Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Online Poetry Communal Pool

33º ~ bright sun beginning to filter through the trees behind my left shoulder as morning enters its second hour ~ the tiniest of breezes that requires a moment of concentrated watching to discover

Next week classes begin for me, and this week has been filled with preparation.  I'm teaching a new class this time around: Intro to Poetry, and online at that.  So, my comp and world lit classes nearly prepped themselves after years and years of fine tuning.  Intro to Poetry, that's a different story.  Lots of thinking and hesitation going on at the moment, and I have to remind myself that this will be a trial run, that I'll find things in my plan that work and things that don't, that I must be kind to myself about all of this.  I am proud, however, that I've still managed to do something with poetry every day and that I'm not quite as anxious as I've been in semesters past during this week of ramping up.

All that leads to today's post, the title of which comes from Joshua Robbins' post on Little Epic Against Oblivion today.  Josh and I have become poetry friends over the last year or so, ever since he published one of my poems in GRIST (a great journal...go out and get you a copy!).  I read LEAO religiously because the posts are honest and helpful, because the posts often include individual poems with comments that lead me to new poets or remind me of old favorites, and because I feel a kinship there.  Recently, because J. and I are going through the same contest submission emotions, I sent J. a gift in the mail, and he writes about that today, along with other gifts from the "online poetry communal pool."

Some writers are lucky to live in major metropolitan areas or cities with lively MFA/PhD readings.  Others of us live in smaller cities/towns/rural areas and we have to make a writing life happen there if we want one at all.  I must admit that Little Rock has come a long way in hosting readings lately; however, when I first moved here I felt the absence of that lively presence (which could have been more my fault than the city's).  Regardless, I began this blog as a place to explore the life of writing, to talk honestly about the emotions of rejection and acceptance, and to try and find a community of like-minded people.  Today, I can say that I've received all of that and more.  While connecting online isn't the same as meeting face to face in the pool, it has been a life-saver for me.  Of Josh's options at the end of his post, I choose 'water wings' to describe the role you all play, Dear Readers, in keeping me afloat.  For that I am grateful.

PS:  For readers old and new, when I began this blog, I vowed that I would not link/promote anyone/any book/any journal that I did not feel strongly about in the positive.  I am not a critic and I hope I am not a schmoozer in the worst sense.  In the end, I mean to be earnest each and every time I post.


Kathleen said...

Your process notes have been a great comfort and inspiration to me. I thank you. I understand what you mean at the end about promotion/schmoozing (I usually call it glad handing). Likewise on the earnestness. (I was once criticized in the newspaper--theatre review--for being too earnest. Oh, Oscar Wilde!)

I was just telling my husband how pleased I was that the two year-end rejections (just before Christmas) were balanced by two new-year acceptances (just before Three Kings Day). It is a great comfort to share all the woes and joys of the writing life in the blogosphere. Again, thanks.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for understanding, Kathleen. Big congrats on starting off the new year with a bag of acceptances! :)

Nancy Devine said...

i live in grand forks, north dakota, one of those sort of rural places you mention in your post. it's very hard to find a face to face writing community in such a place. so online is extremely important to me.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Exactly, Nancy! I'm so glad you are one of the water wings I've met in the past months.

Justin Evans said...

I live 120 miles from a Wal-Mart. And though that sounds like the ideal cultural environment for poetry, it really means I have to drive two hours just to find a chain book store, let alone any sort of literary event. Rural? Oh, only if you count isolation, low population, and an inability to reach convenient services above a gas station.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Justin, thank goodness for this online community and online bookstores!