The Hermit Poet

March 2, 2009

Two poems accepted by Diode / Other things pending

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:27 pm

Just received word earlier today that “array” and “pointer” – two poems from my Babbage’s Dream project – have been accepted for publication by diode and will appear in their May 2009 issue.

Also in the works:   I’ve recently finished a rather lengthy interview conducted by email with the students at the University of LaVerne as part of process/exchange of judging the contest for their journal, The Prism Review.  Lots of interesting questions and hopefully some good responses from me. It was exciting to discuss my book, my experiences with writing it, how things are progressing with my next project, and writing in general.  It’s good knowing that there exists a body of people who have read the book closely and have evidently enjoyed it quite a bit (at least, they’ve asked some great insightful questions).

Late AWP Report

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I’m realizing my favorite part of the AWP conference is meeting up with poet friends, fellow bloggers, and Boxcar contributors.  The panels and readings are nice, but since I spend most of my time manning the Boxcar table at the bookfair, these have become less important to me.  This year was much the same – especially since my other editors (Eduardo and Sara) couldn’t make it to Chicago.

Some highlights (mostly general):

  • discussion with my taxi cab driver about his desire to return to Dubai and run his own manufacturing or retail company (evidently he and his brother have done this a few times here in the US, but red tape, competition, and taxes here make it harder to turn a steady profit).
  • reading at the Kundiman panel with Aimee Nezhukmatathil, Oliver de la Paz, Sarah Gambito, Timothy Yu, and Ching-In Chen
  • seeing old Kundiman friends and hanging out for dinner and general mayhem in the evenings (trying to find a place for 19 people to hang out is hard to do in Chicago on Friday night)
  • the big chow down at the Hilton buffet in our separate dining area
  • meeting Brent Fisk, Brent Goodman, Margaret Baashar, and many other bloggers and Boxcar contributors for the first time
  • being berated in blank verse by a man who pronounced the verdict of “prosetry” on the poems in my book (just a bit on the eccentric side)
  • chatting with ice sculptors who were in town for the big ice carving festival which almost didn’t happen because the weather was too warm

Although I did my best to keep my book acquiring within reasonable bounds (didn’t want to ship anything home or get extra luggage), I did still come away with some great books.

Acquired this time (in sedimentary order from by latest stack of books):

  • Dark Thirty by Santee Frazier
  • Wild Flight by Christine Rhein
  • The Volcano Sequence by Alicia Ostriker
  • The Heart’s Traffic by Ching-In Chen
  • Wrong by Reginald Shepherd
  • The Pyramids of Malpighi by Steve Gehrke
  • Sad Jazz by Tony Barnstone
  • Ohio Violence by Alison Stine
  • Mistaken for Song by Tara Bray
  • Delivered by Sarah Gambito
  • Shy Green Fields by Hugh Behm-Steinberg
  • Letters to Guns by Brendan Constantine
  • Torched Verse Ends by Steven D. Schroeder

Santee Frazier’s Dark Thirty is especially good — I read it on my flight back and was quite blown away by it.  I’ll blog more about it later, but for now I’m looking forward to reading the rest of these over the next few months.

Chicago was fun and I’m looking forward to Denver next year.   Hopefully my other Boxcar people (Eduardo and Sara) can attend in 2010.

January 21, 2009

Boxcar Poetry Review – Issue 18 is Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:47 pm

The new issue went up late Monday night.  It’s full of wonderful work,  so if you haven’t stopped by yet, please check it out at

In this issue:


  • Jazzy Danziger: “The Sacrifice of Isaac (Uffizi)”
  • Justin Evans: “Contemplating Diego Rivera’s Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park”
  • Rachel Mallino: “To the Longest Day of the Year”
  • Clare Marie Myers: “My Father on Public Transportation II”
  • Brooke Sheridan: “Tomorrow Afternoon”
  • Kevin Stoy: “Assimilation”
  • Kristine Ueyeda: “Penelope Instructs Her Husband on the Nature of the Sea”
  • Arisa White: “The Emperor’s Socks”
  • Jill Wickham: “Meanwhile In the Kitchen, June Cleaver Was Spotted Hoisting a Refrigerator to Free Her Youngest Son”
  • Joe Wilkins: “Daybreak, Spokane, September 2001”


Charley Star: “Untitled Storm 1? & “Untitled Storm 2?


Ilya Kaminsky ~ Brian Leary & Diana Park


Darcie Dennigan’s Corinna, A-Maying the Apocalypse ~ Kristina Marie Darling

December 18, 2008

Journey South, Through Rain

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:45 pm

Last night I decided to brave the rain and cold (or what approximates cold in southern California) and head down to the Ugly Mug reading in Orange.  The freeways were slow at first, the rain steady, though not heavy, and the drive eventually became more pleasant once the cars began to thin out.

I like driving in the rain.  I guess deep down, I’m still in love with weather, especially cool rainy days.  I’m from BC, born in Vancouver, and rain must run through my veins.  Even all those years in Saskatchewan can’t quite erase that, though thanks to the time spent there, now I’m equally fond of cold.

So nights like last night are perfect for me.  Makes me want to write, or perhaps to wander through streets, looking at the world somewhat washed clean.  Lines on buildings stand out better.  The normally distant and dusted colors of the trees and flowers burn brighter and more vibrantly.  The world has new sounds.  Like an ocean has emerged and waves grow closer and closer to the ear.  The cars.  The lights blurred and beckoning.  The city and the freeway alternate between darkness and light, and driving puts you a little on edge, makes you feel at risk — as it anything could and might happen, but doesn’t yet.  And then you arrive, open the door, and step out into what was pelting the windshield, the slow fall of rain.

I had fun at the non-reading reading (it was actually a year-end party) and got see some of my old poet friends from various parts of southern California.  Numbers were smaller due to the rain (not everyone loves rain like I do), but we did have a good time.  We caught up with each others stories.  And we settled into a lively game of Apples to Apples (which I highly recommend for poets and writers — word association gone awry).

We chatted until late, then I got back in my car and headed home, again through the dark.  But the rain was gone.  The roads slick and clean, almost devoid of cars at times.  The world a clear empty plain.  And home, home came soon enough.  The bed welcoming and wide.  Sleep deep and abundant.

December 15, 2008

Rain, Followed by Interviews and Musings about Better Hiring Questionaires for the New Adminstration

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:08 pm

Last night it rained in Los Angeles, which makes it seem – if only for a brief little while – a bit like Vancouver.

Well, the semester has ended and all the grading is done.  I finished up on last Monday, but some issues arose which required further attention throughout the week.  Now I can honestly say I’m done — and it’s good to be done.  No papers, no reports, no exams.

While today has been a bit less productive, overall I’m getting caught up on things I’ve had to set aside during the semester-end rush.

I’m doing more research into book promotion and related issues now that the book is out.  I’ll be posting more on that in the next little while.  I spent part of this past week finishing up an interview I’ve been doing with some creative writing students at the University of LaVerne — I just sent back my 2nd round answers and there’s a possibility that there will be a third round of questions.  At some point I’m wondering if this type of thorough vetting might land me a spot with the new administration under poet-friendly Barack Obama.

In fact, I wonder if the questionaires the Transition Team send out to prospective hires feature a question about favorite poem or poet and why?   I think it’d be a good yardstick.  That, and having them play mandatory games of Scrabble to gauge visual-spacial skills, resource management, and adaptability.  Personally, I think that one’s Scrabble playing ability says a lot and would be a good indicator.  But it’s not just about the score, it’s about the style of gameplay and their willingness to play with different types of people.  In the end, I guess score isn’t the best indicator, but quality of gameplay experience and mid-game banter instead.  Of course these are hard to gauge.  So it’s probably back to the drawing board.  Or Scrabble board.

Much Belated Report on the Fresno Reading (Nov 21)

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Nov 21.  Philip Levine Prize Reading at CSU Fresno. I had a wonderful time, not just at the reading and afterward, but also on the drive to and back from Fresno.  Something about traveling on the road through farmland makes me miss Canada even more.  It’s not as flat as Saskatchewan, but it’s a good feeling to see sky and land, with few man-made structures in between.  Just before Fresno, fog emerges from the ground, fills the sides of the road and the country surrounding, and it’s a little bit like heading into Brigadoon.  No bridges that I recall, but I arrived in good time, rested a little, met up with fellow blogger and first book poet, Lee Herrick at a local Starbucks for a great chat about poetry, readings, and what happens after the first book.  After we signed each other’s books, we each headed off to our respective readings (he was meeting with a book club) and I was back to my hotel to await pick up for the dinner and the reading.

The before reading dinner was at a great restaurant which I’ve already forgotten the name of — but not the food (excellent pasta – the other small and large plate offerings also looked very good).  The reading itself was terrific — a very respectable sized audience (60-70 people I believe) — and the response generous from both the hosts (Chuck Hanzlicek and Connie Hales) and the crowd.  I read first for about 30 minutes, then Chuck (who was the judge of the contest) read next.  The poems were well-received and I was excited by the number of people in line for book signings after the event.  I was pleased to meet and hear from so many people who evidently enjoyed the poems and were excited to read more.  I think I signed around 20 books by the end of the night, plus a stack for the program at CSU Fresno.

One of the highlights of the night was discovering that the last person in line at the reading was Brian Turner (Here, Bullet) whose poems my students had just finished writing about and whose book I had greatly enjoyed.  We had a nice little conversation about poetry and projects, and he gave my some useful advice about allowing sufficient silence between poems when giving a reading.  I also met Marcus Chinn who had done a phone interview with me earlier that week, Glover Davis who now lives in the area,  and Mike Maniquiz, another poet who seems to share a lot of poet friends in common with me.  All told, it was a good night — lots of wonderful conversations and encounters.  I’ll definitely come back to Fresno sometime for another reading.

Driving back on Saturday, the fog filled the roads, the world was grey.  I felt I was leaving through clouds.  In time the sky and the earth returned, Los Angeles grew larger, and the freeways busier.  I took my exit, continued on my way through the streets, and arrived, tired but very happy to my apartment home.

November 20, 2008

Boxcar Poetry Review — Issue 17 is Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:37 pm

I’m pleased to announce issue 17 of Boxcar Poetry Review is finally up (only 5 days late!).

More fantastic work which comes together to obsess over places and spaces, the making of goddesses and gods, the unmaking of the body, and the myriad ways in which we enter and leave each moment.

Check it out at

In this issue:


  • Ryan Collins: “Dear Gold Coast—”
  • Brent Fisk: “The Clearing”
  • Asya Graf: “The Making of a Girl Goddess”
  • francine harris: “I live in Detroit”
  • Henry Kearney, IV: “In the Old Capital”
  • Jan LaPerle: “Tractor Race”
  • Clare Marie Myers: “Earthquake at the Buddhist Temple”
  • David O’Connell: “Redeemer”
  • J.R. Pearson: “Paint”
  • David Allen Sullivan: “Taking My Father to a South Indian Carnatic Concert”
  • Joseph P. Wood: “El Platform, Philadelphia, Midnight”


  • Janos Lanyi: “Korea 4” & “Korea 5”


  • Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan’s Shadow Mountain ~ Soham Patel

November 19, 2008

Last Night’s Reading / Friday in Fresno

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:56 pm

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed last night’s reading with Susan McCabe. David St. John gave us both wonderful introductions and the audience of faculty and graduate students was fantastic. We all had a great time — and the catered cupcakes were certainly a big hit.

It was good to hear Susan’s latest work — lots of exciting and fascinating things happening both in the poems and behind the scenes. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that we’d both been influenced by Frances A. Yates’ The Art of Memory in writing our books. Memory, forgetting, loss and reconstruction all play thematic roles inThe Lost Country of Sight — in fact, several poems were directly inspired by Yates’ discussion of mnenomic systems, the function of place in memory, and specific anecdotes about historical figures and memory theories.  I highly recommend the book — it’s a great read.

Right now I’m looking forward to Friday — I’ll be doing the Philip Levine Prize Reading at CSU Fresno and once again have the opportunity to meet the many fine people up there who have been instrumental in providing this opportunity for my book to get out into the world.  I’m also looking forward to seeing some old and new friends in the area.  Lots to do, but right now I’ve still got to upload the latest issue of Boxcar and get some more grading done before tomorrow.

Philip Levine Prize Reading 7:00 PM
Alice Peters Auditorium,
University Business Center
CSU Fresno
5241 N. Maple Avenue, Fresno, CA

November 16, 2008

Boxcar Poetry Review – New Issue Coming Soon

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:47 am

Expect it up by Wednesday (Nov 19). I’m a few days behind due to various external demands (grading papers and an urgent web design job). Almost completely caught up with submissions as well (a few remaining, some I’ve owed responses to for an embarrassingly long time).

USC Graduate Composition Recital / 4 Poems Set to Music

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:37 am

This is last minute, but if there’s anyone in the area who’s interested in hearing some fantastic new music from the graduate composers at USC, the Thornton Composition Department Recital is this Sunday (Nov 16).

I have a vested interest — as some of you may know, I’ve been working with Juhi Bansal, a graduate composer in the department over the past few months on a project.  She has been putting together a suite based on four poems from The Lost Country of Sight — the music is gorgeous and I’m excited to hear the final version.  To learn more about Juhi’s other projects and compositions, visit her website

You can listen to an earlier version of “Halfway” (part of the suite) here.

Thornton Composition Department Recital
Sunday, Nov 16 7 PM
Alfred Newman Memorial Recital Hall
USC (University Park Campus)
Los Angeles, CA 90057

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