Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Heron Tree Opens for Submissions on September 1

74º ~ but at least the dew point is staying low for the moment, the obnoxious, heavy air should arrive in time for the long weekend, Labor Day in the Mid-South, wahoo?

Hello, poet friends!  Here's a gentle reminder, nudge to get those poems ready to go.  Heron Tree will start accepting new submissions as of September 1. You can read all of our guidelines here, but for those who submitted last year, notice that there are a few changes. Since we read blind, we are now asking all submitters to strip their names from the poems themselves. Just include the list of poems you are submitting in your cover letter, which should be the body of your email. Also, please don't put anything in the headers/footers of your documents. Thanks!

We read in batches as the poems accumulate in the submissions inbox, and we notify as we go. I'm looking forward to another round of reading, discussing, and accepting!

Also, watch for news soon about the availability of our first print anthology of the poems published online!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Book Coming Out, New Semester Starting Off: Catching Up and Holding On

86º ~ hot, hot, hot, humidity that makes you want to wring your skin out, all for the next 7 - 10 days, summer holding on tight

When life gets this busy, something's always got to give, and for me that's been blogging. I'm hoping, hoping to make blogging a once-a-week activity this semester, and since I've got so much poetry news to convey, I think that will happen. That means the posts may be longer, as I sum up the goings on of the week.  I hope you'll hang in there and read all the way through.

Updates on The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths
First and foremost, my work with Richard Krawiec at Jacar Press continues on at highly caffeinated speeds. Like most small, independent publishers, Richard is doing amazing things for poetry and poets. If you haven't checked out the list of books he's published, I hope you'll do so now, and consider supporting a great press by ordering something. The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths will have an official release date of early 2014!

We are already planning a reading tour in North Carolina for February 2014, which means getting to see Al Maginess and meet his family as well as visiting Michelle and Bob Holschuh Simmons and, hopefully, meeting their boys.  (Surprise!)

Many of you have already gone through the publishing process with a book or a chapbook, but for those who haven't, the things I learned the first go-round have been invaluable this time. If you've got a manuscript out at a contest or under consideration in any way, you will be well-prepared if you have the following on hand:

~ a brief paragraph description of the book (sounds easy, can be super hard)
~ a current bio and headshot
~ a list of journals where you'd like review copies to be sent
~ an email list of folks who might be interested in news about the book
~ an address list for PR postcards
~ the names of fellow writers who might provide blurbs
~ an email list of all the journals in which poems in the collection appeared
~ contact information for your local paper, arts organization, employer, etc. for when the press release is ready

Updates on The Fall for the Book Conference Appearance
In the rush of the new semester, I'm also planning a trip out to Fairfax, VA, and George Mason University for the 2013 Fall for the Book Conference. While this is a week-long celebration, I'll only be able to be there for the Gazing Grain Press Reading and Reception on the afternoon of Sunday, September 22.  Meg Day, the winner of the chapbook contest, and I will be reading. For those in the area, this will be at the Sherwood Center from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  It's FREE! And, hey, we'll be followed by Dave Barry at 6:30, so yeah, wow!

As part of being runner-up for the Gazing Grain 2013 feminist chapbook contest is that two of my cautionary tale poems will be published as a "mini-chapbook." These will be available at the reading and will ship with any orders for Meg Day's winning chapbook.

I'm super excited about this event for so many reasons!

Updates on the New Semester
Things at Pulaski Tech are off and running. I'm so lucky this semester to be teaching Creative Writing I and Creative Writing II on campus, as well as my usual Composition I online. In between teaching and prepping, I'm also curating the Big Rock Reading Series again, as well as serving as managing editor of our journal of academic writing, Milestones.  Whew!

I've also begun teaching my first-ever graduate level class.  I'm teaching Contemporary American Poetry for the new low-residency MFA at the University of Arkansas Monticello. This has been a super blast! The class is a combination of graduate students and upper-level undergrads, which adds an exciting twist to all the prepping, but I have to say I've been incredibly impressed with everything about the program, the faculty, the students, UAM, everything.  So, so thankful for this opportunity!

PS: If you know anyone searching for a low-residency MFA, the deadline for applications for students wanting to start in January is 15 October!

Updates on Heron Tree
Chris Campolo and Rebecca Resinski, the creators and owners of Heron Tree Press, have been hard at work getting the print volume ready for purchase. Soon, I'll post information about how to get your hands on the collected poems for volume 1.

We continue to post one new poem a week on the website, and we are eager to begin reading new submissions starting September 1.  Please send us your best work for consideration (but please wait until Sept. 1, so we don't have to reject anything out of hand for not following the guidelines). Also, if you sent last year, take a moment to look at the guidelines again, as things have changed a bit.

Updates on the Central Arkansas Broadside Project
I'm thrilled to announce that I have the first broadside, featuring a poem by Hope Coulter, nearly ready to go. The file is finalized, and I'm just working on getting copies printed this week.  I'll be launching the project the first week of September with the help of the contributors and their students.  We plan to plaster Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Conway with poetry.  Wahoooooooo!

For someone who spent much of the summer wondering where she fit in the poetry world and so much time NOT writing poems, things have certainly gotten a lot clearer and a lot busier!

Finally, for those who did read all the way through, I'm going to give away one copy of Blood Almanac in celebration of all the good things happening these days.  If you've already got a copy, consider playing along and if you win, pass the copy along to someone else.  To play, just leave me a comment. On Sunday, 1 September, I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner! If you don't have a blogger account, please provide a way to get in contact should you win.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What I'm Reading: Spoke & Dark

66º ~ 9 a.m. in August and 66º, some kind of weird joke going on here, right?  don't panic, the heat shall return on Monday, just in time for school to start

This post is super easy because my response to Carolyn Guinzio's Spoke & Dark (Red Hen, 2012) is now up at Atticus Review. Carolyn is a good friend and an amazing poet and photographer. She also edits the writing side of Yew: A Journal of Innovating Writing and Images by Women.  

Click on over to the Atticus Review site and read all about Spoke & Dark. Then go buy yourself a copy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book #2 Finds a Home: Whirling & Twirling with Delight

72º a bit cloudy but not overbearingly so, beautiful breezes and open windows

*warning: exclamation points used with abandon beyond this point

Dear Friends, it has finally happened. The good news email arrived yesterday morning from Richard Krawiec at Jacar Press, just as I was about to enter one of those amazing professional development meetings that clutter the week before classes begin. The poet Stuart Dischell (oh my gosh, Stuart Dischell!) chose The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths as the winner of the 2013 Jacar Press Full Length Poetry Book Contest!

Yes, this is the press that I mentioned here. I had learned in June that the manuscript was a finalist and had set about waiting out the news of the results. In a strange twist of coincidence, I had just announced to C. and to my mom last week that I was resigned to the news being negative, sure as I was that someone else must have won. The coincidence part is that just before I heard the good news from Rick Campbell at Anhinga about Blood Almanac, I'd said the same thing. Hmmmm, patience not my strong suit? I think not. Also, this "preparing for the worst" mentality is very much a Midwestern trait.

Aside from that, I can tell that this adventure with Jacar is going to happen quickly. I'm set to proof the text, and Richard and I have already started having those conversations about cover design, press releases, review copies, readings, and etc. that go into making and launching a book. I'm so glad I've already had the experience once, so I know what I'm talking about. I'm also thrilled by the speed given that this manuscript has been the bridesmaid for so long that the quicker I can get her down the aisle as the bride, the happier I will be!

In addition, yesterday was incredibly different from finding out about Blood Almanac because my poetry world has grown considerably thanks to this blog and Facebook. When I found out about BA, it was 8:30 p.m. on a school night, and C. was already "resting his eyes" in front of the History Channel. He woke long enough to absorb the news, and then I called my mom, who was also headed for bed. Then, I wrote a group email to a handful of close friends and failed to sleep at all that night b/c there wasn't anyone who wanted to stay up all night and celebrate with me. (In C.'s defense, having to face a full day of high school teaching the next day, he needed to sleep.)

Yesterday, the news came mid-morning and Richard had announced it on Facebook before I could blink twice, and re-read his congratulatory email for the tenth time to be sure it was real. C. was then able to interrupt a PD meeting of his own to announce the news to his colleagues and administration (blush from afar), and my mom was ecstatic, especially later in the day when we had a chance to really talk it all over. Many of you were on FB and helped celebrate with me. All thanks. It really does make the moment sweeter. Special, extra thanks to all of you reading this blog and on FB who have shepherded me through these rough last few months of book despair! I am so lucky to be a part of this big, wide world or poetry!

It turns out Jacar Press is perfect for me; after all, it defines itself as a "community-active literary press" and part of the profits of the book will go to a non-profit, and I get to help pick the group.  Wow!  The press funds writing workshops in underserved communities and does all kinds of other fantastic things to promote literacy and poetry. (Can I get a Wahoooooooooooooooooooo, sister?) I am eager beyond words to begin, and so I shall.

While I do not wish the long wait and many years of submitting on anyone, I'm here to tell you that persistence almost always wins. When you get that positive feedback time and time again, but just miss the goal, keep going!

Friday, August 2, 2013

More Bits of Good News

76º ~ with a dew point under 70, all is passing fair outside for now, forecast calls for mid-90s for the next seven days, a stormy Sun/Mon on the outlook

Today started off with all kinds of over-stimulation on Facebook as posts about some recent good news exploded, but first, some good news not about me but about a poetry friend.

Amanda Auchter's new book The Wishing Tomb (Perugia Press) won the 2013 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry!  Now that is a mighty wahooooooooooooooo!  This book is on my to-read pile, so expect a blog response soon.

Last night, I found out that a panel on which I am a participant was accepted for AWP 2014 in Seattle. Wahooooooooo!  All thanks to John Bell for bringing together "Here We Gather: History and Advice on Setting Up a Writers Conference, Festival, or Colloquium at a Two-Year College." I'm looking forward to sharing information about the Big Rock Reading Series at PTC and to learning how to make it even better from my fellow panel members!  (Hat Tip to Tawnysha Greene who tagged me on FB to tell me that she saw my name in the program before I even read the email from John!)

Earlier in the week, poet and blogger Diane Lockward emailed me to give me a heads up about a poem of mine appearing on Verse Daily today.  All thanks, Diane!  Apparently, Verse Daily sends out an email on Monday with the list for the upcoming week.  I'm now signed up for that email!  In any case, stop by Verse Daily today and check out "Small-Time Rapture," a sickly speaker poem that appeared in the lovely & magnificent Barn Owl Review 6.

Finally, I'm thrilled to announce the creation of the Central Arkansas Broadside Project.  I followed through with my intent and have enlisted a handful of local poets and writers to contribute.  Each will send me a poem that I will format into a broadside.  Along with the poems, I will publish the writers' traditional bios, but I will also publish a list of recommended poets on each broadside.  I imagine someone stopping for a couple of minutes at a coffee shop, gallery, library/bookstore, even a hair salon, and reading a poem.  Perhaps, the reader may like the poem, and perhaps, like many non-poets out there, the reader will want to read more poetry but not know where to start.  The author's bio is one place to start, but the list of recommendations just sweetens the pot. The timeline looks like the first broadside will go up in October, and I've got a fine baseball-reference poem from Hope Coulter as the lead-off batter.  Soon, I'll have a web presence for the project and will keep you all posted.