Sick Talk

   My poem “Sick Talk,” published by Washington DC-based journal “The Potomac.”

A Sudden Collapse of Ice

Poems can sometimes behave like short stories, like very short stories. They set the scene, bring the reader in and then leave them with an uncertain longing. In just fifteen lines, the poem below tells the story of two couples, of neighbors, of marriage, of winter. The title lets the reader know what to expect […]

Virginia’s Moment of Zen

  Virginia Woolf mocks the wisemen of the world, and herself, in her story “The Mark on the Wall.” It is a stream of consciousness piece punctuated by irony and the whiny passage above. The rest I found too dense, at least for my heavily pregnant brain. Although I did get a lovely afternoon nap out […]

La Pequeña Plaza (The Small Plaza)

  Domingo 5 En ciudades pequeñas se renuncia al tamaño de la plaza. Ni pensar en recortar la esquina al crear la pequeña plaza. Ya se sabe de quién es, a quién pertenece. Camina en cuadrado, cuatro noventa grados. Es algo vacío, algo indefenso, aquel que pretende no ver a su mujer. Esta niña acepta […]

The New Amerikan Thing

Juan Felipe Herrera’s story is a nice one. Born in California in 1948, he grew up picking crops with his migrant worker parents in the San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys.  After graduating from San Diego High School, Herrera went on to complete degrees at UCLA, Stanford and the prestigious University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has published […]

Crisis at Thirty

There is an undocumented age crisis that occurs in the early thirties. Indeed, the onset of this decade might mark the actual “coming of age.” Eighteen is still shrouded by the incredulous, protective shield of childhood, as is any age before twenty nine. But thirty-three is different. It is lucid and stunned and dismayed at […]

Said and Done

  I fear my capacity to guide Mistake toward fulfillment   At times, I blame: The flurry of misprint, of crisis to unscramble; The renewed promise of classic self-improvement; The flat-water buoyancy of fresh peace.   Other times, I blame: This devotion to words and their construction – How they unsay as they say – […]

The Terrible Duty

The terrible duty is to go to the end. – Clarice Lispector   The New York Times has a great review out on a new anthology of short stories written by Brazilian Clarice Lispector, one of my favorite writers. The quote above was Lispector’s response when someone compared her to Virginia Woolf, whom she thought a coward […]

Fortune’s Cookies

A friend recently sent me an upbeat, effortless Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919) poem that I immediately liked. And then immediately didn’t know if I liked. The poem is from Ferlinghetti’s record-breaking “A Coney Island State of Mind,” which was published in 1955 and sold over a million copies in nine different languages.  The poet’s life story is worth reading. He is […]

Submit to Five Quarterly, and to Me!

Since 2012, Five Quarterly has been publishing exciting works of fiction and poetry by emerging writers in issues culled by guest editors. I am happy to share that I will be one such guest editor for their upcoming October issue. They are currently taking submissions, so submit away. It will be an honor to read your […]

The Quiet Difference

   Always a pleasure to reread this story, one of my all-time favorites. Dialogue doesn’t get better than this. 

Fish Scale Lace

   Anton Chekhov writes about fading love in his short story “The Lady with the Toy Dog” and perfectly captures the shock of sudden revulsion with the underlined image above. 

Better than a Great Song

Several years ago, British poet John Fullerwrote a poem with a bright future as a chart-topping pop song.  Perhaps its catchy flow is due to the fact that it’s a strict villanelle, or perhaps it’s due to the fact that the poem is about unrequited, but not tortured, love. There’s just enough heartache to make it interesting, but […]

Abandoned Men

Brooklyn Copeland is a young, prolific poet who has published individual poems in venues like Poetry Magazine and The New York Times. She also has several chapbooks and  full length poetry collections available. As readily available as her work is online to peruse, I found it hard to pin down. “Self-conscious” is definitely a word that came to mind. “Intentional” […]

The Open Dishwasher

  Today, you fell face first into the open dishwasher   One plastic prong bruised your nose Another gave you your first black eye   I rushed to cradle you And sing your falling down song   Then I took you outside to show you The birds, the lizards The cloudless blue sky And the […]

Oh, Zelda

Los Angeles’s Silver Birch Press just released an anthology dedicated to “The Great Gatsby,” and I am thrilled that my poem “Oh, Zelda” was selected as part of the book. The poem is about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda, who was a tumultuous part of Fitzgerald’s fame, fortune and misfortune. If anyone is interested in ordering […]

Yellow Tomatoes

Thrilled that VerseWrights published my poem “Yellow Tomatoes” this month!   I once thought I could know anything The death knowledge of the Buddha The clarifying call of Gabriel Former lives and abetting suns That enthrall worlds more able than mine I too never doubted my time supply To be the daughter of the dying […]

Stay Inside

The other day, I read a poem whose beginning I didn’t quite like. But, it was weird enough to keep me hooked to its very last line, which made me laugh out loud and reread the poem several times, appreciating it more and more with each go. The piece is by poet Paul Violi, who published eleven collections […]

An Idle Parent Is

An alert friend and reader recently sent me this terrific excerpt from British author Tom Hodgkinson’s book “The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids.” It summarizes the author’s life-approach, which applies the “less is more” philosophy to parenting and everything else. It also proposes a very practical rule to determine whether or not […]

At Every Wedding

Not many young adult authors launch their novels with a poem, much less a two-page piece that transcends their target demographic. So I was surprised to find the poem below on the very first page of bestselling YA author Sarah Dessen‘s novel “That Summer.” The poem is by South Carolina author Dannye Romine Powell, an award-winning poet, writer […]