Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Poetry Event for the Month of April


Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides is having his annual Poem-A-Day Challenge.

Anyone can be part of it-- all you have to do is write a poem a day.

At the end of April, you can submit 5 of your favorite poems to see if you can be a "Poet Laureate." Later in the year, there's also a chapbook contest for poems written during National Poetry Month.

What I love about his event is that poets of all levels participate. You can be brand-spanking-new to poetry or someone who has published a few poetry collections.

Anyway, if you want to participate, all the details are here and he will post a poetry prompt tomorrow, April 1st for you to begin.

~

5 Free Poetry Books at January's Blog...

~

January (aka PoetMom) is giving 5 poetry books free from CavanKerry Press on April 1st, (yes, tomorrow!) so if you haven't entered her drawing... go here now!

Happy National Poetry Month Eve!




Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baby Steps into the Elevator...


Blog Under Construction - But Still Open...



You may have noticed a few changes in my blog today.


Yep, I couldn't wait to remodel.  I wanted to start out National Poetry Month with a new cleaned up blog.

Well, it's new, not quite cleaned up.

I hope to figure out what works best so you know what to expect when you arrive, but it may take a few days.  So please enjoy the views...  there will be many.

Also, feel free to leave any comments about the new space.  I'm listening.

all best,
Kell

Poetry Book Giveaway 2010 - Rachel Contreni Flynn's New Book!



Rachel Contreni Flynn has a new book of poems called Tongue that will be released at AWP this year!  It was the winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award at Red Hen Press!

Since Rachel doesn't blog, I told her I would be more than happy to give away her book here at my blog.  (Does this make me a surrogate blogger?)  ;-)

Oh and Rachel is generously giving away 2 copies of her new book, Tongue.Tongue

Here's a poem from her new book--






Hunger for Something Easier

I suppose now you'll deny it all:
there was no wild pig in the woods,
hair up on his back like barbed wire,
eyes sunk and runny in crusted tunnels
along the snout.  And we didn’t run
through red brambles, banging our legs
against stumps until we flung ourselves
into the thorny arms of an apple tree. 
You'll say we didn't stay shoved up
against the bark breathing bright spice
and pitching green fruit to frighten away
the pig.  You'll never say you were afraid
or that I held you and you held me
and we crouched on the thin branches
until night slunk in, and a hunger
for something easier turned the pig away. 

from Tongue, Red Hen Press, 2010 forthcoming.

Rachel Contreni Flynn



She's one of my favorite poets, so I'm very happy to be able to offer this to one of you.  Please leave me a comment below to win her book and since she has been featured in Crab Creek Review, I'd also like to give away a year subscription to Crab Creek Review as well.


Again, just leave one comment below by April 30th, 2010 - 11:59 pm PST(if you don't have a blog, please make sure to leave your email address so I can get ahold of you) and we will drawing on May 1st.

Good luck!

Confession Tuesday

The Balance of Art

It's raining and storming and we lost our power for five minutes last night. It was bizarre, but long enough for us to find the flashlights, the lantern, call the electric company to report our outage and hear my daughter say to the stairs, "I wish the lights would come on!" And then they did. (We tend to lose power every time someone sneezes too hard in this town...)

Saturday was not raining and storming, but a beautiful almost-70 degree day that allowed me to garden all day. I planted our cool crop (aka the guinea pig garden) - a selection of greens-- spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, flat parsley, chives, etc. We also walked up to see our neighbor's new baby lambs. Ridiculously cute. Easter cute.

But I injured my right wrist while gardening, which is not good if you are a right-handed writer, if you are a right-handed gardener.

But this is life in a small town and it seems I should be confessing, but is there anything to confess.. Yes, of course there is. Let's begin.


To the confessional--

The Art of Being a Mom-


I confess when I was a kid I never looked at my mum and thought, "Wow, it's hard being a mom," but honestly, as a mother now, I must say, it's kind of tough sometimes.

And it's not the "being a mom" part that's tough, that's the easy part--all the love and crafts, the board games and groceries, the artwork, the free hugs, the love love love--but some of the other things like balance, like having to deal with other moms who you may normally not be friends with but you now know this person because your child knows their child, like the worry (some or all self-imposed), and the small dramas of childhood that come by surprise.

Sometimes it's hard for me to find that balance where it feels as if nothing was (is) neglected.

I'm sure there are others who are better at it than I am. I'm sure I worry more than I need to. Maybe it's because "parenting" has become a verb and when I was growing up you "had kids."

I once heard a woman say, "We do our best as mothers, and when we learn how to do better, we do that." I always liked that as I am far from perfect and constantly, always, learning.

~

I confess I don't think I ever appreciated what my mother did for me until I had a child.

Looking back at my mum, who raised 5 girls (I was the youngest of 5), how she spent 37 years of her life as raising us from when the oldest was born until I went to college, I wonder if anyone of us ever told her Thank You, a sincere thank you.

My mum is turning 76 tomorrow. We're taking her out to a surprise dinner and event. We will give her flowers and cake. And I will try to make sure she knows how thankful I am that she is in my life and for her raising/parenting/loving me.

~

I confess I wasn't planning on this being the parenting version of Confession Tuesday, but it seems that is where my mind is this morning.

~

I confess I saw that I had 97 Followers of my blog this morning and that made me happy. I'm thinking of doing something fun or giving something away when I hit 100.

~
As always, thanks for listening.
~Kells

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gratitude Journal


I'm writing a Gratitude Journal focused on the things that make me happy because yesterday I was so annoyed, wait, make that angry at someone who said some not-so-nice things to a child. I have no tolerance for mean people and I realized that I carried that anger home (because I didn't have the opportunity to confront that person) and while I wasn't angry with others in my life I found myself returning to that person and her cruelty instead of dropping it and moving on.

Because of that, today's Gratitude Journal will be focused on things that make me happy.

1) Bea Arthur (RIP) & Betty White (who will be hosting SNL!)

2) Orange lifesaver jellybeans

3) Baby lambs or any kind of baby animals

4) Women with short haircuts

5) Salma Hayek

6) Spring flowers that smell good

7) Homemade granola

8) Other people's babies that suck pacifiers while they sleep (I think they have the cutest expressions ever)

9) Random acts of kindness

10) Audio books

11) Playing Old Maid

12) Uno Attack (this game is the most fun!)

13) Writing thank you notes

14) Ridiculous sunny days and then rainstorms

15) Hearing an owl at 3 in the afternoon

16) Treefrogs at night

17) The covey of quails roaming our neighborhood

18) People who love their pets

19) People, who when you get to really know them, are pretty much the same people they let you see when you first met.

20) The Abstract Expressionist stamps now available at the post office.

21) Mail art

22) Sunday morning and the CBS Sunday Morning show

23) Seeing senior citizens dance in a beautiful old ballroom to swing music

24) Louis Armstrong

25) Music and its ability to change a mood

New Blogger Templates...

You may have noticed some of your favorite blogs have been remodeled recently.

Blogger (finally!) just offered a whole new group of templates and the ability to customize your blog as needed.

I plan on remodeling Book of Kells after National Poetry Month. No need to give myself another chore in the middle of NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) as yes, I've decided to participate and write a poem a day. (Though I probably will not be posting the poems here daily as I did last year, I may post a few every so often just to show support for the event...but they will be quickly deleted.)

Anyway, I do hope to update, clean-up, and remodel my blog a bit, so you can watch for changes. Who knows, maybe I'll be inspired during one of my new insomniac episodes or early morning awakenings I seem to be having lately.

Until later,
Kells

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Thoughts & Secret Subjects

First steps--

Last night the first proof of my manuscript was sent to me from the publisher. This is the first step in making the book real seven months from now. I felt a little nervous, excited, and overwhelmed.

When I opened the PDF file, I was so impressed and happy with the layout and the font they choose. It's perfect.

Now let the proofing begin...

~

Strangest Rejection Ever


Yesterday I received a rejection from BOA for my manuscript (now known as Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room). What's odd is that it's been so long since I submitted this manuscript I hadn't realized it was still out anywhere. I submitted to BOA back in 2008; it even had a different title.

So I was first surprised to receive the rejection (especially since my book is being published), but I was even more surprised at the language of the rejection slip.

In the second paragraph the rejection says, "We enjoyed a number of the poems in this manuscript. However, a fair chunk of the poems here we felt didn't reach their secret subjects." Huh? Their secret subjects?

This made me stop for a moment and ask myself, "Are my poems that hard to understand?" It's amazing how a rejection letter can make one doubt herself.

I'm a pretty accessible poet, so then I thought, "Maybe this was rejection was meant for someone else."

Then I thought, "Ah, right. Form letter."

I called up my friend, Jeannine, who I remembered had also submitted to this press in 2008. She read me her rejection form, "...the poems here we felt didn't reach their secret subjects." Yep.

She said she thought about that that line as well.

I definitely want to work this into a poem. So let's see, there's Rest Assured Toilet Covers & secret subject. This will be one fantastic poem.

Anyway, it was a good reminder for me that:

1) You can't always trust rejection letters to be a true criticism of your work.
2) What you ponder for over hours, was just some weird wording that EVERYONE got as well
3) What is not publishable to one press is a prize winner to another.
4) Sometimes it just might be better for a press to say, "Sorry, we can't publish your manuscript" or "We have to pass on your manuscript" than to have some odd wording about "secret subjects" or other vague specificity to make the author feel as if you are addressing them individually.

(And do you just love that oxymoron "vague specificity"? I do.)

~

Bueller? Bueller?


Please let me know if you're participating in the NaPoMo Giveaway of free poetry books.

I just updated the links and want to make sure I haven't missed anyone, so if you're participating and I don't have you, please drop me an email at kelli (a) agodon.com with the link to your blog so I can get your name up.

National Poetry Month: Poetry Contest for Kids!


If you have a child between 5-12 years old, here's something for them for to be part of National Poetry Month--


"PAWS FOR POETRY” CONTEST INSPIRES KIDS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL POETRY MONTH BY WRITING ODES TO THEIR FAVORITE FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS

April is National Poetry Month. The 3rd Annual “Paws for Poetry” Contest Challenges Kids to Write Sonnets to Spaniels, Prose for Persian Cats

Colorado Springs, CO (March 1, 2010) –April marks the 14th anniversary of National Poetry Month.

To help celebrate, budding Emily Dickinsons and Edgar Allan Poes are encouraged to participate in the 3rd annual “Paws for Poetry” Contest (www.PawsforPoetry.org). To enter, children ages 5-12 are to write a poem to, and provide a photo of, their favorite animal friend. The contest is cosponsored by kids’ virtual field trip Web site Meet Me at the Corner (MeetMeAtTheCorner.org) and Flashlight Press (FlashLightPress.com ).

Original poems of any length may be submitted in one of two categories: Group One (ages 5-9) and Group Two (ages 10-12). One grand prize winner in each category will receive a prize package worth $50.00. Two runners-up in each category will receive a $25.00 gift package. Children’s author, poet, and Iraqi war veteran Thad Krasnesky, writer of the upcoming “That Cat Can’t Stay” (Flashlight Press, 2010) is the contest judge.

In addition to the prize packages, winning poems and pet photos will be highlighted in an upcoming Meet Me at the Corner video pod cast. The pod cast will be videotaped at New York's Angellicle Cat Rescue Center. Local students will present the winning poems.

All submissions should be mailed to “Paws for Poetry” Contest, c/o Meet Me at the Corner, 20 West Del Norte, Colorado Springs, CO, 80908. The contest deadline is April 15, 2010.

For more information, rules and submission guidelines, visit PawsforPoetry.org.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chapbook Class - Seattle Area

If you're in the Seattle area, here's an EXCELLENT chapbook class. I took this same class in 2002 and it really helped me improve my chapbook manuscript (in fact, the revised chapbook was published the next year.)

Please feel free to forward this information to anyone you think would be interested.

Here's the details--

Chapbooks: Northwest Explosion

Become chapbook savvy, and apply these insights to your own poems. We will consider the Northwest’s wealth of chapbooks. Here, they evolved into many forms from handmade art books to press-run contest prizes to self-published works to online versions. Chapbook’s content and design serve each other in a physical form achieved through layout, paper, printing method, binding, folding and other book-art features. For many poets, publishing chapbooks serves as the step from publishing single poems to the step before producing a full volume. By considering chapbooks, writers can use lessons learned as a means of ordering, deepening and expanding their own work.

Instructor: Ann Spiers
Meets: Saturday, April 17, 2010 - Saturday, April 17, 2010
Saturday, 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Min: 5 Max: 15
General: $96.00   (Add to cart)
Members: $86.40   (Add to cart)
 
HOW TO REGISTER ONLINE OR BY MAIL, PHONE OR FAX 
During the first week of member registration, students may register by telephone or in person only. Once general registration begins, students may also register online, through mail or by fax.

1.    Register online here; OR
2.    Call Hugo House at (206) 322-7030 with your credit card information. We’re here from noon to 6 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays (except holidays), OR
3.    Mail a completed registration form with your tuition check or credit card information to Registrar, Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122. If you already are a member or you become a member at the time of registration, take the member tuition rate. OR
4.    Fax your registration and credit card information to us at (206) 320-8767.
5.    Online registration is not available for youth or ZAPP classes. To register for youth classes, email margotcase@hugohouse.org. To register for ZAPP classes, email ZAPP@hugohouse.org, OR call us at (206) 322-7030.

If you just like talking to our registrar Kate (and who doesn't?) or if you have questions about particular classes, or you'd like a recommendation, give her a call at (206) 322-7030 ext. 103.

NaPoWriMo: 30 New Poetry Prompts for National Poetry Month

For those who don't know, NaPoWriMo = National Poetry Writing Month where people vow to write a poem a day.

Every year I list 30 writing exercises, but I realize I've posted the same writing prompts 2 years in a row, so this year, I put together 30 new writing prompts for April.

I haven't quite decided if I'm going to participate in NaPoWriMo this year since I did a similar exercise with poets in February, but I'm feeling inspired, so maybe I will.

If you want to participate, here are some writing prompts I hope inspire you and your poems--

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: WRITE EVERY DAY!



1. Write a poem that uses at least five of these words: sizzle, calico, mumble, marrow, fossil, cinnamon, chant, arrowhead, Jupiter, Saturn, dunes. Repeat one of those words three times in your poem.

2. Open the closest book to you to page 46. Count down 7 lines. That is the first line or the title of your poem.

3. Write a poem in the voice of fictional character (literary, cartoon, fairytale, etc.) you’ve always liked, but in the poem, have that character do something that you disagree with.

4. Take a poem you’ve written but never liked and circle the best words from that poem. Have those words end the lines in a new poem you will write.

5. Write a poem to your favorite constellation.

6. Write a poem where the opening line is something you’ve recently overhead in public (i.e. “I can’t find any bananas without spots, black spots everywhere…)

7. Take a cliché and play with it until you have something surprising, make that your opening line, title, or the last line to your poem.

8. Write to something (or someone) beautiful that is no longer here.

9. Title your poem, “Self-Portrait with ___________” and start writing from there.

10. Turn on some jazz music. Write a poem to the rhythm of the song you are listening to.

11. Write a poem in sentences that are no more than five words each.

12. Write a poem without punctuation about a secret you know or wish you knew.

13. Take these six words—Anteros, crippled, 
spindles, stairwell, threshold, and whirligig—and incorporate them into a poem.

When you’re done, send the finished poem to this anthology:
thelistanthology(at)gmail.com (replace (at) with @)
by May 15, 2010.

 Submissions will only be accepted via e-mail.

Visit www.kennesaw.edu/thelistanthology for more information.

14. Write an ode to something you dislike or something yucky.

15. Write a poem made up completely of lies, except make one line the truth.

16. Write a hundred words about someone who is living, but no longer in your life.


17. Write a list poem using only concrete nouns. Make the title an abstract word such as: Compassion, Jealousy, Envy, Wisdom, etc.

18. Find a very small scrap of paper and write your poem on that. See if the small space changes how/what you write.

19. Write a poem about something that feels dangerous to you.

20. Close your eyes and try to type out a country or city scene you can see in your mind.

21. Write a poem where the title is longer than the poem.

22. Take one word and repeat it at the end of every other line in your poem.

23. Write a poem that contains only questions.

24. Write ten favorite words on ten slips of paper. Begin your poem with “When I found…” Without looking, pick one of the words you’ve written and use it in your poem. Now, write 9 more lines and do the same thing for each line.

25. Find some crayons, colored markers, or colored pens/pencils and draw a picture of something, anything. Now write a poem about what you drew.

26. Grab the local paper or go online and choose a headline from the science or lifestyle section of the newspaper. Write a poem with that as the title.

27. Write down 6 things you did yesterday. Write down 6 questions you have about life. Write down 6 interesting images. Choose 3 from each category and use them in a poem.

28. Write a poem on a postcard. After you type the poem into your computer, mail the poem off to a friend.

29. Write a poem with a question as the title, but do not answer the question in the poem.

30. Write a poem where your first, last or middle name features prominently.


Congrats! You finished a month of poems! Now reward yourself by buying yourself a book of poems from a favorite or new poet.

See you next year!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fairy Scientist



I hope we all still have a little bit of this scientist in each of us. And who knew fairies got their energy from pastel things...

Free Poetry Books for National Poetry Month!

If you haven't entered these drawings for FREE poetry books in honor of National Poetry Month, please do!


There are some incredible books of poems being given away in the next month.


Also, please know if you're participating at your own blog with giveaway, you are still welcome to sign up to win other blogger's poetry books and if you're not a blogger or a blogger, but not participating, you're still welcome to enter!


Here's our current list of bloggers taking part in the event.


If you'd like to giveaway free poetry books to your readers, go here to learn how and I'll add your blog below.





List of Bloggers Participating in the Poetry Book Giveaway 2010

Virtual Book Party! Hosted by Suzanne Frischkorn


What a great idea this is!


Suzanne Frischkorn is hosting a Virtual Book Party at her blog for her book GIRL ON A BRIDGE (and you're invited!)

She's serving virtual wine & cheese, and there's a reading of two poems.

Pretty neat idea here. Hope you stop by to offer some congratulations!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My 3D Book Cover...

I happened upon this image on Terri Gordon's blog a couple weeks ago and have been meaning to share it with you.

She made these birdcages for a Marie Antoinete Mail Art Group to swap and when I saw them I thought, There's what my book cover would look like if it walked off the page. Or close.




Terri's work above. She also has an Etsy store.

My book cover image below:



You can see all views of these on Terri's blog

It was such a treat to wander upon these. Wonderful and whimsical.

I know Terri wasn't thinking of my book cover when she made them, but when I saw them, it was the first thing that came to mine, I imagined 3D book covers by my side for my readings. Seeing these felt like happy synchronicity for me.

Confession Tuesday


The Thank You note from my daughter's class after the poetry lesson

Yes, it's Tuesday already. Every 7 days, as my dad would say. We are always surprised by time, how it seems to be outrunning us. (It is.) How it advances without our approval or with our confusion, "How did it get to be spring?" (Really, do I *not* know this?)

But it moves, so it's time for another confession, or two, or seven.

To the confessional--

I confess that while I was listening to the new Pearl Jam song my husband said, "Oh, is that new Neil Diamond?" (Best line in the song-- "there's so much in this world to make me bleed. Stay with me...")

* * *

I confess I was amused that my daughter wrote on the Thank You note: "Thank you! You Rock! From Laney" - From? I hadn't realized our relationship had grown so formal and to the acquaintance level. ;-)

* * *

I confess I'm going to a new dentist for a cleaning today after having only been to one dentist since 2nd grade. (My brother-in-law, my ex-brother-in-law for the past fifteen years). I'm changing because to get to him, I have to take the ferry and in the end, takes out about 3 hours + in travel from my life. So I'm switching to a dentist I can ride my bike to. But I'm nervous (not to ride my bike, but to try someone new).

It makes me understand why people don't change. There is an anxiety to leaving what you know. Even if it has more cons than pros, sometimes it's easier just to stay with the routine.

I want to make sure I don't stay with routine (in my writing life and regular life) just because it's easier.

I'm a routine junkie. And there is a lot to be said with routine because it takes away choices. For example, I don't have to know what I'm going to eat for breakfast because I have the same breakfast every day. I know there will be Total cereal. Coffee. I know I like to drink Talking Rain after my cereal.

But it's easy to allow the routine to steer us, steer me.

* * *

I confess I'm not sure I'm going to get to 7 confessions, I kind of rambled on about routine.

* * *

I confess sometimes less is more.

Amen.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Language of Life




As I leaned over to blow dry my hair at the gym this morning, I saw this stored under the table and well, I loved the name of this and how it worked on multiple levels (so yes, when no one was looking, I took it out and photographed it with my phone--note the flowers I positioned near it to give it that "finished" look). Anyway as you can see--

Rest Assured Toilet Covers

First, who knew toilet covers had a name, but Rest Assured, how perfect is that? And what I love most was how they managed to get "ass" in their brand name. Your "ass" is "assured." The other funny thing is if you break "assured" down it's ass-u-red. (Maybe these toilet paper covers prevent you from getting that.) Do others find this stuff as captivating and hilarious as I do? I swear, I must get this into a poem.

And the best thing is that from now on when someone tells me "rest assured," I will probably break out laughing because my image of this cliche has completely changed.

So my challenge to you (if you choose to accept it) is-- what words, brands, language do you see around you every day that is actually pretty smart, witty, or surprising? What words can you find out in the world?

I'm interested and love this stuff. Let me know if you find anything...

It's amazing I get any writing done at all... (meet belle, cat #2)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

No, the cat is not dead, just very relaxed on my desk



Ace helping me write.

Dream of the Poet or How to be a Poet in 140 Words or More...


The Dream of the Poet or The Kiss of the Muse 1859, Cezanne

January O'Neil (author of Underlife & blogger at PoetMom) received an interesting Twitter question--

What is the career path for a poet?

Here is her thoughtful response to it on her blog--



"Yesterday, I received a question on Twitter that I needed more than 140 characters to answer.

What is the career path for a poet?


I can only answer from my point of view, but I think the opportunities are wide open. But poets have to define for themselves what it means to be successful.


There's been a lot of talk of careerism and poetry on different Web sites. I think you have to be persistent and talented to make a career in poetry, just as in any field. With the many different ways to publish and the opportunities there are read in front of audiences, you can carve out a niche for yourself. However, the talent has to be there; otherwise, no one reads the books or comes to the readings.

I'd like to see more poets making money from the work they put into their craft."

_____________________________


I agree! I would LOVE *love* loVe! so see poets earn more for their poems. That would turn the Joe Jackson song ("What a wonderful world it would be, what a glorious time to be free...") into my permanent theme song.

I would love to see all writers and artists get paid more and be able to support themselves through their art. Can you imagine? Can you imagine if more people bought poetry books than Snuggies? They are about the same price (Snuggies may even be a bit more), but poetry warms you longer.

* * *

On Thursday, I talked a poetry lesson to my daughter's reading group at school. These were bright kids.

When we read Emily Dickinson's "I'm nobody, who are you?"

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

and I asked them what it meant, a little girl raised her hand.

She said, "I think it means that to be popular is so much work, it's so much easier to be yourself." She was in 4th grade and she pretty much nailed it! And they said, to be somebody you have to keep croaking your name like the frogs. Croaking your name. Now that, I want to use in a poem.

They asked other questions, if all the poets we read from were dead. Nope! I shared Maya Ganesan's book. Everyone was impressed. Someone their age writing such wonderful poems, the Vice Principal was especially impressed. I read a couple poems from my book (because the asked). This was harder because some of my poems aren't really appropriate for the 4th grade world. But some are and those I read.

They asked more questions-- what were Emily Dickinson's last words? (My daughter answered this-- "Let us go in; the fog is rising.")

What is your next book? Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room.

Are all the poems in your book about Emily Dickinson? No, I just wrote quite a few of them in the Emily Dickinson Room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Oregon.

And then, the young business man in the back, age 10 asked-- Is it hard being a poet? (I wasn't exactly sure what he meant as there are so many layers to that question, but I thought about it for a moment.) No, it's fantastic, I said.

He smiled and paused, then in a concerned voice said-- But it seems that it would be easy to go broke between books? Ah, the money question.

I told him-- poets and many other artists make their money various ways, but it's important for me to do what I love. Sometimes I teach classes or workshops at writer's conferences, sometimes I am paid for my readings, sometimes I work with individual poets and writers.

I told him--It's more important for me to do what I love.

He asked-- would you do it if you didn't get paid? (Ah, grasshopper, this is the magic question for anyone looking for what they should be doing.) Yes.

Another girl raised her hand in the back-- When your book gets published in October, will you still write poems? Yes, I said. In fact, I'm going home today to write a poem.

They cheered. Happy creative 4th graders. All of them want to follow their passions, no matter what they are. I hope they keep that. That is the career path to whatever you want to do-- listen to your heart and head in that direction. There are no maps in this world only a borderless land for you to enjoy.


~

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Good News Post...


If Hollywood can celebrate themselves like crazy, I think we (writers & artists) should to.

This post is all about the good news in the poetry world lately. There has been SO much good news it's been hard to keep up!

Let's begin with the awards--

For Foreward's Book of the Year Award in Poetry-- the finalists are...



Archicembalo by G.C. Waldrep
Born in the Cavity of Sunsets by Michael Luis Medrano
By Cold Water by Chris Dombrowski
Fort Red Border by Kiki Petrosino
From the Fever World by Jehanne DuBrow
Holding Everything Down by William Notter
Home By Now by Meg Kearney
How God Ends Us by DeLana R.A. Dameron
I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman by Jude Nutter
My Kill Adore Him by Paul Martinez Pompa
Self-Portrait with Crayon by Allison Benis White
Shore Ordered Ocean by Dora Malech
Slamming Open the Door by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno
Southern Comfort by Nin Andrews
Sumac's Red Arms by Karen Shklanka
Talking Diamonds by Linda Nemec Foster
The Beginning of the Fields by Angela Shaw
The Essential James Reaney by James Reaney
Then, Something by Patricia Fargnoli
Underlife by January Gill O'Neil
We Mad Climb Shaky Ladders by Pamela Spiro Wagner

Do you see anyone you know? Let me highlight a few names that stood out for me--

Underlife by January Gill O'Neil
Southern Comfort by Nin Andrews
Then, Something by Patricia Fargnoli
Self-Portrait with Crayon by Allison Benis White


Yeah, Ladies! January, Nin, Pat & Allison-- Cheers to the women of poetry who are so FORWARD in their work. Congrats to you all!

(And on another note, 2 of these collections (Underlife & Self-Portrait with Crayon) were chosen by editors at Crab Creek Review as their top poetry picks and will feature mini-reviews in the next issue coming out in April 2010!

Oh and in the category of "How Important is a Title?" Let me tell you, I will be purchasing this book based on title alone: I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman by Jude Nutter


For the Lambda Literary Nominees--

* Breakfast with Thom Gunn, by Randall Mann (University of Chicago Press)
* The Brother Swimming Beneath Me, by Brent Goodman (Black Lawrence Press)
* The First Risk, by Charles Jensen (Lethe Press)
* Sweet Core Orchard, by Benjamin S. Grossberg (University of Tampa Press)
* What the Right Hand Knows, by Tom Healy (Four Way Books)

Charlie & Brent - Congratulations!

And one more bit of good news--

Mr. Eduardo Corral has a poem on POETRY DAILY today!


I needed this overload of good news for good poets. Congrats to all!

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Northwest



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Poet and...

SSo I'm kind of bummed tonight.

I was on the Poetry Foundation website as I'm teaching a short poetry lesson at my daughter's school tomorrow and I click on this poem: On Leaving the Bachelorette Brunch and I am in love. The poet? Rachel Wetzsteon, a poet who I have never heard of! (I don't think I've heard of and here she is with all these poems I've never read.) I've found a new poet and whose work I love. I am giddy.

I choose another poem: Short Ode to Screwball Women and another: Blue Octavo Haiku.

I'm excited, who is she? Is she on Facebook? I start reading her bio. She's published 3 books of poems! Three! I'm excited, that 3 new books for me to read. She's an editor too. I'm in love with this new (old) poet. She's a couple years older than me. 42. But we're close, my new poet and I, she gets me.

And then I come to it. Then I notice the (1967-2009) by her name. What?

I google. What I find: Rachel Wetzsteon, Poet of Keen Insights and Wit, Dies at 42. I'm heartbroken. And it seems she was too. Suicide. Christmas eve or Christmas morning 2009. Just a few months ago. No, not another poet lost.


Dear Rachel,
You were too young.

___________

So I'm sad. And bummed. And heartbroken too.

I'll leave you with Rachel's words from her poem because she should be the one speaking here, not me. I'm just someone who found her poems today, looking for something else, I found her. And she's gone.



Sakura Park
(published originally in Poetry Magazine & the book of poems by the same name)


The park admits the wind,

the petals lift and scatter

like versions of myself I was on the verge

of becoming; and ten years on

and ten blocks down I still can’t tell

whether this dispersal resembles

a fist unclenching or waving goodbye.

But the petals scatter faster,

seeking the rose, the cigarette vendor,

and at least I’ve got by pumping heart

some rules of conduct: refuse to choose

between turning pages and turning heads

though the stubborn dine alone. Get over

“getting over”: dark clouds don’t fade

but drift with ever deeper colors.

Give up on rooted happiness

(the stolid trees on fire!) and sweet reprieve

(a poor park but my own) will follow.

There is still a chance the empty gazebo

will draw crowds from the greater world.

And meanwhile, meanwhile’s far from nothing:

the humming moment, the rustle of cherry trees.


--Rachel Wetzsteon

Confession Tuesday

Dear Readers, it's Tuesday. Tuesday during the chocolate-free Lent (I have not cheated), though I have eaten the cookie of a chocolate chip cookie leaving the chocolate as some sort of messy miniature coal pile on my napkin. But I did not give up dessert.

So maybe I've been good, pretty good... Let's go to the confessional and see what's going on--


I confess I now know way too much about Howie Mandel.
You see, when I clean, I listen to books on tape. And while many times they are brain-growing, intelligent prose, sometimes they are fluff books, bubblegum for the brain.

I had a huge project of redoing my daughter's room so I checked out from the online library, Howie Mandel's memoir, Don't Touch Me, which explores his life and becoming a comedian while having OCD. (He also is colorblind, has ADD and ADHD and spent much of his elementary school years falling into puddles...)

I checked it out because I was interested in his OCD and how he handles it since he's a celebrity. He hid it for most of his career and it just came out to the public that he had it a few years ago.

The really bad thing about these books is I find myself bringing up random facts to my husband, "You know, Howie Mandel sold carpets..." What's odd is I have never really liked Howie Mandel, his humor, his personality, St. Elsewhere, but I must say, I listened to the whole book.

I confess I'm currently listening to Andre Agassi's memoir which is something like 12 hours long. Let's just say, he's still a teenager and I'm pretty much out of housechores...

~ ~ ~
I somehow got a subscriptions to Forbes magazine.


I have no idea how this happened. It just started arriving a couple weeks ago.
I decided that this must be the universe giving me knew writing (and reading) material.

~ ~ ~

I confess my brain is still full, overflowing, but I've been so tired I think the anxiety dreams have been passing me by.

~ ~ ~

I confess that tomorrow is St. Patrick's day and the Irish part of me beats up the French part and takes over. I kind of love the Irish part of me. But I confess I dislike beer very much.

~ ~ ~

I confess I know little about college basketball, but I somehow got into a March Madness bet where I have to fill out brackets of teams. (I think my husband wants me to participate so I'll watch college bball with him...) I confess there is nothing I like to watch less than college basketball because I don't understand the rules.

~ ~ ~

I cannot tell you how much I love this song (You and Me). And I confess Dave & I have the same birthday (January 9th).





Monday, March 15, 2010

1950's Poet/Prom Queen

A friend of mine had a "Prom Party" on Saturday and this was how my husband and I dressed. I love vintage and retro, so getting me to dress like this isn't hard.

Some people went for tacky, some for glamour, but this was completely my style. I sometimes think I was born in the wrong decade.


Anyway, here are some images from the night--


( The reserve Prom King & Queen sashes I had for us.)

My husband and I did not win Prom King & Queen, but we did earn the runner up sashes as "Princesses."

Our dance as Prom Royalty. I was trying to do that scene from Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze is teaching Jennifer Grey how to dance. The song we were dancing too was "(I had) the Time of My Life."


This should be my author photo.

PBG! 2010

So we already have 4 bloggers up to giveaway books for National Poetry Month-- Erin Hollowell, Susan Rich, Amylia Grace and myself.

To participate in their poetry book giveaways, follow the links to the left on the sidebar of my blog and leave them a comment in their blog post and you're in their drawing.

This is the first year of doing this, so we'll learn together as we go along, but so far, it's been a great way to see what others are reading, find new poet bloggers, and maybe win a free book!

I'll be adding links to master list until April 10th so you can check there every-so-often to see who is new to the list.

Happy Poetry Reading!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poetry Book Giveaway for National Poetry Month 2010





After participating in the One World, One HeArt giveaway, I thought for National Poetry Month we could do a poetry book giveaway where bloggers giveaway 2 books-- the first can be your own & the second book must be of another favorite poet of yours.

The goal is two share our favorite poets with others as well as to visit different blogs and see who others are reading. There is also a benefit for those who participate as it will bring people to your blog and share your work and/or the work of a favorite poet with them.

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES--

The Poetry Book Giveaway will start as soon as you post your book giveaway and will run through April 30th (all of National Poetry Month).

 On May 1st (or 2nd if you can't make it), choose 2 winners for your giveaway.

--You can do this buy putting everyone's name who commented on the giveaway in a bowl and choosing one. Or you can use the random number generator and then count down the comments until you get to the winner. (Make sure to email them so they know they won...)

**** If you are participating in this giveaway, you must be willing to mail 2 separate books of poems to ANYWHERE in the world. You pay the postage, not the winner.

Questions-


1) Can I enter the drawing if I don't participate in the giveaway?
Yes, the drawings are open to anyone.

2) Can I participate in the drawing if I am a blogger giving away two books?
Yes, again, the drawings are open to anyone.

3) Can the two books I give away both by written by me?
No. One book in your giveaway must by another poet, specifically one of your favorite poets.

4) Can I give away two books that I wrote and one book from someone else?
Yes! You can give away as many of your own books as you like as long as you make sure to give away a book by someone else. You are also welcome to give away a subscription to a favorite literary journal as an extra prize if you like, but again, you cover the cost.

5) Do the books I give away have to be new?
No. But only give away gently-used books. They should look newish.

6) I'm not a poet, but I love poetry can I participate in the giveaway?
Yes! Just give away books by two of your favorite poets.

7) I'm a poet, but only have a chapbook, does that count as a book?
Yes! Chapbooks are books! Feel free to give away your chapbook and then another collection by a favorite poet.

8) I don't want to pay postage if someone wins. Can I still participate?
No. You must be willing to mail the books to the winner at your cost. That's what makes it a giveaway (not a pay-me-for-postage-away.)

9) Do I need to have a blog to sign up for the drawings?
That is up to the blogger who hosts the drawing you sign up for. When I did it for One World, One HeArt, I allowed readers without blogs to sign up but only if they include their email so I could get ahold of them.

10)  Is it too late to post a giveaway on my blog and be included on the list?
Sorry, but yes.  All links were to have been given to me by April 15, 2010, but you are still welcome to ENTER as many of the drawings you like!  Also, I do plan on doing this for next poetry month, so come on back here in 2011 for the National Poetry Month Poetry Book Giveaway 2011!


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