Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kate Greenstreet interviews Linda Norton

Kate Greenstreet: Why do you write? Is there a difference between writing poetry and writing prose?

Linda Norton: I write because I read, and also because I hate to be misunderstood, and because I have witnessed and experienced things that are unbelievable but real, and I need to tell. I guess being misunderstood really means: me misunderstanding myself, unless I write.

I pay a lot of attention to things, books, people, places, history, and ideas—it’s not normal. I had to find ways to get stuff out of my head and into shape—poetry, prose, collage, collaboration, anonymous or credited—it’s all the same for me. I consider myself a writer and not a poet, but the fact that my best friends are poets may mean that I am one, too. Poets created the world in which I can be myself and no self—liberation.

I’m a devotional writer—I write to pay homage or to honor and remember, or to communicate—via letters, votive candles, collages, prayer or argument—with the living and the dead: “Pour a sip on the concrete/For the deceased.” All of my work is collaborative in some sense.

Poetry is about paying close attention to words and sound, and opening oneself to associations that would be impossible without poetry. Collage, and prose in its highest form, or even its lowest—documents, memos, lost and found sound, scraps, etc.—can be poetry for me.

KG: How do you feel about sending your work out for publication?

Diane Arbus said she honestly believed there were things that people wouldn’t see unless she showed them. I like to publish things when they approach that standard, or when they are as complex, simple, and powerful as the music I love.

The first two writers in my life were strong characters, and they are gone now. I thought I would live out my life appreciating the work of those two as well as the work of the painters in my life, but now I am left on my own to keep finding out, living, making things.

I have been writing poetry and other things for a long time. I started publishing fiction, non-fiction, and criticism sporadically in my twenties but I wasn’t happy with my work and kept myself busy being a wife, sister, daughter, chief mourner, wage earner, reader, editor, and publicist—a noticer and an appreciator-in-general (my friends were writers, painters, composers and musicians) through my twenties and thirties.

I was shy and filled with mortifying self-doubt and shame. Becoming a mother in 1994 was the beginning of a great change in me. I think of Emily Dickinson’s “If your nerve deny you/go above your nerve” (sounds like a song for jumping rope).

I worked out a lot of things in my notebooks. In fact the manuscript I recently completed, THE PUBLIC GARDENS: Poems and History, includes a long prose section of memoir in the form of notebook entries (with poems mixed in) from the late 1980s and early 1990s, when I lived in Brooklyn. The book is half poetry, half prose—very much place-based. A kind of spiritual and sexual autobiography.

KG: What about readings? Do you feel performing is part of the work?

LN: I don’t consider performance to be part of my work, though I do find that reading aloud can help with revision. I like to do readings because I like to participate, to contribute, and I often hear people say, “I had no idea you wrote!” or “I had no idea you were a visual artist!” (If I am known at all, I am known as someone who used to be the poetry editor at University of California Press.) It’s funny to take my interior life out into the public, out loud, instead of publicizing the work of others, which I loved to do when I worked in book publishing.

I don’t speak loudly enough to be a good performer, though. In college I was always around the theater but never wanted to be on stage. I loved being part of a team, doing tech work or being a stagehand or writing something for others to say.

A lot of what I write is funny—I think so, anyway—and it’s good to hear people laugh when I give a reading. I love voices and have read with some masterful performers. In fact, I mention Claudia Rankine’s voice in the essay that’s posted online at Counterpath Press. Whenever I read Claudia’s work, I hear her voice as I read. It’s phenomenal.

KG: What is the relationship between the essay at Counterpath online, “The Great Depression and Me,” and your memoir-in-progress, My Little Brown Book?

LN: The online essay is illustrated with collages I made in 2006. I started making collages in my office on 42nd Street in 1993. I was inspired by Susan Wheeler, who used to send me postcard collages and thus drew me into the long tradition of poets working with paper, paint, and collage. (We both lived and worked in New York, not far from each other, but sent each other things in the mail—so wonderful.) For me collage was a way to circumnavigate my superego. Language and ego, the Word and the Truth, were so intertwined and freighted, in my case, that I needed a different format to give myself permission to make and play.

So I was making this series of collages, or it was making me, in 2006, when I was grieving about several people and it was raining a lot. I was also doing research about my father’s mother, an Irish immigrant who gave birth to him during the depths of the Great Depression. She wasn’t married, she worked as a domestic, and eventually, when he was two years old, she had to give him up. I love the WPA and FSA photographs of that era and I gave myself permission to add commentary to some of them, including the most iconic images. That permission was important to me—it is one of my “issues.”

I thought a lot about mash ups and sampling as I was working on the collages. The essay was originally called “Antic Documentary.” It was a way of writing about the process of making the collages, but it evolved into a meditation on history, poetry, race, ethnicity, class, music, lost mothers and fathers, and place (New York and Boston).

If Julie Carr and Tim Roberts and others hadn’t expressed interest and confidence in what I was doing, I wouldn’t have had the nerve or the motivation to shape the work for public consumption. Editors and friends and collaboration can be instrumental in the making of new work. Collaboration helps me find a way to get the inside and the outside into right relation to each other, and alleviates loneliness.

My Little Brown Book takes various characters and incidents from the “Great Depression” essay and opens them up with chapters that include memoir and a lot of research into some mysteries or ghosts that remain mysterious to me—but now they have facets and antecedents.

KG: What will you be reading on February 5th?

LN: I will probably read several poems from the new manuscript, poems triggered by the Psalms of David, and also a section of Brooklyn Journals. Maybe I will distribute a sort of broadside, an erasure I made with a page from a rain-soaked bible I found in the wreckage when I visited the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans in April of 2007—a poem called “The Stars” that comes from the Book of Job.

I won’t be selling copies of my Etherdome chapbook, Hesitation Kit, at the reading, because there aren’t many copies of it left. And I haven’t yet found a publisher for the new book. Perhaps I will raffle off a few of my collages.

I no longer think of my written work as separate from my work with photographs, paint, canvas, and paper; I like for them to be juxtaposed, as they are in the chapbook and online at Counterpath’s site. The process of composing my collages—looking for material, or happening upon it—cutting things out, preparing the ground, arranging and re-arranging and layering things—waiting for the right placement or accident—unattached to any particular outcome, open to delight—this has helped me to learn how to write.

Linda Norton is the author of the chapbook Hesitation Kit (Etherdome, 2007) and the essay “The Great Depression and Me” (Counterpath Press online). She recently finished writing a cross-genre book called The Public Gardens: Poems and History. She works at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley and lives in Oakland.

Kate Greenstreet’s second book The Last 4 Things is just out from Ahsahta Press.

Friday, January 29, 2010

February 5th!

Linda Norton’s chapbook, Hesitation Kit, was published by Etherdome Press in 2007. Her essay about the booksellers’ quarter in Baghdad, Psalms and Ashes, was published in Denver Quarterly in 2008. Her sequel to Brooklyn Journals, The Great Depression and Me, is available at Counterpath Press’s online site. That online essay is the basis for a full-length work in progress, a memoir and cultural history called My Little Brown Book.

Videos from Justin Kohmetscher who lives with his parents in Nebraska

Julie Carr is the author of three books of poetry, Mead: An Epithalamion, Equivocal, and 100 Notes on Violence>, which won the Sawtooth Poetry Award and is just out from Ahsahta Press. A fourth collection, Sarah—of Fragments and Lines, is a National Poetry Series pick and will be out from Coffee House Books in the fall. Carr is the co-publisher of Counterpath Press, and teaches in the University of Colorado, Boulder's MFA program.

doors at 7
reading at 730
parking on street or in rear
after party antics
happy birthday sharon!

donations accepted for entry

365 45th St
Oakland 94618
Bart is MacArthur

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jared White interviews Emily Kendal Frey

Jared White: Often times your poems seem to employ a kind of dream logic, either literally inhabiting a dream or making imaginative leaps between striking images. Right now your facebook status even describes a dream you had last night. Do you think of your poetry as primarily surreal, or dream-based? Do details in your poems come from the “no place” of the imagination more than lived experience, readings, overheard language, etc.?

Emily Kendal Frey:
Lived experience tends to fill in where dreams leave off. Am I asking for too much if I say I'd like to inhabit both? For me they are the same thing. I wouldn't describe my poetry as "surreal," though, because that would imply an interchange or armwrestle with the "real" -- a jig or a dance to one side. A towel snap at the ass of time, moving in one distinct direction. My interior landscape is much more sloth-like; it's filled with base archetypes -- rivers, mountains, an occasional clown. Last night I dreamt there was a revolution and we all had to hide in those puffy, aerated, overmanicured hedges. Not on the ground, but actually insert ourselves within the foamy prickle of the shrubs. Most of the dream was me thinking, breathing, from within my hiding place. That's what poetry feels like.

JW: In poems of yours like “The History of Knives” there’s a quality of continual destabilization, like a game of one-upmanship or leapfrog from shock to shock. I am thinking of poems like your "The History of Knives" a prose piece in which the first five sentences of this poem veer quickly from a surrealistic kitchen rendering bodies as salt shakers to the bottom of the ocean and back. In between, firecracker sentences go off, saying things like “I married my dad and threw him in the ocean” and I opened my legs and a grasshopper was there.” When you were writing this poem were you aiming to excavate a specific landscape? Were you discovering and improvising as you went along? Does collage play an important role in your process?

EKF: That poem started as a 6 or 7 page spew. I'd been reading Lyn Hejinian's The Fatalist and was feeling jazzed by how blocky and inhabited her words left me -- I wanted to find one of my own narratives and kind of choke on it for a while. Unfortunately, the only thing that came to mind was a butter dish. I wrote towards love, and butter -- the essentials -- for a good long time. Then I went back and filled in the rest.

JW: Halfway through this same poem, after a series of descriptive sentences that start to feel like a cracked narrative, a different kind of sentence breaks in: "Let’s talk about the Fibonacci sequence." I wonder whether as you were writing whether you suddenly associated to Fibonacci sequence specifically. Or maybe you always wanted to find a place to mention this in a poem… Or perhaps the Fibonacci sequence is not important in and of itself but rather operates like mad libs word substitution, where it is more a kind of syntax or discourse that you are evoking generally, where it could just as easily be the Third Law of Thermodynamics, or the Battle of Hastings, or matryoshka dolls, or phylloxera… How do you see moments like these in your poems?

EKF: The act of writing is one of great hope. I'm skeptical of the hope that drives me to write, even as I recognize it as viable. Poetry (a.k.a life) so easily strays into aphorism. If or when that happens, I don't want to convince myself that there's a moment there, a life being lived. I think I can work harder than that. The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers that make a spiral when expressed physically. Apologies to all mathematicians -- I'm sure I bludgeoned that. But as I write I'm treading carefully, listening for the moments when I stray towards my own ego-shrouded hope and sometimes, a spiral emerges. Those are the necessary images. Moments like the Fibonacci sequence are very scary, in that they come just as I'm starting to feel safe. Within the familiarity of using language is that hard nugget of skepticism. Cracked, it has the potential to be (or at least feel like) bravery. I'm not randomly collaging what I find in the "world," but rather, allowing for the world that has already attached itself to me.

JW: I’m lately very intrigued by the newly proliferating mode of the online chapbook. How did you come to publish AIRPORT in this way, with Blue Hour Press in Tuscaloosa?

Justin Runge, the editor, wrote and asked if I had anything he could publish. I did! Isn't AIRPORT beautiful? I love the inside pages and the tiny planes and the titles set in Frutiger, the airport sign font.

JW: AIRPORT wonderfully mixes a mode of dispatches in motion (like when one poem arises in the instant of spinning in the revolving door entrance to the airport) with poems that feel more like the airport is a metaphor, an “analogy” as you write. They are tiny pieces, organized in little couplets, which lends a feeling of tossed-offness, as if they plausibly could be written on receipts from an airport newsstand or on the back of a ticket while waiting at the gate. How did these poems come about? Were they written on the move? Did they all originally come into existence as a series, or did the title allow you to draw in poems that were initially unrelated?

EKF: Dispatches in motion... I like that. I'm trying to recall if any of the poems in AIRPORT were in fact written while inside an airport and I can't honestly say. There's a good chance. They were written during a period of 4 or 5 months when I was traveling between Portland, Oregon and Lincoln, Nebraska a LOT. I was spending a majority of my time in airports, on public transportation to get to or from an airport, waiting on tarmacs, in a Hudson News, curled up in a ball and writhing on the carpet, spitting into my own hand... no, I'm kidding, I was only doing a few of those things in airports. But I did start to want to inhabit the extreme possibility that an airport is. All that devastation and desire in one place -- it's freaky. One time I was sitting waiting for some gut-destroying ninety-seven dollar burrito in Minneapolis I think it was and I looked over and saw my friend Mathias sitting at the table next to me. I remember what book he was reading. Airports are weird! Anything can happen.

JW: Another series of your poems uses a sort of faux-letter device where different nouns are addressed as if creating a litany of ridiculous pet names, particularly “Dear Jalapeno.” When you first wrote "Dear Jalapeno" into a poem, were you conceiving of this line as a refrain, a way of finding energy to draw on for a whole group of poems? Now it is even the title of a whole manuscript of your poems. Was there a discipline to writing many poems in this same format? I imagine you waking up and writing “Dear Jalapeno” at the top of a blank page, day after day. Was the ñ ever tempting?

EKF: You know, I had a very long back and forth with one of the editors who published a bunch of the DEAR JALAPENO poems about the tilde. I could show it to you, or...? I loved it. I am so grateful when an editor takes the time to engage in conversation about a poem of mine, and we were really at an impasse about it for a bit (he wanted me to include it and I said I wouldn't). We had this fabulous dialogue about "proper" vs. "personal" uses of words and what it does to language to personalize words. But the gist of it is that the "jalapeno" I'm using in my poems is (very intentionally) the one with no tilde. It's the jalapeno of green tortilla chips and soft 7-11 taquitos. It's the bright waxy green dancing cartoon image of a pepper screaming at you. It's neither proper nor zesty enough to balance the delicate considerations or conversations of language that the tilde would imply. It's the jalapeno icon and not a real jalapeno. This is really what calls each poem in the series into being -- an invitation to the "things of the world" to ossify for a minute, stop, and be what they are, for better or worse.

JW: Some of these “Dear Jalapeno" poems are titled in a similar way, Imaginary ____,” with a different noun in that blank space, such as “hate,” or “thought,” or “distance.” Other poems have titles that refer to flowers (“Morning Glory,” “Garden Rose”) and some are tiny declarations like “You Broke My Heart.” Did you have a method behind these various titles?

EKF: Yes! A good portion of the titles are borrowed from song names by the group Lavender Diamond. Do you know them? It's what I was listening to at the time. It seemed to fit, in part because there's a summery explosiveness to many of them and I first started writing the poems in spring and summer. I made up the rest to sound like song titles. And yes, I did write those poems for about a year, maybe more. It was the most fun I've ever had in my whole life.

I was amused and horrified by a meanish blog post by Gary Sullivan a few months ago where he poked fun at a bunch of poetry don’ts, including poems whose title is a dedication to a dead poet. (He particularly called out “To Jack Spicer,” at which I blanched, looking at my own “To Jack Spicer” poem.) Another of his pet peeves is the “dear x.” He writes,

I know poetry is "artifice," but come on. This never fails to make the hair on my neck crawl, largely because the person's voice who reads this sort of poem always, like, "lilts" in that "special" way when they say "Dear,". Bleah.

Does reading “Dear Jalapeno” make your voice lilt?

Oh I totally have a poem voice, so I probably do lilt when reading, but that would apply to any poem. My voice gets even more nasal and husky than usual. To the issue of the "Dear ____" trope, I think it's intriguing to note the patterns in poetry -- to see where everyone falls in line in terms of what we're doing or trying or practicing or espousing in our work. Our tiny toolboxes. It seems to me, though, that there's a bitterness in lists of do's and don't, an attempt to ingratiate us with the fact we're not original and never will be. Poets reminding other poets that their attempts are recognizable (and therefore... frivolous?) is not that interesting to me. I'm glad that people read "Dear Jalapeno" and either recognize patterns or don't. But there's so much more to be said, I hope, about those poems.

Emily Kendal Frey
is the author of AIRPORT (Blue Hour 2009). She teaches at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon.

Jared White
grew up near Boston and is currently living in Brooklyn, New York. His poems have appeared in such journals as Barrow Street, Fugue, Harp and Altar, The Modern Review and Sawbuck; they are forthcoming in Fulcrum, LVNG and elsewhere. A chapbook of his poems, Yellowcake, will appear in the forthcoming debut issue of Narwhal from Cannibal Books. He blogs from time to time about poems and culture at

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thursday's reading is postponed

There has been a scheduling emergency and we have to reschedule the reading on Thursday Jan 21 (this week) for Friday Feb. 19th. Sorry if this
complicates your plans, but if you are looking to be an audience member to
something creative and awesome this week, check out SPT's Poet's Theater on
Friday night: I hope to see you
on Friday Feb 19th! Thanks for putting up with our reshuffling!

In the meantime to satisfy your Frey, Drai, Schomburg and Freeman
poetic-urges check out interviews being posted all week. Schomburg and Farrah Field's below.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Farrah Field Interviews Zachary Schomburg

Farrah Field: You write, paint, and have a knack for photography. (And film making). How do you balance and nurture all of your varied interests?

Zachary Schomburg:
Thanks for noticing, and for assuming these interests are balanced. To me, they feel awfully messy, overlapping one another, getting in each other’s way. Poetry is the only thing I’ve formally studied, so the painting, photography and film-making are made out to be indulgences. I try my hardest to get book-making, editing Octopus, and translating in there somehow too. There are certainly waves of interests for only one thing—every few days I have a new aspiration. Every few days I’ve figured out I want to dedicate my life to film-making (for example)—so a lot of these other projects get back-burnered for a few months until I re-aspire.

For whatever reason, we’re under a lot of pressure to be and do one thing and do it well. I’d rather do a bunch of different things passionately. Though, really, these projects you mentioned are really born from the same impulse—they’re manifestations of the same need to make art. My paintings, photos and films are all saying the same things. Regardless, these projects are what keep me moving forward. Ye old carrots on a stick trick. I’m a donkey.

Scary, No Scary begins with a prologue poem. Was this your publisher’s idea or did you intend for the book to be prefaced this way?

“Scary, No Scary” was the first poem I wrote for this manuscript. It is that world’s big bang, so it seemed natural to make it the book’s prologue (it was my idea—all mine!) It establishes something: the walk through the woods, the attempt to find Home, the night, the loneliness, the ambiguity, the choices.

FF: In Scary, No Scary, you work and re-work the idea of smallness (spiders, hummingbirds, eyelashes) and feeling small juxtaposed by gigantic things. I thought it was pretty funny to see this indexed at the back of the book, “Tiny, the idea of being (see also Gigantic.” Will you tell me more about the indexing process? Who’s idea was it and was there a different approach for both of your books?

Yeah, being gigantic and being very tiny is essentially the same thing. Both indexes were quite a blast to make. I stayed up late for this last one, after the page numbers had been set, and I went through poem by poem to catalogue all the repeating images, all the repeating concepts. Both times, I was surprised by some of the things I found had repeated. In the Suit, for example, I remember thinking, “I have a gorilla wearing people clothes twice?!” It is a great exercise for anyone completing a manuscript. You’re able to see your invisible crutches and then kick them out from under you. “Why are all my characters crying?” you’ll say. “What is wrong with me?” Or “why are all my characters miniature or gigantic?” you’ll say. “Why can’t things just be normal-sized?”

With the Suit, the approach felt much more accidental. I had indexed it for fun when I had a bad case of the Block one night. Janaka and I joked about including it. This second time around, I wrote more with a potential index in mind. I knew the hummingbirds were there. So whenever I needed a bird for a poem, I made it a hummingbird. In this world, all the birds are hummingbirds. It’s much simpler that way.

FF: The Pond and Abraham Lincoln’s Death Scene are longer poems/sections from both of your books as well as separate chapbooks. Did you write these two particular pieces before the rest of the manuscripts? How did you determine that they would make great separate pieces (both of them are beautiful chapbooks) and how do you feel about them now that they are folded into the whole of it all?

ZS: These are two poems I am really proud of. They were both written like any other poem in the manuscripts, right in the middle of the process. They are both firmly a part of the worlds of their respective books. In the chapbooks, they seemed a little lonely, a little out of place.

Tell me more about your poem-films. How did you come by way of the footage? Which arrangement do you prefer for the poems to be read by a speaker in the film or by the viewer alone? When did you begin making these and what was your goal for adding images and music to the poems? How did you pick the poems you made poem-films for?

ZS: I traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, during the summer of 2008 and started taking a bunch of footage on my new little pocket camera. I didn’t have any idea how I would use that footage, but it felt important that I record something. I had this vague notion that I would make some sort of documentary. After Russia, I continued to collect footage of patterns, things moving, during my walks around Portland. Once, I was on the internet-less train between Portland and Seattle. I was a bit bored so I clicked on that iMovie app at the bottom of my laptop and I freaked out a little. I clicked on all the buttons to see what they would do. I made that one about the airplane first, in about 45 minutes (can you tell?). I didn’t write a new poem for about two months after that, but I made about 12 poem-films on iMovie.

The footage is all mine. This steers which previously written poems will be used—they need to somehow marry the footage. I don’t take footage to accommodate a poem.

Also, I just got a new camera. I’m going to get pretty serious this year.

FF: On your blog you often write about the film classes you teach. What is your approach to teaching these classes? Does the school tell you they need a such-and-such class to be taught and you come up with a syllabus or do you come up with a class based on some films you’d like to teach? Furthermore, what is it like to experience the text together with your students, watching a film together, versus discussing assigned reading with which students have engaged prior to class?

ZS: I love teaching film. The department at Portland State gives me the freedom to design my own classes how I see fit. I’ve taught 1950’s Cold War Hysteria films, Feminist Film Theory, some Introduction courses, and now, The Outsider in Independent Cinema. For the most part, I build a class around a group of films I’d like to teach—a group of films that somehow speak to one another.

These classes really don’t operate any differently than a lit course. We watch great films each week and then discuss the socio-cultural implications (in Intro, we discuss the film’s cinematic devices). In some ways, I suppose, film in the later half of 20th century is like the novel of the 19th century. It is quite easy, through film, to set the appropriate groundwork for a historical conversation about who were then, and who we are now. Regardless, whatever we encounter in my classes, we ask “how does that make you feel/think?” and then “so what?”

Most of my students have no idea that I write poetry. Though, when watching some experimental films last term, we watched the surrealist films of Buñuel, and Maya Deren, and then some Brakhage and Lynch. I said that we’d been watching novels all term long, and now it was time to watch some poetry. I had them all write poems instead of taking notes. I think there is a pretty natural bridge between the two art forms. In a poetry class, I’d like to show some films.

FF: The last time we spoke we both reminisced about our elementary schools in Omaha. Last summer I revisited mine and thought it was really weird to not see it during winter, as most of my memories are of walking to school in snow and playing on the ice outside in the school parking lot. Have you been back to your elementary school? Furthermore, how has Omaha changed or how is it different now that you’ve left it?

ZS: You did? Which school was it again? I went back in December while visiting my family. Lewis Central. My dad is the swim coach, and he let me in to the pool with his keys to do some swimming. I think I was afraid I was going to put on some blubber while back in Omaha, eating chicken wings all day long. I took a few pictures of the locker room.

Everything is so small. The urinals are so low. I was pretty much just peeing on the ground. I remember getting in my first and only fight in that locker room. Nathan Okerbloom was saying some mean things about a friend of mine and I had just about had it, so I pushed him and he fell over one of those benches. He hit his head on the other bench and it looked like it hurt pretty bad. I was shocked at the violence I had caused. It scared me. So I ran out of the locker room and tried to reason with Nathan once he caught up with me.

Omaha is still the same, but I have changed. I have so much nostalgia for that place. I love it. My relationship to Omaha feels like Alexander Payne’s relationship to it. I’m drawn to it endlessly. My heart is from there. It is a place that is so simultaneously strange and comforting, lost and familiar. My heart, then, is born from that dichotomy.

It reminds me who I am and who I am not. It is the place I can go to see myself in a mirror. We’re starting to get at the heart of SNS.

What is your Omaha like?

FF: Thanks for asking--I went to Golden Hills. My family lived less than a block away from school, so we always ended up spending most of our time there with all the neighborhood kids. The playground equipment was made from large tractor tires and my sister taught me how to ride a bike in the schoolyard. When I went back last summer, there was a kid sitting on the playground, bored and lonely looking. He climbed to the top of a fence in front of a kickball field surrounded by a great expanse of land. He slouched. I wanted to ask him where all the other kids were and how come the hill leading up to the school looked so small, why the neighborhood looked so run down. When I drove away, he was lying on top of a table where teacher-smokers used to sit during recess.

So, you and I are in our thirties. What’s something that you’d like to do that you’ve never tried in/with/on your poems and what’s something that you hope would never happen?

ZS: I’m almost 33. Are you around there too? I’m writing a very very long poem, and I would like to finish it while I am still in my 30s. It is called Asteroid. I’m writing it alongside two other manuscripts, but I’m in no hurry to finish it. It is currently about 50 pages long, but it is in its infancy. I’ve never tried anything like this before. It sprawls and seeks out new pockets of light. I’m trying to let go of my need for tight narrative, trying let go of my need to get out of a poem in some strange way. I’m trying to teach myself to stay in the poem, to look around and hold my breath.

I hope I keep writing things that surprise me, instead of falling into the trap of recreating old surprises.

Zachary Schomburg
is the author of The Man Suit (Black Ocean 2007), Scary, No Scary (Black Ocean 2009), and several chapbooks including three forthcoming collaborative chapbooks with Emily Kendal Frey: Team Sad (Cinematheque Press 2010), Feelings Using Wolves (Small Fires Press 2010) and Ok Goodnight (Futuretense 2010). He co-edits Octopus Books and Octopus Magazine. He lives in Portland, OR.

Farrah Field's poems have appeared in many publications including the Mississippi Review, Typo, Harp & Altar, La Petite Zine, Eklesographia, Effing Magazine, and Ploughshares and are forthcoming in Mantis and Cannibal. Rising, her first book of poems, won Four Way Books' 2007 Levis Prize. She lives in Brooklyn and blogs at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thursday Jan 21st

Studio One Readings Series did a print Series: Calaveras.

Come to the release reading with

Emily Kendal Frey is the author of AIRPORT (Blue Hour 2009). She teaches at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon.

Jenny Drai is from Chicago, Munich, and Oakland. She has work
recently appearing or forthcoming in Calaveras Journal, Court Green, H_NGM_N, Monday Night, and RealPoetik. She currently lives in Orange County, which is interesting.

Zachary Schomburg is the author of The Man Suit (Black Ocean 2007), Scary, No Scary (Black Ocean 2009), and several chapbooks including three forthcoming collaborative chapbooks with Emily Kendal Frey: Team Sad (Cinematheque Press 2010), Feelings Using Wolves (Small Fires Press 2010) and Ok Goodnight (Futuretense 2010). He co-edits Octopus Books and Octopus Magazine. He lives in Portland, OR.

Barbara Claire Freeman is a literary critic and professor of literature who has recently turned her full attention to writing poetry. She is the author of The Feminine Sublime: Gender and Excess in Women's Fiction (University of California Press, 1998, pbk. 2000), among many other works of criticism and theory. Formerly an Associate Professor of English at Harvard, she teaches creative writing for the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Her poems have appeared in A Public Space, Beloit Poetry Journal, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, Iowa Review, Modern Review, New American Writing, Sycamore Review and Parthenon West Review. She is a recipient of the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Award, the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize (Sarah Lawrence College, 2007) and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Incivilities, her first book of poems has just been published Counterpath Press (November, 2009). A chapbook, St. Ursula's Silence, is forthcoming from Instance Press.

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Readings at 730

365 45th St
parking on street or lot behind the building.

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Calaveras is edited by Alisa Heinzman and Sara Mumolo.