Sunday, September 1, 2013

New Poem at Lowestoft Chronicle

One of my poems, "Monkeys of Emei Shan", just went up in the autumn issue of Lowestoft Chronicle today, and is available to read at the link below. I think this satirical piece of mine fits in quite well at this great little magazine, which is full of humorous travel pieces. Check 'em out, if you have a chance, for fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. A big thank you to editor, Nicholas Litchfield.

Friday, August 30, 2013

RIP Seamus Heaney

Sad news, as Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney has passed away at the age of 74. Heaney, once described by poet Robert Lowell as "the most important Irish poet since Yeats", died this morning after a brief illness. You can read his obituary here. The world lost a great one today, a "once-in-a-lifetime portent, the comet's pulsing rose" (to quote from his poem, "Exposure"). I'm leaving off here with a video of one of my favorite poems of his, "Death of a Naturalist". RIP, Seamus Heaney. You will be missed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School

Just arrived back on campus after a fabulous summer holiday. My travels took me to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Rome, Istanbul, and Cappadocia, then back to China. I think what made the journey most special were the relationships--I got to meet my fiance's family in Scotland, then got to spend time with my mom in Italy, and then moved on to a truly magical and romantic time in Turkey with just my fiance. And of course, along the way, new friends from different cultures were made. I feel so grateful for all of it! Time now to get settled back in, and start thinking about not only the new school semester, but new poems, as well, and to start planning the Nepal trip for winter holiday. Also, I'll post links to the photo galleries once I finish editing everything. It's good to be back! 

New Poem at The Verse

Ah, here's a nice welcome back from summer holiday--one of my poems, "Neverland", appears in the debut issue of The Verse (mine is the third poem, if you scroll down). I like what the editor, Dan Navarrete, wrote about my poem: "A call to take action, excellent depiction of the reality surrounding impoverished youth in China. Truly a piece that sinks into our hearts and refuses to let go, just like the imagery." Cool! I think I'm also to be their poet of the month for September, as well. Wishing The Verse the best, and I hope the new journal is a success! Check 'em out at the link below:

The Verse

UPDATE: The Verse no longer exists. That's a dead link above. I just went to check, and it's gone. They never came out with a second issue, so I was never featured as their poet of the month, either. What a shame.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Casa di Goethe

Located at 18 via del Corso, just steps away from the Piazza del Popolo, is the Casa di Goethe, the house where Goethe spent his time in Rome during 1786-1788. Here, he lived with the German painter, Tischbein. Though most of the displays are facsimiles (originals being located in German museums and other places), it is still a moving experience to wander through his old rooms. One can just imagine Goethe, in his stockinged feet, leaning out the window to look at the street below, as depicted in Tischbein's 1787 drawing! And, they have posters of that for sale (had to buy a copy). In one corner of the largest room, which was Tischbein's studio, an easel holds a copy of the artist's most famous work, Goethe in the Campagna (also 1787), which is very striking, and surrounded by excerpts of Goethe's Italian Journey printed on the walls. There's even a copy of the huge Jupiter bust Goethe purchased while living here. What was perhaps most interesting, however, was to view Goethe's actual books, excerpts from his letters, and his drawings and sketches. Another highlight: Andy Warhol's rendering of Goethe in the Campagna, a visual delight! Here are some photos:

Copy of Tischbein's Goethe in the Campagna (1787), in the studio

Italian Journey excerpt, printed on the wall

Copy of Tischbein's drawing of his friend, Goethe, at the window (1787)

A deep and abiding friendship

Facsimile bust of Jupiter, which Goethe used to pray to each night


Goethe research materials in the library

Warhol's painting, Goethe (1982)

Me, in front of Casa di Goethe, Roma

While I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Keats-Shelley House the other day, I admit that Goethe had more of an impact on me than the Romantics ever did, so visiting the Casa di Goethe was important to me. I was largely self-educated in literature before going back to school, and Goethe's work was some of the first serious lit I ever read--to be standing in his rooms, surrounded by his things (and copies of them), had a bit of a celebratory feel. Now, to hunt down his statue in the Borghese Gardens. Ah, Roma! Ah, Goethe!

So much for hiatus...

I wasn't planning on spending much time blogging while on holiday, yet here I am...posting away! I've seen so many points of literary interest though, that I wanted to share.

While in Edinburgh, I visited the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, a pub named the Conan Doyle (near Arthur Conan Doyle's house) and saw a statue of Sherlock Holmes. Also saw the grave of philosopher David Hume up on Calton Hill. And fun fun fun was the Frankenstein Bar, a themed restaurant/pub located in a renovated church. Then, there was the Jekyll and Hyde pub. And the Sir Walter Scott monument in Princes Street Gardens. Wonderful and magical! I love Edinburgh, and want to move there.

In Rome, I've visited the Keats-Shelley House, the graves of Keats, Shelley, and Corso, and the Casa di Goethe. I also found this cool statue of Victor Hugo in the Borghese Gardens, below. Saw the Stendhal Hotel, and the Dante Cafe, and apparently, there's a Lord Byron Hotel somewhere. Still looking for the Lord Byron and Goethe statues up in the Borghese Gardens (no fear, I'll find 'em!), and the Gogol House on via Sistina. Went to Babington's Tea Room, near the Spanish Steps, but I'm still looking for Antico Caffe Greco (an old haunt of writers). 

Whew! So many things to see and do...and I've still 10 days left in Rome, before heading on to Turkey for a couple of weeks, where I've already scouted out more literary highlights. What a summer!

Statue of Victor Hugo, Borghese Gardens, Rome

Acceptance at The Verse

Coming soon, in the debut issue of The Verse, a monthly online poetry journal set to begin publication in August, will be my poem, "Neverland". I'm also honored to have been asked to be their Poet of the Month for September, which will include a bio and photo, and showcase three of my poems. The Verse will also begin offering a print version in October. I love debut issues! Wishing editor Dan Navarrete the best with this new venture. You can visit the magazine (first issue isn't up yet, though) at the link below, and I'll post more information once it goes live. 

A Visit to Rome's Protestant Cemetery

Set in the peaceful, shady, and beautiful Protestant Cemetery located at 6 via Caio Cestius (officially, Cimitero acattolico, sometimes referred to as Cimitero degli Inglesi), are the graves of poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Here you will also find the grave of Beat Generation poet, Gregory Corso, the final resting place of Wordsworth's grandson, and a memorial to Goethe's son. It's a lovely place to spend an afternoon, away from the hectic city center. We even packed a lunch and ate at one of the benches overlooking the Pyramid of Cestius. There were chirping birds, a gentle breeze, lots of flowers, stunning statuary, and none of Rome's summer crowds. Oh, and there were lots of cats to make friends with. :)

Take Rome's Metro Line B to the Pyramide station, and walk across the street towards the Pyramid. Follow the road to the right about a block, along the cemetery wall, and you will come to Caio Cestius on the left. It's just a short walk down to the entrance on the left from there. Note: just after you turn onto Caio Cestius, look through the little screened window in the cemetery wall--it looks right onto the grave of John Keats! There is no entrance fee to the cemetery, but they do suggest a donation of 3 Euros. Be sure to stop by the visitor's center, and grab a map (for a small fee). Coming out of the visitor's center, turn left, and go through the arched door toward the pyramid. If you follow the path to the corner of the cemetery, you'll find Keats' grave, along with Severn's and Severn's infant son. There's also a memorial plaque on the wall, and a bench where you can sit and visit.

John Keats' grave

Keats memorial plaque

From there, continue following the path, past the pyramid, and toward the back of the cemetery. If you stay on that path, up to the rise of the small hill, you will find Shelley's grave at the top along the wall, and that of his friend, Edward Trelawny.

Shelley's grave. Cor Cordium: "Heart of Hearts"

Was Shelley's heart really saved by Trelawny during the cremation on the beach, and sent to Mary Shelley in England, to be later buried with their son? Or is that just a romantic legend? It's something lovely to ponder, at any rate, as you pay your respects. Note also the lines from Shakespeare's The Tempest at the bottom of the headstone, as well. Directly in front of/below Shelley's grave, you will find the grave of Gregory Corso, a Beat Generation poet:

Gregory Corso's grave

Corso died in Minnesota, but his ashes were brought all the way to Rome, to be buried at the feet of his beloved Shelley. And though Corso was Catholic, an exception was made to allow his ashes to be laid to rest in the Protestant-only cemetery.

Other special tombstones include Wordsworth's grandson's; the memorial stone to Goethe's son; the famous "Angel of Grief" of William Wetmore Story; and those of various artists, writers, and musicians. In particular, I loved all the angel statuary everywhere--there are some very striking ones. In fact, I found this to be one of the loveliest cemeteries, if not THE loveliest cemetery, I've ever visited (and I've been in a lot of cemeteries around the world!). So, if you're not into the Romantics or the Beat Generation, or poetry and literature, or heck, even cemeteries, you will still find this to be a worthy excursion, just for the sheer beauty of the place, and a quieter, gentler experience of Rome.

Keats-Shelley House

Visited the Keats-Shelley House in Rome the other day. Here are some photos--Keats' death mask, the room where he died (overlooking the Spanish Steps), a bust of Shelley, and shots of the library. It was an amazing place, one which I've wanted to visit for a long time. Viewing Keats' death mask, especially, was a powerful experience. I've a separate post with photos of their graves in the Protestant Cemetery coming in the next post.

Keats' death mask

Room where Keats died

Bust of Shelley

Library of the Keats-Shelley House

Library of the Keats-Shelley House

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Poem at Drunk Monkeys

There are some kick-ass online magazines out there, and Drunk Monkeys is one of them; a hip, slick blend of literature--including short stories, poetry, flash fiction, and book reviews--television recaps, short films and film reviews, culture (art, politics, and religion), music, and all sorts of commentary (be sure to check out the piece on James Gandolfini posted yesterday by editor-in-chief, Matthew Guerruckey). Happy to have a poem picked up by them. "Bigfoot on Main Street" appeared yesterday, at the link below. Check them out--it's a great place to wander around:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

On Hiatus

Photo by Gypsy's Ethereal Soul

I adore this photograph--it was totally me as a kid, and it's totally me NOW--I'm glad I haven't lost that wandering, dancing little spirit within. Anyway, I'll be leaving for summer travel soon, so I won't be updating the blog much. I may upload a photo or two from some literary sites I visit (such as Shelley's grave in Rome), and will post a quick note if I get a lit journal acceptance, but other than that, this blog will be pretty quiet until around September. I don't write much while traveling, other than taking notes--that comes after, when I have time for reflection. I never finished all the photo sets I promised, either! Guess September will be a busy time, as usual (but in an entirely different way). Now, time to don my gypsy traveling shoes, and set off into the world again. Have a great summer, everyone.

Peace and Love,

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tibet Photo Set

Just finished the public photo set for my Tibet trek. It brought back so many memories! This 2010 trip was truly one of the high points of my life, and affected me deeply, on so many different levels. I hope to return one day, to those incredible heights, jaw-dropping vistas, and beautiful, friendly people. I really feel like Tibet is the "home of my soul". As for my political views on the situation there, I'll have to save those for another blog post, after I leave China. You're welcome to view the pictures on Flickr if you wish, available at the link below:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Acceptance at Lowestoft Chronicle

Really pleased to receive an acceptance from Lowestoft Chronicle today. My poem, "Monkeys of Emei Shan" will be published in their fall issue, at the beginning of September. This is a quarterly online literary magazine, featuring poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, with an emphasis on humorous travel pieces. I've enjoyed their offerings for awhile now, so I'm happy I'll be a part of it. You can check them out here, if you wish--I bet you'll like them.

Leaving Nanjing

A new poem of mine, "Leaving Nanjing", is now up at The Camel Saloon. It's rather dark, darker than most of my stuff, actually, but a visit to the Nanjing Massacre Museum is what prompted it. This piece has been floating around in my head for a long time, and gone through numerous revisions, so I'm glad it's found a home. With special thanks to editor, Russell Streur, of course! You can read it at the link below. Also, if you have some time, please check out all the other work by the very talented poets and writers of TCS--it's a great place.

Monday, June 3, 2013

In Good Company

Split Lip has just received a write-up over at, a showcase of literary "news, information, and guides to independent bookstores, independent publishers, literary magazines, alternative periodicals, independent record labels, alternative weeklies, and more" (I especially love New Page's lit mag database, and use it all the time).

In this mini-review, writer Kristen McIlvenna notes that "The writing at Split Lip pulls the reader in, immediately. All the pieces seem to have that attention-grabbing first line(s)", and presents some examples (one of which is from my poem, "The Breakdown Atlas". Yeah, cool!). She also writes, "I love it when I see young magazines succeed so quickly. Split Lip has a handful of excellent authors and well written and engaging pieces of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry."

And they're in good company, along with Apeiron ReviewBent Ear ReviewGris-Gris, and ONandonscreen. So, kudos, Split Lip! Be sure to check out this up-and-comer: It's a great mag of top-quality literature, music, fine art, and film. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

New Pages Mini-Review (scroll down for Split Lip):

Sunday, June 2, 2013

New Poem at The Camel Saloon

My poem, "Du Fu's Cottage", just up today at the much-loved Camel Saloon, and available at the link below. With a big thanks to editor & barkeep, Russell Streur!

This reminds me: Make plans to visit Li Bai's tomb before leaving China. Don't want to miss that.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Favorite Line

I love this line, from T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", one of my all-time favorite poems. I just covered it recently with my senior class. Not sure where this awesome photo came from, or I'd credit it.

Thailand Photo Set

Here's a link for another Flickr photo set of my travels through Thailand--from Bangkok to Chiang Mai to the Golden Triangle and briefly into Laos and up by the Burmese border, then down to the island of Ko Phi Phi, and the beaches of Railay. It's also available through the link on the side bar, if you want to check it out. Enjoy!

Thailand Photo Set

Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Poem in The Blue Hour

This is my third poem with the lovely lit journal, The Blue Hour. "Flying Eaves" just went up today. Please check out this dreamy and beautiful online magazine if you have a chance--it's chock-full of wonderful work and photography. With special thanks to editors Susie Sweetland Garay and Moriah LaChapell. Link below:

Photo Galleries

Since I had such a good time putting together the Bolivian photo exhibit for The Camel Saloon last month, I decided to create photo galleries for all of my travels, and make them available here via Flickr sets. You can access them through the side bar under "Links to My Photo Galleries" (there are also links below). I don't know if anyone will be interested in these, but if so, travel highlights will be featured in each separate set, if you want to check them out. I've done six sets for China so far (yes, there are a lot--I've been here for a long time, and travelled all over the country!), but will soon finish sets for Paris, Slovenia, Peru, Mexico, Thailand, Tibet, Canada, and the States. I'll also add in the photos from my upcoming summer trip to Scotland, Italy, and Turkey later on. Cheers, and happy clicking/happy writing.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Poem at The Blue Hour

My poem, "House of Light", which was written for I.M. Pei and his wonderful Suzhou Museum, is now up at the wonderful lit journal, The Blue Hour. A big thank you to editors Susie Sweetland Garay and Moriah LaChappell. Check them out, if you have a chance--link below:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Coolness Abounds at The Camel Saloon

Just heard that my poem, "Magnolias", published in The Camel Saloon this past April, was picked as an editor favorite (thanks, Russell!), to be placed in Volume 3 of their companion site, The Second Hump. This is great, as front page poems soon fall into the archival abyss, and don't get read much. You can check out my poem, and other poems by Laura Behr, Amy Soricelli, Brian Wake, Stephen Jarrell Williams, and Jeremy Marks, at this link:

Also, if you haven't already, check out The Camel Saloon main site here. I promise you'll love the fine mix of poetry, prose, photography, and other goodies, and enjoy a warm welcome from editor/barkeep Russell Streur. It's a real community over there, so please do visit them. I need to get back over there for a visit myself--it's been a crazy couple of weeks at work! Cheers, Lauren

Friday, May 3, 2013

30/30 Poems Coming Down

I'll be removing all the poems posted on here for the NaPoWriMo challenge last month--30 poems in 30 days--for further revision and possible submission to literary journals. I apologize, if you commented on any of these poems, because they'll be deleted. It's important to revise them though. Also, many journals won't accept work that appears anywhere online, even if it's on a personal blog. Anyway, it's been a fun challenge, and I got a lot of good pieces out of it. Now, back to writing...

P.S. This is my 100th blog post. Wasn't sure I'd stick with this when I got started (yay, me!).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Split Lip Anthology

Just found out that Split Lip Magazine has put together a print anthology of some favorite poetry and prose from their first five editions. My poem, "The Breakdown Atlas" is in there (very cool--I haven't been in actual print for years, other than my chap). It will be available in select bookstores in Indianapolis, Chicago, L.A., and beyond, and also for sale on Split Lip's website in a couple of weeks, which I'll post then. If you'd like to order a copy now at the temporarily reduced price of $4.00, you can do so here. Below, a shot of the ridiculously cool cover:

Some featured writers: Michael Martone, Alexis Pope, Kristina Marie Darling, and Scott Siders. I urge you to check it out, and maybe purchase a copy. A big thanks to editor J. Scott Bugher for including me!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Poem at Split Lip Magazine

A great way to start the month--my long poem, "The Breakdown Atlas", is now posted in Split Lip Magazine's brand-spanking-new May/June issue. A big thank you to editor J. Scott Bugher--GREAT issue, and I'm honored to be a part of it. Check out all the awesome poetry, fiction, art, music, and film at the link below:!5-lauren-tivey/c1dl0

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

30/30 Challenge Complete

Posted the last poem for NaPoWriMo's challenge today, to write 30 poems in 30 days, over the month of April, in order to celebrate National Poetry Month. Actually, I wrote a total of 34 (four are not posted here, as they're off on a submission right now). I'll be leaving the poems up here on the blog for a few more days, but then they'll be coming down for revision. Not bad, eh? Admittedly, there are some dogs, but also some with good potential--we'll see what happens in revision. I'm feeling a little let-down now that the challenge is over, so I decided to keep going, to continue writing a poem a day, to see how long I can keep it up. So, thank you, NaPoWriMo, not only for the exercise, and the daily habit, but for the boost to my manuscript. Let the revision begin! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Poem at The Camel Saloon

Another spring poem of mine, "Magnolias", up today at The Camel Saloon (my favorite of all favorite literary journals). You can reach it at the link below. Once again, a big thank you to editor Russell Streur. Cheers, mate!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Poem at The Blue Hour

Here's a little spring poem of mine, "Frog Song", up at The Blue Hour today. Come visit this lovely literary journal, full of wonderful poetry and prose, edited by the lovely and wonderful Susie Sweetland Garay and Moriah LaChapell (thank you, ladies!).  Link below:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Poem at The Camel Saloon

My little poem, "Destination Unknown", up today at The Camel Saloon (yay!). This title is from a quote on the poet Conrad Aiken's grave, in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia: "Cosmos Mariner, Destination Unknown". I've always loved the quote (and in fact, plan on getting it tattooed on the back of my neck sometime, right underneath my Jolly Roger tat), and the story behind it, as told in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt:

“Aiken loved to come here and watch the ships go by…one afternoon, he saw one with the name Cosmos Mariner painted on the bow. That delighted him. The word ‘cosmos’ appears often in his poetry, you know. That evening he went home and looked for mention of the Cosmos Mariner in the shipping news. There it was, in tiny type on the list of ships in port. The name was followed by the comment ‘Destination Unknown’.  That pleased him even more.”

Also on his grave, which is actually an inviting bench (he wanted people to come to his grave in the beautiful cemetery, and enjoy a drink while they also watched the ships pass), is the inscription, "Give My Love to the World". Well, I've sat there and enjoyed a drink myself, and that quote, "Cosmos Mariner, Destination Unknown", has been my travel motto ever since. In that spirit, this poem came about. And that, my friends, is an awfully long explanation for a very short poem, ha ha. You can read the piece at the always-awesome Camel Saloon, run by the always-awesome barkeep/editor, Russell Streur, at this link:

And by the way, here's a shot I took of Aiken's grave/bench in Savannah. Hopefully, I'll make it back there someday for another drink.  Cheers!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Poems Coming Out of My Ears

Well, here it is, Day 15 of the NaPoWriMo 30/30 challenge, to write 30 poems in 30 days, in celebration of National Poetry Month. We're halfway there! Although Day 12 was difficult, as I was out of town, I've otherwise found no shortage of inspiration, and I've now got poems coming out of my ears. A routine seems to work best--get up early, get some coffee, write a poem, check email, exercise, shower, go to work--but I've found poems coming to me at odd times as well, like on the bus, or during a break at the office. So, this challenge has been a good kick in the arse for me, and gotten those creative juices flowing. I'm already overwhelmed with all of the draft poems I've been posting on here, as I will have plenty of revision to complete once the challenge is over. Hopefully though, this poetry marathon won't end, and will become part of my daily routine for good, as in the past, it's been all too easy to get sidetracked. Anyway, we'll see--at the very least, the challenge has given my manuscript a good boost. On to the next!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Acceptance at Split Lip

Finally, the title poem to my chapbook, The Breakdown Atlas & Other Poems, which came out in 2011, from Big Table Publishing, finds a home with Split Lip Magazine. I've been trying to get the poem itself, "The Breakdown Atlas", published in a literary journal for two years now, as my chapbook has had little exposure, and I really think this poem needs a wider audience. It's long though, in four parts, for a total of 36 stanzas, and I think that put a lot of editors off.  But now, the gang over at Split Lip has picked it up for the May-June issue. Awesome! It's a great magazine, with a cool editor, a nice, clean website that's easy to navigate, featuring poetry, fiction, music, fine art, and film, and it also has some interviews and articles. I'm looking forward to being a part of it. You can check them out at the link, here:

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Heart The Camel Saloon

Last night, I visited the The Camel Sports Bar (#1 Yueyang Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai), not only for some pub grub and beer, but to score a photo of the place via the request of Russell Streur, editor over at the literary journal, The Camel Saloon, which has/is publishing some of my poems. Anyway, the magazine showcases various shots of actual camels, but also camel-themed bars around the world, sent in by readers/contributors, so I joined the fun, and sent a couple of shots off to Russell, who's using one of them as the journal's new masthead. Pretty cool!  Here's the shot:

Also cool is that my 2011 chapbook, The Breakdown Atlas & Other Poems, is now listed in The Camel Saloon Bookstore, with a link to purchase at Big Table Publishing. Awesome! Please head on over to this literary watering hole, to read some work by its very talented writers, peruse the photos from around the world, and perhaps submit some of your own work. I promise you will love the atmosphere, and enjoy a warm welcome from editor/barkeep extraordinaire, Russell Streur. Cheers!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Acceptance at The Blue Hour

I love waking up to an acceptance email: Three of my poems, coming soon from The Blue Hour. I will post the links as they become available, through the end of May. This is a lovely literary magazine, run by co-editors Moriah LaChapell and Susan Sweetland Garay, not only full of fantastic writing, but beautifully designed as well, in soothing blues and greens, and it's easy to wander around the site without getting lost. Quick reply time, too! Anyway, I urge you to go and check them out, read some work, and/or submit something yourself. And I must thank The Camel Saloon editor, Russell Streur, for turning me on to them. There are some really cool people out there in the biz, for sure.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Photo Exhibit for The Camel Saloon

The Bolivian photo exhibit I did for The Camel Saloon is now up (link below). I'm feeling really grateful to be so warmly welcomed in as a regular at this "literary bar", and quite enjoying the hospitality--it's nice to be recognized for one's work, but also to make new friends. Anyway, I love editor Russell Streur's write up for the photo exhibit (thanks, Russell!):
Dear Saloonatics:

The Cocaine Museum, the Train Graveyard, the Guardian Bird and Grandmother Bowler.

Where do all the good things in life end up?


And the Camel Saloon is totally delighted today to announce the opening of a new photographic exhibition at the joint: a festive, colorful and all around lovely journey to La Paz, the Salt Flats and all points within shouting distance, created especially for the tavern by the festive, colorful and all around lovely Lauren Tivey.

Please dust off the hiking boots and go climbing with the Shanghai gypsy herself at:

And feel free to stop by the other photography exhibitions, too:

Asian Caravan by Jeffrey Miller:
Eye on Wales by Cath Barton:
Eye on England by Andrew Taylor:
Eye on the Mojave Desert by Steve Prsuky:

The Camel's advice for the day:  Drink up!

Russell Streur
Cool place, cool peeps, for sure.  Hope you enjoy the photos from Bolivia (brought back a lot of memories for me, and was quite fun to put together), and I urge you to check out all the awesome work, literary, photographic, and otherwise, at The Camel Saloon.  Cheers!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Acceptance at The Camel Saloon

Just got three poems picked up by editor Russell Streur over at The Camel Saloon.  "Rainy Season" went up today, and two others will follow soon.  I really, really like this place--it's friendly, efficient, and they've got some great work on there.  What's more, writers are treated very well, and there's a fast response time.  In fact, The Camel Saloon just may be my favorite new literary haunt.  You can read my poem, and check out some wonderful work by others, at the link below:

Monday, April 1, 2013

National Poetry Month 30/30

April is National Poetry Month. Since I don't have access to any poetry events here in my small Chinese city, my plan to celebrate is to write a hella lotta poems--what's that NaPoWriMo challenge? 30 poems in 30 days (30/30)? I'll accept! Whether it be a short little thing, or just a crazed, messy free-write, perhaps I'll post the results, or some of them, here. They WILL be in need of revision, but I figure that posting them will force me to polish them up sooner rather than later.  I'll see what pops up over the next 30 days--could get some useful pieces out of this exercise.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Neruda's "The Me Bird"

Check this out--a visual interpretation of Pablo Neruda's poem, "The Me Bird", by graphics studio 18bis in Rio de Janeiro. The animated short is composed of frames all hand-cut from paper, and it's absolutely enchanting. As the studio explains the imagery, "The frames depicted as jail and the past as a burden serve as the background for the story of a ballerina on a journey towards freedom. A diversified artistic experimentation recreates the tempest that connects bird and dancer." It's wonderful--I know you'll like it:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shanghai on My Mind

Just back, after a few days in Shanghai, a trip I find myself wanting/needing to make more and more often.  About two hours away from my small city by bus, Shanghai always delights, titillates, and inspires. It's funky, vibrant, and cosmopolitan, with a sordid but fascinating history, and on top of all that, for a megalopolis of 20  million (and counting!), it's surprisingly beautiful.  As with all big cities, everything is available, just about whenever you want it--culturally, gastronomically, historically, etc. I've seen a production of King Lear, gone to jazz clubs, drooled over architecture on the Bund, gotten New York-style pizza, attended the World Expo, ascended soaring skyscrapers, gotten my hair styled in an Italian salon, battled the crowds on the Metro, walked the old Jewish quarter, had Red Velvet cake, seen the collection at the Propaganda Poster Art Centre, marveled at the neon lights of Nanjing Road, and loaded up on books at my favorite stop, the Foreign Language Bookstore, among many, many other things. It's an addictive jolt of energy, and I discover something new and interesting every time. Here are some photos:

Foreign Language Bookstore, 390 Fuzhou Road

Tasty treats from Awfully Chocolate, 174 South Xiangyang Road

The Bund at night, from the Pearl TV Tower

I realize I sound like a rube here, but I AM a small town girl, and my first visit to Shanghai was nothing short of an epiphany.  I will always remember that first taxi ride, from the airport in Pudong, over to the Yu Yuan district, with the towering skyscrapers stretching out as far as the eye could see. That the city was home to over 20 million people seemed unfathomable to me.  The fact that humans built this, that the world could be so big, was a defining moment.  In fact, check out this stunningly cool time-lapse video of Shanghai, from Lost Pensivos Films, to get a sense of what I'm talking about:

Another thing that captures my imagination is the city's history, especially the years between 1842-1949. I'm currently reading Stella Dong's Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City, which presents all of the lurid details of the city's initial rise and it's early claim to fame as the "Whore of Asia". 

I can't put the book down, and it's given me loads of new insight and facts to ponder as I walk the streets of Shanghai, whether through the former French Concession, along the banks of the Huangpu River, or into the old "opium den and brothel district" around Fuzhou Road, and I'd highly recommend this book to anyone thinking of visiting or moving to Shanghai. Here are some more shots:

Amy's Bedroom, sex shop at 160 South Xiangyang Road

Glamour and glitz at the Westgate Mall, 1038 West Nanjing Road

Sunrise over the city

So, that's just a bit about my love affair with this city.  In short, far from being one of those poets and writers who requires peaceful surroundings to work, I find that exploring Shanghai gets my creative juices flowing, and I'm back with a head full of ideas, and can't wait to get back to work on the manuscript.  Also looking forward to the next visit in a couple of weeks!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Must See

Official trailer for Poetry, a beautiful and melancholy 2011 film by South Korean writer and director, Chang-dong Lee, and starring Jeong-hie Yun. The plot is based on true events, wherein "A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class". (IMDb)  The film has won a ton of awards, including Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival. You can read a brief review by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardianhere. I truly loved it--don't miss this one.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Robin Stratton: Books

The newest release from author Robin Stratton, In His Genes, is now available and ready to order on for $15.00 (plus S & H). It's also available in Kindle and Nook. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'm a huge fan of another of her works, On Air, which was a National Indie Excellence Book Award finalist, so I'm betting In His Genes is just as wonderful. Robin has been a writing coach in the Boston area for almost 20 years. She is the author of The Revision Process, A Guide for Those Months or Years Between Your First Draft and Your Last, Of Zen and Men, and two poetry chapbooks, Dealing with Men, and Interference from an Unwitting Species. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and she's been published in Word Riot, 63 Channels, Antithesis Common, Poor Richards Almanac, Blink-Ink, Pig in a Poke, Chick Flicks, Up the Staircase, Shoots and Vines, and many other places. She's also the editor-extraordinaire of Big Table Publishing Company and the excellent Boston Literary Magazine (I swear, I don't know how she finds the time for all of this!). Be sure to check out her homepage at, and read a great review of In His Genes in the Denver Examiner, by Zack Kopp, here. I guarantee you'll love her work--don't miss out on this amazing writer!

Reading is Sexy

Just ask Marilyn. Well, if she were still alive you'd want to, because the blonde bombshell was no slouch in her literary tastes. Library Thing has published a partial catalog of her library, and it contains a myriad of intellectual interests--history, philosophy, poetry, literature, religion, politics, and science, among others. I love that she had a fondness for the Russians, the catalog listing work by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Pushkin, and Chekhov, to name a few. Some other heavy hitters for this voracious reader: Bertrand Russell, Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, Schopenhauer, and Spinoza. In poetry, Frost, Poe, Millay, Burns, Blake, Shelley, Milton, and Shakespeare. There's Wilde, Joyce, Flaubert, Hemingway, Steinbeck.  I could go on, but best you go and check out the library catalog yourself, at the Marilyn Monroe Library on Library Thing. And to all of you detractors, for all of your "dumb blonde" insults, be prepared for a literary bitch slap--I bet your own libraries aren't half as good as Marilyn's. Yeah, reading is definitely sexy, and if you ever had any doubt, this is your proof. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Speaking of Free Apps...

A Poetry Daily app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad! It's lovely, with a new poem from a current book, magazine, or journal, chosen from a wide variety of poets, to provide you with "a window on the broad range of poetry offered annually by publishers large and small". Plus, it's packed with extra features besides the daily poem, such as poet and publishing info, landscape view, favorites tab, daily poetry news, and more. Good reviews. Get it hot off iTunes, here:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Free Shakespeare App

Surprisingly useful, Readdle's free Shakespeare app for iPhone, iPod, and iPad includes the complete works--that's 41 plays, 154 sonnets, and 6 poems (even doubtful works). Perfect, on-the-go information for teachers or fans! I've even whipped out my iPhone in class, when I couldn't remember a detail about King Lear or Hamlet. How many lines are in Antony & Cleopatra? 3573. Which came first, Two Gentlemen of Verona, or Titus Andronicus? Two Gentlemen, 1592. Of course, you can upgrade to the Pro Edition for $9.99 if you like, but I haven't found it necessary yet (and I teach Shakespeare), as there are a ton of free goodies besides the works: a search feature, scene-by-scene breakdown, glossary, quotes, bio, chronology, and more. There's even a section on Elizabethan Theater. Version 3.2.2 is available, with optimization for iOS 5, and it's gotten great reviews.  In fact, I've never had a loading problem or bug. You can download it for free at iTunes, at the link below. Enjoy!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fire Diner

New from Magic Trash Press, and available on, is Zack Kopp's awesome collection of poems and shorts, Fire Diner, of which I was honored to pen a blurb for recently, along with Gerald Locklin and Jon Cone.  Fire Diner is "Poetry and brief prose by a young man who eats fire, sets his head on fire and speaks fire. Charles Bukowski crossed with Gregory Corso crossed with Lewis Carroll crossed with Iggy Pop", and it's even more than that, so much more. As I wrote in my blurb, it's "the flashlight work of roving private eye, Zack Kopp, illuminating our modern existence on 'the banks of a giant strange world'.  It is man among the elements, and on the edge of this squawking, discordant, ecologically-catastrophic, numb-suffering, flying metal planet, hungry for nature and love during the pre-apocalypse. Catching the 'eerie screaming cackle' of our consciousness under a dying sun, the static-electric-cold whoosh of planets, cars, televisions, and time, with a foot in the city and a heart in the cornfield, these poems are full of star-fire, organic energy, shadows and light, and the yearning of 'us green-faced fools' in an 'empty hungry lonely night'.  Quite simply, I adore this book, and I know you will too.
You can purchase Fire Diner for $8.00 (plus S&H), at this link:

Also available is Kopp's newest novel, Sorehead, of which I haven't had the pleasure of reading yet, but I'm betting it's just as wild and juicy as Fire Diner.

It's available for $10.00 (plus S&H), at this link:

Kopp, as his bio notes, is "founding editor of a webzine called Doggerel (formerly MightyMercury) specializing in short fiction, verse, art, photography and commentary from the anti-famous (from V. Vale to Rennie Sparks to Paul Krassner to Jenny Abel and others). Kopp has been a creative artist of one kind or another from ever since.  His vision is a vital blend of social and political themes with raw, wild soul from the bottom of the can.  He received an MFA in Writing (fiction) from Vermont College of Fine Arts in January of 2008, that magic year."  I say, do yourself a favor, and order one or both of these books--I guarantee you'll become the latest in a long line of Zack Kopp fans.

The Especial Visit

Wanted to share this link to author Idiong Divine's new book, The Especial Visit, of which I wrote the foreword to recently.  Idiong, a Nigerian poet and writer, offers up his latest delicious treat, a collection of children's stories/fairytales, which take place in his homeland, to readers.  Whimsically illustrated by his brother, Imeh Friday Idiong, the traditional folkloric stories will delight readers of all ages.  Believe me, these stories are as divine as only Idiong Divine can be!  You can order it for $5.89 (plus S&H) at this link:

Also, check out his author page, and a list of his other books, here:

Still Here!

I've been a very bad girl, ignoring this blog for the past nine months. I'm still here though, and I'm still writing--it's just that I've been so busy (yes, that non-excuse excuse) with teaching classes and travelling about, that the blog kind of took a back seat.  Plus, I've been concentrating my writing these past months into a full-length manuscript of China-specific poems, and haven't been willing to break them up and send them out for publication--it's such a cohesive thing, you know?  Anyway, I'm back now, and I'll try to keep this thing updated!

Speaking of travelling, I've visited some amazing places recently, and had some wild adventures.  Last summer, Gerard and I toured through China's Yunnan Province with our backpacks, and even hiked into a remote village in the Eastern Himalayas, along the border with Tibet.  We even went to Shangri La, which I fell deeply in love with, and actually consider to be "the home of my soul".  We've been to Thailand, gone into the Golden Triangle, and even popped into Laos. I've ridden an elephant, fed wild monkeys, been cormorant fishing, scaled some incredibly high mountains, gotten a bamboo tattoo, wandered around gold-encrusted Buddhist temples, gone midnight skinnydipping in the Andaman Sea, and battled food poisoning, among other things.  This June, we'll be heading West--to Scotland, Italy, and Turkey--before returning to China.  All of these experiences are what fuels my writing, so I'm grateful for all that life has served up of late!  I thought I'd share some photos here, of some of the travel highlights of the last nine months.  You can view the entire slideshow I put together, here:

Ah, it's good to be back... 

With some cute local kids.  Baishui Tai, Yunnan, China.

At the Three Pagodas.  Dali, Yunnan, China.

Window frame.  Dali, Yunnan, China.

Amid the prayer flags.  Songzanlin Monastery, Shangri La, China.

Elephant safari.  Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Beautiful Wat Rong Khun.  Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Happy Monk.  Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand.

Along the Chao Phraya River.  Bangkok, Thailand.

Contemplative monkey.  Railay, Thailand.

Sunset.  Railay, Thailand.