Word Perv
(noun): One who takes delight and is skilled at constructing, writing or saying naughty phrases or dialogue.
February 1, 2016

District Lines

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Recently my poem Follow the White Rabbit was published in District Lines. This is an annual anthology published by Politics & Prose, a very popular long-standing independent bookstore in Washington, DC.

District Lines

District Lines

 

It was standing room only at the reading. Unfortunately due to the large number of people published not every author got to read and I was one of the unfortunate people who didn’t read her work. Boo. =( I guess that just means I have to get a poem published again next year so I can read then.

Copies of the anthology are available, you can buy one here.

I’ve got several poems being published in upcoming journals and websites. Stay tuned for updates!

January 27, 2016

While Down Under

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For the past twelve days I’ve been in Australia for work. This means I missed the epic snowstorm, affectionately called Snowzilla, that buried DC. We all know that a good snowstorm is a built-in opportunity to curl up with a few good books and I missed it! Of course I also missed shoveling out of the snow and other such activities so I really can’t complain. And I managed to read eleven books while I was gone – those are long flights and I’m a fast reader so I took advantage of it!

While in Canberra I wandered into the National Library of Australia and eventually found myself in the poetry section of the bookstore.

Poetry section in the bookstore inside the National Library of Australia

Poetry section in the bookstore inside the National Library of Australia

 

I curled up and quickly read NY by Mandy Ord, an illustrated poem.

NY by Mandy Ord

NY by Mandy Ord

 

I ended up buying The Petrov Poems by Lesley Lebkowicz. This book of poetry chronicles the real life story of Russian spies who seek, and are granted, asylum in Australia. I had brought Flying Out With the Wounded by Anne Caston with me as well and I soon added Disturbance by Ivy Alvarez to the list of poetry I found and read while down under.

Poetry books I read while in Australia

Poetry books I read while in Australia

 

I had the fortune of meeting Anne Caston a few years ago and taking a workshop with her. She is amazing. If you haven’t read her work pick it up, her poems will haunt you – the first section of the book are poems based on her time as a nurse and they are brutal, gory, and so vivid you’ll dream about them. Alvarez’s work is also haunting but in a different way.  Her book chronicles a wife leaving her abusive husband and then him killing her, their son, and them himself. Yeah, I don’t pick light, easy reads.

But it wasn’t all work meetings and time spent reading. I also explored the cities I was in and best of all I got to hold a koala and hand-feed kangaroos! These things have nothing to do with poetry other than SQUEEEEAAAALLLL – KOALAS AND KANGAROOS!!! (Still, nothing to do with poetry but they’re fun marsupials to see/touch/play with.)

Hand-feeding a kangaroo

Hand-feeding a kangaroo

Holding a koala

Holding a koala

January 7, 2016

Rejection

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In the end of September, I got an amazing email from Wicked Banshee Press. It said:

I am beyond elated to inform you that your chapbook submission “All the Bright Stars“ has been selected as a semi-finalist in the Wicked Banshee Poetry Chapbook Contest. We are sending your submission to our amazing guest judge Margaret Bashaar for review. Finalists will be contacted by Dec. 15th, 2015. Thank you so much for your voice and patience.

 

I read it early on a Sunday morning and literally whooped out loud with excitement. I was one of seven semi-finalists, three of which would be published. In mid-December they announced they needed a bit more time and the finalists would be notified on January 1st.

The days ticked by until finally New Year’s Day arrived. I tried to not manically check my email every two minutes (I failed horribly). Finally, at 7:43pm I received this email:

Thank you so much for trusting us with your words, for having patience with us, and for the magic that you are. We at Wicked Banshee Press have gone over the fierce manuscripts submitted and ALL THE BRIGHT STARS floored us. We wish that we could publish all of our finalists, and it was such a hard decision, but we are sorry to say that we will not be publishing your manuscript at this time. We thank you so much for all of your effort, for your faith in our brand new and still growing press. We ask that you please keep checking out our website and facebook page and submitting. You are an amazing writer. We are just a small press right now. We praise you for your bravery. It takes so much to put yourself out there.

 

To say I am disappointed would be a huge understatement. I am so very disappointed. I so desperately wanted to be chosen as a finalist and have my chapbook published. I wanted to start 2016 out with a BANG! Instead I wanted to cry. I wanted the publication of my chapbook to really launch my poetry in a way that hasn’t happened yet.

I gave myself a few days to be sad and disappointed. I gave myself permission to be upset about not being chosen. And then I put on my big girl pants and started working on my next manuscript. It’ll be submitted this month to another press that I think might be a good fit for my poetry. And I’ll keep writing and submitting and I know a book of my poetry is in the future – I just gotta find the right place for it.

January 4, 2016

366

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I was reading an article in the Washington Post about people who set out to do something every day for a year – one woman builds a tiny chair every day out of various objects and materials, one man eats a taco every day (which doesn’t seem like much of a challenge), another woman braids hair in a different way each day. This got me thinking about what my goals for 2016 would be and what I wanted to achieve.

The idea of writing 366 poems in 2016, one poem every single day is extremely daunting. And since it’s a leap year there’s an extra day, and an extra poem, in there. It’s also a bit exciting and more than a little terrifying. In 2015 I set a goal of keeping poetry alive in my life. I did a good job of meeting this goal – I took a poetry workshop with Megan Falley, my favorite poet. I participated in Postcard Poetry Fest. I took an online poetry workshop. I published and did readings and sent off submissions. I attended workshops and events and readings. I read 38 poetry books in 2015. I wrote and edited and scribbled and scrawled. I really did a great job of keeping poetry an important part of my life. But I want to keep pushing myself and pushing my writing which means looking for the next challenge, and if the idea of writing a poem every single day for an entire year isn’t a challenge I don’t know what is. And so every though it scares the hell out of me I’m going to do it. Because really, that’s what life is all about.

eleanor roosevelt

December 31, 2015

Best Books of 2015

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My reading goal for 2015 was to read 120 books. I completed my 120th book on November 17th and kept going. This year’s tally: 144 books. Here’s a cool look at all the books I read. Below are my favorites from the books I read this year.

Poetry

~ Redhead and the Slaughter King by Megan Falley

~ What the Night Demands by Miles Walser

~ Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

~ The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson

~ Antarctica by Patti Sirens

~ Bad Girls, Honey by Megan Falley

~ Toward Desire by Linda Lee Harper

~ Precordial Thumb by Zoe Whittall

Fiction

~ The Martian by Andy Weir

~ Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

~ Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck

~ Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

~ Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck

~ Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

~ Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre

~ The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by Kathleen Alcott

~ The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly

Nonfiction

~Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates

~ The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells

~ Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

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How many books did you read in 2015? What were your favorites?