Tuesday, December 29, 2009


"Avant-Garde" was accepted by Frank Hinton at Metazen (along with a prose poem, "Exit Visa"). Also Coop Renner at elimae took "Half-Life," a 10-part experimental sequence of associational free verse. Not bad for a day that started with two rejections!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Short History of Surrealism

Andre Breton, the pope of Surrealism, once said the ultimate surrealist act would be to fire at random into a crowd in the street until the bullets ran out. Today, of course, that isn't surrealism; it's the news. (Where does that leave us as writers? What avenues are left open to shock, startle, and dismay?)I have tried to make a poem of this situation. It's called AVANT-GARDE; it's short; it brings in a remark by filmmaker Jean-Luc Goddard as well; and it's been submitted to a few publications.

Philosophical Speculation

To take refuge in an image is to take refuge from reality. It’s to avoid or evade confronting what is there to actually be seen and described. If this is so, then the true incendiary would abandon poetry for journalism or the writing of contemporary history. The imagination is free, but man is not.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Orange Spotlight

Ghosts of Breath in today's Orange Spotlight over at What to Wear During an Orange Alert


New E-Chapbook

Love Surrounds You Like a Posse in Bulletproof Vests -- my e-book from Publishing Genius -- will be out January 5. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reversal of Fortunes

OK. I was wrong. j.a. accepted Music for Pieces of Wood. It's been added to the ml press 2010 chapbook series. Thanks, j.a. I'm glad to have been wrong and to now be part of what is a series of cutting-edge works. Now everyone go subscribe to ml press.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One of Those Days

Holiday has been tough on ,y writing. Just taking notes and reading. No formal, prolonged session at the keyboard. Too much company around for that. Of course, in the middle of this three- or four-day layoff, I get a chapbook mss. rejected by Big Table Publishing. Adding insult to injury, I paid a $15 reading fee, too. Not money well spent. I originally sent 8 poems, for which the editor/publisher went crazy. The editor asked me to send more before making a final determination. These tipped the balance to rejection. The editor -- named Robin, so I don't know which pronoun to use, he or she -- said he/she couldn't understand them. Apparently, he/she wanted a traditional narrative resolution to the poems, character-driven scenes, etc. Or else he/she just wanted my $15. Depressing.

I sent out yesterday a series of 10 prose poems to be considered for one of the mini-chapbooks that ml press published. I'm under the general impression that j.a. (who runs the press) doesn't like my work. But I'm also under the impression that the prose poems are good. Nonetheless, I expect another hurtful rejection shortly.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ethics and Entertainment

I received the proofs today for Ethics & Entertainment. Oh, God. The thought of proofing 300-some pages of academic writing is nearly enough to make me give up the ghost. But it must be done -- and in less than four weeks!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ghosts of Breath

Pamphlet of poems published today by Bedouin Books --


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I have been nominated for the fourth time in four years for a Pushcart, this time for my poem, "Repairing in the World," which appeared in tinfoil dresses.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Catalonian Review took a three-part prose poem, "Notes of a Doctor of Moral Diseases." It should be in the next issue. elimae is publishing my six-part poem on Delmore Schwartz in November; I'm anxious to see how readers react (or if they do). It's weird that I've published so much over the past six months -- three chapbooks and a full-length collection -- and I'm still in the same pathetic situation as ever. I keep expecting something I write to make a difference in my life and work. But nothing changes. Nothing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Heart Draws a Rough Map

Cut and paste -- and read. Mia Christopher's illustrations are it. Justin Runge's design, too. I'm glad my poems inspired two such talented people to such good work.


Short Ride in a Fast Machine (poem)



Got the proofs of Ghosts of Breath. The best designed of all my books. Michael, the editor-publisher at Bedouin Books, is simply an artist. I haven't seen the cover yet, but I expect it'll look at least as terrific as the text, which has a kind of swirly, psychedelic, retro sixties style, which suits the surrealism of many of the poems.

Meanwhile, the great, wise and wonderful Dale at Right Hand Pointing wants to do my poems based on death-bed sayings as an e-book. Called Dying Words, it'll be released in summer 2010. He is going to do the accompanying digital art. His artwork for my Still Life With Firearms was eye-popping and extremely funny.

Leah at Propaganda Press gave me the go-ahead to send a chap manuscript to them in winter 2010. I'm thinking of calling it Short Ride in a Fast Machine, after one of the poems. If accepted, this would be a print chap.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Acceptances at Heavy Bear, Poetry Now and Paper Darts, for which I am very grateful, though I worry anyway about the quality of the work that's been accepted. . . I used to take an acceptance as a kind of certification of the genuine quality of a poem and, in fact, would think I was slipping if my latest poem was having a hard time finding a home. . . Now I'm not sure what an acceptance certifies. . . I say this while still serving as guest poetry editor for issue #29 of Right Hand Pointing (an interesting experience, by the way). . . I've resolved to give as many deserving poets as I can a slot in the issue. . . This effectively means accepting only one poem per poet. . . I haven't turned down any poem I wouldn't have turned down anyway because of this, but it does indicate that other factors beside quality can and do play into an acceptance. . . What a world, what a world.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Second Best of the Net Nomination

Northville Review has nominated my humorous flash, "The Death of the Book," for the 2009 Best of the Net anthology.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Best of the Net

Coop Renner, the great editor of elimae, has nominated my poem "Sal's Place," which appeared in the February 2009 issue of his journal, for the Best of the Net volume published annually by Sundress Press.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


My poetry book Lovesick has been published! Can't believe it! Instructor at Pepperdine U has even assigned it.Unreal. See it here:


I'm delirious.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Heart Draws a Rough Map

Blue Hour Press will bring this out in October.

Monday, August 17, 2009


So Flutter Press published a mini-chap of mine, Visiting the Dead; Right Hand Pointing moved up the publication date of Still Life With Firearms to Sept. 15; and Bedouin Books delayed the publication of Ghosts of Breath till what sounds like early 2010. No word yet on when (if ever) Anomalies (FootHills Publishing) or My Heart Draws a Rough Map (Blue Hour Press) will appear. Lovesick is supposedly at the printer.

Patience isn't a virtue; it's a necessity.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Three by Three

Three short poems on hand. Don't know where to send them. They evolved weirdly -- showing up in one longer poem that I couldn't make work. I dismantled it and from the pieces grew these three. But of what quality and to what purpose? Writing is always something to do, but it isn't always something worth doing -- not if the results are trivial or inept.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Burnt-Out Case

I'm wiped. . . Too many balls in the air -- or not enough air to sustain them. . . Finished the chap for Right Hand Pointing, which we agreed to title Still Life with Firearms, after one of the later poems. . . Dale has developed wittily surreal art to accompany the text. . . It's practically ready to go now, but he's holding, per announced sked, till November. . . I'm cool with that. . . Plenty of work to do between now and then. . . But first I got to let the well refill.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blue Hour Press Update

"Heartless" has gone through one round of editing. It's also been retitled. It's now called "My Heart Draws a Rough Map" from a line in one of the sections. The editor thought the original title would just remind people of the Kanye West song of the same name. The e-hap will go through one more round of editing and be published (supposedly) in September.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Blue Hour

Summertime and the livin' ain't easy. No classes, but I have several writing projects running simultaneously. There's the scholarly book for McFarland, Ethics and Entertainment, which is near completion -- finally, after two years. And, of course, there's Lovesick. But I have three (maybe four) chapbooks in process as well. The Blue House Press has accepted the prose poem series Heartless as an e-book, but wants a few edits, which I've agreed to, perhaps stupidly, because I haven't seen yet what specific edits they want. FootHills Publishing has taken Anomalies -- approximately 25 new poems. Bedouin Books is still supposed to bring out Ghosts of Breath -- it looks like in the fall. And Right Hand Pointing has invited me to do another e-chap, which I've begun writing poems for (I need at least 10). I'm also going to be poetry editor of issue #29 of RHP, but that's another story.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Read galleys for "Lovesick." The book will come in at about 150 pages. It's not everything I ever published, but it's a lot of what I've published over the last three years. Btw, I just discovered while surfing the Web late at night that the title poem was named one of the 50 best poems on the Web -- whether for the past year or forever, who knows. But pretty cool either way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Found Poem

Found poetry is surprisingly popular, with sites and issues specifically devoted to it. I had one published today here:


Found poetry can be good to get you going when you're stuck creatively. It's writing, but with someone else's words.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Anomalies 2

As things now stand, it'll be an e-chap, published next summer. Meanwhile, I'm working on a series of prose poems. Up to 12 so far. Under the working title, PIECES OF MY HEART. Some have just been accepted by Catalonian Review.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


The fabulous Dale Wisely at Right Hand Pointing has accepted my latest chap, Anomalies, for publication. It's unclear at this point whether it'll be an e-chap -- Dale previously published my e-chap Police and Questions -- or a print job. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Litter Box

I had two poems published today in The Litter Box, which is here: http://www.litterboxmagazine.com/2fictiongood.html

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Legendary published two of my poems today, including one created from students' comments on a class blog. The poems are here:


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Poem

New Verse News was kind enough to publish my poem, "Peacekeeping Mission," for Earth Day 2009. It can be found here:


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I heard late today from Press Americana. They're working on my full-length book of poetry, Lovesick. I should have proofs by May, with publication possibly coming as early as June. They asked if I had any ideas for the cover. No, I don't. They said they have a designer who'll supply some.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Acceptances & Rejections

New acceptances from elimae, Welter, Brown Bottle Journal, other___, Triggerfish Critical Review, ouroboros review, and lesser flamingo. . . and, of course, a rejection, too (ginosoko). What's life without a little rejection.

Friday, April 3, 2009

In the Metro

The Legendary just accepted a poem -- called "In the Metro" after Ezra Pound's famous haiku and similarly set in a subway station -- that I constructed from my students' blog posts. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fogged Clarity

I had three poems published today in Fogged Clarity (Ben, the editor, also recorded me reading them). Any significance in the fact that it's also April Fool's Day?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Forthcoming Reviews

I've learned that both Prick of the Spindle and Shoots & Vines are doing reviews of The Torturer's Horse, my e-book from Recycled Karma Press. They should be out within the next week or two. Keep your figures crossed that they're good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Poetry Reading

I'm doing a reading on campus when we get back from spring back. I've been playing in my head with different sequences for the poems I'll read. I'm thinking of starting with "Aria for My Daughter," which I wrote for Darla and was just published by JuiceBox (see the links to the left). This is the first of my readings she won't be able to attend. She'll back at school, too, by then.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Love Is a UFO

Love Is a UFO, my eighth chapbook, has been published. I received a carton with 40 copies from Pudding House, the publisher, over the weekend. I'm not fond of the cover art, about which I had no input, but the chapbook itself is firmly bound and printed on good paper. I'm skeptical it's going to receive much attention. The publisher does no marketing. Selling it is my obligation. And I thought writing it was tough.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Review

Another amazing review of Tomorrowland, this time by Nathan Tyree in the blogzine, Magazine of the Dead. You can find the link to it on the left or copy and paste this:


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring Break

Well, I made it to spring break. . . and without too many papers to grade or stories to edit. I hope to do some editing, though, on the chapters for Ethics and Entertainment, my book for McFarland, over the next week. Speaking of hope, I'd been hoping to hear from Hampshire by now (or someday), but no such luck. It makes me wonder how I appear to evaluators. Maybe they can't believe I've done all the kinds of writing I say I've done (I have). Maybe they can't conceive of a journalism professor who's also capable of teaching poetry (I am). Or maybe they're skeptical of a tenured full professor who claims to want new challenges (I do). Whatever the reason, and it may be one I haven't listed here, I haven't gotten the call.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prick of the Spindle, Dirty Napkin, Etc.

This week I was interviewed about my writing by Cynthia Reeser, editor-in-chief of Prick of the Spindle, for the March issue, recorded two poems over the phone for the March issue of Dirty Napkin, had three poems accepted in three different journals, and a couple others published elsewhere. . . and I still feel like a failure. My classes aren't going as well as I wish. Maybe it's just midterm blahs, but the students seem bored or distracted no matter which persona I use to try to engage them -- loud, intimidating, intellectual, humorous, insane. The quality of the writing I'm getting from some of them -- Journalism I is particularly depressing me, but Advanced Literature of Journalism isn't always bang up either -- suggests that I've been talking about writing while wearing a bucket over my head. The only thing they hear is a muffled rumble; the only thing I hear is the hollow echo of my own voice.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Two new reviews of Tomorrowland, one on NewPages.com and the other on One Night Stanzas, both extremely positive and, perhaps more important, both on target in their interpretations of the book. How rare that is, and how gratifying.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

On Teaching Writing

I exchanged e-mails with poet Adam Penna, who edits Best Poem, about the difficulties of teaching writing. What he had to say makes such good sense that I'm preserving it here:

I've found that the best and only way to teach writing is to begin to redefine for my students what it means to write. I spend a lot of time defining terms. Essay = to try; revision = to re-see; research = to look again. For me writing and the teaching of writing are opportunities to listen to oneself talk. Usually, the consequence, for those who are willing to listen, is the realization that they haven't been paying close attention to what they say. Once they begin paying attention inevitably many of the mechanical irregularities improve. And paying is the important term here, considering that it implies a metaphor most people understand. That is, care = time and time = money. Further, I steal an equation my former mentor taught me, which is care = talent. Or, rather, talent is a way of caring, as he put it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Torturer's Horse

Recycled Karma Press has accepted "The Torturer's Horse" for publication as an e-chapbook. The chap consists of seven interrelated poems. Its title refers to a line in Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts" where the torturer's horse rubs its "innocent behind" against a tree -- but you knew that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Poetry Kit for Beginners

Although I've come down with some horrid bug, I managed to finish a poem today before being completely flattened. It and two others were quickly accepted by a good-looking new zine, "Blackbirds & Starlings," which was gratifying. But it's important to stay as even-keeled about acceptances as about rejections. You can't get too high in the one case or too low in the other. Otherwise it'll interfere with your ability to work. And the work is the thing.

One of the poems that was accepted was a little thing -- five lines -- called "A Poetry Kit for Beginners." Surprisingly, given its length, I didn't write it in one spontaneous burst, but in pieces over a couple of days. It isn't in my usual style. It isn't eerie or elegiac. It actually ends with a kind of punchline.

You can find it here: http://williamlennertz.com/blackbirdsandstarlings/?p=96

And the Answer Is. . .

Asked once if he believed in God, Matisse answered, "I do when I'm working."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ghosts of Breath

Bedouin Books in Portland, Oregon, has accepted a chapbook of my prose poems to be called Ghosts of Breath. It's divided into two parts, each bracketed by short pieces of free verse, which serve as prefaces and epilogues. The first section consists of the series "Ghosts of Breath," which appeared, in somewhat different form, in Bartleby Snopes. The second section consists of new and selected prose poems, most of which have a surreal vibe.

I began writing prose poems in college, probably with Robert Bly's collection Morning Glory as my model, though I'd also read by then Rimbaud and Baudelaire, who, together, invented or perfected the form. I suppose I eventually abandoned it because there was not outlet for them that I could see. It wasn't until recently -- the past two years -- that I returned to the form. I might enjoy working in it above all other forms. It requires the conciseness or compression of poetry, but it also offers the narrative latitude of prose. It's like aiming a fire hose through a pin hole.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I've been expanding the manuscript of Lovesick the past two days. My publisher, Press Americana, gave me the go-ahead to add new material, some of it recently published and some of it accepted but not yet in print or online. Press Americana told me that their only hesitation in accepting the manuscript was that so many of the poems -- virtually all of them -- had been previously published. I don't see why it was even an issue. For one thing, the poems were generally published in journals so small that it's a joke (and not a very funny one) to think of the poems as having been dangerously overexposed. For another, doesn't the fact that the poems were previously published speak to their quality? Rightly or wrongly, it does to me. If publication isn't a test or confirmation of quality, then what is? Reviews? Well, the poems have to be published to be reviewed.

The manuscript ran slightly less than 100 pages as originally submitted; it now runs 145 pages.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Good Listening

That title doesn't mean that anyone will agree that the music posted under "Good Listening" is actually good. It only means that this Good likes listening to it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

In Need of Attitude Adjustment

Working but not whistling while I do it. The writing process. Are you a plodder? A sprinter? Do you prefer the dash? Or the marathon? Most of the time I feel like a plodder who's been entered in a sprint.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Acceptances & Rejections

I've been writing for a long time and with some success. I've published articles and books and sold poems (best price: $15; worst price: $1 -- of which 37 cent was deducted by PayPal as a service fee!). But I've also still get my share of rejections. Today was fairly typical. I had a prose poem, "Blood and Feathers," accepted by Dogzplot and a 10-page chapbook rejected by ml press. It doesn't matter that essentially the same material that was rejected by ml press will appear online in the magazine Bartleby Snopes. I still felt crummy. But not as crummy as I used to feel after a rejection. And not for as long. That's the biggest difference. It isn't that I don't feel discouraged and even humiliated by rejections. It's just that I don't feel so badly discouraged and humiliated as I once did.