Monday, January 28, 2008


I found these pearls of wisdom in my spam box today, and decided to "create" a found poem (with apologies to Murray Alexandre Gaines, whoever you are):


There are no large campuses

libraries, laboratories, spires,

cloisters and gargoyles, just

convenient teaching

locations in shopping

centres or office

blocks, along

with online


Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's JUST War!

On the blog It's JUST War! I have posted the names of soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The link will take you to a master index because the names were too many to post as one long file.

This list is up-to-date as of January 21, 2008. I plan to update once a month.

This is a list I wish I didn't need to post; it was a chilling project for me. I look forward to the day when I don't need to update this sad roll call.

I have also posted a February 26, 2003, speech by our president, rationalizing why we needed to invade Iraq.



Saturday, January 19, 2008

Friends, Publishing, and Writer! Writer!

Years ago, I founded (along with others) and edited a small literary magazine; suddenly, I had a lot of friends, that is, until I started rejecting some of their work--many friends drifted away, some of them in a huff.
Space was limited, and costs were high, so I had to pass on some very good work, some of it by friends. Of course, online mags don't have this problem, but in the print days, getting 1,000 copies printed cost over $3,000.00, so we weren't publishing fat volumes. And I wanted to select the best of the best. We published a few "names," writers who later became what I consider mid-list names, and unknowns.
We didn't go into the publishing business to fail, but fail we did: we lasted three issues. The cost was just too high, the workload onerous, the profit non-existent, and the hassle of of trying to explain to once-friends why we rejected their work and published another friend's or a stranger's work instead too wearing.
I made the commitment to publish what I thought was the best work, not to create a publishing platform for my friends. However, friends sometimes have other ideas.
But I can tell you this with 100% certainty: friends of the editor do have an advantage over strangers. Because a person is your friend, you are likely to take another look at his or her work or even pass it on to a second reader, even if you are fairly certain that you want to reject it.
Also, sometimes we may like a story or poem more than might be warranted because we know the history behind the work; after all, we may have sat through a writing workshop, where our friend revealed how, in real life, her hamster was cooked in the microwave by her psycho younger brother who later became a mass murderer. That kind of detailed background is going to affect the lens through which we view that friend's story or poem.
Publishing friends' work is okay if no money is involved (for example, submission fees); if I own a magazine and do not accept outside funding, then I should be able to publish anyone I want: friend, stranger, or even foe. When money is involved, publishing friends is a problem, if only of perception, which is why sites like have Foetry sprung up. But I'm not going to harp on that here. I just want to show the difference between selecting a friend's work in a magazine that one owns and edits and awarding a prize to friend in a fee-based contest.
I still think that selecting the top work serves a publication best, but I can also understand how an owner/editor might slip on the slippery slope and publish mediocre work by a friend. Had I done so those many years ago, I might still be in contact with some of those former friends. But then they weren't really friends, were they?
Which brings me to my third topic: I'm thinking of starting an online magazine called Writer! Writer! I own the domain (currently on a parking page). Possible focus: creative works about writing, creative and otherwise. I'm still in the thinking stage, however, and I have a lot of loose ends to tie up before embarking on another project.
I will say this: if I do embark on this venture, I will probably end up publishing the work of friends, especially at the beginning, but not at the exclusion of other fine work. So if you don't "know" me, you will be assured that I'll read your work with an open mind. In the end, I'll select work I like, no matter who you are.
And I will not be conducting any writing contests at all.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Grammatical Alert

I don't think Bugzita will object to my sharing a resource that may or not be useful for poets, but is reassuring to writers of other stripes and to readers (and aren't we the most important, rally?)

I have posted about a related site on my Grace Paley blog,

I Dreamed I Saw Grace P. Last Night.

Please visit and comment without apostrophe anxiety.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Post Foetry Baby!

An important announcement by team member Matt:

Jonas was born [January 2] in the midwife center in Pittsburgh, so we were in and out in less than 12 hours.

Christy is doing pretty well, but wishes she didn't have to go through any recovery at all (she was in denial the first few days and pushed herself a little too much).

The day after he was born, Jonas weighed 7 lbs. 4 ounces at the pediatrician and five days later was up to 7 lbs. 11 ounces. So he is eating well and gaining weight. His nights have been pretty good so far, too. Christy is breastfeeding, so it's been easy on me.

[Big brother] Leo continues to like his new brother and has shown no resentment or jealousy. We've had to tell him not to jump on the bed next to Jonas a number of times. That's about it. He's been appropriately gentle and very affectionate.

I'm back at work as of today (getting caught up). Haven't been able to do any writing for weeks . . . but hopefully that will change with going back to work (I never get a chance to write when I'm at home) Hope you are all well.



GUEST POET: Writer's Guidelines (Courtney Druz)

Writer's Guidelines

No pornographic or religious verse,
no nature writing; we prefer no rhyme,
no Hallmark stuff—but Sci-Fi’s even worse.

Cover letters: businesslike and terse.
Send three to five submissions at a time;
no pornographic or religious verse.

So, don’t tell that one about the nurse,
or mention God. Subvert the paradigm!
No Hallmark stuff, but Sci-Fi’s even worse.

Buy a subscription; really, you could do worse.
Emerging writers show up all the time.
No pornographic or religious verse—

sex is okay; be cautious with a curse.
Critical trend awareness is sublime.
No Hallmark stuff, but Sci-Fi’s even worse.

Contest winners receive a modest purse.
Just write from the heart and you’ll be sure to climb.
No pornographic or religious verse,
no Hallmark stuff; but Sci-Fi’s even worse.


A former architect and graphic designer, Courtney Druz now spends her time as a mother of two and poet in New Jersey.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Just hanging out...

The above is a stock photo plucked from my host's computer, but it's pretty. Skopje itself is shrouded in a smoky fog and not very appealing at the moment. I had forgotten how early it gets dark here.

We leave for the states next week, and school will start soon again. I like vacations, but I can't seem to stay away from work, especially with my domaining business. I'm forever connected, it seems, and I can't remember what it was like before the internet was invented by Al Gore...

Interesting perspective on the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary; Europeans are particularly fascinated by U.S. politics. I must admit that I was surprised when I woke up this morning and found out that Hillary Clinton had won New Hampshire. All the polls had it wrong, it seems.

I'm still on the fence politically--I'm definitely leaning toward the Democrat side because the last seven years have been a nightmare. I like Hillary's strength, but I also like Obama's fresh perspective. In the end, the issues will be the deciding factor.

Hollywood Hangover has posted a blurb about my memoir. If you were around back in the 1960's, this is a great site to visit, especially if you happened to be on the Hollywood Scene. You can literally spend hours on this site.

Must run for now.

Ciao i Priedno.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Greetings from Skopje, Macedonia

Jet lag. Different food. Great booze.

Wonderful friends and hosts who love us despite our quirky American ways.

I love the Balkans. My home away from home. I wish I could beam myself the 4,500 miles from Pennsylvania because I hate flying--it feels unnatural for bipeds.

Even so, airfare is fairly cheap and easy, even more so than last year at this time.

It's amazing, though, how small the world has become, especially with the internet. Back in 1989, when we lived here, we might as well lived on the moon; we lost an entire year of cultural literacy, and Macedonia was a republic of Yugoslavia and still very socialistic. Inflation was 100% a month. My husband was paid in dinars, though the amount was tied to the dollar, so by the end of our stay, his pay had to be stashed in a large bag. Now the denar (new currency) is stronger than the dollar. Go figure. Capitalism is the next big thing.

The Balkan war had not yet started, although the signs were becoming apparent: police searches, military planes flying overhead, the spot bombings in Croatia. An uneasy tension in the air.

Now CNN International is on cable, and we were able to follow the Iowa Caucus. I'm from Iowa, so this was an event of great interest. Also, keeps us informed whenever we want. Skopje itself has become very Western and somewhat trendy and overrun with foreigners.

In 1989, Skopje was anything but trendy; five known Americans lived here (we were two of them and Philip Wright, Director of the American Center, was the third). There was a suspected American living in the hills somewhere, but we never met him. Hardly anyone spoke English, and now English is spoken everywhere.

Once, we did get CNN on cable TV, but only for a week or so (perhaps pirated). For about a month, we did get Days of Our Lives, subtitled in Macedonian, but then it, too, disappeared. When the United jet crashed in Sioux City, I read about it in Vecher in Cyrillic because that's where we got our news. I read Macedonian at about a first grade level and understand some of the language. Forget about speaking it, though. I mostly trip over my own tongue.

There is something calming about the Balkans--my attitude changes. Things that bother me in the states seem silly here. My friend Lile tells me that when she crosses borders, she begins to think in the language of that country--she calls it "code shifting." Maybe I'm experiencing "cultural shifting."

Today, I bought a new coat and poncho. Nothing was cheap, but I needed a new coat due to a fatal zipper malfunction.

As you can see, I have nothing important to say today: no jokes or snark. I just wanted to keep in touch.

Happy New Year!

Best to all,