Saturday, April 28, 2012

Reading in Cleveland Tonight

Night under Footsteps
A poetry reading tonight at 7 PM
at Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry
Nin Andrews, Eric Anderson,
Robert Miltner, Karen Schubert

The Metamorphoses

Now that's a great name for a restaurant. I wonder if it's a chain?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

from Distance by Tom Clark


The wind in the large
trees ignorant in
nocent of all harm

blue waves of rain
flail the sea.

by Tom Clark

from Distance.

The picture is titled "Out" or "Out of the Rain."
We have so much rain here most years, I prefer not to draw it.
But at least there's a tree, and a waveless sea. Oh well.

from Farewell My Lovelies by Diann Blakely

I have this wonderful new book, Farewell My Lovelies, sent to me by Diann Blakely. It's a beautiful book. Diann is a huge Plath fan, and I love this poem of hers. But I have always felt a little guilty that I am not totally enamored of Plath or Sexton. They make me feel somewhere between sad and suicidal, sort of like the girl depicted here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The One Fifteen to Penn Station by Kevin Carey

An interview with Kevin Carey


"Nature" is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gerard Manley Hopkins

from Inversnaid
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Certain poems, songs, paintings, and well, beautiful days make me feel like crying. Funny to think about that. Hopkins is my favorite tear jerker.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The VIDA Count & 1914

I keep thinking about the VIDA count and wondering how different our lives are than, say, 100 years ago. So I turned to my trusty Wonder World Encyclopedia for insights.

the VIDA count

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Bluebell by Emily Bronte

The Bluebell by Emily Bronte

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit's care.

There is a spell in purple heath
Too wildly, sadly dear;
The violet has a fragrant breath,
But fragrance will not cheer, . . .

(Okay, let's just say she was more interesting as a novelist, but hey.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fracking Comics

This post has been moved here on my new blog of fracking comics.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beverages for Poets

Apologies to Keats, Dickinson, Hughes, Lowell, Coleridge, Johnson, Coleridge, Poe, Brooks, Stevens

The Poetry Café: Desserts for the Poet's Palate

Thanks to Lyle Daggett for the suggestion of the plums.

The poets represented: Coleridge, Burns, Berryman, Bishop, Frost, Arnold, Rilke, Blake, Williams, Keats

Monday, April 16, 2012

Specials for the Poet's Palate

I decided to update my poet's menus this week. Today is entrées. Desserts and beverages will follow . . .

I am borrowing Lyle Daggett's great addition to my last menu: A Coney Island Hot Dog of the Mind.

The poets represented: Stein, Blake, Burns, Dickinson, Coleridge, Hopkins, Burroughs, Wordsworth & Coleridge, Chaucer, Stevens, Ferlinghetti

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Two Women Poets Who Decided to Start Their Own Press: Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Convy-Spaulding

I interviewed Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy for the Best American Poetry blog about their new press. You can read it here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dear Professor,

Dear Professor,

I sometimes think that physics professors
don't even live in the real world.
It's like you live
in some hypothetical world.
Do you ever look out of your window
and see a hypotheses?

I love this question because I think it's the reverse. I think most of us non-physicists live in a hypothetical world, or rather a world made up of misconceptions about how things actually work. I suspect that physics professors have to spend a lot of time trying to get their students see what they are actually seeing.

I remember a drawing class in college in which the professor had us draw without looking at the page. He wanted us to learn to look, really look, and trace what we saw, as it is, not as we think it is or should appear.

To quote Einstein:

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

Einstein also said:

"The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Karen and Nin Show

Karen Schubert and I are the featured readers today at Shawnee State University for the release party of their Women’s Center journal, Tapestries. We love to read together, so we're pretty excited.

I haven't had the chance to hear Karen read for a while. She's such a talented reader and poet. Here's a taste:

The rest of Karen's poem can be read here:

Karen's blog is In This Light.

I am not absolutely certain what I will be reading, but I promised to read a few from The Book of Orgasms. A few years ago, I announced at a reading that there would be no more orgasms and that I meant it. The audience was really unhappy with me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Neil Carpathios's poem, "The Future of America"

Karen Schubert and I are going on the road today. We will be giving a reading at Shawnee State University where Neil Carpathios teaches. I love Neil's poetry. He's a poet whose work I have been following for years. I am so thrilled we have been invited to read there.
Above I've posted the beginning of one of his newer poems. The rest of the poem can be read in Mayday Magazine

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

I am trying to figure out what Twitter is all about. I have my account at @NinAndrew, but I don't know what I am supposed to tweet . . .

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dear Shirley Temple,

Do you ever read an entire novel and, years later, remember only one odd detail?

I read Carson McCuller's Reflections in a Golden Eye over summer vacation when I was in seventh grade. All I remember was this line about a corporal who wrote Shirley Temple a letter every day. I was completely interested in that letter. What did he write? What would anyone write to Shirley Temple? I even tried to compose that letter but could not myself that I done a decent job.

I thought of this for some odd reason, now that the post office is in bad shape, now that my mother has passed away, and I no longer have anyone to write letters to.

I love letters. I love writing them. I love how they create an intimate small space. I love poems that are letters, post cards, or even notes left on the refrigerator for loved ones. Even if they are letters written to the world that never writes to me.

Which brings me back to Shirley Temple who, I am sure, never wrote back to the corporal.

Funny to think-- as a girl I barely knew who Shirley Temple was. There were silly quotes I sometimes heard attributed to her, like the one above. And all of those terrible perms we girls got, thanks to her. I remember trying to figure out if it was my hair that smelled or the recently skunked dog.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Of Poets and Angels

I tried to draw the look the people had who were listening to Tim Seibles reading last Tuesday night in the Jones Room at Youngstown State University.

It's a strange thing, but I swear sometimes you can hear people listening.

And it was such an incredible reading. I felt transformed afterwards. I know that sounds a little hyperbolic, but I wasn't the only one who felt it. One friend turned to me and said, he makes me want to write and write and write. A man seated behind me said, I think I could change the world if I felt like this all the time.

As he writes in his poem, "Familiar," in his new and wonderful book, Fast Animal

Some are marked, some . . .

So many words, such fever: the names
of the strained inhabitants moving

around, waiting to be called--
my own life: the bending

of a man into something
else: did I change? Are you

changed? I'm sure
it happens. Yes, I believe it

has happened:

I am still spinning from that reading. I am still feeling inspired and moved. But I was also reminded of my time at Vermont College when one of my friends turned to me and said this funny line --
I thought poets were like angels. And I came here to study with my angels and they turned out to be a bunch of self-promoting, gossipy, cliquey, egotistical, sexist . . . She said this after overhearing after one of her mentors informed her that there were no women poets at VC worth studying with.

It's a funny thing, but I do think of certain poets as angels. Tim Seibles, Claire Bateman, and Tom Clark are three who come to mind right away. And all in their own unique ways--

I have been thinking of Tom a lot lately. A prolific writer and a brilliant mind, I swear his heart is bigger than the world can hold. His blog Tom Clark is like a little taste of heaven. Art, poetry, essays, insights, you name it . . . He was in an accident this week, and my thoughts are with him.

A poem by Tom that I love--I especially love that beatific strawberry.

Experience (Inside)

With this living hand this moment I was writing, and with the other holding to my mouth a nectarine--good god how fine--it went down soft pulpy, slushy, oozy--all its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat like a large beatified strawberry.

What I liked best to feel is the inside of a billiard ball, or the luscious spheroid of a plum.

What I liked best to look at, when I am out walking, are the waves the wind makes in the wheat when it moves across the fields above the ground.

from Junkets on a Sad Planet, p. 36

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Interview with Carole Stone, Author of American Rhapsody

I interviewed Carole Stone for CavanKerry Press. She's a fascinating woman and a beautiful poet. Her parents died when she was a child, and much of her poetry is a reinvention of their lives. She talks in the interview about the nature of obsession and how it is an integral part of many poets' lives.

Part One
Part Two

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dear Professor Comics for Physics Friday

This is the comic I forgot to include in the series below. Flying these days is a little scary. It's especially scary when the stewardesses start doing something like pulling baggage from the cargo hold and placing it overhead in order to make weight. Or moving passengers around to balance the plane. I am told by a pilot that yes, they can feel it when the heavy passengers get up and move to the back of the plane.

Ah well. I am glad I am not flying anywhere for Easter.

And yeah, this plane looks a little odd. Planes aren't my strong suit. Drawing them or flying on them or even thinking about them.

Dear Professor Comics for Physics Friday

Dear Professor,

I was on this very small airplane
from Charlotte to Richmond,
and this XL man sat in the back
until the stewardess made him move
to the middle "to balance the plane."

I was pretty nervous
when he went to the bathroom.
But the stewardess said not to worry . . .
as long as he doesn't stay in there too long.
How long would that be?

Dear Professor,

I was on this plane, waiting for take-off
when the stewardess announced
that the airplane cargo hold was over its legal weight
so they would be taking bags from below
and stuffing them into the overhead compartments
and into the front closet.

Is that safe?

I posted one of these comics before, but I thought I would post a few physics comics on Fridays. And I wanted to post all of the questions about flying together, though I am suddenly remembering one more. Ah well.
These comics come from questions folks ask professors, usually my husband. And I keep wondering about writing an expanded edition of my Dear Professor collection.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An Ulta Store in Ohio after Allen Ginsberg

An Ulta Store in Ohio
after Allen Ginsberg

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Allen Ginsberg, for I have driven the rain-soaked streets of Youngstown, Ohio.

And in my despair, and longing for companionship, for someone to fill the ever-expanding void in my soul, I went into the neon Ulta Store, pondering your epic effusions.

What hair dyes and bleaches! What displays of shampoos and conditioners and mousses, Allen! Whole families shopping for body lotion, nail polish, and shaving creams at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the salon, getting their hair permed, babies crying! – And you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the shampoo bowl, massaging a blond boy’s scalp?

I saw you, Allen Ginsberg, childless, lonely old codger, poking among the eye shadows and lip liners, eyeing the male hair dressers . . . . I watched you tweeze your beard, your eyebrows, and nose hairs in the aisle.

I heard you asking questions: Who killed that woman’s hair? What price is beauty? And to the newly coiffed Don Juan, Are you my Angel?

I thought of this parody when I was shopping at the Ulta Store one night in the midst of a rain storm. The store was packed, and I saw this bearded fellow that reminded me so much of Allen Ginsberg. Suddenly I missed him. I so love his poem, "A Supermarket in California."

The rest of this poem and a few more of my poems are in Mipoesias at
The editor Didi Menendez is a talented portrait artist as well as editor, poet and writer.

If the link doesn't work well, try this in your search:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A First Literary Love

So who was your first literary love?

Harold. Harold and his purple crayon, those books by Crockett Johnson.

As a girl, I wanted a magic crayon to first draw the world
and then, to enter it.

An early favorite poem, because it reminded me of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Walt Whitman's "There Was a Child Went Forth."

Every time I read this poem, I think of Harold. I still love Harold.

There Was a Child Went Forth
Walt Whitman

THERE was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there—and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads—all became part of him . . .

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What are your artistic goals?

I just read advice on what one should do for day 2 in order to become a better writer, or rather, a writer with a better platform.

For day 2: one should make a list of one's goals.

I like writing down my goals. I just don't like doing them.

The top of my desk is covered with lists of must-dos. I am sure I must do so many things. I am equally sure I won't . . .

The best made plans of mice and men
and me
swing aft and forth
and windward and hard to lee

But I suppose it's true . . .

as the best laid men say
foresight sometimes . . .
just sometimes
promises joy

But I do feel for that mouse
for whom the present only toucheth . . .

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Who Am I?

So it's National Poetry Month, and I keep getting emails about all the events happening. One is the writing challenge, NAPO, to write a poem a day from prompts. If only I could write that fast. Another from Poets and Writers--is to build a better platform for marketing oneself. I am so unskilled at marketing that I can only stare at the first day's prompt: to define who I am. And now it's day 2 and I am still stuck on day 1.

I love the question, but the answers are always so unsatisfactory.

After years of philosophy and religion classes, I still have no clue . . . Two answers come to mind. One from Socrates (but of course):

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.

And there from Bonhoeffer, whose works I loved, back when I read theology enthusiastically. I am reminded of his famous poem, "Who Am I?" The last stanza:

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his cell in Berlin as the last days of his life and the last days of World War II ran out together.
As quoted in The Call by Os Guinness, p25.