Sunday, July 8, 2012

Poem in Hobble Creek Review

My poem, "Chinese Pastoral", now up in Issue 2, Vol. 6 of Hobble Creek Review, available at the link below.  Check out all the great work in this lit mag if you have some time.  A big thank you to editor Justin Evans!

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Hobble Creek Review has officially closed down, as of spring, 2014. A copy of "Chinese Pastoral" is available here on my blog, at this link:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Poem in Boston Lit Magazine

My poem, "Hitching Post of the Sun", now up in the summer issue of Boston Literary Magazine, available at the link below.  Check out this great mag of poetry and fiction.  A big thank you to editor Robin Stratton!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rainy Season

There’s a sick part of you
that looks forward to it
every season, these weeks
of rain, their long romance,
their sodden caress, as if
you were a sad character
in an existential film, moving
through the vapors of a gray city
in your fedora, contemplating
some unrequited love, some
quiet angst.  You smoke,
haunt cafés, a Billie Holiday
soundtrack in your head,
and you sink in deeper
by the day, as it never stops.
It’s the danger of succumbing
that attracts you, of approaching
the edge and peering into that hole
you fought so hard to escape.
You watch it filling further
with each storm, a lovely bath
of depression, and you’re so tired,
wet, beaten; so susceptible.  But
that’s too easy, and you’re still,
after all, a fighter:  You clutch
at colors, waiting for the water
to end, for a return of sunrises.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Poem in Yellow Mama

My poem, "Pause", is now up in the April, 2012 issue of Yellow Mama, at the link below.  Some great fiction and poetry at this hard-boiled lit journal!  Check 'em out:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Poem in Red Fez

Here's a link to my poem, "Final Fight", just up today in the April, 2012 issue of Red Fez.  I love these guys--check out all the cool stuff at the link below:

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Budding in early April,
the bare-branched trees
are candelabras, their tips
flames of white, purple,
mauve, the rare yellow.

We are allowed to gush
over them, the event
of their opening cups,
their yielding into pretty
party gowns, as Étienne,

toiling in his arboretum
for the Empress Josephine,
must have wept with joy
over his hybrids, over
each individual angel.

Tonight, the maiden moon,
intoxicating scent;  I am
thinking of you, how seductive
and perilous the metaphor.
But it is spring, a time

of indulgence, and we are far
from France, under exotic skies,
flowers trumpeting their magic:
I cannot stop looking at them,
thinking of how quickly they fade.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

R.I.P. Adrienne Rich

...and the world loses yet another phenomenal poet.  Adrienne Rich has passed away at the age of 82.  Link below, to the L.A. Times article, and a couple of videos.  The world feels a little sadder, today...

"What Kinds of Times Are These?"

"Diving Into the Wreck"

L.A. Times:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Write a Review of The Breakdown Atlas

There are three places my chapbook, The Breakdown Atlas & Other Poems, released by Big Table Publishing Company in 2011, can be reviewed:  Goodreads, Google Books, and Barnes & Noble (links are below).  If you've read my poems, and feel compelled to share your thoughts in any of these places, I would really appreciate it, and love love love you forever and ever!  Unfortunately, I think you may need user accounts for these sites...but if you do leave a review, you have my gratitude in advance.  It's hard to get the word out for a small book published through an indie press.  Cheers, Lauren.

To write a review:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Secret Life of Books

What DO those books in your local bookstore get up to during the dark of night?  Check out this cool animated short.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Big Table Titles

Howdy, just thought I'd share the link to Big Table Publishing Co.'s list of chapbook offerings again.  There's some great stuff here, including Liz Ciampa's new chap, Good for Everday Use, which I was lucky enough to be asked to write a review for (you can read that at the first link below).  All chapbook titles are $12.00, plus $2.00 shipping, and you can find them (including mine, The Breakdown Atlas & Other Poems) at the second link below.  So, take a look, choose a chap, and help support poets and a hard-working independent publisher!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Destination Unknown

see the world
its hanging temples
colossal carvings
exotic blooms

the stars will look different
and the people will pray
to strange, stonefaced gods

dogs will be skittish, food
fiery, climates unpleasant
mountain passes, often blocked

chaos will reign
but I promise
you will never
want to turn back,
not once.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Random Writerly Films

Just a few trailers of "writer films" I've liked over the years, in no particular order:

Midnight in Paris, 2011

The Rum Diary, 2011

Barfly, 1987

Born Into This (Bukowski Documentary), 2003

A Love Song for Bobby Long, 2004

Big Bad Love, 2001

That's it for now.  These are all definitely worth a watch.  I'll add more as I remember them~there's quite a few out there!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ariel Redux

This is an older article from 2004, discussing Sylvia Plath's book, Ariel and Other Poems, and how the manuscript was altered before publication.  I knew some alteration took place, and was probably necessary, after her suicide in 1963 (the book was originally released in 1965), but I didn't realize the extent of the alteration. Anyway, this is a pretty level-headed (and fair to Hughes) comparison of the original with the restored edition by Meghan O'Rourke.  Link below, if you're interested.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Poem on Yellow Mama

One of my poems, just published in the Valentine's Day issue of Yellow Mama.  A bit more sentimental than my usual fare, but I can't help it~I get mushy when I write about the people I love.  Dedicated to my mother, and late stepfather, at the link below:

Check out the other offerings on Yellow Mama if you get a chance!  And once again, thank you to editor Cindy Rosmus.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Goodbye, Szymborska

Sad news today, that Poland's 1996 Nobel Prize-winning poet, Wislawa Szymborska, has passed away at the age of 88.  Here's a link to the NY Times article:

I studied some of her work during my days at VCFA, and always appreciated her sense of humor.  Here's a poem of hers I always liked, called "In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself", from 1976:

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they'd claim their hands were clean.

A jackal doesn't understand remorse.
Lions and lice don't waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they're right?

Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
in every other way they're light.

On this third planet of the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One.

Good stuff, and a whole body of stellar work left behind.  RIP, lady.

Friday, January 27, 2012

USPS to Issue Poet Stamps in 2012

Link below to the article about stamps dedicated to American poets of the 20th century, set to be released March 3, 2012.  This is cool!  I remember a previous set of stamps, and had a few of them.  This time, I think I'll get the whole set.  Poets to be featured are:  Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E.E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams.  A great lineup, for sure, but it also seems some important poets are missing~Anne Sexton, for one, and as mentioned in the article, what of Allen Ginsberg?  Frank O'Hara?  At any rate, I'm pleased that the postal service deems poetry culturally important enough to include another set of poet stamps.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Graves of the Famous

Just some random photos of artists' graves I've visited over the years, whether they be musicians, writers, etc.  Perhaps this could be considered a rather morbid pastime, but I like to think of it as "paying my respects". 
Jack Kerouac's grave, in my hometown~I've visited about five times.
Edson Cemetery, Lowell, MA.

Bench at Conrad Aiken's grave.  I love the inscriptions:  "Cosmos Mariner, Destination Unknown", and "Give My Love to the World".  Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA.

Oscar Wilde's wild headstone.  All the spots on the bottom portion are from kisses (they've since put up a Plexiglas barrier to stop the practice~but I read that people just began to kiss the glass instead).
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Family plot of poet Celia Thaxter.  Laid to rest on her beloved island.
Appledore Island, Isles of Shoals (off the coast of Portsmouth, NH).

Guillaume Apollinaire's grave.  I was hoping they'd have fashioned the names like one of his calligrams!
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Jim Morrison's grave.  The thing, as a whole, looks (rather ironically) like a shallow bathtub.  Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Moliere's impressive box.  Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Abelard and Heloise.  Apparently, there's still some discussion as to whether they're actually buried here (records show their remains were moved here in 1817).  Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Famous lovers, Abelard and Heloise (he was a fairly decent philosopher, to boot, and she was no slouch, either).  Read
  The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise if you get a chance.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Marcel Proust's grave; sleek, shiny, and black.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

American author Richard Wright's final resting place.
His book Native Son really had an impact on me.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Colette's grave, covered in chrysanthemums.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Chopin's beautiful grave.  Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Bench at songwriter Johnny Mercer's grave:
"Buddy, I'm a kind of poet, and I've gotta lotta things to say".
Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA.

Zora Neale Hurston's grave. Cemetery was a little tricky to find.
Nice plaque here though, and the spot is very lovingly tended.
Garden of Heavenly Rest, Fort Pierce, FL.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Visit to the Master of the Macabre

Just wanted to share some photos from a visit to Edgar Allan Poe's house and grave, taken about three years ago.  We were driving from the Northeast down to Florida, and decided to stop here.  I must say, it was one of the highlights of that trip, especially for me, as I've always loved Poe's work.  These sites are definitely worth a visit for any Poe fan!

Gates to Westminster Burying Ground, 519 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD.

Interior of the Westminster Burying Ground.  A wee bit spooky!

Westminster Hall.

Poe's resting site.  The ground actually slopes underneath, but I straightened this photo out.  This memorial stone is located just inside the gates to the cemetery.

Gift left by a fan on Poe's grave.

Plaque discussing Walt Whitman's attendance at Poe's funeral.

Poe's house, 203 Amity Street, Baltimore, MD.  Just a short walk away from Westminster Burying Ground.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cafe Zum Zum

Wow!  I just found these old, faded photographs, circa '97 or '98, taken outside the former Cafe Zum Zum in North Conway, New Hampshire, after one of the open mic sessions that used to be held there.  Poetry, prose, music, and just about anything else you could imagine was the weekly fare, and a lot of good friends were made during those days.  I remember my Dad even showed up once, and stunned the audience with an A Capella rendition of a Welsh miners' tune.  Good times, good times...

Back:  Mark and PJ
Front:  Mary Ann, Joe, and me

Back:  AZ (Arizona Zipper) and Mark
Front:  PJ, Mary Ann, me, Lydia, and Joe