Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The off-site events at the AWP Conference are almost better than the on-site events this year! You'll find a meager sampling from the conference website of some of the things (and people) I'd love to catch below:


If the 500 exhibits of the Bookfair and the 300 events on the official schedule of the AWP Conference are not enough for you, you should consider a few of the off-site alternatives, listed below.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Page Meets Stage8:00PM
Page Meets Stage: Paul Muldoon & Thomas Sayers Ellis

Bowery Poetry Club308 Bowery (btn Houston & Bleeker)
Cost: $12
The reading series known as Page Meets Stage is like no other poetry reading series anywhere. Each month two different poets, one who writes primarily for the page and another who is more performance oriented, take the stage together and read back and forth, poem for poem. The current schedule includes Pulitzer Prize winners, Macarthur Fellows, poetry slam champions, and other spoken word icons. Co-produced by Words Worth Ink & Blue Flower Arts.

2nd Annual Cave Canem Fellows Reading
The Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery (At the foot of First Street, between Houston & Bleecker, F train to Second Ave, or 6 train to Bleecker)
Admission: $10

Readings by Michelle Berry, DeLana Dameron, Jacqueline Johnson, LaTasha Nevada Diggs, Krista Franklin, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Richard Hamilton, Myronn Hardy, Randall Horton, Marcus Jackson, Amanda Johnston, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, January O'Neal, Ernesto Mercer, Dante Micheaux, Indigo Moor, Nicole Sealey, Shia Shabazz, Evie Shockley, and Bianca Spriggs.

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

The Affrilachian Poets @ The Nuyorican Poets Café
236 East 3rd Street, between Avenues B and C(Closest Subway Stop is "2nd Avenue" on the F Train)
Admission: $7 student, $10 general
Featuring: Kelly Norman Ellis, Ellen Hagan, Parneshia Jones, Amanda Johnston, Hao Wang, Mitchell L. H. Douglas, Bianca Spriggs, Natasha Marin, Marta Miranda and special guest Rane Arroyo.

Persea Books Poetry Reading
McNally Robinson Bookstore
52 Prince Street in SoHo
Readings by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Alena Hairston, Kate Northrop, Patrick Rosal, Anne Shaw, Sidney Wade, and Rachel Wetzsteon read. Introduction by Gabriel Fried, Persea Poetry Editor.

7:00PM - 10:00PM
Courting Risk: Multicultural, Multi-genre, Multidimensional Women
Macaulay Center
Macaulay Honors College
35 W. 67th Street
Cost: Free

Complimentary refreshments will be provided. There might even be some music and interactive performance art thrown in. Stick around after for a book signing and art sale. Featured Readers: Esther Belin, Naomi Benaron, M. L. Brown, Ching-In Chen, DéLana R. A. Dameron, Ashaki M. Jackson, Anne Liu Kellor, Natasha Marin, Maureen Owens, Khadijah Queen, Susan Southard.

Friday, February 1st, 2008

6:00PM - 9:00PM
Celebrating New Asian American Poetry
New York University19 University Place, The Great Room (101)

In recent years, there's been a palpable increase in books published by Asian American poets. A flight of fancy? A movement? Has our time finally come? One thing is certain: Asian American poetry is thriving with a panoply of enigmatic individual voices. The participants will read from their respective collections published in 2007 and forthcoming in 2008. Authors include Kazim Ali, Rick Barot, Jennifer Chang, Lisa Chen, Oliver de la Paz, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Joseph O. Legaspi, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Jon Pineda. This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. with public funds from The New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. Supported by Kundiman and the Asian American Writers' Workshop.

ACENTOS: A Gathering and Celebration of Latino and Latina Poets
The School of Social Work at Hunter College
129 E. 79th Street (Corner of 79th St. and Lexington Ave.)
Presented by El Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños and Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase.

To coincide with the AWP conference, Acentos and El Centro present a celebration and reading of more than twenty emerging and established poets of Latino/a descent. Scheduled readers include Martin Espada, Rafael Campo, Aracelis Girmay, Willie Perdomo, and many more. Hosted by Rich Villar. Directions: #6 Train to 77th Street. Walk two blocks north to 79th Street and Lexington Avenue. The School of Social Work is located on the northwest corner of 79th and Lexington.

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

1:00PM - 3:00PM
Book Celebration: 1:00PM - 3:00PM
Book Celebration: "On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail"
Join Charles E. Cobb, Jr. in celebrating the publication of On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail. With real grassroots stories in the words of those who lived it, Charles E. Cobb leads us from Washington, D.C., through eight Southern states to visit the places where the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement fought for freedom. A book signing will follow the presentation.

Not for Mothers Only Anthology
NYU Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
58 West 10th Street(between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas)
Free and open to the public.

Featuring poets Lee Ann Brown, Gillian Conoley, Beth Ann Fennelly, Miranda Field, Annie Finch, Akilah Oliver, Alicia Ostriker, Molly Peacock, Eleni Sikelianos, Anne Waldman, Zhang Er, Rachel Zucker, and more. Fence Books Party following the reading.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Check out Ms. Patricia Smith

I am gearing up for the AWP Conference happening this week in NYC and the highlight of my trip will be interviewing Patricia Smith.

The poem Smith is reciting/performing (What is the precise language for this kind of music? We'll discuss this and other things in the interview...) here is "Building Nicole's Mama", the first poem in her award-winning collection Teahouse of the Almighty.

I'm looking forward to getting an earful of her and many, many others this week. More to come about AWP soon...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Love Kids

I got this e-mail the other day and am really hoping it's true. I believe it is. Have you talked to any six-year-olds lately? ( My absolute favorite one in the world is pictured above.) They are brilliant! Here's the e-mail:

A first grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you.

1. Don't change horses ... until they stop running.
2. Strike while the ... bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before ... Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of ... termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water but ... How?
6. Don't bite the hand that ... looks dirty.
7. No news is... impossible.
8. A miss is as good as a ... Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog new ... Math.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll ... stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust ... Me.
12. The pen is mightier than the ... pigs.
13. An idle mind is ... the best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's ... pollution.
15. Happy the bride who ... gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is ... not much.
17. Two's company, three's ... the Musketeers.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what ... you put on to go to bed.
19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and ... You have to blow your nose.
20. There are none so blind as ... Stevie Wonder.
21. Children should be seen and not ... spanked or grounded.
22. If at first you don't succeed ... get new batteries.
23. You get out of something only what you ... See in the picture on the box.
24. When the blind lead the blind ... get out of the way.
25. A bird in the hand ... is going to poop on you.

And the WINNER and last one!
26. Better late than ... Pregnant.

How do children know so much??? And what happens to all that knowledge???

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Year, New Thoughts, New Beauty

A friend, who shall remain nameless, accused me of having some lame images on my blog, so I'm getting my gameface on in the new year. This is a painting by John Biggers--a fabulous painter/muralist that doesn't get his due, if you asked me. My dream is to have his work grace the cover of one of my books someday.

Well, the new year is already underway and I am just catching up. No resolutions, just thoughts and goals in the midst of a new beginning. Here are a few:

1.) Finish second book of poetry
2.) Finish critical book
3.) Submit new work to at least three journals each month
4.) Cook more
5.) Shop less (this is at the bottom, because it is the least likely goal to be met)

I also did an end of the year survey with some friends and here are some of my answers. I wonder how they'll change throughout the year to come...

Favorite Things of 2007

Favorite books:
1. Blue Front - Martha Collins
2. Repair - C. K. Williams
3. Teeth - Aracelis Girmay

*I didn't read much fiction/non-fiction that blew me away last year.

Favorite authors:
1. Dick Gregory (I had no idea his writing would be so lyrical in places)
2. Martin Espada (He gave a great reading, too...)
3. Lucille Clifton (I just love her all the time)

Favorite places to write:
1. My office (surprisingly)
2. My car
3. On planes

Favorite movies:
1. Music and Lyrics (I know it's cheesy, but I bought the DVD!)
2. The Great Debaters

Favorite television shows:
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. Independent Lens
3. A Different World (I am so grateful for re-runs...)(And where is the reunion show?!)

Favorite music:
1. Stevie Wonder (He's still bad)
2. Chrisette Michele
3. Chris Brown (I hang out with teenagers sometimes, sue me!)
4. Fall Out Boy

I've been writing for the past couple of days, so that's a good sign. Looking forward to the madness that is AWP coming up at the end of the month and readings all over throughout the year. All in all, I'm hoping for a bang-up 2008. Here's to all reading well and writing fire!!!