Friday, April 17, 2009


Clearly one of the most beautiful books of the year, Keith Waldrop's Several Gravities combines Waldrop's distinctive writings with a collection of the collage work he has been producing for years, mostly visible till now on the covers of a series of poetry volumes from Burning Deck Press.

demands images at
strategic intervals, something
steady on which to
map the random. My world
is in disorder. Like-
wise my schedule. I
live within 
tolerances. At the
intersection of innumerable
fantasies. Irreconcilables
point me to
my orient. Ambiguous
suns. A shower of
elementaries. Venus rising
from the nutrient broth.
Accidents of sensual
logic. Fringes of
interference. That

Browse your way over to Siglio Press for more information on this book.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Last night Francisco Aragon brought his poetry to town, with a reading at Foster Auditorium.  Francisco is the author of  PUERTA DEL SOL, from Bilingual Review Press.  

He is also the editor of THE WIND SHIFTS: NEW LATINO POETRY, perhaps the most far-reaching such anthology since Ray Gonzalez's AFTER AZTLAN.

One of the poems Francisco read was dedicated to Jack Spicer, one of the many subjects swirling around the table when we had lunch earlier in the day.

Love Poem
by Francisco Aragón
clr gif

Just let the San Andreas
stay put, keeping this tunnel
intact, enough to amble

out of it, past Louie’s Dim
 a Saturday afternoon,
breeze detectable off

the bay—visible in the distance,
carrying with it the smells
of open air markets:

crab freshly caught
and seahorses piled
in bins along Stockton...

or Jack, strolling out of the tube
connecting Polk Gulch
and North Beach—on his way

to Aquatic Park to spread
the Sporting Green
on his favorite patch of grass...

He is ferrying the portable
radio to his ear
listening for the count

in the bottom of the ninth
at Candlestick,
begins to smooth

the pages with his palms
before he sits
to keep it dry: the split

seat of his pants

for Jack Spicer (1925–1965)

Francisco is on the staff of Notre Dame's Institute for Latino Studies, working out of their office in D.C.  Check out Francisco's work with the Institute at the Letras Latinas blog site.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009



One of the first people I met when I came to Penn State University was poet and educator (but then she was a poet and student) Raina Leon.

We've remained in touch since she moved on to North Carolina and Nevada and Germany and I was pleased to get word that she was going to be in town this past weekend reading from her first book of poetry, Canticle of Idols, which has been published by Word Tech.  

I hadn't been to Websters Book Store for quite a while and was surprised to find a used vinyl store added to the books (a bit disconcerting, looking across the room during the poetry reading and seeing a record of my musical history spread out for sale), but all else, including a certain amount of disorganization and incomprehension (vital elements of any successful book emporium -- far more important than cats) was as I recalled from earlier readings.  In the past this venue has hosted Erica Hunt, Ed Roberson, Evie Shockley, Duriel Harris, Susan Wheeler and Jeffrey Renard Allen, so Raina (who had come years ago to the reading Alfred Arteaga did at Websters) was following an estimable tradition.

Raina brought with her poet/friend DeLana Dameron, whose own book, How God Ends Us, you can read about here.  A forward by Elizabeth Alexander . . . not shabby . . . 

Raina will be reading elsewhere as follows:

April 8
Quail Ridge Bookstore
3522 Wade Ave
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 828-1588
reading and book signing with DeLana Dameron and Lenard D. Moore

April 9
Busboys and Poets
Busboys @ 14th & V.
2021 14th St, DC
reading and book signing with DeLana Dameron

April 10
Green Line Cafe
4239 Baltimore Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19104
Informal poetry discussion and coffee 

Be sure to check her out -- you can order her book here.

Raina's work also appeared in the Ocho 15 edition of the MiPOesias project, edited by Francisco Aragon.  You can read about that here.  And you can hear Francisco read from his own poetry at Penn State on Wed., April 8.  Watch for a blog entry on that one soon.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Don't tread on you? Entity. Of the expansive accumulative. Society. Inalienable? Dysynchronous. Siempre. Torn up and tearing. Sacred and profane. Silly and sublime. Ascendant. Techne. Of what's oppositional, of what's not. Of what's recuperative, of what's not. Walking tall. Life and death. Power and grace. Alienable Dividuals. Entities. Seek a freedom in, not from. Alienable Dividual. Sees the diff, bears the brunt, speaks the sum. A sliver of your own self, striving. Siempre.

Always something new out of Rodrigo Toscano -- this is one of the opening passages of "Truax Inimical," described here as "A trans-modern masque for four voices," which leads off his new book Collapsible Poetics.  The book was selected by Marjorie Welish for the National Poetry Series and was pubished by Fence Books.  Use Amazon to look inside the book, and order a copy while you're there.