99º ~ feels like 110º with the heat index included = dew point at 74º ~ grab your oxygen tanks friends & neighbors
Happy Labor Day to all. Summer here in central Arkansas refuses to let go its fierce grip, at least through the next five days.
It looks like this blog will now become a weekly. The build up of responsibilities at school, while not anything majorly different than in the past, have tipped the needle from the balancing point I'd established last year. One of the benefits of being at an institution for seven years is gaining responsibilities within the department that require just a bit more time and effort. I'm happy to serve as I believe, adamantly, in our mission. (Who would have thought I'd find such a home in a community college when I was full of dreams of teaching in a small, liberal arts undergraduate college?)
My classes are off to great starts. I've got Comp I, Creative Writing I, and Intro to Poetry on the books this semester, and I'm impressed with the energy showing in all the classes so far. My creative writing class did the human knot exercise on Friday, which is always a blast. If you don't know this ice breaker, here's a great link to explain more. Basically, the students stand in a circle, shoulder to shoulder and reach out and clasp hands with strangers (different folks for each hand). Then, working as a team, shifting under and over and around each other, they have to undo the knot and return to the circle WITHOUT BREAKING THEIR GRIPS. Yep, they have to get up close and sweaty with each other. This forces them to know each others' names (we had done name ice breakers both Wednesday and before the knot on Friday), and they get to laugh quite a bit with each other. It's also a great indicator of how different personalities will play in workshop.
This is an exercise I highly recommend for any and all workshop type classes. It's hard to feel shy once you've had your face in someone else's armpit!
While most of the work week is taken up by classes & departmental duties, and the first part of the weekend was spent with family, I had some time this morning to turn to my own poems. On the top of my list lately has been submissions. I'm woefully behind in getting my work out there. In the past, I've had a more steady flow of writing, revising, submitting, writing, revising, submitting, &etc. Since I devoted so much time this past summer to the sickly speaker, I find myself with an unusual amount of material that needs to get out into the world.
This turns out to be a good thing, as I'm not sure how much drafting time I'll have during the school year.
In the past six months, I've broken from an old pattern regarding submissions. I used to focus solely on simultaneous submission journals. I still believe in these wholeheartedly, especially for emerging writers. In the way back time, I would submit one packet of five poems to ten different SS-accepting journals. In more recent years, as I discovered more success, I'd whittled that down to five poems to five different journals, to save time on withdrawal notifications. This is not to say I had a 100% success rate anywhere, only my acceptances did get better, resulting in more WD emails & letters.
Now, I'm focusing more on those "no simultaneous submission" journals. These tend to be the higher tier places, although some of the highest still take SS subs.
In any case, I managed to get two submissions "out the door" this morning. That's the electronic door now, thank the stars! If not accepting SS subs, at least I can save time and postage by submitting electronically.
Still, I've got a huge stack of sickly speaker poems lined up for those wonderful SS-accepting journals. Hopefully, I'll have enough steam some evenings this week to shepherd them out into the world as well.
In between getting poems ready to submit (and yes, still finding tiny areas to nip & tuck / revise), I've been exchanging emails with my co-editors at Heron Tree. We are now officially open for business! Wahoooooooo!
I know some of you have already submitted, and thank you for that! If you are a poet, please send us some of your best work anytime between now and 1 Dec. Our guidelines are here. We do accept simultaneous submissions, given swift notification if poems are accepted elsewhere.
I know that reading submissions and discussing those poems with my co-editors will eat up some of my poetry time. I'm fine with that. I've long wanted to become involved in putting out a journal, so this is a bit of a dream come true. Still, it will be another contributing factor in fewer blog posts. When weighing the priorities of my writing time, it's clear that writing, revising, and submitting comes first. Then, all the rest.
Even though I'll be here less frequently, I am ever thankful to those of you who read! You help keep me motivated, and you keep me honest about the life of a working poet.