Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Killer Books in my Aqua Green Tote Bag: Ben Marcus' Notable American Women, Peter O'Leary's A Mystical Theology of the Limbic Fissure, Ben Marcus' The Age of Wire and String, Anthony Hawley's Afield, and Eugene Ostashevsky's Iterature. Reading bits and pieces between classes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Recently, I've been wearing fake tattoos and smoking candy cigarettes. Right now I am sporting a dragon shooting flames from its nostrils on my right upper arm, and a box of Hawk candy stix smashed up in my pocket. I think I am going to try to make it my new thing, at least for the next few months. It has been a thing I do before, but I am ready, I think, to commit to it.

Today at 3 I am going to watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers with A. Tomorrow, I have an interview for another teaching gig. This one is at the Community College in town. I'll be a busy busy very poor little poet. Will be sending the manuscript out to a few places this weekend for another round of bruising. It is ready. It has new armor.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Wow, Fascicle. This is a monster. Do not go in pussyfooting around. This changes everything.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Here are a few pics for you wrestle with, snuggle up to. These are the ones that could have been posted 2 weeks ago. The pics of the house will come later, when it is presentable.

Going to a Mathias Svalina reading tonight. Then to Ames to visit with M and J.
P, A, and C shopping the outdoor market in Butte. Smelly, ugly, deserted, strangely fascinating Butte.
Z and P

Z buying cherries. Z ate about 400 cherries over the week. Z had indigestion problems. Backchannel me if you want details.
I look so out of place here. What am I doing? This makes me laugh out loud. I want a poster of this.
Lake MacDonald
Captain Z taking his crew around Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park.
Louise, the Lake.
Z and A, with C. At a little Italian place in the town of Banff. It is very European, but strangely, very un-National Parky. There is a Gap just around the corner from here. It successful resisted the urge to jump over the ledge here to buy a man purse before my manicotti arrived.
Overlooking Banff.
A and Z in Banff
A and I - Last Day in MT

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Again, a bridesmaid.

A chunky one with bad skin, in aqua green and big ruffles on the sleeves. I'm not your Verse Prize winner. Jon Woodward is. But, I will be "press"ing on. Ha Ha. I'm sad.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Octopus Note: If you are trying to submit poems, know that there is a bit of a clog in the system. We're getting it cleared up and the damn thing should take your poems in the next few days. So, chill. Just chill.

Met with Anthony today down at the Mill in the Haymarket. Going to try to make this my "hangout" as much as possible. Gonna get my study on there, I think. We talked shop, which is what I've wanted to do for a long time with Mr. Hawley, but so much was left unaddressed. Next time. We did cover Greg Kuzma, Ben Marcus, Brandon Shimoda/Phil Cordelli, Hilda Raz, Wayne Chambliss, Eugene Ostashevsky, Andrea Zanzotto, and Russian Absurdism and Translations. He gave me some Ben Marcus to read, and his own Ugly Duckling chapbook. Apparently, Marcus' Father Costume sounds a lot like my Man Suit. I wasn't copying--we'll see after the read. Had to ditch Anthony to go watch War of the Worlds (the 1953 version for Cold War Hysteria in Film and Lit and Culture class I'm taking).

Internet may be up at home now. Gotta go see. If so, pictures are to follow. I think A is cooking up some bbq beef sandwiches tonight (that I put in the slow cooker). Mmm.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Haven't showered for several days. The new house has bad plumbing. If I shower I have to pay consequences. I must shower though before class tomorrow. Must shave. The house is beautiful, but it needs love.

Instead of showering, I unpacked the CDs, LPs, 7-inches, and cassettes last night. Organized them and displayed them all. Dusted off the old Wesley Willis. It has been too many years. Wow. RIP.

Rock over London.
Rock over Chicago.
Burger King--Have it your way, right away.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Put up a mailbox yesterday at the new home with mega help from M and C. Now the mail carrier will quit holding my mail hostage at the local post office. They will bring it to me. PPut it in the new metal box. Christmas morning from the federal govt now, 6 days a week. So, I got hoards of bills that had been collecting during the move. Most overdue. But you don't want to hear about that. You want to hear about my two new books: Iterature by Eugene Ostashevsky. I have been waiting for this bad boy for months. He is tops on the list, for the most part, of poets I am excited about. I love Mr. Ostashevsky's poetic mind and can't wait to rip through his pages. This is also a reminder for renewing my Ugly Duckling Presse subscription. I also got Peter O' Leary's new chapbook from Dos Madres. The name of which escapes me at the moment. Also a big O'Leary fan. Both poets have been more than instrumental to Octopus. So, to the two of you: Thanks for that, and thanks for books.

Got to catch up on the shotty cell phone with big time friends Matt and Jill. They are in Ames now, a short 3 hr drive away from Lincoln. Looking forward making the trek--maybe this weekend.

Buying an old house (pictures soon when the internet gets to my house!) is cool. This one is a beauty. But the plumbing, we learned, is shot. A stab in the heart of our new house momentum. May your showers and craps at our house be few and far between.

I'm a new student and a new teacher this week. Wish me luck, won't you.

Friday, August 19, 2005

There are cool people in Lincoln. I'm not alone. I met Anthony Hawley yesterday, turns out he's a cool guy. We talked at the English Department orientation between stabs of other conversation. I'm very much looking forward to conversations 2-10. And the ones after that as well. We seem to be in similar places in life: age, family status (almost), etc, so perhaps we can give each other some needed reflections. I also met Mathias Svalina. He is a creative writer at UNL and we seem to have the same elite taste in the good poetry. Looking forward to picking his brain, reading his poems, giving him mine to read, etc, over some beer and/or fried chicken, or perhaps some hot chocolate, or perhaps something light, downtown, on a rainy weeknight.

Haven't run into Octopus designer Denny yet. He is in Lincoln. Our relationship up until this point has been almost entirely electronic (though before that it was good face to face times in undergraduate school in southern Missouri). Can't wait see him, but I've been too busy to stop by. So, Denny: How bout Tuesday for lunch? I'll swing by your office.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I'm being oriented all day today. Got a job at Wesleyan University here in Lincoln and spent the morning absorbing information. Must go home and bend and twist the old syllabus to fit Wesleyan-style. I did find out that my office is directly across the hall from new poet hire Michael Dumanis. I know a little (enough) about Mr. Dumanis to know I am a fan, or could be a bigger one. I have read some of his poems in LIT and some other mags. Fun to know I'm across the hall. We can chit-chat about po-biz sometime. Also learned that Dean Young is tentatively scheduled to read at Wesleyan. Hey hey. I wasn't supposed to say anything because the gig ain't been finalized yet. So, keep it hush. But, I hope he comes. Maybe I can turn his visit into a kickoff for my own Octopus sponsored Lincoln-based reading series. Could I be more ahead of myself? I'm thinking outloud now.

Off to new student orientation at UNL. I got a nice clean folder (New Kids on the Block folder circa 1989) to put all my multi-colored handouts in.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Wow. Ok. I'm in Lincoln. Not sure how that happened.

Aug 6-8. Glacier National Park. My eyes have never. My retinas have been spoiled. This is the most beautiful part of the country I have ever seen. Everything is so grand and untouched there. We boated on a glacier lake (Lake McDonald?) for an hour. I got to be the captain. We drove on Going to the Sun Road, which is a too-narrow swervy mountain road that winds upward (for us) with little or no railings on the side. The drops are 5000-10,000 ft straight down, sure death by heart-attack before collision. It was relaxing. I wanted to look at all the glaciers surrounding us across the valley, but I could only get glances, very quick glances. We also hiked up in there. Saw lots of mountain goats. Ran through an alpine meadow, singing like Julie Andrews.

Aug. 9-11. Calgary and Banff National Park. Calgary is much bigger than I had anticipated. A million Canadians live there. I learned remedial french by reading road signs and am now an expert on the metric system. Banff is gorgeous, though not like our own national parks. People live there, and they have houses there. There is a mall in the middle of it all--a Gap even. Money is being made everywhere inside the boundaries. And there was more trash off the trails. I saw a billy goat smoking a cigarette. But Lake Louise. Ho, man. I need to show you pictures. Very soon, I'll have pictures. I have to get internet set up at home to do that. I am in UNL's computer lab right now.

Aug. 12-present. Move to Lincoln. A real headache. We have too much crap. Too many books. But I have a disease: I can't give away any books, especially the ones I have read. So, I accumulate like nobody's business. But we are in, and the house is terrific. We got a good one. Fireplace, sunroom, booth in the kitchens. Again: wait for the pictures. You'll like it.

I'm at U Nebraska today, shaking a few hands, paying fees, etc. I'm so excited. I've learned about some pretty cool people, and met a few too. Can't wait to dive in. Learned about reading series' that are going on (might try to start up an Octopus sponsored one later--more on that soon).

Octopus submissions are through the roof. Brandon Shimoda has been a good little editor while I've been gone. He has sorted through all the submissions and put them in piles. A public thank you to B-Shimmy. But let me tell you, there is going to be some competition, boy.

So much to do and tell. But let me be for now. I have to find a job.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A and I will be taking in the mountains one last time, one last hurrah before we go back to flat ground. Tomorrow we'll leave for Glacier National Park in Northwestern Montana--poke around in there for a few days--then journey up to Banff National Park outside Calgary. It should be a good time. We want to remember the reason we moved out here in the first place just a few days before we leave it. We'll be back on next Wednesday to start packing up the UHaul for Lincoln. I won't have computer access until August 20-something, so this blog will be asleep until then. Though, watch out, when I get back I'll have an assload to say.

For now though:

1. We have had a lovely response to the new issue so far. These new poets are promising, and there is a lot of pressure in giving them the proper curtain. It feels though that the pressure has been lifted a bit. People seem to be eating it up. Up until this point, Octopus #3 has been the fan favorite, but the reaction to #6 may give it a run.

2. Ryan Murphy (get his chapbook, The Gales--seriously good) just recently told me that Anthony Hawley (a poet I'm very fond of (see my reaction to Canary #4)) would be teaching at U of Nebraska--Lincoln. I've had some anxiety about going back to Lincoln for the PhD because I was afraid there wouldn't be a big enough push for the kind of poetry I read and write. Ted Kooser is king there. Not the biggest Kooser fan. It is nice to know I'll have a kindred spirit in Hawley.

3. I am not your 2005 National Poetry Series winner. Bridesmaid, again. Didn't want it anyway. They can have it.

4. While I'm gone, throw your poems on the Octopus submission pile. This your one chance for the year. Don't blow it with your B poems.

See you when I get back. Have a great time, Zach. Ok. Tell A I said hi. Alright. Good luck on the move. Ok. Gotta go. Bye.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Octopus #6 has arrived and it is not like the others. The poetry side of the plate is filled only with 16 promising young hot shot poets in the very earliest stages of their long careers-—for some of these 16, this is their first publication. 8 poems from each poet are included so that the reader can get a more complete representation of the work. And each selection is introduced, each poet endorsed, by a more established poet.

The ones giving the introductions: D.A. Powell, Dan Beachy-Quick, Matthew Rohrer, Heidi Lynn Staples, Jonah Winter, Matthew Zapruder, Dara Wier, Andrea Baker, Wayne Chambliss, Tony Tost, Donald Revell, David Lehman, John Koethe, Timothy Liu, Chris Vitiello, and Dean Young.

The young hot shot poets: Heather Christle, Alessandro Niero, Bill Cassidy, Betsy Wheeler, Joe Fletcher, Andrew McCarron, Brian Howe, Geoffrey Babbitt, Jill Beauchesne, Brian Dewan, Ethan Bull, Farah Marklevits, Danny Khalastchi, Randall Williams, Caryl Pagel, and Michael Quattrone.

Be sure to read all of them before deciding which poet is your new favorite.

Also check out REVIEWS from Brandon Downing's "Dark Brandon" by Brandon Shimoda, Michael Ives' "The External Combustion Engine" by Kathleen Ossip, Standard Schaefer's "Water & Power" by Allyssa Wolf, and Heidi Lynn Staples' "Guess Can Gallop" by Brad Flis, and an ESSAY on Gregory Corso by Matt Hart.

And RECOVERY PROJECTS on Edith Sodergran's "Complete Poems" by Johannes Goransson and Pam Rehm's "The Garment in Which No One Had Slept" by Stan Mir.
And don't forget: our reading period is the month of August. Send us your best, or else you'll have to wait again until next year.


Zachary Schomburg, editor
Denny Schmickle, design
I've been busy, what with moving and all. Lots of things to do. I'm buried in boxes. A and I took a break from it all and went on a hike up the mountain. Beautiful views. She has the camera though at her last week on the Crow Reservation so I guess I'll have to prove it some other time. Been trying to get this special sixth issue of Octopus out but my internet was on the fritz since Saturday afternoon. I've been disconnected from the world. Look for it though by tonight.