Three new poems + catching my breath

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Over the summer I started making a real effort to send poems out to journals again, and I was pleased to find new journals with a cool aesthetic, including Grimoire. I have three new poems in the current issue of Grimoire, with awesome company. What an honor!

I could hang out with the words and images over at Grimoire for days. They even have a Spotify channel. I feel like this magazine is a retroactive gift to my wee goth self of yesteryear, sitting in workshops in my Skinny Puppy t-shirt and black lipstick. Where have you been all my life, Grimoire?

These three poems are from a couple of different projects (including a very new one), so it’s exciting and terrifying for me to find them hanging out together. Seeing poems in print makes them feel real in a way that’s different from peering at them in your own folders.

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I’m still in a tizzy over our National Book Awards news at the UA Press. I am not used to being around so many flowers. I’m excited to attend the ceremony, even if it means wearing a legit evening gown. I guess, if all else fails, I can default to something goth.

All the gratitude.

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In the Midwest we love a good underdog story. Whether it’s an unlikely sports victory or the turnaround of a forgotten downtown, we find inspiration in the unexpected triumph over adversity.

Because of this, we University of Akron Press folks are especially excited about Leslie Harrison’s The Book of Endings being named a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry.

In the summer of 2015, I packed up my office at the University of Akron Press, thinking I would never return. Now, in 2017, I’m making plans to go to New York and cheer on University of Akron Press author Leslie Harrison at the National Book Awards, something I would never have imagined as I boxed up my owls and post cards and books and archived correspondence and favorite AWP swag and entered a world where I was no longer an editor.

Today I’m sending gratitude to everyone who helped us bring the University of Akron Press back. To those who advocated on our behalf, to Jon Miller who took the wheel, to Amy Freels (always!) for continuing to make the most gorgeous books on earth, to Noor Hindi, my assistant editor, to Sarah Dravec, Emily Levin, Jay Robinson, Courtney Turner, and Brew Wilson-Battles, who all read manuscripts with me and offered their insights. I also thank all of our poetry and poetics authors, along with Leslie Harrison, for having faith in the University of Akron Press. And finally, thank you to our readers. Poetry lives, and you have kept it alive.

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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