Denise R. Weuve

Ink Damage and Other Permanent Stains

Archive for the tag “poetry”

Day ??? ~ Ocean Vuong

First this is Saeed Jones fault because he keeps posting pieces of Ocean’s poems, reminding me why I like his work so much.

First I suck at Poet a Day

First I rock for even trying to do this

First Ocean Vuong is a heart wrecking, earth moving, pen master that makes me want to move to New York so I can know I am breathing the same air, and perhaps somehow his talent will drift through taxi exhaust, pipe fumes, and Tuesday refuge pick up right into my lungs.  A girl has got to dream, doesn’t she?

If you have never read Ocean Vuong (who in 2016 when his book Night Sky With Exit Wounds from Copper Canyon Press no one will ever admit to having not read him) and not fallen in love with poetry, the line, the word, then your heart stopped beating long before this blog was ever written.  He has won took many accolades to list, and I am not as thorough as likes of Poetry Foundation where you can learn about those all, but I can tell you he is the reason poetry is as vital as breath, and has value.  So much value that if you are wanting Vuong’s chapbook Burnings (SiblingRivalryPress, 2010) look to pay anywhere between $200.00-$850.00.

This is the opening “On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous”:

Tell me it was for the hunger
& nothing less. For hunger is to give
the body what it knows
it cannot keep. That this amber light
whittled down by another war
is all that pins my hand
to your chest.

See what I mean?  You now want to read anything Vuong writes.  No need to wait. Here are a couple of my favorites:


He came into my room like a god
stepping out of a painting.

Back from the wind, he called to me
with a mouthful of crickets–

scent of ash and lilac rising
from his hair. I waited

for the night to wane
into years before reaching

for his hands, my finger tracing
the broken lines in his palm.

My shadow beneath his shadow
across the hardwood. And we danced

like that: father and son–
our bodies like a pair of legs

over a broken chair.

from The Paris American 2014


From Youtube, a reading by Ocean Vuong
The most recent I can find of him, but you need to turn up the sound up full blast



Day 22 ~ Jericho Brown

Have you read New Testament?  No?!?  Well today’s Poet Spotlight was going to feature Jericho Brown, I was going to explain how he was a student of Claudia Rankine, and she recommended I read him.  How I am grateful she did, and I was going to praise him.  Then this morning after I wrote the praise and  lead you to the poems “Elegy”  and “Heart Condition” this was in my newsfeed from poetry foundation.  Read this instead, The Contract so much better than anything I could have said and you will fall in love with Jericho because of his love for poetry that will make you jealous that you have never said any of this to poetry, when it has done so much for you.  You can also read the aforementioned poems, because you will need more.

Or watch him here.

Day 5 ~ Lord Byron

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 4.39.52 PM“She walks in beauty like the night” was read in a British Literature class and I fell in love with poetry, and the handsome poet that was the writer, George Gordon or as he is better known, Lord Byron. The bad boy of the romantics made me fall in love like many other bad boys would do in the future. Yet this bad boy made me love poetry. So in the end he is also to blame for the fact I write poetry. He can be blamed for the horrible poetry I wrote, and at times the horrible poetry I still write.

I went into college writing like a D Class Romantic Era poet, and slowly had the Lord Byron sifted out of me, but he does remain with me in my heart. As romantic as he was, he wrote the beautiful satirical Don Juan, where the aforementioned character is not quite the womanizer history portrays, but instead a man who falls easily under prey to women.


She Walks in Beauty


She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

A very trippy and oddly beautiful performance of “She Walks in Beauty”


Don Juan: Dedication


Difficile est proprie communia dicere 
HOR. Epist. ad Pison


Bob Southey! You’re a poet—Poet-laureate,
And representative of all the race;
Although ’tis true that you turn’d out a Tory at
Last—yours has lately been a common case;
And now, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at?
With all the Lakers, in and out of place?
A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye
Like “four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye;

This is my favorite book of Lord Byron’s, which happens to be a collection of his letters and journals. Byron’s Letters and Journals


Day 3~Kim Addonizio

kim-bar13And what if your mom was this cool? What if your mom was a musician, artist, and poet? Kim Addonizio is not your mom, and she certainly isn’t mine, but I like to think of her as the mother of the current crop of Rock and Roll Poets, as I call them. Her work is edgy, or so academia seems to think, but to me it is as REAL as REAL is when waking up in a bed that’s not yours with a tipped over bottle of vodka that you are damn sure hoping poured out onto the floor and not your mouth. Now that good just be me. But these are my favorite poets.

This is a multi talented writer, who has written not just prize-winning poems, but prize-winning essays. She never stops writing, it would appear with her latest publication being a story collection , The Palace of Allusions in 2014 and now Blues Poems and Portraits (2015)

I came to Addonizio in a back-handed way, a student handed me her book, Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within, and I was in love with the ideas she let out and onto me. So then it was to her poetry I ran. It has only been a few years, and still she has become a favorite. Below I give you two of her poems, and urge you to at the very least buy Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within. When I read her poetry I think, if only Anne Sexton were alive to see how far we get to take poetry now, she would be PROUD!
Two of my favorite poems from this poet who knows how to push the edge and sometimes jump right over.

What Do Women Want?


I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Kim Addonizio, “What Do Women Want?” from Tell Me. Copyright © 2000 by Kim Addonizio.
found on, buy the book at

Source: Tell Me (BOA Editions Ltd., 2000)



BY KIM ADDONIZIOOh hell, here’s that dark wood again.
You thought you’d gotten through it—
middle of your life, the ogre turned into a mouse
and heart-stopped, the old hag almost done,
monsters hammered down
into their caves, werewolves outrun.
You’d come out of all that, into a field.
There was one man standing in it.
He held out his arms.
Ping went your iHeart
so you took off all your clothes.
Now there were two of you,
or maybe one, mashed back together
like sandwich halves,
oozing mayonnaise.
You lived on grapes and antidepressants
and the occasional small marinated mammal.
You watched the DVDs that dropped
from the DVD tree. Nothing
was forbidden you, so no worries there.
It rained a lot.
You planted some tomatoes.
Something bad had to happen
because no trouble, no story, so
Fuck you, fine, whatever,
here comes more black trees
hung with sleeping bats
like ugly Christmas ornaments.
Don’t you hate the holidays?
All that giving. All those wind-up
crèches, those fake silver icicles.
If you had a real one you could stab
your undead love through its big
cursed heart. Instead you have a silver noodle
with which you must flay yourself.
Denial of pleasure,
death before death,
alone in the woods with a few bats
unfolding their creaky wings.

—Kim Addonizio

from Best American Poetry 2013

The Truck Driver’s Daughter is Availabe!

I should have mentioned this nearly a month ago, some how I got caught up in other things.  My book The Truck Driver’s Daughter has been released and can be purchased here, and soon to be found on

TTDD CoverThe Truck Driver’s Daughter

What people are saying about The Truck Driver’s Daughter

Do not be fooled by the quotidian nature of Denise R. Weuve’s new title: The Truck Driver’s Daughter. Yes, trucks and drivers and daughters abound throughout these pages, but so do masterfully achieved metaphors informed by both contemporary and mythological landscapes and a skill with language that many would find enviable. These are poems of brutal, graphic honesty written by a poet who is not afraid to show both strength and vulnerability. This collection is a beautiful testament to Denise’s big intelligence and even bigger heart. —Cathy Smith Bowers, North Carolina Poet Laureate, 2010-2012

The poems in Denise Weuve’s The Truck Driver’s Daughter are stark, urgent, often with an emotional brutality very much rooted in the real world.  She confronts the convolution of everyday life, its bewildering mass of human relations, with candor and insight.  When there is a narrative, it has been stripped down to essentials, inviting the reader’s engagement.  And indeed, it is impossible not to succumb to the wit and humor in these poems, in lines like “…not all women /can eat /fire and survive” and “…no man ever has to worry about the steak knife between my mattress and box spring.” —Shivani Mehta, author of Useful Information for the Soon-to-be Beheaded

In The Truck Driver’s Daughter, Denise R. Weuve offers us a collection of characters, flawed and striking. Sometimes beaten, sometimes beaten down and sometimes victorious, this exhilarating collection is like a pin-up girl crossed with a housewife with a knife hidden in the bed and a needle in her arm. Sympathetic and very exciting. In these poems there is a hint of noir, a hint of violence, real violence, protection, resignation, power and salvation. The celebration of a mother and grandmother, who “pin their paisley dresses above their knees, whisper curse words or dance in each other’s arms” set a wonderful tone in the first poem “When My Mother Danced”. Pour yourself a drink, have a seat, and enter the world of The Truck Driver’s Daughter. There are plenty of ways for you to come inside and participate emotionally in every poem. You will not be sorry. —Tobi Cogswell, Co-editor, Co-publisher, San Pedro River Review

Released October 2014 from ELJ Publications

Not Just A Poet

optimistRecently I did a profile for Poetry Lab, that asked what was something people did not know about me.  I said that I was a board member of the Optimist Club.  Those who have read my poetry, will find very little optimism anywhere within the lines.  I thing my blurbs for my book, “The Truck Driver’s Daughter” point out the realism and violence of life that seems to creep in them.  I cannot lie, and pretend they are inaccurate representation of my poetry, and myself.

Last night I attended the Cerritos Optimist International Installation dinner.  Like all installation dinners, it welcomes the new board, and new president. Offers entertainment and conversation with people you normally have little time to do more than shake hands and get to your seat before a meeting.  Thanks those who came before and those who put in the extra effort.  I have been a member for 3 years (as of September 8th) yet seen 4 of these, due to an invite by a close friend.

The past year I took on the Octagon Club at the school I teach at.  I won’t lie it was HARD.  I was told the biggest the club had ever got was 60 people.  No issue.  I could handle that.  And there were so many students that they could not fit in my classroom.  They were standing in the hallway.  Turns out that day there was over 150 students trying to be part of the club.  By the time we chartered we had over 200 students.  It was amazing.  The students who came in as my board, were so excited, but absolutely unprepared for the work that would follow.  By the 3rd month in, those who started on the board gave up and stopped doing everything.  I had the great fortune of having a total of 6 students who stepped up.  3 who are close to my heart, Jasmine Chen, Tiffany Liu, and Sarah Tseng, and 3 who became close to my heart Jin Kim, NAncy Cheoung, and Nathan Thumwanit.  Others helped along the way but without those 6 people we would have never made it through the year, and the club would have died.  And what a shame that would have been because they are the largest service club of teenagers in not only the district, but the region.

I name them all today because they, along with another 200 students deserve recognition, because last night I was named Optimist of the Year, for the work that went into this Club.  I would not have been that fortunate had it not been for these students jumping in every time something needed to be done.


An Anniversary of Gratitude

Picture 3Three Years!

I started this site 3 years ago, when I decided it was time to be a writer again.  It was time to flex my poetic muscle, should I have any.  Turns out that is the only place I have muscle.

Around the same time I started this blog, I also began going to open mics, and after about a year of that, I threw my poems to the wolves of publishing.  I have been blessed, finding more Yeses than Nos to my work.  Here is the first poem I had published online, with Eunoia Review, and the most recent, with Poetry Super Highway.

In these three years much has happened, including my first chapbook coming out, The Truck Driver’s Daughter,  from ELJ Publications, I founded an amazing magazine, Wherewithal, and am attending Queens University of Charlotte as a MFA candidate.

Overall, though, I have been grateful for the support that has come my way.  Followers of this website, encouragers of poetry everywhere, and those willing to lend an ear, to what more often than not is a whiny woman looking for unattainable answers to the questions she hasn’t even asked yet.

Thank you all.

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 7.26.04 PM


Speeding Down Poetry Super Highway

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.45.33 AMThis week I have the distinct honor of being a featured poet for Poetry Super Highway. Rick Lupert is not only one of the funniest poets I have ever heard read, but also he is an amazing supporter and resource for the local community of writers and beyond.

When you go to the site, to see my latest publication, take a gander at the links that will just  blow your mind with how helpful they are to you as a poet.

Depression and the Importance of Poetry

Rough Day To Be Human

The loss of Robin Williams, has unleashed a barrage of post on depression, suicide, mental illness and the like.  People coming clean about their own problems and artist, because those are the people who are mostly in my life, talking about whether we, as artist, are more prone to sadness and these illnesses.

writing-2.jpgI will maintain that artist are not more prone to these things than non-artist, (I have no statistical proof of anything I say) but instead say artist, either via their work or themselves are simply more publicly viewed, scrutinized, and dehumanized.  I like to think that I am a talented writer, and more often than not, the writing community–as a whole–makes me feel that way.  My writing has often been a gift that has allowed me to release varying levels of pain through poems.  And in that moment, after a reading that has gone well, an acceptance letter, I forget all the negativity, and  self loathing that ferments inside.  I imagine it was much the same for Robin Williams, the applause, the adoration, and craft made him escape the pain in that moment.

The problem is you always only escape for a moment, but at some point you go home, you are in a car alone, you see a bar, you see a mirror, and you are what you have always been at the core, a person looking for acceptance and love, cause the depression has robbed you of any love you might have been able to build for yourself. It is my best bet, that depressed souls are the easiest to take advantage of because depression is linked to self-esteem, and a depressed self-esteem is looking for anything that validates them, a bottle of wine, a laugh, or a person, but again none of these validations stay permanently, and cannot fix the core.

What I know of depression is limited, I am sure, but I know my family has experienced it through generations, and never acknowledged it.  My mother tells the story of finding her father swinging from a beam in the basement when she was seven.  She does not tell the story of how she cried herself to sleep for years, or how her mood swings and depression were explained as “the change of life”, that would one day come for me, as well, so I had to understand.  My mother’s menopause lasted for 21 years.  I’m pretty sure that is medically impossible (but again I have no proof).  Nor do we talk about how as a child I was fine staying in the house and not playing with friends, because I had learned I was not lovable or even likable, and internalized it.  We certainly do not discuss the day I came back from the liquor store on the street corner of Seventh and Magnolia, with a can of Dr. Pepper, and dropped it in the door frame.  It exploded, and at 15, I just started crying (the proverbial spilt Dr. Pepper, as it were).  My mother was confused by my reaction, and I think understood for a moment that it was not a normal reaction, and tried to make jokes to make me laugh, to stop the crying.  Humor being the medicine many use to cope with what they do not understand. When it did not stop, she threaten to smack the tears out of me.  I muffled it, in my pillow and cannot honestly tell you how long I cried over a can of soda.

In my family depression is shameful.  One of my siblings suffered anxiety, and we all decided it was just an over zealous need for attention when the sibling was given medication.  I mean us ALL, including myself.  My mother, after the loss of her mother, dropped deeper in her cycle of depression and we begged her to take anxiety medication prescribed by the doctor.  She did not.  Collected boxes of it each trip to the doctor, that eventually were disposed of, but I cannot imagine she ever took more than 3, because she said only crazy people need medicine for their mind.   For myself I once told my doctor about  the idea that  I might be depressed, she immediately thought I should take medication.  She knew my medical history, family history, and a few of the events that had occurred in my life, that would have done most people in, but I refused the prescription.  Once I was told that people need to be honest with two professionals in their lives, Lawyers and Doctors, and listen to their advice, apparently I did not listen then either.

It’s a truth, that on the outside I am funny, and when I psyche myself up, I am the life of the party, but inside I am shriveled and searching.   Once a college professor asked me why my poetry did not reflect my personality.  He wanted my words to make him laugh on the page as I did in class, with my snarkiness.  And there, my friends, is the importance of poetry, all that destroys the insides must escape in some tangible form, or suicide indeed becomes a viable option. Self medicating, which I believe all humans do to some extent, becomes an addiction.  Recently a best friend, a man whose mother suffers from depression, and I thought that would be enough for him to understand, said “don’t ruin the mood” when I was trying to let him know how low I was at the moment.   He tells me I see everything wrong, to just be optimistic, and worse does not realize he has crush me with flippancy.  This shows the frustration of the depressed, that even when we beg to be heard, we aren’t.   It is these times when I am grateful to hide in my home with paper and pen.

To this end I can say only this, pick up a paper and pen (paintbrush, camera, yarn, material, whatever you have to express yourself) You do not have to be a poet or artist to unleash what has been shriveling up your core.  You deserve better, then what you think you do, even if you cannot read that and internalize it at this moment.

You deserve to be heard.


Medical study from Psyche Central.

Submitting Is the Hardest Thing to Do. . .In Poetry!



Let’s face it, it is difficult to decide to submit your work, your poems, your babies out there to a careless, heartless, ruthless editor.  And what is worse is that ugly NO that comes back more often than not.

Here’s the thing, if you don’t let your poems out there into the world, no one will know how great you are, except you, and maybe a few friends.  To be honest, editors are not (normally) careless, heartless, or ruthless.  Most editors are dying for really good work to hit their inbox, and you could be hiding that poem that will rock their world from them.  I cannot begin to fathom how many magazines and journals are out there waiting for work.  Duotrope (great tool, but does cost $50 a year-worth it if you are going to really use it) might be able to help you a bit, or Poets & Writers for that matter, but I can talk about a few places that I think would be kind to you as you start or continue your journey into the publication world.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 6.58.31 PMLet me start with the guy that I hands down think is the nicest EVER, Russell Streur, and his journal The Camel Saloon.  He has guidelines to follow as all of these will have, but he will also write you back quickly whether it is an acceptance or a rejection.  He also, on rare occasion offers information on new journals.  Big bonus he has a great list of other magazine to check out on the web.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.02.56 PMIs your writing a bit dark, maybe twisted, or just simply strange.  Carnival Literary Magazine wants YOU and your work.  Currently the editors are Shannon and Jose Miguel.  I find the work on these pages refreshing and risk taking.  Nothing good happens without risk.

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Next up Gutter Eloquence, founded and edited by Jack T. Marlowe.  This is a quarterly magazine ran by a darn good poet.  the work here is relevant, gritty, hard truths with powerful imagery, more often than not.  Send him work (when not on hiatus) that knock the proverbial socks off.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.11.07 PMWe all write about heart ache and heart-break, and Napalm and Novocain wants to hear all about it, in fresh imagery and poems that knock the wind out of the reader.  What is great about this press is Amy Huffman actually has several online magazines catering to different styles of poetry and flash fiction.  Write Haikus? There’s a place for you.  Write nature poems?  She’s got that covered too, and so much more.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.13.54 PMEunoia Review has a dear place in my heart, because when Kevin says he wants to help the new writer find a place, he means it.  This is the place that first accepted my work, over two years ago.  And Kevin continues to give new writers a place to call home.  Send to him, and he will respond with lightening speed.  Always kind, even when it’s a no.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.24.17 PMNice intelligent people, that love poetry, are not as hard to find as you would imagine.  Take for example Ariana Den Bleyker, who genuinely wants to bring new work to the public.  She does so through her press, and this journal, Emerge Literary Journal.  I should disclose that her New York Press, ELJ, is publishing my debut collection in October of this year.  How much more must I say to prove how nice editors can be?


Before you go off and start sending your work out, still make sure you read the magazines, and their guidelines.  The  quickest way to be rejected is to ignore guidelines.  Most (editors) won’t even read your work if you fail to follow those rules set by the magazines.

Happy Poeting Cats and Kittens.



All pictures from said magazine’s Websites

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