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Showing posts from January, 2012

What I Stare At When, Once Again, I've Contracted the Plague

I met Danny Hamilton when I was a dweeby little undergrad. Now I'm a dweeby college professor, and he's still friends with me. Go figure. Sometime in the far-off or not-so-far-off future, we're going to collaborate. And it's going to blow your little minds.

Water Source in the Sky (1 hour painting)

The Return to Teaching

I've been quiet for the past few days. (On here, that is. It's almost impossible for me to be quiet in real life.) (Shut up, A.P.)

A.P. and I postponed Poetry Friday until Monday because I was having a little Pre-Semester Freakout, and then we moved our meeting until next week because we realized how futile it would be to speak about poetry when the large, ugly shadow of course outlines and class prep loomed over our heads. And thus, once again, writing took a back seat to teaching responsibilities. But, as Vonnegut would say, so it goes . . . some times you just have to put away the poems and focus instead on the paragraph about not texting or surfing the web in class, because that paragraph is what pays the bills. (Sort of. Not just that paragraph, but you get my drift, right?)

My problem this week ended up being that I didn't put away the poem. For me, this is a good problem to have -- I'm truly not going to beat myself up too much for writing. But it made the fir…

What I Read When I Panic About the Beginning of School and the End of Sabbatical

1. This excellent rumination on Roald Dahl by someone on the Silkworms Ink crew.

2. This article from Beyond The Margins by Jessica Francis Kane about writing while raising children.

3. This poem by Jane Kenyon. And since I'm on a Kenyon kick, this, too.

WRITING UPDATE:

I'm nearly finished with the first section of the last chapter (Chapter X.i.) of the fairy tale. I spent all day at the library yesterday and managed to tweak two stanzas and write another two. I believe there will be one more before the section's complete. So I'll not have, most likely, the poem finished before the beginning of school. But I'll finish it soon. It's going to take precedence over teaching during the first week, and luckily that's okay, because the first week of school is a pretty easy week. (The second week, especially if I'm preoccupied with the poem, will be the scary week.)

Yesterday I received markups from The Southern Review of my poems. Yay! That wonderful email fe…

Focus. Focus. Focus. Breathe.

This weekend, writing was a struggle. A number of fits and starts, a lot of crossed out lines, deleted lines, revised lines, cut and pasting, etc. I jumped from drafting on the notepad with a pen to typing on the computer and back again. And in between the moments of inspiration and hair-pulling, I put away (finally) our Christmas tree, packed up decorations, did the dishes, and washed load after load of laundry and then had to fold the damn stuff. This is all to say that eventually Chapter IX of the fairy tale was completed (woohoo!) along with one of those mother/daughter conversation poems that are supposed to interrupt the narrative. I'm not sure how successful either is (again, I'll wait for A.P.'s thumbs up or thumbs down, and my own distanced judgment after a few days have passed between the writing of the draft and my rereading it), but it felt really good to have been productive . . . at least, once I felt like I had been productive, and not just spinning my tire…

What I Read When I Should Be Taking Down the Christmas Decorations . . .

I have a slight crush on Joshua Mehigan right now, partially from his book of formal poems titled The Optimist, which is -- yes, you guessed it -- sitting on my treadmill and being read during 5 minute warm ups and cool downs -- but mostly because of this article published in Poetry Magazine last year, which I just got around to reading. (Kids in bed, husband at work = interweb skulking).

I'm ending the evening on a slightly depressed note, however. After reading Mehigan's essay, I made the mistake of scrolling through the 25 comments posted to the Poetry Foundation's website in response to it. It turns out that the same self-important assholes who troll the HuffPost and NYTimes and AOL sites also read and feel free to vomit all over the Poetry Foundation. Is nothing sacred?

And of course, I know the answer to that. No, no, nothing is sacred. I can't forget this, after all -- I'm followed around the house most of the day by a three year old who refers to me as Momm…

Poetry, Plays, and Poncy D*****rs (Good Morning!)

Yesterday I managed some serious work. I finished Chapter VIII of the fairy tale, which means that I'm starting Chapter IX today, and that I'm two chapters away from finishing the entire poem. I'd shout "woohoo!" except that I'm already, slightly, mourning the end of this insane project. I've pulled my hair out for months over this poem, and now that I'm faced with the prospect of not having to write the poem . . . I feel a little lonely. Does that make sense? I'm not gonna go all Tori Amos on you and start talking about my poems like they were people, but lonely is the word I want to use. Of course, this is typical of me: thinking so far in advance about something that I'm saddened by the prospect of it ending WHILE I'M STILL IN THE PROCESS OF EFFING WRITING IT.

And I have two more chapters to go, which will be no small amount of work, particularly since the last chapter is a definite three-part-er.

Also, yesterday, I managed to pick u…

Good News! A Chapbook!

I'm so, so thrilled to share this announcement that Hyacinth Girl Press, a feminist micro press, is going to publish the collection I've been referring to as my fable/"sow" poems in the upcoming year. HGP is a small, new, and energetic endeavor run by Margaret Bashaar, a poet and editor in Pittsburg, PA, and her handmade books and enthusiasm for poetry and poetry written by women are equally beautiful.

This is a fantastic way to begin the new year. Did I say earlier that I couldn't quite get my head around 2012? This helps, certainly.

And in other, slightly less thrilling announcements, I'm nearly finished with Chapter VIII (page 15!) of the fairy tale. Still haven't managed to complete any prep work for the new semester or even order my books, but I'm feeling fairly productive nonetheless. That is, I was productive, until the HGP announcement came out and now I'm all hyper and happy and jittery.

Even still, I'm going to attempt to go back to…

Sometimes Mommy's Not Too Smart

My daughter woke this morning and told me she had a terrible dream, in which a boy tried to drown her and then she had a baby inside her that had to be cut out. Sadly, this mirrors some of the details from the fairy tale poem I've been working on, and now I'm worried that I've done irreparable damage to my little girl's psyche by reading her the poem, which was a little graphic but not gory-graphic. (It didn't even reach Brothers Grimm-level graphic, so I thought she'd be okay.)

In my poem, a baby wasn't cut out of someone (it was a bird -- but I suppose she made the connection), and she never even read the poem in which the protagonist remembers being nearly-drowned by a boy in her childhood (at least, I never read her the poem, and I don't think she's had a chance to read the poem on my laptop), so that part must be coincidence (right? please say it's coincidence!) . . . but the similarities between her dream and my poem seem a little too clo…

The Final Countdown (Doo-Doo-Doo-Doooo, Dee Dee Deet-Deet Doooo, Doo Doo Doo Doooo, Dee Dee Deet-Deet Dooo)

Welp, that was fast. Where the hell did December go?

Because I'm obsessive about things like this, here are the stats on my manuscript:

• 19 fable ("sow") poems (one poem per page)

• 15 pages of the fairy tale poem

• 7 myth poems (12 pages)
I'm close to finishing the fairy tale poem -- as far as creating the first draft, that is. It's going to need revision -- places in the verse where the lines are too much like prose, too little like poetry (found through A.P.'s valuable close reading and feedback, and my own compulsion to reread my previous work before writing more) but I'm interested in completing the tale before I go back and nit-pick (important nit-picking, but nit-picking nonetheless when compared to the narrative).

I know that once I'm finished with the first draft of the fairy tale poem I'll begin to revise my first draft of the verse play -- the first and second scenes, specifically. They need to be revised before I write the rest o…