Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Street Smarts in Kadıköy, 25 December 08

The other day I was window-browsing and saw

A stray cat had managed to sneak into the shop window and was blissed out on the comforts of carpeting and warmth!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Istanbul: The Archeological Museum, 24 December 08

At the Archeological Museum, I found the sarcophagi the most interesting, perhaps on account of the juxtaposition between the scenes on them and death. The most effecting, for me, was the Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women; yesterday I drafted a poem about it.

I found this scene (it goes all the way around the sarcophagus, which is not always the case) curious--did the artist or owner imagine death as a return to youth?

a detail of the famous Alexander Sarcophagus

one length of the Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women

detail of the figure on the far right

the other length of the sarcophagus

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Poetry and difficulty

A third review of Yet has been published by Poetry Nottingham, written by Tim Love, and can be read here. I don't think of the work as so difficult because I don't mean for readers to use practical criticism to understand them, but to ride the accumulation of phrases and their connotations, suggestions, etc. I'm waiting/hoping for a review by a regular reader of experimental poetries to get a better idea of Yet's effectiveness with someone who is comfortable with that reading practice. Not to compare myself to him but to say something about the variety of reading practices, does anyone who enjoys Ashbery's work try to interpret every line?

Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace, the Harem

The women--most importantly the Sultan's mother and wives--and their maids live in the harem, as well as the children.

I want this bed for my own....

Such a ceiling! 

You can see more detail of any of these by clicking on the photo (that will enlarge it in another window).

Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace, the Selamlik

The Selamlik was the part of the palace reserved for the men. The Sultan often met with ambassadors here, held councils, etc.

dome interior

The Crystal Staircase, 1

The Crystal Staircase, 2
(the right side is covered because it's under renovation)

I can imagine drinking tea--lovely strong Turkish tea--in this room.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace, the approach

The Imperial Gate

The Swan Fountain

close up of the front of the palace

the palace greeter--the first stray cat photo I took, 
as this one looks like my childhood cat Pandora

Monday, 22 December 2008

An entry for The Book of the Blindingly Obvious

"If, when you reach into the cage, your hamster falls on its back and starts shaking, it doesn't trust you yet."

from The Golden Guide to Hamsters
(with thanks to Matt)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The American poetry magazine scene

Most UK poets don't realise how many more US magazines there are than in the UK. First, in the US most English departments have their own literary magazine, a practice that's rare in the UK. Second, the proliferation of creative writing programs has been accompanied by a proliferation of magazines and small presses founded by their graduates. Third, partly because of the greater influence of experimental and ethnic poetics on the mainstream, the range of poetries--the range simply within what's considered mainstream--is much, much broader. Consequently there's no "one" magazine that's It; there are a lot of Its, depending on your taste. In the UK I find that people feel they've made it once they've appeared in TLS, Poetry Review, or The Rialto (in descending order). Here's a starting list for comparably admired and desired magazines in the US, starting with the most esteemed:

American Poetry Review
The Atlantic Monthly
Boston Review
The Chicago Review
The Iowa Review
The Georgia Review
Hudson Review
New American Writing
The New Republic
The New Yorker
The Paris Review
The Southern Review
The Virginia Quarterly Review

These magazines publish comparably high quality poetry, are considered excellent places to publish, and are held in high esteem (still comparable in the quality of the work they publish to TLS and Poetry Review):

American Letters and Commentary
The Antioch Review
Barrow Street
Bombay Gin
Callaloo (black writers only)
Colorado Review
Denver Quarterly
Drunken Boat (online only)
The Gettysburg Review
Gulf Coast
Five Fingers Review
Five Points
Harvard Review
Hotel Amerika
Indiana Review
The Kenyon Review
Michigan Quarterly Review
The New England Review
Ninth Letter
Prairie Schooner
A Public Space
Seneca Review
Sewanee Review
Southwest Review
Tarpaulin Sky
The Threepenny Review
Western Humanities Review
The Yale Review
Zyzzyva (open only to US West Coast writers)

Also impressive, but less widely esteemed and/or of not quite the quality of the above:

Alaska Quarterly Review
Arts & Letters
Blackbird (online only)
Black Warrior Review
The Bloomsbury Review
Court Green
Free Verse (online only)
Green Mountains Review
HOW2 (online and women only)
The Massachusetts Review
Missouri Review
New Orleans Review
Northwest Review
Notre Dame Review
Quarterly West
Parthenon West Review
Slope (online only)
Sonora Review
Third Coast
Willow Springs

There are many more well produced, quality literary magazines besides: Calyx, Chattahoochee Review, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Faultline, The Greensboro Review, Hanging Loose, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Literary Review, Many Mountains Moving, Mississippi Review, New Letters, The Seattle Review, Tampa Review, West Branch--and more.

These categories are blurred, to be sure; many of them seem to me to be on the fence between two. I'd be glad to hear from other American poets about their views on the most esteemed and highest quality journals; I haven't seen Canary, for one, so I'm unsure where to put it. I'll probably post a longer, revised list once I've been to the AWP.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Say hello (please!)

Over the past few months I've been impressed to learn of the wide readership my blog has, especially among UK poets, but I always learn of it because someone's sent an email response to a post rather than posting a comment on the blog, or because someone mentions something from my blog at a reading or other event. May I persuade a few of you, at least, to say hello, introduce yourselves, say something about your interests? I'd love to generate more conversation here, and if we have a better sense of who's visiting, that might then suggest some topics of mutual interest.


Thursday, 11 December 2008


This morning I rushed to my local shop and confirmed that the Catechism in the new issue of TLS is one that hasn't been sent anywhere else. And it's been beautifully printed, in spite of the lack of a proof. Whew.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Adventures in poetry publishing

I'll start with the purely good news first: "Over the Thames," the most recent poem to go into The Tethers (written September '07), has been accepted for the spring issue of Poetry London, suitably enough. I'm especially happy to see this poem accepted because I think of it as a second title poem; while there is a poem titled "The Tethers," "Over the Thames" uses the phrase in a different way that expands on its meaning.

This leaves me with six or seven unpublished poems in the collection. I feel rather sorry for them, the orphans, though it's not really their fault--most have been lost by magazines or accepted but never published, and one or two, like "Over the Thames," are recent enough that they've barely made it out the door (sometimes I sit on poems a long while before sending them out, sometimes I send them out more quickly than I think I want to admit here--but my usual practice is to live with the poem a while first).

Here we come to the mixed news. Each week I check out TLS's online contents page to see whether, at last, my review of Bang's Elegy has appeared, and today I saw that a poem I'd long assumed had been rejected (as I hadn't had a reply in months and months) was going to appear this Friday. (That's right: no acceptance letter, no proof.)

Another poem in TLS--what's the problem? Of course I'm delighted, but I think this may be a poem I, thinking it rejected, sent to Another Magazine. That's not all. The poem I sent to The Other Magazine last month was a replacement for a poem I'd sent and only realised it'd been accepted elsewhere when The Other Magazine accepted it. Are you following me? So it looks like I'm sending out work simultaneously and jerking The Other Magazine around, when really, in the first case, it was bad recordkeeping, and in the second, a reasonable assumption.

My only excuse is that all the poems involved are titled "A Birthmother's Catechism"....

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

I want cats

but I'm not home enough to care for them properly--and I live to close to a busy street. So for now I enjoy my friends' cats and my parents' cats, who, bizarrely, like to try to sleep on the playpen's rails--

Luigi (l.) and Mario (r.)


I miss them.

"The Occupation of Iraq" on Delirious Hem's advent calendar

I'm on the calendar for the 8th.

Friday, 28 November 2008

More poetry in the news: Mary Jo Bang's Elegy

I'm glad to see Mary Jo Bang's wonderful book of poems, Elegy, has made it onto The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2008 list; I only wish TLS would print the review I submitted back in March!

Poetry in the news: "New Poetry Society Director lays out plans to grab public's attention"

In today's Guardian, Judith Palmer discusses some of her ideas for making poetry more publicly appreciated and available, ranging from the practical to the laughable.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Friday, 21 November 2008

The Poetry Hearings Brunch, Berlin, 15 November 2008

Annie Freud and John Hartley Williams

Me in profile, Prosecco in hand

Jaya Savige, Jem Rolls, Alistair Noon and Richard Toovey

Thanks to Alistair and his partner for the scrumptious brunch and to Catherine Hales for these photos. More Poetry Hearings photos anon!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

8 May 2009--The New Star Trek movie!

Click on the post title to be directed to the YouTube copy of the trailer....

Yes, I am a sci-fi geek, though not so extreme that I've ever dressed up as an alien species or attended a convention. As I've often explained, I was my father's first daughter: he didn't know what to do with girls, so he held me up to see the moon landing and he had me watching Star Trek with him as long as I can remember.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


On Halloween I received my settlement cheque--connections, anyone?--and since then I've been buying things to improve my day to day life, including a new, powerful eco-radiator for my used-to-be-cold flat, new glasses, membership in the university teachers' union (which I'd been wanting since I began at Bath Spa), a microwave, Circulon 2 saucepans to complete my cookware collection (actually my first settlement purchase--I bet you didn't think I was that domestic), etc., as well as taking out to dinner those who stood by me through the injury itself--Matt (and so I need to treat Claire soon, too)--as well as friends who supported me through the suit &c., such as Alan Summers and Karen Hoy.

I'd still rather have my left jaw normal, but in lieu of that, I'm enjoying a sense of the improved ease and quality of my everyday life. That eco-radiator has, at long last, made it comfortable to be in my bakehouse flat in cold weather, and that truly makes each day better. I also decided for my trip to Berlin this weekend for the Poetry Hearings Festival to forego Easyjet for an airline that would neither try to sell to me throughout the flight nor nickel-and-dime me for such things as hold luggage, etc.

Small pleasures.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


I only wish I could be in Chicago for Obama's victory speech. I'm awed and thrilled by this result.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Dad has another setback--will you send a postcard?

This is my sweet father late last year. This was as far as he got in his rehab before developing multiple infections and having several hospital stays that took him out of physiotherapy.

A month ago he finally returned to a physical rehabilitation centre, but this weekend he had two breaks in his right tibia and so will probably be coming home for the recovery period. There have been so many setbacks I can only imagine his frustration right now.

I'd like your help in cheering him. If you'd send my father a postcard, just to say hello and wish him well (of course you can say I sent you), I think he'd be pleased, and if you have any love for sci-fi, particularly Star Trek and/or Stargate, he'd be over the moon. His name is Henry Etter (no Henrietta jokes!), and the address is 220 Arlington Drive, Normal, IL 61761-2749, USA.

I'd be most grateful for your help. He's so dear to me, I'd be delighted to trade places with him.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Settled at last

I've just received the settlement cheque for my jaw injury--or, to use the legal term, dental negligence. I feel elated and relieved--mostly the latter. The validation of it means a lot to me.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Current Issues

Early this year I decided I wanted to expand the reach of the poems forthcoming in Divining for Starters by placing them in new magazines, including more in the US, and I've succeeded. I have Divining poems in the current issues of Shearsman and Cannot Exist, and more coming out in Angel Exhaust, Painted, Spoken, and Bombay Gin--all but Shearsman are first appearances. I'm especially pleased by the acceptance from Bombay Gin as it's Naropa's journal and I've admired it for some years now.

Poems for The Tethers and other manuscripts are in current issues of Poetry Ireland Review and The Warwick Review, with more forthcoming in Court Green, New Welsh Review, and Poetry Wales. All is well.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Women Poetry Editors

A couple years ago I remember talking with other women poets in London about submitting to UK magazines. "So many of the editors are men" kept coming up as an issue we weren't sure how to contend with.

That's changed, at least as far as magazines are concerned. While Fiona Sampson has been at the helm of Poetry Review some years now, in the last year Zoë Skoulding has taken over editorship of Poetry Wales, Kathryn Gray of New Welsh Review, and now Caitriona O'Reilly at Poetry Ireland Review (not UK really, but as close or closer to us than Northern Ireland). Not only are they all women, but women in their late thirties/early forties, still establishing themselves and to that end (insofar as I've seen with Zoë and Kathryn; there's yet to be an issue of PIR edited by Caitriona) taking risks and making claims, trying to stir discourse into discussion if not debate.

Anyone want to do a survey of a round of the UK magazines akin to Spahr and Young's in "Numbers Trouble," to look at the percentage of women poets in magazines--and in what magazines, at what levels? The London Review of Books, for example, appears to favour male over female poets by a significant proportion. Thoughts?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Neue Rundschau 119/2

I'm pleased to say that two of my poems (both Divinings) have been translated into German and published in the new issue of Neue Rundschau as part of special section on Shearsman. I only wish I could read German to assess the translation.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Losing Face

After nearly four years, my lingual nerve injury seems to have become a little worse, with a new symptom. While my left chin/lower jaw feels numb and pained to varying degrees all the time, the last two nights the numbness has radiated over much of the rest of my face. Have you ever had an itch underneath thick fabric, like jeans, so when you scratch you feel the pressure, but not the sharpness? That is how this feels, like my whole face (especially lower) is coming off of a shot of novocaine. It lasted an hour or so last night, and it began again about ten minutes ago. Maybe it has something to do with fatigue, as I've also been ill? The maxillofacial surgeons I saw in London this summer told me about the erratic behaviour of injured nerves (sometimes, for example, I feel pain in the opposite jaw; sometimes, for no apparent reason, the pain becomes very sharp), but this is something new entirely.

I'm posting this because I have been working off and on on an essay about my injury and its many varied effects on my life, as I go about and hardly anyone knows what I'm experiencing. That feels strange to a person so given to expression and expressiveness. I wish people could see it somehow, some twinge in the skin or the like; its invisibility upsets me more than I can explain--and so my desire to try to write about it.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Lorine Niedecker's North Central (London: Fulcrum, 1968)

NB: as Blogger does not allow indention (as far as I know), the placement of lines is sometimes incorrect.

Beauty: impurities in the rock

"Lake Superior"

We are what the seas
have made us

longingly immense


Ah your face
but it's whether
you can keep me warm


Sewing a dress

The need
these closed-in days

to move before you
and color-elated

in a favorable wind



Holed damp
cellar-black beyond
the main atrocities
my sense of propriety's

"Traces of Living Things"

(I miss the gulls)

mourn the loss
of people
no wild bird does

"Wintergreen Ridge"

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Issue 1, The Fake Poetry Anthology

To read about this phenomenon, take a look at The Poetry Foundation's announcement. I, along with over 3,100 over poets, am included, but as I've heard of most of the others, it's not my poem with my name--I don't even think I've used the word balsam in a poem.

Personally, I think it's hilarious. Others?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Yet reviewed in Sphinx

There's a conscientious review of Yet by Eleanor Livingstone, though I'm afraid the book was lost on "The Young Reader," as I would expect it to be. (If one has no experience of reading experimental poetry, if one doesn't just try to ride the associations and sounds, of course the work will appear impenetrable.)

Thursday, 25 September 2008

A re-review

I'm surprised and delighted to see that Nathan Thompson, who gave Claire Crowther's Stretch of Closures a vaguely negative review in Stride, has now admitted he did not read the book closely enough and has posted a re-review here at Gists and Piths. Was his conscience nagging, or the fact of his forthcoming book with the same publisher? Regardless, it took courage, and I admire that.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Two Days for the Victims

Let's start small. Yesterday I received word that the defendant--the dentist whose overfilling of my root canal and use of a toxic sealant has left part of my face permanently numbed, permanently pained--increased his damages offer so that, while my solicitor will try to increase it somewhat further, it's good enough to settle at and not go to court. Partly I'm relieved, pleased; partly I feel like it's feeble compared to a lifelong disability. I'm going to look into having laser eye surgery, so it feels like some equivalence has been found, however rough.

Now, going large: Today I phoned home to learn that a Chicago law firm has taken up my father's case for medical negligence. Since the negligence and consequently his paralysis occurred in February '07, my parents have paid out of their retirement money for everything Medicare won't cover. That has resulted in my father receiving only intermittent physical and occupational therapy, such that what progress he gained in a physical rehab facility last year has been mostly lost. Anyway, my parents engaged a local lawyer, who then, given the size of the case, approached two Chicago law firms with the capacity to carry such a case out. The first said no, but this one said yes, and soon, soon I hope, Dad will receive better care and restitution for all the money they've spent. This is the best news we've had in a long, long while.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Beth Ann Fennelly's "Cow Tipping"--a political poem

I'd be very interested to know what others think of this strange, interesting poem. You can read it here.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Medbh McGuckian's The Currach Requires No Harbours (Gallery, 2006)

Some passages from the book--

of those saints that have the gift of dreaming right

"Galilee Porch"

We have been poised a long time
like souls--like birds that practise
their songs in their dreams.

"Attention to Seasonality"

I fold nature into
my gently bewildered body
as a girl leaves her hair
open to be enjoyed
by the moon's fine touch.

"Mappa Mundi"

The weather muses,
tastes like a field.

"To Compress Her Two Childhoods"

her tar-distilled crimson,
her coal-derived blues

"Bleu de Paris"

throwaway gracefulness

"Consecrated Wafer"

Now her long hair
has a silent way of calling, immediately
knotted to the whole brown city.

"Angel of the Countenance"

She is a room of the months
conceived between battles--

"Ironer with Backlight"

She saw her body alone,
without a soul,

and felt as if one in five birds had flown out
from behind the garden of her spine.


his face lit up
immoderately, as if he were one of the highest
angels who are all fire.

"La Rosa de Santa Rosa"

the evenness
of the day when there is no

"My Must"

secretly turning the hour glass
in my pocket for its gruesome,
sweet infinity

"My Sister's Way to Make Mead"

If I stood too close I suffocated
I was so very concentrated there
if I touched it I was too easily inspired
because it was touch itself which returned
as a kind of ghost--I have learned to live
in peace with what there is

"She Thinks She Sees Clarissa"

veils of colour hang around like languid


while language comes in, on duty
and on time, shredding newspapers,
with its killing bite, its quiet bite,
its starling style

"The Dependent Nature of Lines"

doors of lawless scarlet,
a purple that can be tied

"Lemon with Wine Jug"

After wearing his name, shining, unbruised,
in this world of abrasion

"Soul Candles"

Sunday, 14 September 2008

A painting with a note from Sara, age 5

(Purple isn't my favourite colour, but my nieces and nephews tend to think so because I have raised them in my tradition of shouting for the purple fireworks on Independence Day.)

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Sarah Palin's Record on Native Alaskan issues

From Joy Harjo's blog: http://joyharjo.blogspot.com/2008/09/sarah-palins-record-on-alaska-native.html. It's a predictably devastating account.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Ireland, day 3: Kilkenny

(as yet untitled)

From the cliff edge, you discern your reflection sixty feet below: and it beckons. You call yourself down, into the sea; your face appears neither eager for the dive nor sorrowing toward suicide. Its very casualness seduces, implies that a step into air would entail no more danger than a step over ground. Memorise this image, that expression. This is your destroying angel, and yes, sometimes he wears your face.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Anthologizing (the Shearsman one)

Over the last few days I've been finalizing selections for the other women's poetries anthology I'm editing for Shearsman, and it's been exciting. Andrea Brady sent me the whole of her forthcoming second collection, Presenting, and it was a delight--fiercely intelligent, rigorous, and compelling; the book comes out from Salt in February. Other selections finalized came from Redell Olsen, Wendy Mulford, Marianne Morris, and Frances Kruk; I've previously selected work from Carol Watts, Anne Blonstein, Sascha Akhtar, Zoë Skoulding, Claire Crowther, Elisabeth Bletsoe, Lucy Sheerman, Frances Presley, and Harriet Tarlo. I'm delighted with the quality and range of work.

And at last I have the opening part of the title: Infinite Difference. What do you think?

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Normal, Illinois in literature

Thanks to Richard Lambert for bringing to my attention the following passage from Lorrie Moore's story, "Like Life":

"You had to get out of them occasionally, those Illinois towns with the funny names: Paris, Oblong, Normal. Once, when the Dow-Jones dipped two hundred points, the Paris paper boasted a banner headline: NORMAL MAN MARRIES OBLONG WOMAN. They knew what was important. They did! But you had to get out once in a while, even if it was just across the border to Terre Haute, for a movie."

I love it and would be glad to see more!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Everything Talks: New Zealand poet Sam Sampson

I've just finished reading Sam Sampson's first full-length collection, Everything Talks, published simultaneously by Auckland University Press and Shearsman Books. I can't think of another poet who writes quite like he does, with the facility and assurance of the poems' address; the ability to bring different registers into collision in a way that reinforces the lyric when it reemerges; the poems' nuanced appreciation of the natural world simultaneous with cultural intelligence, his use of ellipticism interleaving the two effortlessly. Given the use of staggered lines across the page, I can't reproduce any of the poems here, but three poems from Everything Talks appear in Jacket 33 and can be read here and the book's Shearsman page (with links to places to buy it) is here. Do try.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Difficult Times, Agonizing Poems

The more there's at stake in the poem I'm writing, the more arduous the process. Last night I began writing a poem about the dream I'd had about my father the night before--basically, he was walking as though the injury had never occurred, I was thrilled when I realised the change, but in the next glance I saw him in his hospital bed, as paralyzed as ever. So even in my dreams he can't walk.

After I have a complete draft of a poem, I read it aloud over and over to find and revise any weaknesses. Doing that with this poem was agonizing--at one point, I staggered, and I had to put it aside or I knew I wouldn't sleep.

There's no solution to this dilemma--not to go through the process seems like avoiding the crux, the necessity of the poem. Perhaps I'll try sleeping pills, for a night of unbroken rest.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

An Etter Tradition

The Etters don't have many traditions, but one we have and love is that on a child's first birthday, s/he receives her/his very own cake. The last Etter descendant to enjoy this tradition was my youngest nephew Andrew on 23 July, and I was there to see it for myself. (If Andrew doesn't look as excited as you might expect from such an experience, that's probably because he was a bit ill at the time.)



This is good stuff.

The End (doesn't he look a little abashed?)

Thursday, 14 August 2008


In Greek and Roman drama, tragedy was what made one singular. These days, tragedy is what makes one common. Consider Liu Yan, who was to perform solo (the only such performance) in the Olympic opening ceremonies but was injured in a rehearsal and now appears to be paralysed for life: "I never imagined I could suffer such a tragedy."

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Yet launch at Mr B's, May 08--belated photos

Inside Mr B's, at intermission

Richard Lambert and Emily Dening, who were also launching Magnolia and A Stash of Gin, respectively

My favourite photo--Gerard and I just outside the shop

Monday, 11 August 2008

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has died

Click here for the Los Angeles Times obituary. His death comes unexpectedly, amid open-heart surgery in Houston. The Palestinian Authority has declared a three-day period of mourning to commemorate his loss.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Clouds Hill Writers' retreats

I've been invited to join Tim Liardet as a poetry tutor for Clouds Hill Writers, which runs weekend intensives in poetry and fiction at gorgeous locations in Devon, Derbyshire, and Spain. The directors are now looking into possible poetry weekends for next year, so if you're interested, let them know at info@cloudshillwriters.com.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Bernstein's and Mayer's Writing Experiments

Charles Bernstein's and Bernadette Mayer's writing experiments offer interesting, useful ways for reviving one's relationship to language, etc. Thanks to Catherine Daly for bringing them to my notice.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

"Chicago Amplified - Series A: Carrie Etter and Andy Gricevich"

Chicago Public Radio channel WBEZ recorded my and Andy's reading at Series A on 22 July and have posted it here. I read exclusively from Yet.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

"Yeats Meets the Digital Age, Full of Passionate Intensity"

An article in Sunday's New York Times gives an appreciative account of the exhibition at the National Library of Ireland, making me wish I could see it one more time before it closes in January.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Adventures in Publishing, or Current Issues

I had a bit of surprise in the post today. A year ago I sent some poems to Poetry Ireland Review, where, under the editorship of Peter Sirr, I had appeared a few times before. Six months later with no response, I queried via email, figuring that the transition to new editor Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin had caused the delay; but I received no reply. Today I found in my post the new issue, 94, and therein my poem, "The Meal." While I was delighted, I would have enjoyed the pleasure longer with an acceptance letter and/or a proof, as with past acceptances from PIR. But perhaps I'm being fussy.

Along with Poetry Ireland Review, my poems appear in the current issues of Poetry Wales and The Rialto. In the US, there are two poems in the current issue of Boston journal, Salamander, and one in Orange Coast Review. Reviews are in current issues of Poetry Wales and The Warwick Review, and one is forthcoming in TLS.

In the UK, poems are forthcoming in New Welsh Review, Shearsman, Stand, and The Warwick Review, and in the US, in Court Green and Cannot Exist.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

(Trying to) Reap the Day

In London a man heckles the bishop from New Hampshire and rides, unaccosted, his motorcycle into the night. This amid speculation on a female running mate in recognition of the power of Hillary, ten Americans dead in Afghanistan, China's potential for wine growing as the climate changes. I know the futility of a single postal ballot, the consumer's tension between individuality and belonging. The tragedy isn't mine.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

English weather

I was watching BBC Points West tonight, which is local news for the West Country (for you Americans, that's the west of England that's too far north of the coast to be quite southwest), and here was tomorrow's weather report, exactly as it was shown on the screen beside the weatherman.



There's honesty for you! Ha!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, April 2008

The Blue Mosque, exterior

Inside--more exquisite than the pictures show

Click on the pictures for a larger view with more detail.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

RTÉ's The Arts Show: The Life and Work of WB Yeats now online

You can listen to the Poet on Poet panel held at the National Library of Ireland on Tuesday the 24th here. The diversity of responses from Matthew, Ian, and I worked well, I think, and I was pleased that Ian and I concurred about the importance of political poetry.

"You've Got to Live Here"

Jenny Diski provides a probing, sensitive account of her trip to South Africa in the new issue of London Review of Books. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Speaking of Yeats

I fly to Dublin tomorrow to participate in the following event. I'm hopeful of a great night.

Poet on Poet: panel discussion at the National Library, Dublin

Tuesday 24 June, 8pm

Admission free but booking essential

Was Yeats the most influential poet of the 20th century? Three poets from different cultural backgrounds, yet each influenced by Yeats, discuss Yeats' influence on their own work, his impact on 20th century literature generally and poetry in particular. This event will be broadcast on The Arts Show, RTÉ Radio 1.

Guests include:

Vincent Woods (chair) - Presenter, The Arts Show, RTÉ 1; Ian Duhig, poet (England); Dr Carrie Etter, poet and academic (USA); Matthew Sweeney, poet (Ireland)

Places are limited so call now to reserve up to two places: (01) 6030277

Thursday, 19 June 2008

"Conspicuous by Their Presence"

Kudos to Franca Sozzani, editor of Italian Vogue, and photographer Steven Meisel for bringing out a issue in which only black models appear and all the articles address black women in arts and entertainment. To see the New York Times article on the piece, click on its title above (you'll have to register to access the site, but it's well worth it for all the great articles, editorials, and reviews available).

Monday, 16 June 2008


Çiya in Kadýköy, Istanbul, was where I had the most delicious food of my visit. Above is a picture of my main meal, the peach kebap. I can hardly wait to go again....

Sunday, 15 June 2008

24 April 2008, Üsküdar (continued)

More street cats...

Inside The Blue Mosque (more exquisite than these pictures can show--click to enlarge for better detail)--