Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Blog

I won't be posting to this blog anymore—new posts will appear on the new site.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resolutions for 2013

It's hard to believe the year's almost over. A ton has happened since last January, so this blog post is mostly to get it all down on (electronic) paper, organize my thoughts, and start prioritizing for the New Year.


I learned to program. I mean really learned. I'd taught myself a bit of JavaScript and Python the year before; I learned some Java in college; at varying points in my childhood I played around with Logo, HTML/CSS, and TI-BASIC. In the last twelve months, I've gone from knowing relatively little to understanding Python and JavaScript (though the latter still manages to surprise me somewhat regularly) and feeling proficient in (though not yet a native speaker of) Ruby and C. I even learned a bit of Haskell!

I started a new job. In late August, I left Random House (where I'd worked for exactly four years) and took a job with Codecademy. While I owe a great deal to RH and I miss the people there, I now get to help teach the world to program. How cool is that?

I published well. I'm enormously grateful to be able to say my poems appeared in The New Yorker, Denver Quarterly, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Indiana Review, and Crazyhorse in 2012. Huge thanks to the editors of those journals/magazines, my teachers, and all the fantastic poets and writers I had the opportunity to work with during my MFA.

I read lots of good books. Including, but not limited to:


  • The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands by Nick Flynn
  • Northerners by Seth Abramson
  • Destroyer and Preserver by Matthew Rohrer
  • The Chameleon Couch by Yusef Komunyakaa
  • Ideal Cities by Erika Meitner
  • The Lichtenberg Figures by Ben Lerner
  • Pity the Bathtub its Forced Embrace of the Human Form by Matthea Harvey
  • Modern Life by Matthea Harvey
  • Things are Happening by Joshua Beckman
  • Flies by Michael Dickman
  • The Complete Poems of Hart Crane by Hart Crane
  • Fancy Beasts by Alex Lemon
  • The Last Usable Hour by Deborah Landau
  • Beauty Was the Case That They Gave Me by Mark Leidner
  • Litany for the City by Ryan Teitman
  • Collected Poems by Lynda Hull


  • Code Complete (2nd Edition) by Steve McConnell
  • The C Programming Language by Brian Kernighan & Dennis Ritchie
  • The Mythical Man-Month (2nd Edition) by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.
  • Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby by Sandi Metz
  • JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford
  • Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke
  • Eloquent Ruby by Russ Olsen
  • Seven Languages in Seven Weeks by Bruce A. Tate
  • Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby by _why the lucky stiff


Become a better programmer. There's still a ton of stuff I want to learn, both about the technologies and languages I've already picked up and a thousand other things I didn't have the time to tackle in 2012. The big ones:

  • More about Ruby, particularly metaprogramming in Ruby
  • More about JavaScript (which will likely involve plowing through the gargantuan JavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan)
  • Twitter Bootstrap
  • Algorithms and data structures (backfilling some of my missing CS knowledge)
  • The UNIX operating system, including bash and zsh
  • More about relational database systems, as well as their alternatives (e.g. MongoDB)
  • Information security
  • Functional programming style, likely through Haskell or F♯
  • Memory management in C and x86 assembly

Have my first full-length book accepted for publication. I have a couple of manuscripts ready and I think they're where I want them to be, so now it's the ongoing game of musical chairs: matching the book to a publisher before the music stops. (If it stops, it stops, & I'll try again in 2014.)

Learn to shave with a straight razor. After thinking about it for a year or two, I finally went out and bought a razor and strop. After watching a billion YouTube videos demonstrating how to do everything from set up and care for the razor itself to actually shaving with it, I'm reasonably sure I can learn not to maim myself with it in a couple of weeks, and actually be pretty adept with it in just a few months.

Learn more about coffee. I started grinding my own coffee this year and learned a lot about drip brewing. Thanks to friends at work who are much more knowledgeable than me, I also learned a fair amount about espresso. In 2013, I'd like to try out some more brewing methods/types of coffee & learn more about what makes a great cup.

Rebuild my website from the ground up with Twitter Bootstrap. I'd like to incorporate this blog into it, too. I'm not sure a full-fledged Rails app is necessary, but I think something more lightweight (like Express or Sinatra) might be a good solution.

Publish more poems. I've been writing up a storm the last week or so, and I'm ready to hit the ground running come January.

Read more good books. Including, but not limited to:


  • Bender: New & Selected Poems by Dean Young
  • Poems 1962 – 2012 by Louise Glück
  • The Word on the Street by Paul Muldoon
  • The Best American Poetry 2012 edited by Mark Doty
  • Later Poems Selected and New: 1971 – 2012 by Adrienne Rich
  • Quick Question by John Ashbery
  • Maybe the Saddest Thing by Marcus Wicker
  • Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva translated by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine
  • Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds
  • Thunderbird by Dorothea Lasky


  • Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold Abelson et al. (started in 2012; will finish in 2013!)
  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Martin Fowler et al.
  • Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Erich Gamma et al.
  • Design Patterns in Ruby by Russ Olsen
  • Introduction to Algorithms (2nd Edition) by Thomas Cormen et al.
  • Algorithms by Sanjoy Dasgupta et al.
  • The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt & Dave Thomas
  • Hacking: The Art of Exploitation (2nd Edition) by Jon Erickson
  • Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (2nd Edition) by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
  • Regular Expressions Cookbook by Jan Goyvaerts & Steven Levithan
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter
  • The Joy of Clojure by Michael Fogus and Chris Houser
  • Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! by Miran Lipovača
  • Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold
  • Pro Git by Scott Chacon
  • Practical Vim by Drew Neil
  • Ruby Best Practices by Gregory T. Brown
  • The Well-Grounded Rubyist by David A. Black (started in 2012; will finish in 2013!)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summer—Uh, Fall Reading

Fall Reading, 2012
  • The Copper Scroll, Joe Donahue
  • The Network, Jenna Osman
  • Regular Expressions Cookbook, Jan Goyvaerts and Steven Levithan
  • Liar's Poker, Michael Lewis
  • The Cloud Corporation, Timothy Donnelly
  • The C Programming Language, Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie
  • Ruby Best Practices, Gregory T. Brown
  • Design Patterns in Ruby, Russ Olsen
  • Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, Erich Gamma et al.
  • The Innovator's Dilemma, Clayton Christensen
  • The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development, Brant Cooper et al.
  • The Modern Poetic Sequence, M. L. Rosenthal and Sally M. Gall
  • Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems, Susan Grimm
  • Introduction to Algorithms, Thomas Cormen et al.
  • Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner
  • The Four Steps to the Epiphany, Steven Gary Blank
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Douglas Hofstadter
Suggestions welcome!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guest Blogging at Ploughshares

I'll be guest blogging weekly (every Wednesday) over at the Ploughshares blog from now until April. Check out my first post!

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Poem!

...forthcoming in The Southern Review this spring. Details TK!

In fact, lots of things TK. I've been horribly remiss in my blogging lately; more soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


troy, when the walls fell

— 09.21.2011, 11:08 PM

The walls dissolved. Troy’s citizenry wept.
Achilles’ vengeance canceled out the day.
A man was executed while I slept.

Achilles’ men expected they’d accept
the hollow horse, the camouflaged decay.
Their walls dissolved, Troy’s citizenry wept.

He did not gentle go, and though he kept
beseeching the Achaeans, won no stay.
A man was executed while I slept.

Olympus’ gods were never so inept
as then. Their job’s to know how our hearts weigh.
The walls dissolved. Troy’s citizenry wept.

I would have dreamed through all of this, except
the television woke me up to say
a man was executed while I slept.

Measureless, his heart’s weight as he stepped
into that room. As death was underway
our walls dissolved. Troy’s citizenry wept.
A man was executed while we slept—