Saturday, December 31, 2011

Podunovich Nominated for 2012 Pushcart Prize

For the second year in a row, one of my poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. FutureCycle Press nominated the poem "Restless" for the 2012 prize.

The Pushcart Prize anthologies are a wonderful mystery to be solved in terms of finding out who was selected for inclusion. I think I'll round up the 2011 edition and solve this mystery once and for all. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for me for the 2012 edition.

And, have a very Happy New Year!!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Fear of Poetry by C. Scott Hagler

In his latest blog post, C. Scott Hagler, director of 3rd Ave Arts and the Sacred Arts Festival talks about overcoming his fear of poetry. Scott attended my workshop last year and he speaks highly of the experience.

He says, "For as long as I can remember I have had a fear of poetry. Not reading poetry, mind you; only writing it. I’m not afraid of haiku, though; I think it presents more of a left-brain challenge that somehow short circuits the fear.

Imagine my surprise at discovering that there’s a word for the fear of poetry: metrophobia. Sounds like the fear of a big city. Or the subway, perhaps. According to, Metrophobia, or the fear of poetry, is surprisingly common. Many people first develop this phobia in school, when overzealous teachers encourage them to rank poems according to artificial scales, break them down and search for esoteric meanings. Others simply feel that poetry is somehow “beyond” them, belonging only to the realm of the pretentious and highly educated...."

Read on about how Scott faced his phobia at his blog Arts Voice.

I am offering another workshop on the 2011 Sacred Arts Festival on Sunday, October 23 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 910 E. 3rd Ave. in Durango. Learn more here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Power of the Spoken Word: Podunovich reads on Lame Town Review

Hear me read a new poem on the latest Lame Town Review podcast.It's a worthwhile way to spend 30 minutes, with a diversity of featured poets amidst a stellar mix of tunes.

It was recorded July 7th, 2011 in Tom Yoder’s backyard at dusk (crickets and mosquitos), around the picnic table (set with hors d'oeuvres, a bottle of wine and a mic) and became illuminated by candlelight as we surrendered to the night and the power of the spoken word. The almost famous Mouthful Trio (Renee Podunovich, Danielle Desruisseaux and Laura Thomas) is featured as well as Cannonball himself and a guest appearance by the long lost Lt. Hope. Tom’s 16-year-old, toothless dog accompanied us, howling his passions into the oncoming darkness. We were visited by the spirit of the poets themselves through the magic of their words as they were lifted off the page like Nighthawks by our humble human voices.

Read Tom’s sentiments about the evening at his Lame Town Review blog.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tom Yoder Speaks About His Podcast: Lame Town Review

I like when I get to introduce my friends to other friends and I’m especially excited that you all get to meet my friend, Tom Yoder, producer of the radio show and Podcast, Lame Town Review. Let me simply say that Tom rocks.

Tom is a recovering archaeologist currently serving as the Programming and Media Director at KSJD Dry Land Community Radio in Southwest Colorado. He works tirelessly with other audiophiles, news junkies, and community builders to make KSJD the most dynamic, engaged public media outlet in the world. (Yes, he said the world!) Here is what he has to say about podcasts and public radio.

Lame Town Review is a podcast that I started in 2005 with my best friend Jeff as a means to get music out to the world that I was not allowed to play as a DJ on FCC-regulated public radio. It started out as a semi-monthly review of music with interludes of commentary and clips from cult-classic movies, old commercials, and the pop culture world. Think Beavis and Butthead, Wayne’s World, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and South Park mixed with the freshest new music and older favorites. Jeff and I are both big fans of irreverent humor, satire, and all kinds of music. We featured everything from Steely Dan to Mos Def to Prince Far I in musical mixes that ranged far and wide. It was all good fun, and we even got our friends and neighbors involved (whether they liked it or not). Some of those early Lame Town Review tapings are just a blur in my memory, probably due to the buzz and constant laughter that seemed to permeate those late nights.

Podcasting was still fairly new back in 2005, and it was always a struggle to explain what podcasts were and how to listen to them (unfortunately, this is still a challenge), but given our subject matter, Lame Town Review worked quite well in this underground environment. It was all fun and games for a couple years but took a lot of work editing, collecting audio clips, conducting “interviews”, etc., so inevitably we floundered. By 2007 Lame Town Review podcasts started being produced every 3-4 months, then every 6 months by the end of 2009. The gleam was gone; life was busy.

Podcasting for me is all about a passion for music and putting together what amounts to a mixtape for the world that aims to entertain and turn people on to new music. I had been a volunteer DJ at KSJD, our local community radio station, for several years while working as an archaeologist and producing Lame Town Review on the side. My dedication to KSJD had taken me to a seat on the board of directors, engaging the community in new ways around media and public access to media. I was hungry to podcast more often, but time was scarce with work, family, and volunteer duties all competing. Then in 2010 I jumped at the opportunity to join the KSJD staff as the Programming and Media Director. It was a big scary jump from a 17-year career in archaeology, but it has paid off in ways I never expected.

Working at KSJD has brought me closer to a daily relationship with new music and audiophiles like myself who volunteer as DJs. To maintain airtime as a music DJ while also working behind the scenes at KSJD, I brought Lame Town Review to the radio as a traditional broadcast program on Friday afternoons from 1-3pm MDT(steam it live). My plan was to use a recording of the radio program to revive the podcast, simply using the recording to upload as a podcast each week. But it didn’t work. Two hours is much too long for a podcast (20-30 minutes, the length of an average commute, works best), and I was still hungry to get outside the boundaries of the FCC and restrictions of the newly instituted Millennium Digital Copyright Act. The Internet and podcasting still called to me as the beacon of freedom in broadcasting, and I had to take advantage of that freedom while it still existed.

Lame Town Review is now back as a bi-monthly podcast that supplements the weekly radio show. It has grown up a little bit, but still holds true to the irreverent, satirical tone of its origins nearly 7 years ago. Recent episodes have featured new music from Mayer Hawthorne, Katchafire, and Fleet Foxes, old school hip-hop from De La Soul and the Beastie Boys, and spoken word from slam poet Paulie Lipman. All of this is surrounded by sound bites from physicists, failed news and sports commentary, and ridiculous political observations. I think it works pretty well, and it never ceases to amaze how well these audio clips of cultural ineptitude fit so well with the music and its varied messages.

The world is moving fast towards a decentralized, accessible media environment where blogs, social media, and podcasts are the new standard for entertainment and news. Relationships that were impossible 10 years ago are the norm in this new environment, and I feel fortunate that Lame Town Review plays a role in bringing new music and hopefully some honest laughter to people that I will never meet face-to-face (the latest episode, posted on June 11th, has been downloaded 40 times in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia so far). If you have never checked out a podcast, I encourage you to do so by searching the many podcast distributors out there such as Podomatic, Podcast Alley, or iTunes. The most popular podcasts are simply companions to established shows from major broadcasters in radio and TV, but I would persuade you to go digging into the so-called “amateur” podcasts like Lame Town Review. What you will find may be surprising, unique, and full of individualism and freedom.

I’ve known Renee Podunovich since I was about 11 years old, when she and my big sister would torture me growing up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Some 29 years later, I am fortunate to call Renee a close friend and inspiration through her poetry, dedication to the arts, and terrific sense of humor."

On Twitter at cannonball71
Subscribe to the Lame Town Review podcast in iTunes by searching in the iTunes Store

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet Writer, Editor and Awesome Person: Robin Stratton. I think you'll like her!

Sometimes in the course of shameless self-promotion and trying passionately to get your work seen by someone, you meet a person who stands out and becomes an ally. Robin Stratton has been such a person for me. I like her writing and I like her spirit of encouragement. She made an authentic connection with me through my work and continues to collaborate and support me. (Notice how when I asked her to write about herself, she starts out saying nice things about me!)

I asked Robin to say a bit about what she does and here is what she had to say:

"Renee, thanks for the opportunity to participate in your new blog. Isn't the internet great for promoting the writing community? I just love it.

To fill people in on our history... Renee submitted two wonderful pieces to my magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, and I snapped them up and they appeared in our summer 2010 issue. Next I reviewed her amazing chapbook, If There is a Center No One Knows Where it Begins. Renee, as many of you know, is not just a gifted poet, but she's lively and fascinating, and I knew I wanted to stay in close contact with her. When my second chapbook, Interference from an Unwitting Species was due for publication, I asked Renee to write a blurb for the cover, and she said yes right away. I absolutely loved what she wrote - writing a blurb isn't easy, it takes a lot of skill... you probably don't know this until you've written one! Anyway, here's what she wrote:

“Stratton's collection is a feast of engaging narration that illustrates the absurdity of the human predicament, yet never disregards the reality of heartache. With a bit of wit, quirkiness, courage and vulnerability all rolled into one, these poems tackle the matter of mortality. Her words are 'unafraid of the black, unpredictable night' as she explores the unexpected, unknown and transitory quality of life.”

It's no wonder I was thrilled with it! Interference from an Unwitting Species was such a departure from my first collection, Dealing with Men which everyone called "sassy" - a description that flattered me because it was exactly the voice and tone I was going for as I navigated my way out of one very long-term relationship (13 years) into a new one. The new guy was the complete opposite of the old guy, and it was like learning about men all over again... the rules of the game, and where to draw the line between trying to impress him and staying faithful to your own personality. As someone who has been tethered to one boyfriend or another pretty continuously since college, it's sometimes hard to maintain an identity that isn't who I am in relation to a man. Dealing with Men was my attempt to strike that balance. Interference, on the other hand, was written during a tumultuous year as I neared age 50, both parents were battling cancer, and one of my best friends was dying. It was also around that time that I was getting in touch via Facebook with people from the Wilmington High School class of 78, and I was fascinated by how different everyone's life turned out from what we all expected, and reminded me of how I lost touch with all Best Best Friends as soon as they got married. Interference is sort of a coming of age collection that I actually sent to my mom before publishing it to see if she thought it was too sad! But she, like Renee, felt that the humor throughout kept the tone upbeat.

But my true passion has always been writing novels, and I was thrilled to finally sign a contract in January with Blue Mustang Press for my book On Air. Having self published several books (back in the early 90s, long before anyone had even heard of the internet) I know what it's like to have cases of books that you can't sell. And even though On Air is being published by a reputable company, the task of promoting it lies with the writer. So I started a group on Facebook to track my steps as I come up with ideas to get the word out. My hope is that writers can use it as a tool to help them sell their own books. I also think that having to report on what I'm doing will motivate me to keep coming up with ideas. If anyone reading this would like to join, I would love to have you! The name of the group is On Air by Robin Stratton... the dumb thing is, you can't just join, you have to contact me and ask to be invited. I think we have to be FB friends, too, but I'm not sure. But certainly all are welcome!

Okay, everyone go back to your writing. Thanks, Renee, for letting me stop by!"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Upcoming Cyanotype Workshops with Heather Leavitt Martinez

Spending the day at Willow Tail Springs with Heather Leavitt Martinez was a highlight of my summer last year. I attended a Botanical Cyanotype Workshop she taught and it was my second experience with her in using the process of ultraviolet light and water to expose and develop photographic images. Cyanotype was the first print out process in photography and as an amateur photographer, I feel at home with it. It feels impossible to mess up (since Heather has the supplies ready to go) and the process is so fantastically interesting and engaging to produce that with each one I gained further insight into what I could do next. Heather's integration of the local landscape gives the work a place-based and organic quality. We spent time collecting plants, flowers and found objects to expose using treated paper, glass, sunlight and water. I was intrigued that this simple process could elicit continuing creativity from participants. People became more and more enthusiastic as their idea of what was possible to produce with this medium kept evolving. It was a day of shared inspiration, fun and relaxation.

I highly recommend the upcoming workshop. Peggy and Lee of Willow Tail Springs are wonderful hosts. The day begins with a tour of their amazingly intact Juniper/Pinon forested land, lush gardens (including a bowling ball collection that doubles as garden sculpture), and handcrafted buildings and artist studios. Their aesthetic and love of the southwestern landscape will seep into your bones and ignite your creativity just by being around them. Heather is a fine teacher and her humor and energy are contagious.

Beginning Botanical Studies:
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011

Advanced Film and Toning
Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Featured Article on Suzanne Tyrpak's Blog

This week on her blog, author Suzanne Tyrpak featured a short article I wrote about writing poetry and also my first poetry chapbook.

Suzanne is an inspiration in terms of indie-author savvy. Take time to check out her new book, Vestal Virgin, sure to be a great summer read.

Suzanne Tyrpak--Who's Imagining All This?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

FutureCycle Poetry

I have two poems published by FutureCycle Poetry.
You can read, comment, like and share them.

I like that these two are published together. I like their contrast.
Click here to go to my bio at the site.
Or go straight to Behind the Wind and Restless.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

SW Colorado Arts Perspective Magazine Articles

(photo by Heather Leavitt Martinez)

Here are links to two of my articles published by a local arts magazine out of Durango.

The first is about my experience with SOMA bodywork, which is deep tissue work in the Rolfing tradition.
"Reshaping the Body in Collaboration", SW Colorado Arts Perspective Magazine.Winter, 2010

The other is about the photography of Mark Montgomery (he also took many of my portraits featured on this site).
"Mark Montgomery: Juxtaposing Land and Figurative Image", SW Colorado Arts Perspective Magazine. Fall, 2007.