Monday, October 4, 2010

Busy Days at the Desk of the Kangaroo

50º ~ a bright October sun, shadows slanting across the neighbor's roof, the desk faces West so I have to look over my left shoulder to find that sun

We are knee-deep in the semester and I struggle these days to maintain the balance of poetry and teaching.  Case in point, I spent about seven hours this weekend grading world literature papers, and thanks to the hours at the computer and a cat that insists on sleeping on my pillow and shoving my head off it, I have a painful kink in my shoulder/neck to show for it.

The news for the week is this:
1.  Blessings to all the editors and literary journal staffers out there.  I had a poem accepted by George Looney, the editor at Lake Effect, a journal out of Penn State Erie.  This is one case study where I can say exactly how this magic happened.  It all began at AWP several years ago, when towards the end of the conference, the student staff members of the journal stood in the aisle of the book fair and pressed copies into any hands that reached for them.  After reading my sample copy, I sent off a few poems.  I received a kind note from George Looney asking me to send again.  I did and those poems were rejected as well.  However, the third time being the charm...this most recent submission resulted in one poem finding a home.  However, the story doesn't end there.  George emailed to ask if I would consider two changes, one minor adjustment to the last two lines and one major change involving a new title altogether.  Funnily enough, the change the staff members suggested for the ending was something I'd already been considering.  I'd gone back and forth on both versions for weeks and finally just sent the poem off.  Turns out I should have gone with the other version, but thankfully, the folks at Lake Effect saw the possibility of the change and were willing to work it out.  As for the title, I hadn't ever considered revising it; however, George & his staff members made a valid argument for their suggestion and I was more than willing to go with it.  (I've only recently discovered that some poets aren't so ready to make revisions at this stage...what say you, Dear Reader?  If an editor wants to use a poem but only with certain changes, are you usually willing to work it through?)

2.  Still recovering, in a good way, from our joyful visit with Jon Tribble and Allison Joseph.  Still thinking through a lot of what they had to say about publishing and poetry.  Again, all due thanks to these two superheroes of the poetry world.

3.  I'll be preparing for a big weekend/week.  On Saturday, I'm going to meet my mom in St. Louis for a mother/daughter weekend, which will be followed by a trip to Columbia, MO on Monday - Tuesday.  (Sadly, C. must stay behind to care for the cats and go to work.)   The great Stephanie Kartalopoulos adopted Blood Almanac for her Creative Writing class and I'm going to speak with them on Monday.  Then, on Tuesday, I'll be appearing at the Hearing Voices reading series at the Orr Street Studios.  Having lived in Columbia for a year back in the late 90's, I'm thrilled to be going back to one of my favorite college towns.  Hello, U of MO Columbia!  Hello, Shakespeare's Pizza!  Hello, cousin & fellow poet Marta Ferguson!  Hello, Steph!

4. In the midst of all of this, it is time for Midterms, and I'm busy helping our division's advising committee provide information for spring registration.  Oh, and there are always papers to grade and classes to prep.  Let's be real about that!

So, it will be a busy week again.  Have missed drafting for two weeks, but there's a lot of buzz in my brain thanks to Allison & Jon.  Something new is coming...I can feel it.

Finally, many thanks are due to friends Chris & Rebecca, local bee wranglers, who gave me a jar of honey on Thursday.  With the weather inching toward cooler, the time for hot tea seems upon us.  The honey is sweet & light & tastes of central Arkansas.  Just what a tired girl needs on a Monday morning!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations re: Lake Effect! I received my most recent rejection from them just a few weeks ago. Great journal.

Twice in recent months editors have made small revision suggestions. In both cases I agreed. I'm def. open to that, and so far haven't had occasion to say no.

Have a great time traveling, you celebrity poet, you!

(word ver: ruccas, i.e., ruckus...)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Marie!

Sherry O'Keefe said...

yes, congrats on Lake Effect!

i am almost always open to revision suggestions and have found the exchange to be beneficial not only for the poem in question but for future work of mine.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Sherry. Me, too, in terms of revision. Such a learning experience all around!

Karen J. Weyant said...

Congrats, Sandy! I love Lake Effect -- I was published there last year. Penn State Erie is only about an hour's drive from where I live.

And yes, I am always open to revisions. Most of the time, the revisions are small..but one time I did a pretty major cut to a poem, and I liked the change!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for your input, Karen. Glad we'll be alums of the same journal!

Molly said...

Sandy I am energized by your notes about balance, and how it can be hard to maintain. I always appreciate hearing such stories; they remind me that I'm not alone in that struggle.

Congrats on placing a poem in Lake Effect.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Hi, Molly, and thanks for stopping by. It seems I'm on a constant search for balance during the academic year. Hope you find yours as well. :)

Jessie Carty said...

As an editor, I have made suggestions to writers before and most people have been receptive--I know I am but I've only had it requested a few times but each time it seemed to be in a similar experience to what you described :)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for commenting, Jessie. It's always good to get an editor's point of view.

Charlotte Pence said...

Like a lot of poets, I have been on both sides of this desk: asking for changes as an editor and being asked for changes by an editor. I think I have only said no one time to a change a journal asked for--which suggests I am receptive, but don't hungrily do whatever is requested. Frankly, I like the discussions whatever the result may be because it all serves the work.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Charlotte, thanks for the info, and I agree that the conversations are interesting, esp. in service to the work.