Cat Vs. The Manuscript

As many of you know, I am in the process of putting my first full length manuscript together.  It’s frustrating and daunting, mostly because I want to put all my poems in chronological order (I write a lot of narrative poems).  It worked with Stealing Dust, but I know that with a bigger collection, I have more room to play.  I’ve been looking at other full-length collections, and I realize that most poets do not place their works in chronological order, even if they write narrative poems.  So, now, I have been busy organizing my poems according to theme and tone.  That has helped.  But then, I realized that certain symbols and images appear again and again.  In the past I have mentioned that dead birds show up a lot in my writing, and I have at least four poems in this collection with dead birds.  Furthermore, there’s a lot of splinters, dust, makeup stains, cigarettes,and heels floating around in my works.  Do these images all go together?  I hope so.

As for the picture above, I promised myself that The Scrapper Poet would not become a “cat blog” but I had to post a picture of Lola helping me compile my manuscript.  She likes my dead bird poems.



  1. Glad Lola is helping! My cats like to get right in the middle of my MS on the floor and helpfully move the poems around.

  2. Great picture. Lola is lovely. (I confess I lock both cats out of the room when I’m ordering a manuscript…otherwise I’d get nothing done.)

  3. It’s cat day in Blogville! I have a poet friend who has arranged her manuscript of poems chronologically and it works very well, but she is also in the arranging stage and is wondering about that. I’ll tell her what you are trying, since she does not cavort in Blogville.

  4. I have no cat, but happily, I do have critical opinions of my own. I just wanted to weigh in to say that I think all the themes go together beautifully! I can already see some future grad student writing her dissertation on themes of dust and dead birds in early 21st century U.S. female poets . . .

  5. Karen Said:

    Thanks everyone! Lola is turning out to be quite the ham! (Charly, on the other hand, flees from the camera)

    Kathleen — My manuscript was “okay” in chronological order — but there were a lot of gaps and furthermore, I felt that my manuscript was a bit lopsided. I feel a bit better about themes and tones.

  6. arihn Said:

    I read that Virginia Woolf’s original manuscripts were covered with paw prints from her dogs. Good luck with the manuscripting!

    If you’re looking for places to submit, you might consider New Sins Press. Excellent people and their contest is free. (They just released a chapbook of mine, so of course I’m biased.)

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