UC Davis bike safety video

UC Davis TAPS BEEP Video from UCDavisTAPS on Vimeo.

UC Davis has a great new bike safety video. Traffic laws and campus customs are clearly explained alongside some nice visuals of campus bike traffic. When the roundabouts get crowded, they really can be intimidating, but the video explains how they keep traffic moving and less confusing than four-way stops.

happy birthday blog

Today, nicomachus.net is ten years old. It started out as just a blog and has grown into a website with a blog on the side. It started out on Blogger and moved to Moveable Type before settling on WordPress. It started out as a place to practice writing after I finished graduate school in North Carolina, and it grew into a community of readers and thoughts, of bicycles and photographs, of travel and criticism, of philosophy and poetry.

Thanks to the Wayback Machine for holding on to the baby photos of this website’s growth.

Squaw Valley poets at Lit Crawl! October 19.


October 19th, 7:15 – 8:15 pm

at Betabrand, 780 Valencia St.(map)

I’m excited and honored to be reading with Blas, Dawn, Elizabeth, Mary, and a lottery of other talented poets from the 2012 Squaw Valley conference. Come join us for an hour of great poetry.

from the official Lit Crawl announcement

Celebrate the publication of The 2012 Squaw Valley Review, where alumni poets continue the tradition of publishing a collection of poems in which the first drafts were written during the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. In addition to readings from our featured poets, other authors published in the anthology will be chosen via lottery to read. Featuring Phillip Barron, Blas Falconer, Dawn McGuire, Elizabeth McLagan, and Mary Winegarden.

Phillip Barron taught philosophy at UNC-Chapel Hill and now teaches digital humanities at UC Davis. He is co-editor of OccuPoetry and the 2012 Squaw Valley Review.

Blas Falconer is author of The Foundling Wheel and A Question of Gravity and Light. He teaches at USC and in the low-residency MFA program at Murray State University.

Dawn McGuire is a neurologist and author of three collections, including The Aphasia Cafewinner of the 2013 Indie Book Award for Poetry.

Elizabeth McLagan was the 2009 winner of Bellingham Review’s 49th Parallel Award, and her collection of poems, In the White Room, was just released by CW Books.

Mary Winegarden’s debut collection, The Translator’s Sister, was a 2012 winner of the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award. She teaches at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

The FB event page for the reading is here. I hope to see you on October 19th.

2012 Squaw Valley Review

20130812-084514.jpgThe 2012 Squaw Valley Review is out, and it looks beautiful. The poems selected for the Review form an eclectic mix that reflects the talent that gathered together in the high Sierra last summer. Reading every one of the poems submitted was a privilege, as was working with such a committed group of editors.

Previews of the 2012 issue came out at the end of June, just in time for fliers to be available for the benefit reading in Sacramento. Copies will be on hand at Squaw Valley’s Lit Quake reading in October as well.

You can order your copy from Lulu or from Amazon.

Profit from the sale of each copy directly benefits the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, which we hope, if not for the great poetry within, is reason enough for you to pick up a copy. It is available now through Lulu.com, and soon it will be available through other online outlets.

Sacramento 1874

By adding an historical map as an image overlay in Google Earth, you can get a sense of how a city has changed over time. This video is made from a series of screenshots of Google Earth with the historical map overlay at various levels of transparency and zoom. I was interested in seeing how the historic district (commonly called Old Sacramento) has changed over time. In particular, I wanted to know where the notorious Sutter Lake used to be. By aligning the historic map to the contemporary street grid, you can see not only the previous location of Sutter Lake, but also the American River’s former channel and riverbed.

Source: Map of the City of Sacramento, the Capital of California. By J.R. Ray, City Surveyor, 1873. David Rumsey Map Collection.

A Murmuration of Drones, new poem published

Adam Rothstein and Olivia Rosane have organized a festival of literature and art of the drone for June. To my surprise, the festival opened with one my poems. Be sure to read Nathan Jurgenson‘s smart piece on The Fiction of the Autonomous Drone. And you can visit the latest at Murmuration.

A Murmuration of Drones” is a loosely narrative poem threading the twin phenomena of collective behavior in natural creatures, specifically starlings, and the mediated, distributed responsibility for action that animates drone ethics. Throughout the poem, the speaker describes various interpretations of drones and the phenomenon of murmurations from a distant, removed point of view. Only in later stanzas does the speaker self-refer, and then only to the collective “we,” suggesting that drone culture is a culture of dispersed responsibility. Through references to viral videos and the classic theory of fetishizing Middle Eastern and east Asian cultures (Edward Said’s Orientalism), the speaker stays close to the surface of analysis, hinting at but not engaging in any analysis.

Visualize murmurations here

Murmuration from Islands & Rivers on Vimeo.

Squaw Valley Review 2012 readings

Even though I have been banned from attending the Squaw Valley Community of Writers poetry workshop this year (not just me, everyone who attended last year has to wait a year), next week is all Squaw Valley around here.

The 2012 issue of the Squaw Valley Review will be available any day now. A year’s worth of work, this issue includes poems from 53 of the 65 poets who attended last year’s workshop. As editor of this year’s Review, I am biased, but the poetry in this collection is outstanding. I am ready to see it in print.

On Monday, at the Sacramento Poetry Center, Paco Marquez has organized a group of 2012 alum to read in celebration of the Review‘s publication. Join us at 7:30pm as Paco and I join with Heather AltfeldTroy JollimoreJeff Kingman, and Stella Beratlis for a reading of poetry.

On Thursday, Paco, Heather, Troy, Stella, and I are back together for another reading, this time in Davis. At 8pm, the five of us will share the stage at the John Natsoulas Gallery for an evening of Poetry in Davis.

And then at 7pm on Friday night, the faculty for the 2013 Squaw Valley Community of Writers poetry workshop is giving a benefit reading at the Crocker Museum. Forrest Gander, Brenda Hillman, Evie Shockley, Sharon Olds, and Robert Hass will be reading. This one requires tickets, the proceeds from which go toward scholarships to attend the weeklong Community of Writers.

Diorama of a People, Burning

On the bus to work this morning, I read Bradley Harrison‘s Diorama of a People, Burning. A chapbook of erasure poems, Diorama is brief enough to be read in one sitting, yet complex enough to leave the reader with many meanings to think about. The chapbook contains original prose poems that, after composition, the poet rewrites as new poems by erasing words from the first. Dedicated to the town in which the author grew up, Diorama reveals more about Colfax, Iowa with less; each erasure is like adding (or pulling away?) a sheer cloth to a pile of words and memories.

Poetry and memory already have a tangled relationship, and reading through Harrison’s erasures I felt as though I was looking more directly at a representation of memory. The act of erasure as both a covering (with white-out) and uncovering (of other meanings) showed the layers of language in all of our acts of writing. I remember thinking to myself that I was learning something about Colfax from each poem. Not less from the erasures, just something else. By the end, the writing made me think about the town I grew up in and my own relationship to it; made me wonder what it would look like if represented to someone else.

Diorama of a People, Burning (Gold Line Press)
Bradley Harrison

poet spotlight – Columbia College Literary Review

Spotlight taillight stoplight flashlight poets write a lot about what light can do cast light shed light headlight harsh light dee lite d'you drop your dive light dim light soft light twilight moonlight warning light engine light aspens shake some light in the half light of the canyon poet spotlight


Thanks to the very talented staff of the Columbia College Literary Review for creating such a beautiful stage for the poems, stories, and art inside volume 2. $10 to the Review for your copy.