Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Burnside Review L.A...

...has finally arrived!!! Just picked up the issue from the printer and they look great. They'll go out to contributors and subscribers in the morning. It was a challenging issue, but the end product is as amazing as the process was. This is our 7th issue and certainly the one I'm most proud of.

Hopefully this isn't quite the end of the Burnside Review L.A. experience. I'm working with friend and contributor, Julie Gamberg, on doing a reading to help celebrate the issue this fall (October). We're looking at a couple different venues, but if any of you have any recommendations please send them my way. Also...we can't quite afford distribution, so if you know any L.A. bookstores who might be interested in carrying a few copies, please let me know. We hope to have the issue in as many hands as possible.

I'll pop on here from time to time, as the issue gets reviewed, as the reading approaches, etc., until the L.A. issue's 9 months are up.

Thanks to everyone who read and contributed to the the Burnside Review L.A. Story.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Issue That Doesn't Want to Be

It's been absolutely one thing after another with this issue. We still don't have them in our trembling little hands. Hopefully by the beginning of next week and hopefully to the contributors by the end of the week. Many apologies. This is our first time being late, but we're certainly making up for lost time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Finish Line is Near

We just got the proofs back from the printer today. We'll copy edit over the weekend and be back to the printer on Monday. Should have the issue about a week from them and out to all the contributors by the 15th.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back in Portland

So Claire and I returned to beautiful and rainy Portland last Thursday. We moved into one of our rental properties and have been going a mile a minute since our return. The place (near Alberta and NE 27th) is bordering on "dump". We already repainted most of the house, torn out the trim, replaced some of the trim and bought some new furniture. Still a long, long way to go.

Because of all this we're running a little behind in putting the issue together. Bill and I are meeting this Saturday to lay everything out. It will then go to our graphic designer. We hope to have proofs for both the contributors and printers in about 10-12 days. Doubtful that the issue will be out before July 4th, but miracles do happen. I beg for your patience.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Our return to Portland has been delayed by a middle aged bleach blond Laguna Beach woman with a five carat diamond ring who ran her $100,000 Mercedes over Claire's foot on PCH the other day and fractured two of her toes in the three places.

We were supposed to drive two separate vehicles back, but now I'll be driving with the animals, while Claire flies, and some of our stuff is shipped. If all goes well we should be back next Thursday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dios Mio

Claire and I returned yesterday from a wonderful 8 days down in Mexico--a lot of sun, shrimp and tequila.

I've been on the computer almost non-stop since our return. The issue is getting there. I sent out the final round of acceptances and rejections. The issue is going to come out to be over 90 pages, almost 20 pages more than ever before (good news for the our readers, bad news for our bank account). But I think the issue will really be great. I've worked harder on this issue than any issue previous. Regina Godfrey has supplied us with another stunning cover. Bill and I will lay the issue out after my return to Portland (on June 3rd). From there it's off to the graphic designer, then to the printer, then proofs to the contributor's, back to the graphic designer, then finally to the printer. All by June 30th? That's the goal. We'll see.

The poetry chapbook contest is also in full swing. Paul Guest is judging this year and the entries are starting to pour in.

We're also in the process of bringing some new readers on to screen submissions.

Claire and I will be up in L.A. on Friday for our final farewell to the city.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

See You Later L.A.

We're out of here tomorrow. We've sold just about everything there is to sell, just a little packing and cleaning and left. My parents are coming up tomorrow to help us move down to O.C. for May. Unfortunately this week has been a waste. I came back from Big Bear with a stomach virus and was wiped out. It now seems as if Claire might finally be succumbing to it as well.

Here are just a few things I'm going to truly miss about L.A.

1. The Food-Even though Portland thinks it's a food town, it doesn't come close to L.A. I'll admit that as far as fine dining goes it might be a wash, but how often do you spend $100+ on a meal. The $10- or less options here are amazing--every nationality, every American classic, new discoveries on every block, at all hours, everyday. From In N' Out, to Lamonica's Pizza in Westwood, to taco stands everywhere, to Koreatown for bibimbap, to Philipe's for French dips, to Canter's pastrami , chopped liver and coleslaw on Rye, to Pink's chili-cheese dogs, to this little whole in the wall Japanese place in Los Feliz selling pork katsu for $3.60, to empanadas in Venice, the food here is amazing.

2. Hancock Park-Athene and I have spent on average 2 hours a day there, everyday, for the last 6 1/2 months. A wonderful, big, green park, surrounded by the La Brea tar pits. I've never once been hassled for having the dog off her leash. It's full of quiets spots where we can eat sticks and write.

3. LACMA-Claire and I got a membership when we first arrived (we live 6 blocks away). I've been there about 50 times and never get tired of it. They finished construction to the new building in February and doubled the size of the museum. The curators are constantly revolving exhibits (including an incredible one of James Ensor's work currently being shown). I've been working on series of poems based on a number of the pieces there.

4. Amount of things to do or not do on any given day.

5. Only working about 150 hours in the time I was here.

6. My good friend Toby Forrest

7. The number of beautiful women.

8. The sun.

What I won't miss-the traffic (the #1 worst thing out L.A.), parking, our asshole next door neighbor who bumps her fucking music all fucking day, the $$$ of just about everything.

Thank you to everybody who helped make this experience a great one for both Claire and myself. I'll keep updating the blog until the L.A. issue comes out late June/early July (we just got a poem from Ralph Angel!!) We're definitely sad to leave L.A., but who knows, maybe well shall return to stay.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wrapping Up

We've been busy around here, trying to get all over L.A. before we head down to O.C. on the 4th, then back to Portland June 1st. We've been exploring downtown (little Tokyo, the Toy and Fashion District, the great French dip sandwiches as Phillipe's), the Los Feliz-Silverlake-Echo Park area (likely where we'd want to live if we're ever to come back, the most Portlandy of all L.A.), a little bit of the beaches, and many areas in between. This last Saturday I was down at my parent's house, taking part in my first Passover seder since my teenage years. Then Claire, the dog (Athene) , cat (Odysseus) and I will be joining my parents, their dog, my sister, brother-in-law, my nephew Jack and their dog, at a rented Cabin in Big Bear this Thursday-Sunday. When we get back we only have a week in the apartment. This makes us both very sad.

We're getting through the last 100 or so submissions for the issue. We took a great poem from Carol Muske-Dukes and are trying to figure out a way to include a wonderful, but very long poem (likely 18 pages in our format) from Amy Gerstler. David St. John got his promised poems to us this week. This will truly be an all-star issue.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Santa Fe

For my birthday last week, Claire and my parents surprised me with a trip to Santa Fe. Claire and I got to spend three lovely days in the city. Even though I lived in Flagstaff for 6 years, it was my first time traveling there. It's an amazing and unique place; nothing but adobe houses, really great food (green chile every day!!), more galleries then anyplace I've ever been, beautiful landscape and amazing hiking.

We're down to about 3 weeks here in L.A. Something has happened to Claire and myself that we would have never imagined...we're sorry to be leaving. L.A. has far exceeded our expectations. Our lives are sitting in a 10 x 10 storage unit in Portland, so we need to go back. We're going to give it a year or so back home and then reaccess, hoping to be able to clearly see where our hearts truly lie. We're spending our free time exploring the city, finding all the great little pockets. Tonight we head to Koreatown with my sister, her husband and a couple of his Korean friends. I predict lots of Soju and barbecued meats.

Friday, April 4, 2008

My Reading This Saturday

For any of you in the L.A. I hope you'll come to my reading this Saturday. I'll be sharing the stage with fellow L.A. poets Marlys West, Julie Gamberg and Vandana Khanna. Here's your chance to switch positions and judge my work (I only ask that you keep the booing and hissing to a minimum as it's the first time my whole family will ever see me read). The reading takes place at Metropolis Books (downtown 4th and Main), 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. I'll have some issue of the Burnside Review to hand out for free (a blatant bribe).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Oh yeah, poetry

Seems as if the world of poetry has gone less noticed here lately.

I went to a good reading on Friday night at Beyond Baroque. The readers were Sarah Maclay (who read from her new book The White Bride), Stephen Kessler and Ralph Angel. Ralph Angel has a very strong following down here, though I admit that I didn't know all that much about him. He was wonderful. His poems are sparse, smart and heart breaking. He also translates Lorca, and read a few of those pieces (he's also promised a few for the issue!). I had a nice talk with him after the reading. He suggested that we meet for coffee in Pasadena.

Today is the final day to submit for the L.A. issue. We still have a ton of work to go through. Last week we took poems from Suzanne Lummis, Mary Armstrong, Larry Colker, the above mentioned Sarah Maclay and Deborah Meadows. A few more acceptance notes will go out this week.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Somthing About This Place

So they finished up shooting over at the park yesterday (I walked past Will Ferrell!). There's this older musician that sets up everyday of the week by the entrance to the La Brea tar pits with his guitar and banjo. He plays old folk songs targeted at the kids (and thus their parents) who frequent the museum. As I was leaving yesterday, I walked by him as usual, except this time he had hit the big time. Apparently the director had become smitten with him over the course of the week and decided that they needed him in the movie. There was a girl micing him up and getting him pretty, as others lit him.

L.A. effects you in that weird way. I've walked past dozens of movie/t.v. shoots since I've been here, lots of photographers. There's almost always that little wiggle in the back of the brain that says "well maybe they'll notice me". They haven't (except for my tremendous extra work earlier on this year). Not even the dog (who's cuter then me). But the thought (is it vanity?) is kind of exciting.

I went to see Bob Mould (of Husker Du fame) across the street at the El Rey a couple nights ago. I pray that I rock as hard when I'm his age.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Different World

They're filming some the Land of the Lost movie down the road from our apartment, at the Park that connects the La Brea tarpits (fitting) and LACMA. Also the park where the dog and I go twice a day. I was a fan of the Sid and Marty Kroft t.v. show, especially the Sleestacks and Chaka. Will Ferrell is staring in the movie. I was just a few sips into my coffee this morning when I passed Bob Balaban (he's been in most of Christopher Guest's movies, the old drama teacher in Waiting for Guffman and the guy in charge of getting the space ready for the Mayflower Dog Show in Best in Show) on his way to film a scene.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Congratulations Pedro Ponce

Aimee Bender has named Mr. Ponce and his fiction collection, Superstitions of Apartment Life, as the winner of the 2nd Annual Burnside Review Fiction Chapbook Contest. Pedro won $200- and we will be publishing his chapbook this summer.

Our 4th Annual Poetry Chapbook Contest started last week. Paul Guest is this year's judge. The contest runs through June 30th. All the details are on our website.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bad Words and Juicy Beef

We went to a reading late yesterday afternoon at cool bar down on La Cienega, The Mandrake. Unfortunately, the reading hosted by Black Clock was a bit of a snoozer. The theme of the new issue is travel. But the pieces hardly seemed to fit within the theme, certainly not on a literal level and barely on a figurative one.

The good news is that we had some fabulously delicious cheeseburgers afterwards at the Apple Pan on Pico. Old school place, tiny menu, top notch food, just how we like it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Not the beauty kind, although I could use a visit there, haven't had a hair cut in a while. One of these kinds: salon. Chris Davidson hosted it at his house down in Seal Beach. There was beer and wine, a house full of creative types and four presenters. There was a really great painter (whose name I can't even come close to remembering, maybe somebody will remind me), a musician (kind of had a Sondre Lerche thing going on) and two poets. Jeff Lytle just moved to Portland. This is his website, The Peter Principle, kind of an interactive poetry project. He presented the site through a projector and let the crowd navigate through the poems. Cody Gates, down from San Fransisco, read from his really beautifully designed new chapbook, At Bernanke's (I think that's right, if not please correct me).

Thanks to Chris for inviting me, it was a good time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Three good events going on tomorrow night: Matthew Zapruder is ready out in Palm Desert, Chris Davidson is hosting a salon down in Long Beach, and the MFA students from Cal Arts are reading at Skylight books. Gas being $3.63 a gallon down here is a major deterrent when deciding to get out of the city. But it's nice to have options.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Glorious, Glorious Sun

Today is one of those days that makes me think, "screw Portland."

My new state of unemployment might also have something to do with my good mood. A lot of people say that they can't not work, that they'd go crazy from the idle time. I am not one of those people. I think royalty would have been a good gig for me. Not to be king or anything with major decision making involved. Maybe a prince, like 10th in line to the crown. Live in a smallish castle on a little tucked away parcel of land with a couple servants.

Anyway...today is beautiful, about 75 and clear. Claire, the dog and I spent yesterday in Malibu. We went to the beach and then ate copious amount of fried seafood at Neptune's Net.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I only have another few days of work to go (big smile). I'm going to be spend the rest of my time down here enjoying the sun, finishing up my manuscript and attempting to get the issue wrapped up. After 4 months down here I feel like I'm finally talking to the right people and getting a lot of good work. We just took poems from Stephen Yenser, Ronald Koertge and Colette LaBouff Atkinson.

I'm going be reading with Julie Gamberg, Maryls West and Vandana Khanna on April 5th at Metropolis Books in downtown L.A. I'll report the specifics as the reading gets closer.

Monday, February 25, 2008

So Ill.

I was out for the count last week. A ear infection which plagued the whole family had me on the ropes, them some sort or flu sent me to the floor. I literally got nothing accomplished, missed to 2 good readings, and still can't taste food. Things seem to be turning around today, but I don't want to get too cocky.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beyond Baroque

Last night marked my first trip to Beyond Baroque, the 40 year old literary arts center in Venice Beach. Just about everybody has read there at some point, from Ashbery to Levine to Carver. Last nights reading was in honor of Suzanne Lummis, a long time teacher and organizer in Los Angeles. There were about eight readers who all read one of her poems and then one of their own. The place was packed, standing room only. For the first time in a L.A. I saw a real literary community, and a strong one, way stronger than anything we have in Portland. Most of the readings and workshops that take place there are free. Free. The instructors are successful teachers and poets and they seem to be turning out some good poets. (Most of the readings last night were actually good.)

In Portland you can go take a workshop at The Attic if you want to dish out over $300. And while they do pack them in, I think it's because there are no other options. They never host readings, I never hear of them doing any free events within the community. I think that there's room for something like this in Portland. I think the $$ could be raised either privately or publicly. Give me another head and another set of arms and I might give it go.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mr. Romance

Claire and I had a romantic dinner last night at the In-N-Out on Sunset. Not many better ways to spend an evening. Earlier we went to the Ace Gallery (literary 1/2 block away from our front door). There currently and amazing installation, "Bees and Meat" by a woman named Lauren Bon. Unlike anything ever. My favorite piece is kind of hard to describe, but here goes: so there's this lamb carcass (the wool and head are used in other pieces) that's kind of speared by a eight foot long metal pole, the pole is vertical, hollow and fits into a box, the top of the pole has something like akin to a giant shower head attached to it...then the honey. There's a pump somewhere that pumps the honey up the tube, where it kind of slowly streams out of the "shower head" and onto the lamb carcases, then after doing all kind of crazy things on the carcass, drips down into the box to start all over. The exhibit has been running for a while now, so the honey is really light in color from all the air that been incorporated. The room smells extremely sweet. There are a number of other really cool things as well, including a giant room full of millions of corn kernels that we're grown in a 32 acre plot of land in downtown L.A.

We just found out today that we won a small grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. We're very appreciative. Martha Ronk sent us 3 terrific poems that were excited to include in the L.A. issue.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Oh Portland.

Looks like we've settled on June 1st as the return date to Portland. I think we'll be ready by that point. There's certainly a lot to like about living here-mainly the proximity to my family, but also the weather, a lot of good people, and all the other exciting things that a big city allows. But neither Claire nor I have found much happiness with either of our jobs (I've come to hate downtown L.A. businessmen. They redefine egocentricity and cheapness!). And the economic realities down here are a little too much for us, the never a 9-to-5'ers. The both of us will take at least April off of work to just run around the city. Then in May we'll be spending two weeks traveling up the east coast from D.C. to Montreal.

In other news...we had pig brains for breakfast. Claire came home from work the other day with the head and trotters of a suckling pig. While I am a lover of kinds of crazy food, offal, all kinds of stinky fish and cheese, etc., I have to admit that the brains were fairly gross in just about every way imaginable.

I just finished transcribing the Wanda Coleman interview. While I have to pair it down some, my impression is that the end product will be very interesting. It will be unlike any interview that we've ever published.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Back to L.A.

Back from AWP. It was a great experience and if all goes well throughout the upcoming year we'll be in Chicago in '09.

The venue was huge, we kind of got a crappy spot for the table (on the 3rd floor, toward the back corner), the days we're long (9 hour a day), yet it was a lot fun. Around 20 past contributor's came by the table to introduce themselves and it was great to put a face with a name. I met a lot of other independent journal editors and got share stories of struggle. Leslie Jamison (winner of last year's fiction prize) sat and signed with us. Unfortunately, Laurel Snyder (who was scheduled to sign with us) couldn't make it. Lots of disappointed fans dropped by the table. Fellow Portland B.T. Shaw was there signing her hot off the press Blue Lynx winning book, This Dirty Little Heart (I got a signed copy). We sold quite a few current and past issue. There were lots and lots of nice words in appreciation for what we do, which is always wonderful to hear. A lot of focused on our always appealing size and aesthetic (which our amazing graphic artist, Regina Godfrey, is largely responsible for).

NYC was cold. My room was incredibly small (about 7'x8). The food was as mouth watering as always (with the exception of the stuff at convention center) and deserves it own entry. Virginia's company was fantastic. The give aways were ample (my suitcases almost weighing as much returning as going). Next year Bill Bogart is going to be there with me, even if I have to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart, stuff him in an extra long duffel bag and put him on the plane.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Off To AWP

I leave around 6:00 am tomorrow morning, lugging with me about 120 copies of the last 3 issues, about 75 chapbooks and T-shirts (avoiding the ridiculous AWP shipping costs). Naturally, I pinched a nerve in my neck yesterday and can barely turn my head.

We're at table 477 in the Americas Hall II. Issues and chapbooks will be one sale for only $5-. Make sure to come by say hello if you're there.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


One of my oldest friends called me up at 6:30 last night saying that someone had give him four tickets to the Laker game. I hopped on the bus and we walked in at tip-off. 4th row! Great seats across from the Laker's bench. They won fairly easy. Beers were only $10.50 a pop. Noticeable star sightings included, Flea, Joel Silver and B-Real. I ended up in Santa Monica, with people annoyingly drunk who got kicked out of the bar we were in. Claire had to come rescue me.

Friday, January 18, 2008

These Days

We only have 1 vehicle and most nights Claire takes it with her to work. And while most Los Angeleans would say that man without a car in this city is like parrot inside a cage within the Amazon forest, I've come to enjoy it, it's a different kind of freedom. My new favorite pastime is having 2-3 drinks, then talking long walks while listening to melancholy music on the ipod. I usually walk through The Grove, Farmer's Market, up Fairfax, on Beverly, sometimes up and down Melrose or La Cienega. The people always beautiful. I've been listening the usual kind of stuff, Leonard Cohen, Kinks, basically anything Wes Anderson has ever put on a sound track (Simon & Garfinkel's "The Only Living Boy in NY, Nico's "These Days"). But also Pedro the Lion, The National's new excellent album, Okkervil River, and my super duper favorite, Songs: Ohia's Magnolia Electric Co. The movement combined with the contradiction of sight and sound is very enjoyable, invigorating even.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting Ready

I leave for AWP in less then 2 weeks. We're (Virginia Mix will be assisting me) at table 477 in the Americas Hall II. Make sure to drop by and say hello if you're going to be there. The current and past issues will be on sale at a reduced price. Shipping prices are freaking ridiculous, so I'm cramming my suitcases full of issues and trudging them through the New York winter. Our table will be about as bare boned as possible. I'll have to wear extra eye make-up to pretty things up.

We just took poems from Christopher Buckley and Tony Barnstone for the L.A issue. I just heard from Martha Ronk and she promised some work.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Alice Fulton...

...just read tonight at the Hammer Museum. The space the reading was in was a lot better than when I saw Terrance Hayes read there. Instead of a movie theater type setting, the it was held in this large, somewhat industrial room (exposed beams and concrete).

The reading seemed rehearsed to me. She had very long introductions to every poem and each one seemed rehearsed, formal, anything but conversational. Three of the poems had musical accompaniment. She's been working with the electronic musician Joseph Klein on a number of collaborations (he wasn't there, the recording played as she read). I was very skeptical as she was describing them, but they actually ended up being my favorite pieces. While most of the poems she read were about personal experience and were written in the first person, I found the poems to be impersonal (I need at least a smidgen of sentiment in my poems). I don't know her poetry well and am not commenting on her work in total, just what I heard tonight. She does however have a wonderful reading voice. I asked to come over later and read to me before bed, but she politely declined.

Monday, January 7, 2008

California Eating

Claire treated me to dinner last night at Lucques. On Sunday they do a 3 course dinner. The restaurant is beautiful (it was the Harold Lloyd's carriage house) and the food and wine were great.

Claire flew out to Oakland with two other lady cooks from Lucques today, to go to dinner tonight at Alice Water's Chez Panisse. It's been a long time dream of Claire's to eat there and Alice will be there tonight and Claire will very likely have the opportunity to meet with her.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Wanda Coleman Interview

I met Wanda Coleman and her husband, poet Austin Strauss, today at Jerry's Deli in Marina Del Rey. We sat down and did the interview over a rueben and a cup of coffee. She was terrific, open and honest, full of insight in regards to L.A., it's history, the world of poetry here over the last 40 years, etc. I haven't sat down and listened to the recording, but I my sense is that it will translate well to paper. I stayed away from the obvious questions (the Maya Angelou interview) and focused on L.A. She's sending some new poems and a short piece of fiction this week.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Irresponsible Blogger

It's been a busy couple of weeks, between Christmas and New Years, lots of family and friends in town. Regular posting should return within the next couple of days.