Sunday, October 30, 2005


Today Matthew and Deborah confirmed that they will come all the way down to DC from NYC to take it off for us (check for more on that!). Gilda and I are giddy about that and just discovered we both have a pension for cupcakes. I just finished grading all my students' poetry papers and am busy getting stuff together for the Jewish Literary Festival. I also bought some new boots with my bar money from the week. Did I mention I think I'm Carrie from Sex and the City? Though personally, I think I have a bit more substance and that I'm a better writer. Though, I think she still has me on shoes and clothes...

Friday, October 28, 2005

The DCJCC Literary Festival

Writing from the Fringe: A Collaborative Poetry Workshop
With Carly Sachs
Wednesday, November 9, 6:00 pm
Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW (Corner of 16th and Q, Dupont metro)

What would Abraham do while waiting in line to buy groceries? Or what if Sarah was stuck in a traffic jam? Take a fresh approach to writing in this poetry workshop, using the characters, themes and language of traditional Jewish texts to generate your own original work. Weaving together their individual poems, workshop participants will create a collaborative piece to share at “SLAM! Spoken Words from the Fringe” on Saturday night (see below). Use this opportunity to get your creative juices flowing—and to see your own words as part of a larger shared text. Carly Sachs is a writer and creative writing teacher at George Washington University.

SLAM! Spoken Words from the Fringe
With Matthue Roth and Ruby K
Saturday, November 12, 7:00 pm
Teaism, 400 8th Street NW (Gallery Place/Chinatown metro)
FREE (food and drink not included)

Performance poet and novelist Matthue Roth offers his hilarious and sometimes shocking views on Jewish life, relationships and the world. Jewish organizer and award-winning slam poet Ruby K opens the evening. Step up to the microphone to share your own poetry or just enjoy the food, drinks and atmosphere at Teaism, DC’s happening teahouse and restaurant. Please contact Andrew Ratner at if you are interested in reading during the open mic.

For full schedule and ticket information for the Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival, see

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rouge Rouge Rouge

Tomorrow night will be another one of our infamous movie nights. The featured drink will be a sweet transvestite...any guesses for the feature film? Seems like I've been haunting the Rouge more and more but I can now say I'm a bona fide bartender. Yeah, I'm nobody's cocktail anymore! Last Saturday I learned that my flower guy's name is Sahid and he teaches high school french. I think we underestimate people---or rather, we don't spend enough time getting to know who they really are. We make careless assumptions. In doing that we lose our humanity. This week my students have been giving their poetry presentations---many of them in their papers express the importance of being able to spend so much time with one poet, so that you get to know them in a way. They have been sharing good poems, some that I will add into the syllabus and fun writing exercises: some being the mad lib poem and the pretend you're on acid like a beat poet, but don't actually do the acid, that is unless you think it would help your funny they are when they talk about drugs and sex. And how wonderful their imitation poems are. I really think they help you open up your writing--almost like playing dress up. So go out, be wild, put on your best poet garb and come meet me in the Rouge for a drink Thursday through Saturday. On another note, now that I have spider mums, I don't have any spiders. Though I think it's more the cold...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

And We also Lose a Cell Phone

Last night while talking to Jillian, the phone jumped out from between my ear and shoulder and leapt to its death on the concrete. It smashed in many pieces and therefore you will not be able to call me. Overall, I think it's a funny story. Really.

Friday, October 21, 2005

We Lose Another Ohio Poet

The News and Other Poems.
Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002. PS3553 .I86 N49 2002.

Do we miss a thing we love less
if, in going away from us, it grows beautiful?
It rainedall weekend, and the leaves
this morning are going
from brown and tan to crimson.
The splendor flaming from
these trees compensates us,
nearly, for what autumn takes
leaf by leaf, the lined white face
of a father growing noble
the angrier, more confused
he goes, rain like angry bees,
his empty eyes, a cold wind
coming on like dementia.

("A Brief History of Fathers")

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Me with Tractor

Isn't it funny how we can feel large and small at the same time? Today walking back from class, I was behind two 7th grade boys and listening to their conversation, I was amazed at how they talked about adult things--I picked up on gambling and poker, but how young they sounded...and that they were taller than me. Then, again, there's not much shorter than me. And before class, I spent the morning talking about William Carlos Williams and NYC pizza--how he identitifies as a poet even though he was a doctor and how DC's pizza is lame. And how for me, poetry and pizza resonate in a strange way---perhaps b/c I did my MFA in the city and I was always running around between work, class, and readings, that I ate a lot of pizza at the same time I was writing a lot of poetry...and how this really doesn't have anything to do with me standing next to a class we talked about free verse and fugue--the means in which we can move from one event to another, how repetition works to create resonance and depth and how tangentally we can make connections of a sequence of items that may or may not have like qualities--when we look at our lives through examination of details and images, and as human beings we want to make some sense of it---from the large things to the small. Hence, me and the tractor or is it, the tractor and I?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Timeless Sh*t

I am still reeling from the Rod Smith/Amiri Baraka reading last night at Georgetown. Enchanting is not the right word. There were poems about toads and third world countries and Baraka read his infamous 9-11 poem. I'm still not quite sure how to respond. One of my friends asked me why I would even go (b/c of his anti-semitism) and true, I can't say that I was looking forward to this reading in the way I am about others. Mostly, I was anxious b/c both of these readers put you on edge. They are loud and are not afraid to offend. In fact, I think they prefer it. I'm not loud and I believe in saying what you believe in as much as the next gal, but I think more so, I believe that one should argue quietly--drop images that make you shiver and question. Let me rephrase that---that's how I prefer the polical and the violent in my poems. I don't think I will ever write like these poets. Nonetheless, I bought Rod's CD and I'm chuckling along with it. That's an ingredient I like. We laugh a lot in my class. Today we laughed about midgets and poo---yes, this is what we discuss in academia. I had my students try to break the ice and do some oral storytelling. The subject matter itself wasn't pretty, but they captured small moments of what it means to be a human, to be alive and to encounter strange and uncomfortable situations. And though unlike the Baraka/Smith reading, where I can't really remember details but where I can remember how they read--the music of language, the snapping of words, where they mind breaks open and the poet becomes vessel, more than just a feeling about language, I will hang on to today's class. And just like Baraka and Smith, they enraptured each other in their telling and I'm sure everyone will remember the poo at the opera story for a while. I also made my famous pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

Monday, October 17, 2005

At the pumpkin patch

Yes, the Rouge gals do go country! We even found some red pumpkins for the Rouge--seriously, I didn't know that they existed. It's always wonderful to find something you didn't know existed. Though we weren't the only ones making asses out of ourselves...see?

Jumbo's Pumpkin patch came complete with pumpkins, pigs, and donkey's oh my! I think the words hee haw also need to be in a poem. And on that note, last night one of my cousin's friends told me about this thing called and i am almost thinking of giving my students the assignment to write a poem with at least three words they found on there...or perhaps a fun exercise for my readers to try :)

Here's mine:

Katelyn and I were going way past double nickel,

wanted to get to Jumbo's mad fast,

their pumpkins are B-bobbin shizle biscuit

and the ass there is bootylicious. Hee Haw!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I have an Idea!

But I can't figure out how to flip my idea around...this picture was taken at Jillian and Clinton's place (what a great lanp)...but it prompted me to meditate a bit on ideas. I'm a firm believer in ideas and in bringing ideas into fruition. Take my mother for example---she's finally taking her MBA business plan into consideration--homemade applesauce and other assorted sundries. And moving it from plan/paper to reality. Perhaps everyone in Youngstown will get to taste what she has to offer. Then there is Michael who is living his dream of creating his own business, and Jillian who just bought a new loom, I wonder what ideas she will sew, what kind of a life she will weave for herself---and me, bartending and GW. Though I'm idealizing these ideas here, I know that we all face so many challenges that come along with these big dreams. It's not an easy road, but a rewarding one. Someone once told me to find what you love and then figure out how to make a living from that. It's a simple recipe, but more complicated to actually execute. It makes me think again of the words of Maj Ragain, of planting roots and making your whole life the cultivation of those seeds. Today I bought lilies--a stalk of buds and already they have started to open--all week, I will watch them unfold and flower. That is before cutting them and putting them in my head (see? I have all kinds of things growing up there).

Monday, October 10, 2005

Autumn Has Arrived in DC

I opened the door on Sunday and was greeted with that crisp air--for some reason autumn always makes me hopeful and cheerful. Something about the scent of leaves, that cold has a smell. More than that I think it makes me sentimental. I remember what it felt like in Kent, to be walking to class on a fall day. Maybe fall reminds me of the academic life. Of campuses and knowlegde and books. That same feeling was there when I was in NYC, bopping around the Village or the Upper East Side. Nothing was better than pumpkin spice coffee from Rohr's, which reminded me pumpkin spice at the Zephyr. And here, I order it online and come home or wake up to it as it fills the apartment. Not much and everything has changed. Now I'm walking around Foggy Bottom and have settled into the life of part time professor. Just got my section of CW for the spring---a M/F and perhaps will also be teaching 2 (though it depends what everyone else wants as spring semester we move from 18 sections to 12 sections of the intro class). And with the promise of autumn and another semester here come more publications. A sestina in McSweeney's and my first piece of fiction in New Voices! I spent the day working on a revision of my story, A Summer Fabric--though I'm thinking of calling it something else. I have until the 17th to get it as right as I can.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I was so drunk I ate a bunny

Ok, that's not exactly the truth. I prefer to think of it as a culinary experience. It is not often that you do not order the rabbit and then end up with the rabbit. Ramona is still seething at me. I am still pretending it was chicken. Here's the truth. Jean came to town and we were doing it up on the town at Poste (my new favorite DC restaurant). We also had a reason to of my poems was accepted in McSweeney's (the sestina issue). That happened after I had made the reservation, but no matter and no rain was going to stop us. Here is what we looked like at the end of the night---see no drunk bunny's here, though I did have a few cocktails. Pumpkin and pear martinis oh my! And I'm awake before 10 am on a Saturday. So we sit in our booth drinking our fabulous cocktails and then all of a sudden food we didn't order starts coming out so we can try things. It's amazing---the women at the other table were jealous. We were as good as rockstars, no...better! I was feeling pretty good about all of this until the rabbit came. What I pickle...I couldn't say oh no, I don't eat rabbit and insult the chef. So, I ordered another martini and presto chango, I was sedated enough to pick up my fork and tell myself...mmm, chicken. There are many little white lies (kind of like little cute white rabbits) we tell ourselves to get through life. I started thinking about why I needed that one...why are there certain things foreign to us that we have to trick ourselves into thinking they're ok? Perhaps its a trust issue---but we had put ourselves in good hands---Jason our server said we were family---one big Kimpton family :). As sweet as my concord grape cheesecake.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Unlikely Pairings

In writing, I always tell my students that it is contrast that makes something interesting--that a poem or story that has contradictions is one that hits home the most. What I mean is that, sometimes one thing is necessary to bring out the other. Shakespeare did it with Foils and what's good enough to work for him, is good enough to work for them. And it is these contrasts that also work well in food (think chocolate covered pretzels). Last night I had vanilla gelato with aged balsamic vinegar on top. But don't try this one at home kiddies. Apparently it is the rare and aged vinegar from Italy's belly that makes this one work. Though, you know me, I'm going to try it with ice cream and the cheap grocery stuff just to make sure the waiter at Dino is right on the money. And it is also the time of the year to be thinking of contrasts--it's human nature to contradict ourselves. The Jewish Holidays always have me questioning who it is I am and who is it I want to be. When we were younger, being right was pretty much black and white---but I think this is misconception. G-d gives us the examples in the Torah of people being righteous and unjust and the decisions they make are not simple. Next month I will be teaching a workshop at the Jewish Literary festival and so I have been reading up on the ancestors. Particularly Abraham and Sarah. They fumble--they haven't been able to conceive and so Sarah gives Hagar to her husband--perhaps too soon, as G-d will help her later on. The sages discuss her lack of faith, but how much do we leave in G-d's hands and how long before we roll up our sleeves and do the best we can? I think there is a another story here, one that we don't talk about and one that may have some more relevance to us now. Though I'm by far not a scholar in these matters, I propose we interact more with these texts, to roll up our own sleeves and engage in the study of something that matters.

And in these matters, I need some help---if anyone knows of any poems that deal with Biblical texts, please pass them on to me as I'm looking for some examples for this workshop.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Erev Rosh Hashanah

I began my celebration of the new year by taking myself to see Everything is Illuminated--the book is way better...but then again, they always are. Later on this evening I celebrated by having a $10 shake at the diner. Chocolate ice cream and 2 shots of Jim Beam. In between the movie and the bourbon, I started sending out the steam sequence---new year, hopefully new book. Shana Tova and Laila Tova :)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tea as Narrative

Today I had lunch at ching ching CHA (a Chinese tea house). I wanted as my jasmine blossom unfolded for me and as my friend poured his tea from the clay pot into another pot and then into a holding cup and then the small saucer in which he drank the tea from, I found a sense of beauty and calm amid all the spastic breaths I've been taking. It was as if each of us had a metaphor for drinking our tea a certain way, or perhaps the one for the ways in which we try to carry out our lives. That which opens and slowly unfolds, and that which is about movement and continuity. In this I find the treads for story, for meaning.

I have a glass tea pot at home. One that I bought when Brady's closed in Kent and have never used. It just didn't seem right to drink regular tea from it. Last week it was irises. This week it is orange blossoms that make tea. I think of simplicity--of how much it means to really talk with someone and to be amazed by another.

I received my first copy of The Sun magazine in the mail and have already read the entire thing. None of that, flip flip, only read this, flip flip, look at the pictures stuff. It's quite an exquisite publication--it reminded me of Kent, the place that taught me that writing comes from the heart--poetry, fiction, non-fiction. No matter, whether the ocean or the flower, a true story is unfolding. And in light of the metaphors flying around like butterflies (DC is full of them now...I see at least one a day), I'll let you lead yourself towards the sun. No easy links this time.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Pilates and Pumpkin Spice Muffins

A wonderful Saturday morning combo...and visiting my favorite flower guy. Today I have hydrangeas, three ways: blue, pink, and white. The Manage of the flower world...and I got the red daisies for free...I guess you could say I'm becoming a regular. There is just something about having fresh flowers in the apartment and in the hair!!! Don't worry, they match my red top for the Rouge tonight. I'm trying to embody the philosophy of trying to stop and smell the flowers, and encourage others to do so as well--it's easier when they're in my head...I'm learning by osmosis you know...