Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Poetess Blog is Moving!

A slight change: you can now find my writing-about-writing - as well as all previous posts from The Peripatetic Poetess - over at Colleen S. Harris, Wordsmith. Hoping I'll be a bit easier to find with a blog under my name. Thank you for reading, and I do hope you move over with me and become a follower there!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pushcart Nomination! "When You Came Home From the War"

I woke up this morning to an email from Colin, editor of Lamplighter Review, informing me that I'm one of the authors chosen to receive a Pushcart nomination for this year for my poem "When You Came Home From the War."

When You Came Home From The War

your body was a war-torn city.
We rubbed against each other
and it sounded like violins scowling.
We loved like October maples scream
and we loved like kudzu, overtaking all things.
We were lovers because there was nothing else
we could think to do with our bodies
but burn them.

I am excited - this poem is one of my favorites, and appears in These Terrible Sacraments.

I was honored to be a nominee for the Pushcart Prize for the last round - it's heady company to be in, and given the quality of what was in the collection this year, I don't envy the judges their task. Well, I do envy their getting to read all that excellent work, but trimming it down must be quite difficult. I didn't make it past the nomination last year, but I'm crossing my fingers for this new round. Congratulations and best of luck to all the nominees for this year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

These Terrible Sacraments is Available from Bellowing Ark!

These Terrible Sacraments is available now from Bellowing Ark Press! Please go check it out - the cover is a beautiful glossy thanks to the dedication of my editor, and (if I do say so myself), I hope you find it to be a powerful collection. The poems reflect the impact of war not only on a soldier, but on his family and loved ones, and I hope the book finds a wide, interested, and compassionate audience. If you are feeling extra generous this holiday, order a copy.

It's important to remember those who voluntary place themselves in harm's way to serve a greater good, and their families who do without them. Thank a serviceperson as you travel this holiday season, and remember - you may be grumpy due to crowds and long lines, but the reality of a soldier's life abroad is much more difficult than that...and they don't get to complain. Remember to ask yourself what you are grateful for. As I say in the dedication of the book, to my brother Patrick (USMC), I am grateful he came home safe. I hope all our other men and women serving are as blessed.

The Kentucky Vein moving right along at Punkin House Press!

The Kentucky Vein came back to me with suggested revisions by editor-goddess Cheryl, who has a keen eye for *everything*. (Dear all authors: you need an editor with hawk eyes. Trust me. And thank them.) I finally bounced it back today, and I think we're looking at a tentative Summer 2011 release from Punkin House!

Not that Punkin is resting on their laurels until then. If you visit the Authors page, you'll find that they are promoting their printed authors as well as the pending folks, which is very fun to see. In fact, they've even got my author page up, if you care to read it! They're busy attaching our Facebook profiles, creating author pages in Facebook, setting up writing blogs for each of us, and they will be posting video of readings from our manuscripts. I'm feeling very lucky to have been accepted by such an energetic team!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Genrebreaking II: Wandering Farther Into the Wood

I've dabbled in some creative nonfiction essays, and that has worked out more or less well, but rambling on about something I want to talk about is easy (if not necessarily graceful). I've gone much deeper into the genre woods this time, looking for refreshment and challenge. I've started a fantasy novel!

Now, to be fair, I started this novel ten or twelve years ago and stuck it in a drawer. Any number of reasons - I'm not fiction-trained; being a poet means I lack the stamina for a full-fledged novel length work; I wasn't sure where it would lead me and that made me nervous (because fiction, after all, needs a plot, whereas poetry doesn't, really).

In any case, it's been nagging me for awhile now. The poetry muse is quiet for now since I can't quiet my brain, but all sorts of fun snippets for this story keep colliding in my brain, creating interesting scenarios, sparking plot that actually moves it forward past the murk that stopped me from writing it years ago.

I fully expect the book to be god-awful, at least in its initial form. I don't know if a first draft of it will ever even get done. But I very much want to give it a go and see if I can make a real story live. A REAL book, for all the folks who lift up their noses suspiciously when I mention my other books are poetry.

I've looked into some things to keep my eye on (like the Snowflake method of keeping track of things - this story got unwieldy fast, and became too much to hold in my head). I'm tracking a lot of craft-of-writing blogs that focus on fiction, and some cruel/funny literary agent blogs for tips and tricks. So far I have an interesting mash - we'll see what comes of it. It's far more interesting than a personal diary would be, and I dont feel the need for it to be perfect on the first strike like I do when working with a line of poetry.

And so the book, which will likely never see the light of day, is tentatively titled Warborn: Book I of the Warmaiden Chronicles, and I'm tickled to be working on it until the poetry side of my brain reasserts itself.

Manuscripts in Progress: Slow Going

With These Terrible Sacraments and Gonesongs put to bed and coming out over the next 18 months from Bellowing Ark, and waiting on the editors at Punkin House Press to tear apart the essays in The Kentucky Vein in the next year or so, all of my completed manuscripts are out and done.

**WHOOSH** <--Sigh of relief.

Now, I have two poetry manuscripts in their infancies. Madwoman City (title subject to change, it's early yet) is a collection of narratives in different womens' voices (including characters from fiction, popular figures, goddesses from different cultural mythologies, historical characters, and some random men on their interactions with women in all out lovely, burning madness). It's not taking a great shape yet, but there's a shadow of a shape there...essentially, I have to get cracking at writing new pieces, and then I can pick and choose the ones that fit the mood of the book I want to build. I've got a second infant collection, Two Apples Too Heavy for Heaven - a few poems had actually started in Madwoman but the tone didn't seem quite right...these have more of an eye towards deities, in various forms and emotion. This one, somehow, I think will be the most difficult to write and put together well; I also think it'll be an important one for me to write.

I had actually tried to mash the two books together in the hope that would work and I'd have another near-done manuscript. (I know, I know, there's no need to rush, that's sloppy, and I've already got a ton in the pipe waiting on release. I know!) In any case, it didn't work for me, at least not as the collections stand right now, with a handful of pieces in each. And I've been so tired from being sick for the past 6 weeks that I've not had the energy to do anything but try not to fall too much farther behind at work. And so what I really need is quiet time, where I can tidy my brain and get back to writing.

Between the illness that has slowed me down (still recovering from taking out my nasty gallbladder), stressing over work, meeting other writing deadlines for librarian-related publications, and not sleeping well, I've lost a bit of my creative center. Luckily, we're coming up on a holiday weekend where I will do nothing but vegetate (and perhaps a bit of homework for that doctorate I'm working on). Perhaps this will help me kick my creative side in the pants and get it going again. Truly. It doesn't get to take a vacation until *I* do.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Kentucky Vein Finds a Home: Publishing with Punkin House

I am over the moon - in addition to waiting for the release of These Terrible Sacraments (Nov. 2010) and Gonesongs (2011) out of Bellowing Ark Press, my collection of poems and essays The Kentucky Vein (formerly titled The Green of Breakable Things in older blog posts) has been accepted for publication by Punkin House Press!

Punkin House is a new small independent publisher - they just launched their first books this summer, and are releasing in both e-book and print format (which I find exciting). They are very active in getting their authors reviewed, interviewed, and otherwise splashed around the internetspace, and I am very excited to be joining their family.

The Kentucky Vein is a very different book for me. The poetry is mostly deep-image, as opposed to my usual narrative style, which I had a lot of fun working (and occasionally wrestling) with. The collection also includes a number of essays, and because I'm not as confident in my CNF, I'm looking forward to getting comments from their editors on that section. There's no hurry on this one, as they have a number of folks they're releasing as they polish the books, so it will likely be 2011. Stay tuned!