The Whether Here

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Monday
May222006

first post, last post

This is just the beginning, I suspect, for those of you who care. A blog just for me, by me, and about me. How narcissistic.

I'm really not. Really. Just ask anyone who knows me. I'm just a normal girl (if there really is such a thing). I am the mother of two boys -- Jacob, 6, and Bradley, 3 -- and married to an amazing guy for almost ten years now. I am the room parent for Jacob's class, have volunteered at both of my boys' schools (Bradley goes to preschool twice a week). I love to garden, though it's really hit and miss. I love to rearrange my furniture. I love to cook, love to eat, though my family -- Jacob and Bradley in particular -- are not usually keen on what I make (they have been subjected to far too many of my experiments). I love Pottery Barn, but I shop Ikea, and Target. I am a stay-at-home mom who watches far too many HGTV and Food Network shows for my own, and for my family's own, good. I can name every character in every preschool show on every kids network currently airing on digital cable in So Cal, where I live. I know who Laurie Berkner is, have been a dinosaur marching, marching..., and no longer dis Barney or the Teletubbies, though I must admit they are most decidedly annoying with their perpetual grins and plump plush bodies.

But the real reason I've created this site is to waste time, to put off doing the dishes -- again -- and running the vacuum --

No. Wait. That's not why I did this. I did this because I want people who look, people who care, to find out more about me and what I do. Because I'm not just a mom. I'm an occasional freelance writer, a devoted (cough) poet, a (former, and bad) painter, and the editor of the online journal, Poemeleon (http://www.poemeleon.org).

I intend to post these things without much editing. Who was it that said, "First thought, best thought"? Oh yeah. Well, I don't believe that. Not when it comes to poetry. The best poems take time, and much revision. But here, if I take the time read what I've written, I'll delete most of what's here. So, for the sake of saving time, or not wasting any more of it, I'll leave it as-is. But understand it is the ramblings of a sleep-deprived, coffee-propped, toddler-toting mama.

Thanks for stopping by. I'd invite you in, but the house is a wreck.

Cati
Monday
May222006

Journal Update #2

Okay, so I lied. It has been three months. Again.


But I have a good excuse. Really.


Okay. Well, maybe not. Just life. Yes I do have a life. Actually, the past week and a half has been spent just trying to keep my three year old from reopening a gash on his chin that we sat through six hours of Urgent Care to treat. Though we narrowly escaped stitches (All hail the inventor of Dermal Adhesive!) I doubt that will be our last trip -- his nickname is Danger Baby if that gives you a clue.


For all of you out there who are wondering what's going on with the journal, here's where we're at:


1.) I am about halfway done entering all the yummy poems into the journal.


2.) I am in the process of compiling and entering all of the authors' statements, links to more of our contributors' work, and general site updates. (If you still have something to send me, please do so ASAP)


3.) I am in the process of scoping out potential locales for an Inaugural Issue launch reading.


I went to a reading yesterday during the Orange Blossom Festival here in my hometown, Riverside, CA. It was held in the atrium area of the Riverside Art Museum, and put on by a local print journal, Epicenter, who did a great job organizing the reading and even moved us out-of-doors to the community stage for the final reader of the two-day festival series, LA poet Catherine Daly, who is also a Poemeleon contributor. It was a nice location -- casual, bright, tree-filled. I am considering the museum as a possible venue for the launch reading, but if anyone else has a suggestion for a venue in Southern California, preferably the Inland Empire, feel free to forward it to me.


Already I'm looking forward to the next issue, which will be art-centered. While I would love mostly ekphrastic poems (poems that evoke a specific work of art, not limited to paintings), I am broadening the search to include poems that reference art or artists. Of particular interest are poems that address a work of art/artist that ALSO include references to place. I prefer work that is grounded in the physical world; somewhere real, somewhere I would go; somewhere I could want to go. If this seems confusing at all, or if you have something that you think might fit, even if you aren't sure -- send it on.


For the first issue, I'm aiming for a launch date somewhere in the middle of June -- maybe a little earlier; maybe a little later. I've still got a lot of work to do. When we get closer I'll be in touch.


Danger Baby is back in the room, plodding around in my plaid slippers. I can only slip away for just so long before Life starts calling me back.


Cheerios,


Cati


Friday
Mar242006

Journal Update

Forgive me bloggers for I have sinned. It's been three months since my last post.


During this time I've created a website, ditched it, created another website, called for submissions, and am now in the final selection process. If you haven't heard from me yet, you will soon.


The journal is poised for launch in June. I originally wanted to push this puppy out twice per year, but because I've received so many submissions that I would like to use (far more than I actually can use, as you can well imagine) that I may take it to four times a year.


Thanks to all who've submitted -- for your work, and for your patience. I've received many many poems that evoke 'place' in one form or another. Not all of them do, and that's the way I wanted it, because the focus of this journal is not 'place poems' per se, but the plain fact that where we are influences at least what, if not how, we write.


To give you a little more input, for those of you who might be wondering, I'm not looking for poems that do nothing more than describe a place: I want poems that make me think, hurt, laugh, cringe; I want poems that make me want. I want poems that pay attention to linebreaks and rhythm without seeming forced. I want the subject and the tone of each poem to not feel trite or overused or inflated beyond what feels natural for the subject, and if you must rhyme, I want it to be seamlessly integrated, preferably as offrhyme. I really, really, don't want poems that read like a Hallmark card. And absolutely no proselytizing.


Okay. Phew. I guess I want a lot. My own poetry may not meet all those requirements. And if you catch me on a good day, and I like what you're trying to do with a poem, I may let something slide. But if you haven't been writing poetry for all that long, my suggestion to you, before you send anything out, is read read read all the poetry you can get your hands on, and revise until your head hurts. Cut out anything that seems suspect, or that you think maybe you've heard before, because you probably have.


In lieu of a traditional bio, I have asked contributors to write a brief statement about how 'place' influences their writing. It's been really cool to read all of these -- some poets' statements have been better than the poems they submitted. The statements have ranged from one or two lines to several paragraphs. I've asked for these because I think the standard bio puts too much emphasis on past accomplishments, or lack thereof, which can devalue or inflate a poem's perceived worth.


This is not to say that I don't believe in shameless self-promotion. There is no shame in promoting one's work. We are all working to build an audience. So, I have asked contributors for links to their work online, and am providing links to places where their books can be purchased (unless they have expressly asked me not to).


Well, I guess that it's for now. I promise not to take another three months to update this thing.


Thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday
Dec272005

Testing Testing...

Hello big ol' blogger world. I am new to you, so forgive me any faux paws.


I created this blog to provide updates on the progress of the forthcoming poetry journal, Poemeleon, and to allow you to get to know me a little bit. Poemeleon is the fusion of two words: poem and chameleon.


Poetry is far from static. In fact, much like the humble chameleon, in order to survive it has evolved to reflect the environment in which it resides -- whether that be defined geographically, culturally, psychologically, well, any way you choose to define it. This has generated large-scale poetic movements at global and national levels, smaller-scale regional "schools" of poetry, as well as creating a local poetry scene in virtually every city in America. Add to that the explosion of MFA programs, slams, the virtually limitless World Wide Web, the ease with which a person can publish their opinions online (for example, this took a whole ten minutes for me to put together today, and voila!, here I am) -- it's a miracle we all don't get motion sickness. That said, I think it's important to keep our eyes on all the different incarnations of poetic progress, without forgoing our tendency to keep poetry firmly rooted in tradition.


I'm not going to hold myself out as something I'm not. I'm not a scholar. I'm simply a poet with an opinion. Certainly there is no shortage of these. The difference is, my opinion is subject to change, likely will -- like the weather; like poetry.


Thanks for tuning in. I'll be posting updates on the progress of the journal from time to time. This is the first post in what I hope will become a long-running blog. Please come again soon.


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