Archive for February, 2011

Digging Out, Once Again

The Northeast is recovering from another major storm.  This morning’s commute, which usually takes me about half an hour, was an hour and a half.  One of the main roads I use was closed due to a bad accident, and of course, I had almost no one is class today.  On top of all this, I simply have not been inspired to write, so I haven’t drafted anything new in three weeks. So much for my New Year’s Resolution.

Tonight, while reading about the latest storm on the Weather Channel’s site, I came across an article that lists the top films where “weather plays a starring role.”  Some of the movies include Twister, Wizard of Oz, The Day After Tomorrow, Key Largo, Gone with the Wind, and The Shining.  (Of course, you can read the more complete list at the Weather Channel).

So my question to you, dear readers, is what poems (famous or otherwise) have weather as the main character or driving force behind the poetic lines? Have you ever written a poem where weather was the “starring role”? 

It’s a question I have to think about — or maybe it’s a writing prompt for the weekend (although I don’t really want think about writing about snow!)


Visiting Swamplandia & Other Travels

For those of you who read fiction, you may have heard the buzz about Karen Russell’s first novel, Swamplandia, a book that follows the adventures of  Ava Bigtree, a young heroine born and raised on Swamplandia, a gator-wrestling themed park in rural Florida.  When I read the reviews, I knew that I would want to read this work: the plot encompasses both Southern gothic themes along with class issues.  I have to say that the book has lived up to its hype — the whole time I was reading about Ava, I was thinking that Russell easily blends the darkness of  Mitch Cullin’s Tideland and bizarre characters from the short stories of Flannery O’Connor.

Swamplandia also reminds me of two poetry books I read a few years ago: My Florida by Kathleen Tyler (I did a review of Tyler’s book. You can read it here.) and The Dirt Eaters by Teri Youmans Grimm.  Both books explore the rural life of southern states — a world far away from the glitz of rich tourists and fancy homes that many of us often equate with the south — especially Florida.

Since I finished Swamplandia, and I have a small holiday weekend, I am going to be finishing up another adventure.  Yesterday, I picked up Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  Is anyone else out there addicted to the Hunger Games series?  I picked up the first book in late January, and have been reading ever since (okay, maybe not ever since — I finished the first two in the series in less than five hours).  I can’t wait to see how this series ends!  For those of you who enjoy young adult books or dystopian science fiction, you may want to check these books out.

The Big Thaw

Finally!  The snow is melting, the ice is melting…it seems as if my whole world is melting.  And I am just fine with that.  Rumor has it that as I am writing this post, it’s fifty degrees outside.  Maybe the rainstorm that is coming will rinse the winter salt off my car…

There’s a thaw in the submission front, too!  This past week Blast Furnace accepted two of my poems and Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment accepted one of my prose poems.  You have heard me talk about Blast Furnace, but Flyway is one of my favorite journals, too!  (Next to journals that focus on Blue Collar/Working-class issues, I love journals that focus on sense of place or the natural environment)

Here’s hoping that all the thaws in my life will keep melting…

What I Got for Valentine’s Day….

A Walk in Victoria’s Secret.  No really, Kate Daniels’ newest collection, A Walk in Victoria’s Secret was published last year, and I can’t wait to read it.  Anthony also gave me Possum Nocturne by Doug Ramspeck and Wait by Alison Stine.  Don’t poetry collections make the perfect Valentine’s gift?  (And haven’t I trained Anthony well?)

And the Award Goes To…

Special thanks goes to Sandy, who has given my blog, the Memetastic Award.  Now, if I am following the rules of the game right, I have to pick five other bloggers to pass this award to…sorta like the chain letters I used to get in the mail a long time ago.  Beware readers!  I wasn’t very good with chain letters, either, but I will give this a try. 

So, I need to pass this award on to five fellow bloggers:

To Marie Gauthier, whose blog posts about life as a mother and poet make me both laugh and cry.  If only the rest of the world could write as eloquently as Marie! 

To Andrew Rihn, who is another blue collar/Rust Belt poet like me.  His chapbook, Foreclosure Dogs, is fantastic!

To Erin Coughlin Hollowell, who is new blogging pal.  Writing from Alaska, Erin and I do have the snow in common (although I would imagine that Alaska snow is different from Lake Effect snow).  Listen to two of her poems here.

To Kathleen Kirk, who recently finished up a 365 day marathon about what people are reading.  I just found out that she is also on the job hunt — good luck, Kathleen!

To JoAnne Growney, whose blog about the intersection between math and poetry almost makes me want to sit down and do some geometry.  Almost.

Now, for the real fun.  I have posted five things about myself below; however, only one is true.  Can you guess which one?  (I do this sort of activity in my creative writing class — it’s a blast!)

1.   When I was five years old, I fell out of the back of my brother’s pickup truck and have a scar on my chin to prove it!                                                         

2.   I worked at McDonald’s for five years while I was an adjunct teacher in the Penn State system.

3.    I had breakfast with Doug Bradley, the actor who played Pinhead in the Hellraiser movies.

4.   I met Willie Nelson one summer when I was working at a Sheetz convenience store.

5.   When I was little, I had a dog named Lucky.  My dad used to rub Lucky’s belly before he (my dad, not the dog) would buy his instant lotto tickets.

In a few days, I will let everyone know the “truth.”  And thanks again, Sandy for the award.  For those bloggers I nominated, here are the rules: 1. link back to the blogger who awarded you. 2. Display the graphic from the award creator. 3. Post five facts, four of which must be lies and 4. Pass the award to five other bloggers who should follow these rules.

A Brief Break in the Silence

Really, there’s no good reason for my silence.  I’ve been incredibly busy with both work and play.  Besides playing a bit with my manuscript, I have been revising some older work.  I also am going to take some time this weekend to send out some poems.  I know that many journals stop accepting submissions in April, and even though it doesn’t feel like it (I woke up to below zero temperatures today), I know spring is around the corner. (Or is that wishful thinking?)

Besides the “creative side” of my life, I am also re-reading Jane Eyre for my Brit Lit class.  On Monday, I’m introducing postcolonial literary theory to my students, and I have to admit, I am a bit rusty, so I do need to do some prepping this weekend.

CFS: Adanna

Thanks to Diane for this call!  Adanna is a new literary journal that seeks to publish work that reflects “women’s issues and celebrates womanhood.”  The journal’s submission period will close April 30th, and the first issue is due out this summer.  It looks fantastic!  Please see Diane’s blog for more details.

CFS: First Time Poems

Spillway is now accepting submissions for its themed issue, “First Time.”   What does this mean?  Well, the editors of Spillway want you to tell them.  See the guidelines here, and keep in mind that “first time” can also mean a first time publication for a poet!