Saturday, June 24, 2023

Books Read so far this year


  1. The Tradition - Jericho Brown
  2. Deathbed Sext - Christopher Salerno
  3. Rough Draft: AMemoir - Katy Tur
  4. Lit - Mary Karr
  5. Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
  6. Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders
  7. And We Stay - Jenny Hubbard
  8. The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country
  9. Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom - Sylvia Plath
  10. The Art of Memoir - Mary Karr
  11. Bird Songs in Literature: Bird Songs and the Poems They Have Inspired - Joseph Wood Krutch
  12. Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath - Heather Clark
  13. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln - Doris Kearns Goodwin
  14. The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin - Kip Wilson
* these I have finished there are a number I am still reading at this time. 

Sunday, April 09, 2023

Poet Interviews I Saw this Week

 This week I watched several video interviews with two poets.  Actually multiple interviews with each one. 

The poets were Jorie Graham and Mary Karr. I have not read Graham for a while but my exposure to her in the past has been with fascination toward her work.  I did not know that she was raised outside the United States. 

The second poet I looked for interviews with was Mary Karr. There were several interviews a couple of short ones and two longer ones. My interest in Karr is twofold. As a poet and a memoir writer, I have developed an interest in this genre over the past three or 4 years. 

Karr is a captivating individual whose conversation is very easygoing and especially witty. If I got nothing else out of the interviews, the entertainment value alone would make it worth the time. 

But Karr's interest in biographical reading on writers is similar to that of my own. I suppose, like Kerr, that is what has given way to interest in memoirs. The fact that she considers herself foremost a poet in spite of successful books of prose on memoirs makes me feel it is okay to explore the possibilities.

Karr comes across as quite authentic and hysterically funny. The humor is what has convinced me that she is totally cool with herself talking in public. 

Jorie Graham


                                                                         Mary Karr

Sunday, March 19, 2023

AWP 2023 From Home or SWAG in a Box

As my regular readers know I did not attend AWP in Seattle this year. Instead, I did the Virtual Conference.

The virtual conference for me this year was a flop. It was not worth the discounted price. 

I did this weekend receive a SWAG care package from my friend and poetry author Marianne Mersereall AKA Wild Honey Creations.  She knows how much I look forward to the swag at each conference, something that doesn't come with the virtual Conference, I have to thank Marianne for this kind deed. Not only a selection of Conference swag but some personal notes on recommended publishers for my work as well   Thank you so much!  (((big hug)))

My eye surgery has greatly improved my sight and cut down on eye strain and headaches.  Working during the day, generally on the computer quite a bit, and coming home it was hard to get back on for school work and writing as well. My good eye, which my doctor says will go the same was as my vision in the right eye was before it was corrected will be going the same way. We will do that one at the end of the month. 

I just want to say one more thing about the virtual conference. There was simply so much that was not available. I tuned into some streaming and pre-recorded conference panels. They were not the ones I wanted to see, and they were honestly not that impressive to me. Perhaps the subject matter had something to do with it, but again, I could just not get the panels I wanted. 


Sunday, March 05, 2023

Conferencing from Home This Time Hopefully With Improved Eye Sight

 This is the week that AWP opens in Seattle. The Annual Writers Pilgrimage to whatever Mecca is selected for that year.  Seattle it is. 

This is also the week I have eye surgery on my right eye. That happens Tuesday the 8th. As a result, my AWP will be virtual this year. This is disappointing because I know many poets and writers in the Pacific Northwest.  And, I've never been to Seattle. I get many excellent views of the area's natural beauty in pictures, but that only makes me want to see it more. 

I did make the Portland AWP so many of those people were there and then some make the event every year so those people you can count on looking up. 

I will miss the conference. I will miss the people, the sights, the book bargains, and I will miss the swag. Hopefully, I will be able to get to soak up some of the knowledge and benefit my craft virtually, 

Did I say I will miss the swag? Crazy buttons, promotional material from presses, and lit journals. Who knows what brilliant ideas people will have this year. There are always some oldies but goodies that you will see each year that have been done specifically for AWP 23 One of my favorite from the past was the do not disturb door hanger with cute writing-related quotes on it, like go away I'm writing my fucking memoir.  Oh wait, that was a sticker, but still. And various temporary tattoos.

If you have never been to one of these let me tell you, they are:

  • Engagingly fun
  • Highly rejuvenating of ideas and commitmentRemarkable at stimulating new ideas and reestablishing work desire
  • A mammoth networking opportunity
  • Significantly draining  - but if you are counting steps, oh boy, what a win
  • Invaluable contacts with publishers and editors
  • Exposure to thousands of books
  • Did I say draining?  It is physically draining for sure. If you are on the introverted side, the crowd can be especially overwhelming as well. Take a break if you need to. There are seats everywhere. Skip a presentation if you need to some are recorded. I've been to four or five of them, losing count, but they are worth it. I usually take the day after I come back off just to get my head and body working together again.
If this is your first conference or even your 23rd (kudos, I don't know anyone who has been to all of them).  Drop me a note or add a comment and share your experience Anyway, best wishes to all going. Be safe and have a great conference.  Next year is Kansas City, my town.


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Confession Tuesday - Joy and Sadness Issue

 Dear Reader:

Let's hurry to the confessional... 

It's been one submission, a whole week of Grind Poems (if you don't know what this is, just ask), One bad eye (right), a fair amount of squinting, A SuperBowl win for Kansas City, two new ink colors in my fountain pen, Another episode of Shrinks, a day with both joy and sadness, one journal bits post on my web site, one load of Laundry, and one week since my last Tuesday Confession. 

Reader, I confess that I could not make it through the week without a second blog post as I stated last Tuesday that I would try and start doing.  In my defense, I did add a post to my Poet's Notes on my website which is kind of a blog. I know, that's a lame effort to get off the hook.

I confess also that I am religiously using Combigan on my eyes and that I believe it makes some difference one day and not so much the next.  Dr. Appt is coming up on the 20th. 

I confess enjoy the Apple TV series Shrinks. Seeing Harrison Ford act again is good. Both his age and health are showing through. 

It's 6:30 PM and I confess this day has gone from euphoric joy to deep sadness. After this, the remainder of my even plans will likely be scuttled in exchange for going to bed. I'm not tired, and I don't expect to sleep - I just don't have the desire to face anything else tonight. 

I confess I need to write about 5 new poems with some emphasis on night for my manuscript.  I was going to talk with someone about this today for maybe some new angles for them. 

I confess I will not be going to the Super Bowl parade tomorrow. That many people downtown drinking and likely seven sheets to the wind when they arrive sure looks to me like a recipe for disaster.

I'm not kidding when I say that I believe the manuscript will be ready to pass it out to a few people to look it over soon. I confess I really see this happening. Probably no later than the end of April. 

I'm afraid I'm at the end of the line for this post.  Let me say that I wish you all the best in the week ahead, and be especially safe.  Life is precious. Everyone's. 

All best!


Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Confession Tuesday-- Introverts edition

Dear Reader:

It's been one rejection letter, three episodes of Shrinking on Apple TV,  another week writing poems for the Grind ( if you don't know what that is just ask me), Numerous excruciating starts to new poems, 7 days worth feeling in the grip of darkness, and One week since my last Confession.

Let me start dear reader by saying that I am troubled.  Do you know what singularity is?  No, not that one. Singularity has to do with AI. As in artificial intelligence. Singularity is when parity is achieved between humans and AI.  For some, this is an outstanding achievement. We've made a new life form that replicates what humans can do. 

It can write your thesis. Draft a court brief, create art, write music, etc. Of course, to do this tons of data has to be fed into the system so for example, it can duplicate brush strokes, or know the general parameters needed to prepare a given legal document. 

In the example of art, for instance, there is a class-action suit already against a company that has an AI art generator. It has collected samples over the years of a couple of artists, Suddenly, it offered a subscription in which you could use the site to access their AI feature and create artwork. Suddenly, all of the pieces of the artwork uploaded on the site were making them money, but not the artists whose work they used. They get nadda. Nothing. Zilch.

I confess that I find this very disturbing. And what about people turning in college work done by AI?  I see the ethical and economic pitfalls of this as frightening.  But I will just leave this here for now. 

Writers are solitary people. Many are introverts. Many of us will write for example "dark poetry" and people, often friends will ask why do you do that?  It comes. with the territory. It's not that I don't write anything uplifting or joyous, it is just sometimes we are lost in a web of darkness in our life. I'm trying to work my way through one such week or more. It's not. that I don't try to write pieces that are not dark, it is more like I am just not really feeling good about the positive stuff that comes out during such periods. 

I ran across the quote pictured above this week and I have to confess it seemed to strike a chord with me. Loneliness to the point, your shadow has left you in the dark. It's not a good place to be. for very long. Even if you are an introvert.

Speaking of introverts, I saw an article today that while it has been a long-held belief that businesses prefer to hire extroverts, there is a growing trend by many businesses to take a second look at what introverts bring to the workplace. The thought process of introverts is different from extroverts. For one thing, Introverts have thicker gray matter in the frontal lobe. There appears more brain activity in this area. Introverts can often stay in pursuit of a solution to a problem more than extroverts.  It's an interesting nuance between the two.

Color my mind this week as that of curiosity. 

I hope everyone has a joyous week and will see you soon. I promise I will be writing more on here again. My goal is twice a week. 

Very best to you all -


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Confession Tuesday Loneliness Edition

It’s Confession Tuesday – hurry, I’m off to the confessional. 

Dear Reader, it’s been… it’s been. Oh. crap I don’t know how long since my last Tuesday Confession.

Writing is said to be a rather solitary activity. It is true and sometimes that presents itself as an act of deprivation… a self-denial of social interaction for some periods of time. I confess it can lead to the loneliness that sometimes creeps up on you and you feel overcome by it all at once. I suppose it is a bit like the frog in the pan of water on the stove that you slowly keep turning up until it is too late.

Today has been like a lot of days lately. I realize that expectations aren’t anything but expectations. Or if they are anything else, then they are often preludes to disappointments. I confess that I had expectations and I confess I was disappointed.

It should come as no surprise that I would experience disappointment. I’m a writer after all. It goes with the territory. If you can’t take rejection, then you are in the wrong business. I confess that I expect that in my writing, but not so much outside of it.

I confess I’ve had a string of days that were difficult and have left me feeling low.

Have been experiencing some eye issues in my right eye. Need to get in to see the eye doctor and see how bad it is and what can be done. The problem is mostly that it is blurry and makes reading frustrating and that takes me back to the days before I had cataract surgery. I must confess that this has been both worrisome and frustrating.

I confess that my birthday writing pen is a joy to write with. Smooth and well-balanced. Lightweight, and I love the color.

My iPhone case is looking pretty raggedy, and I need a new one. At some point, it will happen. I’m particular, I like this case and it was really good for some time. I confess to liking the Apple cases – the white silicone.

In the I feel so stupid Department:  I confess I have downloaded a writing program and have tinkered with it now for a few days now, and honestly, there are parts of it I don't get. Some of the drop-down menus do nothing. I can't put anything on the calendar. Color me stupid. 

I have tried to stay off Google as best I can because it has so many articles on Elon Musk. I confess I believe he is Trump’s twin. I feel he is arrogant, and narcissistic to be fair. For all the talk about his wealth, he has some of the worst public business image issues.  I also am so tired of seeing all his coverage on social media. Tons of it rolling in.

I hope that your day was a good one and the remainder of your week as well. Until next time be safe and write or read lots.








Monday, January 23, 2023

January - Birthday - Fountain Pen

Pictured to the left is my new pen, MaJohn 800. It's lightweight with good balance and especially comfortable for long writing stints. I love the physical appearance as well. A sort of orange and black marbled color. This beauty was a birthday gift from my daughter, Cathy Ann.

Perfect for journaling, and handwritten poetry drafts. I still do that from time to time till I take a draft to the laptop. 

Finished reading Deathbed Sext by Christopher Salerno, 2020, Two Sylvia's Press.  This was a winner of TSP Chapbook competition. There are some remarkable lines in this poetry. It is rich with dissonance (something I love) throughout the book.  Personally, I felt its strength was in individual poems and not so much as a cohesive manuscript, but that was just my opinion.