Good News (A Welcome Change to the Blog, I Know!)

The reading at the end of September at Amos Eno went really, really well, which was a relief and a joy. Two friends from my grad school days attended and it was so, so good to see them after, christ, a decade, and to know that they're happy and healthy and doing amazing things of their own (traveling across the globe, training and running marathons, etc.). The Incomparable Ms. C, my former officemate but forever kindred spirit, also traveled into the wilds of Brooklyn to attend the reading, and I rarely get to see her (because she's one of those people usually traveling across the globe, and I'm a suburbanite soccer mom tethered to L.I.). 

The reading itself was charming and fun (I can say that since, more or less, I had little to do with it). I mean, I knew when I asked Nicole Callahan and Jared Harel to read their poems (and some fiction) that they would bring good work; that's why I asked them in the first place. But I was pleasantly surprised at how well the readings complemented one another and supported the themes of the art show -- the connection between the work, visual and textual, was kind of energizing. It gave the night a purpose that made it much more engaging than many non-thematic readings I've attended.

The week or two that followed the reading were a blur of attempts to catch up in all the areas I ignored while preparing for the Amos Eno event. I'm pretty behind in grading -- far more behind than I usually am at this point in the semester (where DID September go to?) and I'm hoping to use a couple of hours this weekend -- which will be spent at the TYCA Northeast conference in Hartford, CT -- catching up. This conference is another one of the fall events I've been so looking forward to, since M.S. and I will be giving a talk and presentation on collaborative teaching that highlights the Poetry & Fiction Broadsides project we've been doing for the past three years -- but it's also going to be a relief when it's over, because it'll be one less thing to worry about.

I AM trying to worry less, and to be less angry, but it's been difficult this semester. Those hateful monthly emails coupled with a disproportionate number of disengaged students (disengaged to the point of being beligerant and hostile) have made for a rough introduction to the academic year; it's just disheartening to take on so much work on behalf of your students and then get open resistance and/or hostility in return. I've been more bitter about, and more suspicious of, my students as a result and that's demoralizing for everyone. I know that my current students have nothing to do with the emails and that the disengaged/sullen ones are aberrations from the norm and that, for the most part, my students are respectful and willing to be taught -- but it's really, really difficult to focus on that reality when you're being told, both explicitly in anonymous emails and indirectly through passive-aggressive classroom behavior, that you're an idiot and a cunt and a poseur. 

Anyway. This was supposed to be a positive blog post, was it not? So time for good news: After many, many, many days of letting my submission to the Painted Bride Quarterly hang out -- well over a year -- the journal has accepted not just one but FOUR chapters of my fairy tale poem for their Monsters-themed print issue. They accept about 3% of their slush pile, so I'm pretty excited about having made it this far, and with so many pages of my metrical fairy tale, too. Because I submitted my full-length manuscript everywhere, like, EVERYWHERE, this spring, the past two months have brought not only the hate-mail campaign but also a barrage of rejections. I knew that's what I was setting myself up for when I submitted to all of those contests and reading periods in the spring, but my ego's taken more of a beating than I expected, and so this acceptance -- while a small victory in the big picture, and not much of a victory for people who don't read poetry or PBQ or have anything invested in the lit world -- feels pretty significant to me. I'm grateful. I feel a little more buoyed, a little more able to face the world and say fuck you to the hater and the sullen, resistant 18 year old classroom-energy suckers.

So I'll end with more positive/happy evidence that life is not all drudge and dreary sucky things:

The audience gathered for "Dopplegangers, Desire, and Domesticity: A Performance and Reading" at Amos Eno Gallery, September 23, 2016

My supportive colleagues, Cynthia Eaton and Misty Curelli, toward the back and the Incomparable Ms. C in the foreground.
I did that thing I hate and read speaker bios from my phone. I'm the worst.
Nicole Callahan reads from her novella and new poems from a series titled "Prime"

Jared Harel reads new poems as well as work from his chapbook, "The Body Double"
Gabe Eden and David Lloyd Rabig of the "Hot Source" podcast read two scenes from my play "Accountability Partners"
It's a play about GOLF. Not really.
Photo courtesy of Cynthia Eaton Tvelia. (Those guys were really funny!)
The cast and crew! Meredith Starr (artist), poet Jared Harel, me, actor David Lloyd Rabig, actor Gabriel Eden, and poet Nicole Callahan


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