Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not making this up

Today, I received a rejection from Willow Springs and a rejection from Willow Review--one in email and one in postal mail.

I'm feeling mail-balanced and willowy.

Now, onward to the Lucia Perillo reading and inspiration!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday gratitude served up

This week, especially, I'm grateful for my husband's cooking. Not only does he make amazing food, he's been giving me more time for writing.

I'm grateful for writing, and for being able to follow new directions into crazy-long poems even if they lead nowhere. And I'm grateful for the acceptance I received today.

I'm grateful for a few minutes of sun today (I even needed my sunglasses), and I'm grateful for the little dusting of snow we had on Tuesday night.

I'm grateful for my colleagues at work and for my friends--and I'm grateful for the laughter in our family.

It's a good thing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

10 pages!

No, I am not making this up.

From the submission guidelines for Seattle Review:

We are looking for exceptional, risk-taking, intellectual and imaginative (as if
these two could ever be separated) poems between ten and thirty pages in length.

Between 10 and 30 pages.

I've been working on longer poems--upwards of 50, 60, 70 lines--and thinking that I might not be able to get them published anywhere.

Now, maybe they aren't long enough.

The submissions page includes examples of what the editors consider acceptable, including "a unified sequence of series of poems."

Have any long poems ready to send? You have until May 31.


In other news, round 2 of the Paper Our Walls with Rejection Slips Competition started today. I have nothing to send yet.

But how about you?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And then, wealth

I've been working on trying to let my poems explore more, to give them a wider range, to let them pull in images from my past--especially places.

Combing through these images reminds me what a rich life I've led. And these days, that's what wealth means to me--having a pond to stand by and reflect, and the time to stand by it in the afternoon, to walk by the pond or walk along the beach.

I think about the wealth I have and have had. The dead tree outside my window is a part of my wealth. The travels I've taken are part of my wealth--the drive up to Boulder, the drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, the swans on the beach at Lake Geneva, train stations, Venice, and that vague moment in the afternoon after we descended the Duomo to the hectic Florentine streets. My memory bank is my wealth, and each day I have a chance to add to it, even if I'm here on my sofa or walking to the bus.

Shelter and health for my family and me--that is wealth. Sure, there are the hard memories, the grief and anger, the bad slap that's also a part of living. But beyond that, to uncover, recover, and savor the good memories, even the fleeting ones, to pull them into my poems, to allow my poems to grow richer through the connections of instances that might seem disparate on the surface but are connected under the surface--that's a bliss.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Grief and gratitude

Any moment I think of it, I feel wrenched by yesterday's shooting in Tucson. Just last Wednesday, I heard Gabrielle Giffords on NPR. Then yesterday, I heard she'd been shot, along with others.

It's so wrong it's hard to hold. I send her my best thoughts. I send them to her family, to the family of the girl who was shot, the judge who was shot, and all the others. It's so wrong.

But this is Sunday, and amid this insanity, I need to remember what I'm grateful for, so here is my gratitude journal.

I'm thankful we had a little snow this afternoon. We waited all weekend, and while the flurries were barely showers, the world looked a little healed for a little while.

I'm thankful for art and the people who make art, who add beauty and searing perspective to my day.

I'm thankful, as always, for my family, my job, and for writing--for a day of writing today.

I'm trying to hold some light and share it.

Open the door. Open my heart.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Self-disciplined or stubborn?

'Tis the season of resolutions, and I'll admit right now that I'm not good at self-discipline. It feels virtuous and focused, but it also feels like deprivation. We have the gym, work, the bus, groceries, dinner--and then deprivation?

No thank you. I'm more likely to say, "What the heck, it doesn't matter anyway." I'll take the cookie. I'll take the cocktail.

But if my goal is to, say, lose fifteen pounds--and I already know that I fail at self-discipline--stubborn might work well for me. Stubborn doesn't say, "Oh, I'd better not eat that." Stubborn says, "What--you think I can't do it? Wanna bet? Watch me."

Stubborn isn't about doing without, it's about winning. While that isn't a good motivation for all situations, I'm becoming convinced it has its place.

And it's working for me, so far--one-tenth of a pound at a time. I haven't yet figured out how being stubborn fits with writing goals--in part because I'm trying not to have writing goals, other than to write more and to exact more, to spend more time exploring a poem and see what limits I can push and how far.

I recently saw someone on Facebook say his goal was to write 250 poems this year. I thought, "Really? Five a week? When can you revise and polish? Is quantity the goal?" And he might say, "Watch me."
Photograph by Claire Kervran.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter is cold, but the Poet is Smokin'

Fallen Trees at Cape Kolka, photo by Andris Silis

The winter issue of The Smoking Poet is online, with poems by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Amy MacLennan, Ruth Foley, and more--plus an interview with Dorianne Laux, A Good Cause, the Cigar Lounge, and more.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gratitude for the New Year

Yes, I am thankful for the New Year--another beginning, a fresh start. My resolution list is short ("All the longer to accomplish them, my dear"). Okay, that was supposed to sound like the Big Bad Wolf.

I'm thankful we were able to spend New Year's eve at home--yes, I'm that kind of a gal--and cook for each other an abundance of fun (with wine).

I'm thankful for this cold snap--hell on the plants, but no rain.

I'm thankful that our oldest kid came over tonight to watch the Seahawks game.

I'm thankful that our youngest kid completed her first college application. I had the privilege of reading her essay today, and it made me feel all teary-eyed.

I'm thankful for verbs.

I'm thankful for resolution.

Open the door. Open my heart.