Thursday, November 30, 2006

delightfully smutty

Yours truly has some poems in Velvet Avalanche: a Collection of Erotic Poetry put together by the Erosha folks. I just got my copy a couple a days ago and it's very pretty/dirty. There are also an unusually high number of wicked alice contributors in there.'d think we attracted that sort of thing...;)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though it may, in fact, be a train. I have forged my December to-do list that seems completely insurmountable, but I want to start the new year with a clean slate. For school, there's the narrative paper, which I have a good outline on, but need to actually write the thing. Also, a five page creative project for the same class I need to get to work on, something inspired by what we've read and talked about in the class. (I'm thinking of doing a creative/critical hybrid piece ala Julianna Spahr's Spiderwasp.) Oddly, the thesis is pretty much wrapped up, for the time being. We can bring in newer additions, but it's optional. I'm locked and holding until next semester's one-on-one for now, still not completely sure about my organization. Order-wise I think I'm good as far as what goes first and last, but the middle's still a little murky. And I'm reconsidering sections. I just need some uninterrupted time to hash it out, hopefully over the break. Plus, there's some weaker stuff I'd like to either fix or cut, maybe some new pieces to fill in, flesh it out.

On the editing front, I need to get through the last batch of dgp manuscripts, send out responses and finish laying out the next chap, Parapherna, which I'm aiming for a release date of Dec 20. There's also the winter Wicked Alice issue to get up (it's only like ten poets so it shouldn't be too hard.)

Over the break, there are the poems I need to round up for the Cornell project, and a couple places I need to submit to. Plus, the first couple of next year's chaps to get underway.

I know it will all get done eventually, but looking at it at the moment makes me tired. I think I'll go home and crawl into bed and do nothing.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I am just now climbing out of the turkey induced coma of the last week in which there were lots of naps and a sugary stupor good for nothing but watching TV. Did manage to get up my tree once I was settled in at home and all attendant wreathes and garlands. I'm amazed some of the glass balls survived another year of storage, though I'm sure the cats will make fast work of them.

Just discovered this artist, thanks to Brandi, and ordered some notecards and a little book. Also, in the mail, The Radish King, which I can't wait to read...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

open letter to the muse

Dear alphabet. Dear spark.

My head is dull like a shell with the ocean in it. When you left me in the restaurant, I scoured the dictionary for days. Kissed men until my teeth hurt. Craved margaritas and the salt on the back of your neck. O my barbwire. My broken key. When you went south wearing my blackest dress, I looked in every hotel room from here to Knoxville. Cried in the shower. Found you puking in the backseat and mumbling about metaphor. On good days, you're a mad scientist. On bad, a vain girl with a scalpel. I put out a glass of wine to trap you. Line the drawers with sawdust. You hide my clothes and threaten to riot. Play gin rummy with the neighbors, throw record players out windows. On good days, I can get you to lie on the floor while I chant Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I've finally decided to write my final essay on a briefer version of the topic I was considering for my critical portion of my thesis before the requirement was axed--the whole women's poetry and narrative question (leaving out the gothicism) but in relation to surrealism, ellipticism, and fragmentation, using three poets (Sabrinah Orah Mark, Carrie St. George Comer, and I've yet to decide on the third) as examples, pulling in the Cixous. Again, I'm hoping at least this, which I'm genuinely interested in, holds my attention.

Last night, my laptop went all wonky again and wouldn't load windows. I wound up using the recovery disc again, which is a huge pain in the ass, since I have to load everything else back in as well--two printers, the scanner, the software for my camera and mp3 player. Bites. At least I don't really keep things saved on there on a permanent basis (for this reason largely), but I may have lost a poem or two if I forgot to e-mail them to the desktop at work, which I'll have to re-type. Double bites. Luckily everything else, images and such are online at least somewhere.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And the most heinous thing I have yet to see in my poetic career is right here. So wrong on so many levels, not only the duping of poets and stealing their money in this case, but the apparent shenanigans around the Dorset Prize …..makes me nauseous….sort of makes Jorie Graham and David Lehman look like saints…

I think it's not so much that it was a form letter. I mean, poets are used to getting those. But that the letters gave the illusion of being an individualized response, and what had been apparently promised in exchange for 35 bucks a pop (high even for a contest fee, let alone open reading). It's just fraud plain and simple. And then to attempt to collect more money, all the while making seductive promises so very much at odds with Tupelo's contest guidelines...which if they're true, constitute one kind of badness, and if not true, yet another..

As the folks at Foetry were saying in the forums, how is this not different from the National Library of Poetry scam? No matter how "respected" Tupelo has been in the past, this is fucking ridiculous...
God, I'm dragging. I'm hoping to dream up a draft of my final paper this week, though it's early, just because I want the holiday free and clear of work. I think it's one of the cruelest things instructors can do, make a major project due after a break (or in this case a draft of a major project). I am SO in need a worry-free, work-free vacation (before I start hurling staplers at people's heads and screaming at the public printer again..) Hopefully, I can get the bulk of it done this weekend...

On other, happier fronts, I got a nice note from the good folks at Rhino that they'd nominated midnight pastoral for a Pushcart. Also in the mail, Kaia Sand's wee book from Dusie and October's Foursquare, as well as Rebecca's new chap, which I'v already read and loved (of course).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Last night, I slept like the dead, first chance to really sleep in while I could actually breathe in the last two weeks. Absolutely glorious.

Yesterday, I started making my way thru dgp manuscripts and it's going to be hard to make decisions once again. A couple things have already knocked my socks off and I'm definitely taking them. Everything else is either going into the "no way in hell" pile (less than you'd think) or the "maybe" pile. I have about four or five slots left, otherwise I'm pushing into 2008. Since next year is going to be dgp's last year without any sure-fire funding, we're piling them in, one a month, 12 chaps in the 2007 season. After that we'll likely setle back to three or four, which was the intended number when I started the press. But I'm glad we have the chance to start strong, this year alone 6, not counting the wicked alice print annual and my own.

Since we're publishing more chaps, I'm scaling back wicked alice to smaller issues (ten or less poets) to even out the workload, although oddly it's less time consuming to lay out a chap than to code an issue. I'm also thinking of a subscription system for dgp, to get all the years chaps (plus some extra goodies)for seriously cheaper than buying individual copies.

In other news, Amanda has posted a poem from the fever almanac in her weekly Friday poem feature. I still won't say it in the mirror five times--not when I was eleven, not when I'm 32. On a creepy mirror-related note, I went and saw The Return last night, which somehow marketed itself more as horror than the thriller it was, but it was okay, though I can't see SMG as anyone but Buffy. I have a couple interesting looking horror movies coming from Netflix, now that I've finished Veronica Mars. Hopefully, I get a chance to watch them this week. Still pushing on through to blissful Thanksgiving week, trying to get excited by the lights going up in the trees, the Christmas junk I can already see in some department stores on Michigan ave..

Monday, November 06, 2006

cranky monkey

This afternoon, I was privy to a bit of discussion that sort of irked me bout literary careers and book publishers and such. One poet was talking about the work of another poet and made a comment that poet #2 had taken a big step down with the publisher of her second book, having gone from a small press that was founded by someone recognizably in the “establishment” --aka the academies, the writing programs, the big boys. (Incidentally, a press that actually isn’t on my radar much and seems to publish sort of bland , nature-epiphany poems but apparently had big prestige-factor.) Anyway the poet had published her second book with a newish, smaller, web-affiliated POD press and had won their contest. But it bothered me again that it’s automatically assumed that if you’re not plying in the big leagues that you are somehow lesser of a poet. That you’re taking a step down by choosing to move in circles that aren’t the bigger more established ones in the poetry world. What I couldn’t figure out is why shouldn’t poet #2 be just as content with her second book’s publication as her first—having collected her prize money and a pretty damned nice looking book to boot. I’m sure she sleeps pretty damned well, as would any of us. Isn’t the art enough, getting it out there. Finding a way to distribute it. I’m of the agreement that bigger name presses and journals function like brands, attempting to lure readers in with their name, which works too, but aren’t the smaller ones producing just as great an amount of work, forging their names as they go. (And I would also argue, sometimes publishing even better work.)

This is just one more in a long-line of stupid comments I’ve heard in the MFA world about publishing. Another recently about contests, someone advising another poet not to enter said contests because it was “small potatoes” and he’d never heard of it or the judge. Does that matter, does it make the prize money or the book any less real? Who exactly are we trying to impress? Who cares if you’re happy and have your book and readers and maybe you, yes you, will be the poet that raises the press from obscurity?

I’m not really a fan of the “poetry career”—the prizes, the grants, the teaching job, wracking up fancy shmancy pub credits, the little piece of fame poet could lay claim to in such a small world (though some occasional cash and ego stroking would be nice, thus I’m not ready to give up on contests, however small fry)...I AM out for a career, though, a readership of some sort, creating work and getting it out there. Perhaps Poet #1’s comments hit a bit close to home since the presses publishing my books are pretty small and newish, but I love them because of that. And I’m a small and newish poet, so it’s a good fit. I’d certainly rather be published by the uncovered jewel than the big and overhyped.

*sigh* the whole conversation just set me grumbling all the way home. I guess I'll just add this to the list of things I continually roll my eyes at, the suggestions that poets :

1) just have to be published in certain “name” journals in order to wrack up credits for their mss. before it will be taken seriously by eds . (It should be the advice to get your work out there as much as possible to garner an audience, wherever you think that audience may lie..)

2) that publishing your poems online is like throwing them in the trash and that you should save your “good” work for print (yes, I actually heard someone say this),

3) that POD is inferior to traditional publishing (I’m beginning to think the exact opposite).

4) That no one will take you seriously if you self-publish. (bullshit.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Much more on the mend today and determined to do very little in the realm of strenuousness. Organized my presentation materials, worked on some poems(okay, eyed them warily and moved them around on the table) ate leftover Chinese food (nothing takes care of those sinuses like general tso's chicken) baked an apple pie (okay, by "baked" I mean took from the freezer carton and cooked in the oven for an hour.) I did manage started a little idle online early Christmas shopping. After a couple of shopping-in-the-December-frigidness related crying jaunts last year, I'm only shopping for presents online. I'm not a person who hates shopping, per se, but a person who hates shopping for things--things which are either usually not there, too expensive, or not really what I want / but I'll take what I can get. Not to mention the task getting said things home, anything larger or unweildy than a medium-sized bag, on the bus or train. The kind of shopping I like is the kind where you wander around the store and miraculuously find just the thing you didn't even know you wanted or needed and it's perfect. If I go looking for something, I usually wind up frustrated or dissappointed. Not to mention pre-Christmas Chicago downtown crowds and hysteria are an absolute nightmare. So presents are coming exclusively through the internet this year, and hopefully early enough so I'm not obsessing that last week like usual.

Grocery stores are an even greater trauma. Many a time before I succumbed to the luxury of getting them delivered, you might find me dazed in the middle of the Dominicks', list forgotten at home, 2 out of three ingrediants for what I'm making, frantically trying to figure what I'd forgotten, if I could afford it, how much more could I carry the signifigant distance back to my apartment. It didn't help that unless I wanted to do my shopping at eleven pm (occasionally happened), or get up early before work to do it (not ever going to happen) I had to do it Sunday, with everyone else in Edgewater apparantly, including old surly people nearly running you down with their carts and entire families toting five or six kids running amok. If I made it to the line, it was a good fifteen minutes before I got out of there, only to have, of course, overloaded myself, those plastic handles digging grooves in my hands and messing my back all up. Now, I go online once or twice a month, a few clicks (I pretty much get the same things every order) and I'm set for weeks at a time for like an extra $8 (plus whatever I tip the delivery guy), and it's delivered to my door. No existential crises in front of frozen foods. No tears over the produce.

Friday, November 03, 2006

typhoid mary

So my measly little cold last week has landed me with some the worst can't breathe, can hardly talk, congestion I've ever witnessed. I think my immune system was still vulnerable from my last instance of the plague, and turned something usually mildly annoying into full blown nastiness. I barely made it through my shift last night I was so miserable. I had to back out on my DvA reading tonight with after hours with many apologies, stayed home from work today, and spent most of the day on my couch. Not a bad place to be if I felt at all better than this. I'm hoping my voice is something like normal for an author presentation on Monday for class. All I know is, I've got my eye trained on blissfull Thanksgiving week, which, with the exception of classes on Monday, I have all week off. I feel like I've been running non-stop since September with various personal dramas, school, editing stuff, illnesses, no real weekends to speak of, no recoup time. And this is always the worst time for me mentally. I'm wary of psychiatrists and their plethora of drugs for everthing, I suspect I have a touch of seasonal affective disorder (along with social anxiety disorder, but I prefer to think of it as charming shyness) and since these trends aren't debilitating, I can live with them--"normal" and "healthy" is all relative, I suppose. But lately I feel...tense is the best word and everything is actully going pretty great creative-wise, relationship-wise, I should be basking, not stressing. I think I just need a long hot can amazingly work wonders...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

the mother load

Guess where I will be two weekends from now..
Most certainly here.

dgp & other news

We've reached the end of the reading period, and have a full box of what look to be great manuscripts, so I should be able to respond to all of them by Christmas at the very least. Thanks to all for submitting.

The Traffic in Women is now available for sale at the site, and needs only to be assembled which I plan to do whilst watching Veronica Mars, season 2 (OMG--the awesomeness) tonight.

I also have a poem up at from the fever almanac Thanks to the very rockin Simone Muench for putting it up (and writing me such an awesome blurb for the book..)