Posts Tagged ‘Gabriel Welsch’

Second Book Summer

It’s been a great summer of reading.  It’s also been the summer of second books, with a lot of second collections by many of my favorite poets.  If you have not read these great books, put them on your fall reading list.  

 The Wishing Tomb by Amanda Auchter  (Perugia Press)  New Orleans takes center stage in Amanda Auchter’s second poetry collection.   Exploring the Crescent City’s deep history through  a strong lyrical voice, readers learn about Fred Staten, a nightclub performer who was also considered as the King of Voodoo; Sister Francis Xavier Herbert, an Ursuline nun who was the first woman pharmacist in America; and Maryann Albert, the mother of Louis Armstrong.  The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina also is present in this collection, although it is not the focus, as Auchter dives into the diverse and mysterious past that has created this resilient city.  (First Book: The Glass Crib)

Notes to the Beloved by Michelle Bitting  (Sacramento Poetry Center Press)  Winner of the 2011 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Contest, Notes to the Beloved is collection containing poems that are caught between the lyric and the narrative.  Whether she is describing a wife watching her husband untangle holiday lights or retelling Alice in Wonderland’s fall through the rabbit hole, Bitting creates magic, making familiar stories just a little bit surreal. My favorite poem “Boys Like You” can actually be found online here.  (First Book: Good Friday Kiss)

The Children by Paula Bohince (Sarabande Books)  Fans of the Scrapper Poet know how much I love Paula Bohince’s work, and her second collection, The Children, did not disappoint. Writing serene pastorals, Bohince plucks elements from the natural world — bees, milkweed pods, dogwood —  to create a world of isolated beauty.  Still, with poems like “Everywhere I Went That Spring, I Was Alone” anyone reading this book will wander away feeling  just a little bit lonely. (First Book: Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods)                               

Home Burial by Michael McGriff  (Copper Canyon Press)  A work of gritty working-class landscapes, Michael McGriff’s Home Burial details places and people of hardship.  Whether he is describing a pastoral-like scene of deer bones and rats or retelling a story about catfishing,  McGriff draws the reader into a world of tough and stubborn living.  (First Book: Dismantling the Hills)

The Death of Flying Things by Gabriel Welsch (WordTech)  Gabriel Welsch returns to rural Pennsylvania (a favorite place of mine, if I do say so myself) in his second collection, where he explores both the wonder and tragedy of  rural life where interactions between humans and the natural world are favorite subjects.  (First Book: Dirt and All Its Dense Labor)

Revising the Summer

If I could, I would.  Revise this past summer, that is.   In the last month or so, I spent a great deal of time writing, but not writing what I would deem, quality material.   But I also spent a lot of time worrying about not writing quality material.  And that, of course, is a waste of time.

This past week, under the guidance of poets Gabriel Welsch and Ted Kooser (in separate classes), I have learned about the placement of metaphors and the art of the line.  I’ve even had an epiphany or two about my own writing.  Yesterday, when I faced the daunting task of gathering my notes and poetry drafts from the summer, I looked through all my work, and found that my first response was that I was disappointed in myself.  I had wanted to write enough new poems to finish my collection, and that simply did not happen.  

But then I thought a lot about what I have learned, especially this past week — that good writing takes time, and that while it is important to write every day, it’s also important to understand that much of what one writes is not very good.  And that’s okay, too.

I have a new textbook for one of my fall classes.  Included in this textbook is an essay titled “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott.  Now, I have read this work  before and I thinks it’s hysterical (and true!)  I’m going to use this essay during my first week of classes — I’m eager to see my students’ reactions.  For those of you who don’t know this piece, you can read it here.

Where I Will Be…

Cooler weather has set in, bringing relief from the heat. In fact, it feels a bit like Autumn outside, which is appropriate since the Fall Semester starts soon. I’m back to the office in less than two weeks, but I’m celebrating the final days of summer at Chautauqua, where I will be taking one workshop with Pennsylvania poet, Gabriel Welsch and another workshop with former Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser.  I hope that this week brings some inspiration — someone once said that art is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration — and I’ve had plenty of perspiration this past month, so now I’m just looking for that remaining one percent….

Great News for Two Great Poets!

I want to start March off on a right note by celebrating some great news for two poets. 

Amanda Auchter has just announced that her second manuscript, The Wishing Tomb, has won the 2012 Perugia Press Book for Women.  Not only do I love Amanda’s work (If you haven’t read The Glass Crib, which was published last year, you should!), but I also love Perugia Press!

My friend and fellow Pennsylvania poet, Gabriel Welsch, has a new book coming out this year.  However, Steel Toe Books has just announced that Gabe’s third full length collection of poetry, Four Horsepersons of a Disappointing Apocalypse, was selected during last year’s open submission period.  Great title! And so fitting — let’s hope that the world does not end before the book is published!

Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman

The US Postal Service has been kind to me this week. First, I received my contributor’s copy of Copper Nickel – and it’s a great issue (I am not just saying that because one of my poem is found within its pages).  There’s work from Mary Biddinger, Karyna McGlynn, Jericho Brown, Jessica Jewell, R.T. Smith, and Alison Stine.  My favorite is Stine’s poem, “Canary” that opens this issue.   In this work, the poet proclaims:  “It’s not so bad, seventies/in March, coats off, daffodils opening/in a white blaze. But the polar bears/drowned, swum too far to look/for food.  The ice floes lost their edges; each shore sunk further out.  Frogs/the first barometers, on some banks/started exploding, blood turned.  My canary/shutters against the man I thought/I knew, the one who promised to love me.”

I also received my copy of Green Mountains Review.  Fans of The Scrapper Poet will know that I blogged quite a bit about Paula Bohince’s Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods on my old blog — and then I got the chance to write a more formal review of this great book for GMR.  If you haven’t picked up Bohince’s début collection yet, you really should.

Finally, last year I was honored with a chance to judge the Keystone Chapbook  Award from Seven Kitchens Press, and Soot by Jeff Walt was the winner.  This chapbook arrived in the mail.  What did I say about Walt’s poems?  “Jeff Walt’s collection is filled with dirt, grit and dust.  These tough poems squint in the bright light but focus, fear both real and imaginary dangers but still fact the day, fall but get up to brush themselves off and move on….”

When I connected to the Seven Kitchens Press website,  I discovered more good news.  Seven Kitchens Press is planning a big year with chapbooks! RJ Gibson’s Scavenge will be released soon (you have to check out that cover).  Plus, two of my favorite Pennsylvania poets will also be publishing with Ron Mohring’s micropress.  Gabriel Welsch’s chapbook, An Eye Fluent in Gray  and Todd Davis’s chapbook Household of Water, Moon, and Snow are both due out later this year.   More good reading, ahead!  I know that times are tough, and that if you are a poet and/or blog reader, you are always being asked to support the poetry community.  I can say that Seven Kitchens Press is one of the best places for poetry!

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