Sunday, August 25, 2013

I hereby declare this very last week of technical summer (well at least according to the meterologic calendar and the college's academic calendar) to be one of ice cream and sundresses and beach going.  Of trashy novel reading and eating everything outside on patios.  Of eyeing fall suspiciously and burying my head in the sand.


Last week was a busy one though, spent battling new internet installation in the studio, making a gazillion chapbooks (or so it seemed), and just a general sense of frenzy.  But there were delights, including copies of the shared properties of water and stars arriving at my door all slender and blue and wonderful, as well as collage making (there's a sneak peak below at one of them from the new series, strange machine) Friday also included a visit to the Chicago History museum for a work field trip and then a pretty damned good monte cristo at the pancake house across the street.

These last few gloriously weathered days seem wonderful, but even though September is pretty mild and probably my second favorite month of the year after May, it' still rather bittersweet.  Already the trees are tinged a little with yellow and some are surreptitiously dropping a leaf every now and then. 

But I am more or les ready for autumn with all sort of plans and projects and new sweaters and shoes.  Bring it on...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

dgp news & notes

New this week are Sara Lefsyk's the christ hairnet fish library and Kerri French's Instruments of Summer (which is, for all you music fans, a series of poems inspired by Amy Winehouse).  It always amazes me when I think about the diversity of books we get to publish in terms of subject matter and style, from Eva Schlesinger's recent book of quirky rhyming word-play poems to Nikia Chaney's more langpo inspired word experimentations to Leah Browning and Lois Marie Harrod's more traditionally lyric-driven pieces  (and that's just in the last few weeks.)  

A reminder that the dgp series is still taking submissions until August 31st, at which point we will close for the next year and solidify our 2014 schedule. Already, we are set to publish so many excellent books and I still have another 100 or so books in the submission queue.  We are also still reading for [carriage return] through September, so send us your work.

I've been working on some cover ideas for upcoming books from Carrie Etter and Lisa Cole's second chap with us, and am about to start layout on books from Katie Berger and Amber Nelson.  We also getting ready for our annual fall Open Studio the second Friday in September (we are aiming to do one every season, including our larger winter event.)  I have to do a bit of restocking since our inventory of both books and non book things usually dwindles a little over the summer when we are tending to submissions and other summer tasks, but we''ll be back in force with all sorts of art, prints, paper goods and accessories next month.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I turn around and August is more than half way over.  It's going to be a bit busy for me the next couple of weeks in the library pulling the fall course reserve offerings together and dealing with my unending stack of meticulously color coded spreadsheets (an attempt to stem some of the chaos, but there is always still some feelings of chaos.) 

And then, sooner than not, the beginning of the semester, which always signals a quick plunge toward the end of the year.  I try not to think about how every class of college freshmen stay the same age and I get older and older and more far removed from it.  I was aghast last week when I realized that it was 20 years ago that I was in my first year at RC.  Unlike the previous year that had been sort of all over the place (fist UNC, then a community college where I took some classes) it was my first taste of life in a small, more intimate liberal arts school and I reveled in classes in Shakespeare and Ethical Theory..the library where I spent all my time between classes holed up in a study carrel..the incredibly scenic campus tucked back in the woods behind the usual Rockford strip malls and fast food franchises.  I loved my classes and my teachers there, and it was like this door had been opened to another world.  I think everything felt important then..the authors I was studying, the things I was writing, the plans I was making (shakey as they were).  It's probably just nostalgia talking, but everything felt so much more real, and maybe it' the whole pre-internet thing, though I'm pretty sure I wasted just as much time with television and magazines as I do these days on the web. Or maybe it's that I payed so much more attention to the world then.

Obviously, I'm nostalgic today and missing things and people I am not really sure I want to be around. There's been a little napping, some scrambled eggs and tea,  some reading (I am re-reading everything on my bookshelf by Jenny Boully since finishing her not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them), some writing, and some cat antics..all in all a lazy Sunday like the calm before the week's storm..

Saturday, August 17, 2013


My longer prose project, the shared properties of water and stars, has apparently arrived back from the printers in top form and will soon be available from Noctuary Press.  It's somewhat a novella in prose fragments/word problems and a sort of a braided narrative  of suburban unrest from three different  points of view.  (You can see a sampling at the bottom of this interview with Noctuary's editor, Kristina Marie Darling.)   Outside of beautiful sinister, which is only about half as long, this was sort of my first attempt at a full-length prose project, something I am working more with now and much less with verse (the  recent lunarium, apocalypse theory, radio ocularia, and ghost landscapes projects are all prose or at least prose poems.)

 It's probably inevitable, since my initial impulses were fiction-oriented and narrative driven when I was in college.  the fever almanac was probably the last project that was poetry entirely.  There are a lot of prose pieces littered throughout the individual series that make up in the bird museum, as well as a few prose poems stuck amidst the verse in girl show.  havoc and shipwrecks of lake michigan were mixed at  about 50 percent prose, and were followed by this project and the epistolary james franco series. A couple future things that are floating in my head are definitely leaning toward prose, though some verse might sneak it's way into them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

So it's been a week filled with road trips, boat rides, sandy beaches, camp fires, adorable dogs, a little too much wine sometimes, and some thorough antique store browsing.  The woods up there in northern Wisconsin are lovely, though,  the nights filled with stars, and the daytime sky clear and adrift with huge flat bottomed clouds.   I managed to come back with some vintage postcards, and old Brownie camera and a jar of raspberry salsa from the tiny Tomahawk farmer's market.  I also managed to come back with only three mosquito bites and a tiny bit of sunburn. 

It's back to the real world Friday though since I have some work to do in the studio and a bbq in the city on Saturday.  It feels like the summer is winding down (especially since it felt more like September than anything else up north)...Soon I'll get cravings for back to school shopping and cooler happens every year..

Monday, August 05, 2013

dgp news & notes

*Tis the week for second-time-around authors, with new books by Erika Lutzner, Leah Browning, and Eva Schlesinger set to make their debut.  A few year's back (early 2010) we published Leah's Picking Cherries in Espanola Valley and Eva's View From My Banilla Vanilla Villa right around the same time, so it's fitting they are debuting in the same week this time around. Both books feature amazeballs cover art,   Schlesinger's own collage  and Browning's work courtesy of her sister, Sarah Browning (who also provided the work for her last chap.)  This week is all about synergy since Lutzner's book, which follows on the tail of her earlier dgp release, Invisible Girls, features artwork from Sarah Lefsyk, an artist and poet whose book we are just beginning to lay out. (she also provided the artwork for J. Hope Stein's' [Talking Doll] last year.)  Look for Lefsyk's book, as well as new titles from Kerri French and Kate Falvey in the coming weeks.


*We are currently at work plotting our next anthology project , [carrage return], which will be taking submissions through the early fall and will hopefully debut at AWP.  I am always excited by multi-author projects and would like to do even more of them in the future.  While we're still in a holding pattern indefinitely on the tarot project (it was a little more involved financially and design/logistical wise than we'd anticipated) billet deux on the other hand was an enormous success.  I'm especially intrigued by the idea of more epistolary projects on the horizon...


* We've also been tossing around the idea of making select backlist titles available in some sort of free electronic form.  This would most likely be books older than five years old, and would depend largely on whether the individual authors would be game. This would especially be cool for limited edition more 3-D projects like at the hotel andromeda and billet-deux that are only available on a limited basis.  I'm interested in keeping every thing in print, even our extensive backlist dating to 2004, but it also might be cool to offer free pdfs as well to our readers.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

the writing life

Yesterday, I spent some good, more intensive time with my writing projects, both those incomplete as of yet, those finished, and paging through some of those long since published.  It was one of those rare lovely and dangerous days where I seem to love everything I've written and therefore a really bad to get any whole scale work or tweaking done.  I actually do much less revision as the years go on, mostly because things seem to come out more smoothly the first time than when I was in my twenties or early thirties,  But even then my process was very much about working something out before I actually did any typing, or even while I was typing, so usually I was good to go as soon as I actually got it out on the page. 

This was also perhaps why I was never a good workshop student or writing group participant.  Typically by time I actually typed something up from notes and brought it in, it was already "done" except for maybe some surface tweaks.  I always listened kindly to what people had to say and then pretty much ignored it unless I was focused enough to be looking for input on something specific...a word choice or a line break or a punctuation quandary. (and mostly I avoid critique situations like the plague these days, largly since I don't like other peoples fingers in my poems).

 I sometimes feel like I'm guess I'm going to do what I need to do and if you like it, awesome, and if you don't, oh well, you'll move along to the next thing that you do.. I think I lost a lot of my anxiety over such things as I worked on more visual stuff, where you either connect with your audience or you don't.  I guess as long as I'm happy with it, it's a success, whatever happens to it out there in the world (this isn't to say craft isn't important and everything you write should be considered brilliant, but it's undeniably nice if you can get to the point where it's more play than work.)  Publications and prizes are really nice frosting, and necessary if you want to share what you're doing, and to a degree, necessary in finding your audience, but sort of not the end game. Depending on my mood, I am as guilty as everyone else, though of sometimes feeling like they do mean way too much.

Of course ask me in a week if I feel the same about my work and you might get an entirely different answer.  There are days when everything is just wrong. wrong. wrong. and those days are bad for actually getting anything done as well.  Those days are pretty much bad for everything but reading other writer's blogs and sharing the pain.

But this weekend, is relatively pain free with so much goodness on the horizon both in writing and writing news.  I am back in the thick of ghost landscapes and may have figured it out.  Also, something else that I started a while back and am thinking I want to get back to sooner than later. There is even some good publication news, with some new poems accepted at eratio and the happy news that the shared properties of water and stars is as we speak at the printer and will be here very soon. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Another weekend on the horizon, and mostly I am hoping to catch up on press work I've been lagging on.  I am still finishing off the sale orders from a couple weeks ago, assembling some author copies, and working on a big library order I'd like to wrap up before I leave for my usual August sojourn next weekend.  I am hoping also to work a bit more on a new collage series and perhaps some ghost landscape poems. (I'm sort of flailing in terms of direction on this one, it's a few disjointed pieces but I'm waffling over form.) This is all provided I can finesse my way through the Lollapalooza crowds, which are building outside in the park as we speak.

Had some good news yesterday that our panel, Power and Page Count: Publishing the Other Gender, is a go at AWP, and already the stars are aligning for some offsite events in conjunction with other presses. I'm still considering a train voyage (though whether or not I will spend two days in coach or a in a roomette depends on how much money I'm willing to fork over for comfort vs. basic utility.  I can sleep anywhere, but there is a limit..)  I'm excited about the landscape, though, and will probably go the more northern route to Seattle and then come back down through California and back across on a more southerly route.  As someone who has been on some very long and cramped car trips with little trouble, I'm thinking the train ride will actually be quite pleasant. 

I'm still pretty anxious about planes and flying, it was bad when I was in my twenties and got worse in my thirties.  Somehow hurdling through the air in a tin can propelled only by its own speed freaks the living hell out of me.  I flew a couple times without incident when I was in college and oddly it didn't bother me.  And besides If I'm going out west, and since I rarely get to travel, I kind want to actually see things at ground level, even if it takes me longer on the journey.  As someone cursed by growing up in the boring Midwest flatness, landscape variations are oddly exciting..mountains, forests, ocean.  I was even excited by the swampland down south.  I could probably use a couple days to clear my mind and just stare out the window before I get out there and down to business.