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

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

April 12, 2016

April 21, 2016

Nothing like a little horn-blasting promotion, right?
The date is almost here, folks! I'm looking forward to reading for you~

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

5:00-6:30 p.m.
All-Ages Poetry Writing Workshop
RSVP to ehutchison@azhumanities.org

7:00-7:45 p.m.
Poetry Reading and Q&A

1242 N. Central Ave - Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 257-0335

Free event! Enjoy light refreshments!
Join poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow for a poetry workshop and reading in downtown Phoenix. Selected participants will engage in a writing workshop with Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow held at the historic office of Arizona Humanities.

To participate in the workshop, send a sample of writing up to 35 lines by April 11th (deadline extended!) to ehutchison@azhumanities.org.
Afterwards, Edlow will read from both of her poetry book collections, The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor, and Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch. Interspersed with the reading of various poems, hear how Edlow crafts, revises, and finalizes her poems. Learn how a poem comes into being, takes shape, and occupies its own world.

About Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow's poetry collection is 
The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor (Salmon Poetry, 2012). Her chapbook is Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). She won the 2012 Red Hen Press Poetry Award (judge: Cynthia Hogue) - the poem, "Super Dan Comics Question Box Series #18," was published in The Los Angeles Review. She won the 2014 Tusculum Review Poetry Prize (judge: Jericho Brown) for the poem, "The Timekeeper," published in Tusculum Review. She is also the recipient of the Willow Review Prize for Poetry, the Beullah Rose Poetry Prize and two Pushcart Prize nominations. Her poetry has appeared widely, including American Literary ReviewAmerican Poetry ReviewBarrow StreetCimarron ReviewCutthroat: A Journal of the ArtsFjords ReviewFolioFourteen Hills,Georgetown ReviewGulf CoastThe Main Street Rag, Smartish Pace and Tahoma Literary Review. Poems have also been featured in the anthologies Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology,Drawn to Marvel, The Emily Dickinson Awards Anthology and Not A Muse.New poetry is forthcoming in: Dublin Poetry ReviewFulcrumIodine Poetry Review and Plume.  Her next full-length verse collection, Horn Section All Day Every Day, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2017.

March 27, 2016

Features for National Poetry Month

In celebration of National Poetry Month, I'll be reading on April 21st for the Arizona Humanities Council at the historic Ellis-Shackelford House in Phoenix. I'll also be conducting a poetry workshop prior, for a pre-registered group. Below is an article from the Superstition Review giving a concise statement about the upcoming celebrations~

#ArtLitPhx: National Poetry Month Workshops

AZ Poetry Month Square Graphic (1)Arizona Humanities Announces Programs to Celebrate the
20th Anniversary of National Poetry Month this April
Programs to feature local and national poets across Arizona for free workshops and readings
Arizona Humanities is excited to announce a series of programs celebrating National Poetry Month during the month of April. Free programs and workshops will take place across Arizona in Gilbert, the San Carlos Apache Reservation, downtown Phoenix, and Flagstaff.
Established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world. The month aims to encourage the reading of poetry, inspire people to write poetry, and more. Programs in Arizona will feature local Arizona poets Josh Rathkamp, Laura Tohe, Orlando White, Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow, and one national guest poet, J Mase III.
Ellie Hutchison, Programs Manager with Arizona Humanities remarked, “National Poetry Month brings people together to increase awareness and bring appreciation to the importance of poetry in our lives. We are so excited to unite talented local and national poets to the community through interactive activities throughout the month and to engage diverse audiences in our communities.”
Read about the program details and poet bios at http://www.azhumanities.org/national-poetry-month/. Tune in on twitter @AZhumanities for daily writing prompts and tips from poets throughout the month. For more information, visit www.azhumanities.org or call 602-257-0335. Follow #AZpoetry for updates and news.
For questions about poetry month programs contact Programs Manager Ellie Hutchison,ehutchison@azhumanities.org.

February 1, 2016

Fasten Your Seatbelts

In the past two weeks I've booked five poetry readings during March through May in the Phoenix area at venues so different from one another there is no way my audiences will overlap. I'm really thrilled to be reading my poetry in front of audiences once again. It is a pleasure and honor. Details to come as we get closer to the dates. I've yet to get those events listed on this blog, but the plan is to get them up very soon.

I'm also taking a small workshop class with Kimiko Hahn at Univeristy of Arizona next week in Tucson and that should be interesting. I've never even seen her read, so this will be a delightful experience. Additionally, as of this writing, 2016 brings new poetry forthcoming in two stellar anthologies (more news on those to come), due in late spring, and new poems coming out in PLUME and Fulcrum, two journals whose excellence speaks for themselves. I am beyond honored to have my work appear in these phenomenal literary journals. Again, a spring/late spring release is expected from both journals.

New poems being written, and my second full-length collection is almost finished. I have what I can only describe as a stupendous, kickass, amazing, extraordinarily talented, I-can-not-believe-I-got-this artist who has consented, and quite happily, to create the cover for Horn Section All Day Every Day. I am so fortunate they ought to make a new word for what I'm feeling. 

My third full-length collection? Some poems are already written, and under consideration. This book is forcing itself out of me. It's been waiting to be written for some time and now it demands it. Going to be wild. Beyond the horizon! There are big shifts a comin'. As Bette Davis said, "Fasten your seat belts....!!"{Exclamation added!!}

January 10, 2016

Hi Mom

By the time I am geriatric I'm pretty sure I'll have this down pat~agonizingly learning the value and purpose of the phrase "zipping one's lip" until...

...all one's "chickens have come home to roost."
Chicken photobomb, sweet!

January 1, 2016

Year-end Muchness

Live and coming to you from Flagstaff, AZ, from November 2015. Here's my video performance of selected poems from my first collection, The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor, and from my chapbook, Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch. This video is part of the award-winning Narrow Chimney Reading Series, co-stewarded by Jesse Sensibar and James Jay, and held at James' Uptown Pubhouse. The series runs in collaboration with the MFA program at Northern Arizona University, handily conducted in part by the kind, gifted and skillful duo, Erin Stalcup and Justin Robert Lightfoot Bigos. My thanks, also, goes to Margo Folsom McClellan for her videoing prowess. Uptown Pubhouse is a marvelous venue, full of good cheer and the friendliest literary folks. A poet couldn't ask for a more enthusiastic and supportive audience to read to and share one's work with.
The reading series runs through NAU's school year and delivers the goods every Monday evening of each month. If you're in the area, don't miss one of these Monday readings. You'll truly enjoy it.

and in print:
Click here for the full, spotlight literary year-end article by Seth Muller of the Arizona Daily Sun sharing the special events, conferences, and established series that happened in Flagstaff during the 2015 calendar year. Below is the accolade directed to Narrow Chimney's fine series. I was lucky enough to have been especially highlighted for my reading this past year. I'm grateful for that.


Narrow Chimney Reading Series

Flagstaff has played host a number of great literary series, from Barley Rhymes to Poet’s Den and the longstanding Flagstaff Poetry Slam. Among these is Narrow Chimney Reading Series, which had a breakout year this year on multiple levels.
The series — hosted by Uptown Pubhouse on Monday nights during the semester — earned the 2015 Viola Award for Excellence in Storytelling. It also brought in a number of great visiting poets and authors such as Kyle McCoy and Nick Courtright, as well as some literary voices on the rise like Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow.
Locally well-known authors such as Ann Cummins and Jill Divine also joined the mix, and established writers have been—most nights—paired with an MFA in Creative Writing student from Northern Arizona University.