The Hermit Poet

May 29, 2006 is now live

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 9:56 pm

I’ve finished a major redesign of my website, which can now be accessed as — the will still work for the time being.  A lot of changes beneath the hood — I’ve completely rewritten the CSS files for the site, making it much more streamlined.  The design is much cleaner as well.  I’ve added a few other touches — it’s worth a look.

I figured if I was going into business as a web designer, I really should revamp up my own site first — it’s part of my portfolio after all.  This gives a better impression of the type of design work I’d like to do for other writers, artists, and professors.

May 26, 2006

Upcoming Readings – Last California Tour

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 10:07 am

I have the following upcoming readings for those interested in attending:

Tue May 30, 5:00 pm

Featured Reader
Graduate Colloquium Reading
UC Riverside, ART 335 (Screening Room)

Thur Jun 1, 7:00 pm

Graduating MFA Class Reading
Division 9 Gallery
Downtown Riverside

Mon June 12, 7:30 pm
Featured Reader
Village Books
1049 Swarthmore Ave.
Pacific Palisades, California

I may also show up at a few random as well — I’m thinking of hitting the Ugly Mug, for instance.

May 22, 2006

Emily Dickinson the Game

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 1:44 pm

Digging through the archives on Slashdot, I found this rather intriguing account of one of the panels at GDC (Game Developers Conference) back in 2005. Yes — Emily Dickinson the Game

Which opens a rather disturbing can of worms, as illustrated by the following slide from the same presentation:

I wonder if Will Wright ever took this any further — and I wonder if the Sylvia Plath version is in production?

May 17, 2006

Poems and Poet Finding Homes

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 5:45 pm

The Poet Finds a Home

Well, after some discussion last night with a friend of a family friend who lives in Vancouver area, it looks like I won’t be homeless when I move up there this July. I’ll be living in Port Coquitlam, about 30 minutes away from the downtown core (so really out almost on the edge of Greater Vancouver). It’s a nice place (from what I hear) and will be a good home base for a busy writer/creative writing instructor who moonlights as a web designer.

Two Poems Find a Home

In other good news — this afternoon I heard from Redactions ( that they would like to publish two poems from my new manuscript (ie. manuscript #2): “comment” and “conditional.” For those who have talked to me recently, I’m hard at work on a manuscript called Babbage’s Dream which explores the strange surreal beauty and exile of the modern day computer programmer. These are the first two poems from this second manuscript to get published — and already it seems that there is a much greater interest in this work than my first manuscript (something which leaves me with mixed feelings obviously!).

In any case, it’s an exciting time. Stay tuned for more poetry updates.

May 15, 2006

Attended this weekend – Asian American Writers Congress (Los Angeles)

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 11:57 am

I had a great time at the first annual Asian American Writers Congress held at UCLA. The program began with the keynote speaker, Shawn Wong who addressed the where have we been and where are we going aspects of Asian American literature. If this seems vague, it’s because I missed part of his address due my own late arrival (I lost 30 minutes to a bout of directional dyslexia — I kept getting myself confused and turned around while trying to get to UCLA).

There was a panel on publishing and getting the work out. Panelists included representatives from both big publishing (represented by Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency) and independent presses (Kaya Books, Children’s Publishing, and Lee & Lo). The moderator was Naomi Hirahara, and author and editor.

The conversation that was most interesting to me was the discussion between Rick Noguchi and David Mas Masumoto. “Mas” is an organic peach and grape grower, as well as a fiction/creative non-fiction writer. He read a passage from one of his books about farming that dealt with how a junk pile comes to exist on a farm — and how it represents the accumulation of history from not just the present generation owner, but all those who occupied the land before. A farmer will frequently return and find new use for things that sit in the junk pile. And then eventually those things return to the pile or others take their place. In a sense, cultural heritage and memory operate like that junk pile. Some of it is ours, other parts pre-existed. But, we all take and use, and eventually return to that pile. Every use is a dialog or conversation or reinterpretation of those elements we have set aside and which continue to persist through the years.

After the conference, a bunch of us gathered to eat at local restaurant and continue our discussions there. If there’s one thing that I’ve found true about the Asian American literary scene, it is that food also enters into every discussion.

I’ll try to make it back next year if possible. If only to win some more of the famous Masumoto Farm peach jam!

May 12, 2006

Good News from Silk Road!

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 4:14 pm

Just received word from Silk Road, a new journal out of Pacific University (Oregon), that my poem “For the Drowned”  has been selected for publication in their June issue.  This is their inaugural issue and it seems like it will be an exciting venture.

It’s nice to hear something positive for a change 🙂

May 7, 2006

Hire Me: Custom Web Design for Creative Professionals

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 10:50 am

Once I move to Vancouver, BC in late June, I will be embarking on a hybrid career of adjunct creative writing instructor and professional website designer.

There’s a lot of web designers out there, so why would someone hire me? Well, my goal is to work primarily for creative professionals: artists, poets, writers, screenwriters, playrights, etc. This includes professors and instructors in those same fields. Why? As a poet and writer, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of writers and artists who could use a more professional look to their website. Some have been cobbled together with whatever online editor came with their domain. Others are obviously based off of a prepackaged template and have little if any individual content. All this would be fine at an early stage of a career — but, as a professional, you want to look professional. Looking professional can be expensive and often you’re charged for bells and whistles you don’t need.

This is where I come in — I provide an economical and yet professional website, custom designed as a unique representation of you and your work. I work closely with you to come up with a personal branding and theming appropriate for your site. I don’t use templates, but create every website design from scratch, ensuring that this look is yours and yours alone.

For more information and for rates, visit my new design site here.

May 2, 2006

Boxcar Poetry Review Seeks First Book Manifestos

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 7:16 am

When you published your first book of poetry, it meant something — but what? Here’s your opportunity to tell us. Send me 250-500 words on what you hoped to accomplish with your first book. What voice did you want to add to the world? Are you joining a chorus or standing alone? What makes this book special and unique? The first book marks the beginning — the beginning of what?

You can send your First Book Manifesto to with “First Book Manifesto” in the subject line.

We’ll be publishing these alongside the reviews — a way to generate interest in the books and hopefully draw reviewers and readers in as well.

The New History of Golf

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 6:33 am

There’s recent evidence that suggests golf originated in China.  As well as pasta.  The fork.  Football (!).  And perhaps most intriguing, skiing (found depicted on cliff paintings from the Stone Age).

May 1, 2006

Three Poems in Avatar Review

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 8:21 pm

Check out three of my poems in the latest issue of Avatar Review