Favorite e.e. cummings, November 2010


I accidentally deleted my entire gmail inbox today with Apple’s nuclear option and managed to retrieve a great deal of it. There were over 15,000 emails there, but I went through them, filed some, and deleted most of them. I found an email dated November 13, 2010 1:49:59 filled with poetry by e.e. cummings; the subject line reads, “cummings poetry faves.” —Waiting a little over six years for me to find, today.

Buffalo Bill’s

Buffalo Bill’s
who used to
       ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeons justlikethat
he was a handsome man
                     and what I want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
Mister Death

My Girl’s Tall With Hard Long Eyes

my girl’s tall with hard long eyes
as she stands,with her long hard hands keeping
silence on her dress,good for sleeping
is her long hard body filled with surprise
like a white shocking wire, when she smiles
a hard long smile it sometimes makes
gaily go clean through me tickling aches,
and the weak noise of her eyes easily files
my impatience to an edge—my girl’s tall
and taut, with thin legs just like a vine
that’s spent all of its life on a garden-wall,
and is going to die.  When we grimly go to bed
with these legs she begins to heave and twine
about me,and to kiss my face and head.

I Will Wade Out

i will wade out

till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers
I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
with closed eyes
to dash against darkness
in the sleeping curves of my body
Shall enter fingers of smooth mastery
with chasteness of sea-girls
Will i complete the mystery
of my flesh
I will rise
After a thousand years
And set my teeth in the silver of the moon

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond

Somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens; 
only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

My Love Is Building A Building

my love is building a building
around you, a frail slippery
house, a strong fragile house
(beginning at the singular beginning

of your smile)a skilful uncouth
prison, a precise clumsy
prison(building thatandthis into Thus,
Around the reckless magic of your mouth)

my love is building a magic, a discrete
tower of magic and(as i guess)

when Farmer Death(whom fairies hate)shall

crumble the mouth-flower fleet
He'll not my tower,
                   laborious, casual

where the surrounded smile

Yes Is A Pleasant Country

yes is a pleasant country:
if's wintry
(my lovely)
let's open the year

both is the very weather
(not either)
my treasure,
when violets appear

love is a deeper season
than reason;
my sweet one
(and april's where we're) 
 I Have Found What You Are Like

i have found what you are like
        the rain,

                (Who feathers frightened fields
        with the superior dust-of-sleep. wields

        easily the pale club of the wind
        and swirled justly souls of flower strike

        the air in utterable coolness

        deeds of green thrilling light
                                      with thinned

        newfragile yellows

                          lurch and.press

        -in the woods


        And the coolness of your smile is
        stirringofbirds between my arms;but
        i should rather than anything
        have(almost when hugeness will shut
                                  your kiss
If I Have Made, My Lady, Intricate

If I have made, my lady, intricate
imperfect various things chiefly which wrong
your eyes (frailer than most deep dreams are frail)
songs less firm than your body's whitest song
upon my mind - if I have failed to snare
the glance too shy - if through my singing slips
the very skilful strangeness of your smile
the keen primeval silence of your hair
- let the world say "his most wise music stole
nothing from death" -
		    you will only create
(who are so perfectly alive) my shame:
lady whose profound and fragile lips
the sweet small clumsy feet of April came

into the ragged meadow of my soul.
If I Believe

if i believe
in death be sure
of this
it is

because you have loved me,
moon and sunset
stars and flowers
gold creshendo and silver muting

of seatides
i trusted not,
one night
when in my fingers

drooped your shining body
when my heart
sang between your perfect

darkness and beauty of stars
was on my mouth petals danced
against my eyes
and down

the singing reaches of
my soul
the green--

greeting pale
departing irrevocable
i knew thee death.

and when
i have offered up each fragrant
night,when all my days
shall have before a certain

face become

from the ashes
thou wilt rise and thou
wilt come to her and brush

the mischief from her eyes and fold
mouth the new
flower with

thy unimaginable
wings,where dwells the breath
of all persisting stars
It Is At Moments After I Have Dreamed

it is at moments after i have dreamed
of the rare entertainment of your eyes,
when (being fool to fancy) i have deemed

with your peculiar mouth my heart made wise;
at moments when the glassy darkness holds

the genuine apparition of your smile
(it was through tears always)and silence moulds
such strangeness as was mine a little while;

moments when my once more illustrious arms
are filled with fascination, when my breast
wears the intolerant brightness of your charms:

one pierced moment whiter than the rest

-turning from the tremendous lie of sleep
i watch the roses of the day grow deep.
Love Is The Every Only God

Love is the every only god

who spoke this earth so glad and big
even a thing all small and sad
man,may his mighty briefness dig

for love beginning means return
seas who could sing so deep and strong

one queerying wave will whitely yearn
from each last shore and home come young

so truly perfectly the skies
by merciful love whispered were,
completes its brightness with your eyes

any illimitable star
M In A Vicious World To Love Virtue

M in a vicious world-to love virtue
A in a craven world-to have courage
R in a treacherous world-to prove loyal
I in a wavering world-to stand firm

A in a cruel world-to show mercy
N in a biased world-to act justly
N in a shameless world-to live nobly
E in a hateful world-to forgive

M in a venal world-to be honest
O in a heartless world-to be human
O in a killing world-to create
R in a sick world-to be whole

E in an epoch of UNself-to be ONEself 
Thy Fingers Make Early Flowers

Thy fingers make early flowers
of all things.
thy hair mostly the hours love:
a smoothness which
(though love be a day)
do not fear,we will go amaying.

thy whitest feet crisply are straying.
thy moist eyes are at kisses playing,
whose strangeness much
(though love be a day)
for which girl art thou flowers bringing?

To be thy lips is a sweet thing
and small.
Death,thee i call rich beyond wishing
if this thou catch,
else missing.
(though love be a day
and life be nothing,it shall not stop kissing)
Unto Thee I

unto thee i
burn incense 
the bowl crackles 
upon the gloom arise purple pencils 

fluent spires of fragrance 
the bowl 
a flutter of stars 

a turbulence of forms 
delightful with indefinable flowering, 
the air is 
deep with desirable flowers 

i think 
thou lovest incense 
for in the ambiguous faint aspirings 
the indolent frail ascensions, 

of thy smile rises the immaculate 
of thy low 
hair flutter the level litanies 

unto thee i burn 
incense,over the dim smoke 
straining my lips are vague with 
ecstasy my palpitating breasts inhale the 

of thy beauty,my heart discovers thee 

whom i 

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July 19: 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Festival with Host Nancy Stohlman and featuring Chris Bowen, April Bradley, David Atkinson and Mathias Svalina!

Thanks to Nancy Stohlman, The Mercury Cafe and everyone in Denver attending the 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Festival. Christopher Bowen, David Atkinson, Mathias Svalina and I plan on having a marvelous time. See you there! xo April

All shows begin at 7:30 at The Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St, Denver.


Join Facebook Page here

Elvis and the Nancys.jpgCome one, come all!

1940s nancyHost Nancy Stohlman! Nancy Stohlman’s books include The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories, The Monster Opera,  Searching for Suzi: a flash novel, and four anthologies including Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, a finalist for a 2011 Colorado Book Award. She is the creator and curator of the Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series in Denver, the impetus behind FlashNano, and her work was nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Find out more about her at www.nancystohlman.com

Chris BFeaturing Chris Bowen! Christopher Bowen is the author of We Were Giants (Sunnyoutside Press, 2013) and the forthcoming When I Return To You, I Will Be Unfed. He lives and works as a chef in Cleveland and blogs from Burning River.

DavidFeaturing David…

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A Review of What Is Visible by Kimberly Elkins

A Grand And Looping Novel

418d0LnIYNLKimberly Elkins, What Is Visible (New York: Twelve, 2014)

Elkins’ imaginative and historically rich novel, What Is Visible gives readers immediate access to the world and perception of Laura Bridgman, the first woman to learn language from the efforts of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, who founded the Perkins School for the Blind. Bridgman lost four of her five senses after recovering from Scarlet Fever at age two and arrived at the Perkins Institute when she was seven years old. She became one of the most famous women of the 19th century, yet her celebrity and accomplishments were eclipsed in history by Helen Keller’s.

Elkins’ Laura is a powerful force; her personality emerges instantly on the page fully formed, commanding attention with a distinct and unforgettable voice. She is the primary narrator of the novel, and while every author makes indispensable choices in respect to perspective, tense, and structure, Elkins’ choice of title points to what also is an unavoidable, moral decision: in order to render Laura’s story authentically and with dignity, a narrative in which readers may participate fully, the reader must experience it from Laura’s perspective. This is Elkins’ great achievement. Although Elkins includes other narrative perspectives, What Is Visible, is to my reckoning, ultimately narrated by and for Laura. It’s her story, the story Laura would tell if she were permitted to so:

I want to write out everything—for me, for her—but I am denied the pleasure, or pain, of ever being able to read my own words. You will be able to read them, but I will not. So I write this out into the air, in a grand and looping script, that what is invisible to man may be visible to God (299-300). Continue reading

We All Want To Be Different Mothers

Updating my blog has been a thing nagging at me in the back of my mind all year. I’ve never been one to journal but have changed the way I document events, free writing memories in storyscapes, scenes, diagrams. Instead of making notes like “never forget…” here and there or asking Peter, “Hey what happened when….,” I’ve been writing to recall the emotions tied to memories. I’ve stalled though lately. My preoccupation isn’t with the past long gone but the near past. My mother died recently, and I find that I grasp at every moment in the days before her sudden death, afraid she will slip away in my mind as easily as she did on Labor Day.

Momma and me 1974 Continue reading

Residency at Vermont Studio Center

Red Mill, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

Red Mill, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

This is the view of Red Mill from Maverick, the writers’ studio at Vermont Studio Center. I’m here for the month of March as a writer-in-residence with several other poets, creative nonfiction writers, fiction writers, and playwrights. At least twelve of us join over sixty visual artists here. Everyone in community is a writer or artist; some are both. Continue reading

You Bright-Young-Thing Southern Scribes, send in your writing to the 2015 Southern Literary Festival Competition

Bradley's Barn Pre-Construction, Mt. Juliet, TN

Bradley’s Barn Pre-Construction, Mt. Juliet, TN

You Bright-Young-Thing Southern Scribes, let me judge your best submission. I’m thrilled to be one of the judges for the Short Story category for the 2015 Southern Literary Festival Competition. Undergraduates, send in your writing.

Is your college or university a member of The Southern Literary Festival Association? Ask your English Department chair or a professor or an instructor obsessed with Southern Literature because The 2015 Southern Literary Festival Competition will award First, Second, and Third Certificate prizes and publish an anthology of the winning submissions in undergraduate writing of member institutions at the 2015 Southern Literary Festival held at The University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, GA, March 26, 27, and 28 in the following categories:

1. Poetry
2. Short Story
3. One-Act Play
4. Formal Essay
5. Creative Nonfiction
6. Literary Magazine (Print), and
7. Literary E-zine.

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Book Review: A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post

21520013“I done a lot of things I shouldn’t have. You don’t know the half of it. But let me tell you something. I did not do stupid shit with stupid people that resulted in even more stupider shit that needed help cleaning up after. You got that” (99)? This is all the information thirty four-year old James Hart is willing to reveal about himself to his younger brother, Ezra, known as Rabbit in Steph Post‘s new novel, A Tree Born Crooked, forthcoming September 30 and available for preorder from Pandamoon Publishing. A flight school dropout who cut himself off from his family for fifteen years, James returns to his family’s rural home in Alachua County, Florida when he receives a summons by postcard announcing his father’s death too late to attend the funeral. Instead of leaving the place that haunts and repels him, James remains to settle his father’s estate and walks into a snare meant for his petty-criminal brother. Author Steph Post has created a vivid literary thriller where her characters stride among the groves, backroads, and bars of north-central Florida like weary Titians, flicking their burning cigarettes into the sand and grit, wiping away whiskey with the backs of their hands.

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

After the murder (1882) artist John Collier (1850–1934) Guildhall Art Gallery (London) Public Domain

After the murder (1882) artist John Collier (1850–1934) Guildhall Art Gallery (London) Public Domain

Many thanks to Anna B. Sutton for inviting me to join a literary blog tour about the writing process.

 Anna B. Sutton is a writer & co-founder of the Porch Writers’ Collective. Born & raised in Nashville, TN, she received her BFA in Art Education & Painting from the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, TN. In 2013, she received her MFA in Creative Writing & Poetry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

While in Nashville, Anna worked at the Tennessee Young Writers Workshop as a counselor & assistant director. She also earned her teacher’s license & taught high school art in Cookeville, TN. In her time at UNCW, Anna served as the president of the Creative Writing Graduate Student Association, as an outreach teacher with Writers in Action, & as a counselor & instructor at the UNCW Young Writers Workshop. Anna also spent three years on staff at Lookout Books, a literary imprint housed in UNCW’s Publishing Laboratory. There, she worked with authors such as Edith Pearlman, Steve Almond, & John Rybicki. She has served as a reader for the literary journals Ecotone, Gigantic SequinsDialogistChautauqua, & Atlantis. In 2011, Anna became a web editor at One Pause Poetry, an online audio archive & resource center. She received a James Merrill fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center in 2013. She is now the Sales & Marketing Assistant at John F. Blair Publisher in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Her MFA thesis, Playing House on the Bones, has been shortlisted in the Crab Orchard Poetry Series’ 2013 First Book & 2014 Open Reading contests & is currently looking for a home. Anna also is a participant in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project. This is a fundraiser project to support writers.


Four Questions About My Writing Process.

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Author Q&A: “Brittle Sisters”

I’ve been honored to receive several inquiries about an assignment focused on my short story, “Brittle Sisters,” that appears in Thrice Fiction 9. I composed an initial response to the first student who contacted me, but decided to post one that attempts to incorporate  the others students’ questions as well. Thank you all for asking me about my story.

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Tell Me When: All Stalkers Should Be Considered Unpredictable.

January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Despite ten years of outreach and activism, The National Center for Victims of Crime reports that over 6.6 million men and women are victims of stalking each year[1]; about half of these people are new victims.[2] This figure does not include children. Safe Horizon, “the largest victims’ services agency in the United States”[3] understands stalking as defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as “a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”[4] Continue reading