Tuesday, August 03, 2021

fall and all its longings

Inevitably, it's coming.  We've had a stretch of mild, cool days that I really love for summer, a time when we're usually getting beat by humidity.  But still, I feel it coming --that morning when the light will be slighty different, slightly off, and you'll feel fall creeping in your bones. Normally, it's a little exciting.  When I was a kid, I relished it.  By August, summer was getting kind of boring. Over grown and overwrought. We'd played all the games, watched all the movies, pitched endless blanket forts in the living room.  By August, we'd be anxious to get on with things--scoping out back to school clothes (or in our case, usually collecting the carefully chosen K-Mart Layaway.) School supplies, which were whole other deliciousness--I took choosing folders very seriously.  Kittens?  Horses? Unicorns? (and even once, Micheal Jackson.) If we could afford it--a Trapper Keeper that made my little OCD organizing heart pound, and that would probably be wrecked by November. I would get excited over pens as soon as we were allowed to graduate from pencils--as any future writer would.  Also, the switch from those newsprint handwriting tablets to white lined spirals was really exciting for me. 

To me, elementary school has a smell--and I think it's a mix of Elmer's glue and spoiled baloney sandwiches forgotten for the weekend in plastic lunchboxes. It's not good, but there is something that makes me happy.  I was one of those kids who was really excited to go to kindegarten. My mom didn't work outside the house, so each morning she would put my sister, who was barely a year old in the stroller and walk me the five or so blocks to Loves Park Elementary. By 4th Grade, it was a walk, in typical 80's fashion, I would make, first with some neighborhood kids, then entirely alone. There was an exhilaration and excited fear in those walks.  I had been amply warned against kidnappers and perverts and instructed to run to someone's door for help if I needed it.  But I was fine, and alone, really independent for the first time outside the house.  I would cut different paths through the neighborhood, choose different  streets, just in case, I was being watched.  I had already seen enough horror movies. Even at 8 or 9, I knew how to be careful.  It was the 80's after all, and I was far from alone.  Many kids, as we were a couple years later after we'd moved out to the country, latchkey kids.  My mother, however, was waiting amidst the kids she babysat for extra money, and ready to bring down the hellfire if I was a second later than she thought I should be (as I found out when I dallied a bit too long with some cute boys I encountered along the way.)  It's strange to be a child and feel like you have total control over your time and volition.  I feel like the world got more dangerous, or SEEMED more dangerous, and kids would never again have the freedom we did at such a young age.

I always felt like that particular school was far different than the stricter one I would head to for grades 5-6. We had a lot of freedom.and it felt like more time out of the classroom and the eyes of our teachers. We  would play foursquare or tether ball (which until the late 80's no one cared how dangerous hurling a hard ball around a pole could be.) Dodge ball, of course, also potentially panful if that textured ball hit bare skin.  We could bring Barbie's and things from home to play with at recess, though sometimes we spend recess rehearsing talent show versions of Thriller and Donna Summer's She Works Hard for the Money. There was an immense tree in the corner of the schoolyard whose roots stretched out above ground around it--we would hold the tree and circle, trying not to step off the roots, and gab about whatever 4th graders gab about going round and round in circles. In hindsight, it's sort of pagan and witchy behavior for children. There was the expectation that we would behave ourselves,  and we did, but I wound up a year later at a stricter school where I once saw the principal lift a bad kid in the hallway by his throat. Where they filed us in at lunchtime like the military, before a brief 15 minute recess. Where we, unleashed, could either wait in line for one of the much-desired swings, try to scale the rusty death trap merry go round, or, as I often did, line up to do forward rolls over the high monkey bars over concrete.  We'd flip, land  then get in line to do it again.  There were small rebellions.  We'd get in trouble for trading plastic jelly bracelets and Now & Later amongst each other. I wrestled a mechanical Skeletor pencil from the boy behind me via some bet on whether he could throw it into the hair of the girl who sat in front of me. He could not. 

I particularly liked  the days our teacher made us clean our desks. (actually this has not changed, I really like organizing everything after carelessness has led to certain amounts of chaos.) Sometimes, you'd find things you forgot you had.  An eraser shaped and scented like a strawberry. The yellow colored pencil you'd been missing for months. Your abandoned math notebook bedecked in puppies you thought you'd lost that needed to be replaced. I also liked keeping planners/assignment books only to lose or forget about them for awhile. Dutifully regroup and then forget again. Everyday, we'd shove what we needed to take home into our backpacks.  I don't remember the backpacks specifically, but I do remember lunchboxes before I abandoned them for hot lunch in older grades.  A metal Disco Fever one.  A red and yellow plastic Fame one. Later, one of those ubiquitous orange Tupperware ones my mom got at a party. Hot lunches were served on pale institution trays and sometimes terrible, but sometimes weirdly good.  Later, in my twenties when I worked at the elementary school library, I was happy to see the flourescent Creamed Turkey was still intact. 

Through high school and college, grad school and working in academic settings my whole life, more stays the same than changes.  I still, even now, get excited about school supplies this time of year.  Already, I've ordered a stack of crisp green steno notebooks for notes & to-do lists from Amazon in addition to the supplies I'm always buying--paper and cardstock and printer ink.  I've been scoping out fall clothes since summer started and waiting for sales. I get excited, particularly after this pandemic year of a really quiet campus, seeing the wide-eyed freshman walking about--so new penny shiny and hopeful. Since the busiest part of my semester is usually the beginning, it's a little more like love/dread, but it's still a kind of love. I did not know as a child I'd be subject to the same sorts of annual timekeeping, semester to semester, but it seems inevitable somehow. Like the farm kid who grows up to be a farmer and thinks only in terms of plantings and harvests. Of sowing and reaping seasons. For me, summer is for sowing ideas and dreaming, while fall is when you buckle down and get serious--about projects, about writing, about work. It's no different as an adult than it was as a child. 

It's not here yet, but it's coming...

Monday, August 02, 2021



cover notes | dark country

Because I am at heart a visual thinker, I sometimes have ideas for cover art for projects before I even have the project finished. Obviously, this is not so strange when I have some visual element to a project and I just have to choose which would make a good cover. And it's also true of reading work by others, which is where I get my ideas for the press. It's a little weirder when I have like half a full-length book mss and already am dreaming of the cover for a book that isn't even really finished yet, for poems that aren't written yet, for a manuscript not even assembled (this is true for something I am working on now.)

I've been enormously lucky that the presses I've worked with in the past invited me to have an active role in the cover design. My first book, I chose Alaina Burri-Weir's amazing photo, who I had encountered online in a number of journals and used for two previous chapbooks, a couple wicked alice print issues, and at least 2 or 3 dgp covers. (and also have a couple framed photos above my bookshelf.)   For in the bird museum, we wound up using one of my random collages with some victorian flair that was in my etsy shop at the time (one I don't even seem to have a photo of elsewhere).  girl show sports a piece from my spectacle series of collages, which actually came long after that manuscript, but fit perfectly. The shared properties of water and stars and little apocalypse, also my own collage work. Ditto sex & violence, which is a reworking of some of the elements in my /slash/ zine. There were a couple variations over the years..  When Sundress accepted major characters in minor films, I had no real ideas for a cover, so they turned it over to their designer, Mary Ellen Knight, who made the most perfect embodiment possible for that book. Diane Goettel. at BLP asked me about salvage and I said I wanted a Sailor Jerry mermaid and she worked all that magic on her own. Also, one of my favorite not-me designs was what Maverick Duck did for the beautiful, sinister chap.  Also, how Diagram/ NMP turned my bird collage into an even more magnificent cover for another chap, feign after I was was a finalist in their contest in 2006.

When it came to designing the things I am issuing myself  I chose one of a series of more illustration-like pieces for feed. They were initially planned as a visual element to accompany the hunger palace, which wound up instead being published wholly in The Journal, so never quite made it to zine form before being folded into the longer project. There is something mother and child like in the deer especially, a vulnerability. (the alternative was foxes--I went back and forth.The deer won since they echo in more than one section of the book, but either could have worked.  Since I also planned dark country as a pink book--teenage bedroom pink--I went for blue with feed. It turned out gorgeous of course, with those inky black stretches looking amazing in the glossiness (you actually can go matte or glossy and I keep choosing glossy.) The little deer down near the press imprint is my favorite part. The world of the book lends itself to a certain fanciful darkness captured in that cover. 

For dark country, besides the pink, I suspected I might want a photo instead of a collage or illustration. Of what, I didn't know--I started collecting stock photos from free sites I use regularly--creepy school hallways, pine-laden woods, darkened parking lots, nighttime stretches of road.. I thought maybe vintage wallaper would be cool, since the accompanying artwork for two the series in zine form featured pieces made with it (exquisite damage and taurus) but couldn;t find the perfect one.. There were suburban elements, but also woodsy and farmland settings.  Labyrinths.  Girlhood bedrooms and things like 4-H ribbons and  pageant trophies.  Also wildlife and farm animals--the dead deer in beautiful, sinister.  The bloody cattle in taurus. Other women and girls littering roadsides and rivers in the Slenderman poems and in exquisite damage. I have a love of taxidermied animals as much as the fully alive ones. One one hand, hunting is terrible, but also the results, sadly beautiful and laden in so much of my more recent work (as you'll see in the next book, animal, vegetable, monster due at the end of the year.) This particular photo first jumped out at me for not only being the sort of scene one might find in the households of the women that litter the book--70's early 80's decor I remember, a roseyness that would complement the sort of pink I wanted.  It's probably a contemporary photo of someones's vintage decor apartment, but it felt like it had been taken 30 years ago.  Only as I started mocking it up, did I find the single, most perfect thing about the photo--the leaning, almost menacing man in the reflection of the owl embroidery piece. You almost might miss him entirely, but it was so fucking perfect it sealed the deal. I had my cover.  

It's actually not always that easy.  Sometimes, especially when I get stuck on a design for another author, its damn hard.  But occasionally you make contact--witth the deep veins of the book, with the author's own imagination. I do incidently have the cover art or animal, vegetable, monster, lined up though the full design remains to be seen (it started out as a one-off collage I made for my patreon subscribers and in the theme of 2021--more deer, though a little deconstrcuted..lol...) I also have some future covers in mind, either from existing artwork for the automagic and collapsologies manuscripts that I just recently finished up.  Even more ridiculously, another project that doesn't even have a full title and about 20 poems finished, but I can see the future cover design clear as day in my mind. We will see how that one unfolds...

Sunday, August 01, 2021

sealey challenge 2021

 I decided to join in this month on The Sealey Challenge--one book of poetry per day. When I was re-arranging my bookshelves a couple of weeks ago, I realized there were many things I'd bought or been gifted I hadn't read, as well as things I had read and loved that I want to revisit. I also have a sizeable stack of books on my desk at work and sitting around at home that I've borrowed from the library. I'll be choosing my titles weekly since much will depend on my mood from week to week and how one book sometimes lead to others.   This morning I grabbed some of the ones I want to start with, including one of my all-time faves, Daphne Gottlieb's FINAL GIRL, books from Sarah Maclay and Eve Alexandra I picked up years ago at AWP and remember loving, books by Rachel Galvin and Catherine Bowman I know I haven't read yet, and another by Natalie Eilbert I kept trying to read during lockdown, but kept abandoning due to Covid brain. All women of course, as the selections will likely continue to be, and ample inclusion of books by POC if I can help it. Today, I began with Juliann Baggot's LIZZIE BORDEN IN LOVE, which I picked up at another AWP and remember reading, but would like to go back to.  I couldn't find my copy of THIS COUNTRY OF MOTHERS, Baggot's first book that I ever read, but remember it being a sort of formative read way back in the early aughts, so I've since followed her work with particular interest (also her dystopian novels for YA are pretty amazing as well.)

I go through stages where I buy more poetry and others where I check more out from the library depending on cash flow. At things like conferences, I would load up on titles at the book fair but then they would migrate onto the shelves unread when I returned home. Thus occasionally, I will pull something out and be completely unable to remember what it was about--most likely becuase I haven't read it--so much gets lost in the shuffle.  Especially this past year, which has not been great for reading at all beyond editorial projects.  So I am looking forward to closing some of those gaps--even though there is still many new books I'd love to buy, Though if I find I like reading a book today and can keep up on it, who knows, I might just keep going...

Follow my reads on   instagram..

film notes | underwater world-building

 I've devoted this week in my movie watching to Guillermo Del Toro films, a couple of which I've seen, but not in a while and others I've haven't got to.  I began with Crimson Peak, which is a horrific bit of  beauty with excellent ghosts and a dreamy old castle --a story that feels like a melding of Jane Eyre and Rebecca with a little Flowers in the Attic thrown in for measure.  I also watched Mama, which was really good horror, proving that ghosts are scary, but so are feral children living in the woods, Pan's Labyrinth a reallly good reminder that the worst monsters are always human, something very apparent in my favorite so far, The Shape of Water. I did not realize that this film existed--2017, when it won a Best Picture award being a year in which I was not paying so much attention to things with my mom sick much of the year.  A retelling of The Creature of the Black Lagoon and a gender reversed mermaid story all in one, a cleaning woman at a 1960's Cold War military facility falls in love with a sea creature man.  Again, humans are the worst and the villain of this is particularly monstrous.  What kept amazing me was not the love story, which is sweet and tragic, but the sets and design--the costuming and the colors that make the movie, even not underwater, feel like it's happening beneath the sea. Since I have a vast love of mid-century industrial design, it's especially gorgeous--tank desks and office chairs in grey, green and blue as far as the eye can see. The labs at the fascility have that feeling no other time evokes for me and I wanted to live in it's strange underwater vastness. 

Del Toro is always much loved for his monsters and creatures, but it's those incredible sets and wide shots that kill me. Crimson Peak's crumbling manse filled with black moths. The cabin in the woods of Mama where the children are found, midcenury, but also in ruin. Pan's labyrinth and it's steep staircase into the earth. So much of filmmaking is that visual--those wide, unwinding shots. An immersiveness that swallows you completely. With The Shape of Water, I kept pausing the movie to make it last longer, to marvel at what was on the screen. 

I try to think about how that sort of world-building translates to poems. Since most poems are pretty short--even most series or books of poems are short..you have less time, but I'd like to think this makes it more difficult but also easier, especially given that poems have a permission to be more dreamlike than fiction. To create that world in a small book demands skill. Rather than setting it up carefully, you have to jump right in before even building the boat sometimes  Or you are building it as you go.  S often when I am assembling a full-length mss. I am looking for the series of work that not only share thematic similarities, but also exist in the same world.  Or could if it were real. it's not necessarily limited by time or space.  In something like in the bird museum, the poems take place in a string from Victorian times to the present day, pausing in Joseph Cornell's world of shadowboxes, or 1930's Chicago with the archer avenue pieces. But they are the same world. salvage moves back and forth between the real world and the imagined, but both are equally real somehow and tethered to each other. This new book specifically takes place in a span of 40 or so odd years-the 70's Wisconsin of beautiful, sinister.  The 80's of my own poems about horror movies and taurus. The Slenderman stabbing poems set this century. The world of dark country is the same world, just spanning over decades. 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

writing enough

Most of July I have not been writing new work and mostly been tending to DARK COUNTRY editing and promo business during the mornings over breakfast and whatever other odd things I don't have time to get to on my weekly writing day. The spells project is about half done, but I was waffling over the direction it was going, so tabled it for the month and will get back to it in August. I was not always someone who wrote daily, but now when I don't do it, I get itchy and feel unproductive--esp with so many things hatching in my head in regard to projects, unfinished or unstarted. 

Today I woke up pretty late and thought about writing, but then thought about some household projects--caulking the shower, cleaning the fridge--Saturday sort of things that were better uses of my time, but then felt guilty that the best use of my time should be writing--what I feel most passionate about.  So much gets in the way--day jobs, the press doings, commutes, laundry, dishes, and yet these things need to be done lest everything fall apart. 

I was mopping the floor (which kind of has to be done weekly to stem living with so many cats and their floofiness) and caught sight of my book shelf--arranged the other day to make room for the copies of DARK COUNTRY that will be dropping in the next couple of weeks. ) Sometimes, I am flabbergasted that I have, in the span of the past 20 years, written enough poems to fill the pages of all these books.  Despite day jobs, commutes, dishes. Despite the sort of things that take you away from writing or make it hard. I feel like it's balance. (and I can't even imagine what it's like to live with other people or raise children, even just keeping them fed and entertained, which also impede on that time.)

True, I don't have much of a social life..lol....(bit then again, none of us do during Covid.)  I save time where I can (getting groceries delivered to save trips and energy. Much takeout, microwave meals, and big salads to stave off cooking. Not running errands unless I have to. I see my boyfriend maybe once a week (he too has a couple different jobs and acting/film related things happening.) I have had larger and smaller groups of friends--writing or library folks, , but during the pandemic, most of us have retreated into our cocoons and wave to each other once in a while. I see my best friend at work mostly.  My family is a couple hours away, so I see them infrequently.  My downtime is mostly me watching movies in my apartment--those rare moments when I'm not working-- and I treasure it immensely. 

I think as writers, or maybe all artists, we feel like we should be doing more--especially if our time and attentions are pulled in so many dizzying directions. The more directions, the more helpless we feel.  But really, even one poem a year is enough and so much more than most people--non artists--will ever write.  Even if it never gets published. Even if we never share it.  I think as Americans we think in terms of excess, always. Quantity or quality. I am no different. I do think in writing more, I get better.  It[s not all great and some gets chaffed and never shown to anyone. The more you write, the more you mine, the more likely you'll find gold. But I need to retrain my brain on what productivity is, what enough is to get me through the moments where I feel lazy and uninspired.  Or worse, inspired, but too busy to put down what you have to do to pay the rent, which feels even more frustrating sometimes. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

paper, ink, keyboard

One day, I seemed to wake up and was composing poems entirely on the screen..  One day I was sitting in in the library, at home, or sometimes, even on a train or bus drafting on notebook paper or other scraps and the next, I was solely using the keyboard.  My first poems were scribbled on whatever paper was around--mostly decorative stationery I'd squirreled away for pen pal letters.  Sometime, I'd use three ring binder paper.from my school supply . At 16-17, I didn't have a typewriter, much less a computer, so they never made it beyond hand written.  I still have some in my files, some in the blue lock diary started when I was 15. When I needed to type something--term papers, contest essays--I'd use my aunt's electric in her basement underneath a large Elvis poster. My graduation money was used to purchase my own machine, which I would use the entirety of college, which only in my last couple of semesters did I move to the bank of beige computers in the labs. I was still writing poems by hand--then again on whatever paper I had at hand--spiral notebook pages, lecture programs, old triplicate files from the student government office. I still have some of these drafts, which I would then type up later on wafer thin typing paper dotted with correction fluid to send out to magazines in which the consensus was of course a resounding no (outside of more vanity operations.)

When I went into my MA in Lit program and got my first student loan funds, I bought a word processor at Sears, which had tiny hard disks, and since I was still too poor to get a computer (which were all pricey in 1999) I used this mostly to type up my school work--essays on romantic poets and victorian novels--but also poems, which I was beginning to write more frequently and a bit better. I have some of these too, mostly on notebook paper and with lots of scratching and restarting, usually drafted a few times until I got a more neatly written "final" version I would then type up. My first book manuscript pulled together at 25  lived on one of these discs and thankfully never saw the light of day. Post degree, I spent a year and half with little computer access and a failing word processor, but little was happening in the poetry dept.  I did write stories--stories that are tucked away in spiral notebooks, written out by hand, that I worked on before I moved back to the city.

When I started working at the library and  had computer access at work, I would still write things out by hand--on paper,, in the b&w marbled journals I'd kept for years, on spare library catalog cards & scrap paper. At first, since not all the computers had MS Word on them, I would just type and save them in my campus e-mail whenever I was on the circ desk at night. I had discovered the world on online journals, so outside of prints for my own records, mostly they existed digitally--where they'd live as drafts in my e-mail and then in the journals that published them. I still composed in handwriting though--and would carry a specific smallish notebook around with ideas and snippets in it that would eventually become poems. 

The shift was so gradual I don't even remember when it happened.  For a while I would compose in word docs, sometimes in private blogs.  By the time I was in my MFA I was doing a lot on screen just to save myself having to then transcribe on the keyboard, so it may have happened sometimes in those years.  By the time I was writing full-force again after a couple years of faltering, it was all onscreen. The benefits were obvious--I am a terrible typist--fast but also inaccurate--so transcribing things from the page means a lot of errors--more than if I am looking at the keyboard. Also, I was just in front of screen more..I got my first home computer/laptop in 2005. Spent my days in front of my desk or the service desk PC's. My life was just more onscreen than it had been.  This blog, for example, meant I was doing a considerable amount of composing other writing-things by keyboard  I also feel like it helps in the early stages when their would be much more scribbling and cross-outs to be able to erase and restart. To not have the page be a mess of black ink everywhere. For awhile, I still kept a small notebook for ideas and things I wanted to put in poems (and still do--though these are now  more loose things tucked into my sketchbook organizer).  But the actual poeming always happens on the keyboard. I still keep private blogs or even just blog pages for projects since I am always logged in with my google account (and this loads much faster than a google doc).  They live here in draft form until I firm them up and put them in a regular document., usually when it's time to start pulling strings together or submitting.  

What's crazy is I am not sure I could even write by hand anymore. I make lists with a pen, sometimes outlines for complex  work projects I then type up. Jot down words and phrases and titles. But I'm not sure that poems would happen in that space anymore. A few years ago, I wrote my unusual creatures pieces in an orange spiral notebook when I was visiting my parents and only had my tablet with me. It was not only the pieces, but a bunch of research and auxilary notes. It was a long time to get back to type it up, during which my interest had waned and a lot of things had pulled my attention away. Eventually, I digested what was there into a shorter series of poems created (you guessed it) on the screen.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

notes from the submission wilds

 Though I kept getting distracted (by dresses, by cats, by alarming headlines) my task for today's writing day was simple.  I had some promotional things to do and create for DARK COUNTRY, easy enough, and a couple blog entries to write out for later in the week.  Otherwise, having devoted yesterday to press things and accomplishing quite a lot, my other task was to submit some of my more recent work--including the bird artist and the spell poems.  One is a little victorian gothic narrative project and the other more contemporary and a little sharper in tone.  Good poems when I look at them, but when I sat down to the task, I had absolutely no idea where to send them. I like sending out work in general and sometimes forget how much I miss the thrill of an acceptance, but so much of my efforts get directed elsewhere in poetry-land that it's the thing I kind of have to force myself to do, and something that takes a chunk of time--to format the docs, to make sure I have no embarassing typos, to research journal guidelines and make sure I've formatted things to specification. Success means poems in front of new eyes and a feeling that I am contributing to the literary community. Even though there is some rejection, it's just par for the course after this long of flinging things out there and seeing what sticks.

But strangely, I've also reached an uneasy point where I'm not really sure where my work belongs. Many of the journals I've published in over the years and made a point to send work to have shuttered. I've tended mostly toward online publications over the years, mostly because they have the greatest reach, but some have short lifespans, and print journals sometimes even shorter due to funding. Many that still exist are taking breaks or just coming out of covid-slumber and aren't reading just yet.  It's also hard to keep a finger on the pulse of new journals..I find Twitter is sometimes the best for this, but Twitter moves so fast you have to go looking to find the gems. Another thing I like to do is check out the journals where dgp authors have placed poems, since if I like their work, it's not a stretch to think we'd appeal to similar tastes and aesthetic leans. 

I found some more horror. speculative places that might be a good fit for the first project, and made a list, but none seem to be open at the moment, so those will have to wait. I have a small list of places I like and who seem to like me based on previous experience, but I am also looking to spread my breadcrumbs a little wider and a little further from home. For an afternoon of searching I managed two actual submission before breaking to write this--one solicitation for a poem on thrifting for a project a dgp author is editing for, the other, 5 pieces from the bird artist to Grimoire, which is always a favorite.

Mostly however, I am feeling listless and unsure, which you would think after doing this so long, I might be immune to. Unsure where to send.  Where things might land in fertile fields. Whether I should just devote these time and efforts to tending work on other fronts. I have no answers, and probably won't but before I break for dinner in an hour, I intend to get these two other submissions out to somewhere.. 

dark country mix-tape

 I should have my final proof copy in my hot little hands by the end of this week, which means the release is ever nigh, but in the meantime I made this little playlist in honor of DARK COUNTRY's impending release--it's a little spooky, a little nostagic, and is mostly 70's and 80's tracks with a little 60's & 90's thrown in for flavor. The sort of tunes perfect for hanging out on some badly lit road in the woods in your boyfriend's Camaro and waiting for The Hookman to show up..

Monday, July 26, 2021

dgp notes | july 2021

Just a quickie reminder that there is still an entire month to get your submission in for this reading period. I am set to start perusing the offerings as soon as August hits and begin filling in the schedule for 2022, which seems impossible and yet it's coming.  I am still working through many of the covid-delayed books and this year's titles, so keep an eye on the shop for many, many new things, as well as, once we get closer to fall, new paper goods and other things (including those long promised tattoo designs.) I should also, at long last, have a little print zine bundle of my own (I've been releasing things online, but only in print form since my printers have been busy with chapbook titles, so I've held off on adding more to the load.)  Also dark country, my latest longer book, will be hatching in August, so watch for that.

The inbox is plump already with what look to be amazing things--and also some familiar faces.  I love that I get to publish a selection sometimes that span an author's work--sometimes many years in between.  Having been at this nearly 17 years, which also seems impossible, I've gotten to know so many authors, sometimes early on, who go on to make great waves in the community--publlshing profusely, , winning fancy prizes and producing the sort of work that gets talked about and loved. I'm so stoked that they found me and I found them.  I also love the newbie poets who are just starting out and will go onto great things. Or the poet who is know enough that I recognize their name, but who somehow miraculously shows up in my inbox. When things were bad last year (or let's face it, bad the last few years) and I thought about quitting, these were the things, the authors I wrote on a list to remind myself why I do what I do. 

It's not always easy, especially when other, non-poetry things are taking a bite out you. I'm learning to balance my efforts better. To say no to the things I don't need in my life in order to have more room for the things I do.