Friday, February 29, 2008

Whee! Discoveries on the Web

Two websites you must all visit at once. We demand it.

Megan Chapman is an amazing up and coming painter whose work can be found around Arkansas and elsewhere. She is sister to my Mac Guru, Sean Chapman, a family of the finest stock. Here is her newly updated website. Visit often. Buy art.

Thanks to The Southeast Review's interview with poet Erin Murphy, I've just discovered FreeRice.com. This website donates grains of rice to the UN World Food Program to end hunger for every definition you answer correctly. It's addicting. Click often. (The rice is paid for by the advertisers at the bottom of the page. The program is run by a non-profit.) Go literacy! Go rice!

Tomorrow, taxes!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Horizons

I have some exciting ventures on the horizon that I'd like to share. Sharing good news makes me happy and helps keep me moving when the bad news (rejections) come rolling in.

Venture One: Next week, Friday, 7 March, I'll be driving on down the road to Conway to participate in UCA's annual literary festival, ArkaText. I'll be the featured poet on Friday. Each year, UCA brings in three writers with Arkansas ties: a fiction writer, an essay/non-fiction writer, and a poet. Each visits the campus on a different day of the festival. I'll be giving a "craft lecture" as well as a reading from my work. I'm looking forward to it!

Venture Two: Andy McFadyen-Ketchum, grad student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and creator of Poem of the Week, has asked to feature my work in an upcoming posting. He just sent me the interview questions, and I can't wait to delve into them. The questions are insightful and pointed, focusing on the three poems he's chosen to use in the posting. I'll keep you updated on this, but you should check out the site ASAP.

Venture Three: In about a month, I'll be judging the Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Aside from judging both undergraduate and graduate entries, I also get to visit SIUC and read alongside the winners! I am a huge fan of the faculty at SIUC: Allison Joseph, Rodney Jones, and Judy Jordan. Since this trip will coincide with my spring break from PTC, it couldn't have worked out any better.

In the meantime, there is surely a poem waiting to be written in the pages of my new notebook. I finished the last one on Monday. It's always fun to start again ~ all those blank pages of possibility!

Friday, February 22, 2008

In the Mail

Happy Friday! I came home to find, stuffed precariously in my mailbox, my contributor's copy of the new Quarterly West, featuring my poem "Of Mortal Men and Women."

This is one of those milestones for me. I have always admired this magazine, and when I look at my file folder, I see that I've been submitting once or twice a year since May of 2002! I am awed to be published alongside Gregory Orr, Donald Revell, Brenda Shaughnessy, and others, including my fellow Anhingan, Joshua Poteat. If you haven't checked out his work, I highly recommend it. I haven't fully read the issue, but from my first skimming, it seems to be stellar. A shout out to Stacy Kidd, who was at Fayetteville with me and is now a co-Poetry Editor at QW, as well as being a stupendous poet herself.

The issue is beautiful and smells of fresh ink on good paper.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Speed of Light

Wow! A whole week slipped away from me. I hope a few of you are still out there. Life has been quite full lately. We've had several good friends experience the loss of beloved family members (Condolences, friends) and good friends experience the joy of a new baby (Happy BIRTH day, Rome!). We've traveled to celebrate a good friend's bowling birthday (Cheers, Anne!), and now I'm grading as fast as I can.

In the midst of all of that the writing world goes on. I try to read Poetry Daily and Verse Daily to keep my foot in the door, and already the tower of books to be read over the summer is building itself Lego fashion on my desk. I feel like my niece counting the days until Christmas, as I count the remaining weeks in the semester. This will be the first summer of my life, ever, as in since I was 11 years old, when I have not had a "paying job." I will be able to devote 10 full weeks to writing. Yes!

These days I am surprising myself. After a friend challenged me to write a triolet, I seem to have become addicted to them. Me, writing in form! I hardly know if I'm doing it well because I'm not a formal poet. Time will tell. I do think that the shortness of the form and the ability to repeat lines fits with my franticly paced life. I'll let you know if anything ever comes of them.

Yesterday, I had the delightful experience of recording the poem that will be in The Dirty Napkin. (See last post.) Jeremy C. Ellis, managing editor, was great at the technology and the whole thing was over in a matter of minutes. Again, watch for a post in March for when the issue comes out and you, too, can hear me reading "On the Fabric of the Human Body."

Until then, anyone know a good way to cram more minutes into the few hours of daylight left today?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Email

Check out this new online magazine, The Dirty Napkin. The editors have just accepted one of my newer poems for publication in 1.2, coming out 20 March 2008. Hopefully, you will also be able to hear an audio clip of me reading the poem. I'll keep you all posted.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sweat

I've done it. I've just submitted my application for the NEA. They changed their system this year so that the entire process is done online, using Adobe. Last weekend I had a meltdown because the whole process seemed so overwhelming. Today, it went more smoothly than I could have hoped; however, like filing taxes online, you do have to sweat the small stuff...down to an exact system for naming the files.

Kudos again to my Mac Guru, Sean Chapman, who pointed out the button for converting Word files to PDFs (as required by grants.gov, the website handling the submissions). So much easier than I imagined.

Two things were different this time around. One, I didn't have to submit the 20 journal publications, much thanks to Blood Almanac and Anhinga Press. (Although, it is much easier now. You don't have to copy anything, just create a list of publications. It's basically an honor system with a stern warning not to cheat.) Two, I have been submitting applications to summer residencies, which require a 10-page manuscript, so I already had the poems mostly selected and didn't fret over them too much.

Grants.gov has confirmed that I sent the whole thing correctly. Now, I wait for an email saying the NEA has gotten it and it checks out. One reason to submit early--if there is an error in your file(s), and you submitted before the March 3 deadline, they will apparently tell you and you have time to fix and resubmit.

Exhausted and off to nap.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sweet Congratulations, TARA BRAY!

I am truly pleased to announce the fact that my good friend Tara Bray has won this year's Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize!!!!! The book is announced as What Comes, What Goes, but will appear from Persea Books under the title Mistaken for Song. Please watch for it next year. Don't worry. I'll keep you all posted.

Tara is one of the hardest working poets I know, and it shows in her work. Her images constantly have me falling backwards into the chair, bowled over by their beauty. Cheers, Tara!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Slogging Through

These days it seems that life could not possibly get any busier. While I've been finding time to read in the evenings, I'm sad to say my writing time has dwindled a bit. Still scratching out those first drafts in the hopes something will grow and bloom.

I'm suffering from a string of rejections and trying to remember all the peppy advice I give friends in their time of need. Some of these poems have been out since August, and so I had begun to hope they were in the "final rounds" of readings, and in some cases they were, but to no avail. In particular, I have a core group of poems that are the foundation from my new book. These have not been snatched up in quite the way I had imagined they would be. A few of the poems I had considered on the fringe of the group were gobbled up in October & November, which makes me wonder if I'm not seeing the core group clearly. The other trouble could be that they are a series and clearly linked by title & subject matter. Perhaps I need to separate them out during the submissions process? All good things to think about.

While I'm thinking, I'm eating Russell Stover chocolates from a big heart-shaped box, which was clearly marketed as a gift for my dearest, but which I purchased intentionally for myself because sometimes a girl just needs her chocolate.