Friday, February 27, 2009

Thanks for Coming to the Table

What a fabulous response I received to my poem, "Linguini." I'm in danger of becoming conceited. First, as of result of the Garrison Keillor feature, I've received actual fan mail from all over the place. Then lots of book sales action. A request from an editor to submit to a journal. Another request to use the poem in an anthology that's in the works. A request for a school visit. A number of blogs have cross-linked to the poem or posted the poem. Finally, this blog has throughout the week received a record number of visitors. Thank you one and all. New visitors, I hope you'll come back often.

Several people said that the poem made them hungry. And apparently several people put the poem in the service of Lust! Who says poetry makes nothing happen? Way to go, Poem!

Several people were reminded of the spaghetti scene in the Disney movie, Lady and the Tramp. I found that scene on YouTube. Take a peek and enjoy the background music, "Bella Notte."

Here's a delightful human reenactment. Note the nose pushing over the plate of spaghetti. Nice touch.

And last, here's an inventive and sexy interpretation of the scene. There's even a scarf in it.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 20, 2009

Serving Linguini at The Writer's Almanac

I'm delighted to tell you that my poem "Linguini" is featured today at Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. If you click on the link, you'll be taken to the poem. There you will also be able to listen to Keillor's 5-minute radio podcast and hear him read the poem. The poem appears in my book, What Feeds Us, but was first published in Poet Lore.

The idea for "Linguini" came when I read a poem called "The Blended Family," by Carol Potter. I found Potter's poem in Prairie Schooner. What I noticed about that poem was that each line ended with the word "spaghetti." I started thinking that I'd like to write a poem about linguini. Initially, I tried ending each line with that word. But soon I abandoned that effort as the poem took on its own life. It, too, wanted repetition, but the repetitions are scattered throughout the poem and in the different forms of pasta that appear. I seriously doubt that anyone would draw a connection between the two poems, but I remain grateful to Potter for her poem which served as my muse.

And now I'm thinking I might like to try a poem about ravioli.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Journals That Accept E-mail / Online Submissions

Here is an updated list of journals that accept online submissions. Note that some guidelines specify that the journal does not accept email submissions, but does accept via their online submission manager.

Journals that have been added to this list are indicated by a double asterisk. A few journals have been deleted as they are no longer accepting online submissions or have gone out of business.

Note also that I’ve added the number of issues per year and the reading period for each journal.

Unless noted otherwise, the journal accepts simultaneous submissions.

As always, please let me know if you find any errors here. And good luck.

Sept 1-May 31

The American Poetry Journal—2x
September 1-April 30

Baltimore Review —2x
all year

Barn Owl Review—1x
June 1-November 1

at this time accepting only for online publication
all year

Bat City Review—1x
June 1-November 15

all year

Bellevue Literary Review—2x
all year

all year

all year

September 1-May 1

all year

next reading period will begin June 1, 2009

all year

Gulf Stream—2x
September 15-December 15
January 15-March 15

Hawk & Handsaw—1x
August 1-October 1

**The Hollins Critic—5x
Sept 1-Dec. 15

**Horticulture Magazine—6x
All year
Has recently begun a poetry section

Kenyon Review—4x
prefers no sim
September 15-January 15

**Keyhole Magazine—4x
all year

The Literary Review—4x
September 1-January 31

The Lumberyard—2x
all year

The MacGuffin—3x
all year

**The Massachusetts Review—4x
all year

Meridian—2x ($2 fee)
all year

**The Missouri Review–4x
all year

**Naugatuck River Review—2x
for the Summer issue January 1 through March 1
for the Winter issue July 1 through September 

New Madrid—2x
August 15-November 1

**New Orleans Review—2x
Aug 15-May 1

Ninth Letter—2x
September 1-April 30

August 1-March 31

year round

**Post Road Magazine-2x
check website for submission dates

Puerto del Sol—2x
September 15-March 31

**The Raintown Review—2x
all year
considers previously published

year round

year round

all year

Slice Magazine—2x
Feb. 1-April 1

**Spinning Jenny—1x
Sept 15-May 15
No Sim

Third Coast Review—2x
August 2-April 30

all year

Sept 1-March1

Sept 15-Jan 15

Virginia Quarterly Review—4x
September 1-May 31
prefers no simultaneous

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Poet du Jour: Sheryl St. Germain

It's always exciting to come across a poet who knocks you out. That's the effect Sheryl St. Germain had on me. I don't know why I didn't know her work as she's been around a while and has published a number of books. Although she now lives in Pittsburgh, she is originally a New Orleans poet. That background permeates her work. This is the poem that hooked me:


Two young bucks come daily to eat.
Their nubs of antlers are almost
pushing through skin. It must hurt,
like new teeth almost erupting through
gums, the gums sore and red and full
of tooth. This is what it is like
to want you. Long days while
the gleaming white thing
grows larger under skin that weeps daily,
wanting to be broken.

—from How Heavy the Breath of God
The poem continues to fascinate me. In spite of its brevity, it packs a wallop. It's that simile in the middle, the sentence that turns the poem, that hinge on which the poem rests. A little bit of description, a little bit of speculation, then the leap to the personal, to that simile, then that simile extended.

I couldn't get the poem out of my head. I wanted more, so I ordered St. Germain's collection, Let It Be a Dark Roux: New and Selected Poems, from Autumn House Press. A new and selected always strikes me as a kind of trade-off. You lose the arc of each individual collection, the sense of wholeness that a well-organized collection has. But you gain the trajectory of a poet's growth. You see what's changed, what's remained constant. You see the poet's obsessions and tics.

The South remains a constant in St. Germain's work, especially the distinguishing characteristics of Louisiana, of New Orleans. There's lots of local color, the thick air, the music, the gumbo, the fish. Family matters, sex and the body do, too. There's a consistent underbelly, a fascination with the darkness. A delicious darkness, sexy and dangerous, intoxicating. Here's another poem that left me reeling.

In memory of my brother, Jay St. Germain, 1958-1981
The truth is I loved it,
the whole ritual of it,
the way he would fist up his arm, then
hold it out so trusting and bare,
the vein pushed up all blue and throbbing
and wanting to be pierced,
his opposite hand gripped tight as death
around the upper arm,

the way I would try to enter the vein,
almost parallel to the arm,
push lightly but firmly, not
too deep,
you don't want to go through
the vein, just in,
then pull back until you see
blood, then

hold the needle very still, slowly
shoot him with it.
Like that I would enter him,
slowly, slowly, very still,
don't move,
then he would let the fist out,
loosen his grip on the upper arm--

and oh, the movement of his lips
when he asked that I open my arms.
How careful,
how good he was, sliding
the needle silver and slender
so easily into me, as though
my skin and veins were made for it,
and when he had finished, pulled
it out, I would be coming
in my fingers, hands, my ear lobes
were coming, heart, thighs,
tongue, eyes and brain were coming,
thick and brilliant as the last thin match
against a homeless bitter cold.

I even loved the pin-sized bruises,
I would finger them alone in my room
like marks of passion;
by the time they turned yellow,
my dreams were full of needles.

We both took lovers who loved
this entering and being entered,
but when he brought over the
pale-faced girl so full of needle holes
he had to lay her on her back
like a corpse and stick the needle
over and over in her ankle veins
to find one that wasn't weary
of all that joy, I became sick
with it, but

you know, it still stalks my dreams,
and deaths make no difference:
there is only the body's huge wanting.

When I think of my brother
all spilled out on the floor
I say nothing to anyone.
I know what it's like to want joy
at any cost.

—from Making Bread at Midnight
I'm happy to recommend this book and this poet. The work is full of jazz and blues, cooking odors, the aroma of sex, the joy of love, too much drinking and substance abuse, a hard-won sobriety. There's New Orleans before and after Katrina. Short poems, long ones, poems in sections. Lots of variety. Lots of passion. Poems that wail their blues and go to the heart. Poems that matter.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Paterson Poetry Prize Reading

Each year I go to the reading held for the winners of the Paterson Poetry Prize. Yesterday was this year's reading. Although I'd just returned the preceding day from my own reading in the Collected Poets Series in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, and was pretty tuckered out after a total of 8 hours on the road, freezing close to death in my unheated B&B, and then the exhilaration of the reading with Mary Clare Powell (we had an amazing turnout!), and then the fun of dinner after, I, nevertheless, hauled myself over to Paterson. I wanted to hear Franz Wright—all of the poets, but especially Franz Wright. Imagine, then, my disappointment when it was announced that he hadn't been able to make it down from Massachusetts. There was an audible groan of disappointment when this was announced. Happily, though, things went well after that.

Here's Stanley Plumly reading. If I were a man, this is what I'd like to look like. He has such fabulous hair, silver and full. He also has a wonderful voice, deep and resonant. He read one poem whose form intrigued me. It was 11 stanzas long, each stanza 11 lines, each line 11 syllables. This reminded me of Galway Kinnell's "When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone," but it did not have the repeating lines in lines 1 and 11. I always think it's a risk and usually a mistake to read such a long poem, but this seemed to hold the audience's attention.

I must mention here that I was using my brand new digital camera for the first time. And therefore I messed up. I took 11 photos, but when I returned home, I realized that I had only 3. Apparently, I pushed the button down only halfway on the others. I wondered why there was no flash and credited the camera with figuring out the lighting. Wrong! So no picture of our host Maria Mazziotti Gillan or the first finalist, Suzanne Cleary.

This is the second finalist, Linda Susan Jackson. She was followed by Matthew Lippman, but I neglected to push the button all the way down, so no photo.

And here's David Young.

It was a good reading, well-attended, but I wanted Franz and was sorry to have missed him. Then home for a snooze.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 2, 2009

PO'd at the PO

Buried amidst all the bad news about our economy and stimulus packages, etc., was the story that our postal service is considering dropping one delivery day, going from 6 to 5 days of delivery. The dropped day will most likely be Saturday or Tuesday, the two slowest days. Apparently, the postal service is losing money. Join the crowd. The alternative would be another increase in the cost of stamps. I also heard that the increase is coming regardless. Didn't the price of a stamp just go up?

This talk of one less delivery day is for me grim news. And I bet I'm not the only writer who feels that way. I love my mail! It's part of my daily ritual. As I get dressed in the morning, I check out the window to see if the mail truck is coming. If I'm out when the mail is delivered, all the way home I'm looking forward to the mailbox. If I'm out of town, when I call home, I don't ask, "How are you?" I ask, "Did I get any mail?" Bad weather days like we've been having too many of cause me anguish as I try to strategize how I can get to my mailbox at the end of my ice-encrusted driveway. How can I climb over that pile of snow without breaking a vital body part?

It's not that I get all that much mail—much of it catalogs and junk mail. It's the possibility of something good arriving. Some lovely acceptance. Some invitation to a festival. Now most days that doesn't happen. But on any day when there's mail delivery, it could happen.

Years ago I read in a biography of J. D. Salinger that he hated holidays because there was no mail. I knew exactly what he meant. I feel the same way. A day without mail is a day without sunshine, practically. I especially dislike holidays that fall on Monday as that means two days in a row without mail. Then I expect Tuesday to make up the loss, and when it doesn't come through for me, I'm disappointed in Tuesday.

If the post office must stop delivery one day, I vote for Tuesday. Don't make it Saturday. A whole weekend without mail? Thank goodness for email which can take up the slack. Email which now also offers the possibility of some cool news coming through. And no stamp required.

Any other mail addicts out there?

Bookmark and Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...