Monday, December 17, 2012

For the Holidays

It occurred to me why images of the Madonna and Child are so moving, even to me as a nontheist.  After aeons of hot and cold stars and crashing meteors, in at least one place in the universe life gave rise to mammals, with their chemical capacity to bond, and then to self-conscious mammals whose look of recognition implies their shared awareness of that moment of mutual animal trust, which is kind of beautiful. 

So merry Christmas, after all.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I wrote one today after all.  Well, yay for encouragement from fellow poets and babies who are kind enough to sleep an extra 15 minutes or so...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Publication and Baby Updates

So it's been a hectic three months since my last post about appearing in an upcoming anthology and expecting my first child in a matter of days.

To our delight, the child did appear in a matter of days, healthy and happy (or as happy as a newborn can be, I guess), and pretty darn cute, if I may say so from my biased vantage point, and now the anthology is out as well, and it's lovely.  I just received my copy yesterday.  There is an Amazon link on the press's website, if you're interested in purchasing it.

Reckless Writing:  The Modernization of Poetry by Emerging Writers of the 21st Century by Chatter House Press, edited by Penny Dunning

So now I'll get back to all the things I need to cram into the few hours when baby is sleeping and mommy is not yet about to crash as well from exhaustion.  Some days those things just include the essentials.  I mean, the bare, bare essentials.  Cleaning the house is pretty much a luxury, but then I never was much of a house-cleaner on a good day.  I'm not sure how I'm going to find the time to go back to work, even part-time, but I guess I'll figure that out in a month or so.  I'm working on imposing some sort of schedule on our days so that maybe I can get a bit more done.  There are so many projects on my calendar, like starting work on the new issue of Melusine, book ideas, website ideas, that keep getting kicked like the proverbial can down the road.  I have to admit I can't even imagine the luxury of sitting down to write a new poem yet, although I'm sort of hoping one will come to me one day despite myself, as poems sometimes do, happily for the lazy among us.  But at least I've begun to send out my full-length manuscript.

For someone prone to the winter blues even in easier years, though, I have to say I'm finding life relatively good, all in all, this chilly November.  The child is a handful, but she's also pretty awesome.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Poems Accepted for New Anthology

I just learned that four of my poems were accepted for the Reckless Writing anthology.  I'm not sure if that means they seem to have been written recklessly or with reckless abandon (well, either way, it's probably a good thing for me, if I've been found erring on the side of caution and hermeticism in the past.)

In other news, baby is swiftly on her way into our world.  This time next week, I will probably not be sitting at this computer, although I will no doubt have some kind of electronic device connected to the Internet close at hand, maybe even this laptop, although both I and the laptop will probably be found in a more babycentric location.  Seriously, though, I'm excited.  It takes a long time to grow a baby, but for the most part, it's been a fascinating ride.  But now my back hurts when I sit to type, and so I'm about ready for the next phase to begin, as crazy as it no doubt will be, and also no doubt fascinating.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blue Trajectory is Reviewed in Eclectica

A new review of my chapbook, Blue Trajectory, appeared this week in the new issue of Eclectica.

I found the review, by Gilbert Wesley Purdy, to be fair and thoughtful, with some astute and useful observations.  I have to admit that I had to read it twice to take in some of the most thoughtful points.  I was thrown off at first by the fact that the review was combined with that of another book, a full-length collection, and that, as a thesis to link the two together, as is usually required in a combo review, a sort of comparison seemed to have been drawn between the other author's book and mine in terms of our backgrounds and our respective openness about our personal lives as revealed in our work, as well as our relative attempts at sophistication versus simplicity, two words that are used somewhat ambiguously here, I think.  Is one of us good at sophistication and not so good at simplicity, with the reverse holding true of the other, or is simplicity, when done right, always to be preferred over sophistication?  Since I don't think of my poems (or their author) as aiming at either sophistication or simplicity, it's hard for me to answer this question.

When I approach a review myself, I always feel a bit strange about placing too much emphasis  on the author's background, especially when my knowledge of it is incomplete.  In the case of mine, the (albeit reasonable) guess that I completed my MFA (or M.A., as JHU calls theirs, not that it matters much) from Hopkins in my mid-20s seems to give an impression that maybe life has been smoother for me than it has been.  In fact, I received the degree at the age of 35, after a decade or so of floundering about, education and career-wise.  If the last couple decades of my life were less smooth than they look on paper, there is no back-story to go along with that fact other than the usual, a temperament that needed some time and testing to find its niche.

What this means for my writing, I don't know.  I know my temperament is a private one, and I guess my comfort with a certain level of privacy comes across more in my work than I realize.  As a strongly introverted sort (cliche for a poet, I know, but it's true) I don't find it daring to infer my life from a distance; I find it natural and comfortable.  I feel that at times the statements in my poems are very frank, but it's probably true that these statements, as the reviewer notes, stand out because they are in the minority.  I also know that my approach regarding style and subject matter has probably drawn inward, rather than outward, with time.  Several of the poems I published in the first year or two of beginning to place my poems were more direct in voice.  Although I still write poems with the same level of directness, oddly, lately, these poems aren't picked up, and the less direct ones are.  I'm not sure exactly why this is.

There may be other, more substantial differences between the two sets of  poems than directness/ lack of directness, but whatever the differences are, it seems that I may be better suited to writing the latter sort of poem.  The reviewer mentions transience and tenuity.  I guess these concepts are in line with my philosophy of poetry and its role, as distinct from the role of narrative prose.  Poetry can imitate dreamscapes by being impressionistic and fluid; it can live in the moment and not always feel the need to take a stand or draw a conclusion.  Once in a while, it can or it needs to take a stand or draw a conclusion, and then it should, but I don't think this is required or would be desired of every poem.

Mr. Purdy makes a fair point in his closing comments, too.  I do struggle with consistent and effective closure, and that is part of the ongoing challenge.  I don't mean that cheekily; it truly is an area where I struggle, but it's also part of what keeps inspiring me.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Things That Are New

Sorry it's been so long since my last post.  I can't say I haven't had news, but it hasn't been of the literary variety.  I do have some lit news now, though.  The Spring/Summer issue of Melusine has finally launched, and you can see it here.  I really rather like this one.  OK, I've liked them all, of course, but this is one of my favorites.

As for the non-literary news, I snuck it in the issue's editorial.  But, OK, I can summarize:  I am expecting my first child in early September, and her father and I are very excited.  It looks like she will be a girl.

For various reasons, I have been spending less time blogging, Facebooking, Google-plussing, and tweeting this year, but I will probably begin embracing some of these outlets again as I inevitably find myself seeking ways to express how I'm processing all the new things I'm going to soon be experiencing.  When I'm not writing (because at times, when writing, I can be loud, not unlike, at times, when I'm drinking, but that's another story and also something I haven't been doing much of in the last year) my natural mode of being is quiet, and it's been good to be quiet.  I'm beginning to feel a disturbance in the quiet, though, and that's OK, too.  And I think I know what her name is.

Friday, February 24, 2012

First Review of Blue Trajectory

That's Blue Trajectory my chapbook, not to be confused with the current name of this blog, of course, since that would probably be a very short review given how often I update it.

Livia Kent reviewed the chap for the new issue of Lines + Stars.  Her review was so beautifully and thoughtfully written, it made me very happy.  Please check it out here, if you like.

It's a warm but rainy February day and I am feeling sleepy (decaf was probably a bad choice) but still happy.

Spring is coming soon.  AWP is coming even sooner, although I unfortunately won't be going.  I am planning for next year, though, which reminds me I need to get to work on the Melusine print issue so I'll have something to bring to the table, so to speak, Melusine-wise.  I have the lineup selected; I just need to find a good layout tool... This next month's big project, I think... Then for April, I'm finally doing NaPoWriMo.  I've resisted it thus far, but I've hit a long patch of writer's block and I think I really need it this year...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Couple of Mentions

Just a couple things I noticed whilst shamelessly Google-stalking myself:

Thanks so much to Eclectica, the very first journal that published me, for mentioning my chapbook in their new issue's editorial.

And I just noticed that this here blog is listed in New Pages' directory, here.


What else?  It's January -- not much to say about the weather, although to its credit it's been unseasonably warm.  More importantly, it's a new year, and I'm still feeling good about that.