Posts Tagged ‘Cave Wall’

Fall Break

Will the real October please stand up?  This month started off cold and rainy — so cold, that I gave in and turned up the heat (because of high gas bills, I try to wait it out until November).  But now, this weekend has brought our Indian Summer — colors that make Pennsylvania the landscape of picture calendars.  Plus, it’s wonderfully, wonderfully warm outside.

I’m in the middle of JCC’s Autumn Break, and I’m trying to get some writing done.  I have been drafting almost everyday, but somehow can’t actually get a lot of my poems “done.”  Nevertheless, I did send out three submission packets last week.  Unlike most people — I don’t send out a lot of submissions in the fall, mostly because my schedule is always crazy busy.

In other news, my postal carrier has been very busy this week.  I got my contributor’s copies of Fourth River, the literary journal published by Chatham University’s MFA program.  My work joins poems by some of my favorite people, including Phil Terman, Todd Davis, and Judith Vollmer.  In general, the journal focuses on work that creates a strong sense of place — you may want to check it out!

I also got my regular copy of Cave Wall, one of my favorite literary journals.  Just a reminder:  October is when Cave Wall is open for submissions, so you may want to look at the full guidelines.   I also got the Fall 2011 copy of Midwestern Gothic, which features some great poems by poets Nancy Devine, Christina Olson, and Brandi Homan.  In fact, if you click here, you can read a great interview with Homan!

Finally, I found out that I will be reading my poems at the annual Appalachian Studies Association conference in March.  This year’s conference will be held in Indiana, Pennsylvania — a mere three hours from where I live (That is close — in rural Pennsylvania world).  I don’t know the details yet, but will keep you posted.

Now, it’s time to venture back outside to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

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Springing Ahead

For the last week or so, I have followed a swollen river to work.  The Conewango flooded last Friday morning and it has been shrinking very slowly.  Homes have been underwater, along with camps and vehicles.  Children’s tire swings and woodpiles left from the winter.  I don’t have to write that this scene reminds me of Japan.  All of you watch the news, have seen the pictures, have read the headlines. 

Still, today the sun is out — we have hit sixty degrees here in rural Pennsylvania.  Anthony and I opened our Florida Room, and the cats had a ball chasing each other in the warm sun and watching the bluejays that are hanging out in the pine trees that line our backyard.  I got my contributor’s copy of Cave Wall in the mail today, and am enjoying the poems that have found a home next to my work — poems by some of my favorite poets, including Jim Daniels, Alison Pelegrin, and Jehanne Dubrow. 

Let me be selfish for just a minute and say everything is all right with the world.  Everything is all right with the world.  Let me say this before I go back to working my way through the pile of papers I must grade.  Or before I look at the weather report.  Or before I turn on the news.

A Weekend with The Real Warnings

I knew poet Rhett Iseman Trull as an editor, first.  I picked up a copy of her journal, Cave Wall, a year or so ago, and loved its contents.  Then, somehow, I found out that she was a poet, too [insert sarcasm here — I don’t know why I’m always surprised to find out that editors are often writers, too!]  So, I asked for her collection, The Real Warnings, winner of the 2008 Anhinga Prize for Poetry, for Christmas, and it has now officially become the first poetry book I have finished in 2011.

The Real Warnings is a collection that explores the bizarre, and often brutal, boundaries of love.  Sometimes, Trull uses lyrics for this exploration.  However, her narratives are my favorite.  Sometimes her stories have autobiographical overtones; other times, figures from popular culture and fairy tales saunter in and out of her works. In one poem, “Introducing My Brother in the Role of Clark Kent” the narrator talks about her brother’s love story with a woman who has “secrets/glinting in her eyes like kryptonite.”  In another poem, “There was a Moment on the Way Home When Hansel Left Gretel” a narrator takes on the voice of Gretel, asserting her strength, explaining “I’m the one who has killed for us, who still hears/the witch’s bones snapping in the fire.” 

In the middle of this collection, Trull includes a section titled “Rescuing Princess Zelda” that explores the lives of  patients in a mental institution.  In this part of the book, we are introduced to such characters as Josh, May and Casey.  In one poem, patient Josh has a crush on a “girl from Duke who, to earn credit/for her abnormal psych class, visited/every week.”  In another poem, we learn about May “who struts around all day/in shirts ripped off at the midriff, who flings/her long flamingo legs over the side/of the rec room’s single arm-chair and tells us/adventures of her life before.”

Of course, I am going to recommend The Real Warning to any reader of contemporary poetry.  But, I am also going to make a quick plug for Cave Wall, one of the best journals being published today. 

July, Already

The title of this post says it all — I can’t believe how fast the summer is fleeing.  I’m busy getting ready for my Chautauqua workshops, so this will be a post in bits and pieces.

First, Verse Daily today is hosting the poem “Ghost Lights” from Keith Montesano’s collection Ghost Lights.  If you haven’t picked up Ghost Lights yet — you really should.  Yes, it’s true that I feel a certain kinship with this book because many of the poems take place in Western/Rust Belt Pennsylvania, but I believe this is a must read for everyone — especially those interested in the contemporary elegy.

Second, I am a bit late about posting this bit of information, but Jeannine  Hall Gailey has some great news on her blog.  Her second collection of poems, She Returns to the Floating World, has been picked up for publication.  Congrats, Jeannine!

Finally, the poetry front has been a bit quiet for me this summer thus far, but on Monday I got an acceptance note from Cave Wall.  So excited about this — Cave Wall is one of my favorite literary journals!