Luxe event, Red Hen Press 15 year anniversary event

November 2, 2009

Spectacular event at the Luxe with a very crowded room. Many old friends. More than 150. Far too many to name here. Helen Saltman, Carolyn See, Lisa See, Naseem Rakha, Mark Doty, Chris Abani, Douglas Kearny, Alicia Ostriker, Eloise Klein Healy, Nancy Boutin, more friends and lovers of poetry than I can name here. Peggy Shumaker, Joe Usibelli, Robert Wyman and Lisa Krueger, Gina Knox and Petra Eiko. Bart Edelman long time Red Hen poet was there sitting with my mother-in-law and our friend Richard Nino. We had champagne and salmon, listened to poetry and music, the day flowed around us like wine, I loved the sound of clinking glasses, the sense of excitement and celebration and love. Red Hen press books out in stacks. People I haven’t seen for ages like Ricardo Means Ybarra, Jean-Marie Gabay, J-son and Aimee Liu all friends who for some reason unfairly don’t age at all but look far more beautiful than the last time I saw them. J-son even with touches of grey managed to look like Buddha as a child. The women were goddesses. Rex Wilder and his wife Angela who always is beautiful. Everywhere I turned there were happy people, and that’s what celebrating fifteen years of publishing should be. Joy. I’m off today to meetings at Claremont Graduate University where I will hear Mark Doty and Alicia read again and I feel so fortunate. Books and poetry have been an open door for me. A way out and up and into the open air. Upside down in the sky, someone is breathing.


Los Angeles Review

 October 30, 2009

 Literary life isn’t what I thought it would be.  Somehow I thought it would be more parties and less alone time.  I forgot that what writers do is spend time by themselves writing.  Here is what I am doing.  It is very early in the morning and on the table is my iguana who is eating Romaine for breakfast.  I have a crippled cat, Corky who keeps reaching one paw up to touch the iguana but doesn’t make it.  Corky’s back legs don’t work.  I remember my ex-husband coming by the house to pick up the kids, saw that cat as a kitten crawling around and told them they should get rid of it.  My son said, “Hey, you’re ugly and we haven’t gotten rid of you yet.” Typical American teenager.  Since my son looks very much like his father, he should be careful with those remarks.  My ex just laughed.  He has a sense of humor about himself.  Which one needs with teenagers.  When they say, “Dad, aren’t you putting on some pounds?” he just says, “You bet, I had to eat a lot to put on these pounds.” 

 Back to literary life.  Two great things are happening with the press.  One has happened.  One is happening.  The one in process is that we are moving to Pasadena… More on that as it unfolds.  But back to the present.  The Los Angeles Review was in jeopardy.  When I had founded it, it was with the idea that we would have outside editors, that it would not just be me choosing who would be published in it.  The first couple years it was okay, but we would often have one editor who would turn in their work late (for very good personal reasons) thus making it hard on the rest of the group.  It was an unwieldy situation at best to have five to ten outside editors.  We tried one year of using staff, but when that group of staff turned over and we ended up with only myself and one other staff person who could edit, Steph and I stared at each other across the table and wondered if we were looking at the demise of my favorite literary magazine.  Enter Dr. Nancy Boutin.  Nancy is a powerhouse.  She came up with the idea of the editing being done by the Whidbey MFA program students and graduates and they went to write work, editing online ( a green process!) and building a website and marketing presence for the magazine, twittering and blogging, facebooking and googling.  A force of nature indeed.  Nancy came to our house and we sat around with laptops drinking sake and sweated out the details.  It was hard work.  Mark sliced up fish for us and gave us chopsticks.  The Whidbey writers found fantastic work and the review is better than ever with its cover of Union Station, so iconic of Los Angeles’ dreams of travel and transience.  Nancy is a woman who makes things happen, another hen who does not wait for the bread, but plants the wheat, raises it, grinds it, makes flour, makes bread.  Here’s to Dr. Nancy Boutin who saves lives as an oncologist, loves sushi and has taken on being Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Review and to the editors of the review.  Look them up, send them work.  They’re waiting.  Laurie Junkins, Kelly Davio, Stefanie Freele,  Ann Beman, Tanya Chernov.  Here’s to all of you.

Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 7:27 am  Comments (1)  
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Madeleine’s, Bart Edelman, Nancy Boutin, Cuban Zeal Offspring

June 21, 2009

 We went to Madeleine’s with our friend and Board member Dr. Nancy Boutin and our friend and poet and the Editor of Eclipse, Bart Edelman.  Nancy is going to be at the Whidbey MFA program this summer when Mark and I are guest speakers there and we will all get to hang out; Whidbey’s a beautiful island just off Seattle.    

Bart brought some amazing wine.  The Windmill, of course, the TKC.  I had an eggplant tart and the duck. The duck was killer, each yummy salty bite, I’m hungry right now thinking about it.  And they brought desserts for us to try one of which was this chocolate cake that was a little party in your mouth.  Nancy, Bart, Mark and I had so much fun, the conversation zoomed around from editing journals, to stories about the kids growing up, to Oregon, to writers we all know, to New Jersey, Bart and Nancy had a fondness there, we had our own room, and Bart had arranged the whole thing for us to have our own little place.  This restaurant is so gorgeous, I just want to live there.  The ceilings are high, and the paintings were just amazing, Day of the Dead and something that I dubbed in my head because I’m no art critic so I’m always making up terms, “Cuban Zeal Offspring.”  It was one of those nights you’ll always remember.  Nancy gave Mark and I each a graduation gift for getting Steve to the point of graduation, which was pretty cute.  Mark got a Tommy Bahama shirt.  How did she know that’s what he likes?  And I got  Jones New York dress, the only designer I like, and, I tried it on when we got home, and it fit me and it was exactly my taste, and I never can find clothes I like myself…I can’t wrap my head around how she could scope this dress out for me.  Mark says that because she’s a doctor she’s probably smart in other ways.  That’s gotta be nice.  It looked so slim and cool in the bag, I was afraid I wouldn’t fit my self into it, it’s dark blue and I look romantic in it, I must admit, I was stunned at how pimp I looked in this dress at 1 this morning, but now it’s 6:30 am and if I don’t get out there and start running, I might not be looking so pimp any more.  So here’s to Bart, to Nancy, to graduations, to running and to friendship.  And to Father’s Day.  Happy Father’s Day, all you fathers out there.

Published in: on June 21, 2009 at 6:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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BEA and Nancy Boutin

May 29, 2009



The great thing about NY is the people.  I walk most of the way to the BEA passing an older couple with their adopted Chinese girl who is just adorable.  I see lots of Jamaican women or other Islanders with expensively dressed white babies who they are strolling about.  In Los Angeles, these would be Latinas with the babies.  Dog walkers, homeless people, people selling hotdogs and gyros.  I like the energy.  Here at BEA, there’s a lot of action.  My man John Irving was here reading.  Lots of applause for him.  Also Cornel West was reading.  Crazy applause for him.  I called Jared just to show off that I was looking at Cornel.  Jared was suitably impressed.


I hope we sell some books here.  Or something.  Make some connections?  Have some fun?  Go to some cool parties…. It’s all good.   A lot of reviewers come by the booth:  Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly.  I’m thinking having a booth at BEA is a good thing.


BEA was busy and fun, then off to dinner with Naseem Rakha and our fabulous board member Nancy Boutin at Pepolinio.  Such great Italian food.  We never go out for great Italian food in Los Angeles except once a year when we can afford Angelina Osteria.  This was divine.  I had the fennel salad and the calamari, so yummy.  Nancy is crazy cool and we were also with Laurie one of the Los Angeles Review poetry editors and her husband Doug.  Good times.  Good wine.  Great crème brulee.   We toasted poetry and life.

Published in: on May 30, 2009 at 7:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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