Friday, December 04, 2009

The Waldrops are my Heroes.

Thanks to everyone who came out last night to hear the Waldrops read. And special thanks to Joe Donahue and Tony Tost for their wonderful introductions.

I was glad to have the chance to thank the Waldrops for their role as teachers in my life and in the life of many other writers and poets. Here's what I said in a very husky and cold-ridden voice:

Tonight Poet Tony Tost will introduce Rosmarie Waldrop and Poet Joe Donahue will introduce Keith. But before Tony comes up here to start things off, I wanted to say a few words about the Waldrops. From the readings tonight you will learn what wonderful poets Keith and Rosmarie are. But you might not know about their work as mentors and teachers. I would venture to say that there are a few hundred poets who would claim them as mentors. I was going to run a poll on Facebook so that I could offer you an exact number, but I unfortunately came down with this terrible cold and never got around to it.

But I can tell you from personal experience what wonderful teachers they are. When I was 18, I met Keith and Rosmarie for the first time. It was my first year of college and though they were both teaching that semester, I was in class with neither of them. They quickly befriended me, however, because I was taking a poetry workshop led by one of their students. She must have slipped them the news that I too might be one of those unfortunate people who would like to cut words out of old books in the middle of the night or translate sonnets from languages that I didn’t understand, rather than going to law school or doing something else that would let me eat well. In any case, before I even knew there was a poetry community in Providence, they welcomed me into it. They looked at my fledgling work seriously, offering both criticism and praise. But the most significant thing they did for me happened at their house that same year. The Waldrops were hosting a party for a Scandinavian poet. They were not only kind enough to invite me to it, but when they introduced me to the visiting poet they said, “This is Maggie Zurawski. She is a poet.” This may not seem like a significant gesture to everyone, but I am sure that many of you in the room tonight know what it’s like to be 18 or 19, thinking that you want to be a poet. It takes a lot of courage to accept yourself in those terms. Aside from feeling that the proposition of being a poet is an absurd one given the world we live in today, one also feels that perhaps to make such a claim one must first produce a masterpiece, or at least a fair number of works. But when the Waldrops introduced me as a poet that night, I knew that they took me and the little work I had written seriously and that it was also time for me to do the same. They didn’t doubt me, so I stopped doubting myself, at least often enough to never stop writing. Over the years, they have kept up with me, finding me no matter where I seemed to land, always making sure I would get the latest books they’ve published. I made sure, too, that they were the last people to read my book manuscript before it went off to the publisher. I needed to know what Rosmarie and Keith thought should be cut before I would listen to any editor. In short, they’ve taught me what it means to be part of a poetry community. That if we care about poetry, we need to care about one another, too. What they’ve done for me, they’ve done for many others. I’m not special, just lucky enough to have received their care. I only hope that when I become a teacher, I am able to treat my students with as much kindness and generosity as they treated us. So tonight Rosmarie and Keith, I want to thank you for all your kindness and encouragement over the years. I know I am not the best at remembering to send thank you notes when I get Burning Deck books in the mail, so tonight I wanted to make sure you knew how grateful I am for all those books that have come like clockwork over the years, thank you for your poems, for your translations, for all your encouragement, for your loyalty and enthusiasm, in short for everything you’ve done for us and for poetry. Thank you.

You can listen to last night's reading by the Waldrops here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(Please Forward Far and Wide!)

Minor American Presents:
Keith & Rosmarie Waldrop
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Talk on Translation: 4pm
Duke University, English Department Lounge (West Campus), Allen Building, 3rd Floor, Chapel Drive.

Poetry Reading: 8pm
Duke University, East Duke Parlors (East Campus), 1st Floor - Pink Parlor

(For Campus Map and Directions go to:


(Co-ponsored by the English Department's Graduate Reading Group in Contemporary Poetry, the Department of Romance Studies, the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature, and the Franklin Humanities Institute)

Keith Waldrop's 2009 books are: Transcendental Studies (poetry, Univ of California), which won the 2009 National Book Award for Poetry; Several Gravities (collages & poetry, Siglio Press); and Paris Spleen, the prose poems of Baudelaire (Wesleyan). He has also translated Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil as well as books of poetry by Anne-Marie Albiach, Claude Royet-Journoud, Paol Keineg, Dominique Fourcade, Pascal Quignard, and Jean Grosjean. Other books of poems include The Real Subject (Omnidawn) and the trilogy: The Locality Principle, The Silhouette of the Bridge (America Award, 1997) and Semiramis, If I Remember (Avec Books). He teaches at Brown University in Providence.

Rosmarie Waldrop’s recent poetry books are Curves to the Apple, Blindsight (both New Directions), and Love, Like Pronouns (Omnidawn). University of Alabama Press published her collected essays, Dissonance (if you are interested). She has translated, from the German, books by Friederike Mayröcker, Elke Erb, Oskar Pastior, Gerhard Rühm, Ulf Stolterfoht and, from the French, Edmond Jabès, Emmanuel Hocquard and Jacques Roubaud. Together, Keith and Rosmarie have published Well Well Reality (collected collaborations, Post-Apollo Press), Ceci n’est pas Keith Ceci n’est pas Rosmarie (autobiographies, Burning Deck), and translated Jacques Roubaud’s poems on the streets of Paris: The Form of a City Changes Faster, Alas, Than the Human Heart (Dalkey Archive). They co-edit Burning Deck Press in Providence.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Please Forward This Announcement:

Lucy Corin & Guillermo Parra
Saturday, November 14, 8pm
715 Washington Street
Durham, NC

This event is sponsored by
The Duke University Department of English Poetry Working Group

Lucy Corin is the author of the short story collection The Entire Predicament (Tin House Books, 2007) and the novel Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls (FC2, 2004). She teaches at the University of California, Davis, where many professors are currently working to keep the university from being privatized. You can find her microfictional apocalypses in The Massachusetts Review, Gulf Coast, West Branch, Pen/America, and Diagram.

Guillermo Parra lives in Durham, NC and writes the blog Venepoetics. He has published Caracas Notebook (Cy Gist Press, 2006) and Phantasmal Repeats (Petrichord Books, 2009). He is currently translating the work of Venezuelan poet Juan Sánchez Peláez.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Is the face a person made presentable?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Production is overrated, or perhaps, at this point, simply overdone. Anything we might need is nothing that can be made. This is the best argument for poetry.

Gail Scott & Robert Glück
-musical performance by y2kbunker-
Saturday, October 24th, 8pm
715 Washington Street
Durham, NC

This event is co-sponsored by
The Duke University Department of English
Poetry Working Group
The Center for Canadian Studies at Duke

Gail Scott has completed a new novel, The Obituary. She has written 7 other books, including the anthology Biting The Error edited with Bob Gluck, Camille Roy, and Mary Berger, Coach House, 2004 [shortlisted for a Lambda award]; the novel, My Paris, about a sad diarist in conversation with Gertrude Stein and Walter Benjamin in contemporary Paris, Dalkey Archive [Normal, Ill] September, 2003; the story collection Spare Parts Plus Two [Coach House, 2002]. The novels Main Brides and Heroine, and the essay collections Spaces Like Stairs and la théorie, un dimanche [with Nicole Brossard et al]. Her translation of Michael Delisle’s Le Déasarroi du matelot was shortlisted for the Governor General’s award in translation [2001]. She was named one of the 10 best Canadian novelists of the year 1999 by the trade magazine Quill + Quire. She is co-founder of the critical journal Spirale (Montréal) and Tessera (new writing by women). She teaches Creative Writing at Université de Montréal.

Robert Glück is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction, including two novels, Margery Kempe and Jack the Modernist and a book of stories, Denny Smith. Glück edited, along with Camille Roy, Mary Berger and Gail Scott, the anthology Biting The Error: Writers on Narrative. Glück was Co-Director of Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center, Director of The Poetry Center at San Francisco State, and Associate Editor at Lapis Press. His poetry and fiction have been published in the New Directions Anthology, City Lights Anthologies, Best New Gay Fiction 1988 and 1996,The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Best American Erotica 1996 and 2005, and The Faber Book of Gay Short Fiction. His critical articles appeared in artforum international, Aperture, Poetics Journal, and Nest: A Quarterly of Interiors, and he prefaced Between Life and Death, a book on the paintings of Frank Moore. Last year he and artist Dean Smith completed the film Aliengnosis. Glück teaches at San Francisco State University.

y2kbunker is either a noise collective or a doomsday cult/commune. Instrumentation ranges from the standard (violin, trombone, guitar) tothe profane (electric drill, fireworks, riding crop).

Saturday, September 05, 2009

SEPTEMBER 19, 2009, 8pm
715 Washington Street Durham NC

Vanessa Place: Vanessa Place is a writer, a lawyer, and co-director of Les Figues Press. She is author of /Dies: A Sentence/ (Les Figues Press, 2006), /La Medusa/ (Fiction Collective 2, 2008), and /Notes on Conceptualisms/, co-authored with Robert Fitterman (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009); her nonfiction book, /The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality and Law/ is forthcoming from Other Press. Place is co-founder of Les Figues Press, described by critic Terry Castle as “an elegant vessel for experimental American writing of an extraordinarily assured and ingenious sort.”

Ted Pope:
“I am the warm and fuzzy wall between the Church and The State. Trapped out here in the orbit-of-Mars like a Hound-Dog or an Owl. the little inner buddha is building a wondrous canoe that will travel from my heart... to you.”

Des Ark:
Des Ark is the secret soundtrack of midnight Carolina. It’s the hard and sweet noise of everything that keeps you up at night, a bulldozer come to break its heart with you. Walking alone at night, you can hear Des Ark through the broken window of the used bookstore. Inside, everyone is there and everything is real.

Friday, September 04, 2009

From Coolidge's "The Crystal Text"

A prosewriter's mind's mass is thought plots
but a poet's is fielded of words.

What do you see when you look out with your language?
A pile of hooted buckets.
A loose laugh spoon.
Miles of adroited pain paper.
Lungs full of glass beads.
A list of nodules knowing of nameless.

These are never only things, just, but the words
retracked. Circling as a flying object almost home
with your pen above whatever oval tensions
or the wheat in your litmus class, the glow on the fear.
The witness motions are there. Or add another
e to that th.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thinking Outloud on "Innovation" as a label..

Brian Allen Carr was nice enough to respond to my post in the comments section under the previous post. He makes the point that he was asked to review a book that had "Innovative" stamped on it. Fair enough.

I guess my whole beef is with the narrow understanding of innovation in general. It seems like books in the US are labeled "innovative" or "experimental" where in Germany, for instance, (and only because I am somewhat familiar with German bookstores) these books would simply be called literature. I mean, shouldn't writers always be thinking about whether or not the form they are using is the right one for the 'content' they are working with? In other words, shouldn't anyone writing a novel (or anything for that matter) be thinking about HOW to write it best? The US publishing world favors a certain kind of realist prose, and calls that "fiction" or "literature," and writing that comes out of another kind of literary tradition, if it is not foreign, gets labeled "innovative" or "experimental." These two terms, then, become labels for everything that isn't, for example, Alice Munro and Robert Ford.

To quote the FC2 website: "In his New York Times Book Review "Guest Word" of Sept 15, 1974, Sukenick described the group's aim to 'make serious novels and story collections available' and 'keep them in print permanently.'" In other words, Suckenick and others create FC2 in order to create the possibility of publishing prose other than, to change the old Charles Bernstein term, Official Prose Culture. But I am wondering if we aren't both operating (Carr and I) under a too narrow view of "innovation." The OED defines "innovative: 1. a. The action of innovating; the introduction of novelties; the alteration of what is established by the introduction of new elements or forms. {dag}Formerly const. of (the thing altered or introduced)." It seems like innovative becomes rigid and prescriptive as well: 'did you mess with your sequencing of the narrative? etc.' It seems like a working definition that is more generous to what most writers are doing is the second half of #1: "the alteration of what is established by the introduction of new elements or forms.' Recombinations, in other words. And to toot my own horn, I think I could argue for my work being innovative in this way. I mean, I don't think that Thomas Bernhard ever wrote a lesbian sex scene. If I am wrong on this, let me know. It seems like old technique applied to new content is a kind of innovation.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I think I don't believe in INNOVATION.

The most negative review my book has received was written by Brian Allen Carr in the March/April 2009 issue of American Book Review online.[By the way, the first long passage that is quoted in the review has a typo in it. The word "site" should be "since."] For Carr, my book's biggest offense besides being "boring" and containing "student-grade prose," was the fact that although The Bruise received the "Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize," the book was not "innovative." I can't really defend myself against this charge of non-innovation. That's a question for the judges at FC2. I simply put my manuscript in the mail.

What I mean is that Carr is right when he says that "Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, Franz Kafka are all liberally borrowed from here." And that "this is a lesbian pseudo-romance, but that's nothing new." He does forget to mention Thomas Bernhard. I stole like mad from Thomas Bernhard. What I am trying to get to is this: I had no intention of making anything NEW when I was writing this book. In fact, what would or could be new? I am not really interested in that question. It seems like something for boys who like Pynchon and HTML to work on. I was just trying to write a book that I would want to read. My guess is that Carr and I like to read different things. What I find offensive in this review, though, is the implication that I was trying to pull one over on the reader, as if I thought the reader wouldn't hear the imitation, the sampling of my favorites. And this I don't think is Carr's fault. For some reason the literary world is haunted by this idea of novelty. The "Dude, I've heard that before..." syndrome. For all its post-modern claims, it holds tight to the most MODERNIST idea of all: that of making it NEW. But trust me, I was well aware of my book not being new. Charging that my influences are too obvious, both as favorites [as in not obscure enough] and as sounds in the prose, seems like something that would only happen to a writer. I mean, when we hear a Rickenbacker plugged into a Vox on some new indie album, we don't turn it off because it sounds too much like the Beatles. I at least keep listening to see what happens to that Beatles sound. Maybe I am boring, but I don't mind if new music sounds a little like old music. And I like new books that sound a lot like old books that I like. But even if I had lived up to Carr's ideas of the Sukenick award, even if I had completely adopted Sukenick's theories and deviated from linear form by "experimenting" with sequencing, I imagine that I still would have only been as innovative as Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. I would rather be like Bernhard or Proust or Stein, in any case.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

In case you missed this because of all the Michael Jackson stories...

Obama Health Care Plan -- July 1, 2009 Townhall Meeting

Yesterday I was unable to watch the President's town hall meeting on health care live and was hoping to get a report on it on the 5pm news, but instead MSNBC, CNN, and FOX only reported on Michael Jackson and governors who hiked the Appalachian trail. This morning I was luckily able to watch the entire meeting on I've been out of the country for six weeks and thought that was why I was finding it hard to learn about the nuts and bolts of the President's proposal, but given that America lacks any real television news and I am at my parents' house in NJ where cable rules, I could only get the information from the White House itself via internet. Thank God for Youtube. Infotainment doesn't really cut it, when people are dying because of lack of health care.

In case you were wondering, I don't see how we could give up Obama's Public Option and call anything else real reform. Watch the video.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Literary Women in Berlin

When I lived in Berlin from 1995 to 1997, I frequented the literature houses in the city often. I had the luck of hearing Ernst Jandl and Friederike Mayröcker, but the reading that struck me most was given by the Danish poet, Inger Christensen. (She is the woman in the picture on the left above). She read during a group reading. She was already an older woman with something grandmotherly about her. She came to the stage in what my mother in Polish calls a "costume," that is, in a skirt with matching blazer. She was dressed all in brown, looked very much like the older women I saw everyday on the Berlin subway and when she came to the stage with a large handbag that she set on the floor next to her, I found the image of this poet quite funny, exactly because she didn't look like a poet at all, at least according to my twenty-three-year-old self. But then she began reading sonnets from her cycle The Butterfly Requiem and I felt truly stupid for my earlier judgment of this woman's appearance. All I can say is that the poems were magical. As earthly and mundane as Christensen's appearance seemed, her poems were from another world. I only wish I could write something as beautiful as Christensen before I die.

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of hearing Ilana Shmueli at the Literaturwerkstatt in Prenzlauerberg. (Shmueli yesterday and today is above on the right.) Shmueli was a childhood acquaintance of Paul Celan. Later, in the mid-sixties, she met him again in Paris, began a romance with him, which resulted in a very beautiful correspondence, published a few years ago in Germany by Suhrkamp. Shmueli lives in Israel and is the Hebrew translator of Celan's work. She has authored an autobiography of her experiences in WWII and began writing poetry while translating Celan's work. People's interest in Shmueli no doubt stems from her connections to Celan. Shmueli herself is very aware of this. She refrained from reading more than two of her own poems on Thursday and spent the rest of the time talking either about Celan's poetics, or her own experiences in the war and their affect on her own relationship to language. What was most striking about her talk had to do with her elaboration on her relationship to German. German was her first language, the language spoken at home, though she lived in a Romanian area, and now that she lives in Israel, she is part of a minority of German-speaking immigrants. Through her talk it was obvious that the loss and suspicion of one's own language is one of the tragedies of war.

The Bruise Wins 2009 Lambda Award!

I am happy to report that my novel The Bruise won a Lambda Award in the Lesbian Debut Fiction category. I unfortunately was unable to attend. I am teaching creative writing in Berlin for six weeks, but my sexy representative was in the third row with butterflies in her stomach. She diligently rehearsed a few lines and delivered them so well that Kate Clinton complimented her as she returned to her seat. I have to say, I really wanted to win. I know, that's not cool to say, but it was nice to be legible in a reading community outside of the "innovative fiction" world. Here's a list of the other finalists in my category:


* The Bruise, Magdalena Zurawski, Fiction Collective Two/University of Alabama Press -- Winner!

* Red Audrey & the Roping, Jill Malone, Bywater Books
* Passing for Black, Linda Villarosa, Kensington
* Closer to Fine, Meri Weiss, Kensington
* Love Does Not Make Me Gentle or Kind, Chavisa Woods, Fly by Night Press

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Because of not being able to blog on a regular basis because of Maggie's computer being down I'm not going to be blogging about the trip, JUST BECAUSE I don't like doing a half assed job. And I really feel like I've done a half assed job so far, NOT covering 90 percent of a visit.

But I will say that we're having a GREAT time, and being met with incredible generosity!


Monday, March 09, 2009


MARCH 6th, 2009, Lawrence, Kansas. Anne Boyer took us to the Bloch Museum where a BLACK ROTHKO is hanging, WOW, it was such a dream, something I had only seen in a book before. BUT, MY, FAVORITE! FAVORITE! piece is the Louise Nevelson piece! (did I spell her name right?) Then we had food at a famous barbeque joint in Kansas City, which to me smelled like a crematorium, oy, made me sick.

6 Gallery for our reading. What a huge crowd, I don't even know how many people, but so many people that they we're sitting on the floor all the way back to the door. We sold a lot of books, made a lot of great new friends.

In the bathroom in 6 Gallery, next to the toilet there's a little table. In the drawer is my FAVORITE postcard photograph of DIVINE in a leopard print, big, CRAZY, DELICIOUS grin, black and white. Under the postcard is a tiny pink box of condoms called CHERRY SEX LIFE which promise flavor for your pleasure I LIKE THIS TOWN!


MARCH 5th, 2009. We're at Anne Boyer's apartment in Lawrence Kansas with her amazing daughter Hazel. Anne is on the porch cutting Magdalena's hair right now. It's a warm, sunny day and birds are ALL OVER the eaves and branches singing their most luxurious possible anthems! Magdalena's bits of hair fall to the ground and the birds eye the soft tufts, planning new nests in their vivacious bird brains. When I was a boy my grandmother cut my hair outside once. She put her Jolly Green Giant kitchen towel around my neck and shoulders. A robin hopped closer and closer to us, then snatched a blond curl from the grass and flew to the nest so the baby birds could sneeze and shit in plush comfort AND I WAS SO FUCKING PROUD and it was one of the happiest days of my young bird brain life.

Anne Boyer was one of my favorite poets, but now she's one of my favorite people on earth! I LOVE Anne. There's so much to say, but don't want to say too much, you know? I mean I don't want to say anything that will embarrass Anne, SHIT, I SHOULD HAVE ASKED, HEY ANNE, CAN I BLOG ABOUT THAT? Down the road from her home there's a house, very large house, like a mini mansion, and in ENORMOUS black letters on the front of the house are the words RED RIGHT RETURNING. What the FUCK does that mean? It MUST mean something very VERY important to put it on the side of your house. And, it wasn't on paper, and it wasn't on plastic, it was ON THE HOUSE as a permanent message. Red right returning, red right returning, red right returning, I just don't know what the fuck it means, WHAT THE FUCK does that mean? I asked if we could stop of the way back so I could knock on the door as ask, and everyone said SURE WHY NOT, but then we forgot.


Hi, we're in Minneapolis at the moment, and we've been having a FANTASTIC TIME!

Magdalena's computer isn't working well, and isn't getting internet connections at all, so I'm borrowing a computer to leave this note on the blog.

We'll blog more later, and thanks for tuning in.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


March 4th, 2009. Magdalena and I discovered we were at the same concert at Six Flags Great Adventure many years ago. It was a MONKEYS concert, and Magdalena was there with her father, I was there with some friends, getting high, eating cotton candy and finding out FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME that the mother of one of the MONKEYS invented WHITE OUT, better known then as LIQUID PAPER. And that's why THAT particular MONKEY did not, or would not go on tour. He was too good to be singing I'M A BELIEVER at that point I suppose with his mother's fancy LIQUID PAPER money, WHOOPY FUCKING DOO! But Magdalena was there, and I was there, and I think about friends and lovers all the time in the missed cross hairs of time. There we both were at the MONKEYS concert though, YEARS before we were friends or even knew one another. How close were we to one another? Did we make eye contact? I'm always seeing people in the world and thinking, "WILL I EVER KNOW THAT PERSON?" Was I thinking that back then when seeing Magdalena with her father? I remember eating cotton candy and jerking off my boyfriend on the last car of the roller coaster. He wanted a blowjob, but it was too much to negotiate as it turned out. But Magdalena, did I see her then? Once when sleeping in my old boyfriend Marwan's bed next to him I dreamt that when we were little boys we were eating in a diner with our families at different tables. I walked over to where he was sitting, his five year old hands drinking from a large glass of milk, and I said, pointing right at his face, "I'm going to know you one day, and Love you." The best part of the dream is that none of the adults noticed, and said nothing, and saw nothing, and Marwan looked at me with his milk moustache and nodded, and smiled. When we woke and he was cooking us breakfast I told him my dream and it was one of the few times I ever saw him cry.

Am I supposed to be writing about the tour Dear Sara Diary? The drive across this country, which I LOVE SO COMPLETELY I RISK SOUNDING CORNY OR SLIGHTLY INSANE WHEN SAYING SO, is sublime, especially when next to a good friend. We picked up Aaron in St. Louis, ate some delicious noodles, and drove to Columbia. My friend Marsha Goldberg's house is where we are right now. Marsha went to work and Magdalena and Aaron are still asleep. Our reading was funny last night, I mean, not what I had imagined, but it turned out pretty good in the end. Except Magdalena was stressed out, and said some snippy things to me, which I believe she didn't mean, but it made me angry, and not respond well. But that's bound to happen. I love Magdalena, she's a sister, and I really mean she's a sister, blood sister. Aaron is marvelous and started off the reading for a very tough crowd, but his passages about orgies in the bible got them to pay attention.


March 3rd, 2009, many many years since Jesus hung from the cross, but his crucifixion is celebrated with tremendous gusto along the highways of West Virginia. I'm so confused when I see his torture apparatus ALL OVER THE WORLD! Wooden crosses mean more about the corpses of a couple of beautiful trees to me. I see the crosses every 10 miles and think, WHAT KIND OF TREE WAS THAT WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE WERE THERE BIRDS WERE THERE ANTS WERE THERE SMALL MAMMALS AND MOTHS WHO KNEW THIS TREE, OF COURSE, OF COURSE, BUT OF COURSE! I stubbed my toe last week and am thinking about celebrating the cement curb where I stubbed my toe, only, I'm afraid it will be difficult to gather the will of the masses around a cement sidewalk curb to worship. Please help me spread the word of the cement curb where I hurt my toe. No, it doesn't hurt any longer, thanks for asking, but when I think about it IT STINGS A LITTLE!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Day 1: Off Like a Herd of Turtles

Hello -- I am actually writing from the morning of Day 2. We have already experienced a minor tragedy on our journey: It seems my laptop has died. Last night when Conrad and I arrived at our hotel about 120 miles from St. Louis, I thought I was going to begin blogging properly. But, alas, my macbook had a blank blue screen. I hope I haven't lost some writing forever. In any case, the blogging will most likely not be as grand as I hoped unless some computer guru comes to save me in MO tonight. I had photos from our drive through Kentucky that I really wanted to post. We also drove through West Virginia and Virginia, neither of which I felt like photographing. West Verginia, in fact, made me feel like I was on the verge of being poisoned by a corporation with all those coal plants and a big fat nuclear power plant spewing stuff into the sky and little houses practically on the highway. It's like they guarantee you breathe in poison in West Virginia. In Bland, Virginia Conrad walked out of the men's bathroom with a ten dollar bill in his hand. He says he "found" it. We had sushi in Louisville. Kentucky is heartbreakingly beautiful and we of course had Cat Power on all the way through. Rolling hills with a few isolated trees upon them. A relief after the "we're all going to hell in a handbasket" feeling of West Virginia, the poisoning power central of our nation. We are off to St. Louis in a few minutes, where we pick up Aaron. Then we are off to Columbia where our first reading takes place at 8pm. Wish us luck and pray for my laptop! Oh and everyone here keeps calling Conrad "Mam" so I have renamed him Gertrude. -- M

Monday, February 23, 2009

Midwest Tour Dates!

CAConrad, Aaron Kunin, and Magdalena Zurawski Tour the Midwest in March 2009

CAConrad is the son of white trash asphyxiation whose childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. He escaped to Philadelphia where he lives and writes with the PhillySound poets His latest book The Book of Frank (Chax Press, 2009) received The Gil Ott Book Award. He is also the author of Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006), (Soma)tic Midge (FAUX Press, 2008), and two forthcoming books, advanced ELVIS course (Soft Skull Press, 2009), and a collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock titled THE CITY REAL & IMAGINED: Philadelphia Poems (Factory School Press, 2009). He invites you to visit him online at

Aaron Kunin is a poet, critic, and novelist. He is the author of a
collection of small poems about shame, Folding Ruler Star (Fence, 2005); a chapbook, Secret Architecture (Braincase, 2006); and a novel, The Mandarin (Fence, 2008). Another collection, The Sore Throat and Other Poems, is forthcoming. He is assistant professor of negative anthropology at Pomona College and lives in Los Angeles.

MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI was born in Newark NJ and grew up in Edison NJ, but Providence RI feels like home because that's where she started writing and meeting writers and thinking of herself as a writer. Currently, she lives in Durham, NC, where she is studying 19th-century American literature at Duke. The Bruise, out now from Fiction Collective Two, is the winner of the 2006 Ronald Sukenick prize for innovative fiction. It is her first book.

Wednesday, March 4th, 8pm
Cherry Street Artisan Café/Gallery/Theater
111 S. 9th Street, Ste 10

Friday, March 6, 7 pm,
6 Gallery
716 1/2 Massachusetts Street,

Saturday, March 7pm
Shambaugh House (Home of the IWP)
430 N. Clinton St

Sunday, March 8, 5 pm,
Magers and Quinn Booksellers, 3038
Hennepin Avenue S.

Monday, March 9, 8 pm
900 S. 5th Street

Tuesday, March 10, 8 pm,
New Wave Coffee,
2557 N. Milwaukee Avenue

wednesday march 11! 8:00pm
The Language Foundry
2335 West 11th St #3

Thursday, March 12, 7pm
Cy Press Presents
@ 1628 Otte Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223

Sunday, March 15th, doors: 7pm/show :7:30
Your Inner Vagabond
4130 Butler Street @ 42nd
Pittsburgh PA 1520

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Film About Conrad at Newark Airport

We Made It!!

Well, my flight out of Raleigh/Durham was one of the few that wasn't cancelled and Conrad's flight was cancelled from Philly to Newark but they put him on the Amtrak, so we both made it to Newark, and I SWEAR we were like the only flight that left Newark and we arrived in Portland Maine in the middle of a huge snow storm. And our plane had propellers. Now we are eating soup at Eden's house on the Bates campus. Later I will hunt for lobsters in the snow. I am cleaning my shotgun as we speak. Unfortunately our reading at the bookstore was cancelled today. But we are going out for a walk now and I will make snow angels.

Notice the propellers and the snow. We were like Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens except we didn't crash. Here we are!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

3 in Maine with CAConrad

(snowmobile transportation between readings)

Wenesday, January 28th
134 Maine St., Brunswick

Thursday, January 29th
in the Skelton Lounge in Chase Hall
56 Campus Avenue Lewiston

Friday, January 30th
Jenness Hall

many THANKS to everyone
who made this trip possible!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Typewriter

January 24, 2009

This was supposed to be written on my typewriter, but as luck would have it, after 1.5 years of not using my typewriter due to one cross-country move, one cross-town move, and something like a divorce, when I finally plugged my typewriter in today, well, the keys didn’t correspond to the letters the typewriter was printing. So much for electronic typewriters. Obviously several wires were crossed and some chips were scrambled, so when I struck the letter “K” the letter “V” came out. And I think “S” got me the mark of the British pound.

I like the typewriter because it makes me feel like my writing is real. I hit an object and that object hits another object and through a kind of miniature violence out comes my letter. Viola! Of course my novel was written completely on several laptops and computers (some died along the way and one was dusted off and reborn) so I am not sure what it is about the typewriter for me. It seems like each time I begin to write after not writing for a long time, I long for the typewriter. It’s the sound of it. It sounds like something is happening. The scariest thing about starting to write again is the thought of nothing happening, but with the typewriter something is happening. Your words, no matter how benign or boring, are engraved upon a page. Almost impossible to delete, but easier to burn.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Midwest Antics

OK. So CAConrad, Aaron Kunin, and I have been frantically organizing our midwest tour. We've done a good job I think. The unofficial itinerary, very subject to change, is thus:

March 3 or 4: Columbia, Missouri (Really!)
March 6: Kansas City -- Is the reading in Kansas City or Lawrence?
March 8: Minneapolis:Rain Taxi
March 9: Milwaukee: Karl's House Party:
March 10: Chicago: Joshua Marie Wilkerson
March 11: Cleveland @ Mac's Backs
March 12: Cincinnati
March 13 or 14: Pittsburgh: Typewriter Girls Cabaret!

As you can see, we are at a loss in Iowa City. Any ideas? We'll read anywhere!