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Happy Birthday, Cara!

I don’t think of myself who likes to write collaboratively when writing creatively. But that’s probably not a realistic assessment of what kind of writer I am. For one thing, I love writing academic papers with other people; for another, I had SO much fun contributing the Cara Holman’s birthday renku that I want to do something like that again. The sprite and I watched it unfold as so many people contributed and somehow it all worked together – organically (which struck me as the coolest part).Anyhow, if you’d like to see the finished poem, check out Cara’s blog


actually about writing…

So the official announcement of the Writers Rising Up calendar project is here:

Writers Rising Up Calendar 2013

I was having a moment of  “any club that wants me as a member…” about the project, but once I saw the photo, I gave myself permission to be proud of my contribution. That photo makes me spend hours in the woods and damn the mosquitoes (they love me… they can find me if there’s only one of them and I’m 20 miles away….and I’m allergic…wish i were joking).

I also did ride the happy-wave and send some poems out. I’m still sending out to places where I’m ‘way in over my head – venerable venues (have been listening to too much Olga da Polga in the car with the sprite….if you know what I’m talking about, you’ll understand the pic) that publish MFAs who are on their fourth chapbook. That sort of thing. I’m trying to decide if it’s academic ultra-snobbery that wants entre’ into that particular type of venue, but I’m at least trying to give myself credit for a better motivation. It turns out that I’m broadly-read. I don’t think of myself as well-read, per se, but I start to notice it when I’m in any conversation and the inside of my head is saying, “oh, that reminds me of this” or “I wonder if she’s read that?” It’s one of those lovely side-effects of depression – books are one way to avoid being anxious and frantic. Of course, so is doing x.  (Or both. Let’s not go there). Anyhow, I read a lot to avoid being frantic and miserable and have always done so. And that mental library shows up in the poetry – all over the place. Without my meaning to. I don’t go around saying, “Oh, let’s allude to this piece of 18th c. literature here” but it happens. Which makes academic poetry comfortable reading for me.

Unfortunately, just because I have the lit. chops doesn’t mean I have the training. I read poems by people who’ve been through MFA programs recently and they all have a particular feel that I’m not sure I could create. As the simplest example, I’m really not a narrative poet. I could try, but my body keeps saying, “Honey, isn’t that what fiction’s for?” And my body, as is so often the case, knows ‘way better than my brain. For me poetry is more about connection to biology, organisms, environment. I think it’s why I like Ted Kooser – he combines the style with the substance in a way that I love. But again, I can’t duplicate it.

Well, I guess that leaves being me and just sucking  up a lot of rejection until I can do what I do well – instead of trying to imitate other people’s well-doing. Wasn’t I supposed to learn this lesson, oh, about 20 years ago?

And…

…I’m glad I got some stuff back out there. I thought the chances of writing one of the twelve poems chosen to grace a calendar were approximately one zilch and a half, but I guess I was wrong. Spaces of Spring – a group of three haiku, each in the traditional English format except for a single syllable missing from each – was accepted as one of the spring poems in the Writers Rising Up 2013 Calendar. Wow.

Now I need to ride the happy-wave to get some more work out there – remind me in a couple of days that I said that, okay?

Absolute Fury

I was so depressed because I’ve had poems rejected by two of my favorite journals (Pear Noir! and FailBetter). Not angry, just depressed. I got over the rejections (particularly from Pear Noir! I keep hoping I’ll get good enough for them some day) long enough to send out a couple of batches of poems (some of which were probably underdone or needed to rest longer or something) to a contest and a journal, just to get past being depressed. Like I often do, I inspired myself to get some things out the door by catching up on my favorite blogs….in the course of which, I ran across this poem : On Your Head

And yes, her poem has everything to do with that absolute fury I’ve been drowning in. I promised myself I would try to avoid politics on this blog, which is why I’m awfully glad that Barbara has given voice to what I can’t or won’t say. Thanks, Barbara

Can we all just agree that I’m a bitch?

I’ve thought this for a long time. Nice of Bookfox to say it so clearly:

Open Letter to Pushcart Nominated Folk

You realize of course if I ever get nominated I’ll be having it skywritten over Manhattan…

Getting things done

Okay, doctor so there are writers with more on their plate (read: more than one sprite) than I do who still manage to get it done. Meena, who I met on FB, has one set of really organized strategies. The first part looked very much like what I do (though I have never thought to formalize it – I like having names like “strategize” instead of the current xl spread sheet category “who do I panic at?”) (seriously). Some of the suggestions in the second half of the post were new to me, and look really interesting and helpful:

http://meenarose.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/3-am-epiphany-getting-things-done/

Buy this book

Monster Poems, pills by Daniel Ari”>

Writers are not the enemy

It’s funny, creative writers these days talk the talk about community, but the real attitudes of writers is a real mixed bag. I belong to some groups that are phenomenal (Hi Humpties! Hi PA Friends! You know who you are!), but I know other writers who are envious, bitter, greedy, competitive (the hamstring-cutting sort of competitive), and back-biting. So I was so pleased to read about Khara House’s amazing experience with Nikki Finney. Khara’s a really remarkable poet – she is an expert with sensuous language, with deep metaphor and with a real sense-based realism of experience – and Nikky Finney , well, what can you say? she’s beyond rocking. And that they’re in communication? Well, that’s just something I like to know about the world – two writers I admire! In contact! Hooray! It’s like, I dunno, knowing that there are red pandas, or water on some of Jupiter’s moons. It’s just cool.

So I wanted to share the post with people.

http://ourlostjungle.blogspot.com/2012/04/you-have-write-to-write-to-writers.html

Blanche

It’s funny. She’s been dead for, what, nearly 10 years. And yet, I’ve always avoided writing about her, and it’s incredibly painful to write about her, and I finally tried it at Poetic Asides today. I’m not sure if I feel like doing it was the right thing or good to do. Anyhow, here it is, since I suspect I won’t do it again.

Blanche

She was Blanche for
her white fur. She
was Blanche because
I was the kindness of
a stranger. She was
Blanche with eighteen
years of grey ring tail
and grey spot, askew
on the top of her head.
She was Blanche who
knew to piss in the
guitar case of the friend
who would later betray
me. She was Blanche
who played fishing
with her kibble the day
she died. She was Blanche
and I loved her.

a poem for prose posies

Mockingbird

The house sleeps as I work.
My mockingbird sings the dark
from the fence near my window.
The night breeze cools us.
Sometimes we sing together.

I’ve always loved short form poems, but have really gotten into reading and writing them recently. I suspect this is indicative of the state of my life currently, but that’s okay since I’ve written short form poetry for a long time.

Anyhow, Cara Holman at Prose Posies is a PHENOM. writer (I’ve run across her work accidentally a couple of times in the past week reading magazines I love and man, she’s GOOD). She’s also made a request for poems for “Poem in your Pocket” day. I’ve been meaning to write about my 2 a.m. visitor recently (there have been a lot of 2 a.m.s recently!) so I’m sharing this with you and with her…

I’m thinking that I’d like to write a whole series about him – he’s always there, he’s got a series of songs he prefers (I’m guessing he picks certain sounds out of the array around us, because the other local mockingbirds are more catholic in their tastes) and he seems to really like the company – getting to the fence near my window isn’t that easy, and he makes sure he’s in my eyesight. I guess I like it because it’s something like love.