Celebrating the poetry vendors!


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Congratulations to the excellent Dave Bonta, on his milestone 6000th post at Via Negativa yesterday (where he has graciously accorded me the status of co-blogger since 2010).

Yesterday, it was also my FOURTH year anniversary of writing (at least) a poem a day – they’re all archived at Via Negativa – so, double huzzah!

Dave created this fun video to commemorate the occasion.

The Saints of Streets wins 2014 Gintong Aklat Award


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10582935_10152480327748929_5819972776843534155_oPostcard The Saint of Streets, front


Maraming salamat sa Dakilang Pinagmulan!

Thank you to all you wonderful readers and supporters ~

I’ve just learned that my poetry book THE SAINTS OF STREETS (UST Publishing House, 2013) has won a 2014 Gintong Aklat (Golden Book) Award!!!

Reposting here, some links to recent Reviews:

Christian Anton Gerard at The Rumpus

Henry Leung at Lantern Review

Mookie Katigbak Lacuesta at Philippine Graphic

Robbi Nester at the New York Journal of Books

Elizabeth Lolarga at Postively Filipino

Rina Angela Corpus at GMA Network News

Poems at The Poetry Storehouse


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Mil gracias to poet and filmmaker Nic Sebastian, who has just let me know tonight that my poems are up (with audio) on The Poetry Storehouse ~



So then, dear friends and potential collaborators, do check out the Remixers’ Guidelines and further, the Remixers’ Guidelines for Poetry.


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Please join Friends of the MFA Creative Writing Program and the ODU Alumni Association on 2 October 2014, Thursday, at 6:30 pm in the Barry M. Kornblau Alumni Center at ODU (corner 49th Street and Hampton Boulevard) in this Pre-Literary Festival Event —

The Butcher, the Baker, the Artisanal Maker: Fortifying Our Community Tables

Join the MFA Creative Writing Program and Friends for a panel discussion on how sustainable food and farming efforts provide nourishment for a positive future within our local communities. The event serves as pre-festival program leading into the 37th Annual Literary Festival which will examine the relationship of food and sustenance in a variety of cultural, poetic, political and other contexts. The evening will also include a reception offering a chance to reconnect with alumni, faculty, and friends. It will feature light refreshments and a cash bar.

Thursday, October 2 /6:30-8:30 pm

Barry M. Kornblau Alumni Center  


Featured Panelists:

Lorraine Eaton, MFA’99

- Food writer for the Virginian-Pilot; author, Tidewater Table Cookbook

Dr. Amy Price Neff 

- Co-owner, Pendulum Fine Meats in Norfolk

Patrick Farrell, MA ’09

- English Dept. faculty member & food/wine aficionado

Bev Sell 

- Founder & General Manager of Five Points Community Farm Market


Please contact Katherine Jackson at kjackson@odu.edu to RSVP

or to find out more information by September 26.


This free event is sponsored by the MFA Creative Writing Program,

Friends of the MFA Creative Writing Program, Pendulum Fine Meats,

and the ODU Alumni Association.


For more information on the 2014 ODU Literary Festival,

“The Hungry Heart is Telling You” (October 6-10, 2014) 

please visit us online.




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Gratitude to Nancy Peacock and Karen Salyer McElmurray, two wonderful writers—  for the opportunity to join them in conversation over at Marginalia.

Here is a short excerpt from the letter I wrote to them both, which appears on their blog today:

“In April this year, The New York Times ran Junot Diaz’s article MFA Vs. POC. ‘I was,’ he says, ‘a person of color in a workshop whose theory of reality did not include my most fundamental experiences as a person of color—that did not in other words include me.” I would hasten to add that faculty of color also experience this same kind of fundamental unease, as they struggle through the rituals of academic tenure and continually encounter those kinds of scrutiny that suggest their credentials and what they bring to the table are somehow wanting, even when they are not.”  ~ (from Luisa A. Igloria’s guest letter to Nancy Peacock and Karen McElmurray at Marginalia)

The Hungry Heart is Telling You


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Mark your calendars and tell all your friends and networks to come for one solid week of literary awesomeness at ODU ~ from 6-10 October 2014, we will be hosting the 37th ODU Literary Festival.

This year, the overall theme is literature, food, sustenance, and community— and their urgent relevance and relationship to our cultural milieu and conversations.

ODU 2014 Literary Festival (clickable) Brochure

Our lineup of luminous writers includes Michael Ruhlman, Chef Jeff Henderson (appearing for the ODU President’s Lecture Series), Annia Csiezadlo, Sarah Lightman, Tarfia Faizullah, Sasha Pimentel, Ellen Dore Watson, Kate Christensen, Nikky Finney, and Jane Hirshfield.

Other events will feature MFA Alumni Tara Shea Burke, Dana Staves, Dianne Alford, and Lorraine Eaton; and ODU Faculty Delores Phillips, Tom Socha, and Don Zeigler.



Tagged! ~ The Virtual Blog Tour


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Dear friends, readers, and book lovers, I’ve been tagged! ~ that is, by fab friend and fiction writer Marianne Villanueva, who in turn was tagged by the exciting Rashaan Alexis Meneses – to participate in “The Virtual Blog Tour.”


When one is tagged, one must answer 4 basic questions, and then tag (and briefly introduce) 3 to 4 other writers who will then each continue the process with their own writing friends.

Inquiring further into the process, I was directed to this passage on poet and North American Review editor Vince Gotera‘s blog, which describes what it’s all about:

“The ‘virtual blog tour’ is an excellent, friendly way for writers, artists, and other creative folks to bring attention to their own work as well as that of others. It begins with an invitation from another artist or writer. Then in your blog you acknowledge the person who invited you, answer four given questions about your work and your process, and then invite three other people to participate. These people then do the same thing, referring their blog readers to the blogs of three more people, and so on. It’s a wonderful sort of ‘pyramid scheme’ that’s beneficial for everyone: the artists and writers as well as the readers of their blogs. We can follow links from blog to blog and then we can all learn about different kinds of creative process and also find new writers and artists we may not have known about before.”

The 4 Questions for the Virtual Blog Tour:

1. What are you currently working on?

I write every day / have been writing (at least) a poem a day since November 20, 2010, and posting these on Dave Bonta‘s Via Negativa site.

Out of my daily writing practice, I have gathered poems into books! I have two (2) new books: one has just been released~  Night Willow (prose poems), from Phoenicia Publishing in Montreal, in early June this year; and on August 3, 2014, Utah State University Press released my book Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser, which was selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize.

Currently, I am sending out a brand new manuscript and hoping that it finds a home very soon. I’m also excited to begin outlining work for at least a couple of new projects ~ essays on poetry/poetics, perhaps a book on poetry and food.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Every writer brings a unique voice, sensibility, temperament, and approach to his or her own writing. All this is informed by one’s particular history, milieu, background, and experiences.

In my work I am always interested in trying to write strong and compelling poetry that is lyrical and unafraid of complexity and intellect.

My sensibility, honed and informed by my history as a Filipina writer in the diaspora, as a woman steeped in family and larger histories in the Baguio of my childhood, growing up, and my imagination— all inform my writing in a singular way.

3. Why do you write/create what you do?

To play. To think and reflect. To dream. To argue (with/against/for/to ___). To be badass. To find light. To navigate the dark. To draw. To shade. To sift. To pray. To take apart. To tinker. To make and remake. To cook. To find and lose and find. To try. To be.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

In other parts of my blog, and in recent interviews and reviews here and there, I’ve had the opportunity to share a bit more in detail on my creative process especially for the last three, going on four, years now of my daily writing practice.

I write and revise on a daily basis. The benefits for me of having cultivated a daily discipline: being better able to tune out external noise and tune in to the space where writing can happen.

On the other side of the solitary and individual space where the writing happens for each of us, there is that space which intersects with community, with others. It’s important that a writer find a way to balance the solitary act of writing and creating, with the ability to connect deeply to the world around her. ________________________________________________________________

And now, here are 4 writers I am tagging, and introducing ~ Ta-dah!

Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua SRC2014FL-12

I am very glad to have recently made the acquaintance of the poet Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua, who grew up in Glendale, California. Sam has read for Oregon Poetry Association, Windfall Reading Series, Isangmahal Arts Collective, NW Poets Concord, Talking Earth, PoetsWest, Brigadoon Books, Fault Lines and Word Lab in Manila, Philippines.

He is published by The Jefferson Monthly, The Inflectionist Review, Word Laboratories, Mixer, Concord, and Paw Print. In June 2014 he won the First Place award for The Missouri Review‘s 7th Annual Audio Competition in Poetry. He is a member of Red Sofa Poetry Critique Group and Centrum’s Madrona Writers Group in Port Townsend, WA. Sam lives in Eugene, Oregon and is a student at Pacific University’s MFA in Writing program.


Erica Goss

Erica Goss is 2013-2014 Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA. Born in Germany and raised in California, Erica Goss has been writing poetry since she was a child. As a writer, she is interested in the juxtaposition between nature and human beings, finding inspiration in that tenuous intersection of the wild and the domesticated. Her poems often deal with how far people can encroach upon nature, where the boundaries are, and how we project our own hopes and fantasies upon the natural world.

Erica is a former editor of Caesura, the journal of literature and art published by the Poetry Center San Jose. She taught high school poetry for five years, has lead art and writing camps for young people, and currently teaches poetry workshops for adults. In 2012, she began writing a column on video poetry for Connotation Press. Her poems, reviews and essays have appeared in many literary journals, most recently Pearl, Ekphrasis, Main Street Rag, Café Review, Perigee, Dash Literary Journal, Eclectica, Up the Staircase, Lake Effect, Stirrings, Passager, Caveat Lector, Rattle, Zoland Poetry, Comstock Review and Innisfree Poetry Journal. She received the Many Mountains Moving Prize for poetry in 2011.

She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2013, and received the first Edwin Markham Prize for poetry, judged by California Poet Laureate Al Young. Wild Place was also a finalist in the 2010 White Eagle Coffee Store Press Chapbook Contest, and received a special mention from Jacar Press’s 2010 Chapbook Contest. Erica hosts Word to Word, a Show About Poetry, on KCAT Cable TV in Los Gatos.


R.A. Villanueva

I am very excited to read poet R.A. Villanueva‘s new book Reliquaria, which won the prestigious 2013 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. He is also the winner of the inaugural Ninth Letter Literary Award for poetry.

Reliquaria is available to pre-order now from University of Nebraska Press, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Here is the description of the book from Amazon:

“In his prize-winning poetry collection ReliquariaR. A. Villanueva embraces liminal, in-between spaces in considering an ever-evolving Filipino American identity. Languages and cultures collide; mythologies and faiths echo and resound. Part haunting, part prayer, part prophecy, these poems resonate with the voices of the dead and those who remember them. In this remarkable book, we enter the vessel of memory, the vessel of the body. The dead act as witness, the living as chimera, and we learn that whatever the state of the body, this much rings true: every ode is an elegy; each elegy is always an ode.”

A semi-finalist for the 2013 “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize and a finalist for the 2011 Beatrice Hawley and Kinereth Gensler Awards, additional honors include fellowships from Kundiman and The Asian American Literary Review, and scholarships from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Recent poems have been nominated for The Pushchart Prize and anthologized in A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. He holds graduate degrees from Rutgers University and New York University.

His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Five Points, The Common, AGNI, Gulf Coast, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, DIAGRAM, Bellevue Literary Review, Smartish Pace, Painted Bride Quarterly, Indiana Review, The Collagist, The Literary Review, Paperbag, Crab Orchard Review, RATTLE, Lantern Review, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010, This Recording, Letters: A Journal of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Kartika Review, La Fovea, Mead, and The Margins.

He is on the Editorial Board of Tongue: A Journal of Writing and Art; and formerly served as the Poetry Editor of Washington Square and co-curator of Experiments & Disorders, a performance series at Dixon Place devoted to new poetic forms.

Born in New Jersey, he lives in Brooklyn and London.



Karen Salyer McElmurray IMG_0426

When I desperately need real, tell-it-to-me-like-it-is writing truths drawn from lived experience, I turn to Marginalia, the correspondence between two writing friends, Karen McElmurray and  Nancy Peacock.  I was very happy to have met Karen McElmurray in person, finally*, at the AWP this year in Seattle, where I went and listened to her talk at a panel on the “Hidden Populations” in the writing workshop/writing classroom.  Her voice, in person, was as I encountered it on the page: memorable and lovely because real and true.

Karen writes both fiction and creative nonfiction. Her memoir, Surrendered Child, won the AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction and was listed as a “notable book” by the National Book Critics Circle. She is also the author of Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven (University of Georgia Press), a novel that won the Lillie Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing and, most recently, The Motel of the Stars, part of the 2009 Linda Bruckheimer Series from Sarabande Books. Karen has an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Virginia, an MA in Creative Writing from Hollins University, and a PhD from the University of Georgia, where she studied American Literature and Fiction Writing. Her work has received numerous awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She is frequently visiting writer and lecturer at a variety of programs and reading series.

*P.S.: My bad, bad memory!!! the 2014 AWP in Seattle was where I met Karen again, a very very very long time after I first met her (very briefly). This was at a local writing conference at Christopher Newport University, shortly before or after her first book was published!

P.P.S.: Here is Karen’s Virtual Blog Tour post!


 Please check out these writers’ works!!!