Solid Quarter

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Visit New Orleans Poetry Fest for the annual 4 day poetry festival directed by Bill Lavender and Megan Burns.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New House Guest and Painting with Food

This is the rock lobster feast of Monday night to welcome our new house guest Hannah who arrived Friday night around midnight with her friend Willy by car from Brooklyn, NY. She'll be staying with us a few weeks as our live-in help forced to partake in our New Orleans delicacies and traditions as well the manual labor of electronically transcribing Bernadette Mayer's Ethics of Sleep manuscript. The rock lobster feast consists of rock lobster claws, (which are not nearly as juicy and plumb as regular lobster claws, very crab like in fact) along with scallops, roasted cauliflower with a Bearnaise sauce, roasted beets on a bed of grape leaves. Chef Brinks really showing his best for the help.

Poet Hannah Zeavin will be featured in the 17 Poets! Reading Series August 7th along with musical guest Willy Gantrim. She has a book forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press entitled Circa. I have been reading the manuscript today, and it is very impressive. She will be going to Yale in the fall, but mostly by force when I kick her out of the house as she has decided to sell her soul to stay permanently in New Orleans. This is her on our porch talking to poet Akilah Oliver and trying to enlist her in setting down roots in New Orleans.

I continue to research the leprosarium at Carville, LA as well as the history of the village. Word is that the Exquisite Corpse is being resurrected to print in an Anthology to be released by City Lights in Spring of '09. Sections from the poem Carville, LA: Village of Forgotten Names may be found there if they garner official approval by the head poppa Codrescu.
Solid Quarters are being printed and prepared for their big release party and reading on August 14th. And school is starting up again and there is no clear reason why the kindergarten class needs tropical colored markers as I'm sure 5 and 6 year olds for many hundreds of years have illustrated just fine with the basic primary colors.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Solid Quarters Are Rolling Out

Solid Quarter Issue 2
Edited by Megan Burns
Published by Trembling Pillow Press
Only $4.00 (2.oo s&h)

Release Date: August 2008

Front and Back Cover Art by Thaddeus Conti

5 poems by Gia Opris (Denver, CO)

5 Poems by David Rowe (New Orleans, LA)

Art by Thaddeus Conti (New Orleans, LA)

2 Poems by Robin Gunkel (Baltimore, MD)

Selections from The Geometry of Sound by Dave Brinks (New Orleans, LA)

Issue Three Submissions:
Solid Quarter features four writers in every issue with a preference for long poems or serial poems. If you would like to submit to Solid Quarter, please send 5-6 poems/pages and a short bio. to or by mail to:

Megan Burns, editor
907 St. Peter St.
New Orleans, LA 70116

Call for Submissions

This just in... preview of the beautiful new cover of The Pulchritudinous Review and a word from the editor. Prepare to buy these hot off the press before they sell out as well!

"Hello Everyone!

Now is the time to send in your poetry, prose, songs, cross-genre writing, photography, or other digital art to The Pulchritudinous Review. Send up to 2 pages of whatever you want. You may draw some inspiration from the image above, a version of which will appear on the cover of the second issue. Send your submissions to as attached Word documents and/or jpegs. Feel free to email me with any questions. I look forward to reading your work!


Renee Zepeda


PS. The next issue will go on sale as soon as it's finished. Send me an email at the address above with your address and I will send you a copy for $10. Unfortunately, the first issue is sold out, but if I get enough requests I may print more. "

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back from the beach

We had a lobster bake at the house last night.
The one on the left is Jasmine and the one on the right is McQueen.
The kids like to name lobsters but they don't eat them. Although Blaise did ask Dave if we could eat their faces, how barbaric!

Here they are in a parting shot next to a bed of whole wheat pasta and roasted portabellos.
It is a beautiful thing to behold.
In other news, Laura Mullen's book Murmur is the perfect beach book I discovered as the plot or lack of narrative plot circles around bodies that may or may not have been discovered at a beach that may or may not be part of the story or stories being read or digested or encased in langauge about beaches and bodies, etc. You get the picture...
And to accompany that one must also simultaneously read William Burroughs Letters in which he waxes like the gibbous moon about such topics as piles in the nether regions, his merry-go-round flights to sobriety and back and, of course, mind control and brains that call out for bullets.
And so, do we believe in the "tremendous power of sanity" as George Oppen writes in his Daybooks?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Off to Florida...

Here's some writing exercises with a New Orleans influence perfect for this hurricane season:

1) Go to FEMA’s webpage ( and explore disasters in your state. Or if not in the US explore the usefulness of their tips on how to avoid and prepare for disasters. Examine issues of safety in your writing.

2) Plan an escape route. What or who will you take, how will you get there, and what will you feel if you can never return home.

3) Research a specific species of plant native to your region or if not native, how it arrived there. Write about its history, present and future.

4) Construct a city with language. What is your infrastructure?

5) Explore how first responders work. Who will come for you if you are in need? What are your expectations of police, firemen, National Guard, etc.? How are they valued in society?

6) Explore geography in your region: where your home lies, when it was built, when the neighborhood was erected, what is the history of your physical place.

7) Wherever you live, write the story of your house, room by room, wall by wall, and ceiling and floor. Explore what is hidden and why versus what can be seen.

8) Make a new alphabet.

9) What are the property laws in your area? How is property allocated? How much is truly public space? Where are the homeless? What is kept safe and what areas are more valued?

10) Imagine the place most poignant to your childhood memories, a house, location or city. If they ceased to exist in physical space, what would you miss and what are your ideas about impermanence?

and a poem for naming wind:

2008 Hurricane Names


-Megan Burns

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Feasts

In keeping with our theme of feasts today, here is a recipe and photo shoot of our dinner tonight cooked by poet and culinary genius Dave Brinks.

For the pasta: sautee garlic, leeks, and pine nuts in olive oil along with red, orange and yellow bell peppers. Cook up some portabello mushrooms and asparagus tips in red vinegar and oil. Throw on some Mexican Orange slices.

You need wild caught snapping turtle soaked in Dave's secret marinade. Brown in a skillet in olive oil.

Combine in a roasting pan and cook at 350 for 40 minutes. Toss over whole wheat pasta with tarragon.

I'm calling this little piece "Turtle Pasta Flower Feasteroon."

Unmoveable Feasts and Moving Feats

Susan Kirby-Smith has a new poetry, review, video and other assorted sundries site up called An Unmoveable Feast. There are some poems up from both Dave and I, totally unplanned as we both heard about this new venture on different grape vines and wanted to support Susan who came to our wonderful Bill Berkson workshops in February. There is a great story about Susan and Andrei Condrescu picking Bill up for dinner as well during that time.

In other feats, I purchased my first ever ipod. Seems it was defective, speaking German to me and then promptly freezing. So I now am on my second ipod, which is speaking English to me so at least we are communicating.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Moth Light

Stan Brakhage with music by Simon P Barber. Daniel Kane showed this at SWP this summer along with his lecture about poetry, film and the avant-garde, his upcoming book's subject. His class watched these great movies all week; I tried to sit in for some one morning and the computer wouldn't load. The film reel was created by Brakhage actually taping moth wings, leaves and debris to a long strip of tape and then taking that to be transfered into a film reel. I'm not too film savvy so when he first explained this I thought he literally ran a long thread of tape with moth wings taped inside through a projector, which sounded really cool. But he clarified this, and my way would not be a good idea since it would probably break the projector. I didn't think of this question till later but I'm wondering now what he was doing with all those moth wings. I mean, I hope no moths were injured in the making of this film. Daniel Kane said later to me at a party that Alice Notley came up to him after the lecture and said, "They weren't poets." In reference to the film makers, some of whom worked closely with poets; Brakhage filmed Creeley and McClure. It's interesting to me that she felt the need to establish that, and I can see how in his lecture it appeared he was conflating the two. I have to agree with Notley, the film isn't a poem. But I've always been fascinated how the visual and the word artists seem to feed off of one another, so there is a difference albeit a malleable one. This video really needs to be seen on a giant wall so that one can just fall into it and get lost.

Phil and Bernadette Poetry Party

The best pictures ever of the best poets ever are up at Nicole Peyrafitte's blog here:

I love that Bernadette is wearing her French Quarter T-shirt Shop Shirt with its unique expletive phraseology.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Found this picture on CA Conrad's Philly Sound site, and it cracks me up. Brett Evans and Frank Sherlock reading at the 17 Poets! Reading Series at the Gold Mine Saloon for Ready-To-Eat-Individual (Lavender Ink 2008) book release. They both look like it's Sept. 2005 in New Orleans, and they will take you for your crayfish pasta MRE. I love how the MRE next to the book makes it look as though it's a special book release MRE. Special MRE poet food in there. I think we ate that MRE shortly after this picture was taken. I remember Frank taking one MRE over to the side bar so he could inspect its contents in the light.

Special New Orleans MRE's contain little tiny tabasco sauce bottles. mmmmmm, tastes like home. The bags are actually filled with some interesting components. I ate the potato sticks which were still quite crunchy. In the directions for using the instant warming bags that thermal heat the tea and meat products, there is a picture of how to place the bags against a rock for maximum heating potential. And they even provide a little mint, because who needs bad breath on top of having to survive by eating MRE's.

This is the first of the five books from Dancing Girl Press' Summer Chapbook sale that I am going to read. Very exciting to get five awesome looking chaps in the mail. I picked this one for the title but now I think I'm leaning more towards the image on the cover that looks like some sort of mind melting apparatus that is waiting to suck brains out.

Here is a quote from Nicole Brossard's Intimate Journal that I read last night:

"It is in the white space that anybody who writes, trembles, dies and is reborn."

And I had the pleasure of going to a 5-year old princess dress up party today. My daughter promptly put on a snow white dress but kept her moccassins on and then ate about 4 chocolate chip cookies, 5 chocolate muffins, a slice of cake and a scoop of ice cream over a 2 hour period. The mother of the littles hostess is an artist and had so many beautiful paintings and sketches all over her walls. The dad was a musician who I found in the kitchen presiding over a huge pot of red beans and trays of chicken with crunchy french bread slices soaking in an olive oil sauce. He was then promptly stolen away by a much younger woman who occupied his time the rest of the party. That would be the seven week old baby of local singer Anais St. John, who looked amazingly beautiful for having a newborn. And her daughter was a little doll. I forget both of mine were that tiny once.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

17 Poets! Reading Series

July 10

Poet Joseph Makkos plus special guest alto saxophonist LENNY EMMANUEL

j.s. makkos in one sense can be defined as a composer of visual & audible design-poetics wherein his aesthetic is forward-moving-art. He resides in Cleveland, OH where he operates a nexus/alternative space called the Language Foundry, dedicated to intermedia & hybrid performance arts; and additionally, a book press which is centered around design & social poetics. (

mulitiplicity of scripts
by Joseph Makkos

Chaotic session strands state poet laureate

Things remain confused in Louisiana. Poetry forgotten about:

Cetainly this won't keep Bill Jefferson from running for his seat again: "U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, making his quest for a 10th term despite lingering public corruption allegations, garnered five Democratic challengers Wednesday, the first day of qualifying. "

His indictment in part rests on the $90,000 found in his freezer, which he claims to have a "honorable explanation" for as his lawywers point out: "Instead of proving that the frozen cash is evidence of illegal activity, the fact that "Mr. Jefferson took it (the money) home and secured it in his freezer" indicates that it most certainly was not a bribe, the attorneys say. What the money was for and why it was hidden in soy burger boxes is not addressed. "

What is clear is that Bill is getting his protein from soy. How about Bill give the 90,000 to the now defunct poet laureate, promise that he and his extended (also under indictment) family take up a new profession, possibly building homes in New Orleans east, just a thought, and we call it a day...

Notes from Alice Notley's Inventing the Story Class

Some notes from Alice Notley (Naropa 2008)
Inventing the Story Workshop

Long poem has to keep reproducing itself

Access the obscure sound inside you, creating a set up to continue

if you have a grid, you create a form and the words come out of you

where language comes up to meet the form

sound as magical incantation

internalized the translation rather than the form

what you try to do when you write a long poem is win

what set of cultural materials do you relate to

tell all my stories but tell them again

where you write out of--be straight, not literary

you can never make a form that isn't you

keep telling the story if you have the line

analyze the frame around sound

how people are used and how they have to die

what stories are under cover

what can you tell in great detail about your city

Interview in Art Voices

An interview I did with Peter Anderson is online now here. The print magazine came out June 1.
Peter Anderson runs Verna Press, and he is running printing presses out of an old New Orleans beauty shop. He occasionally does art and poetry shows there, and he calls the space The Beauty Shop. People in the neighborhood who remember the original seem to love this. He has recently purchased this gigantic printing press, which last I heard was driving him insane. There are a bag of hair clippings on the wall when you walk in that represent some of the people at the grand inaugural poetry event where Dave Brinks read. It is a beauty shop so there was hair cutting, and it is New Orleans so we keep things like that where we can see them.

Review of Memorial + Sight Lines by Gary Parrish

Gary Parrish of farfalla press was kind enough to post some words about Memorial + Sight Lines here:

Far more entertaining is his earlier post of the annual Bernadette Mayer and Phil Good Poetry reading. In reference to Dave's culinary skills, he says:

Dave Brinks acts as a master of ceremonies, he is perfect. Before the reading starts he shows me three manuscripts that he’s been working on in New Orleans’s and abroad. He tells me that they are writing themselves. He makes a pot of Jambalaya that feeds twenty people, has crawfish and alligator sausage in it. I think he had to bring his own spices from home, the food is gourmet. His poetry is gourmet and his face lights up everyone in the room.

Actually there was some turtle in there as well. Brenda Coultas apparently had a pet turtle once and so found this a bit unappetizing. I can agree as I once had a pet frog, and Dave is always trying to get me to eat frog legs. Apparently, he cooked that before the party for Bernadette and Phil as well as about two dozen soft shell crabs.

Another great story of him telling Pierre Joris, son Miles and his girlfriend Zoe that you have to cut the eyes off the crabs becuase it's an old Native American legend that if you eat the eyes of an animal you'll see its violent end. They seemed intrigued until Dave couldn't hold it in anymore and laughed, saying well, really no one wants to eat crab eyes. That's why we cut them off. He told me this in the car yesterday, but I've heard him use the same story on some other unsuspecting poets, can't recall who, so I didn't bite. (bad pun)

New Book

water is bending its knees
what kind of
worm went under
in every form
think on it
the irregular regularity of the rounded
out hollow
the segmented corpse
from Memorial + Sight Lines by Megan Burns
Lavender Ink
ISBN 1-935084-00-3
Paper- $10.00
Available online at or Amazon