Archive | June, 2013

A New Nephew

28 Jun

In the Hours

–          for Wesley Edward

In the hours before you were born

I was underground, riding the subway

and trying to learn how this universe

that you are now a part of

like the planets

and the willow trees

and me

and her

and him

began

which is not an easy thing to do.

 

Beginnings are always the hardest.

 

This universe began

almost without reason or possibility.

 

At first there was nothing

and then there was something.

A something that grew to be filled with fireflies

and creaking steps

and the sea, which still waits to greet you.

 

A something that grew

the way you will grow to be filled with stories

to hear and tell and remember.

Stories that will save you one day

when you will hold in your open hands

all the hope you can carry.

 

The universe starts like a story

At first there was nothing,

and then there was something.

 

A something with sisters

and tin cans and secrets whispered

between the cracks in the doors.

A language that can change you.

We are only made of words and wishes

bound tight in courage.

 

A something with courage, yes

to dance and to tumble

to rule like a summer king

to fight and to fly

in the days that will come.

 

A something we didn’t know

we needed until just

now.

 

This is your story, Wes.

And this is how it begins.

The Blue Hour Anthology Volume Two Pre-order, AKA the onus is on us

25 Jun

Image of The Blue Hour Anthology Volume Two

The Blue Hour, which is truly a great press, now has their second Anthology available for pre-order. I’m not saying you should get it cause they were kind enough to include me, but because it is a solid intense moving collection of poetry. And because if we don’t support small presses giving voice to new writers and artists, then who will?

The onus is on us – if you care about art or you make art – you have entered into a contract by which you will support art.

Ms. Moriah LaChapell Shalock posted the following quote on facebook and it deserves repeating:

Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo

-Don Marquis

All the information you could possibly need is here:

The Blue Hour Anthology Volume Two Pre-order.

While you’re thinking about it, check out the first anthology and Better Cigarettes and Other Poems by Phillip Vermass who also runs Misfit’s Miscellany.

Really good stuff.

Don’t let the echo go unheard.

Poem – Savagery

21 Jun

File:Pigeons taking off.jpg

 

Savagery

 

While I understand

it is a savagery

that overtime will be

abated

though not

extinguished

and that it grows from

intuition

and not

understanding

I still find it terrifyingly poignant

to watch a shrieking toddler

chase a pigeon

with such ferocious determination

 

as if

were he able

he would catch each of us

and crush us

between

those sticky

little fingers.

Six Gallery Bowie

20 Jun

So back in 2008, Six Gallery Press published my first (and currently only) book of poems entitled The Wanting Bone.

Why am I telling you this? Cause they got a new blog and I think you should check it out.

They publish really great writers like John Grochalski (who in full disclosure I am married to, but my opinion of his writing is totally unbiased, I swear) and Don Wentworth (who not only is a fantastic poet but runs Lilliput Review one of my favorite mags) and Scott Silsbe and Jason Baldinger and Jonathan Moody and Kris Collins and lots and lots of other really really great writers.

Prove it, you say? Here, in fact, is a bit of that pudding:

Stop counting syllables

Start counting the dead

                             – From Past All Traps by Don Wentworth

History isn’t like us at all, it seems. And lately,

it’s hard to tell who’s doing the remembering anyway.

At any rate, the chalkboards tire of synonyms.

and all those left behind mourn less and less.

Everything’s erasable for someone at a dead end.

No regrets this year. Better luck next time.

                                           – From Beyond Naming by Scott Silsbe

See? Really great stuff.

In other non related news, here’s some Bowie. Why? Because…it’s Bowie.

The thing I love about this video is that even though Tilda Swinton is in it, I’m still not convinced that she and david bowie are not the same person

Point Mass Anthology

19 Jun

Since my last post was so long, I’ll keep this one short.

I just wanted to say thank you to AJ Huffman at Kind of a Hurricane press for including my poem, Astronaut in her anthology Point Mass.

You can download the whole thing here for free or you can buy a paperback copy from Amazon.

See? Nice and short.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

13 Jun

The title is an Einstein quote.

Put on your smarty glasses kids. We’re gonna talk about Research.

Suzzallo library of the University of Washington, Seattle WA

The reading room of the Suzzallo library of the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, was built in 1926 and has a Gothic interieur. Photography by Cap’n Surly Flickr.com

One of my favorite parts about writing a book is doing the research. When I was writing Lizzy I spent hours looking up mythological creatures and Shakespeare in the library. I used books like Barthe’s and the Encyclopedia of Imaginary Places and books on how keys were invented and books about Elizabethan England and it was tons of fun.

So for my new book, Palimpsest (which I’ve talked about a little here and here and here ) I present my currently reading or recently read research list:

There’s probably a few that I’m missing….

And I’ve also branched out into podcasts on topics that I want to include like time travel, and memory, how the universe came into existence and the multiverse and doppelgangers and how our brains are wired and… and… and…

You know, easy stuff.

So I discovered RadioLab which is my new obsession. They define themselves as a show about curiosity and that is without a doubt the simplest way to put it. Here a few of my favorites. All the descriptions are from the Radiolab website. I embedded what I could for your listening pleasure.

Memory and Forgetting  

This hour of Radiolab, a look behind the curtain of how memories are made…and forgotten. Remembering is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process–it’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated, and false ones added. And Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7-second memory

Memory and Forgetting includes Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Rat, Adding Memory and Clive which are parsed out below.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Rat

What is a memory? Science writer Jonah Lehrer tells us is it’s a physical thing in the brain… not some ephemeral flash. It’s a concrete thing made of matter. And NYU neuroscientist Joe LeDoux, who studies fear memories in rats, tells us how with a one shock, one tone, and one drug injection, you can bust up this piece of matter, and prevent a rat from every making a memory. LeDoux’s research goes sci-fi, when he and his colleague Karim Nader start trying to erase memories. And Nader applies this research to humans suffering from PTSD.

(This podcast was what lead me to read Jonah Lehrer’s book, Proust was a Neuroscientist)

Clive

The story of a man who’s lost everything. Clive Wearing has what Oliver Sacks calls “the most severe case of amnesia ever documented.” Clive’s wife, Deborah Wearing, tells us the story along with Oliver Sacks. And they try to understand why, amidst so much forgetting, Clive remembers two things: Music and Love.

(This podcast is what lead me to read her book listed above, Forever Today)

Adding Memory

We start this section off with a question from writer Andrei Codrescu“where do computers get their extra memory from?” And then we take it literally. Can you add memories?Dr. Elizabeth Loftus says yes. She’s a psychologist in the department of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California at Irvine, and her research shows that you can implant memories—wholly false memories—pretty easily into the brains of humans. Her work challenges the reliability of eye-witness testimony, and is so controversial that she once had to call the bomb squad. Then, producer Neda Pourangbrings us the story of finding a lost memory. Painter Joe Andoe incessantly paints huge canvasses of seemingly random images: horses, pastures, and – more recently – a girl with a particular about-to-say-something look on her face. He didn’t realize until recently that he’d been painting a day from his past, a fragment of an afternoon 30 years earlier.

The (Mutli) Universe(s)

Robert and Brian Greene discuss what’s beyond the horizon of our universe, what you might wear in infinite universes with finite pairs of designer shoes, and why the Universe and swiss cheese have more in common than you think.

Have you wondered if there is another you out there? Somewhere? Sitting in the same chair, reading the same blog post, wearing the same clothes and thinking the same thoughts? Well, Brian Greene says there must be one. Or two. Or lots and lots and lots and lots and… Why? You ask, well listen to Greene’s argument in this week’s podcast.

We are still furiously working on Season 5, so while you wait we bring you today’s podcast of a conversation between Robert Krulwich and Brian Greene, physics and mathematics professor and director of the Institute of Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics at Columbia University. The interview is part of a series called ‘Giants of Science‘ hosted by venerable New York institution, the 92nd St Y.

(Brian Greene wrote Elegant Universe from the list above)

And of course never underestimate the power of Wine + Doctor Who = Mind Blown when it comes to ideas. Big ball of wibbley wobbley timey wimey….stuff.

Research is one of my favorite parts because it’s when my books and my desk get covered in post-it notes and ideas are popping up like little delicious bubbles all over the place and I drive my poor husband crazy talking about it. The hard part is mashing it all together. That’s the point when I start to think that maybe, just maybe, I’m not clever enough to pull this off!

Nine Years Later

12 Jun

Anniversary

“I’ll wait for you. And should I fall behind wait for me”

-Bruce Springsteen

We clink glasses,

exhausted from another late night

in a long week

and I tell you that 9 years ago tomorrow

we were in New Orleans

me feeling sick

from the heat but soon sicker

from eating year old cake.

And you smile.

And then you tell me

where we were every year since

2006 was Monroe

2007 was Brooklyn

just like 08

but 09 was New Orleans again

and 10, and 11 we did dinner at

that new brick oven pizza place in our neighborhood

carried flowers, crossed bridges

12 was Florence

and I smile

thinking about standing there, outside

the Thai place in Pittsburgh sixteen years ago

our first dinner finished

the wine all drank

when you said

What do you want to do now?

And I said,

It doesn’t matter.

As long as it

doesn’t involve me going one way

and you going another.

And it hasn’t love,

It hasn’t.

A song, a picture and a poem

11 Jun

A song, a picture and a poem. It’s up to you to decide how they fit together.

Subway Opera

 

I tell myself that I can handle this.

He’s just sick

speaking French to me, frantically

his dark hands fluttering

his chapped lips so close to my cheek

they’ll catch in my hair.

 

This is part of life in this city.

 

I count down from ten

close my book

and then give up my seat,

pushing my way through the

crowds of after work weary.

 

They part, disgruntledly

for me and my French King

who is now following me,

stepping where I step, still

talking

always talking

hands moving.

 

We are stalled here, waiting on the next

express train and then the next

and then the one after that.

 

I step out onto the platform

and cut into the next subway car,

and he comes with me,

my French King.

He is singing me love songs now

 

Je vais vous tuer dans votre sommeil

 

He is promising me a lifetime of love

if he can just bite off the tip of each of my fingers.

He will build me a castle in the clouds

if I will live one year in the tunnels with him and the other  monsters.

His own hands fluttering behind me

in time with my heart.

 

He wants to know why. Why? Why?

Pourquoi? Pourqoui? Ou vas-tu ma chere?

Where? Where?

 

I promise, yes, yes, my King. Whatever you wish.

Just leave me be.

And weave into the next car

 

Where he joins me and it is no better.

People wait and they watch us

waiting for my French King and I to set

down the money can

and perform for you

a broken ragdoll opera

 

I as the Queen

he as the King

 

The steady thump of my heart

is the drumbeat

in this song

 

His French words

the melody

 

My fear,

the high wavering violin that plays for all of us

 

and our dance, lasting well into the night

 

even hours later on the couch,

with my husband’s warm hand on my leg

and the King’s whisper still there

brushing my cheek

cooling the once hot tea in my hand.

 

 

Interview at Reading Lark

8 Jun

will1.jpg

‘Ello kids.

Just wanted to give you a quick heads up to let you know that the nice folks over at Reading Lark invited me for a chat.

And they offered to do a giveaway so you can win a copy of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb.

And there is still a giveaway going on over at Buried in Books.

Double your luck.

Or double down.

Or double mint gum.

I don’t know. Double something!

And cause our momma’s raised us right, we say Thank You to the fine birds at Reading Lark with candy.

Starburst

Peace and love and starbursts,

Ally

Guest Post at Buried in Books

6 Jun

SAM_2072

‘Ello kiddies!

I’m over at Buried in Books today talking about writing. Shocker, right?

But I won’t tell you exactly what I’m talking about other than the answers to all your novel-writing questions are there.

One of the comments someone left says “I adore this guest post because it’s SO DANG TRUE!”

You know I wouldn’t make that up. Prepare to be wowed!

Also there’s a giveaway so you can put in to win a copy of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb.

See, new knowledge AND a free book. And you thought nothing fun would happen today.

As always we say thanks to Heather with candy!

Starburst

Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

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