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

December 1, 2014

That adage. How's it go again? Better late than....

Posting a link to a book review for my first collection, The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor, which came out in April, 2012. Currently working on my second full collection. When I will ever get the hang of self-promotion, I'm not 100% sure I'll ever know, but I do want to offer bountiful thanks to Fjords Review and its editor, John Gosslee, for including the book review on its website and in its print journal, and to Winnie Khaw for her superlative and considered reading of this collection.

Here's the opening paragraph:

From the opening poem the reader proceeds to unpack the morbidly entertaining contents of the “long, leathery, mottled man-luggage” (“Autopsy: Upon the Tamis Table”), a frightfully delicious description of a dead body about to autopsied by experts. Thankfully, Edlow’s actual work is lively and bright, evincing innovative humor and a keen imagination that blithely interrogates the essence of human behavior in reaction to everyday situations. Positive energy flows throughout the work on subjects ranging from a “naked attorney in the ladies’ room” to “ants.” The titles read like a whimsical shopping list for an imp on a holiday rampage, “When Academia Took Me to Lunch Then Fed Me the Bull,” “The Persimmon Can See You,” and many other entertaining headliners.

Click to read the entire review here.

November 12, 2014

Will the legendary CASA LIBRE ever recover?

If you're going to be in or around Tucson next Wednesday, the 19th of November, CASA LIBRE is the place to be. As Anita said to Maria in West Side Story, "Come on in. We won't bite you...'till we know you better":

Deborah Brandon 
Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow
 Melanie Madden
Edge 70: a Reading Series of Emerging and Younger Writers
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 7:30 p.m.
Casa Libre en la Solana – N. 4th Ave. between 8th-9th Streets TUCSON, ARIZONA ~ Suggested Donation: $5

Come to Edge: A Reading Series of Emerging and Younger Writers. Edge is a series of local and national writers community, visibility and voice for emerging and younger writers. Broadsheets of the authors' work will accompany each reading. Books and journals will be available for purchase and signing by the authors.
Refreshments will be available after the reading.

deborah brandon is a multidisciplinary queer artist with an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. deborah brandon’s work appears in[PANK], Bombay Gin, Mom Egg Review, Denver Quarterly, Moonshot, Hotel Amerika, Cadillac Cicatrix,Puerto del Sol and Evergreen Chronicles;andis forthcoming in the anthology Writing the Walls Down, to be published by TransGenre press. deborah brandon has collaborated with other artists including text-based work with writer Roxanne Carter and a CD of improvisational experimental music with Reuben Vinal.

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow’s debut poetry collection is The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor (Salmon Poetry, 2012). She is the 2012 Red Hen Press Poetry Award Winner, for her poem “Super Dan Comics Question Box Series # 18.” The poem appears in The Los Angeles Review, No.14, 2013. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared widely in numerous journals, including The American Poetry Review, ACM, Cimarron Review, Gulf CoastAmerican Literary Review, Barrow Street, Folio, Smartish Pace, The Tusculum Review and Galatea Resurrects. A recipient of the Willow Review Prize for Poetry, a Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, and an award from the Chester H. Jones Foundation, her poems have also been featured in the anthologies Not A Muse (Haven Books), Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon Poetry) and The Emily Dickinson Awards Anthology (Universities West Press). Photo Credit: David Troness

Melanie Madden grew up in Barstow, California, and currently lives in Tucson. She is an essayist and poet who also performs with FST! Female
StoryTellers, teaches English at the University of Arizona, and is an editorial assistant at Kore Press. Her work has appeared in The Essay Daily, Timber Journal, The Feminist Wire,and the Mojave River Review.

October 24, 2014

Never Taking It For Granted

Thank you Poets & Writers Magazine for posting the announcement of my winning the 2014 Tusculum Review Prize for Poetry, judged by Jericho Brown, in your Recent Winners section. The winning poem, "The Timekeeper," is about drummers, drumming and how genuinely unfathomable the act of drumming is.


October 12, 2014

You CAN find one lone, whole and perfect sand dollar, and bring it on home

Pacific Ocean, Northern Oregon Coast
12 Things I SUPREMELY LIKE about the Pacific Ocean:

1. It's so big, it says "Go feck yourselves" to all the continents.

2. It appears to enjoy moving.

3. It smells like messy plants.

4. There is no signage AT ALL posted in it, anywhere, like "Slow Down for Children," or "Carol's Massage," or "Vote for Glenden."
5. Oh my lord, we complain so much about nothing.

6. It, and 3 1/2 glorious hours made someone stop talking to me. Which was a very appreciated and friendly quiet.

7. It doesn't care one whit about MacArthur Grants.

8. It makes a non-stop noise that is irritating and comforting simultaneously.

9. If you see a slick, cute sea lion head bobbing 100 feet out in an ocean wave, that is a real sea lion. That is not a TV sea lion.

10. His dead buddy's carcass that washed up on the sand is not a TV carcass either. 
11. If you meet a surfer named Brian from Philadelphia, he'll talk to the both of you for twenty minutes, and be really nice about it, just standing there talking and measuring the waves with his eyes. While you poke your fingers into the wax on his surfboard, he won't chastise you and his eyes will stay almost Caribbean blue-colored.

12. You ask someone special what two things they like best about the Pacific Ocean, and they reply: "It's not a bully" and "You're consequential."

August 20, 2014

Making of a Classic Chapbook Cover

Immeasurable thanks to illustrator Mike Edholm, whose radiant artistry completed my aesthetic vision, and without whom my poetry chapbook, Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch, surely would have been left uncapped and wanting.

The identity of this individual must remain anonymous for the sake of himself and his loved ones. Let it be enough that he was quite kind to sit for the posture. [Yes, said in jest.]

Huzzah to Dancing Girl Press for handling all those gigantic images that went into publisher Kristy Bowen's DGP dropbox. This poet could not be more proud or more jubilant. So immensely fortunate.

August 13, 2014

Quick, Blatant Self-Promotion Post

I'm so thrilled to share that my poem series, "Super Dan Comics Question Box Series" has now been created into a beautiful chapbook, Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch. It will be joining the amazing catalog of chapbooks published by Dancing Girl Press. Hit here for a direct link to my chapbook's information and purchase page at the press's website. And a few photos taken by publisher Kristy Bowen, as the chapbook is coming off the presses:

The cover illustration and design is custom-made for me by Michael Edholm. Check out his website here. His work is phenomenal. Soon I'll be posting on this blog a complete pictorial process of how he drew the cover. It's pretty darn cool.

I am very excited about this. The Old School Superhero, he flies!

July 30, 2014


Lately it's been one thing or another, even if "the high summer gets me down." Thank you, Mr. Morrison, for the lyric. I'll be happy to see cooler weather, but I won't hold my breath until it arrives. Too much to be done, including, soon, my new chapbook will be out in the world. It is called OLD SCHOOL SUPERHERO LOVES A GOOD WRISTWATCH, forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. This is my first public thank-you to Kristy Bowen, publisher, and all-around literary magician extraordinaire. Here's a quote from her own blog post on July 25th:

"Today I was working on some layouts and it occurred to me how, of the manuscripts we publish, that A) they are so ridiculously awesome, and B) that their authors somehow send them to ME of all the amazing presses where they surely could find a home, many more fancified and high profile than dgp will ever be. But send they do, and I'm enormously pleased and grateful that it somehow happens, that books like these get written and that of all people, I get to bring them into the world.   This week's layouts are some of our more quirky & humorous books for some reason and they are pleasing me to no end, including books by Jeanine Deibel, Irene Mathieu, Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow, Kassy Lee, and AM Ringwalt.  And this is not even counting the new submissions that I am making my way though, of the accepted books that are still coming down the pipeline in the fall and winter. It's amazing to think that 10 years ago, we were just starting and how much has come about since then."

And here's a photo of one of her assistants hard at work ~ looks like we've caught him or her in the middle of some book reviewing:

Stay tuned!

June 6, 2014

And, Yes.

Standing up on one's own. 

I know.

May 24, 2014

Ted Kooser, and Me in Heaven

Be still, my heart. Yes, Ted Kooser, two-time United States poet laureate, of the blue overalls, and brown suede elbow patches on his beige jacket, is holding my poetry collection in his perfect hands, and smiling at me with those mystical blue eyes of his. No, it could not get any better than this. One of the greatest moments of my poetic life. Yes siree, Bob!
AND!, he waited for me, until I was finished with the NPR interview. AND, instead of giving me 15 minutes or so, we sat together and chatted a few hours plus some! AND, I kept saying "Mr. Kooser," and then he said, "Please, I want you to call me 'Ted'." **Swoon** AND, he showed me the green ear plugs in his left front pocket, which he said were dirty. I agreed; then I told him the way to clean them was with a lingerie bag in the washing machine. Rather a blunder. Men like this, hearing the term "lingerie," hesitate to participate in any sort of anything, much less "cleaning," no matter if it involves work ear plugs. However, he'll still get his bag, and if he tries it, he'll see how well the plugs actually do get cleaned. Oh joy. We talked about soldering water heaters, and his home in country land, and what kind of work he performed in the insurance biz, and how much he loves to teach, and he confided a secret about what he'd do if he had to give an interview, which proved to be awfully telling about him. Which I hold close and cannot disclose. But I can tell you he's a giant of a poet, a gentleman in the truest sense, a man of honor and of his word. They do not make men like this very much anymore. I know a blessing when it's bestowed upon me.

Cynthia with Ted Kooser

Signing a specially-made copy of "Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch" for Ted Kooser
Ted jotting down notes about our conversation with his handsome and utilitarian fountain pen

In Heaven, with a man for all seasons, Ted Kooser 

My First NPR/PBS Interview!

So I skedaddled right after the art and poetry event in downtown Phoenix back home to pack and prep for my trip to Lincoln, NE. Okay, I'll only use this word once, but believe me, between every word you see written in this post and the other Nebraska posts to come, just insert this hypnotic term ~magic~, for that is what it felt like. My host, Mike Edholm (master cartoonist and illustrator), was the best host in all the land. Here's Mike, who you will be hearing more about in the near future, as he created the magnificent cover for my forthcoming chapbook from Dancing Girl Press, OLD SCHOOL SUPERHERO LOVES A GOOD WRISTWATCH.
Mike Edholm, Master Cartoonist, at The Oven Restaurant
Yes, he's wearing a Mickey Mouse-on-a-surfboard shirt. 

HomeThe next day, we trekked over to The Mill in coolsville, red-bricked, welcoming, downtown Lincoln, where the Nebraska NPR/PBS FRIDAY LIVE show is taped. I interviewed with Genevieve Randall, host of FRIDAY LIVE. During the interview I read one of the poems which will be in OLD SCHOOL SUPERHERO..., and which recently won the Red Hen Poetry Prize, "Super Dan Comics Question Box Series #18." Oftentimes, people say I have a lovely speaking voice. I tell you, to me, my voice sounded like gravel and cat litter were in my mouth, compared to Genevieve's absolutely angelic tone. You can hear the entire interview and poem reading here. My reading starts at 52min, 40sec. I hope you like it! I felt sincerely fortunate for the opportunity to be on-the-air with NPR. 

with Genevieve Randall
This downtown Lincoln intersection stole a portion of my heart, and I promise I'll skip back there in a heartbeat, when so called:
The Oven Restaurant, The Mill and Crescent Moon across the street

Thank you,Tusculum Review, for your Poetry Prize ~ and ~ Poetry, Say Hello to the Visual Arts

So April, Nat'l Poetry Month, has come and gone. May is almost over. Hello, sweet blog. Yes, I have been somewhat busy. Grand news to report on the prizewinning scale: I won the 2014 Tusculum Review Poetry Prize for my poem, "The Timekeeper." Much gratitude goes out to editor Wayne Thomas, poetry editor Clay Matthews, and final judge of the competition, Jericho Brown. The prizewinning poem, along with the prizewinning fiction by John Blair, appears in TTR 2014/vol. 10. 
The Tusculum Review, vol. 10
In May, Sandra and Larry Ortega, owners of Obliq Art Gallery, created a really special art/poetry event I was lucky enough to be part of. 15 poets from the West and Hawaii were paired up with 16 visual artists, all coming together under the banner, "Ekphrasis: Sacred Stories of the Southwest." 

Each poet created a new poem responding to an artist's piece. I had chosen Seamus Berkeley's portrait, "Prayer." My poem is titled, "Patience, with Blue Shawl and Unrevealed Loom." Here's a photo of his exquisite portrait, with me in dramatic half-shadow beside. To the right of the portrait is my poem. What a joyful, special event that was to participate in. I'll surely be happy to participate again next year. The portrait and poem will hang in the gallery together through much of the summer:
Seamus Berkeley's "Prayer"
After this, I packed my bags and got on the big jet plane to Lincoln, NE. It was time for me to give my very first NPR/PBS interview and poetry reading. In addition, I would meet a man of royalty to me, a man for all seasons, Ted Kooser.

March 10, 2014


New line waiting on a poem to be written above, around, and below it:

"It's pretty hard to see a movie that doesn't have even one gun in it."

February 26, 2014

Superabundant Spring Reading!

Spring is almost here, which is good news. Also good news: I have new poetry just out in fine literary journals and an superillustrious anthology! Here's a tip o' the hat and thank you to each one:
Brand new anthology from Minor Arcana Press, DRAWN TO MARVEL: POEMS FROM THE COMIC BOOKS.

 I'm delighted to have poetry in this anthology. Check out this literally superawesome contributors' list!

New poetry just out from CUTTHROAT: A JOURNAL OF THE ARTS. Such a marvelous journal, stewarded by the exemplary poets/editors Pamela Uschuk and William Pitt Root. Copies/subscriptions can be ordered from their website.

Delighted to have a happy moniker as the Editor's Choice in the new issue of FJORDS REVIEW. Orders accepted at their web page. Many thanks to editor John Gosslee for choosing my poetry for this honor.

Happiness is. 
Happiness for me? To have my poetry published in three remarkable---and eclectic---literary publications. 

February 9, 2014

Saints, Wine, Brides

Martha Schulzinger and I, as is our habit, went out for a two-hour lunch yesterday and didn't return home until 7pm. How that happens, I just don't have a clue. But there is a pictorial to show some of our more illustrious moments. 
Some years back I passed a store in downtown Chandler which stopped me in my tracks. Things I saw in the window defied description. Finally, yesterday, I went there with Martha. I'm sure we spent almost two hours there looking at every single thing. Impossible not to. The place is called The Religion Store. Inside there were perfumes called "I Overpower My Man," "Job Wanted," "Holy Trinity," "Six Drops of Desire" and on and on. Those were just the oils and spritzers. Here are a few photos of the merely indescribable:

Oh, if you're wondering, I was pretty much enamored with these figures. One found its way home with me. The proprietress said she was called a "Warrior Angel." I knew we were meant to be together. Below her is a "pond" reflecting her face and the face of the wolf she's holding. It sits atop my writing desk now.
Wearing Native American dress, barefoot, sporting mature, powerful wings, stroking a wolf, with another wolf patiently waiting beside the pond -- I was entranced. She spoke to me. 

Lunch at Postino. An amazing bruschetta selection. Wine. Three hours of conversation that remain in the vault. Lovely place to go for lunch. The place was packed, yet still so inviting and amenable:

Our traditional after-meal photo:
And on the way home to pick oranges from one of the trees in my backyard for Martha to bring to her home to share with her husband, David, we passed near the railroad tracks. Martha saw them first. She pointed, "Look! Two brides!" Two gorgeous brides had evidently married each other. How often do you see two brides in full wedding gowns on railroad tracks being photographed with a dreamy background? I know. I jumped out of the car, ran uphill to the tracks and asked the brides and the photographer if I could take a photo of everyone. Gorgeous last sunset rays in the background. Beautiful couple. Photographer with a great eye.
Best Wishes, Ladies!
I hop back in the car, and Martha's astonished I just did that:
Martha Schulzinger
Pretty sure it's the warrior angel in me. And yes, I did get a perfume. No, I'll never wear the perfume itself, but the title of it is so darn cool I have to use it in a poem some time. I guarantee you will know it when you see it in a line of poetry. Great day with a wonderful friend.