Sunday, May 30, 2010

Long Weekend Bits

Is it just me or do long weekends have a way of becoming fuller than shorter ones?


Been a busier May than I'd have designed, though I finally (this morning) clicked off my iGoogle Days Since I Completed A Poem reminder. 103 days is a long time. A number of drafts accumulated since then, but with the focus on the chapbook, I haven't been transcribing much. Getting to a couple readings this month has certainly helped, as has having a couple of long solitary car rides in which to aerate the idea factory.


The chapbook, you ask? Well, TTOWMBL v2.0 (the Beta) has seen daylight. I've even allowed left it out on a table for passersby to pick up and flip through. Of course, even in a poet's home, the probability that a book of poems will be noticed and read isn't exactly a given. But I'm trusting it. I don't know that it's done, but I have a few weeks before my self-imposed deadline of Father's Day to get comfortable with it. I've got one more small change in the contemplation stage; decision soon.


May ends for me with the start of the Memorial-Day-to-Father's-Day run, which includes my father's birthday; Dad's been gone for the better part of a decade now. The balance for me is to stay in the moment as a father without sacrificing moments of reflection. That may contribute to how long this weekend feels for me each year.


A completed draft tomorrow, maybe....

Friday, May 21, 2010

In which the author intends to skip the excuses and get directly to the business of blurbing about where we've been for two weeks. But fails.

I gauge my efficiency by the status of my inbox. At work, if I go two successive weeks without reducing the length of un-responded to emails my inbox to less than 1 screen (about 40 messages), then I know I'm slipping. I'm a little less compulsive at home, there it's "no more than one new page" (about 50 messages).

After an hour this morning I've cut the home account back to 200 unprocessed emails. Ugh. Faring much better at work, because the hierarchy is always 1/2 Family, 2/1 Work, 3 Health, 4 Community, 5 Art. But the problems not (usually) that I don't read these emails, it's that I keep thinking I'm going to do something with them.

Are we all like that? I receive 3 poems in my inbox every day: YDP, AAP (until they go exclusively to the iPhone, anyway) and TWA. I've long ago stopped being able to visit PD every morning - it's more of a monthly catch up with me now. But with many of the poems, I find that there's something keeping me from dispositioning it. Something I want to share, or imitate, or research, or - Forgive me, Lord - try to do better than it was done in the poem I just read.

I think this has been exacerbated for me this year with the focus on the chapbook, rather than on new writing: two rounds of reordering an rewriting, doing some local readings from the book to get the feel of how it hang together, etc. Heck, just deciding to and weeding through options to self publish was a lost month.

And could someone have warned me the urge to rewrite poems once you see the book laid out as as an actual book would be overwhelming? Anyway....

Now that I'm coming out the end of the book process (my goal was available by Father's Day - it'll be close....), the new poems are coming again, and the urge to keep piles of papers all around me (virtually and physically) seems to be going away. Which is nice.


Recent goodnesses: Attended Diane Lockward's annual festival at the West Caldwell Public Library; couldn't stay for it all, but what I saw was great as always - picked up a couple new books (Weil, Gwyn) and current journal issues.

Visited Connecticut for the first public airing of the poems from the anthology Crush (about romantic crushes in all their forms...) upcoming from Hanover Press. The official launch is in June, but I wanted to become acquainted with the work in whose company I find myself. I think this will be a terrific book, and I'm very pleased to be included.

More soon.

At least that's the plan.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


AAP ( is suggesting an untinterrupted hour of reading or writing time. is suggesting gift certificates to some pretty good restaurants and offering some deep discounts as encouragement.

The Metsies are having an honorary bat girl today as part of the Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative.

Everyone who writes has written about their mothers (one great example is BJ Ward's "Upon Being Asked Why I Dedicated My First Book To My Mother When There's Not A Single Poem In There About Her" from Gravedigger's Birthday)

However you note it, use Mother's Day to acknowledge the small moments that otherwise go unacknowledged. A little thanks is worth more than a bunch of brunch.

Or so I've heard.

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Cruising down the 405....

Post 405, that is - the 405th entry into this little corner of The Internets. Another busy week, so some bits and pieces as we pass through the neighborhood of the FOD:


Deborah Ager is running an online poetry workshop, part of the proceeds of which go to support 32 Poems magazine.


Elizabeth Lund has a new short review of two recent New and Selecteds, from Robert Hass and Kay Ryan.


Many of our friends will be appearing in one way or another at this year's Celebration of New Jersey Journals, hosted by Diane Lockward and featuring a seventh annual collection of readers selected from the pages of local magazines.


More general busyness likely the next few days, though I do hope to get to my notes from the great JNJP reading last week while the experience still echoes for me. Like I hope Jason Bay finds his lucky batting gloves soon.


Saturday, May 01, 2010

This Day in May

by James Schuyler

The morning sky is clouding up
and what is that tree,
dressed up in white? The fruit
tree, French pear. Sulphur-
yellow bees stud the forsythia
canes leaning down into the transfer
across the park. And trees in
skimpy flower bud suggest
the uses of paint thinner, so
fine the net they cast upon
the wind. Cross-pollination
is the order of the fragrant day.
That was yesterday: today is May,
not April and the magnolias
open their goblets up and
an unseen precipitation
fills them. A gray day in May

(courtesy AAP Poem-a-Day)


NatPoMo is over. Did you hear the gong at midnight? How did you do versus your goals? I did OK: touched a book of poems every day, attended at least one poetry event, completed at least one draft. Setting the minimum goal I did (put one book a day away) had made it easy to do. I could either do something with the book or not, but I had to touch it. Once it's in your hand, why not open it?


One third of the way through the year, I've accumulated 23 posts. That's a bit off the pace I wanted to hold, which was 2 per week (100 for the year). I can blame Blogger for eating two I tried to make this week, but I'd still be about 10 off where I wanted to be. I've said before, it's not the posting pace I care about per se, it's being immersed enough in poetry to have something interesting enough to say twice a week. But the truth is that poetry comes third for me, after the family and the job - that's not a complaint, it's a scaling of expectations - which makes the application of minimums important. And utilization - making the most of the moments in which I can choose to immerse.


Actually, poetry's fourth when the Mets are in first. Hah!


One thing I did make time for was the JNJP reading last week, which you know of you're following me on Facebook. Sandy Zulauf always presents a great show at County College of Morris and this was not an exception. Two hours of poems and music (and great cheeses!), about which more later.