Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

Fortunetellers are smiling in the teahouses,
their cards, leaves, bones bustling,

as predictions and traditions call for
arms reduction, a diplomatic solution,

the gentle and peaceful; a good year
for all.  In the Middle East, grounds

rumble, and skies screech, people
of the ancient sands, seething.  Here,

at the temple market, animal cages,
stacked, a cloud of flies, shit dripping.

A young girl skips by in her finest dress,
holding her father’s hand.  In another hand,

a perforated box with her new rabbit,
an auspicious token.  I go home to brew

a pot of coffee, turn on the news, watch bombs
rain down, and wait for the end of the world.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Montucky Review Acceptance

Two of my poems, "Day of the Dead", and "Wife-Stealer", just up today on The Montucky Review.  This is a newer journal with a promising future, and I'd like to thank the editor, A.g. Synclair.  You can read them at the link below:

These two poems are also included in The Breakdown Atlas & other poems, but that's already gone to print, so I won't be able to include this publication on the acknowledgments page. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another Chapbook Update

Just a quick update on The Breakdown Atlas & other poems:  the books are done!  And according to the editor, they're "gorgeous".  I won't be able to actually see them until I reach the U.S., but they will ship to my destination address soon.   There will also be a press release, and links to the publisher's website in order to make a purchase.  Then, I'll just need to figure out how to get them up on, and it's all (hopefully) gravy from there on.  Very cool~can't wait to get my hot little hands on them! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chapbook Going to Print

Well, I've heard from Robin Stratton, the editor of Big Table Publishing Company:  after many emails back and forth for revisions, I've gotten the final, electronic galley of The Breakdown Atlas & other poems.  I've gotta say~it looks great!  The cover has the old world map that I posted a photo of earlier, and the blurbs are on the back cover, along with my very first ISBN# (kinda cool, no?).  There's an acknowledgments page, an author bio, table of contents, and cover sheet, and 22 poems (which cover a total of 39 pages).  Next thing we do is go to print!  The book will be ready for my arrival in the U.S. next month, after which, I can sell my little heart out.  Of course, copies will be available from the publisher as well, and on, and I'll post those links as they become available.  This whole process, and working with Robin, has been quite easy~she's a great editor, and hasn't complained once about all my picky, minor changes.  So, here we go!  Do I sound excited? 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Deuce Coupe Acceptance

Just had a poem, "Passing through Galveston", accepted by Deuce Coupe.  You can read it at this link:

This is a slick poetry website, with lots of great "underground" work, and I was really pleased to have something picked up by them.  They have a sister site, Rusty Truck, also full of great work, at this link here:

Check 'em out~I think you'll like what you find!

Friday, June 17, 2011


We're getting close to the publication date of my chapbook, The Breakdown Atlas, and the pre-release reviews are in!  I want to send out my warmest thanks to Sascha Feinstein, Maureen Sherbondy, and Norma Ketzis Bernstock for their time and careful reading of my work~I feel humbled to have been reviewed by these accomplished and talented poets, and I'm quite honored (and psyched!) to have their public endorsement.  Without further ado, here are their seriously cool reviews:  

“Lauren Tivey’s poems confront the reader’s body like shots of tequila—if, that is, the reader has a knowledge of its bite and substance, and knows how to temper the hits with the citrus of lime and the truth of salt.  She shies away from nothing, yet, as though you’ve been friends a long time and have met regularly at the bar, she encourages you to experience tough realities. But here’s the kicker:  These poems will drink you under the table.  You may stagger home, but they’re always ready for last call.”
~Sascha Feinstein, Misterioso and Black Pearls

“Lauren Tivey’s ‘animal-tough’ poems about relationships are stunning, enticing, and brutally honest. The Breakdown Atlas & other poems kicks readers in the gut over and over again, but somehow manages to leave them with a sense of hope in spite of their ‘broken, journeyed bodies’.  I absolutely loved this book!”
~Maureen Sherbondy, Weary Blues and Scar Girl

“With raw energy and in-your-face language, Lauren Tivey's The Breakdown Atlas is a wild journey that begins with the harsh reality of ‘a rotting carcass’ of a marriage.  Through her poems we experience the life of a newly independent woman, feel the pain of a lover's breakdown, and desperation in a Hong Kong hooker hotel.  She expresses a mother's deep love for her distant daughter, for whom she'll pick ‘bouquets of devotion and remorse’.  Her poetry can be raunchy, as in ‘satyrs copulating with witches’; titillating, like ‘a Geisha, opening the flower of her mouth’; yet tender, as she describes ‘the wind chime of your laughter’. Lauren Tivey's poems left me breathless, with a desire to live through her wild ride again and again. She writes in one poem that ‘the kettle screeched holy hell’, and so does her poetry!"
~Norma Ketzis Bernstock, Don't Write a Poem for Me After I'm Dead

Awesome, no?  Strangely craving tequila, here...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jackson Wins Eric Hoffer Award

A big, happy congratulations to Richard Jackson (one of my writing mentors), who has just won the 2011 Eric Hoffer Award, for his book of poetry, Resonance.  This annual award "recognizes outstanding writing in a variety of categories, including short prose and book awards for works published by independent presses, i.e., small, micro, and academic presses," and "was established as the 21st century began with the purpose of 'opening a door to writing of significant merit,' as a memorial to the American philosopher Eric Hoffer."

Dr. Richard Jackson "is the author of 10 books of poems, most recently Resonance Unauthorized Autobiography: New and Selected Poems and, Svetovi Narazen: Selected Poems, and several chapbooks of translations. Last Journey: Selected Poems of Giovanni Pascoli appeared from Red Hen Press (2010), co-translated with Susan Thomas and Deborah Brown, and his translation of Potovanje Sonca (Journey of the Sun) from Slovene by Aleksander Persolja appeared in 2009. His own poems have been translated into 15 languages."

Again, congratulations, Rick.  Can't think of anyone who deserves it more!  Here's a link to the story:

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Admittedly, I'm not the most patient person, and I always forget that the rest of the world doesn't move at the same pace as me.  I like things to happen snap-quick and lickety-split, and they rarely do.  Waiting weeks to hear about a poetry submission to a literary journal can seem like months (and I've got four pending at the moment).  Patience, my dear, patience!  Good things come to those who wait, right?  Cooling my heels with this classic from Guns N' Roses in the meantime...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"I love you, what star do you live on?"

One of my favorite poets, Conrad Aiken (1889~1973):  Link here for some of his poems, including "Chance Meetings", "The Dance of Life" (sexy!), "Discordants", "Evensong", "Miracles", "Morning Song of Senlin", "Red is the Color of Blood" (WOW!), and "Zudora":

Also, here's a link to the complete epic, "The House of Dust" (just in case you have a couple of hours to kill):

Monday, June 6, 2011

Embracing the Fire

Suddenly, it begins, and you're frightening
everyone, face a blazing furnace, speech
a volcano, veins pulsing magma, smoke
rising from your hair.  You're spontaneous

combustion, a nuclear meltdown, a bomb
to kill them all.  You're Pele, Kali, Lilith,
alchemy of the ages in your boiling womb.
You've never been so powerful.  Now,

rise.  Walk the land.  Leave burning
footprints like your mother and grandmother
before you.  Straddle two different worlds:
let the roaring hell of your voice be heard.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chapbook Cover Art

I'm going with an Old World map for the cover of The Breakdown Atlas.  I've seen the reviewer's copy with the artwork, and a beautiful title font~Robin did a lovely job!  I love Old World maps, and am happy to have one on my cover, as it fits with the theme of the book.  Here's the one we're using:


Just got word on who's writing blurbs for my chapbook:  Maureen Sherbondy, Norma Ketzis Bernstock, and Sascha Feinstein.  They should be ready in the next couple of weeks.  Will post them when I can.  Stoked!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shout-Out: Duotrope's Digest

Quite simply, I love these guys.  What a great publishing resource for poets and writers.  No matter what your style, genre, or taste, there's something here for everyone.  Duotrope's is "an award-winning, free writers' resource listing over 3400 current Fiction and Poetry publications. Use [them] to search for markets that may make a fine home for the piece you just polished."  They offer "free services [to] writers and editors, including a free online submissions tracker for registered users."  They make many updates to their literary journals and presses every day, and check the listings regularly to make sure you're offered up-to-date information.  There's also a weekly newsletter you can sign up for.  Since I signed up with them last December, I've had sixteen poems published, using their resources and tools.  Though free, they do accept donations to help with the running costs of the site.  I'll be sending them a big, fat check soon.  Try 'em, I think you'll like 'em!  Here's a direct link to their site:

Writing Mentors

I've been fortunate to have had some wonderful writing mentors, teachers, and coaches over the course of my life, and I just want to give some credit to these amazing people:

Jim St. Pierre, English professor at Granite State College:  the first teacher to see something in my writing and encourage me.  I was a human services major before I met Jim; after a couple of classes with him, my focus changed, and I realized that poetry and literature were something that made me truly happy.  I changed my major because of this, thus changing the course of my life.  Also, because of him, I am now a good essay writer and thesis-developer.

Patrick Armstrong, poetry professor at Granite State College:  an accomplished poet himself, and the first person to get genuinely excited about my poetry.  It was in Pat's classes that issues of craft were first introduced in-depth, and I learned so much from him.  He made me realize that my voice was important, and that I should explore poetry more deeply.  His encouragement led me on to a MFA in Poetry, and I'm now proud to call him my friend.

Roger Weingarten, poetry professor at Vermont College of Fine Arts:  another accomplished and amazing poet.  I first took his workshop as a newbie in that scary college full of brilliant, aspiring writers.  His style of teaching was a little bit like poetry boot camp~he toughened me up!  My quirky use of line breaks comes from Roger, as do so many other more advanced craft techniques I employ in my poems (they seem to come to me more naturally now).  I miss our phone conversations about poetry, and his tomato garden.

Mary Ruefle, poetry professor at Vermont College of Fine Arts:  Oh, Mary.  I didn't know what to think or how to act when I first met her.  Intense, a little snappy, yet so kind-hearted, and funny as hell.  I met Mary in my second semester, just as I was undergoing some big doubts about this writing gig.  She pulled me back on ship, and used a holistic approach in coaching me along.  She actually asked to see the first poem I ever wrote.  I will always treasure the packets she sent to me, typed on an actual typewriter, pages and pages long, with endearing little "gifts" included.  She also did the introduction to my final graduation reading.  I credit her for saving me, when I wanted to quit.

Richard Jackson, poetry professor at Vermont College of Fine Arts:  Brilliant, yet down-to-earth.  There's just something about Rick that puts a person at ease.  I felt an immediate kinship with him.  He turned me onto some fine Eastern European writers, one of whom I focused my final thesis on.  I'll never forget the time we spent in Slovenia, in those laid-back, fun-filled workshops.  I think Rick really "got" my work, and saw something valuable in it, and he was the first teacher to professionally, academically critique and support me.  In short, he gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities.  A true gem!

Sascha Feinstein, poetry professor at Vermont College of Fine Arts:  my last mentor, and someone I now call a friend.  A truly gifted writer, poet, and musician, Sascha was just instantly likable, someone you could joke around with, and more importantly~trust.  He's got an amazing style all his own, yet he can see the value in all other styles, with an uncanny ability to pick out that which works, and that which doesn't.  He helped me to polish up my final manuscript for VCFA, and I think he truly believes in me, as I do him.  And I am seriously indebted to him for the first blurb for my chapbook (but shhhh...that's a secret until the book comes out!).  

These are all my professional mentors, but I also want to mention the many other friends who've helped me along the way, whether through poetry forums, or in writing groups;  the old friends and the new, who take the time to read the work, and offer up suggestions and encouragement.  As I said before~I learn new things about poetry every day, and I credit all of you with helping me along my path.  Thank you, so very much.     

Chapbook Update

My poetry chapbook, The Breakdown Atlas, which was picked up Big Table Publishing Co. last month, is due out this July.  After settling on the contents and placement, and batting around ideas for a cover design with editor-extraordinaire, Robin Stratton, the reviewer's copy was sent out for blurbs and reviews.  I think it looks good, and I know I've got a lot of strong work in there, but I'm still a little nervous about the reviews, as it's my first chap.  Well, I guess it's just a waiting game now, but we are on a bit of a time crunch to get the book printed and ready for my trip back to the U.S. in July.  I have all the faith in the world in Robin though~she's fast, efficient, and she knows exactly what she's doing.  In the meantime, I keep checking my email, like, every five minutes... 


Why call the blog "Afterglow"?  Well, for one, it's the name of one of my poems, but also because that's what I feel directly after the rush of writing a first draft of a poem; after that white-hot fire courses through, and I get the words down, knowing I'm onto something (even if I have to return for a few rounds of revisions), I always bask in that glow that comes with creation.  I love that feeling.

With that in mind, here's my poem, which was first published in Message in a Bottle (Issue 7):


Worshippers bring disease and disgrace
to the temple.  Behind glass, the golden man
is sitting lotus, safe from the grease of hands.

If only they could rub their bodies over him,
kiss the blessed feet, caress the clear skies
of his enlightenment, if only they could lay

with him.  Red candles are lit, promises made.
For a coin, fickle fortunes are studied in the yarrow
stalks.  Deflated, losers go back to prayers, clicking

their mala beads, while others, winners of  both large
and small battles, endorse icons with bills, beaming
like glad children.  Everyone plays, desperate to offer

themselves, chanting until the divine heat cracks open
their fragile pits, spreads into the secret, wet centers,
to deliver the shuddering blessing, rapture of the cosmos.

After the ceremony, cleaning ladies dust yellow and purple
cattleyas, gossiping and flirting with monks.  Vinyl cushions
hold the intentions of knees, and fat fruit glistens on the altar.

Outside, bodhis twist to the light in a fog of joss sticks.
Everything, cleansed, in love with the world.  Even the koi,
in a reflection of marigolds, are smiling in the pond.


I thought I'd start a poetry blog, not only to track my publications and upcoming chapbook release, but to create a space where I could share poems and craft-related business, and possibly connect with others in the field.  I've been writing poetry seriously for about fifteen years (yes, I still learn something new everyday!), and a lot of my prior publications were in print, in such places as Medicinal Purposes, Red Owl, Sahara, Candlelight Poetry Journal, Timber Creek Review, and Sierra Nevada Review, among others (there's a link list of my current online publications here on the blog).  I've done the Open Mic circuit, and given many other public readings, and admittedly, this is not an aspect of being a poet that I particularly enjoy, but I do it, because I think it's important to get the words out there.

A little about me, personally:  I was born in Lowell, Massachusetts (that's right~Kerouac's hometown), and later lived in New Hampshire, Vermont, Colorado, California, and Florida.  Internationally, I've lived in Italy, Peru, and now China.  Like many writers and poets, I've held a number of weird jobs:  forklift operator, museum attendant, paralegal, pizza delivery driver, real estate agent, secretary, landscaper, human services, and now, teacher.  Crazy, right?  But as a single mom, I had to make ends meet, so I worked whatever job was available, and I worked hard, attending college at the same time, eventually receiving my MFA in Poetry in 2008.  With my girls now grown, I've embarked on the dream of a lifetime, and spend my time traveling, teaching, writing, and taking photographs.  Luckily, I have my fiancé (a.k.a. best friend, cheerleader, partner-in-crime), Gerard, along for the ride.  Life is just downright peachy.

Anyway, here's a start.  Let's see how long I can keep this up.