Monday, July 27, 2009


What's better than watermelons in the summer? I love this poem by Jane Hirschfield first because she's able to evoke metaphor so briefly and simply. I'm always drawn to poetry that employs common language to do uncommon things, and "Green-Striped Melons" is a perfect example of this. The free, three-stanza form emulates the very essence of poetic discourse in its most fundamental distillation: observation in the first stanza, analogy in the second, and discovery of the significance of that analogy in the third.

The poem also reminds me of those bad watermelons--and perhaps Hirschfield intended this, and perhaps not-- the melons that look amazing on the outside but when you cut them open they are too ripe, too red, too sweet. Maybe even rotten. Are "some people like this as well-?"

Green-Striped Melons

They lie
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
Under sun.

Some people
are like this as well—
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.

An unexpected weight
the sign of their ripeness.

Happy Reading


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Giving the Gift of Poetry

One of the ways I have been able to motivate myself to write poems lately is by dedicating them to specific people and giving the resulting poem as a gift. I figure I am following in the great tradition of Emily Dickinson, who also made presents of her poems, attached to home-baked goods. I don't do the baking, though. Just the writing.

Here's a recent one:

What it is All About
Father’s Day 2009

Sometimes during a gig
when Tony is soloing
and I am plunking out my homemade bass line
Your hands striking the congas
pah da la da
puh de le duh
we look up, can’t help smiling.
We’re in a rock band! you say.

When I was very small
you used to ask me
What’s it all about?
as we walked the quarter mile
home from grandma and grandpa’s
singing Starry, Starry Night.

Now I think of cold winter mornings.
You would wake early,
start the fire in the woodstove,
and lay out clothes for my sisters and me
near the stove in the shapes of our bodies.

When we woke, we’d race down
and dress in a flurry, the heat
cloaking our skin.
The smell of wood smoke
followed us to school.

Now I have my own little bodies
to care for, and as I snuggle my daughter
into my body to nurse,
I think I finally know:
this is what it is all about. This transfer
of heat and light and love and life.

Happy writing,

Friday, July 3, 2009

Literary Assaults

Hello Readers!

This week I'm preparing my assults on a handful of literary journals. To be honest, I'm becoming less interested in the more established mags (POETRY, APR, etc) and more concerned with smaller independent organizations.

Among my targets are:

Weave Magazine

"Our aesthetic encompasses work that makes the mundane magical, finds humor even in dark situations, and gives the feminist voice a space to express itself."

The Barefoot Muse A Journal of Formal and Metrical Verse

2River Online and Print Journal with poem podcasts


Journal of Food.

Apple Valley Review

In other news, I'm trying to get my chapbook manuscript "Domestic Violets" polished enough to send out---anyone interested in lending a critical eye? email me at

Hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather!