September 27, 2021

May 15, 2021

"Catfish" Reading

In the lovely art and performance gallery Bill Arning Exhibitions in Houston on Sunday, May 23, at 5 PM, I'll be reading "Catfish," a lengthy poem about about being in love with an ideal but perfectly fake man on Grindr, from my imagistic poetry collection Catfish and After, published by Brighten Press. Books will be available for sale and signature.

Also during that evening's event, poet David LeJeune will read from his Hardcore Epic Queer Erotic Saga.

Please join us. It will be a gay old time.

"Catfish" by Gene Hult

January 11, 2021

Final Call for the Scorpio Anthology!


Scorpio Anthology from Brighten Press
Final call! 

Submit your SCORPIO-themed writing to an anthology of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from Brighten Press

Deadline January 15, 2021.

 Previously published work welcome.

December 25, 2020

Gifts Video

Merry Christmas! I've created a new video for my poem "Gifts" from the book Catfish and After, which is at least somewhat holiday-appropriate. Enjoy!

December 18, 2020

Attention Scorpios!

Attention Scorpios! (And those affected by Scorpios.)

Brighten Press is seeking writing for an anthology of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction with a SCORPIO theme. 

Deadline January 15, 2021. 

Previously published work welcome. 

For more details, please visit Brighten Press.

December 03, 2020

Huge Sale on Framed Photos!


I've slashed prices for the holidays at the Citysqwirl Etsy store! My original framed photographic collages are now more than 50% reduced -- with free shipping!

There are also three new 4-panel 4"x4" photo collages in 10"x10" frames up in the store:

Red Flowers Photo Tetraptych

Red Flowers Photo Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

New York City in the Snow Photo Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

Yellow-Orange Flowers Photo Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

There are also 8 other photo collages available at the Citysqwirl Etsy store. I hope you'll visit and find one you love for yourself . . . or to give to someone you love for the holidays.

October 28, 2020

September 21, 2020

Fire the Liar

The current Republican in the oval office is heinous on every level, but his greed and inability to tell the truth are the worst. Time to let a caring, thoughtful, honest human run the country again. Vote Biden/Harris for President 2020.

July 23, 2020

Framed Photo Etsy Shop

I spent the last few weeks gathering my favorite photographs I've taken, reformatting them to 3.5" x 3.5" or 4.5" x 4.5", with a .25" white margin all around, and getting them printed. Then I began the process of mounting curated sets in triptych and tetraptych frames I bought.

Earlier, after much searching, I had ordered 8 vertical triptych 16" x 6" frames with 4.5" x 4.5" collage mats from Michaels, but they went out of stock and only 1 arrived. So I had to regroup and order square 10"x10" frames from Amazon, each with tetraptych (also sometimes called quadtych or quadriptych) 3.5" x 3.5" collage mats. 

I think the mounted pictures in the sets I put together came out really beautiful. I hope you agree!

All of these photos were taken in or around the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas, with the exception of the white hydrangea above, which was taken in Quogue, NY, and the butterflies, which were taken at the Cockrell Butterfly Center | Houston Museum Of Natural Science.

Click on any picture to see that listing on Etsy.

Blue and Purple Flowers Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

Butterflies Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

Glowing Flowers Triptych by Citysqwirl

Magenta Flowers Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

Waterbirds in Flight Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

Wet Flowers Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

White and Yellow Flowers Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

Yellow Flowers Tetraptych by Citysqwirl

July 09, 2020

Literate Discussions 14: "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens

A fun, in-depth chat with M. David Hornbuckle, in his Literate Discussions series, about one of my favorite poems, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens. 

It's totally, like, Zen, man.

Wallace Stevens

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Among twenty snowy mountains,  
The only moving thing  
Was the eye of the blackbird.   

I was of three minds,  
Like a tree  
In which there are three blackbirds.   

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.  
It was a small part of the pantomime.   

A man and a woman  
Are one.  
A man and a woman and a blackbird  
Are one.   

I do not know which to prefer,  
The beauty of inflections  
Or the beauty of innuendoes,  
The blackbird whistling  
Or just after.   

Icicles filled the long window  
With barbaric glass.  
The shadow of the blackbird  
Crossed it, to and fro.  
The mood  
Traced in the shadow  
An indecipherable cause.   

O thin men of Haddam,  
Why do you imagine golden birds?  
Do you not see how the blackbird  
Walks around the feet  
Of the women about you?   

I know noble accents  
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;  
But I know, too,  
That the blackbird is involved  
In what I know.   

When the blackbird flew out of sight,  
It marked the edge  
Of one of many circles.   

At the sight of blackbirds  
Flying in a green light,  
Even the bawds of euphony  
Would cry out sharply.   

He rode over Connecticut  
In a glass coach.  
Once, a fear pierced him,  
In that he mistook  
The shadow of his equipage  
For blackbirds.   

The river is moving.  
The blackbird must be flying.   

It was evening all afternoon.  
It was snowing  
And it was going to snow.  
The blackbird sat  
In the cedar-limbs.

July 06, 2020

Writer's Block Pep Talk

 Originally written for English Composition I students before they tackled an Academic Research Essay first draft.

All writers feel like they're stuck sometimes.

It can be confusion about what you should write next that stops you from putting down the next word. Or it can be an unwillingness to focus, to concentrate, to get started. It could be a feeling that whatever you write will be crap, so why bother? Or that it's too hard. It could also be resentment that it's required. Or it could just be that you have other stuff you'd much rather do and that's distracting you.

Let's go through those issues:

1. Confusion about what's next. If you have an outline, follow it exactly. If you don't have an outline, write one. Outlines really work as ladders to help you climb through the writing process so you don't get stuck in figuring out the next step. Follow the essay format.

Also, if you can't figure out the next sentence, think about imagery -- often, describing something with your senses will help you move forward.

Another possibility is to skip the difficult choice for now and write a different section. There's no rule that says you must write the essay in order. If you're stuck on Reason 1, write the Conclusion . . . and go back to Reason 1 later.

2. Don't want to write. Sometimes the act of writing, especially the idea of sitting down and getting started, feels loathsome and repulsive. The first step to fixing that is sitting down and writing something, anything, just to get the language flowing. You can always delete this "throat-clearing" later.

Switch up your method. If you usually write in a notebook, write directly on your computer or your phone. Or if you always write on your laptop, try pen on paper.

Sometimes it also helps to change your environment. Go someplace else where nobody is bothering you and there's a calm atmosphere.  Often the action of choosing a new or different location to write helps put you in the mindspace to get work done.

You might also want to switch up your music, or have some comfort food. Caffeine helps, too.

3. It's going to be crap. Yeah, it probably will. So what? You can fix it later. In a first draft particularly, don't let perfectionism, fear, or your internal editor stop you from writing words. Allow yourself to be awful at first. Who cares? You're not chiseling this essay onto a marble headstone -- you're writing on paper or in a word processor, and everything can be changed easily. 

Don't worry about grammar or spelling or generalizations or generics or whatever other rules you have in your head. Those can all be revised. You have to check for that stuff afterward anyway, so don't worry about it up front. Blurt out your first attempt just to fill up the pages.

4. Writing is too hard. Yes, writing is very difficult. It's hard for everyone. Don't throw yourself a pity party about it. Language is slippery, and it's tricky to reach for what you want to say and find the best, clearest way to express your ideas.

But you can do it. You are better at writing than you think. Center yourself and write what you know, think, and feel, in your own words. Your writing is valid and worthwhile. Your voice is necessary in this world. Other people need to read your work because your exact experience is unlike anyone else's.

Write like you're talking, telling a story, explaining to someone -- a friend, parent, sibling, teacher, boss, priest, child, significant other -- your ideas. Sometimes it helps to actually talk through your essay with someone. Explaining it out loud will help focus your thoughts into words.

Don't get fancy or give yourself extra difficulties in the language. It helps me to repeat a line of Gertrude Stein's: Sometimes the best way to say it is just to say it.

5. I have to write, so I don't want to. Yeah, I'm a rebel too. Nothing is fun if it's required. Then it's work, right? Then it's a chore. So how can you make it fun? How can you make writing feel like play? Enjoying yourself while writing will make it enjoyable for the reader, too. Make sure you care about your subject, that you're genuinely curious about what you're writing -- that will help you stay engaged. Be funny, be smart and silly, get stylish and cool. Put on a stupid hat or a ridiculous outfit and shake your shoulders to upbeat music as you write. Let go of the resentment, and get it done.

You can also reward yourself with a treat for getting a specific amount of writing done: If I finish Reason 2, I can play Xbox for an hour. Beware of rewarding yourself with cookies, though! That's how I got fat.

6. There are a million things I'd rather do . . . or that I have to do. Certainly it isn't always easy to find the time to sit down and write. It helps to have a set routine for when you work. You can't wait until you feel inspired. It's so easy to procrastinate and find other tasks. My kitchen is never cleaner than when I'm on a deadline. But when you catch yourself doing something other than writing your essay, ask yourself, Is this necessary right now? If it is, then finish it up. But if not . . . admit that you're distracted. Get back to writing. Sit in the chair and write some words.

Use a timer. Set a countdown for 20 minutes and get that clock ticking. During that time, don't allow yourself to do anything else but write.

If you can't write at that moment, do the next best thing -- research your subject. Sometimes reading other people's ideas will help motivate you to argue with your own. But stick to researching your essay! Don't let yourself go down the wrong rabbit hole.

I hope some of those ideas help you get unstuck and plow through the first draft.

Remember: the best trick to get writing done . . . is doing some writing.

June 22, 2020

Citysqwirl on YouTube

Trying to build up my YouTube base -- please take a second and subscribe to my poetry and humor channel, if you would be so kind?
Thanks, baby.