Thursday, September 27, 2007

Classified ads

Posting for a poet friend in NYC. I don't know from NYC housing, where the rents have a lot more numbers in them than they do here in Indiana, but I'm guessing this is a good deal...

from Dec 15 to April 1 (give or take a week)
(Available for whole winter or segments)

My studio is on East 15th Street (Manhattan)
between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.
That's East Village/Gram. Park.
The building is on a quiet street next to a park
and not too far from Union Square
so great for transportation.

Queen-sized bed and full-sized futon.
ac, tv/dvd/vcr (no cable
but I have wireless internet access),
microwave, stereo, the basics.
Apt is on 6th (top) floor--so it's quiet.
Elevator and laundry room.

1550 per month.
Cheaper and cozier than a hotel.
Photos available.

Please pass on my info if you know someone:

(917) 817-7171

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Simic on PBS

Tonight on the Jim Lehrer NewsHour (on your friendly neighborhood PBS station -- check your local listings)...


September 26, 2007

As a part of our ongoing series of poet profiles, tonight we feature Poet Laureate Charles Simic.

Simic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia during World War II where his earliest years saw occupation, civil war, and the beginnings of a Stalinist regime in his homeland. Although he is the fifteenth Poet Laureate of the United States, he did not speak English until he was 15-years-old. Simic has published over 60 books in the United States and abroad, including numerous volumes of his own poetry, essays, and memoirs. He won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems.

Charles Simic will be answering your questions on his work and the future of poetry in an Online Insider Forum. To participate go to

EDITOR'S NOTE: Segments highlighted on NewsHour Poetry Series Alert are scheduled to air but subject to change.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The local (that's local, not lo-cal!) report

Best recent google search leading to my blog: "i'm sick of self indulgent bipolar people"

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I see that IU's MFA program has updated their website … but they haven't put redirects on the old site yet, so I've been continuing to check the old site, not knowing the new one was up! Oof. Web designers, take heed. The new site is a big improvement, though! Very attractive. So kudos to them for that.

Looks like A.E. Stallings is reading here in October, which is lovely. And Ross Gay has joined the faculty this year -– hooray! I haven 't read that much of his work, but I look forward to doing so, and maybe hearing him read sometime soon. He seems to be a good fit for the program. He's a Cave Canem fellow; that program seems to do such amazing work in supporting and encouraging young African-American poets and so many terrific voices have come through those ranks. I'm glad it exists. It would be nice to see something equally vital and exciting and productive for GLBT poets, wouldn't it?

They've taken Kevin Young off the list; he was officially "on leave" for a while, but for some reason I was under the impression that he wasn't coming back, which apparently is the case.

It is odd, being a poet affiliated with a university that has a strong MFA program, but not being connected with said MFA program. I've been known to rant at length about the fact that it's hard for someone outside the department to find out about the readings they sponsor; I've attended the occasional MFA student reading (and they're usually pretty good) and try to make it to as many of the visiting-writer readings as possible, when I find out about them in time. When I've had a chance to get to know some of the MFA students I've consistently been impressed with their energy and talent.

I really think the "MFA versus non-MFA" divide is a fallacy that hurts us all. I know non-MFA poets who look down their noses at MFA folks, and MFA poets who don't quite trust the credentials of non-MFA types; it goes both ways. The fact is, MFA programs are great for some people, not so good for others. It's certainly not the only way to learn how to write. And I do think they sometimes do poets a disservice by leading them to believe they'll be able to get a cushy teaching job once they have that degree in hand; there are far more MFA grads than there are teaching jobs, of course. But for the right poet at the right time in her/his life, I think an MFA program can be an incredible learning experience. And while for various reasons I do not think that IU's program would be right for me, I think that for some students, it's a tremendous program and I really respect and value what they do. And truly, I think that non-MFA poets and MFA-type folks have a lot to learn from one another, if we can all just get over being a bit defensive about our choice to MFA or not to MFA.

This has been your "can't we all just get along" moment for today.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mail call! Last chance!

If you'd like to receive a postcard in the mail to let you know when my chapbook, Breach, is available for pre-ordering, please drop your mailing address in my email (ahaines at gmail dot com). I need to get these addresses no later than Thursday (and actually I am already That Person who is asking her publisher for an extension, sigh), so hop to it...

If you'd like an email (instead of or in addition to a postcard), give me your email address.

Of course, I'll post here when pre-orders are open, because I'm a spammer like that. *grin*

Okay, that's enough shameless self-promotion for one day!

Pluggity plug plug

I'm so far behind, I think I just met myself coming back the other way.

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Upcoming! Five Women Poets' 33rd annual reading. Featuring original work by poets Joyce B. Adams, Patricia C. Coleman, Anne Haines (who dat?), Deborah Pender Hutchison, Antonia Matthew, Leah Helen May, and Anya Peterson Royce. Friday night, October 12th, 7:00 pm at Boxcar Books & Community Center in beautiful downtown Bloomington, Indiana. Free, but make a donation if you can.

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Also plugging: Joyce Adams, one of the members of aforementioned Five Women Poets, has a chapbook coming out from Finishing Line Press: "What is Brought to Light." You can order it at their website; if you're interested & have trouble finding it on there, let me know. I wrote a wee blurb for this, so it has my seal of approval....

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This coming weekend, again in beautiful downtown Bloomington: the Lotus Festival! Good times, good times...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Help Wanted

I have no clue whether this pays enough to live on, but I just spotted this in the local paper and thought I'd pass it on ...

The Writers' Center of Indiana (WCI), the state's only comprehensive literary arts organization, seeks an Executive Director to be responsible for overall management, organizational growth, and fund development of the WCI. The ideal candidate should have experience in small nonprofit administration and fundraising, as well as a passion for the literary arts. Send resume/salary requirements to

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Poem of the week

I often dislike dream poems. There are lots of reasons for this. Sometimes they can be too easy: Ooh, here's some weird images! They don't have to make any sense; they're from a dream! Sometimes they're too personal, too encoded, meaningful only to the person who wrote the poem or dreamed the dream, or maybe to someone who knows that person well. Sometimes they're just too self-consciously symbolic, like a poem your high school English teacher would ask you to analyze, picking out every image to determine once and for all What It Really Means.

That said, I like this dream poem by Michael Collier. Looking at it again, what really makes the poem for me is the word vernix. It's such a completely unexpected word, such an unusual word to begin with and not one most of us use on a daily basis, and it seems to catapult the poem to a whole new level as soon as it shows up. Such a mammalian, human word, given to birds in a dream -- it's startling.

Interesting how much weight one word can carry in a poem.

Birds Appearing in a Dream

One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,
another a tail of color-coded wires.
One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,
another a flicker with a wounded head.

All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,
bright, circulating in burning air,
and all returned when the air cleared.
One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,

deep in the ground, miles from water.
Everything is real and everything isn't.
Some had names and some didn't.
Named and nameless shapes of birds,

at night my hand can touch your feathers
and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,
you who have made bright things from shadows,
you who have crossed the distance to root in me.

--Michael Collier
from Dark Wild Realm (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

Fiddly little edits

Today I printed out a huge stack of poems -- pretty much everything workable I've drafted in the last two years -- and went to Soma, a funky local coffeehouse largely frequented by grad students. I sat there with said stack of poems and a double cappuccino and a pen, and started editing. I wanted to do some real revising, re-entering the poems and making major structural changes, but mostly what I made were fiddly little edits. Still, it felt good; sometimes when I haven't revised in a while I have to sit there making fiddly little edits for a while just to get into the space of making alterations, and eventually I find myself doing the more drastic work.

I also found myself liking a lot of poems I'd half forgotten writing. I rolled my eyes at a bunch of them, of course, but I had lots of "hey, that's not half bad" moments. Which was nice. If I have half an ounce of sense, which I'm not sure I do, I'll take advantage of feeling this way & get some stuff sent out tomorrow.

Also realized I have a lot of, for lack of a better phrase, terribly romantic poems. Not love poems necessarily (and in fact most of them are not love poems per se), just poems that are ... I don't know. Non-cynical, I guess. And I'm really not a hopeless romantic (shut up, you -- I'm not) so I'm not sure where those come from. Funny. I'm beginning to think the me who writes poems believes different things about the world than the me who lives the rest of my life.

Does that make the poems (or me) dishonest? I don't think so. It's just sort of an interesting conclusion to come to.

Maybe poems are like pillow talk: you mean it at the time, but let's hope nobody holds you to it later on. Which is kind of an interesting angle to the persona-poem versus first-person discussion percolating around various corners of the blogosphere (Kelli's place, in particular).

Well, here's a for-example. I'll take it down in a day or so. This one sort of (kinda) falls into the love-poem category, so it's a bit of an exception, but it's the kind of thing I'm thinking of.


Friday, September 14, 2007

The season is turning

Just in the past few days, the oppressive heat and humidity of an Indiana summer has shifted into the cool weather and sometimes amazingly blue skies of fall. Big sigh of relief, here. Many trees are starting to lose their leaves early due to the intense drought, so already I look outside and see little brown leaves spiraling downward. I dislike the winter that it leads up to, but I really do love fall.

Today I'm taking the day off. I was to the point of actually losing my sense of humor on occasion -- which, if you know me, you know doesn't happen very often (hello, class clown here). Stress both at work & outside of work had just built up to an unpleasant point. I'd thought I would make today a highly productive day, get some chapbook-related stuff done that needs to be done asap, send out some poems, clean house, et cetera ... but instead all I've done so far today has been to take a shower and then a long nap with a large sleepy cat snuggled up in my arms. (I couldn't HELP it. The cat made me take that nap.) Tomorrow, I'll get up at a reasonable hour and go out for brunch with Too Much Coffee and get a lot of work done. Swear it.

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This past Sunday evening I drove up to Indianapolis for a reading by Roger Mitchell at the Writers' Center. I'd never been to the Writers' Center before, oddly enough; thanks to Mapquest I was able to find it with no problem. It was a little over a ninety-minute drive each way, which is why I haven't been there, I guess. I do want to go back for the occasional event, though I'm sure I'd be more inclined to do stuff like that if I had a car I trusted a little more.

Anyway, the reading was quite good, and I'm pleased to find out that Roger Mitchell has a big new & selected coming out from Ausable Press in the not-too-distant future. I went alone and didn't know too many people there, though there were a number of familiar faces and, as I found out when I chatted with people, several familiar names -- Shari Wagner, for example, whose work I came across when I went to the Indiana Arts Commission literature panel last spring (they had the grant applications in a big binder for anyone in the audience to peruse, and the poetry she included with her grant application was quite wonderful; and yes, she did get a grant). I also reconnected with someone I knew waaaaaay back in my undergrad years; she was a year or two ahead of me at IU, and we had at least one creative writing class and maybe another class or two together, and ran in similar circles. I'd known she was teaching up at IUPUI (that's the Indianapolis campus of IU), so was not too surprised to see her there.

I signed up for the open mic, of course, and was dismayed to see that there was a LONG list of signer-uppers by the time the reading started. We were asked to keep it to one minute, and to my surprise, pretty much everyone did their best to comply. (You know how an open mic can be ... someone thinks their four-page epic comes in at one minute, plus they ramble on and on with an extended intro.) And overall, there were some pretty good poems read. Definitely a higher-quality open mic than some I've been to.

They seem to have a nice little community going on up there at the Writers' Center. I don't know how often I'll be able to take part in it, due to distance -- but it's nice to know it's there. And they have a nice little facility, too! There's a small sort of arts complex there, which the Writers' Center is a part of; it's near the Indianapolis community of Broadripple, which is sort of the "funky shops, clubs with live music, art galleries, and interesting restaurants" neighborhood in Indy.

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So, no, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I'm still behind on everything -- but am starting to feel a tiny bit more sane. Hooray for the occasional mental health day, especially when it involves napping with cats. And hooray for the season starting to turn, finally.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Things may be quiet around here for a few days. I just got a shiny new laptop (it's very shiny!) and for a little while, most of my computer time will probably be spent transferring files from the old falling-apart one to the shiny new one, and getting used to the quirks of Vista Ultimate (which is also very shiny) and Office 2007.

The new laptop's name is Harriet2 (the old one is named Harriet). Bonus points to anyone who knows why I named it that. Hint: a laptop is also called a notebook. :)

It's nice not to have to stick the K key back on (with that tacky blue poster stuff... yes, I meant it when I said it was falling apart) every few minutes, and to have a hard drive that is not 95% full, and not to have the CD drawer pop open for no reason at random moments. Shiny!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Brief notes

That's brief as in short. I'm not talking about underwear here.

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Interesting . . . this year, the Lambda Literary Awards are putting all the poetry nominations in one big poetry category rather than dividing them between lesbian & gay poetry. I wonder if they just don't get enough nominations in poetry to sustain two categories? Fiction is still divided, although they now call it "women's" and "men's" (to be more inclusive of various orientations).

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Way to go, Jerry Lewis! As if the telethon weren't icky enough already for its whole "tragic-but-brave" attitude towards people with disabilities. Ew. Glad I was watching tennis instead.