Friday, August 29, 2008

August Poem A Day

Once again, I'm writing a poem a day with a fabulous group of writers. I'm putting the poems in various states of completion up on my blog for added incentive.

Pressure works for me.

The poems will live here for the day. The poems will disappear within 24 hours.


Poem draft for August 31:


A Happy Tale from Stacey

Congrats, Stace!.


Having my parents here has made quite a difference. I can actually enjoy my meals instead of wolfing them down. I can also get some writing, reading, and administrative work done.

They're actually here to not only visit their grandson, but to look for a retirement house, and I think they found one. Yay!


Books that came in the mail:

Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields
All-American Poem
Meteoric Flowers

Thanks for the book suggestions MB, PB, EM, & JC!


I've got 'bout 90 something pages of poetry that I've got to whittle down for a new something-or-other. As I've mentioned, I'm pretty sure I've got two books, one more finished than the other. I need to spread all my pages out on the floor and sort--figure out where the gaps are, and proceed from there.


Big debate/row involving translation in the Letters to the Editor section of Poetry Magazine. The links might not bring you to any text . . . suffice it to say that the fight's getting nasty.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Readers

I just finished up commenting on a friend's manuscript and I was surprised that she said she had never had so much feedback before. I actually felt like I didn't give her enough (3 pages, typed).

Often, I just call the friend who's sent the manuscript and we talk, which works too.

Maybe I've been spoiled, but I'm used to getting, say 2-3 pages of typed feedback from friends who've read my manuscripts. Now, I know not to expect that all the time, but it's happened enough times for me.

I've also gotten some good feedback on poems . . . not 2-3 pages, mind you, but lots of annotation. So I'm curious . . . what's the most feedback you've gotten on, say a manuscript of poems? I know it's a vague question, especially if feedback came in the form of conversations, but maybe you can distill that to a number--like an hour conversation, for example.


My parents are coming tomorrow. Yippee! Mere n' I would LOVE to be able to go to a restaurant without having to get up at least 3 or 4 times a meal.


Noticing some very bad habits with the poem-a-day thing. I've fallen in love with the catalog and I need to "break up" with it. So I'm reading lots and lots of long narrativish (yes, I know that's not a word) poetry.


Unseasonable weather. It's been in the mid to low 60's and rainy. Good for the dogwoods I planted. Bad for my bald head.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Cautionary Tale from Stacey

Welcome to the blogosphere, Stacey Lynn Brown who also serves up a cautionary tale.


Stacey's husband and my good friend, Adrian Matejka had his manuscript, Mixology chosen for the National Poetry Series! Congratulations!


My parents are coming this week . . . thank goodness. Meredith & I are in need of a minor rescue.

At least football season's starting up again.


Still dealing with the ebb n' flow of inspiration. Some days I want to do this poem-a-day thing, but most days I'm coming to the computer pretty spent. I'll keep at it. Only 7 more days . . .

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jewel Box Poetry Series

Jewel Box Poetry Series
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Had a great time at the Jewel Box Poetry Series in Poulsbo, WA.

Here's the crew from L to R:

Me, Meredith, Lucas, Henry, Oskar, Sarah, Todd, and Jenifer.

Thanks to Jenifer for setting up the reading!

Wearing Out

Oh boy . . . I'm getting tired of writing a poem a day. I feel I started with quite the flourish, but now I'm laboring . . . my drafts are feeling more and more forced and my inner critic is getting more critical.

I'm going to persist, though. Maybe something workable will come from the schlock.


All that being said, I printed out all my pages and it's clear I've got a book and a half between what I've started here, and my other writings. I know it's two books because of the content and the tone. The half book is a lot darker and external while the whole book does have some darker poems, but also has junctures where the "I" doesn't take itself seriously.

For the "whole" book, I need a "pivot foot," to use a basketball term--a poem or an idea that allows the body of the book to rotate. Yes, there are several similar poetic sequences, but tonally, many of them are quite distinct.


I'm finding that it's easier for me to write narratives while donning a mask. Maybe that's my latent Catholicism preventing me to lie as myself.


Man, that VQR Book Series makes gorgeous books. Just read through Boy, now I'm reading Field Folly Snow. I had read The History of Anonymity, of course, and I love it. It's really interesting to see this book series come together. The voices are quite different, which is an admirable thing for a book series. The covers--lovely, and I wouldn't mind having a book published with that series.


I need to pick up a book that's highly lyrical--so much so that the narrative or the concept of the narrative is emotive. Weird request, I know, but got any recommendations?


I'm going to try to finish up my new prose poem project this September . . . I've got a ton of "Dear Empire" poems that need to be typed.


I want a Hershey's Dark Chocolate bar.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Reading this Sunday

I'll be reading this Sunday for the Jewel Box Poets Sunday Reading Series.

The reading will be at 3:00PM with the fabulous Sarah Vap. It'll be a real treat 'cause I'm such a fan!

Anyway, I'd love to see some of you there.


I'm watching the Olympics quite a bit. I mean, really . . . I stayed up late watching the clean & jerk. Crazy. I hear it's stunning in HD. I can't imagine what the opening ceremonies looked like in High-Def.


The geek in me wants to see this.


What are you listening to? Just curious.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

How I Write

I've long said that I'm a binge writer--that I store up materials over a long period of time, digest them, and then spit 'em all out in a quick and furious burst.

I'm beginning to rethink that. Only one of the poems I've written in the past 6 days was from stored materials. The other poems just happened. I'd write a line or think of some scenario and suddenly "poof" out of curiosity I've pursued a poem to its end.

Yes--curiosity. I am at once surprised by lines that I'm writing and I'm curious about where they'll eventually take me.

I still write in poetic sequences--I'll pursue a trope, an idea, an image, a story, and I'll write several poems from that. I'm making a conscious effort this time to break up each day so that I'm alternating between lyrics and narratives.

So I'm feeling somewhat schizophrenic about the poems I'm writing--like I can't bite down to any one artistic series. But I'm also aware of the fact that it's allowing me to continue writing without fatigue. Again, a thing I've found when I've been writing poetic sequences at previous junctures: I'd get supremely bored of the sequence I was inhabiting.

One thing I know, however, is that I'm still a planner. I want my exercises to fit a scheme and I'm quite deliberate about the trajectories these August poems travel. I'm sure you've all noticed a pattern (if you're out there). In my mind, I think I'm working on two manuscripts, one that's very involved with the self and one that's political, darker, and from a distant POV. I can't see the lyrics I'm writing dwelling with the lyric-narratives of, say the Nocturne poems. (Oh god . . . I wrote a sequence of Aubades and now a sequence of Nocturnes? Kill me).

I realize I'm rambling but ain't that what blogs are for?

It's a Knockout


Knockout, a print literary magazine that publishes a 50-50 mix of work by LGBTQ and straight authors, announces its first poetry contest. Judge: James Bertolino. Winner receives $100 gift certificate to Powell's Books (redeemable online) and publication of their winning poem. All poems submitted considered for publication in Knockout. Submissions of up to three poems of any length must be received by August 31, 2008. $5 entry fee per submission. Multiple submissions allowed. Simultaneous submissions allowed (with prompt notification if accepted elsewhere). For complete guidelines and for more information about Knockout, visit