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

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

April 14, 2017

Green Sam Hits Egg Wall, Says Headline

  So I finally hit zee social media wall. I do not like green eggs and ham, Sam I am, I do not like green Sams too. I like it when grown women call themselves women instead of girls. I like it when people don't have to show pictures of their children every 3 days. I like it when people are so confident in knowing they're alive they don't have to write something to the world to say "here I am, here I am, here I am." Or that they're pissed or happy. Or that they like shrimp but hate beef. Or they've now got the cancer your own loved one had almost a decade ago, and now this other person actually "gets-to-the-bone" how scary it is. You know. Life could stop! You could lose your life! And then pictures of their dinner. The food they're about to eat. What the hell is that? Does anyone really know what that means? Because I find that creepy as all get-out. One day remind me to tell ya about them Merchandise Mart service elevators.

  I like a crazy bison who remembers me after, oh I don't know, what, 2 years maybe, and saunters over to me, stands there indifferent, blasé, and patient, and then without warning throws me that BOOM-Eyes thing where her face morphs 2 whole feet wider like "I can break up this steel fence in an AZ second." She does not use social media but I've said that before. No wonder the wiser of my acquaintances simply peruse from a distance or just choose to live the real thing outright. It's nat'l po month and I haven't a reading to give anywhere, which frankly feels mahvelous. That suggests malaise but you know, I figured out this Poetry will speak well enough for itself and the people will find the whole lot. I don't push the river. Done with that. That river has no need to be pushed. Horn Section All Day Every Day comes out in February, 2018. The cover art was drawn for the book by a master. A master drawing guy, I say a real master. A New Yorker Master Illustrator any book editor would get on their knees to thank for such an immaculate cover. Who fell to their knees in genuine gratitude? Me. Anyone else? My shadow. The three poets who have graced my book with their statements about it, which will go on the back cover? Poetry masters, and my favorite part is that they are each completely different in their poetic stylings from one another. Different generations; different sexes. Different sensibilities. One with a gigantic sense of humor; one I've never heard actually laugh. All three genius in their own right; much varied approaches to poetry. Who understands these three individuals invested their time, their brains, their hearts and their heads  to write words in response to my own? Me. Biggest ever surprise to me was the poetry I thought they were all going to fall head-over-heels for was not the poetry each single one of them mentioned in their blurbs. Matter of fact, each of them made a concerted point to accentuate a particular series of poems that I swear evolved by accident.  I've been told whether I like it or not people of all stripes respond to these poems. It's like I had not choice in the matter. They forced themselves out and no choice, for good or ill.
   I now have one full semester of teaching poetry for small money under my belt. The very reason I  went to university and received my Master's Degree, and everyone in the world expected me to start teaching Comp 101 as soon as I got my diploma (especially my mother), but of course, I knew then there was no way I was going to make a living in academia. For the very same reasons I experienced these past 4 months: spending 3 to 4 hours of prep time per 1 hour of every teaching time, combined with further research for new material to edify myself--all my best creative energies would have had no choice but to go into the classroom. I wrote exactly zero poems in three months. Honestly, I don't know how writing teachers do it. Law gave me hot-damn material, and I could still reserve my best energy for the page. Not bad for 22 years.

   Speaking of 22 years, it's against the laws of man and the universe to hold it against a woman for getting older, so drive your trash to the outskirts of town and bury yourself in it. I'm getting tired of you American assholes who can't see what European men have seen since the dawning of time: that women at all ages, women aging, and aged, are beautiful, in the decade they exist, and deserve to be loved maddeningly for and during that time all the time. This here is bullshit--thinking 19-year-olds' are the end of beauty. 

  Speaking of grants and residencies and fellowships and all that chazerai: hurdy-gurdy, ever since I was a freshman undergraduate and heard wisps of chitchat about these topics in English classes and  workshops, I swear to you on my dead dog's head, I always thought it meant the people applying for them were poor, unable to stand on their own, and they needed monetary assistance. I'd no idea it was a "picked-what-looks-best-on-the-billboard" thing until about a decade ago. Which is uggs late to start playing the fellowship game. I thought it was for the poor and downtrodden who couldn't get a leg up otherwise. Nobody is going to give a middle-aged white woman with all the textbook sexuality of a boring heterosexual female, with a penchant for passion, hell yeah, I'll admit, with a really nice house, and enormously, thank you G-d, magnificent health, a happy Jew, whose mother was Christian or Catholic or Christian, because, a) she worked on the "if it feels right, run with it" program, like a m-f'ing B.o.s.s., plus, b) the Jewish blood is so blasted strong--and then throw in a noble man for a tie-up spouse, not just a run-of-the-mill "good guy" but truly, uh, ladies (and some of you gents), this is your Disney Prince right here, except he looks nothing like the picture,WHICH IS WHY YOU KEEP OVERLOOKING HIM. Except you must stir in "stubborn, moving into pertinacious" (which is a total pain in the posterior) and "intermittent  insufferability" into the mix. And this one bursts a lot of people's bubbles, but: you have to get your own jewelry--- the diamonds, the gold, the plat. At least it's beaut the way you love it. Cold day in hell before I receive a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Here in AZ they don't even hand out grants or monies unless you work full-time in the program school/university factotum schedule, or ahem, ya know....

  But you read an Edlow poem and you'll know all the jewels were set solid in there, which only means I was paying attention to our Miss Brooks, and The Coasters, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Olympics, Otis, Laura Nyro, JB, Vanlose my Stairway.  

  Communication is marginal from my publisher, but still I reel with much happy. The vedy, vedy, vedy, famous poet sent his beautiful blurb about my poetry for Horn and man o man, it's smooth and hot like ice cream on fire.  Cue the Fine Young Cannibals. I always dug that lead singer something lowdown moan-bad. 

  Heh, right on, right on, a cashmere sweater, dag thing nobody but robobots reads these posts~
  got to " Move To Work"  


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