Archive for September, 2011

CFS: Blast Furnace

I always like to post Blast Furnace’s call for submissions, and this is the newest one.  Blast Furnace is looking for poems based on song, film, or a work of art.  Of course, according to the guidelines, they also read outside the theme.  Take a look here for more information.  Work will be considered until November 15, 2011.


In Transition

Today, in my comp class, we are going to talk about transitions (and why it’s not a good idea to throw in just any transition, like moreover, into your essay if you are not sure what it means).  This is why I especially like the poem by Billy Collins found here at Poetry Daily.


I just got done checking my submission records, and much to my horror, I realized that I have one packet of poems out to one journal.  This is incredible.  (and not in a good way) Between navigating the start of school craziness and starting promotion on my new chapbook, I haven’t done much else.  I’ve always been a great admirer of those who juggle 4 or 5 projects at once  — that is something I have to learn to do.  So, writing goal of the week?  To get at least three new packets of poems out the door.  Let’s see if I can do it.

In other news, I am also behind in my reading.  Three books arrived in my mailbox this past week: Town for the Trees by Justin Evans, Slow to Burn by Collin Kelley, and Gloss by Ida Stewart.  Plus, I still have books left over from the summer.  I have a lot of catching up to do!

Wearing Heels Slated for Publication

Exciting News!! I have a cover for my new chapbook!  (It’s perfect — special thanks goes to M. Scott Douglass, publisher/editor, for all his help)  I have blurbs!  Main Street Rag has even posted an author’s page and sample poems.  Take a look here, and please consider pre-ordering a copy!  The release date is scheduled for late January.  I know it’s early — but hey, 2012 will be here sooner than you could ever imagine. 

Shenandoah Goes Digital

I love online journals.  I publish in them, read them, refer the sites to my colleagues and students.  Yet, when Shenandoah announced that it was stopping print publication, I was upset. Shenandoah is a journal that I have read since I was an undergraduate — and many of my favorite poets have been found within its pages.  Still, I’m happy to say that Shenandoah is back — as an online journal.  Have you seen the first issue, yet?  It can be found here.  Take a look — some of my favorite poets, like Denise Duhamel and Michelle Boisseau, are still found within its “pages.”  And the editors are again looking for submissions starting on September 20th.

Wrestling with Commas

I have spent most of the week playing with punctuation.  I sent my copy of Wearing Heels in the Rust Belt to Main Street Rag.  I sweated over periods, agonized over commas, frowned at the stray semicolon.  Then I realized that I would still get to see a final copy before going to press.  So when I get that copy, I will go even more crazy.   I just know it.

This week,  I also gathered my first student papers.  As most of your know, I teach college composition and developmental writing — a different kind of labor of love than writing poetry.  Still, it always amuses me how much credit my students give that little comma.  What do my students say?  “I would be a good writer except for those commas.”  or “The only real problem I have with writing is those commas.”   or “I have great ideas but commas get in the way.” 

Yes, indeed, I do respect correct punctuation, and the work that the comma can (or cannot) do.  Perhaps it’s me — I put too much stress on this little guy.  Some day I will master teaching the writing process successfully — a process where my students can learn to clarify great ideas and organization — and then proofread for comma errors while understanding that the comma is really supposed to help, not hinder, good writing.

But until I can do this — I don’t want to see any more comma splices!!

Labors of Love

It’s rainy and cool here, an abrupt change from the hot weather of the last few days.  Still, Anthony and I managed to get a day off together — that doesn’t happen very often!  So, we are going to be out and about today, and I will be far away from my computer.

In the meantime, though, you might want to take a look at Escape Into Life’s Labor Day edition, Labors of Love, which features work by poets Vivian Shipley, Joe Wilkins, Jessy Randall and yours truly.

(Quick note:  WordPress must be taking the day off too — I can’t get my link button to work, so you may have to head over to Escape Into Life yourself!)