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!