Friday, November 30, 2012

I Wrote Ten Poems in One Day

One free verse, one prose poem, one Naani, one palindromic butterfly cinquain, one semi-found poem, one erasure poem, one cinquain, one Tanka, one Cento, and one haiku.

That's ten poems in one day folks, and I did it with very little sleep (not planned that way, just happened). Never again can I try to tell myself that I'm too tired or overworked or whatever other excuse I want to make up to put off writing.

Thanks, November.

Halfway Mark

one down, nine to go

I've written one poem draft today. For now it's called "everything" and includes a list of all the things I'm afraid of and/or ashamed to admit that I'm afraid of. Here's the first line.

"death motherhood forever pain drowning sharks in a pool sharks in a river sharks dying slowly falling"

There are things I didn't put in this because I'd be admitting something for another person too. I'd like to say it was hard to write this, but it wasn't. I liked the idea of putting all this scary shit in one place. It's like putting all my crazy into a little Tupperware container and sticking it in the fridge and saying, "I'll deal with all that stuff later." *dusts off hands*

Poem-a-Day Becomes Ten Poems-a-Day

In order to catch up for my Poem-a-Day for November, I need to write ten poems today. I plan to live blog the process, which won't begin until after my writing workshop ends around noon (left coast time). If you have any awesome poem prompts you'd like to share to save me the time of having to find some myself, I'd be super grateful.
This photo is the feedback I'm working on for tomorrow morning's workshop. I will be tired while writing these poems. Even more fun.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Upcoming Readings: 12/3 Quiet Lightning & 12/13 Why There are Words

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 @ 7:30pm
Quiet Lightning Reading Series
The Lab
2948 16th Street, San Francisco, CA
Readers: Bridgette Portman, Wes Solether, Austin Smith,  Kate Menzies, Kai Carlson-Wee, Nora Toomey, Eric Sneathen,  Casey Childers, Eliza Mimski, Siamak Vossoughi, John Panzer, Laura E. Davis, & Tomas Moniz
Curated and hosted by Meghan Thornton & SB Stokes
Cost: $5

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 @ 7:00pm
Why There Are Words Reading Series
Studio 333
333 Caledonia Street, Sausalito, CA
Readers:  Gabriel Blackwell, Laura E. Davis, Steve De Jarnatt, Valerie Fioravanti, Anne Galjour, Daniel Handler, and Arisa White.
Curated and hosted by Peg Alford Pursell
Cost: $5

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Experiences in Editing

I've been an editor (ok, Founding Editor) for Weave Magazine since a friend and I started it in 2008. We have printed seven issues featuring hundreds of contributors read by even more readers and subscribers. I've read hundreds of submissions, written thousands of emails, and yet somehow I've never been directly involved with the layout of any issue. Until now.

Issue 08 has been a long time coming. It was to be released this past summer, but was delayed six months so I could make some much-needed changes. After finding a wondrous Managing Editor and seriously amazing genre editors, I'm now completely removed from the process of selecting a majority of the work for each issue. While I still solicit work from writers and assist when a genre editor needs another opinion, the majority of my Weave time has been spent on finances, staffing, correspondence, marketing, and moving the business part of Weave legally from Pennsylvania to California. That last part took a lot of my time; California really likes making laws and someone really loves paperwork. These are the things you never think about when you say, "I'm going to start a literary magazine!" I never thought I'd be calculating our total sales tax (which varies from county to county in California) or filing paperwork with the city assessor.

With all that behind me (well, for now), I'm finally able to apply my creative talents to Weave again through the sequencing of Issue 08. This weekend I printed out all of the work for the issue and then read through a majority of the pieces again. It was thrilling to discover a number of themes and subjects emerge: death, aging, and the body; parent-child relationships; magical portraits of women; animals rooting and foraging; explorations of gender roles in a variety of relationships; and a surprising number of ekphrastic poetry (if I broaden the definition to include film and other artistic media). This issue has translations, flash fiction that's short than some of the poetry, a mixture of photography and visual art, and one piece of nonfiction written in the second person. Diversity, indeed.

I know that many of our readers won't sit down with the issue and read it front to back, but I still am taking the sequencing seriously. I really love the idea of each issue being a creation of its own, all the pieces taking turns in dialogue with one another. My favorite part of putting together my chapbook was the sequencing. Soon my living room floor will be covered with words. I'm happy this issue finally taking shape, and even happier that I can take part in its shaping.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lit Roundup, Gratitude-Style

Dear Outer Space,

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was delightful and involved a dinner for two (that neither of us cooked), making egg nog, and playing a Twilight drinking game (the only way to watch those movies. And, boy does Taylor Lautner take his shirt off a lot. Not that I'm complaining).

I have a lot to be grateful for, including the fact that we finally bought our Christmas/New Year's plane tickets. Ten flights between two people, six of which are mine. Right now I'm so relieved it's finished, but come December I'll be anxious about so much holiday travel.

Without further downward-spiraling deeper into my fear of missing a plane fight, I'll get to the goods. Enjoy and thanks for reading.


In lit mag news, Brusque Magazine released it's first issue, including two poems from Alicia Hoffman. Both poems feature audio of the poet reading, which I always appreciate.

Weave Magazine released it's contributor list for the long-awaited Issue 08. I spent time this weekend printing everything in preparation for sequencing. I'm so excited!

Corium also released its eleventh issue; this online journal always publishes polished and petite poems and prose. This just in: I'm an alliteration nerd.

Also, Heron Tree, a new online lit mag, is still accepting submissions until December 1st.

First up in the "Writers on Writing" category, we have Carol Berg, author of the newly released chapbook Ophelia Unraveling (which I just got in the mail Saturday!), discussing how to draft a poem. I found this to be particularly helpful for me, since I've been in a non-writing space lately; Berg reminded me that sitting down with a blank page is rarely effective. You need soil first.

Next is an excerpt from a longer essay about ending a poem by Joy Katz. Not new, but new to me.

Poet Molly Spencer inspires me with her dedication to writing even when you think you have no time. Her recent "how to write when there's no time to write" is just what every stuck-writer needs to be unstuck.

Speaking of inspiration, Davka pours out a dose of deer girl medicine with her wickedly beautiful prose piece about bodies and beauty and death and photographic immortality.

AND two for you in the "Just For Fun" category! Discovered the documentary Lemon via Kelli Russel Agodon. An inspiration-giver, this one. (Also it's FREE to watch on PBS!) Lastly, get out your spare change and check out this book vending machine. No, I'm not kidding. How could I kid about something so awesome?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Welcome Back, Literary Roundup!

I'm excited about this roundup!
After a few month hiatus I am back to poeming and back to rounding up literary delights. I had an incredibly busy August, September, and October. Two weddings on the east coast. Writing for ModCloth 30-40 hours a week average. I started teaching in October as well as coordinating for Poetry Out Loud. Since I was so busy with other projects, plus a few personal struggles, I gave myself a vacation from writing. If a poem came out of me spontaneously, then I wrote. But it rarely did. Writing product descriptions, particularly the fun creative ones I write for MC (such as this one I'm proud of), for 6-8 hours just taps out all of my delicious creative syrup.

So I'm back on the writing wagon and kicking things off with a poem-a-day challenge for November. I'm mostly keeping up. It helps to have a group of lovely writers holding me accountable. The poems don't have a ton of focus. A lot of poets like writing projects. I've tried once. I think I'd have to be really motivated or have a lot to say on a particular topic and then give it some structure. Like persona poems for each Zodiac sign. That's kind of a cool idea....

Enough about me though. Without further ado, here's my latest gathering of literary nuggets from around the interwebs. Please help yourself!


Janice Anderson's essay "How to Move in One Direction While Flying in Another" won the Grand Prize in Hippocampus Magazine's Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction. This is a powerful narrative about Janice's experience following a sexual assault. She submitted as part of Submission Bombers, despite being tentative about submitting in general. And she won. The Grand-Frakkin-Prize. Huge CONGRATS to Janice!

Sarah Leavens' gorgeous poem "Natural History" was featuring in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as their Saturday Poem feature. I love that my hometown newspaper publishes poems regularly. If you've ever been to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, you might remember the PaleoLab where you can watch museum preparators removing dirt from fossils. Here's a picture:

photo from Weird and Cool Stuff
The 56th Issue of Right Hand Pointing features a bunch of Submission Bombers! If you aren't familiar with RHP, it's an awesome journal that publishes super short poems and stories meant to be read in order. You don't even have to scroll! It's satisfying to read the whole issue at once, I promise you. Plus, D. Gilson is published in this issue and he is adorable. Don't believe me? Here is proof:

adorable D. Gilson with two FLP chapbooks
Two Eduardo Milán poems over at Asymptote beautifully translated by John Oliver Simon. Seriously you don't want to miss these lyrical, image-rich lines. Mary Stone Dockery has some creepy-meets-beautiful prosetry at Menacing Hedge. Always love her work. Beth Gilstrap's flash fiction piece "I Am Barbarella" appears in Blue Fifth Review's Blue Five Notebook Series. This story is almost prosetry and exactly what good flash should be. Finally, I have two poems at Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review. Dig in.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Two Upcoming Readings! November 14th & December 13th

Just a quick update, Dear Reader, about two of my upcoming readings. Braiding the Storm will be available for purchase, as well as my signature should you want a signed copy. I've got a couple posts in the works regarding scheduling readings, post-publication promotions, and how to sign your own book (the answer may surprise you). I hope to see you soon at a reading or otherwise!

Me, reading in March 2012 @ AWP
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 @ 7:30pm
Lyrics & Dirges: A Monthly Reading Series
Pegasus Books Downtown
2349 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA
Readers: Laura E. Davis, C.S. Giscombe, Colleen McKee, Chris Lebo Planas, and León Salvatierra
Curated and hosted by Sharon Coleman
Cost: Free

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 @ 7:00pm
Why There Are Words Reading Series
Studio 333
333 Caledonia Street, Sausalito, CA
Readers: Laura E. Davis (will update you on the other readers once I know)
Curated and hosted by Peg Alford Pursell
Cost: $5 donation

Monday, November 5, 2012

A List Post Seems Manageable

  • I decided to jump on the National Novel Writing Month bandwagon with a bunch of other poets. We're all just writing poems. I like it. Four down, including a pantoum!
  • There have been a couple reviews of Braiding the Storm: one on Amazon and another by Donna Vorreyer. I'm grateful for both of these and look forward to future critiques.
  • Since I decided to stop confusing anxiety with hunger, I've been eating much less. I've been using My Fitness Pal to help track my meals and movement. Sal is on there too, so it's the only social network he uses. So far he's lost 25 pounds in three months. I've lost six so far, five in the past week. I think that's water weight, but I'm not sure. We'll see what happens when I go to Bloated PMS Village later this week.
  • Two poems recently appeared in Issue 17 of The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. I have a lot to say about my poem Red Stone. I'm not ready to say it yet though. Also a lovely translation by Nic Wong. 
  • I start teaching a new class soon. Sixth grade. I'm not nervous, but more aware that these kids have much different needs. Anyone have tips on engaging middle school students?
  • I'm reading next week for Lyrics and Dirges along with an amazing line-up of writers. November 15th at Pegasus Books in Downtown Berkeley. You should come.
  • I'm still at a loss when it comes to making good friends here in the Bay Area. I have lots of people I like and hang with every now and then. But no besties. I need a best friend finding service. Or maybe I've maxed my quote of best friends allowed in a lifetime (so many wonderful friends! come visit me!)
  • Opened a retirement account this week. I've already lost $21! So I got that going for me.
  • I'm a bit burned out and I've fallen completely off-track with my marketing plan for Braiding the Storm. I think my next Chapbook Rookie post will be about the realities (i.e.: difficulties) with promoting a book mostly on your own.
  • I sent a Poet Who's Inspired Me a copy of Braiding the Storm. She sent me a lovely thank you post card back. I must pinch myself. Here's a picture of it. Below that is poet and friend D. Gilson holding my chapbook. He's adorable.

much love to Mr. Gilson!