Category: Uncategorized

  • The wheel(er) considers turning

    The wheel(er) considers turning

    “Yeah, I didn’t want to remind you about the equinox,” my spouse said. “Right? Another thing on the to-do list,” I agreed. We mimed leaning our shoulders into the wheel of the year. “But I got it done!” It’s autumn and my birthday and I’m struggling. Sleep has been especially hard. If I’m to have […]

  • Splitting / creative scholarship

    Splitting / creative scholarship

    My son left this week for his senior year at college, which removed a handy barrier between me and working all the time. My writer self, my teaching self, and my role as Department Head are competing hardest for my hours. Teaching and chairing are more deadline-driven so my writer self is hanging on by […]

  • Not only close but intimate reading

    Not only close but intimate reading

    My spouse, Chris Gavaler, and I met while working on a Rutgers undergraduate literary magazine, The Anthologist. We were both chiefly poets then, shaping each other’s opinions in long Sunday night arguments over submissions (and sometimes over a twelve-pack). After graduation, we moved in together, after which followed many years of reading each other’s drafts; […]

  • Broadside giveaway, reviews, & long views

    Broadside giveaway, reviews, & long views

    If you’ve reviewed Poetry’s Possible Worlds in a magazine, or on Goodreads, Amazon, or your blog–or if you can post a review, even a brief one, in any of those venues in the next month or so–I’d be glad to send you one of the beautiful broadsides Ecotone commissioned after awarding my poem “Unsonnet” the […]

  • Mycelial poetry devouring the ruins

    Mycelial poetry devouring the ruins

    For the last couple of years, my muse has been mycelial. I mean both that fungus infests my current mss–I’m revising a poetry collection and a novel–and, in a related way, that a mycelial life seems like what I ought to be aiming for. Spreading tendrils underground, sprouting mushrooms after a storm, metabolizing trouble: these […]

  • Filaments & telephone lines

    Filaments & telephone lines

    A potential alternate title for this post: talking myself out of post-book-launch blues. Yesterday, as I was troubleshooting on various book-related fronts, I started wondering if “troubleshooting” was another of the military metaphors that colonize my vocabulary (“front” is one). The original meaning of troubleshooting, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was a pleasant surprise. […]

  • Poetry and the truth of it

    My mother died a year ago April 30th, so I’ve felt haunted these past few weeks. Many kind friends have been checking in with me; for now I’m just saying “okay” and wondering afterward what I meant. Truly, I’ve watched people go through life-rocking grief that lasts years, and that’s not me. My mother died […]

  • Hard lines, soft lines

    Next week I should receive my advance hard copies of Poetry’s Possible Worlds. I feel like I’m facing a portal, a door to strange woods opening at the back of a wardrobe. I know book launches are lucky and thrilling, but they also ramp my anxiety right up, especially the tasks that involve talking up […]

  • On the threshold of Poetry’s Possible Worlds

    I started this blog in March 2011, during a Fulbright fellowship in Wellington, New Zealand, as an intellectual diary during one of my life’s biggest adventures. My forthcoming book, Poetry’s Possible Worlds, is in many ways this blog’s culmination. I’ve always read to survive my life, and in the blog, then called “The Cave, The […]

  • Weird tree-person looking east

    I love the turning of the year toward light at the winter solstice. It makes up a bit for winter looming ahead. This year was tough for everybody, it seems; as Eric Tran said when he visited to give a poetry reading here, we spent the pandemic borrowing energy from the future, and now we […]