Showing posts from December, 2011

What I Read When I Avoid Wrapping Christmas Presents

Cynthia Marie Hoffman's book, Sightseer , won the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry in 2010. She speaks about the experience of creating a book of poems in this interview. She's also spoken to (emailed? typed with?) Brian Brodeur about the creation of a single poem on his blog, How A Poem Happens. I haven't managed to get any writing done over the past few days. The closest I came was yesterday, when I sent out a bunch of emails to different publishers withdrawing a manuscript from their consideration. This was, by far, one of the strangest-feeling tasks I've ever completed. I find it bizarre requesting that someone not read and consider my work for their publication/contest. I've spent so many years doing just the opposite that the composition of those emails felt like driving a manual transmission car down the wrong opposite side of the road with the stick and the steering wheel on the opposite side of the vehicle ( opposite meaning the side you'

Zombie Children

I'm up late. But at least I'm up late because I've been writing, and not because I've been skulking aimlessly on the interwebs, which I have a tendency to do when I'm tired and mush-brained. (Hopefully the tired-and-mush-brained-ness didn't result in tired and mushy poetry. We'll see tomorrow, when I wake up and reread tonight's work.) I haven't had a chance to write much this week -- both of my children have had colds, probably some distant cousin of the plague I had earlier in the month. The youngest (the boy) insisted that he was too ill to go to school on Monday, and so I let him stay home and I did what I could in between multiple trips to the kitchen for snacks (apparently the plague didn't affect his appetite) and playing puzzles and turning on the TV for 10 minute intervals of Wonder Pets or Jake and the Neverland Pirates or whatever nonsense attracted his attention before he decided he was hungry again. Then Tuesday morning the g

My Morning Reading, Continued (with NYU Lovefest Addendum)

1. One of my friends posted this story by H.M. Patterson to Facebook. It's lovely. 2. Trolling the Poetry Foundation's site again. Found this poem by Kathleen Graber. 3. Also on the Poetry Foundation site, this poem by Anthony Hecht. Love, love, love. Perhaps I shall write now, yes? Addendum: Trolling the Painted Bride Quarterly 's site, and I found work by a slew of fellow female alumni: It’s Like Riding on a Train by Nellie Bridge. Nellie's poems are quiet but powerful. She's also a really beautiful person. I'm so happy to see her work being published. Tiny Elijah by Sarah Heller. I love this poem and I *heart* Sarah Heller. She is one of the nicest people I know. Morning Reading by Amy Hosig. I didn't hang out with Amy as much as I did with Nellie (or have that many classes with her), but I remember her talent and her open, friendly nature and I'm happy to see her being published, too. Envy by Andrea Luttrell. Andrea and I sh

Dedication, Focus, Elbow Grease, and the Conspicuous Absence of Shiny and Blue Things

After several years of writing, it's comforting to know that you can change and be changed by your writing processes. It's affirmation, I guess, that some parts of you are still growing, and changing without shutting down -- unlike other parts of your being, like your skin and your hair. (Hi sunspots! Hey grey hairs! I'm old!) Yesterday, after having a fairly successful day of writing, I was thinking about how very different my habits have become since I was given this time to write. For years -- years -- I felt an impediment that I called "writer's block" but was probably just good ol' fashioned mania. I never really slowed down long enough -- or separated myself from work, family, and outside noise for long enough -- to focus earnestly on my writing. To be honest, I'm not even sure I did that during grad school -- the one (or most likely) time in your life you're given explicit permission by family, society, and your checkbook to focus entir

Countdown to 2018 / What I Read When I Should Be Writing

It's probably not healthy or wise to think about this, but lately I've been overly concerned with the thought that the next time I get to be a full-time writer will be at the butt-end of this decade. As my colleagues post end-of-semester raves and rants on Facebook, I'm forced to acknowledge that this rare moment is almost over. I am a wee-bit depressed, to say the least. This is a completely ungrateful and sorry-for-myself attitude to have, I realize. I know that I'm ridiculously lucky to have had this opportunity at all. I'm just wallowing in a little bit of post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas, pre-final-weeks-of-sabbatical depression, methinks. It's probably time to lay off the caffeine and get back into exercise. I don't have a lot of time left to wallow, after all. Just a few more sweet weeks of writing until I return to teaching. (And really, the teaching I kinda look forward to -- it's the committee meetings and grading that I would rather not deal

Squidginess and Brain Fog

This week started promisingly enough with revision and a submission. On Monday, I revised some of the myth poems according to feedback I received from A.P. on Friday. Also, I put together a group of poems for a submission to a lit mag. Yay me, right? Wrong. Things slowed down drastically after that. On Tuesday, I woke up with the plague . . . not in my eye this time , but in my head. A cold -- and not one of those little sniffly things, but one of those viruses that slowly pulls you down into the depths of misery over the course of the day, to the point where you can't quite remember your name or why you're wearing pajamas at 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Of course, I wasn't IN my pajamas at that point, because I attended a funeral for my friend's father in the morning, and I holed up in the library until it was time to pick up the boy, so it wasn't until about 7 p.m. that I could change into sweatpants and wallow in my misery. But any writing I did in the library (I

Two More Months!

I'm due for my beginning-of-the-month Survey of Completed Sabbatical Work, which more often than not tends to be part of my Continued Sabbatical Freakout. So here I am, ready to take stock of what I accomplished in November -- but surprisingly, even though this precious writing time is dwindling away, I'm significantly less freaked out than I was a month ago. I'm not finished with my Fairytale Poem -- but I've made good progress. I feel so much more sure of myself since I returned to the original storyline and began working revisions of those original lyric poems into the narrative. I realize that last sentence kinda sounds like a recipe for disaster, and I suppose it's very possible that the project could, indeed, turn out to be a disaster, but I'm confident that it won't. For now I'm confident, at least. I finished reading Blank Verse: A Guide to Its History and Use by Robert B. Shaw yesterday, and I would like to go on record as saying that Robe