Tuesday, January 31, 2006

This new history course I'm taking (the first time I've taken anything but an English course since the late 90's) is creeping its way into my poems. I think I've been writing poems about the Ottoman Empire--I'm not sure. I've been hip-notized.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mathias and I played our first two of many games of chess last night. We played in the nook and drank a pyramid's worth of my neighbor Phil's Miller Light (thanks again, Phil). It was the first time I'd played since giving Adam an embarassing spanking last summer in NW Arkansas. This time, however, Mathias was the better player, but I don't quite remember it as he does. The games were tense and very close, like Lincoln Hawk's last arm-wrestling match in Over the Top. Regardless: the score is 0-2, your hero is behind. I'll keep you abreast.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Octopus has had a lot of January traffic, and it needs a bit of a rest (according to its webhost). So you won't be able visit this weekend. It'll be back up on Feb. 1. So, go visit another site.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Yesterday was a Ryan Murphy day. I re-read The Gales, one of my favorite chapbooks to come out in the past year, and wrote a little review on it. Then I tried to write like him for a little while, failed.

When I got home, I had a package in the mail with his name in the corner. He sent me The Traveling Salesman Problem from Wayne Chambliss, a book I absolutely love (Octopus published some of the poems in it). This is a beatiful book Ryan put together as a one-off publishing project, which is something I'm becoming increasingly interested in. With one-off publishing, as Ryan put it in his letter, the poetry can "speak for itself, outside the editorial preconceptions of an established press."

Anyway, I'm going to go learn more about one-off stuff now. Oh, and ask Ryan for some of these books he's made, give him money, etc. You must see this and be a part of this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Swink took a poem of mine. Nothing wrong with that.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Our newest member, G.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Got some good mail the past few days: My contributor's copy to the No Tell Motel's Bedside Guide, some books for my Postcolonial Poetics class (Komounyakaa, Glissant, McGuckian), and Daphne and Jim. The latter is Laurel Snyder's choose-your-own-adventure versified biography chapbook. Looks like it'll be a lot of fun.

My top 5 sexiest poems (not "the best" or "my favorite" necessarily, but "the sexiest") in the Bedside Guide, not including my own:

"Waking" by Britton Laine Carducci
"Caving" Christy Zink
"Sympatico" by Ravi Shankar (but only for its last two lines)
"Adam's Conversion" by Remica L Bingham
"On Reading Poorly Transcribed Erotica" by Jill Alexander Essbaum

When the book closes, my poems get to press up against Reb Livingston's and Eden Osucha's poems in the dark.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Shopping around for good deals on airline tix to Austin for AWP. Should be a good time this year--looks like I get to stay with three of my super favs: Clay, Shimoda, and Svalina. Octopus will share a table this year with Typo and StorySouth. Hope it works out, and I hope I can find a plane ticket for about 10 bucks. I'm a student. I'm broke.

Tonight, we dine on my famous Herbed Turkey con cream cheese en la slow cooker (and tomorrow and the next day).

Friday, January 13, 2006

1. #7's launch was pretty successful. The Octopus has enjoyed a record number of hits the past two days, passing #6's launch by several hundred. The healthy beast keeps growing. Its tentacles are getting longer--its watery den is getting smaller. Thanks for the encouragement, kind words, suggestions, etc.

2. Spending some of the longer weekend in Ames to visit M and J. We may go to a movie, maybe Brokeback Mountain. It has been far too long since I've visited the cinema.

3. Grizzly Man is in my Netflix queue and is on its way.

4. Spinning my old Vermont and Promise Ring albums right now. Nostalgia. Feels good.

5. A and I are new dog owners. A black lab of sorts from the pound. So much to learn. I'm a bit stressed out about it all. Heel, damnit. She's a beauty though, and well-behaved for the most part. Doesn't bark. Likes to hump other dogs kinda, despite her being female and spayed. Thinks most corporate rock sucks. Would vote Libertarian if she could justify it, and if there were a worthwhile candidate. Eats poop.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Octopus #7 is here—free, and for the people.

Poetry by Sara Smith, Tina Celona, Bill Cassidy, Anna Moschovakis, Timothy Liu, Genya Turovskaya, Anne Boyer, Amanda Nadelberg, Brandon Downing, Julia Cohen, Michael Robins, Bruna Mori, Anthony Hawley, Paul Guest, Day Hoy, Peter Davis, Ken Rumble, Christian Peet, Erica Fiedler, Jim Goar, Alex Smith, Emma Ramey, Jonah Winter, Nathan Parker, Matthea Harvey, Noah Eli Gordon, Sabrina Orah Mark, Lara Glenum, Hank Lazer and Dean Young.

Translations of Daniil Kharms by Eugene Ostashevsky, and Saburo Kuroda by Marianne Tarcov.

Reviews of Pieces of Air in the Epic by Brenda Hillman, Sundays on the Phone by Mark Rudman, Like Wind Loves a Window by Andrea Baker, Natural History by Dan Chiasson, My Kafka Century by Arielle Greenberg, The Thorn by David Larsen, Pretty Young Thing by Danielle Pafunda, Crush by Richard Siken, The Last Clear Narrative by Rachel Zucker, The Book of a Hundred Hands by Cole Swensen, Antidotes for an Alibi by Amy King, Free Again by Joseph Lease, Iowa by Travis Nichols, The Hatmaker’s Wife by Dorothea Lasky, Secret Architecture by Aaron Kunin, and Iterature by Eugene Ostashevsky.

An interview with Brenda Hillman by Jen Tynes.

Recovery Projects of Bad Boats (1977) by Laura Jensen and Idea (1987) by Paul Hoover.

The second volume of Matvei Yankelevich’s essay “The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!: Field Notes on Russian-American Poets”.

Also, be sure to check out the submission guidelines for Octopus’ new print project: Issue #8.

A special thank you to Brandon Shimoda for a few months worth of grueling editorial work, and to the handful of #7’s astute readers: Mathias Svalina, Hadara Bar-Nadav, Adam Clay, Craig Morgan Teicher, and Christopher Deweese.


Zachary Schomburg, editor
Denny Schmickle, design

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My semester as a student started today (as a teacher: last week). Here's this semester's line-up:

Postcolonial Poetics: Introduces students to the poetics of postcolonial literature, with an emphasis on poetry. We will evaluate current theories of the past 20 years on the politics and aesthetics of postcolonial creative writing. Our common mandate is to unlock the issue of whether a universal -- or in Paul Gilroy’s words, "planetary" -- ethics emerges from postcolonial poetics and the extent to which postcolonial poetics can elucidate and transform dominant culture. Our poetry readings are comprised primarily, not exclusively, of African diasporic works.

Poetic Form: An advanced level seminar designed for students with significant experience writing and reading poetry. The course will be a combination workshop and seminar. Students who have not had at least one graduate level workshop may find it difficult to keep up with this class.

My collateral field for the PhD(15 hrs) will be Russian history and art and language (in hopes to gain a context for my budding interest in OBERIU). My first course:

Russia: The 19th & 20th Centuries: Themes of the course: the contrasts and contradictions of Imperial Russia (St. Petersburg v. Moscow, reform v. reaction, rural peasant life v. emerging urban and industrial society), idealism and pragmatic brutality of the Russian Revolution, the Leninist-Stalinist programs and legacy, attempts at reform and the eventual dissolution of the USSR. The focus will be on internal political, social, and cultural developments rather than foreign policy.

In other news: Octopus #7 should be up tonight or tomorrow, barring any setbacks.

Friday, January 06, 2006

My stay in finalist purgatory has just been extended. Action Books is the culprit this time. Man (ugh, sigh) I really really wanted that one too. Love me some Action Books.

I did just realize yesterday, though, that I have some poems in that new Diagram anthology. So, maybe that'll get me through what has turned into a rough morn.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Octopus #7 is shaping up--look for it by this weekend if all goes well. The issue looks wintery and cold, and it has 32 killer poets, like a dozen reviews, some essays, some interviews, some translations, some recovery projects, and some info about special issue #8 (more on that later). Anyway, I'm excited and you should be too.

What I got in the mailbox yesterday: Issue 2 of the Modern Review, another copy of That We Come to a Consensus by Noah Eli Gordon and Sara Veglahn, another copy of The Best of My Love by Aaron Kiely, Night Palace (which I haven't quite figured out yet), and After you, dearest language by Marisol Limon Martinez. I'm most excited about the latter. It has already been kindling for a few poems. It reads a bit like a dictionary or index. I find myself jumping throughout the text based on the see also's. It may replace my actual dictionary.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Like many of you, I have a headache. Last night was fun. And I'm ringing in the new year by working on Octopus #7 all day. First, here are some hand-selected pics from San Fran:

Graham Foust in Green Apple Books.

A painting I painted for M and P. It is on their wall.

Fun with my bendable party mustache. This is M.

Z rocking the dapper deputy.

A rocking the "Dare I say."

Z chilling at Coppola's wine bar in Little Italy.

Z and A down at the Wharf, Alcatraz in the back.

M and A in Napa. It was rainy all week.

Z in the Alcatraz slammer.

San Fran from the Bay.

P: 1. He's handsome. 2. He's smart and witty. 3. He knows his Manhattans. 4. He's a big timey contract lawyer with a view of the Bay from his office window. 5. He has great style. 6. He has superb taste in women. 7. He has a superior ear for good music. 8. In fact, he was the drummer for the Young Hasselhoffs (think Ramones, but 90's and much easier on the eyes). 9. His apartment is in a good locale and it is clean and modern. 10. He sometimes gives stuff to the homeless. 11. He has a good palette. 12. He keeps his video game thumb strong. 13. He doesn't dig on swine. 14. He thinks art is cool. 15. He is really good at Guitar Hero.