NaPoWriMo Day 2

This skeleton of tiny needles

This object in an electrical field

Persons or the general plastic

The process of photographing digital objects

A film of extravascular

Originating in igneous an appendage

Shaped by worry stones

Rebellion marked with liner

Any of several shrub species point to their horns

Lend plasma to the earliest silicate

The conversion of gratuitous benefit

Another term includes relatives

Seem them water the girl watching sparks

NaPoWriMo – Day 1


Crossing Bay Bridge in a Storm, or Morning Commute Geometry


Engineering serendipity

Rain rain rain

To grow taller and taller buildings

Animals in the phyla kingdom

The marsh of drag and drop

The perpetual habit daze

Shelter shelter shelter

What comes out from

Drowning hazard lights

Film of wet hush

Rocking my small icy boat

A tornado of white urges us


The Next Big Thing (Poetry)


Thanks to both Kristy Bowen and erica lewis for tagging me way back in February.  While I was initially turned off by the hideous reality that “The Next Big Thing” is also a Samsung Galaxy ad, it’s fun to circumvent that Internet traffic with poetry and fuck yous to the capitalist skies. Here’s to memes that permit poetry flagellation:


What is the working title of your book?



Where did the idea come from for the book?

The concept for huminsect originated with the construction of my MFA thesis while at Mills. That longer work was titled from granite to the oyster and sought to examine morphological and sociological relationships between myriad genera including humans, insects, plants, and sea creatures as well as the interstellar. I can also see it as an early pre-librarian attempt at taxonomic classification.

With oyster, I was also thinking about the idea of being in a constant state of becoming, an omnipresent state of transformation. (By the way, a lot of it was written right before I became pregnant.) So, it’s about discovery and growth and stagnation and working through some bad shit (i.e. it’s a work in progress).

With huminsect, my aim is to explore the relationships between humans, insects, and their interstices as well as the human/knowledge continuum. My process involves using found language derived from a source text I’ve compiled of words new to me discovered through reading. I think of that source text as an autobiographical dictionary. On some level, if we conceive of the body as a gathering place where knowledge becomes assimilated and experiences are felt, it becomes an intersection of all it touches and is touched by. I’m also curious about the indelible marks these experiences make on our skulls.

What genre does your book fall under?


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Anemones. Birds. Bumblebees wearing bow ties, please.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

An attempt to examine the morphology of the body as a space for gathering.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six months, thanks to Stephen Ratcliffe’s poem-a-day workshops.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Bugs. Brooklyn. Problem humans. Systemic relationships and failures.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s sexy.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

huminsect is forthcoming from dancing girl press in April 2013.

AWP 2013 – Poetry and Librarianship: Collection Challenges talk

The following post is the transcript for a panel presentation I gave at the Association for Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference a few weeks ago at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The panel was titled  Poetry & Librarianship: Collection Challenges, and featured myself and other poet-librarians discussing the challenges of collecting, archiving, and digitizing literary texts and recordings, including barriers to collecting small press materials and  proposing solutions that will allow libraries to continue to collect literary objects regardless of medium. It was moderated by Jessica Smith and also featured Elise Ficarra, Judah Rubin, and Dan Coffey.

Crowdsourcing Content to Promote Community and Collection Development in Libraries

With the Poetry Center at SF State, I’ve begun to build an open-access digital repository for poetry chapbooks that I’ll be sharing with all of you shortly. The repository is essentially a chapbook exchange: a place for poets to share their current works. Users are invited to share their chapbooks via upload and as such gain access to the chapbook repository. The model is “take a chapbook, leave a chapbook.” Our mission is to provide a space for poets to correspond, convene, and collaborate. The chapbook exchange is a contributor-driven peer-to-peer environment that allows users to exchange chapbooks as a variation on the pay-to-play theme in that in this case, poetry is the currency that allows users to access the site. Yes, you heard that right. Poetry as currency.

As most of us know, the reality is that libraries are underfunded and underappreciated within our capitalist economy.  As collection developers and librarians, the lack of funding remains a primary concern when considering how we can select, promote and advocate for collections while keeping costs down as well as how we can engage our time-strapped, hard-working communities and increase circulation. I would like to discuss ways libraries can augment and reinvigorate extant print and electronic poetry collections to maintain relevancy and reflect the liveliness and vigor of poetry communities. This proposal will discuss crowdsourcing poetry chapbooks from communities as a viable means of expanding existing poetry collections.

Using Crowdsourcing to Develop Poetry Collections

Circulation of poetry collections in public libraries has long been a source of conflict for librarians. The battle between “give ‘em quality” and “give ‘em what they want” continues to rage on the poetry shelf where the books often sit undisturbed in the 811s. Our role as librarians is to navigate that murky line to ensure community access to timely and culturally diverse resources. While poetry collections may not be in as high demand as genre fiction or children’s literature, poetry is an asset to the overall collection due to its quality of influence as well as its appeal to local writing communities. Librarians scaling back on poetry purchases cite a lack of patron interest that seems contrary to the evidence.

As poet/librarians, we witness a dissension between the kinetic, masterful poems we hear at readings or in the street and the often archaic and drab library collections displayed for public consumption. So, what’s missing? Pith. Urgency. The moment. All of which can be found in chapbooks.

Deploying Chapbooks as Community-Bonding Tools

Chapbooks have a long history of communicating impelling messages to communities. “From the 16th to early 19th centuries, chapbooks were mass-produced, cheaply made booklets sold hand-to-hand by traveling salesmen, or chapmen in Western Europe and North America.” (Craig, 2011) Today’s chapbooks are regarded as essential to the evolution of ongoing dialogues around poetics and poetry. “…[They’re] part of ongoing poetic conversations, as well as a practice of exchange that is ever present in the maintenance of community” (Craig, 2011). They are often handmade and sold cheaply or given as gifts.  The message within outweighs financial compensation for the author; often, what fuels their tenacity is a desire to contribute to a powerful lineage of poets as well as a commitment to correspondence and collaboration with peers.

“Giving a chapbook to another poet…serve[s] a similar networking function to the exchange of business cards…In this ongoing conversation, the offering of work is time-sensitive – less because of the content of any particular group of poems, and more because continued participation and membership can be marked by ongoing exchange.” (Craig, 2011)

To augment existing print collections as well as build a virtual poetry collection sustained by global and local poetry communities, the Poetry Center seeks to engage writers by making available virtual hubs for collaboration and exchange of e-chapbooks. The Poetry Center will maintain an instrumental role by providing and moderating key access points to this portal to engage local writers. The open-access format will be conducive to quick and efficient chapbook sharing, and will serve as a forum for writers and other patrons to communicate and share ideas. Writers will also benefit by gaining access to greater communities of fellow writers as well as improved networking opportunities. As such, the chapbook exchange will do much to foster community building as well as promote collections.

These e-book collections will be freely available to the public through our open-access digital repository that we built using Omeka: a product of the Ray Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

Currently, the site is a prototype of what we hope will be a lively and vital cooperative space for poets to practice the continuum of reading and writing in the creative process. Contributing creative works in this forum also allows users the opportunity to generate creative responses to extant works in the collections. As such, this chapbook exchange might be a model for teachers wishing to employ emerging technologies in the classroom to highlight opportunities for both active and collaborative learning.

As a cooperatively curated site, it is also a self-sustainable method of disseminating the current arcs of various poetic movements and potentially may prove meritorious in engaging users all over the world.

Cooperative Archiving & Preservation

The cooperative archiving model also has the potential for preservation, and employs the LOCKSS system, which is also known as (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), a popular preservation technique to ensure persistent access. Some of you currently employ this process when you store multiple copies of a Word doc or jpg for example in your email, Dropbox, hard drive, thumb drive, work computer, desk drawer, etc. While this is a common preservation method, it is not necessarily the most secure since LOCKSS lends itself to the possibility of copies being whittled down one by one for various reasons (unreadable formats, human error, etc)

Nevertheless, we chose Omeka as our trial platform because of the Roy Rosenzweig and Center for History and New Media’s impeccable reputation with preserving and archiving creative works.

For those of you interested in creating your own digital repository or chapbook exchange, an alternative to Omeka is DSpace: a product of DuraSpace originally created by MIT Libraries and Hewlett Packard. While a discussion outlining the logistics of both DSpace and Omeka are beyond the scope of this presentation, I will show a few slides in a minute showing the specs of both. I would also be happy to answer more questions about their capabilities during our Q&A or afterwards.


Our communities are rife with content creators, and the urge to share our creative efforts has galvanized social media as a primary source of information and communication.

As Tyckoson (2003) a leading thinker and futurist writes:  “The nature of publishing is going to change and libraries are going to play a greater part in the process.” Libraries can provide both the tools and the expertise to help users get projects off the ground.  Outreach to local museums, archives, community colleges, and K-12 schools may also be a way to develop existing collections reflective of the local community. By incorporating works by local poets and writers, public libraries can involve users directly by showcasing selected works to ensure patron’s continual value in the future of library service.

We also have a mailing list if you’d like to receive an email invitation to join our chapbook exchange. Thank you!


American Library Association. (1996). Library Bill of Rights. Accessed May 10, 2012 from

Andrade, Mary. 2012. Crowdsource your next program design. T+D, 66(3), 52-56.

Antonucci, Ron. 2004. A rhyme a day. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Collins, K., Furman, R, & Riddoch, R. 2004. Poetry, writing and community practice. Human Service Education, 24(1), 19-32.

Craig, Ailsa. 2011. When a book is not a book: objects as players in identity and community formation.  Journal of Material Culture, 16 (1), 47-63.

Dymoke, S. & Hughes, J. 2009. Using a poetry repository: how can the medium support pre-service teachers of English in their professional learning about writing poetry and teaching poetry writing in a digital age? English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 8 (3), 91-106

Fallows, D; Horrigan, J; & Lenhart, A.  (2005). Content Creation Online. Washington DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, February 29. Accessed May 11, 2012:

Holley, Rose. 2010. Crowdsourcing: How and why should libraries do it? D-Lib Magazine, 16(3) 5-23.

Hughes-Hassell, S., & Miller, E. T. (2003). Public library websites for young adults: Meeting the needs of today’s teens online. Library and Information Science, 25, 143–156.

Jones, P. (2002) New Directions for Library Service to Young Adults. Chicago: American Library Association.

Lenhart, A., & Madden, M. (2005). Teen content creators and consumers. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, November 2. Accessed April 27, 2011:

SinhaRoy, S. 2011. Libraries tap into the crowdsource. American Libraries, 42(11/12), 22-23.

Smith, Aaron. (2010). Mobile Access 2010. Washington DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, July 7. Accessed May 11, 2012:

Tyckoson, David. 2003. On the desirableness of personal relations between librarians and readers: the past and future of reference service. Reference Services Review, 31 (1), 12-16

Final Reflection

This course has been a pivotal learning experience for me as I transition beyond SLIS to the tricky business of finding a library job. I can’t believe this is the last discussion post I will ever write! So, in many ways this final post feels like it should weigh more, hold more, and somehow encapsulate the myriad learning adventures I’ve enjoyed during this journey-towards-a-librarian-life (insert image of winged librarian crusader exploring the interstellar galaxies).

Naturally, it will hold only what it will, and for now, that is the boundless, vast field of possibility. This field is a matrix of intersecting polygonal wires connecting every thing to thing. Learning, all the while as Professor Stephens says “everywhere”, as we meet each opportunity for learning with an open heart and resourceful mind to catch what we will and share with our communities of practice.

While I spent the former half of this program disillusioned by the “loss” of traditional libraries and book culture, and vehemently set out to advocate for the vitality of traditional resources, I no longer feel so DOOMED. While I remain committed to books and their robust capabilities, what I’ve discovered is that it is more important to evaluate each potential resource tool in terms of its usefulness for stakeholder and patron needs. This awareness has buoyed me, opened me up to the many, many available resource tools to share with learners, and through all of it: the imperative of play.

This class has catalyzed new ways, new methods, and new tools for me to fight the library fight, and has truly worn that groove of library love ever so ardently on my person. I feel more committed than ever to a life in libraries and the ever-evolving organism in all its shapes. The pursuit of discovery, of new experiences and a lifetime devoted to learning will always be the focus of libraries; though, the vessel will change as we have also learned in this class.

Concepts like transformative learning, Booth’s USER method, and Jenkins’ connected learning have been rockets for me*, and I am truly grateful for the chance to glean new possibilities for libraries on this learning enterprise.


Booth, C. (2011) Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning. Chapter 1, 2, 3.

Jenkins, H. (2012). Connected Learning: “Reimagining the Experience of Education in the Information Age” at

Mezirow, J. (1997), Transformative Learning: Theory to Practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2012) Learning Everywhere at

*stickin with the interstellar theme here ;)