Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Tree Bridge by Dennis Greene

I had the honor of reviewing One Tree Bridge by Dennis Greene, and it is now in print! Here is an excerpt from my review:

"Greene manages to give [hard truths] to us with a beauty of form and sound so delicately balanced that they go down easy.  The reader feels the burn of the poems but can’t help consuming more because we desperately need the knowledge. One Tree Bridge is the simplest possible metaphor for existence on our world, yet the message inside the poems is larger than that. The birth and death of an individual, of our species, are simply two stops on the road within an infinite universe. [It] explains that so much of what we think we know about the universe depends on our perspective."


If you'd like to read the whole review, or buy a copy of the chapbook, please visit The Lives You Touch Publications. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mrs. Kringle's Lament

They said we’d only get an inch of snow
but when I wake it’s covered up the road
and slush has pulled some branches down so low
my favorite tree looks like it might explode.
I trudge outside with gloves and scarf and salt
to promptly slip and fall upon my rear
before I even reach the curb. “Assault!”
I bitch, then freeze as something licks my ear.
I scoot away, my heart up in my throat
and think:
a zombie! when the icy slop
slumps to the side like puke on glass. A coat
so cheery green it makes me want to pop
out both my eyes emerges next to me.
I groan and pinch my nose. I know that face.
Those bells. That burp. He’s grown a sparse goatee
which doesn’t quite enhance the scraggly lace
sewn on his cap. “Oh, you again!” he sneezes,
grabs my sleeve as though I’ll help him up.
Yeah, right. I dodge his drunken grasp and seize
his pointed, chilly ears. He drops his cup.
I just don’t care. He thrashes, tries to kick
but cannot get away. “Where’s the deer?”
I snarl. I wish that Santa’d get here quick
before his merry crew drinks all the beer.
“You think I’d rat out my best friends? Oh please!”
he cries, then vomits just as someone’s head
ducks out of sight behind the frosty trees
like Samurai Jack, but drunk. And wearing red.
“I know you’re there, you might as well come out,”
I call, my spirits sinking to despair
as I catch sight of antlers and a snout
crouched low behind my car. I swear.
This happens every year. No joyful bells
for me, oh no. Instead, delinquent elves,
escapees from St. Nick’s gift wrap cartels,
crash in my yard to sleep. “Show yourselves!”
I yell again, not hoping for too much.
Surprise, surprise, who waddles out? The Man.
Kris Kringle. Santa Claus. I blink and clutch
my head (I drop the elf). “What’s the plan?”
I ask. I hope he knows what’s happening.
He “ho-ho-ho’s” and sways a bit, then slips
and suddenly I feel the bitter sting
of cognizance: he’s drunk from feet to lips.
I sigh and drag his jolly ass to bed,
park the sleigh, coax Rudolph to the shed.
The elf I tuck into an extra room.
The beer, I’m sure, is gone, and none too soon.



Happy Holidays!!



© 2010 Christine Klocek-Lim

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pushcart Prize nom!

So far, 2010 has been a great year for me, writerly speaking. I just found out that one of my poems has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize!

My poem, The unnamed, was nominated by Touch: The Journal of Healing.


I also received a number of other nominations and kudos this year:

Star streams of the Splinter Galaxy - nominated for Best of the Net anthology 2009 by Diode

Silence speaks - nominated for Best of the Net anthology 2009 by Holly Rose Review. 

Dark matter manuscript - semi-finalist in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry.


My chapbook, "The book of small treasures," was published in March by Seven Kitchens Press.


I am so very grateful for all the generous editors who published my poetry and prose. Thank you for your incredible sacrifice of time and energy.

Thanksgiving is truly my favorite holiday of the year.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

NaNoWriMo

So far, I'm ahead of schedule for NaNoWriMo this year, which means that I'm on schedule. I try to write more each weekday so I can take off the weekends. This is my second year of NaNoWriMo, but I'm writing my fourth novel. It feels comfortable now. I know how to write dialogue and description and I'm moving into the stage where I can work on the artistry of the prose in a way that makes me feel like I'm doing something original. I've been writing poetry for years but prose is relatively new to me (Creative prose. I've written technical manuals, essays, etc.).

I've been pretty lucky with it, too. I've had one novel published (it's a romance and under a pen name) and another slated for publication next year (another romance). These are not literary novels by any stretch of the imagination, but I like them. I've been a romance junkie since I was 13. Sci-fi and fantasy are my other favorites so I've been focusing on learning more everyday about how to write in different genres for different markets. I wrote the romances very carefully after doing some market research on what sells and what doesn't.

Marketable prose is strangely more relaxed and more strict than literary prose. I have to be careful how often I use sentence fragments and POV is key. For the romance market, absolutely no fragments and POV has to be third person. That's just what sells. For sci-fi/fantasy the standards are a little more relaxed, but not so much that it's terribly difficult to read. The theme can be adventurous, but the writing style needs to not call too much attention to itself. Literary prose? All bets are off! My novel, The Quantum Archives, is a mix of poetry and experimental prose snippets along with straight prose and I'm fairly certain it'll be a tough sell. I haven't managed to get that one published yet and I've slated it for some more revision in a month or so.

With this nanowrimo I'm trying to write my second sci-fi (The Quantum Archives was my first). I'm hoping this one will be more mainstream because I'd like to sell it. At the same time I'm trying to put more of my literary voice into the work. Then, after it's done, I'll need to find an agent. Haven't done that yet and I'm a bit apprehensive, though I shouldn't be. After dealing with the poetry world for over ten years and getting rejection after rejection, my skin is pretty tough.

Anyway, if you'd like to follow my progress, my page at www.nanowrimo.org is here: chrissiemkl


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Autumn Sky Poetry's nominations for Best of the Web

Here are Autumn Sky Poetry's three nominations for the Best of the Web 2011, sponsored by Dzanc Books:

Monet to His Wife, While Winding the Sheets by Kristin Roedell from #19

Sharing Christina's World by Don Thackrey from #19

Surgeon Finds Tree Growing in Man's Lung by Laura Sobbott Ross from #18

Congratulations!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn Sky Poetry, the Art Issue, now live


Greetings!

The nineteenth issue of Autumn Sky Poetry is now online.

Read poems and enjoy art by Lia Brooks, Stephen Bunch & Dianne Wilson, Theresa Senato Edwards & Lori Schreiner, Heather Kamins, Jean L. Kreiling, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, David W. Landrum, Rick Mullin, Sandra Riley, Julia Klatt Singer, Kristin Roedell, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, Janice D. Soderling, Paul Stevens, and Don Thackrey.


—It's all about the poetry.

Sincerely,
Christine Klocek-Lim, Editor

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's the Daily Dish's birthday

The Daily Dish is one of two blogs I read every day, even those days when I'm too sick or tired to turn on the computer (I read it on my phone). Andrew Sullivan's blog provides me with an understanding of the world I could never find on my own. I lack the political background (or maybe fortitude, I'm not sure) to really figure out how and why people do the things they do in society. The nifty thing about his blog is that in addition to politics, he posts poetry. Where else does that happen? A political blog posting poetry? How strange. Nevertheless, it's true. In fact, that's how I discovered his blog: Andrew posted one of my poems on his site and traffic to my website exploded for a day or so. It was kind of awesome. I could've just left it at that, except I found myself going back again and again to read the blog. He and his staff also post photos from around the world, mental health breaks, and links to some of the funniest memes I've ever seen. Thank you Daily Dish. And happy birthday!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the story I never submitted

I was going to submit this, but then I didn't because the due date was an insane day for me and also because I just can't seem to gather up the energy to submit to yet another contest. I covered that in detail in my previous post so I won't rehash it here. Anyway, here's a free story. I wrote it for the NPR Three Minute Fiction Round Five. In a way, I used it as a prompt because even as I was writing it I had a feeling I wouldn't bother to send it in. The story had to be 600 words or less. It had to start with the sentence: “Some people swore that the house was haunted.” and end with the sentence: "Nothing was ever the same again after that."

I had a blast writing it. Here it is:



*snip*



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Maybe I'll just stop submitting.

Today I seriously considered giving up writing for good. For about three seconds. Maybe a minute. I'm tired of submitting my book-length poetry manuscript (Dark matter) and having it not make the grade. I love that manuscript. I'm proud of it. I'm tired of submitting my chapbook of sonnets (Cloud studies) and my chapbook of prose poems (Glimpse). I'm tired of trying to find a home for my sci-fi lit novel (The Quantum Archives). Even when a poetry manuscript gets accepted, it doesn't really sell. Maybe twenty people read it. And then I checked up on the stats for my romance novel (it's under a pen name and hell no I'm not telling you what it is) and it's not selling anymore. I haven't even made enough on it to buy groceries for a month (I have two teenage boys that eat a ton but still). So I seriously thought: why am I doing this?

I thought about all the time I would have if I stopped writing: I could actually finish painting my bedroom or weed my rose garden. I could ride my bicycle every day. Go to the movies. And then I thought about how much I hated ladders and weeding and the future stretched ahead of me empty and rattling. What the hell would I do with myself if I stopped writing? So. I'm almost done writing a new romance novel and I have an idea for another sci-fi book that is so cool I've been dreaming about it. And there are those notes for the funny memoir and the next romance novel (mostly plotted out in my head) .

I guess I won't quit. I like writing better than painting or weeding. Better than pretty much everything else I could do. I've worked in offices: I won't even get into my passive aggressive clothing choices (let's just say the incident with the tie-dyed tights was not a one-time thing). And I love words. Metaphors get me all jazzed up.

Maybe I'll just stop submitting.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gabriel Gadfly's Web Poetry Wednesday

. . . is a really cool thing. Okay, yes, he picked one of my poems today, so of course I like this new series of his, except he also picked nine other poems to feature. And he's good at it. I hope he keeps at it, because I love when someone else weeds through the dreck to find interesting poetry and then shares it with the rest of us. Thank you Gabriel!

Go here and see what I'm talking about:

Gabriel Gadfly, Web Poetry Wednesday #3

Friday, September 10, 2010

Whale Sound has two of my poems. . .

 . . . and Nic Sebastian's voice is sublime as she reads them. Go, go, go listen:

Raguel

Boulder Caves


I love this new project, Whale Sound. It's introduced me to some fantastic work by poets I'd not read before, and listening to someone read them has illuminated the poems in a way that I didn't expect. When I write a poem, I hear what it sounds like in my head, in my voice, and when I read it aloud, I try to preserve that emotion and sense of pacing. Listening to someone else read my poems is the ultimate test: did I succeed in conveying what I intended in that poem? Did I put enough space in between the imagery so that a reader can feel what I wanted as they read the poem?

My favorite poem at Whale Sound is He Calls Her Etsy by Karen Shubert. I love this poem. I love Nic's voice as she reads this poem, the fragile wonder of love and sunlight that she manages to infuse within the lines. I can imagine the scene so clearly and then the last line devastates me. Listen and be amazed.

Thank you Nic, for your incredible contribution to the world of poetry. I am so very honored.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Why writers like booze (and chocolate)

I am a writer. I have written software manuals, insurance presentations, tests, letters, resumes, memos, poems, stories, novels, articles, interviews, and more. I have edited and proofread countless textbooks, journals, and other things. At no point in my life have I ever made more than $30,000 a year. The competition to get published is akin to jumping into a pool infested with sharks. Once you're published, reviewers and critics can punch a hole in your work and watch you sink to the bottom, all the while congratulating themselves on how cleverly they did so. At the end of the day, any non-writer you tell about your job thinks he or she can do it better with no arts education and a complete disinterest in reading. Everyone I tell about my poetry is also a poet; even that woman down the street who "jots a bit in her journal now and again" has been published by Poetry.com.

There are only two reasons writers keep writing. One is because we love creating something with words. The other is the hope that someday we will be in that top .05% of writers that makes the bestseller list (think J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown) and rakes in a ton of cash. Most of us will die before that happens.

This is why we like booze (and chocolate) so much.


(edited to add: I stopped working full-time when I had my two kids, just fyi)

(edited again to add: I should probably mention how cool it is to play with words. Seriously. Writing a perfect poem is one of the most sublime experiences I've ever had. So, while all that up there is still true, I should have explained more about the "we love creating something with words" part. Just sayin'.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taking a long break. . . but not really

So, I haven't been taking many photos lately, mostly because I'm concentrating on writing. Except where's the writing, you ask? I also haven't been writing poetry lately. This is because I'm concentrating on writing novels and of course just when I thought I knew what I was doing as far as creative writing was concerned, I learn that I don't know everything. I've written two and a half novels so far, and I'm hard at work on making that half a novel a whole. I spent the last several months rewriting one of them because I didn't know a damn thing about dialogue tags. This process has been both rewarding and humbling, like most things when it comes to writing.

So my long break isn't really a break, it's a trek onto another trail. I'm enjoying the view but I wish the trail markers weren't so tricky to follow.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Almost there for the MS Charity Ride!!!

Hey everyone,

I made my goal thanks to you! If you still want to help, please donate to my son Jeremy and my husband Terry. While it might be fun to snicker at them as they stand in line to get their number, I know that I will probably be standing with them at the beginning of the Multiple Sclerosis City to Shore Charity Ride.

The $300 goal is due today (Friday, August 20). If you would like to help, please donate! Only a few dollars will help. Here is my page and my son and husband's pages where you can donate directly online:


Thank you!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MS City to Shore Charity Bicycle Ride

Hey everyone,

Once again I'm participating in the City to Shore bike ride to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. This is a tough ride for me: I have fibromyalgia, so riding 75 miles to the shore and then 75 miles back again is always a challenge, but it's one that I take willingly to raise money and awareness of the devastating disease so many must deal with every day of their lives. My mother-in-law has MS. I know what it looks like, but I don't know how it feels. That's why I do this ride and it's why my son Jeremy and my husband also ride.

I need to raise $170 more dollars to reach my goal. My son Jeremy needs to raise $250. I will be giving away one of my chapbooks to anyone who donates at least $20 to me until I hit my $300 goal. Then, I will give a chapbook to whoever helps my son Jeremy reach his $300 goal. This is a first come, first serve offer. I have twenty chapbooks to give away. For more info on my chaps, go here: http://www.novembersky.com/NovemberSky/Chapbooks.html

I have nine "How to photograph the heart" chaps available. I have eleven "The book of small treasures" chaps available.


To donate, go to my MS page: Christine's MS City to Shore Page. Please note the amount on the page and if I've reached my $300 goal, please donate to my son Jeremy.

To donate to my son Jeremy, go to his MS page: Jeremy's MS City to Shore Page.

Once you've donated, I will receive an email letting me know. I'll contact you and ask for your address so I can send you the chapbook. Unfortunately, this offer is limited to those living in the US since I can't afford the international shipping.

Please, even a small amount will help.

(PS-if I don't have your email address, I'll try to contact you via Facebook.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Poetry Book Blog Tour: Interview with Joanne Merriam


Yes, it's part 5 of the Poetry Book Blog Tour! Today I interview Joanne Merriam:


Joanne Merriam is a supremely talented writer with books, prizes, and numerous publication credits to her name. She was nominated for the 2009 Dwarf Stars Award, winner of Asimov’s Science Fiction‘s Readers’ Awards for Best Poem of 2008, for “Deaths on Other Planets,” and First and Third place winner (respectively) of the Strange Horizons 2005 and 2004 Reader’s Choice Awards for Fiction.
Belinda Cooke explains Joanne’s poetry book, “The Glaze from Breaking,” thus: “She reminded me a lot of the early work of Boris Pasternak where the poet does not so much observe the natural world as fuse with it breaking down the boundaries between speaker and landscape… She also does clever things with sound… [and] has the odd image that manages to be both unusual and just right.”



On to the interview:
(CKL): Nearly twenty years ago, I visited the Morgan Library in Manhattan and saw Sylvia Plath’s crayon printed first attempts at poetry. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed reading the very early poems of poets. Have you saved any of your first attempts? 
(JM): I no longer have any of my very early work - I started writing when I
was eight and the earliest poems I have are from my very late teens.
Here's one of them, written when I was 19 (also my earliest published
poem--after some stuff that appeared in a tiny local magazine which I
lost in one of my many moves--it was in the Spring 1996 issue of Feux
chalins):
Enough
To be with you in the early hours of the evening is enough.
To watch your back and shoulders move under your shirt, to smilingly
feel your eyes on me is enough.
Yes, I want to feel your hands tangled in my hair, yes, I want to run
my fingers along the smooth soft skin of your wrists and arms, and
yes, I want to rake my calves over your calves.
But more than that I need only to observe you move across the room I'm in.
You don't have to do anything.
It is enough to hear your low voice talk or laugh, or say my name,
and, not touching, while talking and laughing, to feel near me your
long lean warmth.
Here's a very recent poem (published here
and written in April 2010):
Ah Inflorescence
         (after Walt Whitman's 'Ah Poverties, Wincings and Sulky Retreats')
You're an umbel--
your shoots; your loosenesses; your legs like pedicels;
eyes dark flat seeds screwed nearly shut against the light;
woodbine nerves; you seacoast angelica
(for what are your heteroflexible hands on my skin
but a flower moving, seeds drifting on a breeze?)--
when you finally touch me (my hands the dumbest of any)
(fingernails red petals on white sheets) I pluck you
(a cluster of flowers comes undone;
grinds into the ground)

(CKL): What changed in your work from the beginning to where you are now?
(JM): Well, obviously in the interim I lost my virginity.
I learned a lot about the craft of writing in my twenties, and am much
more comfortable now using metaphor and internal rhymes. I also
figured out somewhere along the way that line breaks are useful. I'm
more comfortable with interrupting my syntax and generally less
prosey.
But more than that, my whole approach has changed. As much as my life
inescapably informs my work, I'm not drawing from autobiography in
quite the same way (and sometimes hardly at all, especially in my
science fiction poetry). "Enough" was a deeply personal poem for me
when I was 19, but while "Ah Inflorescence" is about a real person, I
didn't write it to express emotions I couldn't figure out how to
express outside my writing, or for therapy. When I was a teenager,
writing a poem was almost always a stand-in for having a real
conversation with a real person--it was safer and less messy, because
I didn't have to deal with the other person at all. Now, although I
frequently write about my life, it's not a replacement for
communicating with my loved ones.

(CKL): Why did you start writing?
(JM): Despite what I've just said, not for therapy. I started writing when I
was eight because I was (and am) a people-pleaser, and my grade three
teacher praised a poem I had written for class. It was a rhyming poem
called "Dryad Lake" and was very derivative of the Anne of Green
Gables books. I wish I still had a copy. My parents liked it too. I
liked pleasing all these adults, so I wrote some more. At some point I
fell in love with the actual process of writing and now I can't stop.
I get really crotchedy if I go awhile without writing anything.

(CKL): Do you still like to write or is it a chore?
(JM): Both. It's a chore which I enjoy. I like the mental stimulation, the
necessary extended focus, and the sense of accomplishment when I
complete something. I like being part of a conversation that's bigger
than me.

(CKL): Do you write anything other than poetry?
(JM): Yes, I also write fiction, both literary and speculative (science
fiction, fantasy, horror). I've finished the first draft of a novel,
which needs catastrophic edits before it'll be any good, and have
written a bunch of short stories, which have been published in places
like The Fiddlehead, Stirring and Strange Horizons. I'm also working
on a web comic with my roommate, who is an artist, but we haven't
gotten to the point where anything is ready to post online.

(CKL): Was getting a book published what you expected?
(JM): Ha. Not even remotely. I had some kind of an idea that having a book
published would open doors for me, involve some small sort of
celebrity, make me into a real writer. It's nice to be able to say I
had a book out when I tell people I'm a writer, but it really hasn't
changed anything at all.
And the whole process was quite a bit of a struggle, as I had to do a
lot more marketing than I'd expected. Not that I didn't expect to have
to market my work, because by 2005 when the book came out I knew
enough to know that publishers, especially poetry publishers, have
very little money. But I made the mistake of choosing a UK publisher
who had no North American distribution. Stride Books was otherwise
absolutely fantastic in every possible way; I just lived on the wrong
continent.
It also came out just after I immigrated to the US from Canada, and I
was in that dead period many immigrants face when you're not allowed
to work in the country (lest you be deported), and you're not allowed
to leave the country (or you'll have to start the whole process over
again). So I had no money. My husband was working at a used car
dealership (you can read about his experience here:
and making just barely enough to keep us afloat. I didn't have the
money for gas to drive to readings, let alone organize any sort of
promotional tour. What I had was time, and an internet connection, so
I did most of my marketing online, which was a great learning
experience.





See the rest of the week:
27 July: Jeannine hosts Christine (that's me!)
28 July: Wendy hosts Mary
29 July: Mary hosts Jeannine
30 July: Christine hosts Joanne

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Poetry Book Blog Tour Part 2!



Today, Jeannine Hall Gailey interviews me! Check out the full interview at Jeannine's blog.

See the rest of the week:
27 July: Jeannine hosts Christine (that's me!)
28 July: Wendy hosts Mary
29 July: Mary hosts Jeannine
30 July: Christine hosts Joanne





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Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh yes, it's the poetry book blog tour!





Today, Joanne Merriam interviews Wendy Babiak! Check out the full interview at Conspiracy of Leaves.


See the rest of the week:
27 July: Jeannine hosts Christine (that's me!)
28 July: Wendy hosts Mary
29 July: Mary hosts Jeannine
30 July: Christine hosts Joanne










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Thursday, July 22, 2010

I've updated my website: November Sky


I've updated my website, November SkyI've updated my bio page and my published work page. I also added poems written in 2010 and audio for a number of poems: AnaelCrescent moon with earthshineTwenty-year love poemFirst CrocusHow to photograph the heartZachary learns to swim,Cicadas, and Peace


Check it out!