...In-between sets from poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

July 10, 2017

Greetings from the Parched Suburbs of Phoenix

It's been that kind of summer. When I was a kid, I took cloudy, rainy, days for granted. Goes to show you. I wonder who came up with that phrase. << See how the hallucinatory statements just slip out? Come on out here and try 118° for days in a row. Car tires are blowing out on the freeways from the asphalt heat. This has got to stop.

The West was tamed by air-conditioning.
I'm loving teaching my poetry classes at Phoenix Center for the Arts. My students are marvelous. It is like a present to see them "get" how to move their poems up and out and further. No wonder educators get hooked. It's the students.
Blurbs! I've been sitting on them for months now. They are really beautiful, and I am deeply grateful to the three individuals who have read my new poetry collection and written these statements about my book. I am very fortunate. That unveiling comes in August, as I choose to reveal things of enormous importance to me on days of great significance to me, so, just a tad bit longer....Not teasing, just prepping.
And now I have no less than four editors of four literary journals having personally requested poems, so let's get to it.

May 13, 2017

Unveiling the Magnificent Book Cover Artwork for My Second Full-Length Poetry Collection

Today is more special than I can try to write.

40 years ago today, on a Friday, my father, Isadore Henry Schwartzberg, died. Everyone who knew him knew he was born to have been an artist, an illustrator, a drawing guy. He had the gift, he really did. People know when people truly have the gift. My dad had it.

After I write this post, and present the magnificent cover created especially for my poetry collection by my brother-friend, the kindest man and preeminent artist, Tom Bachtell, I will be lighting a Yahrzeit candle and saying a special prayer in memory of the death of my beloved father. My dad would be so utterly speechless and happy to see this gorgeous cover that Tom has gifted me. I am blessed ten million times over, I know.

Tom Bachtell drawing for The New Yorker
Above is a photo of Tom's hands at work. They are so intuitive, strong, concentrating, wise. 27 years over at The New Yorker's "Talk of the Town", among other sections of the magazine, will do that to a drawing guy. I love that he wears a collared, button-down shirt when he draws. His website is right here, if you'd like to view his portfolio, and of course, you could pick up a copy of The New Yorker magazine anywhere, anytime since 2000, and find his signature artwork within. He's a pretty darn good drawing guy.

Dear Tom, with all my loving heart I am grateful.

Cover Art Illustration: TOM BACHTELL

I am beaming with joy to say, this art illustration will grace my next book of poems, Horn Section All Day Every Day, forthcoming in March, 2018.

It's time for me to go and say a prayer.

April 19, 2017

If You Buy These Journals You Will Become Stunning

National Poetry Month has been very good to my poetry. Two fabulous literary journals have just released brand-new issues, and I am fortunate to have new poetry in them. My poems in these journals will be included in my next poetry collection, come February, 2018. 

Enormous joy, and gratitude to the editors of South Dakota Review and Santa Clara Review.

South Dakota Review

Santa Clara Review

March 5, 2017

Live Encounters, Fully Global

The online world literary journal Live Encounters, shepherded by the masterful Mark Ulyseas, kindly re-posted three of my poems forthcoming in Horn Section All Day Every Day, to be published by Salmon Poetry, February 2018. With poems shoulder-to-shoulder beside Dorianne Laux, Helen Cardona, Charlotte Innes, and these other masterful poets, is a great treat. I thought I'd snag the first of the three poems posted from LE to whet your engagement:

"Horn Section..." coming out in 2018

Here's the fine roster from the January 2017 issue. All the poets' poems can be accessed after clicking my link, above:

A tremendous camp to be part of 

January 1, 2017

Welcome, 2017

Much gratitude to the editors and publishers who have selected my poetry for publication forthcoming in 2017 in superb literary journals and anthologies, and in other publications. Every publication will receive plenty of pre-notice here at my blog. Follow this blog for the plethora of joy and publication coverage! As for my second poetry collection, I am beyond wholly grateful that Horn Section All Day Every Day will have its contract agreed upon and mutually signatured, and ensconced at its deserved home for publication and release -- Publication date: January 31, 2018. Publisher: Salmon Poetry Ltd.
Very thankful~Onward!

December 24, 2016

On This Gray Eve

Add 30 years, light laugh lines, and a great necklace
My hairstylist sent me packing after something like 14+ years together. I was in such shock all I could do was shut my eyes really hard while she finished cutting my hair. Seems haircuts at 60 bucks an hour don't "cut" it like they used to. She can make more money from coloring and highlighting somebody else's head during my scissor time. I want to be civil. I want to understand. I understand this--with my four degrees and twenty+ years on her, I don't believe I ever made 60 dollars an hour off my labor. I worked in law 22 years and I've made more hourly money from selling one Silver Age Spiderman comic book. To say things feel a bit lopsided at the end of this tumultuous year is not understating the sensation of being about as in-control as a bird on a wire.

I will be faculty teaching poetry in the creative writing program come January, '17, at Phoenix Center for the Arts. Poetry workshops and craft classes. First time ever I'll make money from teaching poetry, which I have been doing, in a general manner, for decades now. Even so, the Center is practically donating the class to students. And still I'm grateful. I love poetry. It's what I've been doing since I was 11 years old. I look back and I wonder why I always zigged where maybe I should have zagged. Why not have stayed on after my Master's Degree, and taught English Comp 101 like the hundreds of rest? Why not have done the university shuffle? Why not have written the one, long, insufferable paper, and received a Ph.D., or gone back for another year or two for an MFA? How much of a difference? Does that keep you from graying? Or do the rest of you all slap color on your skulls and call it a day? 

Yesterday, galley proofs came from a forthcoming anthology, an exquisite anthology, The Plume Anthology of Poetry 5, which will be released in February, 2017. The "Contributor's Biographies" section (starting at p. 337) is already twenty-five pages, and half of us haven't delivered our bios yet. I printed up that biography section and sat in silence in my study, turning the pages, reading the bios that were there, and drinking in every one of those names. All of those amazing, accomplished, well-known, lovingly-cherished poets. It's like a "Who's Who" of The Poets' Elite. I feel like the kid with the crazy-cut bangs who slipped in under the circus tent and got a front-row extravaganza of the three-ring. The editor and the publisher have put my poem on pages 108, 109, and 110. I call that nothing but fortune.

Me without even a haircutter to call my own.

September 6, 2016

In the Stacks at the University of Arizona Poetry Center

Wendy Burk, Poetry Center Librarian at The University of Arizona Poetry Center, sent me this photo of my first poetry collection proudly amongst the tribe at the exquisite and premier Poetry Center at the University of Arizona. 
I realize my book is in hundreds of libraries all over the world, but this one is pretty heart-special to me. 
Looking forward to seeing another collection in the stacks.
Thank you for the photo, Wendy!

August 21, 2016

A surprise mini-review!

How very cool to find a mini-review on my first full-length collection, The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor, over at the famous blog, Galatea Resurrects (#26) A Poetry Engagement. Many, many, thanks to Eileen Tabios, poet, author, memoirist, blogger, and all-around wonderful person. She'd written it on July 11, 2016, and I've just now been made aware of it. Below is the mini-review in its entirety~

The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor by Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow
At first, I considered each poem to be a novel--maximalist, as the genre allows, with meticulously-researched details. Reading through Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow's The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor, I felt like I was concurrently reading through Wikipedia as I read the poems. All of this is a compliment--each poem wrought a world that may have been miniature but was complete and believable. Like a doll's house perfect in its replications, down to the tiniest toothpaste tube next to a tiny toothbrush atop a tiny sink in a tiny bathroom. Except that the poems' details are not mundane (even when they are), often schooling you in the marvelous which, after all, is a common job of poems.  For example, from "TO THE CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE,"

The Chief Medical Examiner...found in the nest of their expired wombs 
a tiny translucent baby or two together,  
always the surprise of the finding, as you surprise 
to crack open one perfect speckled farm egg, only to behold 
two viscous yolk orbs wobbling in the skillet. 
The dumbfounded medley of surplus in death

It's that last line in the above excerpt that manifest how Edlow elevates the list of details into poetry: "dumbfounded," this "surplus in death." It results because, these poems are silver, not gold--by which I refer to the last three lines in another poem, "MOB DAD,"

...And lousy men 
with limousine-length egos. And gold, and gold only, 
because silver you have to rub and rub to keep pretty.
One with a "limousine-length ego" settling for "gold only" implies a lack of industriousness that makes one work. Edlow, on the other hand, works the details in her poems like silver, rubbing and rubbing to come up with pretty. These poems are silver-pretty, way more satisfying than inherited (without labor) gold.


July 31, 2016


Rare image of flock of camera-shy, noble, high-quality, highly-private, reserved, featherless Edlows, including the wildlife-inspired poet 

Poet with Emperor

July 17, 2016

I'd say "Jump to It" but I'm in mid-air already

Super Indian No. 2, 1971,  Fritz Scholder
Summer, mid-July. What? What happened to May, a month I tend to grieve because my father died during it, on a Friday, on a 13th of May, so many years ago now that I rarely dream of him even. May. I think I'll always want you to pass quickly. You broke my young woman's heart.
What happened to June? I remember some wonderful readings I was lucky to have been asked to give. Where was I? Summer, look! August is what my mother would call "a stone's throw" away. Lately my mother's "borrowed" phrases are returning to me like monarch butterflies.
I've always worked best with checklists. Checklists are my friend.
1.  Read, review and write a blurb for the chapbook by a simply amazing poet who recently won this past year's PSA award for the book. The first three poems have already robbed my heart. If I'm not mistaken, the chap will be published later this fall 2016 by a marvelous independent press.
2.  Thank goodness my poetry course outlines and class descriptions are finished--and delivered--for my new teaching position with the Phoenix Center for the Arts. I'll be teaching poetry classes come Spring 2017. If you are in the Phoenix metro area and would like to sign up for one of the poetry classes I'm offering, please contact the Center to register!
3.  I am the judge for the Poetry Contest for the Arizona Authors' Association this year, and the quite LARGE packet arrived last week. This will be a kinetic and interesting process. All due by the end of August.
4.  Sweet August. When I lovingly weave together my second full-length poetry collection, and hope to have it move mountains and stand the test of time. Yes, that's all I ask.
5.  Goodbye stove. Goodbye vacuum cleaner. Goodbye ironing board. Hello semi-fast, semi-healthy food.  Hello hardly shaving my legs but twice a week. Hello music coming from my house at full blast here at the end of the cul-de-sac. Hello, rain? Sorry, I don't even have the time to know if you happen at this point. Hello, my trinity...M, A, T. If not for you, I would feel adrift. Hello over-considerate, over-thoughtful, over-wonderful "But the Gentleman to my Right." Don't tell him I call him an angel. He doesn't even know what blogs are. Alright, he knows, but he doesn't care, he doesn't care what blogs are. That's how he rolls.

I have a date with this beautiful gal and more than a handful of horns for a few last poems, and nothing, but nothing, is going to stop me now~
Billie, who doesn't care what blogs are either