Wednesday, March 29, 2006

monday, tuesday, wednesday

monday sucked. it really did. big time. after a not-so-good weekend, a day which had me feeling stressed from beginning to end. i felt like my insides were tied into knots. ugh.

new computer class - for the next ten weeks, i am teaching a group of women only, the first time since early 2004. they seem very okay.

tuesday: tired. kind of blah.

wednesday: tired. unhappy about the rainrainrain. but better. and happy with the poem of the day.

poem-a-day: day 23. today was tough. inspiration comes from unlikely quarters. thanks, bo. not that bo is an unlikely source of inspiration, but the words he jokingly asked me to use in a poem are, believe me! what would you do with: compresence, euthyphrotically, homiletically, swivet, pleonasm, amentia, sumptuary? i learned a few new words today, i can tell you that. thank goodness for the internet, dictionaries would have failed me.

song of the day, undoubtedly: reckless by tilly & the wall. makes you want to get up and tap-dance along. because they use tap-dancing instead of drums and other percussion. terrific idea.

oh and: have you heard this? the best blonde joke in the world!

Monday, March 27, 2006

yes. oh yes. yes.

Crown of Love (© The Arcade Fire)

They say it fades if you let it,
love was made to forget it.
I carved your name across my eyelids,
you pray for rain I pray for blindness.

If you still want me, please forgive me,
the crown of love has fallen from me.
If you still want me, please forgive me,
because the spark is not within me.

I snuffed it out before my mom walked in my bedroom.

The only thing that you keep changin’
is your name, my love keeps growin’
still the same, just like a cancer,
and you won’t give me a straight answer!

If you still want me, please forgive me,
the crown of love has fallen from me.
If you still want me please forgive me
because your hands are not upon me.

I shrugged them off before my mom walked in my bedroom.

The pains of love, and they keep growin’,
in my heart there’s flowers growin’
on the grave of our old love,
since you gave me a straight answer.

If you still want me, please forgive me,
the crown of love is not upon me
If you still want me, please forgive me,
cause this crown is not within me.
it’s not within me, it’s not within me.

You gotta be the one,
you gotta be the way,
your name is the only word that I can say

You gotta be the one,
you gotta be the way,
your name is the only word,
the only word that I can say!

The Arcade Fire

Sunday, March 26, 2006

a hint, a chapbook, and things that suck

stumbled across this site for women's poetry and resources: womb. do check it out.

something i promised to do a lot sooner than this: talk about a chapbook i received earlier this year and enjoyed reading, re-reading and reading again. the poet, suzanne frischkorn, and i corresponded a few years back, then we lost touch, and now in blogland i found her again, and i heard about her poetry collection Spring Tide winning the aldrich poetry competition. it's a collection of 15 poems, and it's impossible to pick one favourite. i am having a hard time choosing only a few lines from a handful of poems - but i'll try, and you can always read the rest yourself!

i adore the images of nature that suzanne creates; i can hear the sounds she writes of, can smell the sea, hear the birds, the surf, the scraping of stones, dragonfly wings. isn't it just beautiful when she writes, in Puccini at Dusk:

The chain-link fence smothers / in trumpet vine, siren / song to hummingbirds.
and later
Dusk rubs its thumb / along the horizon.
i feel like i have been waiting for someone to put it that way, because i somehow knew it and could not say it like that.

two mermaids make an appearance in her book, one her own, and one created and perhaps misunderstood by neruda. the first mermaid is described (or, rather, describes herself) as
drunk from the storm, a third of me stuck / in mud
she laments a life
Before those creatures with spliced tails freed me. / To teach me to kneel.
the other mermaid, originally pablo neruda's, "takes issue with the fable" and sets the record straight about knowing or not knowing tears, and swimming towards life, not death.

And Here We Thought the Stain of Bougainvillea is full of terrific images like
reality tossed on a clamshell driveway

white / petals in my hair, our hands folded / on themselves

the patient raven / dances on our roof's pitch
the ending is to die for:
What can be lost / in a single day? A hundred hairs, a memory / effacing as it happens, orange maple / leaves, flakes of skin. The arcing light of dying stars.

from Youth Drowns in Housatonic River:
Please tell his mother I brushed / the hair from his forehead and sang / sweet songs

another passage i really adore for the powerful images is from Freshwater Notecards:
I believe in the sulfur light / on the corner, casting shine / on snowflakes -- / large dust motes -- at 5am. These / are the days of puddle with boot, / leak from roof, the mist season

and before i end up quoting the rest of the book, one last excerpt, from Saltmarsh which i love for the words and the metaphor:
the sharp-tailed sparrow / begins his faint song. / His mate filigrees twigs / and string. How easy they / make it seem; to start over.

i have not considered the formatting here, which does play its part in the poems in suzanne's book - it often gives breathing space, esp in poems like Winter.

the chapbook actually comes as one half of a book - the other half is judith valente's Inventing an Alphabet about which i intend to say something some other time. for now - read suzanne's poetry. and her blog.

and now for something completely different, as promised in the header:
a) migraines
b) stormy days when they blow all that leftover winter dust into one's eyes
c) mornings when i cannot, just cannot, wake up (don't tell me to drink coffee. i don't.)
d) computer troubles. major problems with sepp's computer; cannot seem to get rid of some virus, and we can no longer access the internet, nor does mc afee work anymore. wasted the whole day on making back-up copies of just about everything and we will have to set the whole thing up anew, i'm afraid. just what we needed. and i had hoped to go see jalla! jalla! at the scandinavian film festival and two other films tomorrow. so much for that. &$*%!!!!
e) the thieves of time stealing an hour from us tonight.

song of the day: you suck, by the murmurs. i did not actually listen to it, but the thought crossed my mind several times today.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

four poems. two projects. one chapbook. has published four of my poems, all of them written during recent 30/30 challenges. i'm happy to be part of the project. and john deserves an extra *thanks* for the fastest turnaround time ever:

poems sent: 17 march, 11.52 am
answer received: 17 march, 17.33 pm
pages ready to review: 17 march, 18.33 pm

and here's where you can read my poems.

i have been meaning to promote a project of my friend annette's here on my blog:
poet annette m hyder invited me to join her project changing the face of feminism a couple of months ago, and i sat down immediately to dig up a picture and some words to send to her. now the project has been launched, and annette has asked me to pass the news on to women i know, and to ask whether they'd be interested in being part of it. so this is what i am doing. and guys, by all means, do join in.

here are a few lines from the press release:

The project is hosted through the MNARTISTS.ORG website and distributed through the media via the magazine EMPOWERMENT4WOMEN and curated by Annette Marie Hyder. For this series, each feminist is invited to submit a photo of their choosing and a text forum to express their feminism. Each statement is individual to each feminist and so it shows how individual feminists interpret the freedoms that they want within their common bond. The photoems can be viewed here: MNARTISTS.ORG website and at EMPOWERMENT4WOMEN.ORG.
i hope you will have at least check out the project, and perhaps contact annette to send her your contribution. tell her you heard it from me.

another project in which i participated was poetry super highway's great poetry exchange. poets pledged their poetry collections and then had to send their book to someone randomly selected, and in return would receive one randomly selected book. funny coincidence that i received f.j. bergmann's chapbook Steaming A Head, because we once shared first prize in a poetry contest!

jeannie's poems are right down my alley. often humorous, tongue-in-cheek, just the right kind of slighty wacky, using terrific metaphors, and very well-written.

i fell in love immediately with her Pictosyllabic Haiku, 17, er, syllables in the form of webdings and wingdings symbols. it works too. it makes perfect sense.

i detect a leaning towards the surreal, even sci-fi, in several of her poems, and a little surfing around her website confirms this - there are quite a few sci-fi writers among her favourites.

one poem that stayed with me after having first read it, is Homesickness. terrific imagery and metaphors.
When I hear
the national anthem I take off my hat,
place my hand over my heart,
and clouds cover the face of the sun.

Earthly Delights is a delight indeed - wicked fun:
But his potatoes were all eyes. Staring
at Lettuce’s enormous melons,
he felt his hard green cucumber

another favourite is Sky Blue:
Dressing in sky blue is considered tacky, though. Protesters pin a cotton ball on their chest like a small brooch, to represent a cloud.

i sent my own chapbook off last friday, to canada. i know a few of my friends participated - what did you get? where did your books travel?

song of the day: hollywood bowl, adam green.

Friday, March 17, 2006

munich - day 3: laziness, a walk, and winter

okay. last day in munich. we are lazy. we deserve that. all the walking on the previous day has made us tired. we do get up for breakfast, starting an attempt to try those things we have not tried yet (and failing), but then spend another 90 minutes in our room, nearly falling asleep. the weather is not too inviting at first, it has snowed another 15 cm during the night, but then the sun comes out. it looks rather chilly though (and it is!).

eventually we pack our bags, which includes another unsuccessful attempt to kill myself (ie falling over something and nearly causing a minor catastrophe), leave the suitcase at the hotel, and ask about munich cemeteries at the tourist information. we are told that many are closed because of the weather / snow, but we are pointed in the direction of a small cemetery in bogenhausen, which is past the english garden. we take the underground (the underground system in munich is fantastic, everything is clean too, and there's classical music over the speakers on sundays!) and a bus, then walk up to the little church, have a look around the cemetery which is covered in snow. the weather keeps changing - sunny spells, then clouds, snow, and always a chilly wind. before we freeze our butts off, we head back to the city, warm up in a café, then pick up the suitcase and walk across to the train station.

broken by winter; cemetery bogenhausen

the train is rather popular, it seems. from salzburg on it is really crowded, and in linz things get even worse. the couple opposite sepp and me are very much in love, it seems, it's so cute that it's nearly too much, and i almost wish i could conjure up a private little cabin for the two of them. i'm cold all the way, even though everybody else thinks it's hot, which is not a good sign. but i read good poetry, write some poetry myself, and listen to good music. and i sleep some too. we're back in vienna around 7.45pm.

i think we'll go back to munich when it is warmer - not this year, though, at least not during the soccer world cup in germany, and not during oktoberfest either. but it is a nice, inviting, friendly city, and i would like to see more of it. it is not so far away, after all, actually closer than my hometown - takes me 5.30 hours to get there!

pictures of day 3 can be found in my photo album

munich - day 2: another museum, a concert, and sore feet

breakfast buffets, what a great invention, especially when offering such a variety of lovely food as at hotel ludwig. yum. the only down side is that after all that food, we feel tired again! *L*

nevertheless, we set out, first stopping at an internet café so i can post my daily poems, and we can figure out how to get to tonight's concert venue - the good news is that element of crime (EOC) guitarist jakob ilja is joining the band again, he was unable to play in austria and switzerland.

next stop: deutsches museum. a must for everyone, really, not only technology freaks. you could easily spend about a month in there and never get bored; since we don't have a month, not even a week, not even a whole day, we pick those exhibitions we really want to see, and spend a good five hours in the museum. it's great that they allow you to take pictures, so you can check ours out in photo album #2.

we look around exhibitions on aerospace, astronautics, astronomy, computers, micro-electronics, music / musical instruments, pharmaceutics, physics, chemistry, optics, telecommunications, the human body, the mathematical gallery (though by the time we get there, i am already a little braindead, unfortunately. i am a sucker for escher prints, optical illusions, and "how to get that ring off the rope / untie that knot"-type puzzles), and we check out foucault's pendulum before we leave.

in aerospace, i find it particularly interesting to see old wilbur and orville wright's plane, because it was one of the topics in my english finals at high school. i remember the article we read was called "the campers at kitty hawk". so i have always had a soft spot for the wright brothers. amazing to see, too, the development of flying machines. without some of those downright suicidal madmen in past centuries, who knows where we might be.

wilbur and orville wright's plane

space - always interesting. spacecraft, satellites, pictures of the moon, etc.

don't they look a little like electric toothbrushes?

five hours at such a huge museum, and your feet will appreciate a break. ours do. we go back to prinz myshkin for another delicious meal (i really want to take that restaurant to vienna with me!), then drag ourselves back to the hotel.

around 8 we leave for the EOC concert - and it is starting to snow. seriously snow. by the time we get to the tonhalle, everything is white. and it is pretty chilly too. not inside, however. the place is packed, even though the concert won't begin until 9. we hope that there is no support act, but there is - i never catch the band's name, and i find the performance a little lame. *sorry to whoever it was* my feet are already killing me. *L*

around 10, EOC finally start playing. we have seen them before, at a small venue in vienna, and at the donauinselfest in vienna, a huge open air concert. it's a solid concert, and i could just cuddle sven regener, the singer / songwriter, for his lyrics, and for his clipped "vielen dank" (thanks very much) at the end of just about every song. oh, and for his, er, battle call: "romantik!" (romanticism; also the title of one of their albums)

they make my day by playing jetzt musst du springen, michaela sagt, seit der himmel, and of course, their latest hit, delmenhorst. pretty unusual that they sing two songs in english!

overall, i enjoyed the concert at planet music in vienna more - the smaller venue, more intimacy, closer to the stage, and - IMO - more oopmh. but i do not regret coming here! it's a very good concert, and they remain one of my favourite live bands. you missed out, bo! :-p

we leave around midnight, on very, verrry sore feet, and make our way back to the hotel through a bit of a snowstorm. and then - sleep.

pictures of day 2 can be found in my photo album

Thursday, March 16, 2006

munich - day 1: a museum, a park, a prince

we are off to munich thursday evening. about 4 hours on the train. funny thing, when we are about to get off the train in munich, i realised an old classmate, doris, has been sitting across the aisle from me, with her back to us, since salzburg! she lives in munich now, and is an actress. i had not seen her since we graduated from school, or perhaps a little later. way, waaayyy back in the 90s.

convenient that the hotel is just across the street from the central station. we are rather tired, so no testing the munich nightlife.

on friday, we get a chance to check out the breakfast buffet. it is a delight! sepp will always love the hotel for this. :) well fed, we walk down towards the pedestrian area, through the karlstor. there are lions everywhere, painted and decorated, some very brightly coloured, playful, others sexy or sporty some even sinister. you can see the soccer lions in a previous post, check out the photo album for more. i spot a nice pair of comfy geox shoes and tell sepp i'll only be ten minutes, but i have to get them. i keep my promise, too. that's how guys love us girls, i'm sure - buying shoes in a matter of minutes! :) you can actually see the shoes in that pic in tuesday's post.

munich seems smaller than it is, at least the city centre makes it appear that way. i am surprised at the friendliness of people. at the post office, the clerk says "have a nice weekend". that does not happen in vienna. and in munich, they seem to do that everywhere. wow. you actually feel like you are welcome!

marienplatz, munich

the weather is a lot better than we had expected - they had promised snow, sleet, rain, rain, rain. it is not exactly warm unless the sun comes out for more than a peep (and it does occasionally), but at least it is dry. we walk all the way down to the karl valentin (munich comedian, author, playwright, and original)& liesl karlstadt (his partner on stage) musäum. quite fun. what a quirky character he was. quite the genius too!

karl valentin

we have a look around the viktualienmarkt, a partly open-air market which i am sure is a lot busier when it's warm outside. we buy bavarian pretzels, a must, of course.

we decide to check out the english garden, though of course there is no much to see. what we get is relative solitude, and wet feet. :) it had snowed the previous weekend, and though much of it is gone in the streets, there's quite a bit of snow left in the park. and huge puddles. and slush. there are some photos that can give you an idea, like this one:

not very inviting, is it?

a woman is actually stranded in the middle of what could be described as a small shallow pond after she has misjudged the snow bridge across it - it was only slush after all, and did not bear her weight. it's fun though, in a way, wading through the slush. we have nowhere to go, so who cares, really. okay, my toes do. they are a little *cold*. :)

we make our way back to the hotel to get out of our wet shoes and socks, and i actually take a very short nap. hunger drives us out into the cold a while later. sepp suggests checking out a restaurant called prinz myshkin, recommended by the guidebook. it is WONDERFUL. if anybody gets a chance, check it out. it's a vegetarian restaurant, and they serve delicious food. honestly. we love it so much that we come back the next day! nice waiters too. not only in terms of friendly, if you girls know what i mean. ;)

enough walking for that day! we are quite knackered by the time we get back to the hotel, and we do need some beauty sleep.

pictures of day 1 can be found in my photo album

sick. strange. pleased.

i am not working today and tomorrow, feeling totally blah, head cold, temperature, you get the picture.

my weather pixie says "mostly sunny". where, i ask? where? she is supposed to tell the truth, which is: overcast. grey. unpleasant. winter. and she is NOT supposed to smile. she needs to change that attitude or i will delete her. *evil look* and i want to make it official now: endless winters suck.

on a happier note: acceptance from unlikely 2.0 magazine, 3 poems. yay! it pays to be strange sometimes, after all. and no, that does not mean $$$. ;)

munich report will have to wait. sorry. another pic to tide you over, one of "genuine bavarians":

sepp's the one ... ah no, take your pick. *L*

song of the day: sound of silence, simon & garfunkel. *L*

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

preview. more soon. promise.

me @ deutsches museum, munich

poetry even @ deutsches museum!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

no. yes! why?

rejection note from softblow magazine, the second one. :( i had a reply yesterday, which has me thinking about it too often. here's what it says:

"We regret to inform you that, for a variety of reasons, we are unable to feature your work."
now: "sorry we cannot use your work at the moment." - fine. "no thanks." - fine. but "for a variety of reasons" - ??? i really don't know what on earth that is supposed to mean: not good enough and too short? we already have enough submissions for the next decade and our layout cannot handle long lines? and besides it is a monday, and we don't like your hair in the picture? is it me, or is that a strange note? hm. i cannot very well ask them, can i?

on to the good news: some of you will remember my note about esther morgan's poetry workshop about ghosts, and/or my poem Bedside from the 30/30 forum. it's made the shortlist, and can be read, together with esther morgan's comments, on the guardian website. i'm happy, and, just for this occasion, donning my whitest sheet and carrying my head under my arm. *G*

and now i have a question for you: who on earth thought that putting charlize theron in that dress was a good idea?

song of the day: fotoromanza by gianna nannini. reminds me of my teenage years. and i still love it.

and ps have you noticed that i am blogging a lot lately?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

iv. yes. maybe.

HOORAY for me! i finished round iv of 30 poems! i am pleased. most days it was not even that difficult to come up with something, but i am sure my talkative kitchen utensils helped, as did the nigel madness. the forum is inspiration. it's been a bit quiet the last few days though after several fellow poets finished their rounds and are taking time-outs, poor sharon has been ill, and susan is now concentrating on her novel (i already look forward to reading it!). at least ms angie (ie arlene) has come back! lisa, anne, john and lauren are still around too. keep writing, guys!

good news from mannequin envy - i received an acceptance note on sunday afternoon, saying:

We were happy to consider your poems, and would like to use both "Far away, clouds lure you to the sea" and "april rules of conduct" in our Spring Edition of Mannequin Envy.

On a personal note, I thought your submission was very strong, and for a time considered taking more than just those 2 poems.
made my day.

for the record:
submission sent: 13 january 2006,
official deadline: 15 march 2006,
answer: 05 march 2006

more good news this morning (that's what i like to wake up to): eclectica has replied to a submission of mine for the first time (never heard back from them before), and they are going to include my poem written for their word challenge (thanks arlene for pointing it out to me! you can hit me over the head with the chair now! *L*) in their next issue. it's one of the nigel series and i honestly had not thought the poem would have a chance! just goes to show. here's what jennifer finstrom wrote:
I am happy to inform you that we have selected "Nigel is Fuming" for inclusion in the word poem feature of Eclectica Magazine [...] I have a question about the word 'sheen' in the first line of the third stanza. I have a hard time picturing what the amulet is. I'm not asking you to change it--I love this poem--but I wonder if you'd mind telling me what it is you see.
for the record:
submission sent: 01 march 2006,
answer: 06 march 2006 (possibly 5 march where they are)

sent out submissions to four magazines this weekend, we'll see how that goes. watch this spot.

song of the day: man from reno, the walkabouts.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

me. them. him.

okay. it is irresponsible. i should have known. i've had one fellow poet, ros barber, wasting her morning on research concerning yours truly, and i don't think i want to take the responsibility for any such thing happening again. so: yes, i am austrian. yes, i was born and raised here (spittal/drau, a small town in the south). yes, both my parents are austrian. yes, german is my mother-tongue. yes, english is a second language. and ros, there really is no need to admire me for my command of english for more than, say, it takes this blog to load. or at least, let me admire you back for your wonderful poetry. deal?

had my hair cut yesterday, dyed today. love the smell of henna!

classes are going well, having fun, but mondays and thursdays *are* long days.

day 28 at 30/30, tough going yesterday, so i wrote a cento using lines from lyrics by chris eckman (the walkabouts). today, another poem for the apparently never-ending nigel series, digby's soliloquy. sent out one submission, but checked out some zines today, and perhaps i get around to sending out some more poems tomorrow.

i am in love with lines from quite a few songs at the moment, among them many from walkabouts songs (lyrics by chris eckman), like

The nightbirds stumble in like broken pendulums (Nightbirds)

The sky's unwinding here twisted like a busted spring (Unwind)

And just in time to see / A promise in each pocket / And a liar in each sleeve (Smokestack)

And I'd come back to get you someday / with silver for teeth and blood in my hair (The Stopping-Off Place)

Spin doctors gave you / All those remedies to choose / So you'd be the weathervane / For clouds that never move (Break It Down Gently)

Weakness coughs, then ricochets / Our boredom bleeds us wide awake (Fuck Your Fear)

Truths a whisper / A shaky whisper / chase it, then it's wrong / Time is panic / Hushed and rankled / You feel it, then it's gone (Whisper)

Shout! Where is the now? / Where are the next three minutes? (Whisper)

Deliver us from deliverance / deliver us, from all these awkward pauses / you are as brave as you believe / you are as brave as what you won't repeat /You are as lost as you need to be /You are as lost as what you won't admit /The future is a slow retreat / The future is a muscle you don't have (Devil in the Details)

and there are a few adorable lines from songs by jenny lewis which can be found on the terrific album rabbit fur coat (jenny lewis with the watson twins):
And I'm in love with illusions / So saw me in half / I'm in love with tricks / So pull another rabbit out of your hat (You Are What You Love)

She knew the girl was not there / But her father was in cufflinks with slicked-back black hair / He invited her in, they never sang a note / But she took off that rabbit fur coat // And who do you think came home? / Miss so and so( Rabbit Fur Coat)

I worry about cancer and living right / But my mama never warned me about my own / Destructive appetite (Happy)

or this from belle & sebastian:
Boo to the business world! / You know a girl who’s tax free on her back and making /Plenty cash / While you are working for the joy of giving (Lazy Line Painter Jane)

and something i think i have quoted before, by martha wainwright:
I'm not such a good lover / I'm a better talker / So when you touch me there / I'm scared that you'll see / Not the way that I don't love you / But the way that I don't love myself (TV Show)

more some other time.

and before i go, my poet friend alex stolis has had another chapbook published (by now, i am hopelessly trailing him by about 5). read the review in the middle section of this page, and buy the book. i was fortunate enough to see it in the making, and i recommend it.

song of the day: you are what you love, jenny lewis with the watson twins.

and please, someone, stop the snow.