In the east the full moon
breaks like an egg over the river.
Miss Justine grins.
Keep steady. Now walk.



If you want to read more Tarot-rific poetry from the dancing girl writers, now is your chance. A subscription to dancing girl press will bring both chapbooks and the coveted Tarot deck to your mailbox. It promises to be gorgeous, both in pictures and words, so don't wait. Subscribe today!

Monday, August 1, 2011

LocalArts: Digging Davis, CA

Smack dab in the middle of fields and farms, Davis, California is a little intellectual and artistic haven. Here, bikes rule the street and composting is commonplace. Here, you may just be able to shove your hand into a living cow's stomach or smell a corpse flower named Ted. In Davis, agriculture mixes with environmentalism, conservatism with conservation, and engineering with poetry. It is a truly unique town.

The Davis Poetry Book Project seeks to capture this unique city through the words of its citizens. If you are a current or former resident of Davis, consider submitting a poem or few to the project. Winning selections will be including in a print anthology. But hurry--the August 15th deadline is quickly approaching.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wide Open Spaces

It seems like most of my recent posts here have been about spaces, whether it has been my new home or the rural area I live in. So when I saw this recent article on writing spaces in the Chicago Tribune, courtesy of Hayden's Ferry Review, I was interested in what, if any, new revelations regarding space were to be had.

But, I must admit, I was a tad disappointed. Based on this (very limited) list of five (best-selling) authors, a writer needs a clean, quiet place near nature, preferably a beach or babbling brook. And, apparently, these folks also get up early and then write for hours (hours!) straight. Now, obviously, I know these are people who must write volumes in order to keep up their publishing schedule. And, these are the types of people who can afford, say, beach homes in Nantucket. But what about the rest of us? Where do the rabble write? What kind of "space" do we need?

When I really think about my writing process, I realize that most of my composing is done in my car on my way to or from work. The long drive from my little farming town to the larger city where my office is located takes me past farms, orchards, and vineyards, dilapidated barns and huge manor houses, cows, trucks, and hay-balers. I hold the lines in my head until I get to my destination, to type or write out. But by then, most of the work is done. My car is not exactly clean or quiet, and it certainly doesn't have any freshly sharpened pencils or internet connections (or plastic statues of Greek gods, although, now that I think about it, it probably should). But it works.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekend on the Farm

It's been a long time since I've had a weekend on the farm. My new old home in town tends to keep me away. But I'm finally heading to Walnut Grove this weekend to reconnect with all things rural and celebrate in true country style.

Kicking off my celebration, I'm indulging in a little late-afternoon reading of a new favorite blog, The Art of the Rural, who is publishing a Rural Poetry series. The series includes a favorite of mine, Lorine Niedecker, as well as new names I am overjoyed to discover. I hope you are, too. Happy Independence Day!

I knew a clean man
but he was not for me.
Now I sew green aprons
over covered seats. He

wades the muddy water fishing,
fall in, dries his last pay-check
in the sun, smooths it out
in Leaves Of Grass. He's
the one for me.

~by Lorine Niedecker

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Saying Yes to Knotty Pine!

I've been wondering for a while what to post (or whether to post anything) about our new home. I didn't want this to become a house-centric blog, but I did want to somehow celebrate the fabulousness of our little bungalow. True, we no longer live on the farm, but we still live in an agricultural area--our new hometown is surrounded by orchards and grape fields, and some mornings I still find myself stuck behind slow-moving tractors. Lodi also has its share of history and personality, as does our new house. And when I saw this post about knotty pine on Retro Renovation, featuring Betty Crafter's adorable kitchen, I knew I had to share my own love of all things wood paneled.

Our post-war home was built around the same time as the General Mills plant was established in town--we are close enough to the plant that we can smell when they make the cereal (it smells like kettle corn). The house was the first one to be built on our street, when the rest of the area was a cherry orchard. It was small, like all the other post-war homes in the area. When it was listed for sale, the description of the "step-saver" kitchen had us confused, until we saw it in real life:


Step saving indeed. But I fell in love with the honey colored cabinets and the original fixtures, like the avocado green sink, the linoleum floors, and even the strange faux wallpaper paneling on the walls.


We are only the second owners. The original owners added on an amazing wood paneled family room in the Fifties, including a built-in closet, shelving and storage, which has now become our bedroom. The attached half bath is small, but the warm wood makes it feel cozy.


We talk about the previous owners, Roberta and Raymond, a lot. So much of their personality has seeped into this home, that it's only natural to wonder about them, imagine what they were like. Take, for instance, this handmade, built-in shelving unit in one of the original bedrooms:


The listing described it as a double headboard system for two twin beds. The original owners had two sons, so this makes sense. The particleboard paneling is beautiful, and the shelves are solid. It took a lot of ingenuity and imagination to put this together.

The living/dining room area is about half wood paneled (you can catch a glimpse of it in the kitchen picture above). We like to joke that they only paneled the half that would be seen by neighbors from the street. Many people have suggested we paint over or remove the paneling, but I think it's going to stay. Now that we have uncovered the beautiful white oak floors beneath the brown shag carpet, we are living in a veritable wood wonderland, and loving every minute of it.

All the pictures above were taken before we moved in, and a few things have since changed. I may post some "after" pictures of the place later on, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here's to keeping things original!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Common People

So, Obama had a Poetry Night at the White House. Cool. And he invited a rapper. Hm, ok...appealing to the young folks, I get it. Since then, we have all heard (over and over) about what a terrible travesty it was to have Common in the White House. What's shocking is not that hate-mongering folks decided to make this an issue, or that they are blissfully unaware of how offensive their taking offense is, but that this issue is NOT GOING AWAY. I mean, really, Poetry Night at the White House is a huge scandal? Common!

Ok, the bad puns are out of my system. But I'm still wondering if politicos just hate the idea of rappers in their hallowed halls, or if they would have found something to disparage about any other visiting poets Obama would have chosen. Consider the following gallery of rogues:

William Shakespeare

The Bard had this to say about women...
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

Robert Frost
This guy was obviously a trespasser...

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Gwendolyn Brooks
Encouraging juvenile delinquency...

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight...

Charles Baudelaire
And advocating substance abuse...shocking...

You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

So, can the pundits and talk show hosts really say that these famous poets are any better, morally, than a rapper? Especially one who has this to say about the ladies in his life:

One mother, one sister, one daughter, one wife
Once lost in the darkness; blessed by sunlight
Once blind to the bounties of livin’ – Lord, surround me with four women
To symbolize life;

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Big Giveaway, Big Wins

So, I had this great idea about how to choose the winners of my Big Poetry Giveaway...imagine numbered dog biscuits strewn across the floor, winners chosen by which one George eats first. Amazing, right? I was going to take pictures and document the whole, crazy process. It was going to be so cool.

Alas, that didn't happen. I woke up yesterday, went to work like usual, signed in at my desktop and realized that, yikes, it was the 2nd and I hadn't picked winners! So boring old numbers went into a boring old cardboard box. So sad.

But the good news: two winners were (finally) chosen. Congratulations to Big Nine 7, who gets a copy of A Classic Game of Murder, and Sandy Longhorn, who will receive Mary Oliver's fabulous American Primitive. Thank you, everyone who stopped by and entered. I hope you visit again soon.

By the way, Sandy is now giving all proceeds of her poetry collection Blood Almanac, to tornado disaster relief. Visit her site for more information.

And if you are feeling those post-NPM-blues, consider participating in Deborah Ager's poetic recipe swap.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Couple of Commemorations

Happy Birthday to Harper Lee


"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

& Bon Voyage to Michael Scott


“My philosophy is basically this. And this is something that I live by. And I always have. And I always will. Don't ever, for any reason, do anything to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what. No matter ... where. Or who, or who you are with, or where you are going, or ... or where you've been ... ever. For any reason, whatsoever.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Flatman-Sad

When I met Flatmancrooked editor Steve Owen at the St. Patrick's Day reading, I learned that he would be leaving the organization. Now it looks like he's not the only one. As of last week, Flatmancrooked has announced that they will be shutting up shop--permanently--on May 1st.

What does this mean for Flatman fans...and those of you who have been putting off ordering a copy of their Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics? Get your copies now! This is literally your last chance to hold in your hot little hands a copy of my poem, "The Fistulated Cow." Not to mention all the other great stuff they've packed into this little collection.


So order here. Or click the picture above. Or the book icon to the right. Or forever bemoan the fact that you lost your chance. After all, do you really want to be singing (a la Annie), "This is the book I never read...these are the tears, the tears I shed"?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Through the Desert on a Horse with No Name

That's where I'm headed this weekend...although probably not on an anonymous steed. But I will be visiting my home state, Arizona, to participate as an instructor in Avondale Public Library's Narrative Poetry Workshop. This great event was organized by a dear friend, who also happens to be the librarian. And it includes another dear friend (who I've written about before), Cynthia Hogue, as well as a fellow Californian, Jill Ferguson. If you find yourself out thataways, dust the sagebrush off your chaps and join us.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Big Poetry Giveaway 2011


I completely missed the boat on this last year...I guess I was too busy during 2010's National Poetry Month reveling in rural-ness. But this year, I've got myself together and I am ready to participate in Kelli Russell Agodon's Big Poetry Giveaway 2011.

Click on the picture above to learn more about this event and find other participating bloggers. If you've found me via Kelli's site, welcome! I am a poet and book reviewer living in a small town in the Sacramento Delta. I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona where I learned to love succulents and sweating. Since then, I have grown to embrace all things rural and small-town: cows, gardens, even the occasional infestation.

In almost all aspects of my life, I like to get rid of things. Except books. I admit it: I am a book hoarder. I am a gollum of poetry collections (oh Ariel, my precious!). So, the most difficult part of this was deciding which of my favorites to give away. I seriously stood at my poetry bookcase for about an hour, trying to make this wrenching decision. So, after a long, dark, soul-searching struggle, here are the books I'm willing to part with:

The easy decision: A Classic Game of Murder


This is my chapbook from dancing girl press. It is a collection of poems inspired by the board game CLUE. All the rooms, weapons, and characters are in there. If you like murder mystery parties or Agatha Christie books, you'll dig this collection.

The hard decision: Mary Oliver's American Primitive


Love this book...I mean LOVE. This is the book I made all my seventh-graders read in its entirety. These poems are sexy, lush, fruitful, filled with creatures. And Oliver's language is so tight, so skillful, it reads as effortless. These are nature poems that are about so much more than nature.

If you want a chance to win either of these, leave a comment below telling me which CLUE character is your favorite. I will draw two random winners on May 1st. Happy reading!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Post-Paddy's

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in a reading with some other poets from Flatmancrooked's Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics: Joseph Atkins, James Benton, Joshua McKinney, and Steve Owen. Though I was the sole female voice there, the range of work was invigorating. From Atkins' sculptural language play to the quiet wit of Benton and McKinney to Owen's raucous surrealism, I felt that the mix, while maybe just a result of dumb luck, perfectly mirrored the aesthetic of the anthology. Plus, we were surrounded by duck decoys. So, there's that, too.

Thanks to James Benton, in particular, for MC'ing the event. And thank you to my fellow poets--all the luck of the Irish to you in your writing. If you were unable to attend the reading, and desperately want a copy of the anthology (and who doesn't?), you can now purchase it from Amazon or Powell's Books. Bonus: it will cost you far less than a pot's worth of gold.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Movie Monday: Oscar 2011 Post-Game

Yikes...I'm almost scared to tally up how my predictions did this year. If I hadn't just got back from Las Vegas--where I lost a whopping $5 on the Magic Unicorn penny slots--I might not even have the energy to do so. But, since I'm on a losing streak, I might as well...

Picture -- YES
Director -- NO
Actress -- YES
Actor -- YES
Supporting Actress -- NO
Supporting Actor -- YES
Animated Film -- YES
Film Editing -- NO
Costume Design -- NO
Original Song -- NO
Makeup -- YES
Adapted Screenplay -- NO
Original Screenplay -- NO

Final Score -- 6 out of 13 correct? Gadzooks!

Even though I didn't make predictions in this category, I was extremely excited to see Trent Reznor win for his haunting score for The Social Network...maybe one of the best parts of that movie. Though, when Trent walked on stage looking more like a dad than a rock star, it made me feel so old.

Speaking of age, the two most entertaining parts of the show were completely opposite in that regard. I vote for Anne Hathaway and Kirk Douglas to host the show next year!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Want to Be a Betazoid

I used to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation with my dad. It was on late...9pm (gasp!), and sometimes it was a struggle to keep awake. But it was worth it. Complex plots, thought-provoking issues of humanity and morality, Patrick Stewart's accent. All these were reasons to stay tuned.

My favorite character by far was the half-Betazoid, half-human hybrid Deanna Troi. She was one of my early heroes. Beautiful, intelligent, and emotionally mature, she was everything I wanted to be when I got older. Instead, I just developed a thing for men with beards.


For those of you who found similar inspiration in Star Trek: The Next Generation, this call for submissions is for you. This month, the Make It So Anthology is accepting your TNG-themed poetry. Check the website for complete rules and requirements. Engage!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Workshop: Redclay Dreamboat Lieutenant Disher

This workshop is in honor of the Westminster Dog Show, which recently crowned yet another best in show. It celebrates the strange, sometimes hilarious tradition of show dog names. The rules for naming your show dog are simple:

  1. Include the name of the kennel
  2. If significant, include an ancestor's name
  3. Make sure the proper name is unique (no duplicates allowed)
  4. Decide on the call name, or everyday name (which, incidentally, shouldn't sound like common commands such as "sit" or "come")

For this workshop, you can come up with your own show dog (or show cat/pigeon/child/stuffed animal/car, etc.) name to use as the title of a poem or prose piece. Or, you can use one of these wonderfully strange and real show dog names. A few of my favorites:

  • Brownwood D'Geno Rock (smooth dachsund)
  • Quietcreek's Kiss and Tell (bloodhound)
  • Invictus Nightmare before Xmas (rhodesian ridgeback)
  • My Thai Ta Sen Halleluiah Chorus (lhasa apso)
  • Liontame's 1-800-Hotstuff (chow chow)
Let's see what we can come up with, dog-lovers...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!

Globe-trotters and rural folks alike, rejoice! In celebration of Elizabeth Bishop's centennial, three new books are to be released which will include previously unpublished work along with well-known favorites. If poets could be saints, Bishop would be the patron saint of travelers...and whether you are interested in exotic lands or small towns (or even if you're a traveler of the animal kingdom) she's the poet for you.

To get the books, click on the links at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, enjoy my favorite Bishop poem:

The Fish

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled and barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
--the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly--
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
--It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
--if you could call it a lip
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels--until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie Monday: Oscar Picks 2011

I have been gone too long, readers, but the Oscars have brought me back. So, without further delay, here are my uninformed, purely instinctive picks for the big night:

Best Picture
I don't dig having so many to pick from. There are really only a handful who have a true shot at the award, so isn't it just unfair to those at the back of the line? Of these ten, I wish the conceptual 127 Hours or the moody Winter's Bone had more of a chance. But because I want to be right, I'm going to say The King's Speech.

Best Director
Because he scares and awes me, Darren Aronofsky

Best Actress
The experts say Natalie's got this. They're probably right. After all, she did starve and bloody herself for the role.

Best Actor
Can the Dude abide for a second year in a row? Probably not. My runner-up, then, is Colin Firth. Long live the king.

Best Supporting Actress
Hmmm, this will be an interesting category to watch the night of. Will it be Amy "Always a Bridesmaid" Adams? Or will Helena Bonham Carter take it, wacky shoes, big hair, and all? I'd be happy either way.

Best Supporting Actor
Jeremy Renner? Really? Though I absolutely adore Geoffrey Rush, I'm going for beauty over age on this one and calling Christian Bale out for the shiny gold statue.

Other categories:

Best Animated Film
Because it won't win Best Picture...Toy Story 3.

Best Film Editing
C'mon, folks, we all know which movie it should be, right? For getting an audience to sit through two hours of a guy stuck between two rocks, my pick is 127 Hours. But it will probably go to Black Swan.

Best Costume Design
I feel pretty strongly about this one this year. If The Tempest, with its Elizabethan-Age-meets-Mad-Max vibe, doesn't win, I'll be sad.

Best Original Song
I don't care anymore. Door Number 3.

Best Makeup
Why is this category so measly this year? What about Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland? Not everything was computer-generated. Or the slew of superhero and horror movies that usually flesh out this list? Or, hello, Nanny McPhee? Anyone? Bueler? In lieu of some actual good choices, I guess I'm going to have to say The Wolfman...although turning Benicio Del Toro into a hairy monster couldn't have been that much of a stretch.

Best Adapted Screenplay
This is the best chance for the small, yet tough Winter's Bone.

Best Original Screenplay
Oh, please, please, please, let it be a script with some actual good writing, instead of the plot-through-dialogue mess that was Inception. I'm voting for The Kids Are Alright. But it will probably be Inception.