Friday, May 30, 2008


I am just back from the PRESS conference in Olympia. I am new to 'conferences' but I am beginning to realize their importance. Being around people thinking about poetry, ideas, politics and such is so crucial. I think many poets are or do look for connections on the internet -- myself definitely included. It is refreshing to meet people face to face. One idea that I'm contemplating via the conference is the idea of cross-genre work as a way to protest the system. This would never have occurred to me. My friend Nick came up with a brilliant idea, life does work like a short story -- with rising action, climax, and such -- so why do we write as such?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


This Condensery: Poets On Mentorship

curated by Jennifer Bartlett

Featuring interviews with:

Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker
Joanna Fuhrman and Susanna Fry
Shin Yu Pai and Renee Rossi
Jennifer Firestone and Eileen Myles

Essays and poems by:

Jen Benka
Susanna Fry & Joanna Fuhrman
Renée Rossi
Shin Yu Pai

And excerpts from Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts & Affections by Rachel Zucker and Arielle Greenberg (University of Iowa Press, 2008)

Elizabeth Treadwell
Katy Lederer
Kristin Prevallet

Friday, May 23, 2008

Off to the PRESS conference in Olympia!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Poetry and community

I've been reading Jack Spicer's lectures. I am struggling to understand the difference between community (positive) and society (negative). He writes, "I think every poet has to create actively his (her) own community." Later, 'well, community is a good word. If you make your own community, which you can't...but if you could, that would be ideal."

I am also thinking about whether and how one can create poetry community. And, if not, can a poet thrive in isolation?

Monday, May 19, 2008


I rode my bike seven miles on Saturday.

My husband, the hero

As my husband trudged off to yet another job interview today, he broke my heart. I can't help but, in my own tiny way, try to expose the condition of the NYC Department of Education. As my husband left, he expressed dismay in missing teaching today because his students have the regents coming up and they need him. Who makes it impossible for my husband's students to have their caring teacher? Why, the school's principal, of course. This administration basically pushed my husband out of this job because my husband 'can't control the class.' Well, no wonder. There is no support and the principal can't 'control' the kids either. So, this administrator, is giving up a teacher who is brilliant, caring, and would rather go to work half-dead than miss a day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Anxiety, Disability and Paul Auster

I'm obsessed with Paul Auster's books. This is part of a longer story. However, last night I was at a local new bar in the greater GNPT/WBG area with a friend. I left my Auster book...well...somewhere. So, I called the bar and said 'Hey, it's Jennifer. Did you find my book?' The person on the phone was not the owner {who knows me} but some girl who said, "Hey, you know that girl, like with MS, did she leave her book her." O.k. Miss brilliant. I don't have MS -- I have cP -- and I not a 'girl' I'm nearly forty and have a kid. I don't like being described as 'the handicapped girl' anymore than you like like being described as the brainless hipster.

Where is my book!?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


In a few weeks we will leave for our yearly summer in Oregon. I have to say, I've got one foot out my New York door. Moving from New York seems an impossible task, yet one that lingers. Partially, this desire to leave comes from my perceived inability to find a home in the New York Poetry world. I find I can't fit in, and I can't completely hide either. The west -- a kinder, gentler place -- might give the opportunity for one ... or the other.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I just saw a fabulous poetry reading: Robyn Art and Erica Ehrenberg. Two witty, wonderful poets.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Paul Guest/ John Ashbery

In a blurb for Paul Guest's new book, Ashbery calls the book 'invalid's rage.' My question, why would Ashbery say such a thing and why would Guest let him? Invalid (or in valid) in my book is one of the most offensive terms (short of retard) that a people with a physical disability can be called. It would be likened to putting a blurb on Ashbery's book calling him a crotchety old fag. And it is untrue. While I am conflicted about Guest's work, I hold him in the highest esteem as a person. Not only is he attractive, friendly, smart, and warm but he has also gone far, far beyond where most able-bodied ports will: books with Ecco, a good professor job, and so on. Guest is in no terms an invalid, So, I wonder what's going on. For starters, I think the politically correct police need to give ole John a good kick in the head. He's a poet, after all, doesn't he know the power of words? Perhaps I am stupid. Perhaps it is mean ironically. If so, will other get the joke?