I took this week off from work and have spent most of it writing poems, writing poetry reviews, setting up a new website for publishing poetry chapbook reviews, submitting poems, writing poems. Sort of a trial run for retirement. I can’t wait to have more time to write, more control over my schedule, more reading, writing, reviewing poetry.
For the something-ith year (10th I think) I am writing a poem-a-day for April. After a couple of poems, I realized that I am writing a sonnet cycle. I am excited about this!
I’m also doing a 30 day Vegan challenge this month, and having the time at home has resulted in spending a lot of time in the kitchen, my second favorite thing to do.
Last year in June, Molly Spencer, who is (among other amazing things) a poetry editor for The Rumpus asked me if I would write a review of Julie Wade’s Same Sexy Marriage. I thought, “why me?” at the time, having no purchase whatsoever in the book review world. But then the experience was transformative, for which I am immensely grateful. I have written (and published!) a review of a book of poetry every month since the first one. Although, I guess I should also count the practice runs: the reviews I’ve posted on Amazon and Goodreads, and here on my blog. I guess I was preparing for “the second career.”
I keep telling people (read, telling myself) that I am going to retire next January. One way to move gracefully into retirement, particularly from a long career in a job that I have always had a love/hate relationship with, is to already have moved on into the next phase.
Some of the next phase is already in motion. Writing poems has been part of my life for many years. I’ve edited and published and promoted lesbian/bi/trans poetry as a joint venture with Mary Meriam at Headmistress Press since 2013. I will be so happy to have more time for both of these projects.
And yet, it seems that I want to go overboard. So, the new project that I am adding to the plate is thepoetrycafe.online . . . a meeting place where poetry chapbooks are reviewed. The site is set up; it has an email address; the first chapbook review of Each Wild Thing’s Consent, by Lauren Davis has been published; I have a pile of chapbooks that were the inspiration for this project sitting on my desk, like cats asking for a treat; and I’ve already received a couple of chapbooks in the mail!
I still intend to keep up this blog and read others’ poetry blogs; being part of a poetry-blogging community been a life raft for me over the past year . . . although my attention might drift from time to time.
I have already gotten a terrific response to The Poetry Cafe Project. It seems there are a lot of chapbooks looking for a sweet home review!
If you missed my review of Lauren Davis’ chapbook, “Each Wild Thing’s Consent,” I strongly recommend that you read it RIGHT NOW!
Ok, now that you’re back, I want to open up the cafe to chapbooks!
I don’t promise to review your chapbook, but I promise to read it. I will list every chapbook I receive. Please mail chapbooks to me at:
The Poetry Cafe
60 Shipview Ln
If you prefer to inquire first, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will also be looking for reviewers soon. If you have an idea for a chapbook review, please email me for instructions at email@example.com.
I’ve created a new website which I will be launching soon! Announcing (ta da!)
“The Poetry Cafe” . . . a meeting place where poetry chapbooks are reviewed. It’s currently under construction at: https://thepoetrycafe.online
My intention is to write and publish reviews of poetry chapbooks. So,
- If you have a chapbook you’d like for me to review, please mail it to me at:
60 Shipview Ln
Sequim, WA 98382
2) I’d love to publish contributor reviews! If you’d like to write a poetry chapbook review, you will find instructions on how to submit once the site goes live.
. . . and as for musings, I uncovered this list of things I jotted down somewhere that I thought I wanted to write about. It’s an interesting list, showing a certain frame of mind I may have been in at the time:
I struggle this morning. Whether to read poems, or write them.
I’ve lost an hour. Where did it go?
I hate subordinate clauses that are followed by non sequiturs.
I hear slips all the time—like tinnitus, like a mosquito’s whine, like a seagull’s cry.
I read poems I could never write. I read them aloud.
They make me cry. Because what is wise is always also sad.
Wisdom has failed me again, hiding behind its clever sister.
I overhear cunning all the time, like a gunshot, like an IED, like a cop car’s siren.
Such a queue of things to do. It takes an hour just to read it.
I’ve lost that hour, so what to do?
If I were to write without censoring, would it be wisdom, or cunning?
I’ve words floating in my mind all day, like crickets, like hummingbirds, like bees.
If it is better to write something than nothing, would I dare write truth?
This is not a non sequitur. I’m quite serious. I need to know.
This morning I’ve lost an hour. It happens all the time.
Like an accidental nap, like a stomach ache, like a funhouse mirror.
Thanks for your email.
As to your concern for my well-being, I’ve nothing to complain about. My eyesight is wretched, but nothing’s worth seeing. The doctor has me drinking (water) and dropping (liquid tears). Ha-ha! At least I still have a sense of humor.
I don’t think I’ll make the trip back East this year. What with the walker and all, I fear I’d take a fall and break my hip, and you know, that would be the end.
Last summer, I tried to withdraw from Prozac, a foolish gesture. I do have those thoughts from time to time. I won’t pretend I don’t find most people endlessly shallow. Is that a felony? I’ve not replaced Jezzy, who died in my arms, a needle in her paw, without elegy. I don’t mind being alone. I prefer my own company.
Still, after all my ambition, I’ll never own a home or publish my novel. Remember in high school, how I’d run wild, chasing girls, climbing trees to query clouds, that sort of thing. Once in Miami, on a dare, I jogged around a city block wearing nothing but Nikes. I may have fallen hard for someone back then, but what do you know in your twenties? Still, I didn’t expect life to fall so short or to be so unlucky in love.
My days are delayed orgasms that will never climax..
I don’t plan rash action. There will be dinner, if I wash dishes and peel potatoes. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I probably won’t write again. Bills pile up, they won’t let me drive now, and I’m busy giving things away.
All best, R.
I have missed blogging for a few weeks. I have been tossing spheres in the air, sandwhiching commitments between committments strewn with distractions. But I am happy to say that I am overwhelmed with all things poetry. My review of Lynn Melnick’s “Landscape with Sex and Violence” is up at The Rumpus. I have an essay onboard for the series Writing About the Living at the Town Crier, curated by Lauren Davis; a blurb to write; seven books that I’ve agreed to review over the next few months; and preparation for attending AWP for Headmistress Press, which is suddently right around the corner. I am tossing submissions and devouring rejections. I have a manuscript floating belly up in the roiling sea of poetry.
On the home front, the Olympic peninsula did entertain a magnificent snow show over the past couple of weeks, which was more than a distraction, and my heat and my washing machine are on the blink, piles of laundry are everywhere and I finally got some wood for the wood stove. I’ve scheduled a mammogram. I have announced a retirement date, which is now less than a year away. When I retire, I want to become a poet.
I dream of bees when I drip honey
onto challah and apple slices. Season of harvest
moon, new school year. Time of reckoning:
Has enough grain has been stored for winter?
Later is a moment poised like a diver
over a pitch-black abyss. I wonder how we bear
all this repetition. A perennial forecast of repeats:
jack–o-lanterns, latkes, dyed eggs, mammograms.
I bake honey cake for Rosh Hashanah.
When darkness saturates winter I think about suicide.
I always do, and I know that I always do, and so I know
it will slowly ebb and I will outwit it. Again.
I fast on Yom Kippur, but forget to pray.
Drunk, I confess sins I did not commit.
I place a stethoscope on every heart,
grant clemency to every penitent.
I will retire in seedtime. At Pesach.
Will I be like one of those men who retire
and find themselves at a loss for meaning?
Who fail quickly, die shortly?
I’m searching for the layer of sticky sweetness
that is so hard to find. Not this honeycomb
ensconced in a wrecking ball, these seismic shifts,
this loss of habitat. The disappearance of bees.
I spent the past week in Delray Beach at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival and now I’m spending a couple of days in Miami with my son (my sun) and family. It’s chilly and rainy here today, but I’ve been promised (after waffles) a drive through the arts district at Wynwood. Last night my grandson treated me to poke at a cool South Beach style spot. It’s a different Miami than I remember from living here in the seventies.
I’ve never been to the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, now in its 15th year, despite my ties to Florida, in part because the equally amazing Port Townsend Poetry Festival is right down the road from my house on the Olympic Peninsual where I live, which I’ve attended for the past 8 years. But the festival here was pretty jam- and star-packed. I did a workshop all week with the ethereal Ararcelis Girmay and listened all week to readings and craft talks with Greg Pardlo, Eleanor Wilner, Sharon Olds, Tyehimba Jess, Ellen Bass, Nickole Brown, and more. It was a really wonderful and renewing week for me.
I am traveling all day on Sunday and will end up in West Palm Beach where I will be attending the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Will send dispatches from the field.
Faculty includes: Ellen Bass, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Stuart Dischell, Aracelis Girmay, Campbell McGrath, Gregory Pardlo, Matthew Olzmann, Chase Twichell, Eleanor Wilner, Lorna Blake, Sally Bliumis-Dunn, Nickole Brown and Stephen Gibson. Special Guests: Sharon Olds and Poet-At-Large Tyhimbe Jess