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:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ann Tremaine Linthorst

Trying to avert a pity-party. Too much to do. Not enough time to do it in. Never enough time to write.

"Enthusiasm means 'possessed by God.' Soul's seeing of the divine good fills us with enthusiasm for 'all of life's experiences,' no matter what ego says is going on. Ego eyes will never cease to see all manner of difficulties. But what will we worship? To what pay homage? The more our loyalty is to spiritual goodness, the less impressed we will be by the claims of sin and suffering. It is not so hard to take suffering seriously. I have found it far harder to take God and goodness seriously, but that's the challenge." -Ann Tremaine Linthorst, Soul-Kissed

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good Work...

"Good work doesn't happen with inspiration. It comes with constant, often tedious and deliberate effort. If your vision of a writer involves sitting in a cafe, sipping an apertif with one's fellow geniuses, become a drunk. It's easier and far less exhausting." -William Hefferman

image from

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Varied Thrush

Our aged, half-feral cat
has left a varied thrush

on the front steps,
a rare-ish bird, head and breast

daubed with orange.
In the mulched flowerbeds under the windows,

a scatter of feathers.
Like a detective, I can trace the moment of terror,

how it hit the window,
stunning itself, making an easy mark.

Later, the cat
meows at the back door to be let in,

patient as death
and less blind than I've believed her.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Virginia Woolf

My students used this quote in a presentation today. (They're so awesome.)

“When a subject is highly controversial ... one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one's audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.” -Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Everything Has Been Said Before

"Everything has been said before but since nobody listens, we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." - Andre Gide

Is this advice about writing or parenting?

Monday, May 9, 2011

A House with Four Rooms

Thinking about this passage -- the epigraph of Rumer Godden's memoir, A House with Four Rooms:

"There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Writing Lab

At my writing lab yesterday (an hour and a half each week dedicated to writing), I decided I would use the time to write "one bad poem," a practice that I (sadly) have been slipping away from because of the novel rewrite. I fumbled around for longer than I care to admit, then picked up POEMCRAZY by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. I read her chapter, "coyote and the wild," and then I wrote this. I like it even if it is bad.


"A poet needs to keep his wilderness inside him." -Stanley Kunitz

This spring the apple blossoms
hang over the driveway

heavy as storm clouds,
so sodden with rain

they bump against my head
as I open the car door. How far

from my wilderness have I wandered
that this mad dash

from front stoop to car
is all of nature I'm allowed?

It will be dark before I'm done with work.
I slide into the car and slam

the door behind me. One drop
of rainwater drips onto my nose,

trickles down. In the instant
before I turn the key in the ignition

I hear Coyote howl.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tribute to Carolyn Kizer

Volume VI of POETRY NORTHWEST is a tribute to its co-founder the poet Carolyn Kizer.

Here's her poem, The Skein, which appears in Cool, Calm, and Collected, published in 2001 by Copper Canyon Press.

The Skein (from a poem by Emperor Wu-ti)

Moonlight through my gauze curtains
Turns them to nets for snaring wild birds,
Turns them into woven traps, into shrouds.
The old, restless grief keeps me awake.
I wander around, holding a scarf or a shawl;
In the muffled moonlight I wander around
Folding it carefully, shaking it out again.
Everyone says my old lover is happy.
I wish they would say he is coming back to me.
I hesitate here, my scarf like a skein of yarn
Binding my two hands loosely
..................that would reach for paper and pen.
So I memorize these lines,
Dew on the scarf, dappling my nightdress also.
O love long gone, it is raining in our room!
So I memorize these lines,
..................without salutation, without close.

image from