The Entry of Christ Into the
Nike of Samothrace
Unfinished Bound Slave
Jupiter and Io
Preaching to the Birds
in the Snow
Woman at the Well
The Toreador Fresco
Battle of Naked Men
Running Into a Student at Baker Beach
book of poetry
The Literary Review
Beth Houston has been teaching
Creative Writing and Literature for over a decade at the University of
California, Berkeley, the University of California, Santa Cruz, San
Francisco State University, and the Harvey Milk Institute, as well as
conducting creative writing workshops throughout the San Francisco Bay
Area. She has published over 200 poems in journals such as The
Literary Review, Yale Review, Massachusetts Review, Feminist Studies,
13th Moon, Chicago Review, Florida Review, American Writing, and
The American Literary Review. Chapbooks of her poetry have been
published in Half Tones To Jubilee and by the Literary Reviews
web site. Her work has been included in anthologies
such as Drive, They Said, the Anthology of Magazine Verse,
and the Yearbook of American Verse. Recently she completed a
nonfiction book, The Power of Creation, and she is currently
writing a book on long-term lesbian relationships.
On July 22, 1999, I met Beth Houston at the coffee shop of Printers
Inc. Bookstore in Mountain View, CA. I found out that she had recently
worked there as events director, coordinating readings by authors.
That was to be the first of several delightful surprises that unfolded
in the course of this interview.
Alex: First, I want to thank you for being our
featured poet for this premier issue of Able Muse.
Beth: Thank you.
Alex: How many new poems did you have to write to have enough for
the electronic book?
Beth: None, I had these in a file collecting dust. I did revise them
a bit, though, in fact I tinkered with a few of them this morning.
Alex: I know you have some kind of online presence already. You have
a chapbook of poems on the Literary Reviews site at Web Del
Sol. Now youll have presence on Able Muse. Are these two
sites your only online presence so far?
Beth: I actually accidentally discovered another one a couple days
ago when I put my name in Im on the Internet, I have Netscape,
but I put my name into another what do you call it?
Alex: Search engine. You put your name into another search engine...
Beth: Search engine, right, just for fun, and it brought up
something else, and I thought, thats interesting. I discovered that Feminist
Studies has been putting a version of their journal online, so I
have at least one more poem out there.
Alex: These have been online for awhile, but you only recently got
Beth: I only got Internet less than two months ago. Technologically
Ive been running a length or two behind the pack. Only two years ago
I had to take my 5 1/4 inch double density disk of the Web Del Sol
poems to Kinkos to be converted to a standard size disk. That
computer was a dinosaur when it lumbered off the assembly line, which
was long before I got it. And I went through graduate school using a
typewriter I was told should only be used for ransom notes.
Alex: And now you have Internet, email, and web presence.
Beth: I feel like a troglodyte thats just thawed out of the ice.
Alex: And I know youve been using your new Internet connection,
because I could never get through on your phone line.
Beth: It was a bit tied up there at first.