Rejected, But Not Dejected (Fortunately)

I got a very nice rejection for my chapbook Bayous and Barstools today.  Funny, I was just looking in my box of  3×5 cards (a very primitive submission tracking system, I admit), and wondering “I wonder when I’ll hear from Kulupi Press?”  

Of all the contests I’ve sent that chapbook, I really felt I would have a good chance with Kulupi–they wanted poems about place, and that chapbook is full of my Southern poems which just reek of spirit of place.  It’s unfortunate for me that they chose another winner and finalists, but Arthur Dawson, the publisher did hand-write:

Especially enjoyed “Nouveau Décor,” “Melon Stand [South of Many],” and title poem.  Great portraits of people!

I always feel the sting a little less when the editor (or in this case, publisher) bothers to write a little something positive, as I’m sure we all do.  At least it lets you feel like someone actually did read it–it didn’t just get a quick glance and get dumped on the reject pile.

Well, it’s still out at several other places, so hopefully I might hear good news in the near future.

In other news, I’m reading at the Decatur Book Festival, Java Monkey Stage, at 2:30 on Sunday.  I am in good company:  Christine Swint reads at 2, Bob Wood at 2:15, Blake Leland at 2:45, Julie Bloemeke at 3, Karen Head at 3:45, and Collin Kelley at 4.  Of course there are many, many more wonderful readers who will be there at the Java Monkey stage (as well as a all the other stages!) which goes non-stop both Saturday and Sunday, so if you have a few hours to kill, and want to hear some great readers, you should come on out.

I know I am especially looking forward to meeting Christine and Julie, both of whom participated in Karen’s Plinth poem with me, and neither of whom I’ve met before.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the APPF… let’s just say, I know it’s September, and leave it at that. 😛

Writing with a Weak Will

I needed to write a poem today for the APPF, but I didn’t.  I had a migraine for most of the day, and when I didn’t have a migraine, I didn’t feel like writing a poem.  And now it’s 20 after 11 and I don’t feel remotely like doing anything poetic.  Not that it matters, because the little book of postcards and the stamps for them are sitting in my office.  I’ll have to write a couple of poems to make up for it tomorrow, and then get them all in the mail on Monday.

It’s kind of bad that it’s only the first of August and I’m already behind with the postcard poems though.  The postcard that was for today I put in the mail yesterday or Thursday.  It’s going to Ottawa, but of course it won’t arrive there till probably sometime next week.  It costs 79 cents to mail a postcard to Canada.  That seems awfully pricey, when it’s only about $1 to send a card-card to England.  Oh well.  I hope the person I sent it to likes it.  The poem I sent was “Garden Variety,” the same one that Karen read yesterday on the Plinth.  Which, while I’m thinking of it, I need to send to Christine Swint, because she wanted to read it.

I’m really amazed at people who can write in multiple genres.  Right now I’m thinking of Collin Kelley, whose novel Conquering Venus, is coming out a little later in August, I think.  He writes in all kinds of genres–poetry, fiction, news.  Probably other genres I don’t know about.  How do people do that?  How do they have so much to say that they can say it in multiple genres?

I can’t write fiction.  I’ve tried.  It comes out dreadful.  And it’s too bad too, because clearly I have a narrative strain in my poetry, and I have the desire to write fiction (and memoir, for that matter), and flesh out characters who do interesting things.  Oh, maybe I don’t have The Great American Novel in me, but I might have an Entertaining Bit of Fluff in me.  Or I would if I had an attention span longer than a gnat’s.  

I suppose, like any writing, you have to work at it.  But poetry is hard enough for me as it is, and I’m not nearly as dedicated to it as I ought to be.  Can you imagine me trying to write a novel?  I’d probably write 20 pages, get bored, and tack on a “The End” before my main character even finished her Cheerios.

“Monumental”

“Monumental” is the name of the Exquisite Corpse poem that Karen Head put together on the 4th Plinth today from lines by Christine Swint, Ivy Alvarez, Collin Kelley,  David Matthew Barnes, Rupert Fike, and me, and she read poems by several of us as well as Bob Wood, Jo Hemmant, and Julie Bloemeke.

It was amazing.  At first, it didn’t look like Karen was doing much–just sitting in a chair with her Mac on her lap, but then the Twittering started, and it was fast and furious.  Sometimes she’d call out to the audience to ask for a line, and I couldn’t help wondering what those people in Trafalgar Square were thinking.  

It was hard to keep up with the feed, because you couldn’t see everyone’s posts, and people would be trying to come up with the next line, but couldn’t see what the line before was.  So it was crazy!  I know I tweeted 30 times in one hour–which I’ve never done before.  It was like almost being likes a sportscaster making blow-by-blow comments on the situation–except there were all these other people doing it at the same time.

I loved it.  And the poem she came up with is fantastic.  I can’t wait to read it on the page.  

If you missed her performance, or you’d like to see it, go here.