Sunday, March 29, 2009

Secure? Keep your poems safe: part 3

April 1 is approaching, with its usual threats of internet bots and viruses -- this year some particularly grim ones. Please take a moment to make sure your computer is secure.

The three best computer moves I've ever made (and 2 of them are free):
1) Secunia vulnerability scanning. It's free, and it scans all the programs on my computer to make sure they're up to date and not leaving any barn doors open due to known security vulnerabilities. Adobe, Flash, Quicktime and such programs are real hotpoints for that sort of thing, and Secunia will catch them all, monitor as they get updated, tell you where to get the updates, and tell you why each vulnerability is a risk. If you don't already have Secunia, go here now and download it:

2) AVG Anti-Virus free. I walked away from the annual fees and the system-hogging of commercial virus scanners and started using AVG free. It is quick, effective, and has kept me safe. If you aren't convinced a free anti-virus program can be as good as -- even better than -- one of the paid-for heavy hitters, read this article:

3) And, finally, Mozy for computer backups. I started with the free version, and was so impressed I now use the paid version, which allows me to back up bigger stuff -- all of it! I back up photos and my music library now, not just document files. I pay a small annual fee and I control when the backups occur. I can restore a single file or a folder or everything with about 2 clicks. For a fleeting moment I considered a separate hard-drive backup instead, but all hardware fails, eventually, and I wanted something off-site, so if a tree falls on the computer and the backup hardware I can still get to the files and keep working. (Don't laugh about the tree -- the Cherry Pie Press computer has narrowly escaped two very large tree disasters over the last few years, one of elm and one of oak.) MozyHome Remote Backup,

Saturday, March 28, 2009

NEA study on Women Artists, 1990 to 2005

This NEA study follows employment trends of U.S. women who work full-time as artists. There are some surprises -- for instance, the pay gap between men and women artists increases with age. Maybe that's a good sign -- are younger women on more equal footing with male peers in the art world now?

Another surprise: women artists are as likely as other women professionals to be married, but less likely to have children.

There's much in this 17-page study to think about....

Artists in a year of recession

The National Endowment for the Arts has published a study about the effect of current economic conditions on artists. While the general percentage of unemployed writers and other artists is fairly similar to the over all trend, the study notes that historically artist employment lags other professions in recovering from economic downturns.

In the last quarter of 2008, artist unemployment hit a rate of 6.0%. That doesn't sound so bad, but it was an increase of 63% from one year earlier.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blog link: Poet with a day job

I'm adding a new blog to the links here: Poet With a Day Job. This is Melissa Fondakowski’s blog, and it's the nicely organized and updated lists of poetry contests and residencies that makes the site a stand-out. Also do check the "Published Work Awards" -- if you have published a book or chapbook, and there is an award you might qualify for (especially one worth $$$), do let your publisher know. We don't always think of such things, and appreciate the information.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blog Tours explained

A recent discussion on the WOM-PO listserv centered on 'blog tours'-- what they are, how they work, and who does them. Blog tours seem like the ultimate win-win proposition -- a chance for an author to promote her work, a chance for the readers to get a sense of the author and her approach to poetry, and an opportunity to link together the blogger and the interviewee in a thoughtful conversation.

Especially for small press publishers and for authors trying to promote their own work, this provides a very sensible approach.

Diane Lockward, who is currently participating in a tour (as the interviewer) via her blog, Blogalicious, provides a good explanation of how blog tours work, along with some real-life lessons on the finer points:

"The poet with a new book invites a handful of bloggers whose blogs she knows to participate in an ongoing series of interviews. Her publisher posts the links to and dates of each interview. The publisher also sends a complimentary review copy to each participant. Each participant is asked to compose 3-4 questions and send them to the poet prior to the date of her scheduled posting. Right now I'm reading the book and forming some possible questions. My date is April 8. On that date I will post the questions and the poet's responses on my blog. I'm about in the middle of the tour.

One problem that I'll mention so that others might figure out a way to work around it: A few of the bloggers become over-zealous and ask more than the 3-4 questions. Yesterday's blogger had seven questions, each with multiple parts. Another blogger scheduled to go after me has already called dibs on a particular poem and form. That was on my list of possible questions and now must be eliminated. So if I were running one of these I would ask the participants not to exceed the requested number of questions and would stipulate that calling dibs is not allowed.

I see this as a very viable way of promoting a book, one which might be combined with audios and videos. This seems a sensible way of reaching a wider readership and most likely readers you might not encounter elsewhere."

Heart's Migration by Linda Rodriguez

Linda Rodriguez of Kansas City has a new poetry book out -- Heart's Migration, from Tia Chucha Press. Advance praise on the poems comes from Virgil Suarez and Diane Glancy:

Heart's Migration by Linda Rodriguez is a generous, gorgeous book of
poetry. It's the kind of beautiful book that comes along every once in a
while, to keep the reader the company. It's courageous, unflinching in its
voice and tradition. . . . This is a gifted, capable poet who takes pride in
making a lasting human connection. I praise her voice and her
passion! - Virgil Suarez

These poems are indeed a migration through the interior of the
human heart. . .Heart's Migration is a reading that is worth the
journey. - Diane Glancy

The book launch is Friday, May 29 at The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania in Kansas City. For more information contact the author through her blog at

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nan Sweet featured in Walter Bargen's column

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured Nan Sweet in a recent column by Missouri poet laureate Walter Bargen. He picked Pipeliners' Picnic, one of her poems from her Cherry Pie Press chapbook, Rotogravure, to discuss in his regular column on Missouri poets.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Women Poets Mentoring Each Other

Here's essential reading, with a growing list of thought-provoking comments -- Annie Finch's piece on Women Poets & Mentorship in Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Arts in Transit 2009 awards

The St. Louis Arts in Transit contest results are in -- this year's winners include Niki Nymark, Catherine Rankovic, and Mary Ruth Donnelly. Their poems will be paraded around town on buses for a year, giving poetry to one of the broadest audiences St. Louis has to offer. Congratulations!
Read the poems here:

A review in RATTLE

Niki Nymark's chapbook, A Stranger Here Myself, has been reviewed at RATTLE. Read it here:

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Chapbooks going to Poets House Showcase

The 2008 chapbooks from Cherry Pie Press are making their way to the annual Poets House Showcase. Work by Mary Ruth Donnelly, Niki Nymark, and Erin M. Bertram will be exhibited in the Showcase and then become part of the permanent collection.

Read more about Poets House and the Showcase exhibit here: