Monthly Archives: October 2009

Things that Renew My Writing

and me.

A list:

-Flashes of observations on a bike ride.  A couple in a green Jeep making out near Stoner Park, purple flowers overtaking an apartment facade like ivy, a black shaggy dog with a branch between his teeth, a coffee table without a surface on the sidewalk.  Not realizing how far I’m going until I’m there.

-The Blood-Jet.  Being able to thank writers for their work.

-A fresh pair of sunglasses that remind me of owls.

-A meal with family.

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Featured on Back Room Live!

Please check out Back Room Live’s blog next Saturday, October 31st for the work of Oscar Bermeo and Amalia Bueno (editors), Rachelle Cruz, Guillermo Parra and Amir Rabiyah.

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October Reading

In midst of working at the bookstore and obtaining advanced readers’ copies, reading poetry books for The Blood-Jet, and participating in a book club with friends, my reading list this month has quite a range, and I hope to finish (at least browse) most of the books I’ve acquired this month.


The Gates by John Connolly

The Amazing Adventures of Klay and Kavalier by Michael Chabon

The Ravenous Audience by Kate Durbin

The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy

The Heart’s Traffic by Ching-In Chen (re-reading)

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor

Sonata Mulattica by Rita Dove

What It Is by Lynda Barry


Quite a bit of fiction this month, and this has a lot to do with my new job.  I haven’t read this much fiction in a while, and it’s nice to mix it up with the poetry I mostly read.

I’ve been thinking of reviewing Lynda Barry’s What It Is for the PAWA Blog for quite some time.  It’s a fun book on writing, which mixes comic vignettes, writing advice and exercises.  I definitely have to revisit it.

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“The Worse Thing A Writer Can Do…”

I’ve been tweeting for The Blood-Jet and came across this quote from the “Advice to Writers” stream:

The worst thing a writer can do is to think. The best thing to do is to react, which includes thinking but doesn’t let it act as an impediment or a censor. When you read something, you think something—write that down. That’s what I’m always trying to do.


This resonated with me because I sometimes revise while I write.  The thinking becomes judging.  This quote is a good reminder to rely on instincts, and not forcing words to show up on the page.

On another note, already planning for Winter/Spring 2010 for The Blood-Jet.  Suggestions?

Oh, I have some upcoming readings:

Oct. 18th at 1 pm at the Tarzana Community Center.  “Poetry for Health, Hope and the Heart” hosted by Laurel Ann Bogen.

Nov. 12th at 7 pm at Eagle Rock Plaza.  “Light Up the Sky Poetry Series” with William Archila, Lory Bedikian, Jamie Fitzgerald.

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As I wedge in time to write poems in the morning before commuting to work, or the small break between my jobs, I find the “poem-a-day” a lot more challenging this time around.  I see poems in the mystery books I file away on dusty shelves, in the brightly colored calaveras (skulls) my students are making for Dia de Los Muertos.   As the seasons distinctly change, I feel it too.  Sometimes this means more time in bed.  Which hopefully means, more writing in bed, and not hibernation.

I’ve been flipping through Jeffrey Yang’s An Aquarium, which I hope will spark some aswang stuff.  I’ve also been reading through Letters to Poets (ed. Jennifer Firestone and Dana Teen Lomax), which is a really great anthology with the actual emails/letters between veteran and emerging poets.  It’s been helpful in thinking about The Blood-Jet, too.

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WeHo Book Fair and #11

It was great to reunite with the EV Fellows yesterday to read at the West Hollywood Book Fair, and all of us were present this time.  Mehnaz writes about the need to be flexible as a writer when reading in her blog, here. Especially when there are motorcycles going by, babies crying, people talking on their cellphones, etc.  I think fairs and festivals like this one are good places for folks to physically peruse and explore different genres in writing through the panels, workshops offered.  Although I’m typically inclined to poetry and fiction, it was cool to see communities of mystery writers and readers.  However, I do understand feeling overwhelmed at fairs like this when trying to attend readings and visiting all the booths.  It’s hard to choose!



after Dorianne Laux, “What’s Broken”

My mother’s scratched statue of Jesus,     hands heavy with air.

Not a bone in this body.     This heart tipped over after the blast

down the throat.     Prince Don Juan’s gravestone that reads:

“Died of  heartbreak,”     crumbled beneath the jasmine.

Cracked shells against my ankles     in the rocky Mediterranean.

What isn’t:     a postcard with a stamp of a Spanish queen,

your name and address neatly printed,     the gloss

from the Real Alcazar  dull from hands     passing it over

with inspection.     When I imagine you

reading this,    I begin to —

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Speaking with poet Rachel McKibbens last week on “The Blood-Jet” was refreshing and timely.

I never laughed/giggled so hard on the radio show before, and I remembered that poetry is about communion with writers we’ve never met (and in many cases, we’ll never meet) and that it is FUN sometimes.

Prior to Oscar Bermeo’s recommendation, I had never heard of Rachel before.  We talked briefly on the show about writing exercises on her website and fresh ways to approach poetry.  Definitely check out her website. Find some of the exercises on her blog and write!

More daily poems coming soon….

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