Sunday, May 29, 2011

we're just like you, only prettier

I never wanted to be a poetry hater, one of those old fuddy duddies who bemoans that all the best poetry has already been written, bitches about MFA programs and the absolute glut of poets. I've really always been of the more the merrier opinion. And there is so much to love (as you see by the overflowing dgp schedule, sometimes I love too much.) So much good work coming past me in the form of submissions, books, chapbooks, blog entries, small and online journals. And so while I am engaged with that work, and that's what drives me to make my life among words, I also can't help but see the sort of work that's published in the more well-known and established journals and something isn't right. I stumbled upon some poems of one of the most famous of all poetry journals and decided to read a sample poem from the latest issue and..well...meh. It wasn't awful, and lord knows there is also an abundance of bad poems out there, some of my own, but to be completely honest, I would have rejected it without pause had it come across my desk for dgp or wicked alice.

Why? It was one of those I came, I observed, I had epiphany sort of poems, basically prose broken up into lines, short ones, with no attention to language as material. I've ranted about this before, and last night, came upon an old blog entry where I talked about narrative and conveyance thereof. I can't stand those sort of poems, have spent most of my life as a writer moving away from those poems. And yet so many poets I know are trying to get their work into said journal, sad over rejections from it, with no idea that they are simply way too awesome to ever be in it, especially if it continues to publish mediocrity. Probably too awesome that the readers for said journal just don't get it. Of course, I like to think such things boil down to personal taste, that what they publish is just not my thing, but I can't help but feel, I hate to say it, but we (and I mean me and the staff of more like-minded press/journals) simply have better taste. :P

Of course, maybe the nugget of writerly wisdom in all this is to pay attention to the markets you are trying to get into. I submitted for years to the New Yorker back between 1996 and 2000 until I realized that my target audience for poetry was not likely to be the high-brow Lexus driving crowd (only later with a better trained eye did I realize the badness of some of what they publish). Similarly, if you read a journal, no matter how famous, how established, how exclusive, look at what they are publishing. Would you want to have written those poems? Do you love the authors contained in its pages? Do you think it's a good fit with your aesthetics or are you just looking for a shiny publication credit no matter what the journal is passing off as "contemporary poetry"? Things to think about...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

spring sale!!

It's time yet again to thank all the supporters of dgp by offering a little sale and chance to stock up on all the newest titles...

details here...

Monday, May 23, 2011

I keep waiting to post that I feel like my old self again, and there is a lot of time that I do, but then others when I feel like my body doesn't quite belong to me wholly, or like I'm one step to the left of it and it's making all the decisions. Again, work shift changes during the semester changeover have me tired and hungry at all the wrong times. Today, my nails are painted pink to cover up dye stains from doing a batch of slips yesterday and even my hands don't feel like they are mine when I look at them typing or holding a coffee cup. At least whatever was physically wrong with me appears to have abated along with my mental muddiness over what went down last month. R once told me that it would end badly, and despite my arguments to the contrary, I now realize that was the ONLY way it could end, otherwise we would just keep doing what we've been doing for the past 5 years. Meanwhile, other things have been working out nicely in other romantic corners for the moment to keep me from dwelling on it. And for once, I am not sad about whole thing, which has to be a step forward, n'est pas? (a little pissed, a little WTF?, but not sad).

In other more interesting arenas, the writing projects have been coming along well, and the splitting up of things is definitely working out fabulously. I am more and more convinced I want to avoid conventional publishing avenues on most future projects (due to both some less than ideal experience therein and my control freakiness regaring timelines, design, as well as some format oddness on some of them (one is definitely going to be a box project, and one more like an artists book.) Some presses that have published my work have been awesome, others not so much, but I guess I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit smaller distribution with dgp for more creative control (and also assurance that the press won't be going under or the editor AWOL in 5 minutes.)

In dgp news, I am still struggling to keep up with orders and lost a few weeks to being sick, so if I owe you something, it is on it's way, or will be shortly. I have books from Rebecca Farivar and Nora Almeida almost set to go, as well as several more in the layout process. The spring wicked alice is also nigh and should be coming around the end of the month. So stay tuned...

It's been scary stormy thus far this year with all that badness down in the southern states and now Missouri. I used to be alot more afraid of tornadoes when I lived out in the open country, but the fierceness of them lately is kind of freaking me out again, even in the city, which seems even more vulnerable of late. Storms blew through out by my parents' yesterday, but by the time they got here around 10pm, it was just a lot of lighting and thunder, some hard rain, but not alot of wind. I laid down to watch it and fell asleep and slept straight through.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This poor little blog has been staring at me morosely for two weeks, but honestly, everytime I take an initiative to post I get distracted by some other more pressing task. Mostly I have been fighting this odd fever thing for the past two weeks, which has me crawling into bed whenever I am home and wandering zombie-like the rest of the time dosed up on ibuprofen. It seems to be going away, though my throat is a little iffy. I can't help but think it feels a little like mono (or mono-lite) which would be oddly appropriate give the span of the last five years. Almost like neat little brackets of time. But then none of it is very neat at all. I am doing what I can with what little energy I have and hoping to be better soon.

Monday, May 02, 2011

older and further away

Earlier, someone was talking about the plans you have in highschool, what you want to do, who you want to be, and I realized that while there were definitely threads there of the person I ultimately ended up becoming (in terms of interests, distractions, personality quirks) that even still high school feels very far away, like I couldn't even begin to imagine or bear having to figure everything out all over again. So often, it's a "if I knew then what I know now" thing, but even still, those years were sort of exhausting, and probably would still be so. It was much easier after I figured out what I wanted in life and how to get it, how to be happy, how to make choices, but there was alot of running in circles and things I might be able to sidestep second time around. I always say there is very little I would do differently, but so much that might have just made things easier on me (and everyone around me).

Next year marks another big reunion, and it's hard for me, even though I still interact with a few friends from HS on facebook, to imagine myself as the person I used to be then. It was a weird place to be, so uncertain in everything and terrified yet at the same time, but somehow more fearless, more brave. I am still pretty brave, but less and less fearless as the years go on. A good example: the last time I was on an airlplane was 1992, heading home from NC for Thanksgiving and it barely even occured to me it could crash. I was actually more afraid of not getting lost in the airport or missing a flight. Five years later, I would have been worried intensely it would crash but might have flown anyway. Ten years, and I'd be CERTAIN it would crash and wouldn't get on it(apparently I get more neurotic as I get older).

Sometimes, I feel sort of far away even from later points in my life, college, grad school (1st time around anyway, maybe even 2nd). The person who moved back here 10 years ago and started this very same job at this very same circ deskI am sitting at tonight even seems a little foggy and far away. And yet, at the same time, I always feel a little like I never change, that so much is the same, that you blink and ten years have passed without barely a whimper. That the details of my life, the dailyness, is very much the same--my work, my writing, my leisure time (what I have of it--have been pretty much a routine (with minor alterations) forever. How is it possible to be the same and yet so impossibly changed?