Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poets Have a Different Mind or What the Hell Is Wafting Anyway?

Hello out there. How've you been? I'm well, thanks.

Braiding the Storm is now listed on Amazon. So weird. My life post-chapbook-publication has been many things. Exciting, nerve-wracking, humbling, and joyful. I was a little concerned about some of the content and how it would be received.. Certain family members could be offended. I was feeling very vulnerable. I still am.

Grandma Maureen and Laura the girl, 1987
But then something unexpected happened. I got an email from my grandmother (yes, my 84-year-old grandma emails) with "your book"  as the subject line. Here's what she said:

So your grannie got to meet the women Laura, not Laura the girl. I feel as though I've seen into your soul. I haven't read it all and some I wasn't sure I understood, but I'll reread. I'm so proud to know you and know that one day you'll be a famous poet or writer. I'm grateful that I've live long enough to witness your beginnings. Love you so much, Grams

After I was done blubbering I wrote her back with a grateful heart. I am still so grateful for so many things I can't articulate yet. I debated whether or not to share this with you, but since so many stories are disheartening, I felt I should tell my heartening one. Her message made me feel so safe and accepted and grateful to her for passing down her creative gifts. I've always suspected she had a poet hidden inside. Little did I know...

The next email contained a poem written by my grandmother. She signed it "unknown" but I knew it was hers. She's a sassy one, my grams. I hope you enjoy it.

I want to write a poem to a poet
But where to start?-------I know!       from the heart!
You can't say that     heart    poets don't' do that---
Like "cat hat mat"
Poets have a different mind.
They think outside the box.
They don't do rhyming
As "The hawk chased the fox and they both ate some lox"
They'd say "the moon wafting through the sky
like the roots of a tree wafting under the ground"
Now just what in the hell is wafting anyway?
They think outside the box!!
So how can I write a poem to a poet?
Because my mind has different timing
I just know those words that are a-rhyming
For this I will not take the blame
Rhyming can't be such a shame

by Maureen Austin

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chapbook Rookie: Photo Opp!

This is happening. It's really happening. 

Rachel Bunting flaunts her copy of Braiding the Storm

Lo Williams showing off her copy of Braiding the Storm

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chapbook Rookie: Something Special, Maybe?

I have a diaries from my adolescence spanning 11 to 17 years old. A few months ago when I was rereading them I found this passage:

Yes, I did refer to my diary as "you" as though I was talking to a friend. I also trailed off partway through the sentence. But on April, 3 1994 at 12 years, 9 months, and 12 days old, I dreamed up the day when my writing might be published as a book. When I might "do something special."

Today, at 31 years, 3 months, and 19 days old, something did occur. Something I did. Something special.

Holding my chapbook in my hands is strange. They are sitting next to me on the couch in the Priority Mail box. Sal answered the doorbell when the mail carrier delivered them earlier today, but I didn't hear it due to the white noise blasting through my headphones while I worked. The next thing I knew, Sal was sliding open the pocket door to the office saying something like, "Congrats, published author!" camera in hand, ready to capture the look on my face when I saw the package and realized what was inside. Someday I'll share that picture. Let's just say I was having a bad hair day.

I was terrified to open it, but I had no reason to be. Finishing Line Press produces beautiful chapbooks and my cover artist beautifully illustrated my imaginings. They have a deep brown ribbon and a spine even. I've never seen a chapbook bound this way, but I love it. It's very book-like.

At first I didn't know what I was feeling. I didn't really feel anything except overwhelmed, perhaps worried about getting back to work. I've since slid toward a simmering excitement. This is where I am. This is my something special. This slow boil. This 18 1/2 year-old dream come true.

Literary Roundup: Shameless Promotion Edition

Fall 2012 has been good to me, publication-wise. Braiding the Storm is arriving in mailboxes across the country as I type. I'm told my copies will arrive today. I've had a bunch of poems come out online and a few print acceptances. I was interviewed by Sophie Rosenblum about the Submission Bombers over at Better Magazine. Below are excerpts from three of my poems, all of which you can continue reading with just one little click. Enjoy.

My Muse Is in Remission

She’s gone ice fishing, I guess.
Or maybe she’s taken a lover.
That’s ok. I know she’ll be back

read more at The Citron Review...

The Doll Maker

She pours their faces, porcelain
legs and arms resting on every surface:
kitchen counter, night stand, her belly.

read more at Mason's Road...

Portraits of Us Before and After Your Death


the night before you die
we’re in bed: my fingers

read more at A-Minor...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012