Friday, September 29, 2006
Tomorrow, whilst working, I plan on digging seriously into laying out the all-alice issue. I missed my deadline by miles, but it's a giant issue so I'm not all too upset. Plus I've been preoccupied lately with much ordinary life stuff. I did secure the cover art to use on The Traffic in Women, so we're in business there. And did some preliminary designs for the fast on its heels Parapherna.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
It's not really about publishing your friends really, or even yourself that irks me (OBVIOUSLY), but a kind of myopia that puts oneself, and one's cicle, however falsely at the center of poetry as we know it, and using that as an excuse for all sorts of badness.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Today's tasks included tweaking the layout on the print annual (which I plan to print tomorrow if all goes well) and updating the dgp website, plus messing a bit with cover ideas for the next few chaps. Also took a perusal through this week's manuscripts for thesis seminar, which got me thinking about projects as poets. I realize at some point I really became focused on individual projects, which has no doubt spurred me to write more, since I have a goal, a direction. It also helps me to be able to "finish" things, for the most part. To be able to move onto the next thing. Maybe it's that practical nose to the grindstone Taurean side of me, but if left to wander aimlessly, writing poems about whatever moves me, I'd never write a damned thing. Too little focus. Or maybe it's those fiction writing roots, to stay focused and work through to completion. To get at things from a bunch of different angles. Sure I often fall off into interesting little diversions, but those things eventually become projects themselves. Right now, there's pulling together girl show, the the barest bones of dulcet, the Cornell project, the phobia poems, and a new fledgeling little project called a brief history of fire, mostly city/Chicago poems. Of course, I get so many things rolling and I never finish anything, but getting girl show in shape is the priority (I think I might like to begin submitting it over the winter.) And the Cornell stuff, since we're planning an April release. And then, who knows..
Thursday, September 21, 2006
This third annual issue features selected work from the online issue over the past year, including poems by Arlene Ang, Robyn Art, Elizabeth Glixman, Juliet Cook, Rebecca Cook, Susan Cronin, Alison Daniel, Lightsey Darst, Gillian Devereaux, Brett Griffiths, Liz Dolan, Melanie Dusseau, Katie Fesuk, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Ona Gritz, Lauren Levato, Heather MacPherson, Maurice Oliver, Jayne Pupek, Carly Sachs, Erin Elizabeth Smith, and Susan Yount.
(ps. contributors copies should be in the mail late this week)
By its nature, I think the poetry world is way too large for anyone anthology to claim to have a handle on it. And no one should probably even claim to--thus my difficulty with “Best.” Anyone can have an anthology, and all of them are going to be slanted in some way. Think of Legitimate Dangers (which we‘re using for a text in the Emerging Poetries class), a volume which has a lot of poets I really like, but it’s obvious the sort of crowd you needed as a poet to be in with--certain MfA programs, certain presses.. etc. Not even taking into account Lehman’s picks, think of how often a rather unspectacular Gluck or Oliver or *insert big name here* poem makes it in, simply because of that big name. It’s not democratic, and everyone in there probably has an edge of some sort--be it they know Lehman, the GE, were in the right publication at the right time, have made a big enough name for themselves that the editors know to go looking to include poems by them. However, I do agree it’s sort of skeezy to not be upfront about it though on Lehman’s part, to continually insist it’s all democratic and no one has an edge. Someone always has an edge. And in something like BAP, which is percieved as the big leaugues by so many fledgling poets, that seemes unfair. If Lehman were choosing his assistants for an issue of a magazine, there probably wouldn't be any complaints, but the anthology has a certain weight, an obligation that Lehman obviously neglects.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
In other news, the wicked alice print annual, long awaited as it is, is almost done being laid out..I just have to do the bios at the end, some tweaking, and we're set. If I would just stop being sick and feel better, things would progress much faster. What I thought were just allergies seem to have been a cold, which evolved into a rather nasty sore throat, which went away, but now I'm still stuffy and croaky, and not feeling at all like doing much beyond surviving and drinking lots of mint tea and eating soup. I think I've tackled everything I let slide in my inbox, as well as filled all the outstanding dgp orders from the last couple of weeks. Next, it's getting that print issue done, then onto laying out the all alice anniversary issue. And then, our next dgp book, Kristina Marie Darling's The Traffic in Women, which we've just started batting around cover ideas for, which should be released in late October.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I've been working most of the day on school things--I have to prepare a short little presentation on a literary magazine that publishes "emerging american poetry" as per the class's nomer. I chose The Tiny, since there seems to be lots of emerging and nigh emerging folks in there. Also we have some reading to do in some little bitsy book on literary theory, (so small I seem to have lost it on my desk). Start talking theory and I have bad first round of grad school flashbacks--that hulking copy of The Critical Tradition, glowering at me from the bookshelf a few feet away. I'm all down with the feminist/marxist theory stuff, but alot of the other just confuses the bejesus out of me. We had a whole semester course devoted to it at DePaul, but I remember sort of absorbing it, spewing it back out in a couple of essays, then just never thinking about it again. Too hard to wrap my head around. Definitely, why I'd never make it as a scholar.
We also, for the thesis seminar, have to write up a contract on what we hope to accomplish, what we want from the class, given that people are at various stages with their manuscripts at this point. I've got the whole mess that is girl show, which has just been sort of pouring out since the bginning of the year, without any rhyme or reason, so I'm looking for help mostly with organization, and getting it work as a book as whole. I did discover last Monday that they have miraculously done away with the critical portion of the thesis, which will infinitely make my life a helluva lot easier in the coming year. At first I was a little hesitant (is this just another way of dumbing things down--separating the creative writing and literature curriculum even further than they already are). Then I was like, seriously, I'll willingly be dumb if that means one less half-assed essay I have to write. Color me happy.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
As for me I will be shoving books into the hands of the willing and unwilling, and trying to prod folks into the direction of NMP's table to buy feign. The rest of the time I'll likely be either delightfully drunk listening to to other delightfully drunk poets or in the pool-side bar at the Sheraton getting that way. You know where to find me...
B) Failure to refrain from the above behavior will necessitate not the presence of a sympathetic RA and campus security rent-a-cops, but several of Chicago’s finest. Mom and Dad will certainly frown upon hauling your ass out of jail and may just confiscate that extra kegger money.
C) Contrary to the age you typically behave, this is not your parent’s house. Please keep your trash, junk, and expulsion of all bodily fluids limited to your own apartment.
Friday, September 08, 2006
And maybe this isn’t a print vs. online discussion at all, since in the last few years I’ve stumbled across a host of awesome, non-university tied/funded, publications--many of which can be found over there in the sidebar, and many of which I’m stoked to have work in, and oddly seem to be read by more people than the heavyweights. It might be just a blog thing..but that‘s cool. I definitely hear more people talking about the latest issue of The Tiny or Pebble Lake Review (I’m totally biased since I have poems forthcoming in both) than I ever do the so-called biggies. I wish there were more of these sorts of journals to satisfy my occasional lust for paper over pixels…
Then there’s the web.., where there’s a lot of good stuff being published, and better yet, it’s free, accessible, like a broadside handed out on every corner, everywhere in the world. I’m thinking especially as I start sending out all this newer work, the girl show poems mostly, I’m sticking to the web, mostly with a few exceptions of little mag print faves. But I’m not going to be clamoring for that bottom rung on the level to poetry stardom, whatever that is, if it exists at all. What matter is finding readers, and I really don’t think mine are there anywhere on that ladder.
When I used to publish more on the web, when that was pretty much the ONLY place I published since I couldn’t afford all those SASE’s , people were so nice. You’d get a lot of support for your work from editors, and even occasional fan mail. A certain instantaneousness of response. I myself am much quicker to offer feedback with an e-mail link than having to write a letter, address it, stamp it, etc. The web poetry world seemed smaller, though ironically, it was much bigger. I had a feeling people were reading my work, responding to it. (Maybe it was all in my head..) I like that. That’s what keeps me working--not sending things off into the abyss to maybe have them shoved into an SASE two years later with a generic “sorry“, when the poems so old and you've moved on to something else.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
This above series is not yet available at etsy just yet, since they'll be in the fall Art of the Library Extravaganza (coming to, or just outside, a bathroom near you). There are two new pieces, however, over in the dgp studio in the same vein. once again, I'm working in conjunction with the newly revived instabilities manuscript (thanks to the phobia poems), letting the poems manifest themselves visually--not exactly literally, yet thematically. Sometimes it helps me get out of rough spots in figuring out where I want to go.
I'm always way to excited by back to school sales, clothes, and supplies (I just recently bought a whole pack of Strawberry Shortcake ones just for nostalgia's sake--I don't really use pencils to write at all..). That feeling of trepidation, and possibility, of newness. New clothes. New shoes. Shiny new virginal notebooks and backpacks. Those hefty textbooks they handed out, their slightly glossy pages. The excitement of first year we were allowed to use ink. I miss being a kid sometimes so much it make my chest hurt. Not that I've given up my back to school pleasures entirely. I plan to go shoe shopping this week. I need a new sketchbook/notebook for classes (which actually start this week, though since both of mine are on Monday I have to wait). I've traded thick text books in favor of slim poetry volumes. Trapper Keepers in favor of loose files full of manuscripts and poems. Mechanical pencils for my Pilot G-2's.
Maybe I'll start something wonderfully new this week. Write a new poem, start a new project. Go somewhere I've never been. One day, instead of defaulting to Subway, take a smashed pb&j sandwhich in a rumpled paper bag. A thermos of chocolate milk. A shiny apple.
But when I read his little break down of what’s good poetry to what’s crap, it made me snort, considering my ratio, at least among what’s typically published in the sorts of journals mined for BAP, would be more like 50/50, the bad fifty definitely being Collins and all the poets who write just like him. Admittedly, I’m not a real big fan of most of the work in the bigger, more popular, mostly academic journals precisely for their publishing poets like Collins. Yes, there are good poets in those journals, poets whose work is exciting, surprising, dynamic, but I have a hard time finding them amidst the sea of mediocrity, and usually only find them when I know to go looking. But I’m also aware that my qualifications for poetry to be good poetry are different from other peoples. I can respect that it IS subjective to a degree (mind you the “to a degree” part.) The blandness of language, the lack of imagery, texture, innovation, the predictable “I came, I saw, I wrote about it” attitude in a Collins-like poem turns me off. Maybe another reader wouldn’t be, depending on your tastes. (Though I‘d argue I have better taste..). When I say “This is crap” I mean of course, you’re free to argue why it’s not. It’s all sort of grey where the line is though, and on occasion I’ve found something to like in poets I might not think I would, and in work that I might readily dismiss. And there’s a large continuum between the truly awesome work, the begrudgingly okay, and really bad, terrible, never should have hit the page stuff.
So to dismiss that much poetry, standing on such shaky ground oneself, makes me revile Collins even more. Granted, he hints at the subjectivity of the process, later on (although I do wonder how much Lehman pulls the strings), but I assume he’s talking about the 17%--what he chose from that. And the argument is moot anyway, considering what’s published in those sorts of journals is probably about 20% of the poetry output of serious working poets, 2% the output of all poetry (the good the bad the ugly) written everywhere. Which leaves out A LOT of work, especially in more indie and online journals. But then since this poetry probably isn’t anything like his own (THANK GOD), it would no doubt be lumped in that other 83% .One thing I liked about Hejinian’s BAP a couple years ago, was it’s mining into unfamiliar territory (albeit a rather aesthetically langpo limited, east coast sort of territory) I’ll bet BC doesn’t know fuck about the amount of good , great, even competent poetry published in any given year in literary periodicals.
Grrr..I’ll let up on the invective to say that I hate the haters. The people who continually bemoan the fact there’s too many writing program, too many poets, too many journals, too many voices. That everyone who writes poems like me is groundbreaking and all the rest of you suck. I’m thinking there aren’t enough journals, aren’t enough presses to gather all the good work. I’m thinking there can never be too much poetry happening. I’m thinking I have my preferences when it comes to the work I choose to value, my criteria, but they are just that. Preferences. And I vote with my readership, don‘t I, the books I buy, the journals I choose to purchase, subscribe to, and even submit to. And that doesn’t necessarily make me hesitant to place things in a ranking system,but to always question the motives behind ranking and dismissal. Who’s ranking and based on what? BC amazingly skirts the issue here--his real criteria, which makes me think he doesn’t really have any…which explains alot….
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
In honor of wicked alice turning five, I thought I'd point you (well the six or so of you actually reading this) all in the direction of some damned fine poems we've published throughout the years, often my first intro to the poets we publish pretty regularly, or have published through dgp, some of who will also be gracing the pages of the anniversary issue. Shann's comments below led me back to her poem, one of the first we published. And there's Rebecca in the second issue. In others that first year, Taylor Graham, whose chap we published in 2005, ditto Christine. Also a fiction piece by Adrianne Marcus, author of the first dgp book we published.
Check out those mad design skills. That first year, I didn't really vary beyond angelfire's basic template. With their basic editor you just plugged the info in. I remember being amazed when I figured out how to make the text italicized. I SO had no clue what I was doing. Though I was definitely loving the pre-raphaelites in those days.. We were also publishing alot of other things, since we didn't become a solely poetry zine until a couple years later. I reviewed alot of fiction back when I had the luxury to read alot for fun (pre MFA days), and we published essays and fiction, but I always wound up scraping to find stuff from others and to write reviews half-assed of my own. And there was lots of poetry coming in, so I just gave over to it eventually. I also have trouble reading really long stories on the web, so it was even harder to make sure they were edited and formatted properly, which took longer than doing just poems. Thus, we changed the format completely by the third year.
coming soon, year #2....