Book Spine Poetry Contest — DEADLINE

Hey there.  So today’s the last day of April.  How did it sneak up on us so quickly?  Well, if you’re in education, the answer is easy:  we’ve hit that point in the school year when no one can get any traction because everything is so hectic and stressful.  Ah well.

Because I’m in this position, too — and because I didn’t announce this contest until April 6th — I’m extending the deadline for this contest till the end of this coming weekend.  We’ve had several wonderful entries so far — and thanks to all who’ve submitted! — but I’m getting ready for a writers’ conference this weekend and buried in grading.  Like I tell my students when they want an extension, “Sure, take an extra day, because I wasn’t going to be grading this paper tonight anyway.”

New deadline is this Sunday night, May 5th.  Winner gets a t-shirt.  Submit as many entries as you like.  There is no age requirement to enter.  Click here for the full details.

Have a good week!

Reminder: National Poetry Month Contest, One Week Left

I tried to make a funny connection between the title of today’s post and the Barenaked Ladies’ breakout hit “One Week,” but I decided instead not to force it and to see whether you could come up with one.  Can you?  Can you??  If so, please post it in the comments section here.

Otherwise, here is your reminder that this year’s National Poetry Month contest ends one week from today.  Not sure what this contest is?  Click here for more details!  It’s super fun.  We’ve had relatively few entries so far, too, so your chances are winning are better than usual.

Have a good last week of April!

Fashion Friday 4/19/13

This week we have a grand guest post from fellow blogger and author Marie Marshall.  (Visit her excellent site here.)  Enjoy!


Wearing boys’ castoffs

I remember the first time I made the conscious choice to wear a boy’s garment. Strangely, it was during what must have been my most ‘femme’ fashion stage. I was thirteen, and along with my best friend I was hooked on the urban fashion of Continue reading “Fashion Friday 4/19/13”

Fashion Friday 4/12/13

One of the most fun and low-impact ways to experiment with one’s appearance is with nail art.  It’s a short-term commitment at best and is small enough not to freak people out when you do it.  Sometimes inconspicuous, sometimes splashy, it’s still just on your fingernails, so it’s all low-key.  Even less noticeable is nail art on your toes, even if you wear sandals.


left hand tropical nail art


This effect was created with ordinary nail polish for a base coat, and then the flower designs were hand-painted using different sizes of brush and metal tips.  In case the colors don’t show up well on your screen, the base coat is mauve, the flowers are white shot through with green, and there are understated silver glitter accents at their centers.  The flowers weren’t all situated in the middles of all my nails so as to look more…natural?  Is that what we’re going for here?  Anyway, less cookie cutter.  The overall effect is surprisingly tropical and lovely for spring.


right hand tropical nail art

And just in case you’ve forgotten, tomorrow is the 13th of the month, so rêveurs and rêveuses, dress accordingly!  I’ll be posting here.  Will you come out of the woodwork and join me?  

Not sure what I’m talking about?  Click here.

April Poetry Contest: Something REALLY Short…

It’s April again, and that means NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!!  YAY!!!

This year for my April poetry contest, I’m going with something a bit different.  (Well, different for me, but apparently commonplace everywhere else, as a simple Internet search will suggest.)  Have you ever heard about Book Spine Poetry?  Well, that’s the focus of this contest.  Read this Slate article here by David Rosenberg for more information and some stellar examples by Nina Katchadourian.

You have until April 30th, 2013, to compose a short poem or story comprised entirely of the words on the spines of books.  Each composition must be the contest entrant’s own original work.  To enter the contest, email a picture of your entry to me at with the subject line “BOOK SPINE POETRY CONTEST ENTRY.”  (Please do NOT leave your entry here in the comments section, although if you foresee having difficulty emailing your entry to me, you may explain why here in the comments section, and we’ll work it out.)  There is no limit to how many times you may enter, as long as you do so before the end of this month.

For a multitude of glorious examples which I won’t picture here because of copyright issues, check out these images of book spine poetry from Google search.

All entries will be featured here on Sappho’s Torque.  The winner will be selected by a volunteer panel of writers and will receive a t-shirt with a hilarious Emily Dickinson joke on it.

Thank you for playing, and good luck!


Please note:  The deadline for this contest has been extended to Sunday night, May 5th, 2013.  Good luck!

Fashion Friday 4/5/13

This week I was interviewed by the school newspaper for an article on teachers’ interesting hobbies.

(For the record, my hobby is not writing.  I’ll tell you more about that another time, but for now I just wanted to make sure that was clear.)

One of my hobbies — which I used to do quite often back when I had the semblance of free time — is making jewelry.  It started off as a fun little thing to do with some of my friends who also made jewelry for fun.  My then-only child was less than a year old and learning to feed herself, captive in the high chair for an hour or so at a time.  I could make something, feel artistic, finish a project, have something to show for it, and get all my supplies cleaned away before my daughter lost interest in hurling Cheerios at the cat.

This turned into making earrings for all my girlfriends for Christmas.  Then it turned into trunk shows at art festivals.  Then it turned into a way to make extra money when I found out I was going to have another baby.  Then it turned into a little side business:  Everyday Diva Jewelry.

I’m not really doing it anymore, though I do occasionally make something lovely for someone as a gift or for myself.  Now that cereal-throwing little girl makes jewelry, too.  *le sigh*

Anyway, since jewelry is like hats and shoes in that it is one of the most delightful accessories you can add to your wardrobe (you know, in my humble opinion, of course), I thought this week I’d feature some pieces I’d made that I felt particularly proud of.

photography by Lauren Volness
photography by Lauren Volness

This parure (or, set of matching jewelry pieces) contains a necklace and a pair of earrings.  The findings are sterling silver.  The large green/blue/gold stones are labradorite, a stone particularly dear to me because of its incredible multi-layered beauty, but also because the first time I ever saw it was on my honeymoon.  The glowing white stones are opalite.  Interspersed among them are garnet-colored Swarovski crystals and pewter flowers.

So put on a wonderful piece of jewelry today, and then tell me all about it!


My Students’ CW Blog

Hey there.  In case you’re interested, my Creative Writing students have a blog on which they post their works in progress for open workshop.  If you’re interested, this week they’ve put up manuscripts which are in a variety of non-poetry genres, and they’re looking for constructive feedback this week before they revise.  Please feel free to bop on over and let them know what you think?

Here’s the link.

And please remember, they’re high school students.  They’re good writers but still learning, so they’d love some feedback — positive praise and constructive criticism both appreciated.  Thanks!