Bad Blogger

Hello, Dear Readers–

I’ve been away too long! The past few weeks have been filled with poetry-related excitement. Here’s where I’ve been:

  • Participating in a Mother’s Day reading at an outdoor sculpture garden. Along with six other Bellingham poets, I read poems celebrating mothers while the sun shone, the rhododendrons bloomed, and the visual art luminesced. Since most of my own poems about motherhood involve vomit and being an unwitting casualty of the Mommy Wars, I had to go looking for poems more appropriate to the occasion. I found wonderful pieces to share by May Sarton, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Martha Silano.
  • Studying Martha Silano’s collections Blue Positive and The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception. The latter, especially, in addition to being a delightful and thought-provoking read, fascinated me for the way Silano manages to arrange the poems into a sequence that somehow–brilliantly–interweaves pieces about motherhood, faith, aliens, sex, cosmology, and consumer culture. I went to school on the structure of this book, since at the same time, I was also…
  • Reworking my book-length manuscript to include some of the poems I wrote during NaPoWriMo. Realizing that the sequence of poems I’d come up with for my manuscript last fall was actually a tangled mess, I struggled mightily to find a new arrangement that makes any kind of sense out of my poems about theodicy, origin myths, the food chain, and cognition. Adding to the urgency were two May deadlines for first-book competitions–one of which I’d already submitted the Messy Manuscript to a few months back, but withdrew to substitute the New and Improved.
  • Receiving acceptances by two literary journals! Getting my first acceptance by a paying market is a thrill–I’m a professional writer now! The complicated part was completing the mountain of paperwork attendant upon becoming an independent contractor with the State of Texas (via the public university where this literary journal is housed). In addition to signing up to receive the honorarium check, I also may have agreed to donate organs and possibly acquired licensure to drive a hazardous-materials rig. I’m not sure–the accountant I had to hire is still figuring out what I committed to. (In any case, my apologies in advance to Reno King, whose tax dollars are probably at work here. If it’s any consolation, the accountant is very deserving.) More details as press time approaches!
  • Attending the Skagit River Poetry Festival. This is the west-coast sister of the Dodge Festival, held every two years in charming La Conner, Washington. During the three days, I took in readings and panel discussions by Jeremy Voigt, Christopher Howell, Chris Dombrowski, Linda Bierds, Rachel Rose, Mark Schafer, Marie Howe, Bob Hicok, Ellen Bass, Lorna Crozier, Jericho Brown, Caroline Forché, Tony Hoagland, and Nikki Giovanni. It was a feast of beautiful and nourishing words. And on the final day, I attended a terrific writing workshop with Tony Hoagland, whose book What Narcissism Means to Me (in addition to having the world’s funniest title) gave me permission, when I first read it four years ago, to engage in serious play with poetic voice.
  • Learning how to levitate. Actually, this was completely effortless; the gift of walking on air was given to me at the Skagit River Poetry Festival, by a small-press editor I deeply respect, who asked, out of the blue, to see my book manuscript. So I’ve spent the past week re-re-reworking the thing to submit there. In the immortal words of Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes, not the Reformation), “Further bulletins as events warrant”!

It’s good to be back here with you, blogger friends!

Cheers to you,
Jennifer

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21 comments on “Bad Blogger

  1. Jennifer:

    Correction: a most excellent blogger!

    Sounds like you have been extremely busy. Congratulations!

    Sincerely, and best wishes, Andy

  2. sonofwalt says:

    Oh, this is excellent news, or these are excellent newses? In any case, I’m happy for you and thrilled you are getting some recognition. I can’t wait to take a ride in that big hazardas materials rig!

    • Thank you for being excited about my excellent newses, Dave! As for the rig, I should warn you: being licensed doesn’t mean that I know what I’m doing. We’ll make sure the tanker’s empty of anything dangerous before we go joyriding!

  3. very beautiful work and nice blog .

  4. Good to be reading your work again Jennifer and as they told me when I arrived here “Welcome to Texas” if only to do business and have your name documented in some registration forms. The beauty about living in the state of Texas is there is enough oil and banking money to compensate for payroll taxes–they don’t take them. I am renting so I don’t donate to the property tax fund, and if sales taxes are paying for you to have a presence here, I am going shopping tomorrow to fund that!! Lol! Texas, especially Dallas can greatly benefit by having more artist, writers, and creative types. Also, as always, thanks kindly for the link.

    P.S. have you thought of attending the Newark Poetry Festival,m or the Dodge Poetry Festival? Sounds very cool. I am giving marginal thoughts to it. I have many other priorities, but would love to indulge in the experience and perhaps take some insights back home.

    • Ah, the oil and banking money–I had forgotten. Sort of like in Nevada, where the casino and (some of) the mining companies pay most of the taxes, so there’s no individual income tax! Thank you kindly for offering to shop; we all need to do our part to boost the economy : – )

      Ever since seeing, many years ago, Bill Moyers’s video (“The Language of Life,” I think it was) set at the Dodge Festival, I’ve dreamed of going to it. Since it’s a continent away, though, I’ve felt very fortunate to be so close by the Skagit River Poetry Festival, which runs on alternate years with the Dodge. (And, as I understand it, the Dodge Foundation even used to help sponsor the Skagit. That was before the Madoff scam and the recession took their severe toll on charitable organizations.) I can highly recommend the experience of attending an event like those–a great immersion in the art form, with lots to bring home for your own writing & reading.

  5. oh you are amazing! a real live pro poet!. i am just endeavouring down the road of poetry professionalism…just about to enter a few competitions and submit a couple of poems what a DREAM!

  6. Wow, you’ve been busy! Congratulations — such great news!

  7. cupcakemurphy says:

    YAY! The world will know your work.

  8. Hi Jennifer —

    I am glad that reading my books helped you to get your own poems/ms. in order for possible publication. Congrats on your first paid publication! I wish I could have been levitating with you at the Skagit Poetry Festival. I actually bought a ticket for the Hicok/Giovanni/Howe reading but had to miss when my son’s soccer game had an unexpected delayed start. Wish me better luck in 2014!

    • Oh my goodness–thank you so much for stopping by, Martha! I wish I’d had the opportunity to meet you at the Festival and thank you in person. Please let me say again how much I *enjoyed* reading _The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception_, as well a how much it taught me. And thank you for your marvelous poems about motherhood, some of which I shared at the reading on Mother’s Day: “Song for a Newborn,” “What the Old Wives Told Me,” and “Poor Banished Children of Eve.” I deeply appreciate the luminous insight and humor you bring to your poems about the work of writing and parenthood–challenging and joyful, both.

      I do hope you make it to the Skagit in 2014. I hope to meet you then, or perhaps before. Cheers, and all the best!

      • I wish I’d been able to meet you at the Festival, too. I am envious that you got to attend the Hoagland workshop, plus wow, all those other fine poets you got to hear. Hoagland and Hicok are two of my very favs.

        And thanks for much for reading some of my poems at the Motherhood reading. Warms me to the core to know that. I am glad you are finding my poems helpful as models for your own poems, which I am looking forward to reading!

        There is no way I am missing Skagit 2014. To that effect, I am going in a search of a sitter right now!

        Ciao and cheers back atcha!

  9. leroywatson4 says:

    Great news on getting published and learning to levitate! You’ve been busy. Congratualtions.

  10. dmpoetry says:

    This is all great news Jennifer!
    You’re excused from blogging when so many awesome things are happening. Good for you!

  11. […] probably don’t remember, since it’s been so long since I wrote that. Well, anyway, an event is occurring that warrants a further bulletin. I’ve had a chapbook […]

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