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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Black Tongue's New Issue

I have been a fan of S.Marie Clay's Black Tongue Review since I first ran across it. Pairing artwork with poetry, this journal stretches the interpretations of both pieces of the equation.

The new issue went live this week, with poems by Rae Armantrout and Nin Andrews, paired with the artwork of Lara Zankoul and Sophie Lécuyer / Farid Rasulov (respectively). Other featured poets include Maureen Seaton, Molly Bendall, Jane Wong, Kim Kyung Ju, Brittany Tomaselli, and more.

Artists whose work particularly captured my imagination include Omid Asadi (seriously, check this out--he cuts tiny designs out of actual leaves), Ashwini Bhat (a favorite of my husband's), Stephanie Inagaki, Polly Morgan, and Travis Bedelgeuse.

And I couldn't be more thrilled to have my poem "A Metronome is the Opposite of Wind" paired with the vibrant and intricate paperwork of Yulia Brodskaya. Here's a little bit about Yulia:

"Yulia Brodskaya is a highly regarded paper artist and illustrator with a long list of international clients. She uses two simple materials--paper and glue, and a simple technique that involves the placement of carefully cut and bent strips of paper--to make lush, vibrant, three-dimensional paper artworks." See more of Yulia's work and learn about her here.

Science & Poetry: Take Four

Three items weaving together science and poetry:

1) An interview with poet Sarah Henning at The Rappahannock Review. Sarah started her college career as a Genetics major, and is currently a doctoral student in English and Creative Writing at the University of South Dakota. In this interview she discusses how she uses animal physiology, astrophysics, and neurochemistry in her poetry.

2) Slipstream is currently reading for Issue #35, which will be published in 2015. They seek poetry that explores the theme "elements." Creative interpretations are welcome. Submit up to five (5) poems in one document file only. They also are seeking artwork for the issue. Refer to their submission guidelines on their web site ( Deadline May 1st.

3) Incessant Pipe is sponsoring a poetry contest with the theme of Venus. It will be judged by Dara Wier. No entrance fee, and the winner receives $250. Deadline April 15th.

4) Performance poet Harry Baker offers a poem about prime numbers for TedTalks. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Big Poetry Giveaway 2015


Welcome to the Big Poetry Giveaway 2015, organized by poet Kelli Russell Agodon. I'm excited to participate this year by giving away a book of poetry to two lucky winners living anywhere in the world (one book to each of two winners). 

To enter my giveaway, please leave your name and email address by midnight , APRIL 30th, 2015 below in the comment section of this post. I'll randomly choose  the two lucky winners during the week of May 1st, 2015, and will notify them by email.

Here are the books I'm giving away this year:

1) Mendeleev's Mandala, by me (Jessica Goodfellow). This book is just out (Mayapple Press, 2015). Here's what is being said about it:

This book is a library whittled down to a message in a bottle. Here is a poet who has boldly refused to abide to the expectations of genre—but instead, pushes language and form as a means of asking the most urgent questions. The result is a courageous and kaleidoscopic, at times tender and vulnerable, exploration of motherhood and family—set against the backdrops of science, history, religion, myths, and mathematics. Ocean Vuong, author of Night Sky With Exit Wounds

Jessica Goodfellow has a joyous intelligence and electric tongue. Reading this book a first time, my only regret was that I couldn’t read it a second first time. But then I read it a first second time and a first third. You see what I’m doing? I’m reading this book over and over, without ever completely taking it in. I think you will too. And like me, want only one thing from Jessica Goodfellow – more. 
–Bob Hicok

2) People Are Tiny in Paintings of China by Cynthia Arrieu-King (Octopus Books, 2010). 

I fell in love with this poet's work after reading her collaborations with Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis online. That spurred me to look for works by both women, and I recommend their poetry written both collaboratively and separately.

Here's an excerpt from a blurb about this book:

As I read I had the feeling of launching myself from an opening line and falling past gorgeous and complex surfaces, and intricate landscape of experience, until landing on the solid earth of the final lines of these extraordinary poems.
Lynn Emanuel

Finally, if you want to offer to give away books yourself, or find a list of other blogs giving away books, check out Kelli Russell Agodon's post of instructions and information.

Remember, to enter to win one of these two books, all you need to do is leave your name and email address in the comments section below. Good luck, and happy National Poetry Month!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lego: Swinburne by Sarah

A reader called Sarah recently told me that after seeing my 2011 blog post about Lego literary figures, she was inspired to create a favored author of her own: Algernon Swinburne.
made by reader Sarah
She recommends the opening lines of his "Hendecasyllabics":

In the month of the long decline of roses
I, beholding the summer dead before me,
Set my face to the sea and journeyed silent,
Gazing eagerly where above the sea-mark
Flame as fierce as the fervid eyes of lions
Half divided the eyelids of the sunset…

Sarah also provides some information about the books featured in the photo:


On "Poems and Ballads":

The book was originally published by Edward Moxon & Co. in July 1866, but withdrawn due to the negative reviews arising from its perceived licentiousness. There was quite the scandal about the whole affair: some of the reviews are a delight to read. In September John Hotten--who published, amongst other things, Victorian erotica--bought the remaining issues, gave each one a new title page with his name on it, and sold them. When those copies ran out, in November, Hotten reprinted his own edition.

The upper copy (you can see the title):

This is an 1866, Hotten reprint edition. The pages were printed on 8th November, and since there's a name inscribed in pencil with a date of January 1867, it must have been in one of the bindings made in November (12th, 21st, 29th) or December (1st, 19th), which means it was in the first 2,000 of this edition of 3,000.

The lower copy (you can see the publisher's name):

This is an 1866 Moxon Edition, published by Edward Moxon & Co., withdrawn from sale and bought by Hotten, who replaced the title page with one of his own.

The book has two armorial bookplates, one with the name "Henry E. Butler" and another, far more modern plate with the name "Mountgarret". This copy belonged to either the 13th or 14th Viscount Mountgarret, both of whom had the same name. However, opposite Hotten's stuck-in title page there is the signature of "Henry E. Butler". In 1866 the elder Henry was already Viscount and would not have been signing his name in that manner or, I imagine, at all in books. So, it's a safe bet that the book belonged to Henry E. Butler, 14th Viscount Mountgarret, who was 21 when it was published.

The 14th Viscount was, apparently, quite an insular fellow, but I found a section on him in "Yorkshire Leaders: Social and Political" (1908), which confirmed a suspicion that he attended Oxford. To find the dates of his time there I used a result from a cricketing website which recorded his playing for the Christ Church Cardinals in an 1866 game against Shropshire. (He was out for 18, caught by Sladen, bowled by Moore, incidentally. Christ Church won, though.) The Cardinals were (and are) a dining club at Christ Church, Oxford.

So, this copy was owned by the 14th Viscount Mountgarret, who was a student at Christ Church, Oxford when it was published. Given the edition I strongly suspect it was bought at the time. This is particularly interesting because it fits very nicely - right down to the edition - with the critic George Saintsbury's recollections of the publication, recounted in his "Corrected Impressions" (1895):

"Now we were told, first, that a volume of extraordinarily original verse was coming out; now, that it was so shocking that its publisher repented its appearance; now, that it had been reissued, and was coming out after all. The autumn must have been advanced before it did come out, for I remember that I could not obtain a copy before I went up to Oxford in October, and had to avail myself of an expedition to town to ‘eat dinners’ in order to get one. Three copies of the precious volume, with ‘Moxon’ on cover and ‘John Camden Hotten’ on title page, accompanied me back that night, together with divers maroons for the purpose of enlivening matters on the ensuing Fifth of November. The book was something of a maroon in itself as regards the fashion in which it startled people; and perhaps with youthful readers the hubbub did it no harm. We sat next afternoon, I remember, from luncheon time till the chapel bell rang, reading aloud by turns in a select company ‘Dolores’ and ‘The Triumph of Time’, ‘Laus Veneris’ and ‘Faustine’, and all the other wonders of the volume."

Saintsbury gave his extra copies to his friends Creighton (who went on to become a bishop) and Alleyne. Although he was at Merton he had friends in many colleges: his closest and oldest friend was at Christ Church. So, who knows, perhaps Henry was part of his discussion group, too.

Or maybe Henry used his volume for more romantic purposes. The only page with a dog's-ear is "Rondel" on page 148: "KISSING her hair I sat against her feet…"

Thanks so much, Sarah, for sharing this.  I look forward to more news about how your project involving Swinburne works out!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wakening: Rattle

Rattle #46

My poem "Wakening" is featured at the Rattle homepage today, thanks to editor Timothy Green. There's a recording of me reading it too. Enjoy.

Design & Poetry: Do TellTell!

Kallie Rose at TellTellPoetry has interviewed me about my writing and living space for her series Design & Poetry. So if you want to have a tiny peek at how I live and write in Japan, have a look! And check out her interviews on the same subject with other poets, including Nicole Rollender and Hila Ratzabi.

And Kallie Rose is also available for poetry manuscript editing, website editing, fiction critiques, proofreading and more. Check out her impressive endorsements!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Japan Times Reviews Mendeleev's Mandala

A huge thanks to Kris Kosaka and The Japan Times for reviewing Mendeleev's Mandala today!

"Each poem encompasses more than a world in a grain of sand; there is a universe on every page of this slim tome. "

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Passages North!

Thrilled to have work in the new Passages North, along with Traci Brimhall, Terese Svoboda, Mel Bosworth, Lesley Jenike, GC Waldrep, and more !

Friday, March 13, 2015

Three Threes

The third lines of the thirty-third pages of the stack of books I am getting rid of (for reasons of space):

Diego reproached him for his luxurious style of living and his opulent
block prints of sword-wielding samurai; and a big Midnight
boiled junkies. They were melting MacArthur Park with their
bird, space, space, bird, space, bird.
The junco is knocked sideways then drops
The water churned and splashed as the animal
waited. I could hear the engine clearly now and knew it was
her sewing box out of the closet.
Muriel was a retired anthropologist who studied middens. She knew a
teacher replied. But don't you feel like an Asian-American? the writer asked her.
It's what I've never seen before that I recognize.
Of the backward devils.
My father stood right there
over, and over, a yellow telegram, it was gripping
mouth, taking my words in,

Monday, March 2, 2015

H. P. Lovecraft & Me

I write like H. P. Lovecraft.

At least that's what the statistical tools over at the I Write Like website have determined. Data points used to come to the conclusion about whose writing yours resembles include word choice and writing style (whatever that is).

Find out who you write like. Paste your original text into the given box, and sit back and see. Then share your results in the comments box below, if you dare. I'd love to know!

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Art is not a thing — it is a way,” Elbert Hubbard

"All truly profound art requires its creator to abandon himself to certain powers which he invokes but cannot altogether control."  Andre Malraux

"Art is chaos shimmering behind a veil of order." Duvalis

"Art is fire plus algebra." - Jorge Luis Borges

"The allotted function of art is not, as if often assumed, to put across ideas, to propagate thoughts, to serve as example. The aim of art is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his soul, rendering it capable of turning to good." Tarkovsky

“No art is sunk in the self,” observed Flannery O’Connor, “but rather, in art the self becomes self-forgetful in order to meet the demands of the thing seen and the thing being made.”

"An artist has to learn to forgive. An artist has to learn to forgive. An artist has to learn to forgive." Marina Abramović

"The idea that we are most likely going to be forgotten should liberate the artist and not constrain him or her." John Ebersole

". . . Art remembers / a few things by forgetting many."  William Matthews, in “The Wolf of Gubbio,” in Time and Money

"Nature is a haunted house—but Art—is a house that tries to be haunted."  Emily Dickinson

"What we want from art is whatever is missing from the lives we are already living and making. Something is always missing, and so art-making is endless." Jane Hirshfield

"The worse your art is, the easier it is to talk about it."  John Ashbery

"Art should invite and repel interpretation."  Donald Barthelme

Art is not about itself but the attention we bring to it.” ― Marcel Duchamp

"I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction. —Saul Bellow 

Art undoes the damage of haste. It’s what everything else isn't."  Theodore Roethke

Art is meant to disturb. Science reassures.” Georges Braque

"Poetry isn’t writing, not really. It is the art of listening." Louis Simpson

"If an artist, scientist, or intellectual of whatever discipline is in the habit of comparing himself not to other members of his discipline but rather to the discipline itself, then the more intelligent he is the lower will be his opinion of himself. For his sense of his own inferiority grows in direct proportion to his deepening knowledge of his discipline. That is why all great men are modest."  Giacomo Leopardi

"True art can only spring from the intimate linking of the serious and the playful." J. W. Goethe

"A badly made thing falls apart. It takes only a few years for most of the energy to leak out of a defective work of art. To put it simply, conservation of energy is the function of form." Stanley Kunitz

"The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers." James Baldwin

"Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth."  Picasso

"We have art so that we shall not be destroyed by the truth." Nietzsche