Friday, December 31, 2004

My New Year's Resolution

for the third year in a row is to quit smoking. This, again, should be relatively easy because I am not and never have been a smoker.

Also, to cuss more.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law are in town and we unwrapped gifts. I got a Memoir of the Hawk by Tate, signed. I already own a paperback copy and have lovingly mutilated over the past year or two, but this is quite the gem. Apparently they sent it to his UMass address with a favor letter and an SASE. I had this fantasy that he'd have some idea of who I was and mention as such in the front pages, but no such luck--just a "to Zach". I'm telling myself they didn't mention my name in the letter. They also got me the collection of Tate essays edited by Octopus fav Brian Henry. I've read this in part from the library, but it'll be nice to own, and to complete. My in-laws are obviously a good group of folks to mention your favorite poets in front of, just so you know in case you find yourself there, talking in front of them.

I also scored a subscription to Ugly Duckling Presse (yes!), two nice upstanding citizen shirts (which I never seem to buy for myself), and my cherry mash.

Yesterday I got Matthew Thorburn's Subject to Change in the mail. I might review it for issue #5. Thanks Matt. If anybody else has a hankering for doing it, let me know.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

T and I, and the cephalopod

As Matt just mentioned in my comments, and Tony a few times in his unusually loud grave, this current issue of Octopus is the last T and I will edit together, though a majority of the poets already chosen for issue #5 have been picked by the both of us. The split is more like a Destiny's Child thing than Fleetwood Mac. The foundation is already there and it will not crumble. We were English major buds in school together outside Branson, MO, before either of us were reading anything great and long before either of us began publishing anything. I remember his first was the Black Bear Review, which I think is now defunct--I think his acceptance was via email. We hit the roof. We started self-publishing little chapbooks with borrowed materials from our campus computer lab/writing center job, reading from our latest collection at the campus Symposium. Oh man. Anyway, I guess I'm trying to say we'll be weaving throughout each other's lives, professional and socially, for the duration.

I'm smart enough to know that his presence on the marquee, and his talent on the stage, is a huge reason why all eight tentacles are now, I think, healthy and strong and the ink is fresh. It will now be able to move further from its current den, and it will evolve. The last thing we want is for you to come over to the site knowing exactly what to expect. The split will work out for Octopus, and T wanted to do it I think mainly with that in mind. Our tastes were beginning to take very different shapes. As an editor, I've really learned what I value in a poem, what moves me, what inspires me, and ultimately, what I want in my magazine. After these first four issues, T and I began to realize we had developed different tastes and we feared that if we'd continue we'd create this boring general overview of contemporary poetry where each of us get turd in the pants excited about our own half of the issue instead of indulging in one driven editorial focus. Plus he has other things that need attending: weddings and PhDs being among them. And look for him to pop up in another editorial role soon. I'm sure of it.

As for the moving and the evolving, issue 5 will be of a similar killer vein. For each issue after that I'm planning on inviting a contributing editor to help out with the selection. Another thing I think that could destroy the Octopus is if I had no outside input and it gets its identity from only my own tastes. This could alienate quite a few readers. By signing on a different contributing editor for each issue, the aesthetics will change and be fresh each time. Each issue will be different from its predecessor. One of the issues might contain only 8 poets, each of them with a small small chapbook of poems. One of the issues might be heavy on the critical squid side. One of the issues will never be a theme issue--this I promise you. There'll be the inevitable TT reunion issue. And if all goes well, I'm thinking of putting together a print issue for #8. Would you buy it? It'd be bitchin'.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas Island

I took my little boat to Christmas Island, loaded it up pretty good then paddled slowly away into the little Christmas sunset.

Here's what I put in the boat, more or less:

Egger's How We Are Hungry - thanks MD
Tate's Return to the City of White Donkeys (2)(I'm planning on exchanging the other for some Ashbery or waiting for the Simic to come out) - thanks MD and AS
Some Atari games: Ms. Pac Man, Galaga, Dig-Dug, Pole Position, and Xevious - thanks AS
Taxi Driver
Sling Blade
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Graduate - all thanks AS
Old School - thanks BK
Some rad boot-like shoes that look killer with a good pair of jeans - thanks AS
Two Willie Nelson albums - thanks AT
Cast-Iron Fondue pot - thanks KS
Boxer shorts - thanks KS
Issues 4-8 of Lit - thanks GM
$ - thanks B and PL

The in-laws (T and CP) are arriving in town on Tuesday. It sounds like we may be going snow shoeing among other things. I still have to work every overnight that they are here so I'm not exactly sure when and if I'll be sleeping.

I'm planning on cleaning house tomorrow. Something thorough and full-assed. And planning on getting to the 9th stage in Ms. Pac-Man. The stage where the ghosts blink for a half second and they're twice as fast as the hero--that single celled bow-haired bombshell, I love you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Octopus #4

Lift your head up, son, Octopus #4 is here.

It has 32 poets so get crackin’. Poets like Sarah Manguso, Dale Smith, Aase Berg, Donald Revell, GC Waldrep, Barbara Guest, Brian Henry, Gabriel Gudding, Kevin A. Gonzalez, Seth Parker, Nick Twemlow, Pasha Malla, Kirsten Kaschock, Anthony Robinson, Johannes Goransson, Aaron Kunin, Matthew Shindell, Allan Peterson, Brandon Downing, Cyrus Console, Andrea Baker, Hope J. Smith, Clayton Eshleman, Kevin Fitzgerald, Emily Rosko, Michael Ives, Eugene Ostashevsky, Dan Kaplan, Thibault Raoult, Daniel Borzutsky, and Standard Schaefer.

It has reviews, interviews, essays and another recovery project by the Octopus editors. Here are the details:

4 Reviews: Marcus Slease on Jon Thompson’s Book of the Floating World; Craig Morgan Teicher on Srikanth Reddy’s Facts for Visitors, Kevin Fitzgerald on David Miller’s Waters of Marah, and Zachary Schomburg on Charlie Foos’ Bending Spoons.

2 Interviews: Poems-for-All’s Richard Hansen and Flashpoint’s Bradford Haas

3 Essays: John Lowther on Jack Spicer; Jeff Encke on Linda Bierds; and Henry Gould from HG Poetics.

The Recovery Project recovers Suzanne Gardinier and Paul Mann.

Pace yourself.

Enjoy it.

Spread the word, if the word is good.

You like Octopus.

We do this for you.


Zachary Schomburg and Tony Tost, co-editors
Denny Schmickle, design

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My Monday Night/Tuesday Morn, in pictures

Tonight is one of my two nights off. I got a little antsy, so I took some pics. Wanna see em? Here ya go.

I'm wearing my most recently purchased post-modernly worn t-shirt. I went to Wal-Mart tonight (forgive me) to buy Napoleon Dynamite. It was 2 am and should've been shelved at midnight for it is a Tuesday release, but I had to make the little old blue vested lady go to the back and open a box. She said she liked my shirt and I thanked her. I told her I wear it cuz it's so damn true. I'm 27. I suppose that info is helpful to the joke. It makes it funny, kind of. Posted by Hello

That's the wall above the couch. On the top left shelf is an old old editon of Bukowski's Mockingbird Wish Me Luck, Joe Wenderoth's Letters to Wendy's given to me by Tost as a wedding gift 42 months ago, and an old Leaves of Grass given to me by one of my College of the Ozarks professors Dr. Bradford Crain, from bottom to top. My mom gave us that clock. Posted by Hello

Watched a boob on the toob Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Holiday Wish List: Addendum B

i. Forklift, Ohio magnet and/or No Tell Motel sticker. T-shirts would also be acceptable.
ii. How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers
iii. 2005 baseball cards, a complete set of Topps, you know, for my future children.

Note: My parents (mom) and I agreed to not exchange presents. I was comfortable with the arrangement, but she caved. I knew she would. We got a big ole UPS package in the mail a day or two ago. She's claiming they are "I miss you" presents. despite the fact they were all individually wrapped in shiny christmas tree paper. Merry IMissYou I guess. Here's what we scored:

1. Trivial Pursuit 90's edition
2. Ski socks
3. Tasting the Wine Country: Recipes from Romantic Inns and Resorts - Music by the Mike Marshall Quintet
4. Homemade goodies including my favorite, chocolate/cherry mash bars. You know the ones?
5. A blanket with tassles that were constructed by my mom and my sister.
6. About 20 individual packets of apple cider drink mix
7. A Bathroom Trivia book.

I give you some samples of bathroom trivia. Print these out and take them with you next time you crap. Wash your hands. Then leave your answers here.

Should you land any of the following jobs, what exactly would you be doing?

1. Scarpologist
2. Whirly Girl
3. Clack
4. Brontologist
5. Funambulist
6. Piscatologist
7. Erymologist
8. Pugilist
9. Perfusionist
10. Enologist

Or for us lit buffs, what was the first novel written on the typewriter?


Friday, December 17, 2004

Spaceship Tumblers

All poems. All audio. All the time. It's Spaceship Tumblers. Don't fight it. Crank it. Crank it all the way up.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Newest and Most Petitest

The sixteenth issue of La Petite Zine just came out today. Some of my favs are representin': Heidi Lynn Staples, Anthony Tognazzi, Matthew Thorburn, Daniel Borzutzky, Kirsten Kaschock, Michael Schiavo. I'm in there with two little numbers from Man Suit if you're interested. I haven't had a chance to read any of this yet, but I'll be anxious to dig in later tonight.

I have some Octopus issues (get it?) to deal with. Sorry about hinting at an issue this weekend. Tech probs. Fun. Sometimes I honestly think a print mag would be easier to put out. This issue will be worth it though (I repeat this in my head).

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Yesterday's Two Mail Items:

1. Jen Tynes' Found in Nature - Horseless Press. I asked for it in the original Holiday Wish List (11/29) and Tynes answered the call. Ask and you shall receive. I first got turned on to what she was doing a few months back from her poems submitted during the Octopus August reading period. Then I found some stuff in 4.4 of the Diagram, I think. The book is great by the way. I read it through in one sitting. Each little prose poem works as part of the whole really. It is heartbreaking. It is strangely broken and strangely sad. I loved it. And it is beautifully hand-made--and mine is signed! 18 of 50. Get yours.

JT is not the only one to respond so kindly to my innocently tossed-about wishes. Gina Myers (New School student, reader for Lit, listener of superior music, and exceptionally talented poet) stumbled upon Wish List Addendum A (12/11) and is going to send along one or so issues of Lit. I have been meaning to subscribe to Lit for a long while, so this will certainly satisfy that particular overdue want. Lit, along with several others like Fence, Canary, Verse, Denver Quarterly, No, and Jacket, to name a very quick handful, really seem to have their finger on the pulse. So maybe, thanks to Gina, I'll be a little more informed. And I'll be sure to get a subscription for my future issues too.

2. My Jan/Feb issue of Poets and Writers. I haven't really sat down to give it much attention yet, but I have flipped through it while in my lavatory reading room. I always start at the contest deadlines, and the "calls for" section in the back. Then after seeing the same print mags ask for the same poems, and no one I know too well win some prize I forgot to enter, I turn to Kevin Larimer's LitMagNet section to see to whom KL is passing out shout-outs. And thanks to No Tell Motel, I got one alongside Laura Carter and Kirsten Kaschock. That's always fun. Well, it is.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The 2 Reasons I'm Sore

1. A and I went skiing yesterday in Big Sky, MT, about an hour from our place. It was our first ski of the season and my body was not adequately prepared. I neglected to take enough time for stretching--the mountains could not wait that long. Areas most affected: thighs, calves, knees.

Sidenote A: Most of our equipment purchased for this season is secondhand. Between the two of us, we spent about $200 for 2 pairs of each of the following: skis, boots, goggles, and poles. We used all of it for the first time with some reservation yesterday, but it all worked beautifully.

Sidenote B: We thought we spotted Michael Keaton on the chair lift ahead of us. We skied as fast as we could to pass him. Stopped. Waited for him to pass us so we could get a good look. Wasn't him (I live for telling anti-climatic stories!).

2. Saturday night I was supposed go on a ride-along as part of my dispatcher training. Instead, the sargent guy asked me to play the bad guy in one of those massive padded suits for cop training scenarios. I got the living tar beat from me! It was super-cool. I got to tongue lash these training uniformed cops. I called em pigs. I used naughty language. I got to try to take them down. Roles I played: owner of house at loud party, drunk bar-fight guy, lost-will-to-live guy wielding knife (rubber), looking for driver's license but uncovering gun guy, and hiding anywhere in a building guy (I chose dark women's bathroom on the second floor--they had to clear the building and find me). In three of the scenarios I was a little unruly and got handled roughly. Elbowed in the back of the padded head. Kneed in the padded back. Kicked in the padded nuts. And fake peppersprayed.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Holiday Wish List: Addendum A

ii. Lit

i. GC Waldrep's Goldbeater's Skin
ii. Matthea Harvey's Sad Little Breathing Machine

i. Tony Tost American Poet poster (currently a broken link)

Note: This is an addendum. The items on this list should not receive priority over the items on the original list (scroll down) and will therefore not be ranked. At best these items are of parallel priority, though still highly desired (and will likely be purchased post-holidays if not received).

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Look at My Table

Like the rest of us, as far as I can tell, I've been tinkering with ("molesting" might be more apporpriate [no, no, "molesting" is never appropriate]) my manuscript. It's an addiction. Here's what is sitting at 6 book (mostly first-book) contests.

The Man Suit

1. Deleted Scenes

#77 2
#108 3
#120 4


The Center of Worthwhile Things 6
Experiment in Invisibility 7
Late Shift at the Clambake Afterlife 8
The Bear Mutilation 9
What I Found in the Forest 10
Congressman Chainsaws for Arms 11
Bear and Camper 12
I’m Not Carlos 13

3. Telephones 14


Underneathe Pathetique 22
Cold and Unattached 23
If Great Lakes 24
Lepellier Experiment 25
Soukatsu Jibun 26
Sea of Japan 27
The Things that Surround Us 28
The Lung and Haircut 29
Islands in the Black Night 30
A Band of Owls Moved Into Town 31
Low-Life Pilgrims 32

5. [Opera Singer] 33


Last President of a Dark Country 42
Letter to the Late Baron 43
What Everyone Started Wearing 44
The Sandwich Board 45
Experiment in Geography 46
Policy for Whales 47
Maybe Columbus Day 48
I’ve Since Folded This Poem Into a Perfect Airplane 49
What I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You 50
Letter to Scientists 51
Telephones II 52
Telephones III 53
Last President’s Address 54
The String Quartet 55
David Ignatow Poem 57

33 of these 39 poems are already in, or are forthcoming in publications. I've been worrying lately if this fact is a negative mark to contest judges. Perhaps there is a desire among judges to pull someone from the dark corner that few other editors or contest judges have been able to find.

And these poems have been slowly released to each of these mags over the past 3 years or so. The new poems that I have been working on are going to be unreleased for the time being I think. They are far from becoming a manuscript at this point, but I think the next manuscript may be a little more effective if I stew everything in the same pot for a longer period of time, let all the ingredients soak into one another, and then serve everyone at the same time so they can discuss as they eat. Mmm this thing here is delicious. Yes, I am eating this other thing from the same pot as you are eating yours, and it too is delicious. The whole pot must be outstanding. This is quite the cook. I don't know. Thoughts?

I also wanted to display my Man Suit contents because as an editor of Octopus, as I select individual poem(s )that are submitted, I often wonder how they(it) fit into the whole manuscript. Where are they located? Are they connected to other poems? Is it the lead poem of a section, or of the whole thing? The closing poem? I think about these things. If you are an editor of a mag I made it into, and you think these things too, here you go. Here you go, man.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

B was kind enough to take this snap of A and I. We were at the downtown Bozeman's Christmas stroll last weekend. We did some shopping, street-eating, and frolicked. There was one store with Santa's sexy lady-helpers sitting motionless in the front windows. "Stand-still models" I call 'em. I hate stand-still models. They creep me out. I want to look at them, and stare at what they're modeling (that's the whole point right?) but I feel shamed. I was sorry for them. I bet they were sad inside.  Posted by Hello

Here's St. Nick just after lighting a giant christmas tree which was hanging above him between buildings. He threw up some sort of magical Christmas confetti dust and it just lit up--though I'm guessing that some city worker with a power switch was behind it all. I was waiting for the Holiday Armadillo to pop out and magically light a giant menorah, but apparently Bozeman's city council is 0% jewish. Also of note: I took this in black and white because I was feeling "old-timey". Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

#4 proofs

Finally (finally), after sitting on technical problems and having a lot of good life get in the way, for all three of us, Tony, Denny, & I, I'll be sending out Octopus #4 proofs today. It'll feel good to let this thing out of its dark and watery den. It's a heavy one. Look for it this weekend (please don't let me eat my words).

Monday, December 06, 2004

1. Aaron McCollough has put up some killer songs of his on his blog. Very impressive. I listened to them all while mopping my tiny little apartment kitchen floor. I mopped slowly, deliberately, cautiously to make sure I fit in all the tracks. It wasn't quite enough to fill the time so I also cleaned out the fridge a little. These songs remind me of Radar Bros. Maybe a little Track Star. Maybe a little AM/FM. Here are my three favorite, in order: 1. Fire's On the Phone 2. Song for Puckheads 3. Try My Flashlight

2. I made Cuban Black Bean soup for Al and I tonight--some butter 7 grain bread on the side and washed it down with a couple bottles of Blue Moon Belgian Wheat with a slice of orange squeezed in.

3. I think I might start writing a lot of small poems. Maybe 25-40 of them. They will all be individually titled and independent from each other, but connected in style, rhythm, and perhaps a few plot/character revisitations. They will all be packaged as one poem with many small moveable parts not recommended for tykes under 3. I've written 8 so far. Out of context they're a bit dependent, but a taste anyway:

Coming Clean

I am not a pediatrician.
I am the maker of giant-
sized bird cages. This is my work,
the one you’ve been
living your whole life in.

4. I'm trying to set up a reading for myself and Anthony Robinson, and possibly one or two others, in Vancouver during AWP. I'm having no luck so far. I don't really know where to start. Please let me (us) know if you can help.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The new MAR

My first night on the bat shift went well. It started off in a frenzy and then this town really dies between 4-6am--makes dispatchin' easy. We're allowed to bring reading material for those slow times. I brought my new 25th anniversary edition of Mid-American Review. It's a real who's who (360-some pages). I'm halfway through, skipping over the short stories over course, as I always do on my first read--you do it too. Poems in this issue I love so far, and whose poets I know nothing about yet, are David Shumate and Alison Turner. And I've been a fan of Cate Marvin now since last spring (Octopus #1 recruitment) and she continues to impress.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Zen Grocery

After watching GBV's final televised rock-out I decided I wanted to do some grocery shopping at the local 24-7. Late night grocery store shopping could be, outside of any natural environment, the most zen experience I think I can experience. It is so quiet and peaceful and empty. It's as if it is my own private grocery store, shiny and brilliant. I took some pics. They're below.

I begin my 11-7am's tomorrow night and I am training me-body to do its livin' at night. It feels good. It's strange, but somehow sexy. I am the nocturnal cowboy and you can refer to me as such. My bronco is the night.

Frozen Posted by Hello

Canned goods Posted by Hello

Meats Posted by Hello

Dairy Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Guided By Voices Tonight

GBV will be rocking the Conan O'Brien show tonight. It's one of GBV's last shows. I'd get that mutha on video cassette. If you have young children, or are thinking of soon making some, they are going to ask you (when they're of rock'n'roll-appropriate age) about GBV. You better have some visual aid for this lesson to go along with your audio. Don't let the next generation down.

Also, Bob Pollard is auctioning off some of his GBV stuff here. Again, think of the kids.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Hurtling

Got John Witte's The Hurtling (Orchises Press) in the mail today. John is the editor of the Northwest Review which took two of my very early poems. I submitted the same poems a number of times and he really worked with them. It takes me back to when those acceptance letters gave me a high for the whole month, made me want to call my mom to tell her my good news. Now I just tell her about my acceptances via blog. When The Man Suit (my first manuscript) gets picked up, boy--thats worth an immediate call.

Anyway, John Witte. The Hurtling looks promising. I've read the first section thus far and have gotten into it. It's the first I've read of him. It takes some adjustment, and I'm adjusting. I'll probably review this for Octopus #5. This reminds me: Octopus is open to review (and recovery project) suggestions anytime, any place (well, at Send me your books to review. Or send me your reviews of books. Or send me your suggestions of reviews you might want to do. Or send me a tin of peanut butter cookies.

 Posted by Hello