Archived entries for Dena Rash Guzman

Dena Rash Guzman poetry in convenient book form

 The poetry and stories of Dena Rash Guzman should be no stranger to anyone who’s followed links of literary delight to/on or Unshod Quills (among many other publications). From the wry, the whimsical, the titillating, this lady’s got a way with words.

Her collection of poems, Life Cycle, is now on sale at Powell’s Books, where it’s made its way up the top-seller chart, and at St. Johns Booksellers.

Expect Life Cycle in Asia soon via H.A.L. Publishing.


Unchaste Readers 2

Monday, July 16
Unchaste Readers Version 2 Featuring

Kira Clark (poet, musician, editor @ Housefire)
Margaret Michelle (poet)
Nina Rockwell (poet and writer)
Domi J. Shoemaker (writer)
Lisa Wells (poet and author, Yeah. No. Totally.)
Lidia Yuknavitch (author,  The Chronology of Water; and Dora: a Headcase)

 doors 7:00 pm, show 7:30 PST
Jack London Bar, 529 SW 4th Ave.
Portland, Oregon, USA
$5 suggested donation

Unchaste Readers is a quarterly Portland, Oregon reading series
hosted and curated by Jenny Forrester and Dena Rash Guzman.

Unchaste Readers: Women Reading Their Minds.


HAL’s Mad Tea Party: Two Lumps

That’s right folks, time for more tea, check out these lovely little crumpets from our gals D and K below!

Dena Rash Guzman – All the Tea in China

Katrina Hamlin – New Home


All the Tea in China

By Dena Rash Guzman

The man in the tea shop glances up at us, opening his yellow smile like smog. My hands are hovering over sliced dried lemons. Hovering. A month later, after consumption of those lemons, my mouth will hover over my American toilet.  The lemons were poisonous. So much in China is poisonous. So much anywhere is poisonous. Poisoned. I don’t know yet about the lemons. I’m in the tea shop, wanting them, knowing how long it takes to make them at home in my oven. In my head I hear “Suzanne.”

I am going to bring home tea and lemons all the way from China. I will feed people these things. No oranges. No need. They are too heavy whole and I like California oranges. I like tangerines.
Continue reading…


H.A.L. proudly presents: Kelly Tsai live in the ‘Hai!

Continue reading…


Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL? HAL: Affirmative

Note: This is a true story. Some names have not been changed to protect the innocent.

Deep in the wilds of Western Oregon, HAL contributor and foreign correspondent Dena Rash Guzman was in the midst of a coffee fueled all night editing bender, with only the damp chilly summer air and some howling coyotes in the river gorge for company, when a text message from an unrecognized number appeared on her phone.

What’s the name of your publisher?
And do you have an email for them?

Though somewhat startled, Dena was not ever in the mood to miss out on a submission for HAL. She responded to the text.

You are likely thinking of HAL Publishing.
My email is
They are in Shanghai but I am
Managing Director North America so
I can direct your query. Who is this?

A few moments later came this response.

You’ll be receiving a message soon.

Continue reading…


Pandemic Panda Diplomacy

The Guys and Gals at H.A.L. and Unshod Quills got together for some hot and heavy  unprotected word play and managed to birth a piebald bastard lovechild. That’s right folks we somehow got it into our heads to choose Pandas, those darling ambassadors of peace and cuddliness from the PRC for our GT topic.  Little did we know that our writer out of residence, Dena Rash Guzman had an unhealthy Panda fixation and  rallied her troops to put out some top notch poetry, prose and pics of China’s other national symbol. So get ready for H.A.L. and UQ’s version of Pandemic Panda Diplomacy! All this week we will be featuring work by writers and artists from the USA and China, all in the name of promoting friendship, cooperation and hot panda lovin’ between two countries that are secretly afraid of each other but will never admit it…talk about your proverbial panda in the room…


H.A.L. & UQ

Dena Rash Guzman- Dear Mei,

An earthquake, a panda, a kidnapping, unrequited love. What else is there to say?

Rosemary Douglas Lombard & Heidi Tornieri – Bodacious Bear

Ancient Chinese myth meets a modern dilemma facing our furry friends. What’s a panda to do?

Wendy Ellis – Plastic Pandas

Plastic or made out of fur, pandas kick ass. Go with it!


Check Back on June 3oth, for Part 2 of our Pandemic Panda Diplomacy Series!


Dear Mei,

by Dena Rash Guzman

February 23, 2009

Dear Mei,

After decades of living apart I no longer can wait for you. There have been oceans and deserts, forests and swamps, homes and families, wars and commerce between us. Kilometers of longing rolled one after the other into a knot that finally tied my heart into bondage, and stopped it. Once I slept, warm, under the weight of our correspondence but now, my life is so full of it that I had to light a bonfire and turn it all to ash. Mei, many times you could have come to me, but every one of those time you went somewhere else. You did this and then in turn called me clingy and needy when I cried for your touch or the fragrant vibration of your lilting voice. Your freedom is the flight of a falcon and the fight of a revolution but I could have stopped it. I could have become a falconer or a diplomat and done my bit to make you mine.

Nor more than did you, did I. I know this. Now, Mei, there is something more you need to know. Continue reading…


Dena Launches into Your Veins

HAL is exceptionally proud to present to you the latest brainchild of our NA director, Ms Dena Rash Guzman:
Introduction of this new project below, in editor-in-chief Dena’s own words. HAL takes hat and pants off, and applauds.

Unshod Quills: a Pandemic Journal of the Arts and Letters is the newest project from HAL’s trusty foreign correspondent, Dena. Unapologetic in her admission that she was inspired in large part by her experiences working with HAL, Dena presents an online arts and literature journal with every plan of bringing it from the computer screen to print within a year. Ambitious? Yes. Dena also plans to bring Unshod Quills to the people, with plans for live event featuring poets from UQ.

Each issue of Unshod Quills will feature authors writing on topics assigned by the editor. This issue’s topics include lipstick, beasts, When We Two Parted, sonnets, and transportation. The next reading period for Unshod Quills begins on June 15 – see the website for more details, or email the editor at to be included on the mailing list.

Dena Rash Guzman: poet, visual artist and HAL Director of North America, and recently editor of UQ out of rural Portland, Oregon, formerly of Las Vegas, honorarily of Shanghai, China.  The Unshod Quills Writers Collective, including UQ’s first featured writer, Ms. Wendy Ellis of Pennylvania’s Amish Country and UQ’s first featured artist, Ms. Eva Steil of Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of writers from the Hai, including Renee Reynolds, Josh Stenberg (the great tiger tamer from 1984), Susie Gordon and Bjorn Wahlstrom.

The mission of Unshod Quills is to give voice to emerging writers from around the world, and to show the work of established writers and artists as well. Unshod Quills wants to shake up what is expected from the standard American lit journal by providing a forum for artists and writers of all disciplines. There is no one’s work UQ does not  want to see. The editor hopes for continued collaboration with HAL and the entire population of the planet. Unshod Quills hopes to be very contagious. Everyone will get it.



by Dena Rash Guzman

I was channeling Rimbaud when the train went off the rails. Tom Thumb the dreamer was there sowing the roads with rhymes. My inn sign would have no Great Bear, my only Bohemia would be perhaps a beer, or a Queen song from a lucky jukebox. I was caught up in supposing that the train

On board: black hair, black hair, no hair, black hair, black hair and me, if you can imagine it, with blond hair

would stop and that I’d find something Western. Fantasy. I had packed twenty minutes before I was to leave – some blouses, two pairs of jeans, a nice dress for work, a pair of boots for rain and a pair of heels.

On the street: red heels, black heels, blue heels, black kitten heels and me, if you can imagine it, in Paris, in scuffed yellow clogs

My destination was no Paris, but I’d also packed my beret. Nights I pick fights I wear that beret. It’s of fine wool and silk satin, a Basque one. That’s original. In it, I’m a shepherdess of the nightclub throngs, a Swedish cigarette smoking member of the Underground, trouble in scuffed yellow clogs. “I was just in Stockholm, you see. Fuck off!” I bash hard. The next day I’m on a train, looking out windows.

Continue reading…


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