Two skeleton covers on the homepage, on chapbooks by Kelly Fordon and Bonne de Blas. You should read them both, and then for comic relief, try Chris Howey’s chap. (Click on the links to read Kelly’s description of writing The Witness; and to check out Chris’s play, Exact Change.)

The wompus is not exactly dismembered right now. More just disassembled into different rooms, as we house assorted guests over the holidays. Printing has been separated from folding, which is separated from… you get the idea. One of the wompus cats will be leaving us soon, sad to say, but his time is drawing down. We love him to pieces. We may have to name something after him. Meantime we took a quick break for a walloping good time down in NYC with a bunch of wompus poets and musicians at the Cornelia Street Cafe. Some evenings you show up because you said you would, and you walk out at the end refreshed and reinvigorated beyond any expectation. My enduring gratitude to Susana Case and Margo Taft Stever for organizing a series of wompus readings, and to  Cornelius Eady for infusing this particular event with his unique passion, eloquence, musicianship and vision. We can’t wait to let you in on our next upcoming project with Cornelius and Rough Magic. Also delighting us that evening with some poems were Ann Cefola and Robin Messing.

Thich Nhat Hanh said something like, when you need to be caring for people who are suffering deeply, drop down out of your head, and your heart. Picture yourself like a tree, whose branches are bending with the pain you witness. You may feel they will break with the pain. Under the ground the tree spreads roots as far into the earth as its branches reach toward the sky. Place your consciousness in your trunk, just above your navel, and draw strength from the roots, from the earth.

Drop down, not just out of your head, but out of your heart. This was a needed reminder for me. If you too are one of those people with a little too much capacity for empathy, you know what I’m saying. And the state of the world right now–well, if you refuse to numb out, and you can’t tolerate being in a perpetual state of anger or grief, you need some mad skills to locate a place inside yourself where you can bear witness, continue to work, continue to breathe.

May you breathe deeply that which sustains and renews you at this turn of the year, as darkness deepens and then begins to release us, and the light lengthens once more.


with love & hugs,