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Seattle, WA
Martha Silano's books are The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, Blue Positive and What the Truth Tastes Like.
Recent Activity
The Seriously Funny: Poems about Love, Death Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else reading had me laughing a whole way lot, for sure. David Kirby, Barbara Hamby, Albert Goldbarth, Mark Halliday, Jennifer Knox, and Jason Bedle read poems about, among other things, chicken buckets, The Rotary Club, an actual key that opens the human heart, and Shakespeare's plays. I was very happy I attended! (top to bottom): Albert Goldbarth, David Kirby, Barbara Hamby) Then I was lucky enough to hear Juan Felipe Herrera belt it out for a small and very, very lucky crowd crowd (why did they have... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Top to bottom: Gregory Pardlo, Star Black, Jennifer Knox, Derek Monk, Jason Schneiderman, Martha Silano. All six read from their newest books at Bardeo Wine Bar in the Cleveland Park neighborhood last night. Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Entered Marriott without incident and headed to conference registration line. All preparations made for lines out the door (plenty of that maroon velvet snakey stuff on poles), but it was just me in the R-S column. Grabbed my complimentary book bag (much sturdier than the ones in Denver--mine long ago went kaput--and a much more pleasing beige) with requisite 2-lb. Conference Catalog, along with most-essential name tag. First stop, Bookfair. For those of you who are not here with us in DC, let me just say the Bookfair is easily twice the size of the one in Denver, or at... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
The conference has not even officially begun, but I am revved up and in love with this city where I held up a map in confusion and a nice fellow in a suit put his arm avuncularly around me and guided me 180 degrees in the other direction (ahem, where I needed to go, which was the Postal Museum). I'm usually a bit of a light-weight when it comes to museums, but not today. Spurred on by the drizzle that turned to bright sun and a breeze that was whipping Old Glory into a tizzy outside our Nation's Capitol, I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Aimee Nezhukumatathil's Lucky Fish (Tupelo) is definitely at the top of my list. Also at or near the top is Steve Kistulentz's The Luckless Age, just out from Red Hen Press. And the great thing is that I will soon be swooning over poets that I had no idea existed or wrote such lively and funny and musical verse. That's the best part about AWP: discovery! And then there's all those beautiful hot-off-the-presses lit mags just waiting for us: Willow Springs, Puerto del Sol, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Bat City Review, just to name a few. Last year I ponied... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
For the next six days I will be blogging to you live from the 2011 Associated Writing Programs Conference in Washington DC. However, right now I am in the other Washington, where I am trying to figure out how many pairs of boots and long johns to take with me. I have lived in the land of moss and ferns for too long. I've become what my East coast friends refer to as "a cold wimp." Jack Frost has not nipped my nose since I visited Santa Fe in 1986 and came down with a terrible flu after jogging when it was 2 degrees outside. I've been emailing back and forth with Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, just out from White Pine Press, because she arrived in DC two days ago after a similar dilemma regarding which boots to bring with her: the very waterproof/warm but less stylish, or the less waterproof/warm but quite hip. She is telling me in today’s missives that she went with the hip pair and definitely made the right choice, that in fact as of 4 pm today it was 49 degrees in our nation's capitol, and then added that I needed to bring my sunglasses. Sunglasses. What a novel concept. Meanwhile, shows, next to Tuesday, Feb 1, the day I fly to DC, a white cloud with a bunch of snowflakes falling from it. Oh, and also mention of freezing rain. (Perhaps I should also be packing a plant mister filled with de-icer?) Okay, so I am a cold wimp, but I also like glittery tank tops and very much not waterproof sleek black boots, though admittedly I also adore my Joan of Arctic Sorel boot with “vulcanized rubber shell” and “felt frost plug,” rated at -25 degree F. But will I need them? I also have a bunch of books and magazines I want to read on the plane, but I dimly recall my final hours in Denver at last year’s conference being spent alternately jumping on my suitcase to get it to close, and woefully removing several coveted literary magazines purchased at the Book Fair and flinging them into the trash. I should not pack a single piece of reading material for the East bound flight, and I should only fill my suitcase half way, but everyone who knows me knows that this is not going to happen, for I must be reading or writing from take off till landing in order to prevent myself from contemplating the fact that at any moment the plane I am on could suddenly fall off the radar and God knows which city we’d all come showering down on. Or that we might actually have to figure out how to don our life vests and blow into those hideous tubes before we hit the emergency slides a la Steven Slater (yes, you can be sure I will take time to grab an icy cold one from a beverage cart in anticipation of my swan dive into the gelid waters of Lake Erie.) But getting back to my destination: the AWP conference! Several weeks ago I printed out my own personal schedule, the must-sees during my 3-day panelizing and reading marathon. Here’s what I am hoping to attend on the first official day of the Literary Big Top, Thursday, February 3: 10:30-11:45 am If You Can’t Dance You Can Keep Your Revolution (Sean Thomas Dougherty, Crystal Williams, and four other Writers of Political Engagement) 3-4:15 pm: This Human Longing, with Bob Hicok, Marie Howe, Gregory Orr, Kevin Young, and Alison Granucci 4:30-5:45 pm: 40th Anniverary Ploughshares Reading with Terrance Hayes and others, but from this lovely fete I must cut out early for the Saturnalia/Painted Bride Quarterly reading at Bardeo, which I hear is very close by and has a wonderful array of finger foods. Note that I am not even attempting to attend anything during the 9-10:15 am panel slot. This is because (1) jet lag and (2) not having to be up at 7 am PST to make buttermilk pancakes in the shapes of hearts or soccer balls or dinosaurs or butterflies or tarantulas or lightbulbs or for my two school-aged kids. Either that or I will be doing the other thing I never have time to do in Seattle: exercising! Wish me a safe journey in which I do not hear “this is your captain. I have just received word from Air Traffic Control that Reagan National Airport has closed due to [insert one of the following: heavy snow, freezing rain, hail, graupel, earthquake, avalanche, meteor strike, space alien invasion].” Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2011 at Marthasilano's blog
In the new issue of AGNI, editor Sven Birkerts contemplates the Heidegerian-ish question: What is writing? Birkerts steps right in and breaks it down: Writing is . . . “very little actual writing.” Indeed. For instance. The day job. Tracking down my marriage license because I can’t find our 2008 tax return. I need one or the other to prove that my betrothed is indeed my domestic partner. Otherwise, in 30 days he will be axed from my Washington State Health Care Authority insurance plan. (I am not even sure our marriage license got filed. Why? Because the guy who... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
HUNGER (by Samik) Eskimo You, stranger, who only see us happy and free of care, If you knew the horrors we often have to live through you would understand our love of eating and singing and dancing. There is not one among us who hasn’t lived through a winter of bad hunting when many people starved to death. We are never surprised to hear that someone has died of starvation – we are used to it. And they are not to blame: Sickness comes, or bad weather ruins hunting, as when a blizzard of snow hides the breathing holes. I... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
I'm drawn to Mark Bibbins' work because he is not a confessional poet, and also because linear narratives do not seem to be exceedingly important to him. He is, of course, not the first contemporary poet to move away from confessional narrative, but what stands out about Bibbins' work (at least for me) are three things: his attention to and aptitude with sound/rhyme, his use of word play, and the unexpected forms his poems take. Here the author answers questions about his new book, The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon 2009). MS: You state in your 2009 BAP... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
Everyone’s gathered at the gourd-festooned table. The TV is momentarily turned to OFF, the carved turkey and gravy boat are beckoningly steaming. That’s right: It’s time to bust out the Poem o Thanks. But OH NO! You forgot to write a poem of thanks, or even do a Google search for a poem of thanks. Hark! Heck! You’re without a poem of thanks! Have no fear that this will be your T-day nightmare because you have Martha’s quick and easy, handy-dandy reference guide for the perfect Turkey-time poesy. Here come Thomas Lux, Ronald Wallace, John Berryman, Charles Simic, Anne Sexton,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
Today’s interview is with 2009 BAP contributor Susan Blackwell Ramsey. Susan and I began emailing each other in 2001 when a friend suggested I needed to know her. Regretfully, I did not archive those initial exchanges, but I assume they must have been rather cursory and formal, lacking subject lines the likes of “AIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” or “Nononononononoo oooooooooo,” which soon became de rigeur. Yes, we must’ve initially been professional. Just-met composed. But looking back, I can’t recall a time when we weren’t firing off effusive and impassioned missives upwards of 5x a day. It was one of those Gemini Titan II... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
And this week's guest blogger is . . . Martha Silano. Hello, everybody, and thanks for reading. I thought I'd begin my short stint by sharing a recent interview I had with this year's guest editor, David Wagoner. I took two poetry writing workshops with David Wagoner at the University of Washington, the first time as a non-matriculating post-baccalaureate. That's right: non-matriculating. I had heard that sometimes David let people into his classes without actually being enrolled at the U, and so I sent him a few poems and asked him if I might sit in on his graduate poetry... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
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Nov 19, 2009