Sunday, March 29, 2009


I woke up on this gray and leftover-wintry day, only to find that the kind folks at Poetry Daily had posted not one but three of the poems from Cradle Song!

I was gobsmacked. Not only because it was Poetry Daily, which thrills me like a schoolgirl whose crush smiled back at her, but also because of the individual poems they chose. The first one I'm down with and might have seen coming, but the other two are sections that never really see the light of day with me. It's not that I don't like them. They do their job in the poem of building pillars and holding up ideas and furthering the overall missive of the collection, but they aren't counted among my pretties, or favorites, and so I don't ever really think about them much.

Until today. Now, I'm thinking about them a lot. And I'm thinking about subjectivity and why it is that we like what we like. I've taught literature for a number of years now, and always, some student asks me, "Who decides which poems/poets/stories/writers are 'good enough' to be canonized, anthologized, reproduced, and referenced?" This leads to a larger discussion of the included and the excluded, how we know what we know, and why we as individuals are drawn to certain texts more than others.

A text is important to me when it does one of two things: it either 1) tells me something I didn't already know, schools me, as it were or 2) articulates something I know or recognize to be true but hadn't ever articulated or wrapped my head around, and it does so in a profound or resonant way that makes me say, "Exactly! I totally know what you're talking about!"

I don't know what kinds of reactions my poems created in the editors at Poetry Daily, or in anyone who might have read the book. But the machinations behind such things intrigue me. They keep me guessing--and keep me writing. And I'm thrilled to be up there on that website today, thrilled that these previously closeted sections are getting their moment in the sun. I'm happy to be forced to reconsider them. And who knows? Maybe I'll even air them out in the next reading that I give.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Westward, Ho

I'm going to be taking a little trip soon, a little poetry trip. I say it's a poetry trip only because I plan to claim it on my next year's taxes. It's actually a trip back to Oregon, back to the green and verdant landscape that I miss so much. Back to the people I love and the little ones who have, no doubt, grown as much as mine has. Back to Market of Choice and Bambini and The Laughing Planet and the very best little Mexican cafe in the world--Fond Rosa in Portland.

But there will be poetry. I'll be reading at The Press Club in Portland on Monday the 16th at 7 pm. Apparently, it's the bee's knees. It has crepes and booze and magazines and, at least this one night, me, reading poems. The next day, St. Paddy's, I'll be reading at the Eugene Library at 7 pm as part of the Windfall Reading Series with Miriam Gershow. If you're in the area, come by and see me. Meet the little one. Buy me a crepe. And I'll sing you song, and I'll try not to sing out of key.