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Rebecca Lehmann

The tarantula and me

I was on my way home from the art fair when I saw the two tarantulas. My husband and I recently moved to a small town in north Texas so I could take a job as a Visiting Assistant Professor at a small liberal arts college. My previous experience with Texas was limited to one [...]

In the not quite recall hours, deceptive advertizing begins

While the rest of the nation is focused on the Republican presidential primary, here in Wisconsin, we are thinking about another looming election: the recall election of Governor Scott Walker. You probably remember Governor Walker from early 2011, when he pushed through legislation stripping public employees of their union rights, causing several Democrat state senators [...]

What to do about student loan debt?

In a recent series of opinion articles on The New York Times website, various thinkers ponder the wisdom and efficacy of the changes to student loan debt repayment proposed by Obama: that borrowers be able to consolidate loans at a slightly lower rate, that Income Based Repayment plans be made more accessible, and that loan [...]

Political poetry

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about poems. My first book of poems is about to come out (obligatory self endorsement), I’ve been teaching poetry in all three of my classes (one a creative writing class, one a composition class, one a glorious class on contemporary poets in which I get to teach all my [...]

Tax the rich!

Today’s New York Times reported, in a front page article, that President Obama plans to push a tax plan which will tax any Americans making over a million dollars a year at the same rate at which middle-class Americans are taxed. This new tax system would replace or revamp the alternative minimum tax, and has [...]

Denied the right to vote

When I last lived in Wisconsin in 2006, voting was easy. Wisconsin had a bevy of accommodations which made it easier, rather than more difficult, for people to vote, including same day voter registration, registration without photo-ID, and a ten-day residency requirement. My husband and I moved back to Wisconsin in the end of July [...]

The cost of doing po-business

Anyone in the United States who has tried to publish a first book of poetry has run into the bind of the contest reading system. One of the only ways to publish a first book (and increasingly, a second or even third book) is to enter it into one of a rapidly proliferating number of [...]

Job destroyers

Right now, our representatives and senators and president are engaged in talks over the debt ceiling, the national budget, and how to end the pernicious recession that has lingered over a sizeable chunk of this writer’ s adult life. People are out of work, and the economy is in the toilet. Is this the way [...]

Most hated poems

Poetry is a genre of writing whose audience is generally limited to its practitioners. That is, the largest population of readers for most practicing poets is other practicing poets. Poets like to get together and bitch about this, bemoaning a lack of education about poetry in elementary and high schools, or the over-intellectualization of poetry, [...]

Lit. mag. la-la land

Have you noticed how many literary magazines there are out there now ? I have about a year’s worth of four or five great lit. magazines stacked up on my desk that I keep meaning to get to. But what about all the mediocre magazines, and all the really crappy magazines? Who’s reading them all? [...]

I used to be a vegetarian. For ten years, I consumed neither beast, nor fish, nor fowl. I didn’t eat meat for moral reasons; I thought it was wrong to kill animals for food. But, like many idealists, I eventually caved. Six years later, vegetarianism fully eschewed, this Midwestern girl finds herself living in the [...]

Commencement: now what?

On Friday night I officially finished my PhD in English at Florida State University. I’ m entering into one of the worst acade mic job markets in recent history, with a slim chance of finding a position teaching in a university. Perhaps needless to say, it’s been hard to maintain hope that the degree I [...]

The Robin Hood Party

After watching the Tea Party rallies which took place over the weekend in places like Florida and Madison, Wisconsin, held by reality-TV show star Donald Trump and reality-TV show star/former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, I began to think that those of us Democrats who believe in fiscal responsibility via raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans [...]

Submission and rejection in National Poetry Month

“April is the cruelest month,” begins T.S. Eliot’s long poem “The Wasteland.” For me, March was particularly brutal. Between first-book contests, journal submission, post-graduate fellowships, and the academic job market, I was rejected for no less than a dozen things. Some of these rejections were easier to take than others (did I really think I’d [...]