Where are my gays? Submit to this!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (ONLY 1 DAY LEFT TO ENTER): The 2009 Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize. Final judge: Carl Phillips. Deadline: 8/1/09. Prizes include $300, $50, and $25 gift certificates to Powell's Books and publication of winning poems in Knockout. Guidelines: http://www.knockoutlit.org/rsprize.htm


Publishers Behaving Badly

I got this note from a friend of mine yesterday and wanted to put it out there to warn other poets of this bad, bad behavior!


A couple hours after this was posted here and elsewhere, the publisher fixed the situation...


Update on BlackBerry

OMG, I love it.

We have finally negotiated our differences effectively and have been getting along famously for most of the week.

(My first BlackBerry was defective and died the morning after I got it--that's what caused most of the problems.)


The Change

I've just switched over to using a Blackberry and twelve hours into it, I'm totally lost and confused.

It won't turn on. I can't figure out how to turn it on and make it start up.

I also can't figure out how to make it sync my contacts and calendar, without which it's just a very fancy wall phone.

Send help.


The Bitch of Living

Last night I caught the opening night of the traveling version of Spring Awakening. Based on an 1896 German play about teenagers "waking up" to the changes in their bodies and their emotions, it tells the story of a group of school kids wrestling with adolescent woes, centered around lovers Malchior and Wendla (pictured above in the original Broadway production).

I'm a tough musical theatre audience member to please. What got me interested in the show was Duncan Sheik's contribution to the music. Although he's now considered somewhat of a one-hit wonder for his 90s radio earworm "Barely Breathing," that first album of his was one of the major soundtracks of my life during college. (The rest of the album really transcends a lot of the pop wizardly of that particular single.)

The show is, overall, really great. The music is rocking, fun, powerful, and well-written both musically and lyrically, and the set design and lighting were unique and fascinating (audience members can sit on the sides of the stage while all the action takes place in a central area, which is so cool). The acting in this touring show was also great. The lead roles were very compellingly rendered, and the supporting players offered a good balance of archetype and individuality to be memorable and unique. The actors also interacted a lot with the on-stage band, with a few characters sitting at the piano and playing along, both diegetically and non-diegetically.

Of course, my favorite part of the show is its use of anachronism. The costumes, much of the dialogue, and the subject matter of the play are all very Victorian in nature, but the set featured bright neon lights. The actors often sang with handheld microphones, or sometimes stood behind microphones on stands like rock stars or American Idol contestants. And the content of the songs themselves, such as the loud, punk-inspired "The Bitch of Living" and "Totally "F***ed" keep the show contemporary. The overall message suggests that perhaps some Victorian values about sexuality and morality are not as outmoded as we like to think.

My only beef with the show was in the brief treatment of a very minor gay subplot. While the heterosexual characters' loves are treated with operatic seriousness, there's a brief sequence in which two of the schoolboys connect romantically, with one even professing he loves the other "more than I've ever loved anything." And yet, the exchange is played comedically--with joy, but still for comedy. It felt a little awkward to sit side-by-side with straight people who laughed riotously at this, and I wondered if the kind of exchange is only okay if it's comedy, or if it's inherently funny, or if they would reject it if it were treated with the same level of seriousness as the rest of the play. Or, I'm being sensitive.

Beau and I are thinking of seeing it again, but sitting on the stage next time!


Life, v2.0

I spent the holiday weekend turning my living room 90 degrees to the left. Now all the furniture and art are on different walls. It only involved one trip to Best Buy to get a new coaxial cable. And because I no longer live alone, somehow season 1 of Designing Women also found its way back with us. This is how gay people move furniture.

We watched fireworks from the roof of an apartment building in Dupont Circle. During the show, I learned that no building in the District can be built taller than the Capitol dome, which ultimately makes for nice vistas of the city because you can see so far. There's a single building that rises above the rest called The Cairo. When it was built, the government passed a law that restricted building height to about six stories. The Cairo looked like it had 14 floors.

We saw simultaneous fireworks over the Capitol (south), Maryland (east) and Virginia (west).

Today: I go back to reality.


Please spread this around.

The Writer's Center Announces Fellowships for Emerging Writers

The Writer’s Center, metropolitan DC’s community gathering place for writers and readers, is currently accepting submissions for several competitive Emerging Writer Fellowships. Emerging Writer Fellows will be selected from applicants who have published up to 2 book-length works of prose and up to 3 book-length works of poetry. We welcome submissions from writers of any genre, background, or experience.

Emerging Writer Fellows will be featured at The Writer’s Center as part of their Emerging Writers Reading Series. The readings, held on Friday evenings, bring together writers in different genres with a backdrop of live music. The Writer’s Center book store will sell titles by the Emerging Writers throughout the season in which they appear in an effort to promote them and their work to a wide audience.

Selected Fellows are invited to lead a special Saturday workshop at The Writer’s Center, with compensation commensurate with standard Writer’s Center provisions.

Fellows receive an all-inclusive honorarium to help offset their travel costs in the amount of $250 or $500, depending on their place of departure.

Fellows for Fall 2009 include novelist Alexander Chee (Edinburgh), novelist Lisa Selin Davis (Belly), poet Suzanne Frischkorn (Lit Windowpane), poet Aaron Smith (Blue on Blue Ground), Canadian fiction writer Neal Smith (Bang Crunch), poet Srikanth Reddy (Facts for Visitors), and poet Nancy Krygowski (Velocity).

Their events will be held in September, October, and December. See our events calendar for more information.

Spring 2009 events will be held in February, March, and April/May.

To be considered, please send a letter of interest, a resume or CV that details publication history and familiarity facilitating group discussions, and a copy of your most recent book. Self-published or vanity press titles will not be accepted. A committee comprised of The Writer’s Center board members, staff, and members will evaluate submissions on behalf of our community of writers.

The deadline to submit is August 15, 2009.

Applicants are encouraged to call Charles Jensen, Director, for more information at 301-654-8664.

The Writer’s Center, established in 1976, is one of the nation’s oldest and largest literary centers. We provide over 60 free public events and more than 200 writing workshops each year, sell one of the largest selections of literary magazines in our on-site bookstore, and publish Poet Lore, America’s oldest continually published poetry journal.



Mileage from Phoenix to DC: 2317
Hours of driving: 34
State lines crossed: 11
Most visited state: West Virginia (in and out twice)

Longest day: Phoenix to Oklahoma City--14 hours with 2 time zone changes.
Best weather: Missouri & Illinois
Worst weather: New Mexico

Worst sight: An accident in which a semi lost its rear axle and crushed a black sports car on the freeway.
Worst drivers: Maryland

Dullest stretch: Oklahoma Turnpike, 100 miles
Prettiest stretch: West Virginia

Number of times the cat freaked out: 0 (yay medication!)

Did we find a White Castle? Yes. Yes we did. And it was amazing. Thank you, Indiana.

Total number of miles I traveled in June: 9515
Equivalent number of trips between NYC and LA: 3.4
Circumference of the earth in miles: 24,900