Friday, August 31, 2007

and we are having fun.

Lisa Howe is here.

Are you having fun?

Do you believe in the importance of fun?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Obsessive bureaucratic specificity

is not useful to students. I would rather give students feedback about two or three issues at most, and leave the rest for later. I hate rubrics--they make it seem like a writing can be measured like a math problem can be evaluated.

This is just not useful.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If you are a youth of today

and write poetry, you should go to Mark's blog and talk about your poetry and poetics there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fox Ruins America

It does.

I have a headache.

One of my Japanese students said that SPAM is famous in Japan and then asked me if I like SPAM. I've never actually had it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Today is the Monday of the Monday of the year.

Today I told my ESL students all I know about Florida. I told them the story that Stan Apps told us about the guy he knows in Tampa that swims in the rivers with the alligators in them. I didn't get all of the details correct, I'm sure, but I was glad Stan had told that story--it has now entered my ESL anecdote repertoire. Then I told my students about swimming in the OK Tedi and OK Minga rivers where they converge, and how there are alligators in those rivers, too. Then I thought that they couldn't be alligators, but crocodiles. Then I had to go look it up on the break: crocodiles.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I complain about the end of summer. I talk about birds, death, fish and feng shui.

1. It's the Sunday night of the Sunday night of the year. Mark might be blogging about this right now, only in a detailed way that is full of insight.

2. I hate being supervised. What I don't like about teaching online classes that supervisors just drop in whenever they want to make sure that you are responding and "facilitating" the class in the correct bureaucratic way. It reminds me of how most cubicle and office workspaces I've ever had have been designed to make it easy for people to look over my shoulder--back to the door, always.

3. One of the unidentifiable white ducks/swans at Buena Vista lagoon died--the one with the beak abnormality. They weren't Snow Geese or Ross' Geese. I'd been calling them "Farm Ducks" because they were completely white and their tail feathers were vertical in that farm duck way. On Thursday the bird that I think was male--the one with a weird lump in its beak--looked sick and weak. S/he didn't even make any kind of alert call when I stopped to look at it as I usually do. On Friday s/he was dead, lying sideways in the water. The other flew away or died or was killed elsewhere. I believe they were escaped farm ducks, or else ducks dropped off there, like people drop off at people's houses kittens sometimes.

4. I saw an Osprey on Thursday. It dove into the water with the classic Osprey stance--feet and head first.

5. Here are some medieval fish. People used to think that fish were uncountable. That is why water and fish are good Feng Shui. "There's always more fish in the sea," etc. Of course, this is not true.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I like the song, "The Man on the Silver Mountain." It's deep mythic hippie cheesiness appeals to me. Deeply. The first time I heard the song, I stupidly asked Mark what the song was about, and he said, "Well, it's about a man. On a silver mountain." That is what the song is about. Not much happens except mythic heavy metal language. I love it.

On the way back from the computer lab (after researching cults all morning), on of my Japanese students began to sing a song, translated on the spur of the moment from Japanese, about rainbows. He said, "Lorraine, sing a long and clap your hands! Don't be shy, let your love of rainbows out of you!"

This particular student is very weird and endearing. A few months ago he couldn't say anything, and now he's a comedian (ah, the heartwarming joys of ESL etc).

I told him that there was a 70s British band called Rainbow, and that their most famous song was called "The Man on the Silver Mountain."

My student said, "What is the song about?"

This obviously made me very happy. I said, "It is about a man on a silver mountain." I then explained that the mountain wasn't made of silver, necessarily, but that the song isn't clear on that point.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sophomore Slup

Oops. I mean slump. I mean, since when do I get nervous enough when reading to not stick with my always good performance plan?

I'm reading the Back Room Anthology from Clear Cut Press. A collection of essays and creative pieces that were presented at a series of fabulous dinner parties and art events is really perfect for me at the moment. I have just enough brain, but barely.

A few pictures of the Fold Appropriate event at Pegasus Books and my weekend in Berkeley in general are up on my flickr account.

Also, I learned today that Germany has a year of mandatory military or volunteer service for all male German citizens. Women can go to, but it is not required.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It is late August

Some of you are going back to your jobs after spending the summer working on your own work. And some of us are just experiencing the end of summer.

The water temperature here is 75. I am going to go to the beach well into September. Last year I didn't because I was too out of it and didn't understand the beach.

This is a good time of year to enjoy the beauty of the fleeting nature of existence. "Time passes, listen, time passes." Etc.

Had dinner at the Rothenberg's. Yum. Always fun.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Various Families 1

Well, according to Erin, my Dad and Mary and sisters are moving to Singapore. Yay!

My aunt (mom's older sister) who doesn't communicate with either me or my mom has been sending Liam (my nephew) gifts. My aunt harbors hostility towards me and my mother for reasons we can only guess at. But regardless of hostility, my aunt and my grandmother like men. They are ladies accustomed to gentlemen callers. My brother is obviously a man. And Liam is obviously a boy--so they get letters. This is my theory.

Liam is one and a half years old. He is the only child I've ever known at that age who responds clearly to yes/no questions. He also uses baby sign language (mostly the sign for "more" and "all done") that he's learned at the early learning center (being on faculty at UC Berkeley has several benefits, including access to good education). Bryan and Erin speak to him like he is a person, which he is, and as a result he has these startling communication skills. It's very cool.

My brother, now in his 30s was fun and even relaxed.

Most men I know and have known in their 20s are, well, unpleasant. Not stupid, but rarely wise, and often jerks. Perhaps most women in their 20s are this way, too. Certainly one's 20s are a time for drama and sometimes bad choices.

That I often too readily accept the fact that most men I know and have known in their 20s are unpleasant is a problem. More directly: this is one of the many ways I support patriarchal social norms. I'm also certain that this stance is to blame for a substantial part of my psychological angst. (Psychic angst? Emotional angst? Etc).

Mark, Lester and I had pasta with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes for dinner. A good dinner to have on a Monday after traveling. Lester is preening on my lap. Tomorrow I'm going to rearrange his cage with some of the new toys I bought him this weekend. When one of the women at the bird store found out that my bird is a parrotlet, she said, "Ooo, those little birds are mean. They bite! I'd sooner approach a macaw any day."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I am still in Berkeley

I ate ice cream today. The reading was fun, although I was randomly nervous and didn't read quite as long as I should have, but I read well, I think. I will blog about this more after I get home. My nephew is great.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Packing List

Mark and I are off to Berkeley tomorrow to for the Fold Appropriate reading/party and to eat a lot of good Berkeley food and spend some time with my frere and mon nephew, Liam.

I am bringing:

  • All my procedural work to pick from to read
  • Stuff to give away, trade, and sell (Moving Walkways, a few extra chaps)
  • Black patent peep-toe heels, with a very high heel that is still somehow sturdy and walkable
  • Clothing with sequins
  • Clothing without sequins
  • Requiem, by Teresa Carmody
  • Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982, by Peter Matthiessen
  • A flask of scotch

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

quality time with the scanner

Finally managed to scan a backlog of doodles and reading reports and conference notes. This one is Steve Willard reading at DG Wills Bookstore in La Jolla back in April. The rest are on flickr.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fold Appropriate Release Party in Berkeley

Mark and I are going to be in Berkeley this weekend (along with many other excellent folks). Come say hello!

Saturday August 18 at 7:30pm at Pegasus Books in downtown Berkeley (2349 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704 * 510.649.1320)

Come celebrate the release of the first issue of FOLD MAGAZINE, Fold Appropriate Text, published by Insert Press. Featuring readings by Franklin Bruno, Guy Bennett, Teresa Carmody, Marcus Civin, Vanessa Place, Michael Smoler and more. Plus you can buy yourself a copy of this gorgeous literary journal at a discount (very exciting)!

If you’re going to be in San Francisco on Saturday, August 18 at 7:30pm, join us for another launch party at Pegasus Books in downtown Berkeley and hear readings by Franklin Bruno, K. Lorraine Graham, William Moor, Mathew Timmons, and Mark Wallace.

The emphasis of this issue is on the use of borrowed, stolen, plundered, reused, retooled and/or sampled texts to create literature and includes essays by Mark Wallace and Guy Bennett that discuss these methods. Our intent is to present the work of writers who use text which they did not originate and do not own or own only by virtue of appropriation.

Contributors to Fold Appropriate Text are: Harold Abramowitz, Guy Bennett, Franklin Bruno, Teresa Carmody, Marcus Civin, Katie Degentesh, Drew Gardner, Nada Gordon, K. Lorraine Graham, Jen Hofer, Mark Hoover, Mike Magee, Sharon Mesmer, K. Silem Mohammad, William Moor, Bruna Mori, JeffreyJoe Nelson, Vanessa Place, Dan Richert, Rod Smith, Michael Smoler, Mark Wallace

Insert Press is edited by Stan Apps and Mathew Timmons. Insert Press has published chapbooks THREE COLUMN TABLE by Harold Abramowitz and ABSURD GOOD NEWS by Julien Poirier. HANDSOME FISH OFFICES by Ara Shirinyan, the first perfectbound book published by Insert Press is forthcoming.

Visit InsertPress for more information and to purchase fine literature.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dear Future Non Employers

Asking for salary histories is a waste of time--my time and your time. You already have a budget for the advertised position. Why waste time not posting a salary range, receiving and going through resumes, then interviews, then asking for salary ranges which are usually way out of your budget? Why?


1. Because you have a lot of money and don't care if you waste even your own time or if your business / magazine makes any money.
2. I know you don't care if you waste my time.
3. Because you want to pay someone 20k for a job that in DC would be at least 40k even though the cost of living here is actually the same.
4. Because you don't really think it's worth it to hire someone who might do a good job and stay longer than a year.
5. You don't want to pay for my health insurance. Frankly, you are disturbed that I'm not married. You were hoping that I was a marginal stay at home mom forced to work 20-30 hours a week to make ends meet.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saw the Harry Callahan exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts with Sandra and Ben. I liked his human figures fading into weird land and city scapes, and also the very fragile prints of telephone wires or milk thistles on snow, for example.

Before that we had tacos at some place on University Avenue with Mama in the name. Good.

Friday, August 10, 2007

So I'm going to read in the Segue series on October 20.

I haven't been back East since I left, and I haven't been in New York in ages. Maybe I'll go to DC, too, if I can. Obviously there's a lot of people there I'd like to see, even though the marvelous Mr. Orange has moved away.

A trip to the east coast will force me to come to terms with how Californian or not I've become. Since I moved to California, the answer to "where are you from?" has become easy for me--I say I'm from DC. I'm not from DC, but it's the place that growed me up as a poet. So I suppose my poems are from there, sort of.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Who else? There must be others....

I went to college with Matthew Roth, and he has a novel coming out from the reincarnated Soft Skull Press called Candy in Action. I don't remember how I met Matt--we were the same year at GW, but I don't think I had any classes with him. Even though GW is a fairly big university, the number of people interested in art etc is pretty small, so I suppose that's how I knew him.

He hosted literary salons in his apartment, which he invited me to, but I never went--I was too busy being uptight: Matt said something like, "bring something you're working on to read or share," and I said, "can I bring my Chinese flash cards?" I always liked Matt, but I respect him, too. He had a clarity of focus towards his writing that I didn't have in college.

There aren't that many people from GW who have gone on to have writing careers of any kind. Mark, Dan, Matt, I....

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Beach Town Aura

I am part of the Carlsbad beach town aura as I ride my bicycle to and from yoga class, wearing sandals, yoga bag slung over my back. And it's not just that Carlsbad has a beach town aura, it is a beach town. In California.

I frequently find it alarming to live in a California beach town, but it is August, and the weather here is perfect--so I'm not alarmed, just shocked and pleasantly disembodied. How can I possibly have a body if I'm part of an aura? May and June are like February back East, but now it is nice. I will never vacation in August as long as I live here.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Zahar is sugar. Bilberries are like blueberries.

According to Miekal And and Anon, "zahar" is sugar.

Miekal And also pointed out that I've been confusing afinata & tzuica. Afiniata is what I had, and is made with bilberries (and sugar) and tzuica (
double distilled is called horinca or palinka) is plum brandy.

So I had a home brew version of afinata, and it was good.

Someone send me to Romania again, and soon! Better yet, send Mark and I there together.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm about to buy a raw food cookbook

I'd like a decent pop psychology or self-help book on sibling relationships, but most seem to focus on sibling deaths or having a sibling that is mentally or physically ill, or what to do if you are a parent with children who don't get along, or how to prepare for having a second child.

Beyond that, I find books with titles like: Siblings in the Unconscious and Psychopathology: Womb Fantasies, Claustrophobias, Fear of Pregnancy, Murderous Rage, Animal Symbolism.

Not quite what I'm looking for, perhaps, although with the exception of "womb fantasies," I could get into the other topics.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I'm glad they're here, exclamation point.

Sandra and Ben are in San Diego county and they came up to dinner last night.

I made:

Egyptian spiced carrot puree with a garnish of toasted almonds, coconuts, coriander and cumin seeds all ground up together. I always feel like toasting whole spices before grinding them is a huge pain, but the spices really do taste better afterwards.

A thick, herbed yogurt that was more Turkish than Persian.

Skordalia--a kind of Greek garlicy potato dip with hazelnuts and other things.

Another version of muhammara (red pepper,pomegranate molasses, and walnut dip). This was my best version so far, though still not as intense or as thick as the kind we had at Ara's uncle's restaurant.

And some grilled lamb loin with a parsley, lemon and walnut sauce. Grilled lamb loin is always good. I marinaded it in what is becoming my default marinade--yogurt, some kind of chili pepper, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, and lots of baharat seasoning.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blogger thought this blog was a spam blog, so I couldn't post for a few days.

The reading in LA was great. I've hung out with Dana Ward in a number of cities, but I'd never heard him read--it seems like he's playing around with a variety of tones at the moment, though all very much within a kind of experimental lyric context. And I don't want to write like Susanne Dyckman, but I felt like I learned a lot from her extremely precise images and use of texture--I enjoyed both their readings.

Plus, Michelle Detoire and her partner came down for the reading! Yay!

I'm starting to feel familiar enough with LA audiences that I'm a bit more comfortable and relaxed reading, although a certain amount of nervous energy is essential to the way I perform. I was also glad to be able to see Stan before he heads off to Tampa for the foreseeable future. I read a brief section from See it Everywhere about a swimming, leaping iguana in honor of Stan and Tampa (and canals and Florida rivers).

To blog about later:

1. My little sister Sarah and her love of coconut shells and how she (like I used to and probable many other people) projects her longing onto seemingly bizarre objects.

2. How I never fantasized about my future wedding or house as a child or teenager, but I did spend hours diagramming the perfect horse barn, or cat jungle gym. So the fact that I have been fantasizing about building Lester a cage that is both inside and outside is nothing new. (How this also sounds, rhetorically, like frat-boy fantasies of having a permanent keg or a keg in the truck, etc).

3. I forgot