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.