To see the announcement for my poetry book, Sparrow, selected by poet Dorianne Laux for the Kenneth and Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize at Writers & Books, go to

You can find a review by Kathleen Kirk at EIL:

Thursday, October 28, 2010


"In any work that is truly creative, I believe, the writer cannot be omniscient in advance about the effects that he proposes to produce. The suspense of a novel is not only in the reader, but in the novelist, who is intensely curious about what will happen to the hero." -Mary McCarthy

An older poem...

I'm retiring this from my send-out file. I am also looking out my office window at the rain and wishing I were far away.


She means to be gone only a moment,
browsing a travel brochure while I vacuum.
But she steps onto a white beach at Santorini

where sunlight smells of olive trees
and blue sea. A handsome Greek gets her drunk
on grappa. So she'll have a headache

when she wakes. So he doesn't speak English.
She speaks the soul's language. He's good
with his tongue. Besides, she never

has headaches. It's me who will wake
clutching the heel of one hand over an eye,
mourning my reluctant body, bereft without her.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Permission Granted

I am sitting in my messy office pretending that I am going to write...very very soon. Now I have picked up Heather Sellers's Chapter After Chapter and, instead of writing, I am reading her.

"If you're not good at making time to sit down and write every day, give yourself a month to learn how to do just that. Try to find fifteen minutes a day. Delete a television show or a meeting or quit doing the dishes after dinner. If you can't do fifteen minutes, start with five. Go sit in your writing room for five minutes a a day for a month. Do exercises--perhaps like the ones in this book--or just let yourself daydream. Write by hand, slowly, making little notes and sketches. Ease yourself into a disciplined writing life." (15-16)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Brings You Joy?

My daughter is trying to break her own record
for most times off the rope swing
at our local swimming pool. Can one make a career
of rope swinging? Is it taught
at universities? Is it an Olympic event?
Is there enough money in it
to support it, even as a hobby?
I don't know what our taxman will say
if we try to deduct expenses. Look,
I'll tell him, it's not just an obsession,
it's a passion. It's Art, for crying out loud.
Yes, she's only ten. The taxman
is probably right in thinking she should stick
with her schoolbooks a while longer.
But all the greats start young.
Each time she reaches the head of the line
I stand up to watch. She doesn't look
at me; this girl has focus.
Meanwhile, I'm attempting to break my own record
for best parent of a ten-year-old girl.
If no one notices, it doesn't matter.
I don't do it for recognition. I don't do it
for the tax breaks. I do it for joy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Art & Fear

"The hardest part of artmaking is living your life in such a way that your work gets done, over and over..." -David Bayles & Ted Orland in Art & Fear

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

After Reading Poems in an Important Journal

Some poets write about Corbusier or Stradivarius.
They write about Jacob wrestling with the angel,
about Gettysburg or the Persian Gulf.
They craft their complex, allusionary poems
stanza by stanza -- like Daedalus crafting wings
tier by feathered tier. My daughter breaks up
with her boyfriend and we lose an evening
to tears, to wails of pain. No one sleeps.
The next day she's flirting
with a boy named Theo --
she tells me I won't like him (piercings
and two tattoos). I tell her
that his name means "Lover of God."
I wish I could write a poem that would help her
to get along in this world with a little less drama,
one that would show her how to course over the winds
in steady flight. The feathers mount, tier by tier.
Blessed or unblessed, I write about my Icarian girl.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I have four poems in Stringtown 11 and want to recommend it for all of its fine content, and for Polly Buckingham's excellent editorial work. You can pick up a copy at Edmonds Book Shop, or by writing to Polly at PO Box 1406 / Medical Lake, WA 99022-1406.

Stringtown's website is
I've included the cover picture from Stringtown 6.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


"If you resist the slightest irritation, how can you ever expect to become polished?"


Saturday, October 2, 2010


Here's the motor behind the poem I would like to write today.
Yesterday I saw my friend Glenda. She noticed how tense I was and I said, "From holding on."

"Yes," she said, "and holding back."


"Writing teaches impermanence. It shows us how to move with ease from one chapter of our lives to another." Laraine Herring
Though, typing this, I wonder if writing doesn't also teach us to to be fully inside a chapter, to know not only when to move on, but when to move "in."