Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poetry Salon on Sunday

I am really looking forward to this reading on Sunday, May 1. It's an at-home, old-fashioned kind of poetry salon hosted by a friend. She's hosted some before, and they are always so nice. My friend lives in a woodsy area with a babbling brook running behind her house. Yes, it really does babble. Lots of big windows, so it looks and feels like what's inside is part of what's outside. Then there's always a nice table of delicious treats. And, of course, poetry. Madeline Tiger and I will each read for about 20 minutes, followed by poetry conversation. We hope to see lots of friendly faces there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Good News Department

It's always nice to receive good news. This past week has been sweetened by a plethora of good stuff. First, I learned that Blogalicious had been named to Our 50 Favorite Poetry Blogs. No prize or anything, but it's good to know that my blog has received some kudos.

Then along came two beautiful new reviews of my book, Temptation by Water. The first, by Susan Meyers, appears in Pirene's Fountain, one of my favorite online journals. Meyers begins the review with these words: 

Diane Lockward’s Temptation by Water is a deft balancing act between contraries: joy and loss, male and female, the lush and the sere, the buoyant and the fallen, the surface of things and the inner life. The tone of the poems achieves a range from deeply sad and moving to deliciously wicked and funny. Read the rest of the review HERE.

The other review is by Nic Sebastian at Very Like a Whale. I've mentioned Nic here before and praised her innovative work in bringing audio poems to the internet at her site Whale Sound. Several times a week Nic records a poem by another poet. These recordings are available at the site and at iTunes. For free! Nic has a wonderful reading voice, so it's really quite thrilling to have her read one of your poems. But she also is a great reader of poetry books and does the occasional review at Very Like a Whale. She begins her review with these words:

I’m someone who spends a fair amount of time reading poetry aloud and I know very well by now that there is poetry that leaps willingly into your voice, and other poetry that, well – has to be coaxed. And as I noted [elsewhere], writing well for voice has emotional and intellectual imperatives as well as the pure sound/voice imperative – it’s not just a matter of dutifully sounding things out as you write. Diane’s poems are definitely in the "leaping to voice" category. . . 
Read the rest of the review HERE. A unique feature of this review is that Nic includes audios of her reading two poems from my book—"Implosion" and "The Temptation of Mirage."

Then along came my contributor's copy of Poet Lore, a print journal I adore. And there's my poem, "Preservation." I'm halfway through this issue and find it to be one of the best issues this journal has put out. It's just loaded with poems that I'm marking to return to. There's also a wonderful essay about odes by Gray Jacobik. If you're not a subscriber, you should be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some Nice Tidbits

Do you need to spend more time reading blogs? Then you'll be happy to know that Online Colleges has assembled a list of the 50 Best Blogs to Follow For National Poetry Month. You might want to bookmark the link as these are poetry blogs you can read throughout the year. I'm happy to find Blogalicious listed there.

We have a winner in the Book Giveaway drawing. It's Tamam Kahn. A copy of Rip the Page! will start making its way to her in California tomorrow morning. Tamam is a poet and the author of a new collection, Untold: A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad. The book is sitting on my table waiting for me to make my way to it. Just glancing through the book, I'm intrigued by the format—a combination of prose sections and poems. A combination of history and poetry.

What's better than poetry? Poetry and jazz! You can now get this combination on a weekly website radio show. Social Media Director Avi Ben-Zvi describes this site as "a music / culture website in New York called BreakThru Radio (BTR). Here at BTR we have a diverse range of shows: music, comedy, art, and book review. Brand new to BreakThru Radio, "Writer's Block" is a poetry and spoken arts show pulling from the finest and sharpest writers from New York City and beyond. It's this last part, the new show, that I want to make you aware of. The show is a great mix of poetry and music. Click for a sample of a full show of Writer's Block. Or click here if you'd just like to hear a sample poetry clip, this one from Jamie Martin.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good Deal from Adanna

I previously posted the Call for Submissions from Adanna, a new print journal with a focus on women. I have the privilege of being Guest Editor for the first issue, which editor Christine Redman-Waldeyer anticipates running off the press sometime around June. It's going to be a terrific first issue. Although submissions remain open until April 30, I can tell you that we already have work from all across the US and from several other countries. We have poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction. Most of the work is from women, but we also have work from at least three men. We have work from some very established authors who have several books out and multiple honors. We have work from some authors at the beginning of very promising careers as writers.

See our News page for some exciting news about Robin Lim, a contributor from Indonesia. You'll see why we're so proud to have Robin with us.

Right now we also have a fantastic offer on the purchase price of the first issue. Christine is offering half-price to those who order by May 31. That means you can now order the issue for only $5.00! That price includes free shipping and postage. Please see the Purchase page at the website to order via PayPal. After May 31, the price per copy will be $10 (still a bargain).

If you prefer, you may mail your check and order:
P.O. Box 547
Manasquan, NJ 08736

If you're on Facebook, please friend us there.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Giveaway: Rip the Page!

Shambhala Publications has invited me to offer a giveaway of one of their books for Poetry Month. This is the same press that published Natalie Goldberg's influential Writing Down the Bones. This new book, Rip the Page! by Karen Benke, is geared towards children, but might also stimulate some new work from adult readers.

The book is full of ideas to unleash poems and free-write exercises to stimulate children’s natural ability to be creative. Kids will learn to play with words in precisely the same way that many published poets do to warm up for writing. Along the way, they will read notes of encouragement from famous authors like Lemony Snicket and Lucille Clifton.

Here's the product description from Amazon: Here are the ideas, experiments, and inspiration to unfold your imagination and get your writing to flow off the page! This is the everything-you-need guide to spark new poems and unstick old stories, including lists of big, small, gross-out, and favorite words; adventurous and zany prompts to leap from; dares and double dares to help you mash up truths and lies into outrageous paragraphs; and letters of encouragement written directly to you from famous authors, including: Annie Barrows, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lemony Snicket, C. M. Mayo, Elizabeth Singer Hunt, Moira Egan, Gary Soto, Lucille Clifton, Avi, Betsy Franco, Carol Edgarian, Karen Cushman, Patricia Polacco, Prartho Sereno, Lewis Buzbee, and C. B. Follett.

This is your journal for inward-bound adventures—use it to write, brainstorm, explore, imagine—and even rip!

If you'd like to toss your hat into the ring, just post a note in the Comments section of this post. Be sure to let me know how I can contact you if you win. One week from today—that's Monday, April 18—I will randomly select a winner. US residents only, please. Once I have a winner, I'll mail the book to that person.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Global Poem for Change

LitWorld, A Global Literacy Organization based in NYC, has an interesting project for April. They strongly believe in Words Changing Worlds, so they are celebrating Poetry Month by creating a Global Poem for Change, a poem with contributors from all over the world.

Join LitWorld in celebrating the power and spirit of words by helping to compose a Global Poem for Change.

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye got the poem started with a first line: I send my words out into the air, listening for yours from everywhere.

Now it's your turn. Think about: What words do you send out into the air? What words do you listen for?

Learn a bit more about the project by watching the video. Then submit a line of your own HERE and watch the Poem GROW at the LitWorld Blog.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good News Department

Spring has brought some nice news for me. Last week I told you that fellow poets and bloggers, Dave Bonta and Kristin Berkey-Abbott, would be blogging about four different poetry books throughout April, one per week, and that Temptation by Water would be the week of April 4. Dave did his "live blog" yesterday. That term can be both a noun and a verb. What does it mean? It apparently means that the blogger will simultaneously read the poems and post about them to his or her blog. The benefit of such an approach is that the responses are very immediate, spontaneous. As you read the post, you feel that you are watching Dave read and react. You almost imagine facial expressions. It's very exciting to read the responses, but, for the poet, a bit frightening as well. What if Dave hits a poem he hates? But, thankfully, he didn't. In fact, he gave my book a very thorough and generous reading.

Dave devoted a good part of his day to the book. He indicated time so the reader can see that he read the book in three sittings, beginning early morning and going into evening. As he read, he also made observations about what was going on outside his porch—and sometimes drew connections between his observations and the poems.

Here's a snippet of Dave's post:
Next up is “My Mother Turns Her Back.” Wow, I like this one! “The snake on my mother’s / back thickens, a python/ bulging with rats.”

Is that a flicker calling from the corner of the field? Sure sounds like it.

The heat effect from my morning shower has almost entirely worn off, and the cold and damp are beginning to get to me. But listen: “I watch my mother // grow down, as if she carries / a burden of basket, as if / already greeting the earth.” Simply a magnificent poem.

2:45 p.m. Well, it’s up to 56 degrees. I’ll take it! One rain shower just past, the air smells of ozone and wet soil. Two, or possibly three, wood frogs are quacking in the teacup-sized pond down in the boggy corner of the field.

“If Only Humpty Dumpty Had Been a Cookie”: I’m not even that crazy about cookies, but this poem has me salivating. Damn.

And then there’s “Learning to Live Alone,” something I know a little about. “Trees that capitulate to nothing, // and speckled sparrows that light on the lawn.” Yep, companionship is where you find it. (Helps to be drunk, though. Then every beetle is like a brother.)

A chipmunk’s alarm call. The sun won’t quite come out.

You can read the entire Live Blog here.
Dave, by the way, is the creator and editor of qarrtsiluni, an innovative online journal. He is doing all kinds of amazing tech things to find new ways to get poetry out into the world. Check out his poetry video anthology, Moving Poems.

Then my book has also recently had two very nice reviews. One appears in Verse Wisconsin and is by Moira Richards who lives in South Africa. Here's a snippet: "The poetry in the collection, like the currents of the sea, pulls the reader one way and then another; first we’re tugged towards gusty desires, greedy indulgences, and next we’re pulled up against reminders of broken dreams and the emptiness of loss."

Read the entire review Here.

Then since good things come in threes, along came another review, this one by Sally Rosen Kindred for Connotation Press. Here's a snippet: "It’s hard not to open Diane Lockward’s fourth poetry book, Temptation by Water, without the feeling of wading in, wondering if the water’s warm. The wave cresting over the supine profile on the cover promises something that the book delivers: a submersion that is as complete as it is deliciously complicated. These poems play across the tender spectrum of temptation, from the pleasures of birds 'looping and soaring, cradled by air,' and 'a bowl of mushroom barley soup to slurp' and 'the sea/ like liquid emeralds,' to 'the hard shell” of grief.'"

Read the entire review Here.

As if all that weren't enough, Rattle featured a poem of mine from way back in 2001. I know that makes four good things. As I said, it's been a good spring so far. Check out The Study of Nature.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Paterson Poetry Reading

This past Saturday I attended the reading for the finalists for the 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize. The first place winner, Sherman Alexie, did not attend. But five of the seven finalists were there to read from their books:
  • Nin Andrews Southern Comfort (CavanKerry Press)
  • Gail Fishman Gerwin, Sugar and Sand (Full Court Press)  
  • Lowell Jaeger, Suddenly, Out of a Long Sleep (Arctos Press) 
  • Meg Kearney, Home by Now (Four Way Books) 
  • January Gill O’Neil, Underlife (CavanKerry Press)
They read in alphabetical order. I snapped some photos, so here they are.

First to read was Nin Andrews who came to NJ from Ohio with her husband. I've known and admired her work for years. I'd already bought and read Southern Comfort and enjoyed hearing the poems read by Nin. I've "known" Nin via her blog and was happy to meet her in person.

Next was Gail Gerwin. I met Gail in 2008 when she attended a reading I gave at NY Life. We've been friends ever since. She lives in NJ, as do I, and has participated in the Girl Talk event I've run for the past four years.

Next was Lowell Jaegar, the lone male reader, who came all the way from Montana. You can't see it in the photo, but he has a braid down his back that reaches his waist. I'd read his work in journals and found I liked it even more when I heard Lowell read. His was the only book I don't already own, but it's on my next book order list.

Then came January O'Neil. I've also known January via the blog world and then had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark this past fall. I'd read her book already but had never had the pleasure of hearing her read.

Meg Kearney is a poet I've known for quite a few years. We first met at The Frost Place in New Hampshire. At that time Meg was living in NYC and working for the National Book Foundation. We read together at the Warren County Poetry Festival in 2003, and she later invited me to read for Verse Circus, a series she ran in NY. She is now the Director of the Pine Manor MFA program, and, since taking that position, has moved to New Hampshire. I have all of her books and always love to hear her read.

Group shot: Meg Kearney, Nin Andrews, January O'Neil, Maria Mazziotti Gillan (director of the Paterson Poetry Center), Gail Fishman Gerwin, Lowell Jaeger, and photographer H.A. Jennings
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