Book Reviews + Blogging

September 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Quick life update: I will soon be a book reviewer.

A few weeks ago I applied to be a guest book reviewer for Underground Book Reviews and have been accepted, so on October 13 and December 1, I will be reviewing two indie/self-published titles. Check back for links to those reviews.

Additionally, I recently signed up on Blogging for Books, a website run by Penguin Random House that sends bloggers free books in exchange for honest reviews. Their books range from fiction to self-help to cooking. I love the concept and appreciate that it helps both parties: bloggers get free books; the publisher gets honest feedback about its products. My first book was shipped yesterday, so I will post a review of it in the next few weeks and I am very excited.


Out of Two Thousand Applicants

June 8, 2014 § 1 Comment

One hundred bluebottles and one hundred monarchs were hired as subjects for the mid-term exam at a local art school. The recruitment process included an examination of wing vibrancy, opacity, and design; a freeze-motion endurance test in which the butterflies held poses for a variety of periods of time ranging from ten seconds to two hours; and a brief scrutiny of flirtation techniques used to evaluate how successfully the candidates could attract a Human.

On the day of the exam, the butterflies were instructed to fly to a Human, pose for however long it took the Human to complete his or her sketch, and then move on to another artist.

The top Humans’ pieces are currently featured in the art school student museum, which can be viewed for a small fee, or one may peek through the windows for a subpar view free of charge.

Please ignore the protesting monarchs out front who believe the scoring system was not fair; they are unassociated with our program. The Human works were judged by an equal opportunity unaffiliated third-party team. The pieces were ranked in categories of mastery of technique and attention to detail. It just happened that this year the majority of talented Humans chose to draw bluebottles rather than monarchs. We had no hand in that, as we employed an equal number of both species.

We are very pleased with this year’s quality of work and we hope you enjoy the gallery as much as we do.

“Centerpiece” published by Contraposition Magazine

May 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

Today one of my poems, “Centerpiece,” was published online by Contraposition Magazine.

Read the full poem below or check it out at Contraposition Magazine and click around to read other great pieces.

« Read the rest of this entry »

National Poetry Month is over…and so is my undergraduate education

May 1, 2014 § 1 Comment

Yesterday was the last day of National Poetry Month, for which I posted a different poem every single day as my Facebook status. The reception of this project from friends, family, and random acquaintances greatly surpassed any and all of my expectations. It was fascinating to see which poems resounded with which people, and in what ways. I received quite a few Facebook messages from people sharing their own favorite poems with me, and was approached by multiple individuals who used the poems as a conversation starter, asking me about my favorites and telling me about theirs. And from these conversations, friendships blossomed.

Over the course of the last month I posted a poem every day on Facebook, was invited to take part in a poetry reading at the LA Times Festival of Books, had a couple poems accepted to literary journals and magazines (check back over the course of the next month for links when they’re published!), and finished a literary internship that helped confirm my originally unsure idea of pursuing a career path in publishing.

Today marks the last day of classes for my undergraduate career and it’s pretty surreal.

For any who were wondering, here is the comprehensive list of poems I posted during the month of April (in chronological order of posting date):

1. WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS by Shel Silverstein
3. LAST WORDS OF THE DYING I by Diana Arterian
4. somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond by e. e. cummings
5. WE AT WAR BABY by Gaith Adhami
6. THE OUTSIDER by Shole Wolpé
7. THE RIVAL by Sylvia Plath
8. DINNER GUEST: ME by Langston Hughes
9. TELEVISION by Roald Dahl
10. MIRROR, MIRROR by Spike Milligan
11. SONG OF MYSELF LII (an excerpt) by Walt Whitman
12. SHAKE THE DUST by Anis Mojgani
14. ANY LIT by Harryette Mullen
16. HOW TO MEDITATE by Jack Kerouac
17. HOMEWORK by Allen Ginsberg
18. HER FACE by Arthur Gorges
19. FRIEND ZONE by Dylan Garity
20. THE CLOD AND THE PEBBLE by William Blake
21. sisters by Lucille Clifton
22. WHAT THE DOCTOR SAID by Raymond Carver
23. BELONGING by Eileen Carney Hulme
24. i went fishing with my family when i was five by Tao Lin
25. MIMESIS by Fady Joudah
26. BELLA IN THE WYCH ELM by Stacy Gnall
28. ASKING TOO MUCH by Andrea Gibson
29. THE QUIET WORLD by Jeffrey McDaniel
30. WHATIF by Shel Silverstein

Anis Mojgani performs Shake the Dust

April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

In the spirit of spoken word, I’m sharing a favorite.

LA Times Festival of Books Poetry Reading

April 12, 2014 § 1 Comment

I was invited to be part of a small reading today at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

It was a coming-of-age themed reading.

#nationalpoetrymonth « Read the rest of this entry »

Citrus Shocks

April 4, 2014 § 1 Comment

Citrus Shocks
by Genevieve Shifke

Over nineteen years spent between
Florida and California and
I simply couldn’t eat them.
The white part was too gross.
Stringy bitter bits of
cotton lining, the hidden
tangy meat underneath.
It’s called the pith,
which is a suiting name,
since it sounds equally as
unappetizing as it tastes.
One flat syllable
that makes the tongue
stick to the top of the
mouth, awkward and
unsure of what to do with
itself after suffering through
such an utterance.

Luckily, your tongue
knew how to fix it,
remedying the situation by
pressing little citrus shocks
against my taste buds,
giving them something else
to want to attach themselves to.

Darkness was on
pith’s side that day,
hiding from my eyes
the unsightly dandruff
the peel left behind.
The pounding in my chest
sped up when I agreed
to take the piece you
offered, my mind already
making my tongue recoil
at the thought of processing
such a horrid flavor.
But I bit down and
the beating stopped.
All I tasted was pulpy juice;
acidic sweetly sticky juice.
No bitter pith, just the same
citrus shocks my tongue
found on yours.
So I ate another piece.

Originally published in Adsum’s inaugural issue, April 2013.


National Poetry Month Day 4: somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

April 4, 2014 § 1 Comment

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
by e. e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands


National Poetry Month Day 1: Where the Sidewalk Ends

April 1, 2014 § 1 Comment

In honor of April being National Poetry Month, each day on Facebook I will be posting a poem as my status in an effort to spread poetic awareness and appreciation. I will also post a few of my ultra-favorites here, along with any I might write over the course of the next month, so if you follow by email, be aware that you might receive multiple emails in one day from this blog (sorry, dad). However, hopefully you will enjoy these poets and their work as much as I do and won’t be too annoyed.

Day 1:

by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
and before the street begins,
and there the grass grows soft and white,
and there the sun burns crimson bright,
and there the moon-bird rests from his flight
to cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
and the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
we shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
and watch where the chalk-white arrows go
to the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
and we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
for the children, they mark, and the children, they know,
the place where the sidewalk ends.

a thought on Saturday evening

March 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

The integrity of one culture can be determined by how effortlessly and seamlessly its people can coalesce with those of another seemingly disparate culture.