Sunday, April 29, 2018

final girls and terrible places

Image result for sleepaway camp

I spent the whole of yesterday at a pop culture conference devoted entirely to slasher films, which made my ten year old self very filled with glee at the idea of an afternoon discussions about whether Sleepaway Camp is problematicly anti-trans, whether Nightmare on Elm Street sequels had actual scripts (at least one of them according to the producer most certainly did not) and  general musing on the final girl trope.  It got some gears turning on my exquisite damage project, which is working out to be memoir/ lyric essay-ish pieces about women and the gothic--mostly novels, but by extension, all of pop culture.

I started watching Sleepaway Camp again last night, probably haven't watched it in over a decade, and then only once since childhood, when we had a dubbed beta version that we nearly wore out on the player.  That I made every girl who came to my fifth grade slumber party watch the entirely of, even though looking back, probably not really appropo for general audience 10 year olds. I was steeped in horror from infancy, so it wasn't even remotely scare for me, but I enjoyed the story and Angela as the outcast. Also that the characters, unlike Friday the 13th, where adults played the roles, were closer to my own age and therefore, duh, it was practically a kids movie.  I think it was only displaced as my favorite horror film when we rented Nightmare on Elm Street later that year.   Of course, my 10 year old self had no idea how bizarre that movie truly was  from the creepy aunt to the pedophile cook to the twist at the end.  It actually was doing things that went far beyond the genre conventions that Friday the 13th had set.

There was also some good discussion about whether or not it was scary or more satisfying to know the killer's motives in those films, or with something like It Follows, which is my fave from the past 5 years or so, to just be mysteriously evil. I also would not say that It Follows was scary in the way other films like The Ring and Insidious scared me, but more evoked this feeling of slow, inescapable dread (and also was fucking beautiful visually due to its Gregory Crewdson-esque cinematography) So much goes into making it work--the camera work, the script, the suspense, the set.  Some movies excel in one of these, but fail in another.   Hush was a good one, where you didn't really know much about the killer or his motives, but the sense of containment and suspense was spot-on. Everyone likes The Witch, but I watched it around the time I was binging episodes of Salem, so it was less-interesting for me and again, not scary. Or something like Get Out, mostly just scary because people in general and society is scary. (which was also why I like The Purge: Election Year a month or so back.)

I also was introduced to the phrase "the terrible place" which is usually a house or structure (or in The Witch) the woods, especially interesting s in light of thinking about the woods/forest in plump and what space signifies.

Monday, April 23, 2018

notes & things | 4/23/18

I am a bit late with my weekly roundup from last week, but then again, it was a very busy week that included bookwrecking adventures (and bookmaking) more poeming, scrambling to pull together artsy prizes for a scholarship benefit carnival game, and other bits and pieces.   This week is my birthday week, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I'm working of course, but have already determined my birthday treat will be pizza and lemon cupcakes from Petes around the corner.  This week's main library project is pulling together our 90's murder mystery, which pulls from the decade's finest horror cliche's (complete with a faux urban legend.)  I have to keep asking people "This was possible in the 90's right?  I mean, there was an internet circa 1995, right?" There was email, but not so much
mass cellphone usage (I only remember this from Buffy where they occasionally used payphones in the early seasons.)

I also switched gears again in my NAPOWRIMO pursuits, away from the Grimm project that is almost done and toward the writing pieces I wanted to do to accompany my victorian collages (see above).  The past few days' writing exploits have shaken loose some ideas for more visual pieces and now those visuals have given me fodder for poeming, so that's working out nicely. The whole project is sort of victorian sci-fi, so I'm excited to work on it a bit now that I have the chance. I am still going strong on my daily poems and am feeling good about most of them, I've even cleaned up & submitted some of the earliest ones from the science of impossible objects and landed a journal acceptance (more on that soon.) I also have some poems coming out in other places and an upcoming blog feature this week. So stay tuned...

Saturday, April 21, 2018

scarcity vs. abundance

The other day I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two stage actors behind me on the bus, both of whom had apparently just met on their way to a side-hustle brewery promo they were both working. They mentioned right before they got off the bus how awesome it was that they could meet and not be weird about competition for parts, because they  varied greatly in age and body type and type-casty sort of qualities. It came on the heels of a comment during our Art Empire panel last Thursday that stressed how important community and support from other artists played in forging a career. How one person's successes didn't take away from any other person's because there was room for everyone--the art & illustration world being big and the trick being to connect with your audience however you could.

These conversations always strike me as vastly different from the poetry community.  Or maybe not my opinion of the poetry community now that I know better, but the one I had going in and through my first decade or so of publishing and submitting.  The economy of scarceness vs. abundance. That there are only so may journal slots, so many presses, so many contests or residencies or fellowships that we were all clamoring for and more of us everyday. That the bandwidth for American Poety (tm)  was so tiny that were all bottlenecking into it hoping to rise to the top  One person's successful win of a first book contest was sort of on the backs of all the other contestants who didn't win.   It disillusioned me, especially while getting my MFA to be told that certain presses "mattered" and others did not, that certain journals were worth submitting too (mostly print, mostly academically tied)  That, like Ivy league schools, the acceptance/rejection rate mattered more than whether or not your work actually fit with other poems in the journal  That small upstart publications weren't worth it and you should aim for "top-tier" . Otherwise, you were "wasting" your poems.  It was so gross it put me off a lot of things--submitting at all for awhile unless I'd been invited and sometimes not even then

I've always said I could never date another writer, mostly because one of us would inevitably be luckier in the game than the other, and eventually it would undo us. Or someone's work would take precedence or suffer becuase of the other's  (I think I was traumatized early by the Plath/Hughs dynamic. Sylvia typing up his drafts when she could have been working on more of her own)  Someone would get that prime journal publication, someone's book would be published, and while you would try not be resentful and truly happy for their success, you would be, just a little. Which is fine for friends and aquaintances, that little bit of elation tinged with jealousy, but not between people sharing the same bed.

About 10 years ago, as I was building the etsy shop and the press and spending alot of time in conversations with other artists and crafters, I had a realization that completely changed my approach to how I defined what I was doing in art and writing.   For years, while I did many of the things I felt I was supposed to be doing for my "writing career"--submitting work to publications, presses, and competitions, getting my MFA.  Self publishing was a no-no, of course, especially among the academic set, but I did it anyway.   Not necessarily beauase it was the only way (actually I've been ridicuously lucky that other presses miraculously sometimes want to publish my work and I love them for it.)  But what if, I thought to myself, I appoached my "writing career" like so I saw so many artists in other art fields so.  It boiled down to a few key differences...

1. Permission

Every once in a while, poets seems amazed at the audacity it takes to do something like start a journal or a press or literary venture.  Basically, you make a thing and then you become a thing.  I was just a girl with a booklet stapler and some cardstock and a few authors that were willing to let me publish their books. It grew from there, and yes, it's hard work, especially now that it's so much bigger, but anyone can do it if you start small and manageable. You, yes YOU, as a reader and writer and person with your own sense of literary taste & aesthetics, you have something of value to put into the world, things to bring to the table as an editor or publisher, just do the thing. Another piece of valuable advice from the artist panel was "do it before you think you're ready" mostly because you will never feel ready. Not really.

2.  Means vs. ends.

Books are nice, I love books.  Well books and chapbooks and zines and poems in bottles set off to sea.  And connecting with editors and writers through publications is immensely gratifying, but don't let it, or the lack of it, define your career as an artist.  Find your audience, however you do that--the internet, open mics, the people you meet in coffeeshops.  Fon't be afraid to make your own chapbooks, or audio recordings, or even your own books if you feel their is a market.  Or maybe even if there isn't yet, but may one day be.  I like making little books & objects that bridge the written and the visual and like having complete control over them.  I also like longer books, and if those happen, great, but if they don't I am still building a body of work.  I still submitted, but moreso as a way to get work out there and enter the dialogue with other journals and writers.  The publications aren't the point, but a vehicle I enjoy using, even if the point of my work and creativity is more on my own terms.  Your still an artist or a writer, you can stil cultivate community and audience even if e xyz journal or press doesn't see value in your work.  Get it out there another way.  Do what you have to.

3.  Be bold, be fearless.

Don't be afraid to seem ambitious, to talk about your work openly and what you want from it.  It's good to see the work behind what successes may come your way.  What might help others who follow you or give a glimpse into your world. Being a writer is sometimes lonely. Seeing other people struggle or succeed is super helpful.  Sharing what you know and what you've learned is as well. Going after things for the right reason is as well.  If you feel that your poems only fit in THE NEW YORKER,go for it.  But if, like me, you realize that you're work doesn't really speak to the Lexus driving set, find another magazine that is likely to find your readers.  Also have more faith in your work, not just faith that others (gatekeepers and the like) can bestow on you, but the sort of faith that comes from knowing when you have something to offer.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

notes & things | 4/15/2018

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I'm not sure what the weather is doing, but I think it needs to stop. Yesterday was dreadful, and an early morning at the library did not help.  I was already tired from staying out late Friday ( some Satanic Panic burlesque fun--an early b-day outing) and woke up at 6am  to tiny ice pellets hitting the window.   My ears are doing some weird pressure thing the past week that makes my jaw ache and my sinuses throb, so I also just feel slightly off kilter.

Our Art Empire panel Thursday went off splendidly though.  This week, I am preparing for a bookwrecking workshop and the final Apocalypse event, the reading, where I'll be trotting out some poems from the upcoming book and reading along with Donna Vorreyer and some student fiction writers.  Then there is the murder mystery to work on, and the Grimm project to finalize, and then we are at the end of the semester already  (even if outside seems a far cry from springtime.)

My NAPOWRIMO activities continue to go well  and I am amazingly still on schedule )as I mentioned before the whole success of which depends on when I draft the poem, earlier in the day, usually while I am eating breakfast,  rather than at the end of it.)   At the beginning of the day, I can take that time to focus before I get bogged down in a million other things demanding my attention. I am also writing some more zodiac pieces (usually later in the day while I eat dinner.)  The spring ones are finished and the scrolls in the layout process, so I should have them available as a subscription offering for later this month. Last week, I also decided to dabble a bit with Tiny Letter, and will be sending some fragments of another, more lyric essay-type project out via that platform.

My dreams about my mother, after a brief reprieve, are back to their usual weirdness, again everything going  along in the dream and then all of us, sometimes even her, surprised to find out she's actually dead.   Is this what people experience as hauntings?  I  love the idea of ghosts, but don't really believe in them (or an afterlife), but in this case, she is haunting up a storm. And not really bad dreams, actually pretty mundane stuff, maybe just unsettling in their tenor, as if we keep realizing over and over that she's gone and are dumbstruck.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

mice, maidens, and evil queens

Fairy tales have probably always been a part of my work from the beginning. My first chapbook THE ARCHAEOLOGIST'S DAUGHTER featured at least one Rapunzel poem and I'm pretty sure there was an early mermaid poem in there somewhere.  More would come--wicked stepmothers and Little Red Riding hood in BLOODY MARY. More Little Red Riding Hood in my first artist book THE BOOK OF RED (that later appeared in my FEIGN chapbook from New Michigan Press.)   Not to mention lots of fairy tale references in otherwise normal poems, a sort magical-ness amidst the everyday.

In those early years, there were so many allusion and persona poems--not just fairy tales, but mythology, literary characters, historical women,  painting subjects. And this is true of many of us, maybe not just younger women poets, maybe younger poets in general of all genders, but so many of us pulling from these things for subject matter and imagery.  I always joke that I probably wrote so many of these because what else does a poet in her early 20's have to say that everyone hasn't already heard.  But maybe there is more to it, creating stories drawn from other stories.  The reason why these stories retain their magic even after centuries.  I love folklore, and the way it shifts and changes and moves through populations.  The way things spread.  ( A co-worker mentioned a local urban ghost legend near her town and I had heard the very same urban legend in my teens about a place out near Rockford--down to very particular details involving talcum powder on the trunk of a car and ghost handprints-- I got really excited about this and nearly fell out of my chair.)  also, why I love trawling this sort of subject matter for things like my ARCHER AVENUE Resurrection Mary poems.

I still do this, no doubt, but my subject matter just differs--things I've been researching evidence of this more than anything. My Antoinetta Gonzalez (aka the Renaissance Dog-Girl ) series.  My atomic women poems in LITTLE APOCALYPSE.   All the research I've done on taxidermy and mechanical animals and Hungarian folklore for UNUSUAL CREATURES.  My new fascination with victorian spiritualism and what might come from those possibilities. I've always been about finding material for new texts in old texts. (and being in a library all day certainly helps.)

When I was writing THE SHARED PROPERTIES OF WATER AND STARS in 2012, which is a kind of suburban fairy tale itself, it didn't necessarily start out that way, but moreso a vague storyline and the math story problems that worked very well with fairy-tale like imagery (esp. re: Goldie Locks and the tension between "wild" and "civilized" or "domestic" spaces. )   When I was done, I was actually surprised by how much it came across that way (evidenced by comments of of a lot of the reviews of the book later on .)  I had been writing more to the story and less to the archetypes, but there were there if you looked for them.

Fast forward to this last year, where we've been working on our big Grimm Tales  Book to Art endeavor in the library. I've been doing some collage work during our making sessions, but have been considering doing some writing-related work.  Since my larger manuscript in progress focuses on eating and body-image issues, what better somehow than Hansel and Gretel for this sort of thing. (I actually have been doing some research on food and eating across fairy tales, but baby steps,  I suppose I'll start with just this one.)  Since things have been progressing well on the NAPOWRIMO front with another poem series. I thought I might shift gears and devote some energy to these and see if I can't get on a roll and maybe make a mini-chap for the project (there's a deadline of the end of the month for rounding up the project in time for Manifest mid-May.)

I am also watching Grimm on Amazon, so I am nightly steeping myself in fairy tales and murders, so the ground is very fertile in my head right now, so we'll see what comes of it. 

Saturday, April 07, 2018

on honey machine

This week, I've finally gotten a handle on the assembly of HONEY MACHINE : The Plath Centos.  You can pick up  your very own copy in the shop (or subscribe to the books & objects series to get that and much more.)  They've turned out to be beautiful little books and the collages reproduced really nice.  The acknowledgements include the line "And to Sylvia, for whom all of this should have worked out better."

In the summer of 2016, I was trying to come up with a textual component to accompany some of the floral work I was doing visually. and started thinking about the references and floral themes in Plath, particularly Ariel.  I gave assembling a couple centos a try--not a form I usually work with, though t'm surprised it took me this long to come to it given my collage tendencies otherwise..  A few years back, someone in a friends class had written and published a cento of my own work and it was weird how it sounded very much like a poem I'd written and yet, sorta not. But I dug it.

What was what was happening with these Plath pieces, while the floral obsession launched the project, was that the pieces I were getting actually came to have a very different tenor and tone, becoming their own creature--a beast laden with more domestic concerns about the repetition and roteness of housework and being a "wife". It felt very right, considering that  Plath was very much concerned with these things--the daily vs the ecstatic. How a being with a need to create can become laden with the expectations imposed on 1950's women, and perhaps even now, where women still shoulder most of the household labor. 

As I assembled more and more (and I say assembling, more than writing since the words were entirely hers and not so much mine.) there was this washing machine effect--like the red sock in a load of whites that you keep seeing, but almost as if that red sock will eventually ruin everything else in the dryer.  Snippets, obsessions kept reappearing as the speaker (Plath and not Plath) tried to reconcile love and romance with the drudgery of what those things become in the domestic sphere. 

By the end, I had probably around 50 pieces.  I started sending them off individually.  I sent off the full manuscript. People either seemed to love them (as many yesses from journals indicated) or hate them.  I realized after the full-mss was rejected that perhaps there was too much fat.  Too much of a good thing, so I trimmed it down--took out every piece that wasn't pulling its own weight.  Recombined other things into other things, and emerged with a tighter group of poems.  By then. I had started a series of collages using vintage advertisements that somehow seemed to complement the pieces and began to think they might make a nice little zine together.  Once I decided they were part of the same project, the poems started to influence the collages--particularly this one and the one above, which I decided to use as cover art. 

Last spring, during our FOUND reading at the library, I decided to trot them out for gallop and it was really weird reading them aloud.  It's basically someone else's words in your mouth, and even though you built the construction, the cadences and syntax seem unusually foreign. It was an altogether different experience, however, than simply reading someone else's poem, since I had had a hand in making these what they were. 

What resulted though, was a sort of love-letter to Plath (similar to how I always viewd at the hotel andromeda as a love letter to Cornell.) So hopefully I've managed to do her justice. 

Friday, April 06, 2018

notes & things | 4/6/2018

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This is one of those mental bears of a week that are bitey and leave you a little bloody.  It's been so damn cold, colder than it should be.  I'm looking for those signs of spring and besides one solo boat in the harbor and a coral dress in the window of usually monochromatic Max Mara on Michigan, there aren't all that many. But it seems to be April, nevertheless, and I am doing pretty well on my NAPOWRIMO poems, the secret to the success being making sure to set aside time early in my day rather than saving it all for the very end.  While I usually start the day with checking email, I've been drafting instead and then moving on with my day. I'm also trying to be thinking about the project as soon as I wake up, while my mind is still fresh and not encumbered with the day's detritus.

Physically, I'm nursing another untimely illness, so I had to skip my planned trip to Rockford. But, since I had the past two days off work, I lounged around lazily yesterday until I was feeling a bit better and spent today in the studio getting through the better part of a bookstore order that needs to ship Monday. I'm trying to be mindful of my limitations and honest about what can be accomplished when, but I still panic when I feel I am behind. (or I guess I always feel behind and therefore always panicky.) I am moving through January now with orders, and almost caught up on author copies, except the last few recent titles

The impetus for the missed trip was supposed to be a lunch to celebrate what would have been my mother's 71st birthday.  Yesterday, I dreamed that she was alive again and living in a house filled with an obscene number of calico kittens and I was trying to convince her to let me take one off her hands.  She argued with me about which one while trying on her birthday outfit in the bathroom mirror and then stepped into the hallway, at which point I remarked how thin she'd gotten (and at which point I suddenly remembered she'd been in a wheelchair before , and how great it was that she was walking without help.  And oh, yeah, she was supposed to be dead.) At which point I was startled awake.  This may be a partner to the dream last week where the entirely of the front yard, right up to the steps, was an enormous swimming pool and we were all floating there, everyone happy and alive, despite something I was uneasily convinced I kept forgetting I was supposed to do.

Monday, April 02, 2018

on influence

In addition to my NAPOWRIMO posting this month, I'm also posting daily about poetic influences over on Twitter--the books that sort of made me the poet I am. As I've been thinking chronologically about where the poems came from and the foundation on which they are built, I can't help but think about that terrible first poem I ever wrote--a class assignment in freshman English.  I only remember that it rhymed, and involved flamingos, and that is was followed in the weeks and summer after by more animal poems. Then some more poems about unrequited love (since I suppose when you're awkward and 15 most love will be unrequited.)

Image result for complete poe bookI had just started keeping a diary that spring I'd gotten for my birthday, the one with the blue sky and clouds on the cover and a tiny, flimsy lock that I don't exactly remember having a key, but a turn mechanism that unlatched the clasp. It's somewhere in my parents' house, and I've come across it a few times as an adult but have never managed to bring it back to the city with me.  Later, I left the confines of the journal and there are loose poems, some on notebook paper, some on the colored stationery I wrote to pen-pals on,  that I somehow kept and filed with all the other bad poems I wrote in college and after. There's one about bird bones on the beach and very deep thoughts (as one has at 15 or 16) on

My sole knowledge of poetry was school-bound in those days, and my first taste of something I actually liked was junior year reading Poe's "Annabel Lee" just maudlin enough to appeal to my horror-novel seeped brain.   I remember memorizing it, just like we memorized Romeo and Juliet lines, Julius Caesar lines, in the years before. I only knew that Poe was dark, and possibly crazy, and somehow this appealed to me.  This was the same year we made collages about witch trials reading The Crucible and little book art projects about The Scarlet Letter.   When I penned my junior term paper on Gone With the Wind.  By far one of my most enjoyable classes of high school and perhaps what made me an English major.    That was also the spring that I was looking for the school's copy of GWTW and stumbled on Plath's Bell Jar and read it, knowing only that the Bangles had a song with the same title. My 17-year-old self was nonplussed and tossed it half-finished aside probably in favor of Stephen King.  Two years later, I would come across it again and it would launch an ongoing Plath obsession, beginning with journals and letters and ultimately landing in the poems. )

I remember a friend of mine, senior year, had sent a poem to the National Library of Poetry, and it was on my radar, though I don't remember if I'd sent anything to them, and wouldn't have had the money to buy the anthology, but I would send to similar vanity scams the first couple years of college, less expensive ones, but scams nonetheless (the danger of having no idea about poetry and publication and how the literary world works.)

Image result for emily dickinson collectedBy the time I graduated, I was convinced I was destined for a career in marine biology, and only kept my writing interests as a novelty side project, a parlor trick, something that I'd toss out to make myself more interesting in conversations.   Like any avid reader, I wrote very well--boring 5 paragraph essays, newspaper editorials on environmental and animal rights issues, essays for Seventeen competitions (and for which I managed to win an honorable mention prize of many free Noxema products.) I had bought a typewriter with my graduation money, and do remember typing something--though I think it was lame attempts at short stories, when I was living in North Carolina.  I remember poring over lit mags--real ones-in the library on campus as a way to pass time between classes I think I even remember submitting a couple things while there, but S.A.S. E's were hard to come by. Later, deciding my career as a biologist was doomed, I would come back to the midwest to study literature, and spend a lot of time that next year writing spare, tiny poems, mostly about social injustices and then sending them to the places in the back of Writer's Digest magazine.

Image result for the bell jarIt was in that first year back that I became a bit more acquainted with both Emily Dickinson and Plath. My 1st year English prof was an ajunct and a huge fan of both, and would indulge me, three years later when I wanted to write about Plath instead of other things in Advanced Expository Writing course   I was interested in the Beats, but only so far as they were interesting from a historical hipster standpoint, less so for the actual work.(I also kind of feel this way about Romantic Poets) .I spent the next couple years immersed in prose and drama, courses on novels and plays and fiction workshops.  Our workshop leader would tell me that my sentences were too long, too Faulknerian, and that I should be a poet. I adored Shakespeare, and I would read a bit of Yeats and Eliot but nothing jumped out at verse-wise. I also devoted more of my time to working backstage for the theatre department than to creating anything of my own. 

In the spring of 96, I enrolled in my first poetry workshop and somehow, the faucet that occasionally dripped came back on. Then I was writing very Dickinson-like short poems that (eek!) rhymed.  I was bad, but I suppose we all were.  But my rhyming made me especially bad.  Or maybe just good at writing these perfect little rhyming machines, but not much in the way of poetry. I don't remember what I was reading then poet-wise,  outside of Milton for my senior seminar,  but that was when I first became aware of Poets & Writers. By the summer, I was no longer rhyming, but still very bad, but good enough to garner undergrad poetry prizes, a couple of them, before graduation, one that even involved money.  I would once again haul my terrible electric typewriter out to the dining room table on long summer afternoons and work until my parent's came home from and I needed to clear it for dinner. I think maybe there were the first glimmers of something there.  I was 22. I still had absolutely no idea of the span of contemporary poetry.  The internet existed, I suppose, but not for someone like me, who was just learning to use WordPerfect desktop publishing software.
Image result for rita dove thomas and beulah
I wouldn't start reading contemporary poetry until that first year in Chicago, when I started checking things out from DePaul's library--Louise Gluck, Jorie Graham, Rita Dove (which was also on my MA Comp exam reading list and my first indication that poetry could, like a novel, tell a story) . By then, life and a bad bout of depression was on the verge of swallowing me whole--my teaching plans shakey.   My life plans kind of shakey..  By the fall of 1998, the poems had just  started to come back when I enrolled in a Modern British Poetry Class, where we read Eliot's The Wasteland. There is perhaps something laughable in that, being a feminist poet, running a feminist press, it was the deadest of the dead white guys that launched me, or maybe more accurately hatched me, poetically.  Somehow gave me permission to get to where I wanted to go.  My work was still pretty awful, but somehow, there was something to it. A place to get to, even if I didn't have a map.   I spent all that fall and into the spring writing poems that I was convinced were brillant, that would be my first book, finished before I turned 25 that April. .  Poems that I sent off, naively and hopefully to places like the New Yorker and Poetry.

They of course, declined, but I did get my first legit publication in a tiny, local, feminist journal that would, a few years later, take my first chapbook manuscript.  They were persona poems about witch trials and literary characters.  Mythology and fairy tales. That first book, Taurus, was terrible, but I did finish it by April. Hopefully, the judges of the contest burned it..LOL..But then I was briefly swallowed again by life--by graduation and first (and second jobs).  I wrote some short stories in several spiral notebooks during this period, probably in hope that I could make money from them,  but very few poems. Only after I landed back in Chicago again, did I get back to task and writing and submitting poems, this time to all the online journals that were miraculously spring up like wildfire...

It was a new decade.  A new millenium.  And I had regular, consistent access to the internet, which sort of changed everything...

(for a list of more recent influences by contemporary poets, read this entry from 2006)