April 7, 2014

West Trestle Review: Bridging the Words

Friends of Newport Station/Wikimedia

Inspired by an AWP panel where VIDA founders suggested that women should create more literary spaces for themselves, I started a little poetry journal called West Trestle Review. The idea is that it will be a bridge connecting women to each other, connecting poetry by women in California and Nevada to the rest of the world via this useful interweb thingy, and it will connect the digital to the letterpress.

WTR will feature one new poet on its website each week, and at the end of the year twelve best of the best poems will be published in one unique, hand bound, letterpress-printed chapbook, created with the help of Meridian Press. Once the chapbook hits the streets, we'll have some poetry readings up and down the two states.

Why West Trestle, you ask? I'm in California, as is two-thirds of my advisory board-- Annie Stenzel and Jennifer K. Sweeney-- while Katherine Case calls Nevada her home. I love the idea of building a literary bridges. I love the word "trestle" and the other words it conjures: bustle, truss, trust, tussle, and their various meanings and connotations. I also live near a train trestle that I think of as the gateway to my little town in the foothills of Northern California, so I carry the idea of trestle as gateway.

I grew up in this town but didn't really think of it as home until, while I was living in Massachusetts, my mom sent a photo she took of the train trestle as she was driving by, and the homesickness welled up. Now I'm home at last and able to settle in to doing something I've wanted to do for a long time: promote women's poetry.

Finally, in 2011 women made up just slightly more that 23 percent of the transportation labor force in the U.S., according to Progressive Railroading, a statistic that is reflective of so many industries in our fair country. In fact, 23 is almost exactly the percentage of women who graced McSweeney's pages in 2013, according to the VIDA count.

It's time for women to get out of the little red literary caboose. So, what are you waiting for? Submit your stuff already.  First stop: West Trestle Review. Next Stop: The New Yorker!

(Also, find us @westtrestle if you tweet.)

"The Gorgon's Tale" -- Now Available in a Journal Near You

If you haven't ordered your copy of Fjord's Review yet, you should really treat yourself. There's plenty of fine writing to be found there, and I'm honored that they published my poem, "The Gorgon's Tale," which is a feminist retelling of Medusa's story. If you happen to read it, let me know what you think. 

December 4, 2013

Generational Literature

Mother Nursing Her Child by the Fireplace
Albert Neuhuys  via Wikimedia Commons
Hey gang,

Just a quick pop 'round to let you know that two of my poems, "Laundry Day," and "Mother & Child," appear in the most recent issue of Generations Literary Journal.

It is a beautiful affair, so head on over there and get yourself a copy!

October 23, 2013


Gene Daniels, NARA

I am honored to have a poem in the new issue of The Cortland Review. Check it out! You can even hear my squeaky voice if you so desire. Alas, I will never find employment in radio. 

October 14, 2013

Notes from the Foothills

A hint of autumn color on the trail
We've moved across the country, and it turns out October is half over before I realized it had begun. That's how it is in California. In New England I would start watching in August for the pinkening tips of the leaves, at first with dread for the end of summer, and then as September whipped past us, with joy for the riotous color.

By the end of October, though, the color weakened, like a powerful witch being drained of all her magic as the leaves tossed themselves to the ground, and the weight of winter settled itself on my chest.

Lichen covered granite
I miss the color almost feverishly. I look around my hometown, and I kick myself for all the times I ranted about how California does have changing seasons, damn it! I think back on all of those smug New England faces, nodding their heads with eyes closed in a most patronizing fashion, and I know they were right: It's just not the same. It pains me.

I don't miss the dread, though-- not in any way. I don't miss the mountain of wood dumped on our front lawn every August. I don't miss wheelbarrowing it into the house all winter long because we never had enough time to get it in before the snow fell. My sore, frozen hands trying to make a fire. I really, really don't miss the cold. In fact, I feel downright buoyant at the lack of cold. At morning drop off at the elementary school, some of the moms complain about how cold it's getting in the morning, and I smile, nodding my head in a patronizing fashion. I know from cold.

Canal trail 
 So, I moved back to my hometown after being away for more than twenty years, and it's weird. In Alice Hoffman's The Probable Future, one of the characters goes back to her hometown, the house where she grew up, and she says it's like being two people at once: the adult she is now, washing the dishes in the kitchen sink, and the sixteen year old girl she was, climbing out the kitchen window to meet her boyfriend in town. Exactly.

Around every corner is a memory, and they are not particularly good ones.  Well, I just have to tinker myself some new memories.

But here's the wacky thing: I know there's more than one teenager out there who's a self-involved snit, but I must have been the queen of them. My focus was turned so incredibly inward that it's almost as if I didn't live in this town at all, which makes it incredibly interesting to discover. Plus, oh my gosh how it has grown! I mean, we have an In-n-Out Burger and a skate park!

One of the great things my parents discovered while I was away is this whole system of canal trails, and apparently everyone else discovered them, too, because they're all there-- walking their dogs, riding bikes, jogging.  These days Buckaroo isn't up for hiking much longer than an hour, and that's only if we ply him with sugary delights (and Sweet P prefers to stay home), but one of these days I'd like to set out and see how far we can follow these canals.

We have chicks! I want to name them after the Bennet sisters, but, ya know, everything's a democracy in this house. They are, as of yet, unnamed.  

In the meantime, R hasn't lost his love of homesteading, so when he's not attached to his work computer, he's making plans for organic composting heaps and ordering wolf urine to frighten away the deer. He's very excited about the plethora of olives in these parts. He even tasted one straight off the tree yesterday. Blech. I guess everyone's gotta do it once.

 My camera was broken for a good, long time, and I was beginning to feel like I was losing my ability to see the extraordinary. I didn't realize how much my lens was tied to my pen. I'm super thankful to have it hanging around my neck again. In celebration, I thought I'd share these.
You tell me!


September 4, 2013

Poetry in Record Time

Photo courtesy of Lucky Louie at Wikimedia
With the awesomeness of the Internet, so many literary journals are able to add audio recordings of poems and stories to go along with the text of the author's work as well as those writerly head shots.

I've recently had two writer friends ask me how to record themselves reading their work in WAV format so that it might be added to a journal's web site, and honestly I wasn't sure how to answer them until today, when I had to figure it out for myself.

I thought I'd post my findings here, so that it might save you a little time and trouble. So here are the WAV recording dance steps. I have a Mac, so it may be slightly different for you if you don't. Also, keep in mind that I am a poet, and not in any way a techie:

1. Go to Softonic and download Audio Recorder 3.2. I was nervous about getting viruses and all that, but it didn't happen. I make no guarantees for you, however.

a. The Mac tosses downloads into the "Downloads" folder, which can be found in your finder-- in case that's new to you. Go there and click. It should be at the top of the list.

2. Open Audio Recorder 3.2 on your handy dandy computer.

3. When the itty bitty box pops up, click on "voice settings."

4. Click on "edit profiles" and a new box will pop up.

5. Click on "Format," and choose WAV. Close the box.

6. Click on "Record" and go to town with your authorly self. Make sure there are no kitties in the vicinity as they're always trying to upstage a reader.

7. Save the file in a place where you can find it easily. I saved it to my desktop until further un-neededness.

8. Smack your forehead and say, "Ha!"

9. I had to save mine to a disk. If this is the case for you, pop the blank disk into your cd rom drive, find the icon in your finder, and drag your WAV file into it. Mine had a little yellow and black waspy circle looking icon that I had to click before it would burn. Burn, baby, burn.

I hope that's helpful.