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Archive for March, 2007

2 Great Things

1. I received Paul Guest’s first book and most recent chapbook in the mail today, signed.

2. I happened to find Richard Siken’s blog and in my childish excitment almost sent him an email telling him how much I loved Crush then decided not to because I don’t want to look like a stalker.

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come on courage…

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I’m tired. I mean reallllllyyy tired. I’ve graduated from insomnia to half sleep with violent tendencies. Several times throughout the night I wake up gripping my throat and gasping for air. I kick my husband incessantly in my half sleep state. I thrash around as if I were possessed by an evil spirit (wait, maybe that’s my own soul). Because of this, I wake up sore and barely able to support the weight of my head. Today I’m convinced that I’m a completely dysfunctional human being. I couldn’t move out of bed and the hubby had to drive Lina to school for me. I’m finally up but in a complete pseudo-awake state. I really want to lay (lie?) back down but I’m terrified I won’t be able to get back up.

blargh.

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just my luck

I bought the new Modest Mouse cd last week just after it came out and by Monday I had lost it without uploading it to iTunes. See the picture of the girl at the top of my blog?

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Draft Two

Not sure if this is moving in the right direction, but here is draft two. I can’t help but cringe anytime I attempt writing nature into my poetry. I’ve always been horrible at it.

Baby birds fly past my porch on the first
day of spring, their trip from Florida or
somewhere down there where heat
proves perpetual in so many ways.
Where I am now becomes just another
town
after the next one and the one
after that. Trees are my only constant. I replace
human beings for barked backs and arms
unafraid of shedding and routine. Yet
I swear-off the seasons, rip sweaters
from shoulders mid-winter
when those same trees strip down-
an offering of intimate embrace.
And when summer stays
and stays longer, I ball into afghans:
yarn my grandmother thread through
her fingers warms me as if I was once
folded inside her belly instead of my mother’s.

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stuff and more stuff

Tim Green posted a link to an essay in VQR written by Erik Campbell, which I recommend everyone read. Erik is funny and most importantly, unpretentious. He tackles the subject of plagiarism in all of its forms.

I sent out two submissions last week, one to APJ and one to Ghoti. I also inquired about my submission to The Hat, but have not received a response, yet. I tend to think that the longer a submission is out, the less chance one has of publication in that journal.

I want to write a poem but I’m really bad with beginnings.

Movies I’ve Seen Lately:

The Departed

The Devil’s Playground

I’m glad Martin finally won but I have to admit to not liking The Departed as much as his other films. I haven’t seen all of them but my favorite, so far, is Mean Streets. I feel like The Departed didn’t have that Scorsese stamp. Where was the amazing musical score??!! The only person in the entire movie who had a personality was Leo. I felt nothing for any of the other characters – I had no idea who they were, even if it was a lie. And the girl sleeping with both Leo and Matt was foreshadowed so heavily that it was a major let-down. Ah well.

The Devil’s Playground was recommended to me by a friend, and I wasn’t impressed after seeing it. The problem is that the documentary didn’t know exactly what it wanted to do and, I believe, became something that it didn’t intend to become at all. Which is ok with a lot of documentaries, it happens a lot BUT in this instance it became just another documentary about drug use. And not a very interesting one. The crux of the problem lies in the fact that the Amish people are against being filmed. The documentary ended up focusing mainly on one boy’s struggle (again, a very uninteresting one) but you can tell by watching it that, that wasn’t its intention – but because the makers of the film couldn’t get enough Amish footage, that’s what the documentary became. I saw a lot of opportunities to delve into other characters and situations but the makers didn’t take advantage of it. There was no real “religious” struggle in the teens – no philosophical contemplation – it ended up becoming a decision between comfort or chaos as opposed to belief or non-belief. (which arguably, could be the same thing).

Would anyone like to explain to me what the “arc” in a chapbook is?

Here’s a picture I took on the Blue Ridge Parkway – I like to call this one The Blue Tree. =)

Poem – Draft 1 (all comments and suggestions are appreciated)

To Begin Again

One ending becomes the next
and the next, like baby birds flying

past my porch on the first day
of spring, their trip

from Florida or somewhere
down there

where heat proves perpetual
in so many ways. Where I am now

becomes just another town
after the next one and the one

after that. Trees,
my only constant. I replace

human beings for barked
backs and arms unafraid

of shedding and routine. Yet
I swear-off the seasons

rip sweaters from my shoulders
mid-winter when those same trees

strip down, bare-bodied,
an offering of intimate embrace.

When summer arrives
and staying turns

into remaining, I ball into afghans:
yarn my grandmother threaded

through her fingers warms me
as if I was once

folded inside her belly
instead of my mother’s.

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There seems to be an uproar in the online poetic community lately regarding various topics – ethics, online workshops, AWP, “careerism”, so on and blah blah blah. And in my dismissal of all these things, therein forms another opinion regarding these things. I’m drawn to reading the theories and opinions regarding the poetic community yet find myself at the same time dosing off. I care because I don’t care, if that makes any sense. I compare it to my love/hate relationship with politics. I like watching the news because I feel it necessary to know what ridiculous notions the American People are being convinced of via propaganda, which then creates a better understanding of the people around me. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Politicians don’t give a rat’s ass about you, they only care about their social/political status – their level of power.

I’m not saying that Politics and Poetry are the same. I’m simply saying that I don’t care about the technicalities of it all. Maybe I’m a passivist. If Joe X publishes John G because they are pals, I don’t really care. If Jack Smack publishes his own work in his own journal, I don’t really care. If hob-knobbing at the AWP gives you a foot-in-the-door to a publication or gets you noticed by an elite, good for you. It’s the name of the game, in politics AND poetry. Networking is nothing new. At my previous job, more than 50% of the people working there were hired because they knew someone already working there and were recommended.

What baffles me is an underlying emotion that I pick up on when reading certain ideas that deal with the “conspiracy”. Some self-confidence issues in the air. Lately, I’ve taken on the idea that I’m a poet because I feel like a poet, because by my own standards, I’m a poet. Not because Journal Best In The World published me. And I don’t feel any less of a poet because Rattle rejected my work for the third time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I’d like to see more poetry and less politics. Sometimes I think that if we ignore the politics and focus on what we’re writing, that there might be an actual movement toward the content of poetry as opposed to the institution. A lot of us living in the United States dislike a lot about our government – but we still live here.

In the end, we choose what we want to be – a politician or a poet.

On another note, here’s my visual DNA:

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