September drifts in with new poems

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First, a little accountability. At the end of last academic year I vowed to get my act together in terms of sending poems out to journals. So many other commitments were getting in the way of it, along with a heavy dose of self-doubt.

I’m happy to say that even though I did not succeed in becoming totally organized with my archives, I did undertake a flurry of revisions, and I sent work out, and now I have poems hot off the press and forthcoming and it feels good. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without the help of my dear friend and poet Julie Brooks Barbour, who offered excellent suggestions and much needed encouragement. Having someone to share your drafts with can make all the difference, especially if you usually keep your work to yourself. Thank you so much, Julie!

I’m excited to share a few of the new poems that have found homes. “Emerging Leader” and “Unstable Systems” are part of the debut issue of Gold Wake Live. I’ve long admired the books from Gold Wake, and I’m honored to have poems appear in its first volume.

The prose poem “Trouble Shirt,” from my manuscript called Partial Genius, is over at Border Crossing. What a beautiful issue! So many excellent contributors in both of these journals.

As the picture above shows, we’re back to school here at the University of Akron and NEOMFA program. One week in, and I’m happy and exhausted all at once, which is my favorite feeling. I sense another manuscript taking shape, but right now I’m going to focus on revision and submissions and letting the new poems drift in, as they do.

Best wishes to all who are back to school, or sending out work, or both.

Summertime rolls

IMG_6044As hoped, summer has brought new poems along with it, and I’ve managed to read and to send work out, even though it feels like I’ve had to fight for every minute.

I’m happy to say that new poems are coming out in Diode, Grimoire, and the debut issue of Gold Wake Live. I’ve got a bunch of poems simmering out there at various journals, too.

Once I got over the fear of submitting (not sure how or why that developed) it became so much easier to get the packets out.

This summer I’ve seen several lakes. Sometimes new poems and lakes are all that you can hope for in a summer.

Akron postcard on the cusp of July

FullSizeRender (8)There’s something exhilarating about being on the cusp, and right now I’m excited for the arrival of July. The baton-pass from June to July mirrors the passing of Akron Poetry Prize manuscripts to the judge after months of reading and deliberation.

For a moment today I thought about how I’ve read close to 600 poetry manuscripts in the past two months, and by the end of the weekend it will be a full 606. I love this part of the year, but at times I feel like there are almost toxic levels of poetry in my bloodstream.

I hope to convert this energy into poems of my own. Onward into the rest of the summer. Or at least onward into July.

I’ve got the baton firmly in hand.

A record year for Akron Poetry Prize submissions

What will I be doing for the next two weeks? Reading a grand total of 606 poetry manuscripts for the Akron Poetry Prize competition. This is a record-breaking year for our contest, and we are so excited by the robust response to our call for submissions.

Once the finalists and semifinalists are sent to final judge Oliver de la Paz, I’ll hopefully be back to writing my own poems again. I’m planning to write a poem on each of the even days of July.

Huge thanks to Noor Hindi of Nervous Poodle Poetry for being my second set of eyes on the poetry submissions, and to Oliver de la Paz for judging this year’s contest.

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Post Card from Penn State Erie Reading

Many thanks to the faculty and students of Penn State Erie for hosting me last night as part of their visiting writers’ series, which is is produced by Penn State Behrend’s BFA in creative writing program with support from the Clarence A. and Eugenie Baumann Smith Fund.

For my past few readings on the Small Enterprise tour I’ve been bringing all of my books, and reading a couple of poems from each. By now, almost every page has some kind of note stuck to it, but it’s a system, right?

Here’s a photo from my mic check. Thanks so much, Penn State Erie!

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New poem (and audio!) at Glass: A Journal of Poetry

IMG_5158National Poetry Month is upon us! I’m already feeling completely behind, but I reckon I feel that way every April. I’m excited to share the link to my new poem “Bone Concept,” which is featured over at Glass: A Journal of Poetry. Many thanks to Glass for giving this poem a home with such excellent company.

Lots of friends are doing a poem a day for National Poetry Month, but that’s just not feasible for me at this time of the semester. So I’m going to aspire to write on the even numbered days in April. Wish me luck, and best wishes to all the poets out there doing NaPoWriMo.

 

Reading recap (#poetrylives)

IMG_5099As much as anyone might plan for a poetry reading, you can never fully anticipate the crowd, or the mood, and wow did we luck out for our Rethinking Gender event, as it was an absolute delight in every way. The room was full of friends, current and former students, future friends, future students, colleagues, and some students who were probably required to be there but (hopefully) had fun nonetheless.

It was such a thrill reading with Holly. We’d never read together before (people thought we had!) but co-taught an amazing poetry workshop for a semester, so maybe that’s how we got our synergy. At any rate, we left ourselves plenty of room to choose poems on the fly for our braided reading, and it worked out quite well. Holly shared a bunch of poems from her NEOMFA thesis, and I read poems from my three most recent books. We could have read for two hours, not one.

Many thanks to everyone who attended (not an empty seat, some standing!), and if you weren’t able to make it you can hear Holly Brown read at the next Big Big Mess. Poetry lives, folks. It really does.

In Print Festival at Ball State University

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What a pleasure to participate in a publishing panel at Ball State University with Sequoia Nagamatsu, Dan Raeburn, and Iliana Rocha. Thanks to Ball State Creative Writing for  capturing us in action with this photo. It was great to bring a bit of Akron (including some #poetrylives buttons) to Indiana, and to talk about my experiences as a poet and editor.