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.
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!
National 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.
As 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.
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.
Northeast Ohio folks, please add this event to your calendars.
Many thanks to the organizers of the In Print Festival of First Books at Ball State University for inviting me to come speak about my experiences as a poet and as the editor of the Akron Series in Poetry. From their website:
In Print XII (2017) will feature poet Iliana Rocha, fiction writer Sequoia Nagamatsu, and creative nonfiction writer Dan Raeburn. Rocha, Nagamatsu, and Raeburn will read from their work on Wednesday, March 15 at 8 PM in AJ 175. They will be joined by publisher/poet Mary Biddinger for a panel discussion about the publication industry on Thursday, March 16 at 8 PM in AJ 175.
Dear friends, I hope to see you at AWP this week! Here’s where you’ll be able to find me.
Book signing at the Black Lawrence Press booth (393) on Friday, February 10, 2017, 10:00-11:00 a.m. Come say hello and get a signed copy of The Czar, or Small Enterprise, or both.
Exhibiting at the University of Akron Press table (T-620) where we’ll have our newest Poetry Lives button + a slew of gorgeous books.
Don’t Stop the Presses: On the Enduring Value of the University Press: featuring Rebecca Hazelton, Claire Kirch, Ned Stuckey-French, Mary Biddinger, and Peter Berkery. Thursday, February 9, 2017 12:00-1:15 p.m.
Stars to Steer By: Rethinking Creative Writing Curriculum for the 21st Century: featuring Cathy Day, Porter Shreve, Mary Biddinger, and Terry L. Kennedy. Friday, February 10, 2017 4:30-5:45 p.m.
Safe and happy travels to all!
Many thanks to the editors of Jenny magazine, a fine journal out of Youngstown, Ohio, for this interview.
Here’s a sneak peek:
What is your personal creative process normally like? How do you move from an idea to a finished piece?
My process is always frantic, so it’s a good thing that I’m a poet and can work in a compressed form. I do best when I jot down my thoughts before writing, so when I actually get a spare moment I can jump right in with minimal fanfare. For me, the drafting process is relatively quick, and then I save the file and back away from the desk and let it rest for a while. I try to write without second guessing, and I like finishing a poem in one sitting.
Right now I am almost done with a new collection that is all prose poems, and with this book I have tried to write longer poems in multiple installments. The majority of the poems in this project are organized into five stanzagraphs, and having some distance from the poem’s initial stanzas can help me craft effective turns. Often I’ll over-write a poem, and then go back and trim excess before considering it finished. I do reach a point where I stop tinkering, however, rather than feeling like a poem is never done.