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:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Everything Has Two Handles

I tried to explain this to my students this morning and botched it badly, so here it is, fresh from my copy of The Art of Living: the Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness, by the Stoic philosopher Epictetus:

"Everything has two handles: one by which it may be carried, the other by which it can't. // If, for example, your brother or sister treats you poorly, don't grasp the situation by the handle of hurt or injustice, or you won't be able to bear it and you will become bitter. Do the opposite. Grasp the situation by the handle of familiar ties. In other words, focus on the fact that this is your brother or sister, that you were brought up together, and thus have an enduring, unbreakable bond. Viewing the situation that way, you understand it correctly and preserve your equilibrium." (Interpretation by Sharon Lebell, 71)

image from

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


My poem, "Sparrow," is part of the Spring 2011 on-line journal, Canary:

This poem was first published in The Sun, January 2010.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

OVERHEARD of those new, talking cars, and it said, "A door is ajar." And the children cracked up.

At first, you can't imagine what's so damn funny, what it was that cracked them up, but then you hear what they heard: not "ajar," but a jar, as if, suddenly in this peculiar universe these children occupy, a door has become a container. A jar, like a Mason jar, the kind your mother canned beans or tomatoes or applesauce in each fall. And now that you think about it, a door is of course a jar. One opens it and out tumbles all this experience held like the round, red tomatoes inside the Mason jar, the tomatoes that tasted so wonderful in the chili or stew your mother made deep in that jar called winter, tasted so fresh it was as if, eating, you had opened the porch door and ran out into summer, into the summer garden where the tomatoes laddered into sunlight. You know then, fully, why the children "cracked up." All across your heart, you feel the same deep cracks, fissures, little abysses where memory lurks.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Power of Words

Courtesy of my friend Carolynne. This video is very powerful ... and very nice .... enjoy

Monday, April 11, 2011

Emma Bovary at Poolside

I have a poem featured at

Look for me on April 9. No judgments about how incredibly old I look!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When Poems Sit Vacant

Because I encountered snow on my commute this morning, I flipped on the radio, and I heard this line:

"When poems sit vacant for a long time, squatters may take up residence."

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Last night I finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which had been recommended to me by numerous friends and finally pressed into my hands by my friend Lori. I was sitting in the YMCA, watching Emma swim, but, public place or no, I wept when I learned of the death of a key character (I'm trying not to give anything away to those who haven't read it), and I wept again when I read the afterwords by co-authors Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Here are the final lines of the afterword by Shaffer, who died in 2008: "I hope, too, that my book will illuminate my belief that love of art--be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music--enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised." Amen.