Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Krumpin' with the Bear & Sam Starkweather

Friday, January 25, 2008

Contest Shmontest

inspired somewhat by joe's post here, i want to go on record and say i'm done with contests. it's actually something i've been mulling over for a while now, knowing that they are a total waste of time but then feeling the overwhelming need to find an audience for my work and feeling that contests were basically the only way to do it.

but then i started thinking: i can't name a single book that has won a contest since that system became the dominant mode for book publication that i actually really enjoyed, not to mention that i found memorable. the best i could think of was the whitman prize, which has produced some respectable books (tony tost's first book, and joshua clover's).

i'm not an academic, nor do i want to be one. i like my modest copywriting job. i often find time to write at work and the ridiculous things people say there, and that i say and have to write, are poetic gold. besides, i'm thinking about poetry constantly. i don't need no stinking teaching job to enable that.

so why bother with contests? far as i can see, all they are worth is helping poets land jobs at universities. and with more and more contests coming about every year, the value of "winning" and the attendant "prestige" diminishes.

i might update this post with further thoughts later, but for now i'm going to focus on "alternative" methods of publication...more chapbooks, perhaps self-publication, but above all, WRITING!!! the future is wide open.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


you ever feel like you have something really big and important to say, or that something of that nature may happen to you, only to discover there is nothing of the sort? that's been me all week. sucks.

i expect something momumental and exciting every time i check my email, or open my mail box. it's not that there's always nothing. but when there's something the ecstacy is entirely to brief. i look around my cube and wonder: what the hell am i doing here? or: this isn't so bad. i should just do some work.

the alternative would be to slack on work and write a poem, except that i am definitely not one who can just sit down and write. it terrifies me, even when i'm bursting to do it (though lately i've been writing roughly a poem or two a week).

terror. guilt. shame. i have no choice. those are the only states of being that motivate me.

i have a google alert set to the word "poetry," just to see what's being said about it online in general. here are some choice cuts:

"Nobody ever has dandruff in poetry. Unless it is a (rare) poem about dandruff"

"It’s not like I’ve studied poetry a great deal, but unless someone can prove me wrong and show me otherwise (I’ve told you that I’m trying to better myself, so feel free to put me right), I’m going to go on thinking that most of what I’ve seen is, well, boring. Unattractive. Pointless. What good is it if it doesn’t even mean anything?...I want my favourite poetry to be like...a girl running freely through a garden, rolling in the soft grass, blonde hair flying about her face, dress twirling as she spins, bees buzzing, sun shining and flowers dancing merrily in the breeze…"

[cue soft focus and sweeping strings]

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pining, an Update

Not been posting much lately, i know. you miss me, don't you, both of you.

in general, i've been gearing up for awp. i finished joe massey's chap, as well as tom lisk's. proof copies are enroute to each as we speak. in the meantime, i'm making copies of the rest of the kitchen press catalog to have on hand at the books fair and super-spectacular reading that you can find out more about here.

BUT, what am i pining about, you ask. lack of publication, basically. i'm getting sick of rejections or not being able to find presses to publish my chapbooks and book. i make my poems to be read and it makes me sad when they struggle and/or don't find a public audience.

i'm actually ok with rejection, in truth, but have been pining for some sort of community, some sort of publishing world where i could reliably turn to have my work published. i don't mean that they would publish just any old thing, or that i'm expecting someone to just come knocking on my door out of the blue offering to publish my work. but it would be nice to have a place/people that were generally receptive to my work and interested in fostering a relationship that went beyond publishing a poem in their journal, or one chap/book on their press.

does this exist? i think for some lucky few, yes. i envy them.

to that end, i've been toying with just not sending out for a while. i'm working on a new series of poems. 5 have been accepted at a jounral and 5 were just rejected thsi morning. the rejection, i confess, hurt a little more than usual for some reason. perhaps because i'm excited but also insecure about this series. probably a sign i should hold off on sending out.

do i sound bitter? am i whining? i don't mean to. just a case of the blues. the work is what matters, is what i tell myself. keep working.