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Thursday
Apr052012

Happy National Poetry Month!

 

Hello fellow poets & poetry lovers & lovers of poetry lovers & even lovers of lovers who don't love poetry --

Welcome to the cruellest month, aka National Poetry Month, aka National Poetry Writing Month, aka the month where some of us attempt to write a poem a day, and others of us, well, um... don't. We LOVE and ADMIRE all of you that are keeping up, and hope that you can forgive those of us are not.

Like, um... me.

Yes, I have not yet written one new poem. But the month is just warming up, and I have been reveling in the poetry of others, as well as revising and reconfiguring a couple of my own manuscripts and flinging them back out into the world.

Also, I have been working hard promoting and providing feedback on the literature of others and generally making the world a better place.

Various things that I have been accomplishing lately include consultation work as Inlandia's Publications Coordinator, and leading my multi-genre Inlandia Creative Writing Workshop, which has been ridiculously fun and has introduced to me the work of some very talented women (yes, somehow we have morphed into an all-female group). I am currently preparing my syllabus for the next workshop session, which will begin on April 12. And I have also been trying to corral my administrative-oriented literary endeavors (and therefore increase my productivity by reducing, um, distractions -- like Facebook, laundry, and hungry and bored kitties and kiddos) by implementing OFFICE HOURS. Generally speaking, I am available for all things Inlandia-related on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-12, with only the occasional emails and other urgent matters answered in-between as needed.

 

I'm also very excited as always by the Big Poetry Giveaway that Kelli Russell Agodon coordinates. I will be posting very soon with my offerings, and can't wait to start clicking around to see what everyone else is doing. But here is a hint: I've been thinking a lot about chapbooks lately. In fact, I was recently interviewed by Laura Madeline Wiseman about my experience publishing my electronic chapbook, what Desire makes of us. Also -- and this is not exactly timely, but no one has ever accused me of me being punctual -- a poem and illustration from what Desire makes of us was recently featured on The Nervous Breakdown, along with their signature self-interview.

In other poetry news, while I've been waiting for a press to pick up the entire My Skies of Small Horses manuscript, I have been playing around with a shorter version of it and am preparing to send it out into the world. This condensed version contains my poem "Miss Carriage", which won me a prize last year, as well as other poems that have appeared in No Tell Motel, wicked alice, and Crab Creek Review. So I hope you will all keep your fingers crossed. I love the chapbook as a form because of the way reading one can become such an ethereal experience, and am finding that this iteration of the manuscript makes the strangeness of these poems all that much more apparent. (Hopefully that's a good thing.)

And speaking of chapbooks (still, and again), in getting ready for my upcoming reading which is happening on May 20, at Beyond Baroque, as part of the Hitched reading series alongside friends Judy Kronenfeld and Lavina Blossom, I realized that I am just about out of books. So, I have just placed a fresh reorder from Dancing Girl Press for more copies of (al)most delicious so that I will have some on hand during the reading.

 

Nude with Coral Necklace by Amedeo Modigliani

When I submitted work to The Nervous Breakdown, I sent them a group of poems that included the centerpiece (centerfold?) from this collection, "Nude with Coral Necklace", which they *loved* but ultimately turned down because the formatting was too complex for their website's platform. This made me sad and a little bit frustrated, because in a perfect world a poem's format should never be what makes or breaks an acceptance, but the reality is that that is how the publishing world works sometimes, says she-who-has-nearly-torn-her-hair-out-tyring-to-format-poems-that-she-loves-which-she-has-accepted-for-publication-but-now-is-stymied-by-how-hard-that-formatting-has-become-now-that-it-has-to-be-recreated-in-html.

So, rather than submit it elsewhere for now, I will satisfy my urge to get it out into the air by reading it at Beyond Baroque. Unless I chicken out. (It's a long, complicated poem.) But in honor of the chap, here is one of the poems that appears nowhere else on the web, and hope to see you at Beyond Baroque.

 

Draped Nude by Amedeo Modigliani

 

Draped Nude


The spotted and striped rug
grounds me; the dark walls recede

Foregrounded flesh
softened like fruit left on the sill:
I will never spoil

This white cloth he has placed across my hips
a demure sash
that merely draws the eye

designed not to conceal
but to enhance
so that your eyes may linger
briefly
at that dark tangle

then lift
to the bent waist
ripe nipples
the shrugged slight shoulders
        leaning gently in your direction

Somewhere amid the strands of my hair
is one of his, lost
in the damp paint
as he leaned in too close

You are leaning in too close

even as you are pretending to
look away

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