Première Issue 

Autumn 1999




Beth Houston










poetry index                     

by Alex Pepple






The Entry of Christ Into the Castro

Nike of Samothrace

Unfinished Bound Slave

Jupiter and Io


Postmodern Postmortum

St. Francis 
Preaching to the Birds

Cloister Graveyard
in the Snow

Woman at the Well

The Toreador Fresco


Alice's(?) Auto(?)Biography

Battle of Naked Men

Running Into a Student at Baker Beach



Ars Poetica - an electronic book of poetry by Beth Houston

Ars Poetica —
an electornic 
book of poetry


An electronic chapbook at 
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 Review’s 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.

Thank you.

How many new poems did you have to write to have enough for the electronic book?

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.

I know you have some kind of online presence already. You have a chapbook of poems on the Literary Review’s site at Web Del Sol. Now you’ll have presence on Able Muse. Are these two sites your only online presence so far?

I actually accidentally discovered another one a couple days ago when I put my name in — I’m on the Internet, I have Netscape, but I put my name into another — what do you call it?

Search engine. You put your name into another search engine...

Search engine, right, just for fun, and it brought up something else, and I thought, that’s 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.

These have been online for awhile, but you only recently got hooked up.

I only got Internet less than two months ago. Technologically I’ve 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 Kinko’s 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.

And now you have Internet, email, and web presence.

I feel like a troglodyte that’s just thawed out of the ice.

And I know you’ve been using your new Internet connection, because I could never get through on your phone line.

It was a bit tied up there at first.

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