Monday, June 20, 2016

Just want to say a few words about New to the Lost Coast by Joshua Butts. Josh has a virtuosic ear, has known, engrained in his mind and bones, the music and lyrics of the great 20th century folk and rock singers, plus Anglophone poetry of all eras, plus has an ear for all the old ways of speaking, the rural Ohio ways too. So "he has a good ear" just doesn't cut it. I appreciate the candor, and the witty incredulousness and so much beauty. Josh's wife Lesley Jenike is also a great poet, but that's for another day. Here's one of the poems from the book as it appeared on Verse Daily.

Tranquility Pike
A flash across the windshield at late day
or in the morning can make a wreck.
So if you drive here try to be as patient
as a cat waiting for a door.
You know you are helpless.
Last winter I was covered up—snow
for three weeks can dazzle. The kettle
whirred for coffee until I ran out.
I lived on tomatoes cooked quick with salt.
(We are pure blood around here.)
I'm not lonely. Heat and rain breed many weeds.
I've been sober as a bell at midnight—
is that a phrase? My talk show host has been gone,
captured in fact. His band plays a familiar waltz
and then it's morning, the heat swallows
the valley, soaks the blacktop, rises
like a camphor from the road and so I wait
on this rain and then it pours and pours.
It hits in my head and I tell myself,
This isn't the kind of rain that answers questions.
Could I take my wrong moments,
set them to some tune? If you need flannels,
I'll send you a bagful.
Give them to people you meet under street lamps.

I also had no idea this youtube existed until this very moment. I am so happy right now. I wonder whose dog that is barking. A dream come true.

Thanks to rob mclennan for this thoughtful piece about Unlikely Conditions,  here.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Really enjoying a couple of books right now:

Lo Kwa Mei-En's The Bees Make Money in the Lion. Amazingly otherworldly and dense with breathtaking metaphor. Every time I mention her poems, people freak out and say I love them! Or they just say so without my asking.

A Bestiary by Lily Hoang. A great book of essays with a very poetic sense of circulating images and ideas.

Both extremely daring, intricate, full of heart and hard to put down. Glad to have them here and kick off summer with them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Unlikely Conditions

The collaborative book I wrote with Hillary Gravendyk is available for purchase at 1913 Press: click here. The press also has broadsides of poems from the book made by Michael McGarvey of Port Press: You can look through on their on-line gallery here. I got to see the lovely book for the first time at AWP where I met a lot of folks and ate some tacos in a car wash with friends. I've been setting up readings for sharing this book and hope to be in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland and possibly Seattle in August. If you're a fan of Hillary's, just check back here in a couple of weeks and I'll have a tour nailed down, I think.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Asian-American Issue of Dusie

I'm excited to be editing the spring issue of Dusie dedicated to AA poetry. This is a great opportunity to make another step in connecting several generations of AA poets in one place and showcasing the vitality of AA poetry. The editor Susana Gardner said "the sky is the limit" so please share this call widely. Here's the last issue dedicated to women poets, and edited by Carleen Tibbetts: here.

For this issue, help me bring together all kinds of poetry: experimental, avant-garde, lyric, narrative, Asian formal, non-Asian formal, epic, elegaic, conceptual, no-mind, librettos, prose pieces, poems about WWF, in-between states, whatever *you* think of as being what you would put in a mosaic of AA poetry. This includes Middle Eastern poets, South Asian/Southeast Asian poets, Asian-British poets, all the Asian poets.

 Please send 5+ poems to cindy underscore king at hotmail dot com and place the word "dusie" in the subject line. Put "dusie" and your last name in the file name. Deadline: January 15, 2016 or write me an e-mail if it's shortly after this date.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Insect Poetics

Grateful to Mathias Svalina for including me in the 89 poet Insect Poetics project at The Volta, available here. It says a lot about swarms and abundance in a good way. Probably something good for us to be reading right about now.

Unlikely Conditions 1913 Press Fundraiser

So an update on the collaborative book I wrote with Hillary Gravendyk: it's been slated for publication with 1913 Press. It's a wonderful press and Hillary and I had talked about their collaborative books and how we'd love to put our poems with them. The press has launched an Indiegogo to cover the cost of printing and marketing and I am getting limited edition broadsides made--two of Hillary's own poems and two of our collaborations--to promote this book.

If you want to pre-order the book or get the book and a broadside, you can find the Indiegogo here. Many thanks to the people who already did this.

Thanks too to Jee Leong Koh for putting my poem "In Praise of Hawthorne Over a Plate of Gai Tom Kah" up at Singapore Poetry. This poem is an oldie from c. 2007 but shows my obsession with The Scarlet Letter.

And I put in a new background, a collage by the wonderful poet Greg Allendorf.