Our planned cycling of Harriet impersonators is causing some pangs. One regular reader Mary Meriam writes: “I understand Alicia’s [A.E. Stallings] days are numbered with you, Harriet. What a pity!” We couldn’t agree more.
Though we fashioned Harriet to change personalities every three to four months, facing the switchover is difficult. How will we distract ourselves from family or work without….

Steve Burt’s link-laced posts—guided tours of the history of poetry and of his encyclopedic mind. (Where did he come up with Mallarme’s “A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance,” an ace he flashed when Christian Bök proposed a larger wager with meaning?) And what will we do without those wagers, without Christian’s ordering the disorder, championing the randomness and machine poetry of post-post-modernism? (If you’re coming to AWP, you can catch Christian on an audio poetry panel.) We are still coping with Ange Mlinko sneaking away while most of us were on holiday. In case you missed her goodbye, her last think on thinking as it plays out in Pinsky vs. Middleton, here it is .
So yes, Mary Meriam, at some point Alicia will no longer be filing her etymologies, her arresting rationales of rhyme from Greece for us to read first thing in the morning. And Rigoberto Gonzales will no longer be emptying my wallet every Wednesday with a new book pick. But they’re not gone yet! At various times over the next two months, they will be signing off, but they’re always welcome to post and comment. (Major Jackson, who started later, will provide some continuity (and wallet emptying).
I expect, though, that Daisy Fried and Reginald Shepherd are already helping ease the transition. We first met Daisy through her funny, biting essays for Poetry, which led us to her latest funny, biting book of poetry My Brother is Getting Arrested Again. She’s sure to entertain and incite. And Reginald Shepherd is sure to endear with the same schooled, civil lessons on poetry you can find on his blog. His five books of poems are wonderful, too. Welcome to both of you.
Here they are in their own words:
From Daisy Fried:
I grew up in Albany but then went to college in the Philly area, WHERE I have lived since 1989—near the Italian Market for almost 15 years now. I'm voting for Dennis Kucinich in the Pennsylvania primary, a primary which doesn't matter a rat's ass to the outcome anyway. Maisie Quinn is my one-year-old daughter and Jim Quinn is my husband—a fiction writer and former journalist; Mister Buster is our middle-aged cat. I make a very good chicken stew and any popularity I have amongst my friends is almost entirely a result of my chocolate mousse. Long ago (mid-90s) I was a journalist for local weeklies and (on a sporadic freelance basis) for various local and national publications but that was kind of long ago. I try never to have a full-time job (and haven't since 1997), which means no health insurance either, but let’s just hope for the best. I don't have a TV; watch my Netflix on my Dell laptop with speakers plugged in. I go to anti-war demonstrations when there are any. Cheers, Daisy
From Reginald Shepherd
I grew up in New York City tenements and housing projects and since my mother's death when I was fifteen I've lived in every region of the country except the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the West Coast, unless Iowa doesn't count as part of the Great Plains. It was cold and windy enough, and it is west of the Mississippi. Now I live in Pensacola, Florida, with my partner, Robert Philen, a cultural anthropologist who is about the best person in the world in every regard. It's very conservative and dull here; usually it's warm, though we're having a pretty cold winter this year. But not compared to the Bronx, Boston, Iowa, Chicago, or upstate New York, to name a few places I've lived. I spend most of my time in my house, reading, listening to music (I'm obsessed with music), and wasting time on my computer, except when I'm in a doctor's office, which I am too often these days (I was diagnosed with cancer last year, which was a real shock), or looking for organic produce at Wal-Mart (there's more than you'd think). Robert and I love to cook, and we're very good--I make a really good pot of coq au vin. I gained a lot of weight when I moved down here (no walking, more eating), but I've lost about seventy pounds in the past year or so, for which I'm very proud of myself. (Exercise is more effective than dieting.) I spent a lot of time in school after spending too much time out of school, and taught for many years. Now I'm sort of a freelance writer and teacher. If it weren't for Robert, I'd probably be wearing an orange vest trying to sell copies of the local paper at intersections. Oh, and I really like parentheses. (Just my little quirk.)
Peace and Poetry, Reginald

Originally Published: January 22nd, 2008

Emily Warn was born in San Francisco and grew up in California and Detroit. She earned degrees from Kalamazoo College and the University of Washington. Her full-length collections of poetry include The Leaf Path (1982), The Novice Insomniac (1996), and Shadow Architect (2008). She has published two chapbooks: The Book...

  1. January 23, 2008
     M Reich

    Hi Reginald,
    I just found your note in this blog b/c i have pensacola as a daily google alert. I want to move to Pensacola for the primary reason of the beaches and water and am sad to see that the area is "conservative and dull." I hoped to find a lively arts community and plenty of water activities. Am I delusional?

  2. January 24, 2008
     Reginald Shepherd

    Dear M. Reich,
    Well, the sand is sugar white and the water is turquoise/emerald--truly stunning, as I was reminded a few months ago, when I went to the beach for the first time in years. There are lots of water activities, and lots of outdoor activities in general (though the area is actually very polluted, with tons of Superfund sites--it's all chemical pollution, so it's not visible in the lush, poisoned landscapes). But as for "a lively arts community," there is none. The Pensacola Museum of Art is better than you'd think it would be (we've seen Warhol and Rodin exhibits there), but in general, Pensacola is very, very conservative ("Pro-Family, Pro-Gun, Pro-Life," as one campaign billboard put it), very working class, and very lacking in cultural amenities. There's good food, though our favorite barbecue restaurant closed last year. As I wrote, I just stay in my house most of the time--it's a much nicer house than we could afford almost anywhere else. The cost of living is very reasonable.
    When I was first considering moving here, I didn't think I'd be able to live here without going crazy, but I'm surprised at how well I've adapted, though I don't always know whether that's a good or a bad thing.
    Take good care, and good luck.
    all best,

  3. January 24, 2008

    When I was a kid I thought the town was called Pepsicola. I envisioned some kind of carbonated utopia. I was sadly mistaken.

  4. January 25, 2008
     M Reich

    Hi Reginald,
    Ugh, thanks for the info. We're looking into the Superfund sites now that you've informed us.
    The conservative atmosphere has me re-thinking. I don't know how long I could stand that.
    I wonder how the communities are further along the coast, like Fort Walton Beach and Navarre,
    etc. We're coming for a month this summer to check things out, so I'll take a look at the
    billboards in those communities, too!! :-)
    Thanks for your correspondence. I wish you the best of health!
    Hi Matt,
    I love your carbonated utopia comment! It reminded me of when I was a kid, I loved orange soda
    so much that I always fantasized that our homes and buildings were filled to the roof with orange
    soda and we swam all day and drank as much of it as we wanted. Ahhhh....that refreshing orange
    soda utopia.......

  5. January 26, 2008
     Reginald Shepherd

    Dear Matt,
    Well, Pensacola is pretty carbonated (sugary sodas are big here, though sweet tea is almost as big), but it's no utopia. We do have a billboard on the side of one of the main roads that reads "Pepsicola--it's the real thing."
    Dear M. Reich,
    If anything, Fort Walton Beach is probably more conservative, becasue there's a military base there. The military is very big in this area, between Pensacola Naval Air Station and Eglin Air Force Base (which I'm told is one of the biggest AFBs in the country). I don't know much about Navarre, but I think it's relatively affluent. But the Redneck Riviera (as it's sometimes called) is pretty all of a piece.
    Thanks for your good wishes about my health.
    Take good care.
    peace and poetry,