3 Questions for Laura Kasischke


1. What is you personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

The line, for me, is all about sound–emphasizing internal or end rhymes, inducing rhythm. I’m not interested in the way a poem looks on the page except in how that acts as a score for the reading of the poem.

2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

This isn’t something I’d thought about, consciously, until your question. Perhaps I do, but in the same way that I speak of line breaks (question above). Certain rhythms and rhymes feel physical, sensual and sensory. And of course imagery speaks to the body and its experiences and needs. In the poetry I love to read I experience the music physically in the same way I do listening to instrumental music, and the imagery, the heightened diction, the ornamentation or lack of it, all feels physical.

3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

There are times of terrible frustration–trying to write, having an idea for the writing, and being unable to reproduce the poem I feel I have in my head. It’s worth it, however, in order to be able to tell myself (honestly or not, doesn’t matter) that my life’s experiences will one day be worth something in some poem I might write. Whether good or bad, those experiences, having told myself since I was a child that I was a poet (honestly or not, doesn’t matter) has made everything more heightened, bearable, beautiful.

Bio: Laura Kasischke has published eight collections of poetry–most recently SPACE, IN CHAINS (Copper Canyon). She has also published seven novels. She lives in Chelsea, Michigan, with her husband and son, and teaches at the University of Michigan.


It would take forever to get there
but I would know it anywhere:

My white horse grazing
in my blossomy field.
Its soft nostrils. The petals
falling from the trees

into the stream.

And the festival would always be
just about to begin
in the dusky village in the distance.

The doe, frozen at the edge of the grove:

She leaps. She vanishes. My face—
She takes it with her. And my name—
(Although the plaintive lark in the grass

continues to say and to say it.)

Yes. This is the place.

Where my shining treasure has been waiting.
Where my shadow washes itself
in my fountain.
A few graves
hidden among the roses. Some
moss on those.
And an ancient
bell in a steeple
down the road, making

no sound at all
as the monk pulls and pulls on the rope.

“Death Says See You Later”–Flash Fiction by Bond

S.L. Bond

Death comes to you and he asks you for a cigarette. He says “Can I bum
a cigarette?” and you give him one, you let him hold it in his long
thin fingers. He says “Got a light?” and you’ve got one, and as if in
a dream you move through air as thick as water. You strike the coarse
little wheel with your finger and make a flame appear there. Death
leans in and inhales. Cigarette lit. He leans back. You put your
lighter in your pocket.

Death takes a drag. You watch the white smoke pass through the holes
in his rotten throat. It leaks a little, smoke dribbling out of his
neck and some even out of his eye sockets as he exhales through his

His nose. Just two holes in his flat face, the rest of it gone. He has
lips left, but barely, just ragged black pieces, and no eyelids,
eyeballs bugging out of sockets, held in place by taut gray tendons.
Death is completely hairless, his head as smooth and round as a baby’s
except for the patches of white skull peaking through.

He can see that you are staring. “Pretty grim, I know,” he jokes.
“Smoking kills, kid.” He winks at you. You flinch.

“No need to be so nervous. It’s not your time yet.”

Whose time is it? He doesn’t say. He just sits next to you on the park
bench, smoking the cigarette you gave him, making small talk.

“Listen,” he says. “You seem pretty hip. What do you think of my
outfit? I’m trying to update my image.”

You look him over. He is dressed like he might be any of your friends:
blue jeans and a dark purple t-shirt, black sneakers, a thick metal
gauge in his one remaining ear.

“Where’s your scythe?” you ask him, the first thing you’ve said.

Taking a drag he shakes his head, explaining as he breathes out: “No
resonance. It’s meant to scare people. Obviously. But you all aren’t
afraid of that stuff anymore. The hood, the costume. Too much drama.
Too gimmicky. You kids are media savvy — what’s a shroud or a cloud of
smoke to you? You see that shit everyday. No. I won’t bore you. If
there’s one thing I refuse to be it’s predictable.”

He bends to put the cigarette out on the ground, tosses it into the
ashtray. A perfect shot. He looks at you.

“No gimmicks for you. No costume. No devil. No evil.” He slings his
backpack over one shoulder, standing up to go.

“No need for it. This,” he says, gesturing with one hand at his normal
clothes, his black backpack just like the one you had in high school.
“This is the scariest costume I could wear for you. Don’t you think?”

You can’t speak but he hears your answer.

Death says: “See you later.”

Hungarian Glass Artist

My name is Zoltán Viczán. I was born in Hungary in 1979. I had learnt glass cutting for 3 years at a secondary school in Budapest. I got my trade riport in a Competition of Best Glass polisher in 1996. Then I got my leaving certificate in 1998. I worked is several workshop and glass studio so I have learnt many techniques of glass cutting and engraving.

I moved to Japan in 2005 for two years. I worked for World Glassware Hall in Ishikawa prefecture. My job was produce and develop glassware, demonstrate the techniques of the European glass cutting and engraving for public information and company advertisement. These two years were very nice, however, the technical possibilities in Japan are very different from the Hungarian. I decided to come back to Hungary and continue the work in my studio.

In my work – which was exhibited in several occasion – cutting and engraving complete each other. The knowledge of glass engraving and cutting have been developed over generations. I try learn from the works of old masters and keep this knowledge alive and if possible I try to improve this knowledge and skill.

Currently I work in Hungary in my own studio near Budapest.


Hand engraved fresh water crayfish on green glass bowl. The green layer is in the inside of the bowl. The crayfish is green just like the glass, because the colored layer is inside, but the engraving is on the outside of the bowl. The green color not perforated by the engraving.
This piece made in Japan.

Poetry Contest by Kenneth P. Gurney

Poetry Contest

There were seven hundred and twenty-six entries
typed in thirty-two slightly different serif fonts 
and seventeen slightly different sans-serif fonts
on nine different weights of paper 
with eleven different brightness factors
and forty-three submissions
were immediately discarded
for not following the guidelines
leaving six hundred and eighty-three eligible poems
but being a devout christian and poet myself
I was faced with the practical dilemma 
of judge not lest yea be judged
and I could not make up my mind
as to which poem to choose as the best
or second or third, so I decided to pray
for a sign from God as to which poems
should be the chosen poems
and I first looked for the mention of Jesus
or any of the disciples
or any of the saints
or quotes from the gospels
but there were none 
as this is a landscape poetry contest 
none of which mentioned Golgotha
or any location in the holy lands
or sites deemed holy according to the vatican
and so I set the poems out in the yard
so each was uncovered to the sun
and to the sky and I got down on my knees 
and prayed in earnest for a sign:
a flight of morning doves
marked three poems with bird droppings—
which in Italy is seen as a sign of good luck—
and I awarded the poem with the largest splat
best and so on down to third.

Kenneth P. Gurney

Red Velvet Cupcake

For quite while, I have been in search of a red velvet cupcake. My daughter ate one in the Dallas airport, and I regret I didn’t take a bite. In New Orleans, a cupcake place ran out by the end of the day and I was reduced to one with blue frosting.
Now I’ve found one close to home. Dulce is a new coffee shop in Santa Fe. It is, to give Santa Fe style directions, where Pete’s Pets was when it was off Cordova, near the Sav-on that used to be Osco’s…or how about just across Don Diego from Body?
Large cheerful paintings of cakes and pastries adorn the walls. It looks like a good place to write, with wireless and just enough bustle to feel part of the world.
The cupcake was excellent!
Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cupcakes from Food Network
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
• 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
• 2 large eggs, room temperature
• 2 tablespoons red food coloring
• 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
• 1 pound cream cheese, softened
• 2 sticks butter, softened
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
• Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Garnish with chopped pecans, fresh raspberry or strawberry, or sprinkles.


To further honor the cupcake, here is a painting by Wayne Thiebaud, Four Cupcakes 1971 Oil on paper mounted on canvas. He is the master of the cake, which is to him as the Mona Lisa is to Leonardo.

When Times Races–a pantoum by H. Marie Aragón

When Time Races

Robot-guided surgery at Mayo’s in October – an athlete’s destiny
Such demands on your body require down time
The fully loaded Cobra Jet Mustang must be built
Ready for the SEMA show in Las Vegas by November

Such demands on your body require down time
My silver haired racer, we’re not so young any more
Ready for the SEMA show in Las Vegas by November
I can’t compete with enhanced features, a legacy of power

My silver haired racer, we’re not so young any more
Unleashed muscle and performance – racecar triumph
I can’t compete with enhanced features, a legacy of power
“When this rat race is over, we’ll get back to us,” echoes in my mind

Unleashed muscle and performance – racecar triumph!
Holidays in Santa Fe – so little time together
“When this rat race is over, we’ll get back to us,” echoes in my mind
Together at Ten Thousands Waves, we relax after a massage

Holidays in Santa Fe – so little time together
January blizzards extend across the country – you’re stranded in
Alone at Ten Thousands Waves, we relax after a massage
A long distance relationship with a racecar lover requires stamina

January blizzards extend across the country – you’re stranded in
Robot guided surgery at Mayo’s in October – an athlete’s destiny
A long distance relationship with a racecar lover requires stamina
The fully loaded Cobra Jet Mustang must be built

H. Marie Aragón

Pantoum on the color red by Susan Nalder

A Pantoum by Susan Nalder, Feb 14, 2011

Oriental poppies suggested in dreams
Firetrucks run red yellow and green
Robin’s breast pumps, a bird’s desire
Stop signs bring cars to an octagon halt
Firetrucks run red yellow and green
Rouge on the cheeks of the geisha
Stop signs bring cars to an octagon halt
Rubies and pomegranates query Neruda
Rouge on the cheeks of the geisha
Cupids and devils go crimson for fêtes
Rubies and pomegranates query Neruda
Exuberant Hindus color their purity
Cupids and devils go crimson for fêtes
Tiger lilies in red perfume the air
Exuberant Hindus color their purity
Blood in the bank is redder than dead
Tiger lilies in red perfume the air
Red Rivers run canyons and sad song refrains
Blood in the bank is redder than dead
Red Hots burn sweetly cinnamon
Red Rivers run canyons and sad song refrains
Cinnabar’s secret hides in mercury
Red Hots burn sweetly cinnamon
Bricks of the schoolhouse take mortar
Cinnabar’s secret hides in mercury
Tomatoes excite the innocent’s senses
Bricks of the schoolhouse take mortar
Radishes do push-ups in summer moonlight
Tomatoes excite the innocent’s senses
Flamenco gets palmas and zapateados
Radishes do push-ups in summer moonlight
Roses go rarely by any other name
Flamenco gets palmas and zapateados
Robin’s breast pumps out in desire
Roses go rarely by any other name
Oriental poppies suggested in dreams

Natlaie Goldberg on the “core motor” of Literature

recently had dinner with miriam. the bull’s ring where no one else would ever come with me. we shared a steak and it was good. always when i leave her and really when i’m with her too there is this feeling there is something we are not getting to or something i forgot to tell her that is so important. what can be more important than two old friends spending around five hours together. (we met in 1984) after dinner we walked around the plaza which was empty and debated whether i should have an ice cream cone at hagen daz, the energy center of santa fe, in my opinion. at the last moment i said i’ll pass, come to the post office with me.(i’m eating droste chocolate now as i write this) the moon was hazy and i told her it was a good moon for a haiku and she made up one on the spot which i can’t remember. but what i do remember was the two important things we did seem to talk about besides love, still her favorite subject: i said all these years when we look at the people we know no one has really changed much, even if they fulfilled their dreams, had children, married, divorced, published books, traveled all over. and the second thing was and i can’t remember it. forgive me. maybe it will come to me later. we were sitting on her brown couch in her living room and the late afternoon sun was slanting in and i asked her to lower the shade. what we said meant a lot to me but now all i remember is the mint tea, her new painting on the yellow wall in the kitchen, the oreo cookies in a jar, the tanazakii book she finally returned, the red and black coat she put on as we left her house. next to her house is an empty lot that her neighbor owns. i want to buy that lot and make a little park out of it. miriam seems indifferent to it. i say to myself, don’t you have enough to do. you don’t need to make a park on the other side of town from where you live. but always if something is not pretty, i want to make it beautiful. can you imagine how i suffer?

i remembered during late night zazen what the second thing was that was so important to me with my evening with miriam: she was trying to get across what last week was like. she was at the blackboard explaining a french form of poetry i’d never heard of before and suddenly an announcement “it’s an emergency. it’s freezing out and the gas has gone out in parts of the state and we are conserving energy. all schools closed right now. leave the building.”

then i turned to her. they should have let you continue with your lesson. what form is that?i never heard of it. and she explained it to me. and i said, “miriam, isn’t literature the most important thing in a society? ” and i was dead serious. “i mean, i didn’t choose something peripheral. what is more important.” how could we live without shakespeare, hemingway, mccullers, moby dick(which i still haven’t read but it’s presence is important). ok, water, food, clothes, heat, have their place. but i drive around sometimes thinking, while i listen to the news, they have it all wrong. they are too far away from poetry and that is their problem. i am not a fool. i did not choose something stupid and unessential. like the heartbeat, breath, like the core motor that runs us, look deep, you will find words there and sentences, details. what we do is central to the functioning of the world. don’t you agree?
And from Miriam: here are the haiku I wrote

how many haiku
must I write…
waiting for you

you say “hazy moon–
look! quick, write a poem…”
it’s gone

On Aging by Terry Wilson

I have 17 different kinds of eye cream—OK, maybe only 13, but more are arriving by mail, any day now. Hydroxatone is supposed to take away the dark circles but after about 4 months of spreading it under my eyes and also on my eyelids that don’t even have circles, I can’t see much difference. I already canceled Dermitage which was being sent to me every month, and none of these potions are cheap! I ordered Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty because Cindy looks so good and supposedly it’s made from some melon found only in the French countryside, but it did nothing. And when I called to send it back, the representative said that it was too late; the trial period had ended, and now I’m stuck with a lot of Meaningful Beauty.
I have Suzanne Sommers’ Thigh Master to keep my chubby thighs in line, and I have 14 quarts of hair gel, but I’m powerless over my hair and my life has become unmanageable. Aging is basically hopeless, though later tonight I’ll be ordering some Nopalina for the inflammation in my knee. It’s made from the Nopal cactus which survives in the arid Arizona desert—3 ounces a day and your soreness is supposed to disappear. I hope it doesn’t taste bad.
Sometimes I ask my husband how I look before we go out.  I’m not always dressed up, but sometimes I am and I say,
“Mark, do I look OK?”
“You look great,” he says, his head in the closet getting his coat. He’s halfway out to the car and I yell after him.
“But you didn’t even glance at me! How do you know how I look?”
“You always look great,” he says, fiddling in his glove compartment. Then his eyes meet mine. “You look fine!”
“Fine?” I say. “What does that mean? Don’t butchers say a cut of ham is fine?”
I see my mother aging and now she has dementia, I hate to say. Still, her skin is as soft as tissue paper, the skin of her face especially, but even on her arms and hands. Once during her 90th birthday party a few yrs. ago, she demonstrated once more how she loves to be the star. I had given her these warm and soft white furry gloves and scarf for those cold Buffalo winters. As we all sat on the couch and opened gifts for her, she put each glove on slowly and then the scarf around her neck. It was November so she was probably cold, and as my sisters and brothers read her these sentimental cards, “I love you Mom; you’re the best Mother anyone could ever have. You’re so kind and loving…” she yelled, “Are you done yet?” And all the while, her hands were in the air, in front of her face as she watched them moving in the white gloves, making wave motions for all to see like she was touching the wind, her hands flying free like Marcel Marceau, expressing her joy at still having hands, still being alive.