2sDay Poems Does the Chicken Dance with RED HEN


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chickenRed Hen Press, a small literary press out of Los Angeles, is one of my favorite sources for poetry.  Their collections are expertly done with a wide representation of voices and styles.  Today’s selections come from two poets of color who brought out collections with RHP in 2009 and 2012.



Orlando White is a Navajo poet ( Dine’ of the Naaneesht’ezhi Tabaahi and born for the Naakai Dine’e) with a BFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Brown University. Bone Light(Red Hen 2009) was his debut collection. index


Trace a circle on top of another. Both are alike but do not mean the same thing.
Divide zero by zero: both are not something on either side of its given place.
Listen to the clock without numbers, the sound of something not written on.
Write the letter O; see the straight-line curve one end into the other.
Use the color_________to fill in the black dot at the end of a thought.
Without empty form there would be no given fixed point: the center of zero.
The letter L bends white on paper. But the letter O lends itself to be bent by space.
The outline of a zero should roll off the paper after it is written.
The center of black: blank shaped like a circle. Do not think outside of this.




Lillian-Yvonne Bertram , a former Cave Canem fellow and a graduate of the writing programs at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also brought our her debut collection with Red Hen. Her book But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise (Red Hen 2012) won RHP’s 2010 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, judged by Claudia Rankine.



The Body Deformed by Tidal Forces

Darkness still here, hunkered against the trees.
Spring so uneasy this year.
No matter morning’s boundary culling our bodies,
another romantic passage assaults us!
O limp future centered on this body!
In the model solar system, planets suspend & twirl
as if from a spider’s whirl.
The quantum in backpedal, in decline, spring so ungripping
this year. Bored mouth. Bored fingers.
The umpteenth day/night running like such—
truly, truly—this troubling with physics!
Not still winter, not yet anything.

O thuggish awakening.
All planets but this one were named after gods.


Follow @RedHenPress for updates on new publications



Sunday Sentence #15


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indexMy weekly contribution to David Abrams’ “Sunday Sentence” project in which participants share the best sentence read during the past week “out of context and without commentary.”

Every book better be fully intimate, it better be all you have.

SOURCE: NPR interview with Nathan Englander speaking about writing, reading and his short story collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank:Stories




Merlinated: Arthurian Legend Beyond the BBC


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Young Merlin (Colin Morgan) with Prince Arthur (Bradley James)

If Fall TV has disappointed, cast your gaze upon the BBC’s Merlin, available now at Hulu.com, free for the full five seasons.  Great scripts, gorgeous actors and all the beauty that the BBC brings in recreating the period, plus some very kicka$$ medieval chicks!



But don’t spend all of your time in front of the screen when there are more Modern Arthurian Legends to explore.  Dr. Debora B. Schwartz,

Associate Professor English Department, College of Liberal Arts · California Polytechnic State University recommends these texts:

The full reading schedule is available on her very detailed course page.  You’ll notice she’s sprinkled in viewings of several films, including The Sword in the Stone and Monty Python’s Holy Grail.  images.duckduckgo.com


And if you are dying for something more authentic, consider working through her


Medieval Arthurian Legends syllabus, which looks at the older texts such as Chrétien de Troyes’ Arthurian Romances, or the Medieval Literature course, which adds in the writings of the Gawain-Poet (try the Tolkien version) and other classics.  There are extensive links to background resources at both sites.


If you visit none of the others, do click through:



And do not close the door on all things Arthurian until you’ve read all of Bernard Cromwell’s thrilling Warlord series.




====> BUT WAIT!  If it’s more Merlin you want, try these enchanted reads:


Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy
M.K. Hume’s Merlin series
Steve Lawhead’s Merlin (Part of the Pendragon Cycle)
T.A. Barron’s Lost Years of Merlin Series (YA)
Priya Ardis’ My Merlin series (YA)
Jane Yolen’s Young Merlin series (YA)









Get Your Story On (6 Short Reads from Cyberspace)


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The Cyberworld is reaching out, demanding that you plug into these free reads from your favorite writerly folks:


At The Altantic:
Sister Godzilla & Destiny2905
by Louise Erdrich




At Zoetrope:
The House of the Two Three-300hLegged Dogs
by Elizabeth McCracken




At The New Yorker:
Freindexe Fruit for Young Widows & What We Talk About When We Talk about Anne Frank
by Nathan Englanderindex


At Byliner:
North Country  20140131-_Gay_0026-X3-200x300
by Roxane Gay



2sDay Poems Goes Native


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Geronimo by Mariah Hourihan

Geronimo’s Boots Leave Town
An Argument for NAGPRA
or Buyer Beware at Southeby’s

by Denise Low

I heard Geronimo’s boots left town
and his wife’s and daughter’s boots
went with them—a family of shoes.

They had lived silently in an artist’s
basement collection for years
safe, except for one flood.

Now they are for sale. The label says
“Geronimo bought cowboy boots
and threw away these moccasins.

They are fringed deer skin, knee-high.
Chiricahua. 1886.” In this leather
that Trickster made stories:

The time he cut off one wife’s nose
for fooling aroundimages2

The time he slipped off a mountain
when surrounded by the army

The time he shapeshifted
in a photographer’s studio.

He knew medicine that made him
invisible but just when they thought

he was finally gone he returned,
calm within a watermelon garden.

For his final trick he pretended
to lose his mind, the price

for all that power but instead
he was practicing how to stay alive

in all kinds of skins, first buckskin
and now—domesticated cowhide.


Codename Geronimo

by Tiffany Midge

In 2011 someone made an order, kill Geronimo;
soldiers dispatched by jet, by car, with orders to kill Geronimo.

The Brits had a new princess and Fergie’s daughters had silly hats
but the Royal wedding was eclipsed by the killing of Geronimo.

I heard about it on the radio; bin Laden’s been ratted out
living in a pleasant Pakistani suburb, KIA Geronimo.

He used his wives as shields; there is nothing about77874_original
that fact to cheer yet some did after killing Geronimo.

For tribal nations the namesake’s a hero, little doubt
occupy their minds as to the military’s code KIA Geronimo.

It’s just another cry for war without
restraint. Our hero wasn’t a terrorist, the real Geronimo

fought to protect homelands, way of life, I’d say devout,
feared perhaps but how many times should they kill Geronimo?


Sunday Sentence #14


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imagesMy weekly contribution to David Abrams’ “Sunday Sentence” project in which participants share the best sentence read during the past week “out of context and without commentary.”

I didn’t want to have such a totally conscious dialogue with whatever demon of storytelling was in me.

SOURCE:John Casey‘s essay collection Beyond the First Draft: The Art of Fiction


Ladies with Cats (2sday Poems)


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Paws with me a moment, friends, and enjoy these very different poems about ladies with cats:


by Marge Piercy

Mine, says the cat, putting out his paw of darkness.
My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy, says
the cat making on your chest his gesture of drawing
milk from his mother’s forgotten breasts.

Let us walk in the woods, says the cat.
I’ll teach you to read the tabloid of scents,images3
to fade into shadow, wait like a trap, to hunt.
Now I lay this plump warm mouse on your mat.

You feed me, I try to feed you, we are friends,
says the cat, although I am more equal than you.
Can you leap twenty times the height of your body?
Can you run up and down trees? Jump between roofs?

Let us rub our bodies together and talk of touch.
My emotions are pure as salt crystals and as hard.
My lusts glow like my eyes. I sing to you in the mornings
walking round and round your bed and into your face.

Come I will teach you to dance as naturally…

from Mars and Her Children



by Edward Field

It sometimes happens
that the woman you meet and fall in love with
is of that strange Transylvanian people
with an affinity for cats.

You take her to a restaurant, say, or a show,index
on an ordinary date, being attracted
by the glitter in her slitty eyes and her catlike walk,
and afterwards of course you take her in your arms
and she turns into a black panther
and bites you to death.

Or perhaps you are saved in the nick of time
and she is tormented by the knowledge of her tendency:
That she daren’t hug a man
unless she wants to risk clawing him up.

This puts you both in a difficult position,
panting lovers who are prevented from touching
not by bars but by circumstance:
You have terrible fights and say cruel things
for having the hots does not give you a sweet temper.

One night you are walking down a dark street…

from After the Fall: Poems Old & New

Sunday Sentence #13


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imagesMy weekly contribution to David Abrams’ “Sunday Sentence” project in which participants share the best sentence read during the past week “out of context and without commentary.”

Astronomers must also guard against selection effects, giving too much weight in their calculations to the stars, galaxies, and clusters that are easiest to see. 

SOURCE:George Johnson‘s Great Discoveries biography Miss Leavitt’s Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe


2sDay Poems: Readings from Louisiana’s Current Poet Laureate


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Today’s poems come from Ava Leavell Haymon‘s award-winning, fairytale-inspired collection Why the House is Made of Gingerbread (LSU Press)

The Witch Has Told You a Story

You are food.
You are here for me
to eat. Fatten up,
and I will like you better.Your brother will be first,
you must wait your turn.
Feed him yourself, you willbk-jacket-Gingerbread-194x300
learn to do it. You will take him

eggs with yellow sauce, muffins
torn apart and leaking butter, fried meats
late in the morning, and always sweets
in a sticky parade from the kitchen.

His vigilance, an ice pick of hunger
pricking his insides, will melt
in the unctuous cream fillings.
He will forget. He will thank you

for it. His little finger stuck every day
through cracks in the bars
will grow sleek and round,
his hollow face swell…

Audio file of Haymon reading below (first link), followed by a discussion of the poem at NPR (second link)


Hear the full NPR interview below and a second podcast in which Haymon joins Julie Kane, the previous Louisiana Poet Laureate from 2011-2013, for The Poet and the Poem series* at the Library of Congress.


*Full catalog of available podcasts from the Library of Congress series here.


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