First, somehow, in some way, my computer picked up a virus and has been running extra slow. Second, I had to have a grumbly car fixed. Third, I have been overwhelmed this semester learning new technology for the classroom. And finally, I am fighting a cold that I'm sure I caught from my sick colleagues and/or Anthony who has been sneezing and sniffling for the past week.
So, that about sums up my September and how the month has slipped by me. Sigh.
And speaking of slipping by, my poem, "Second-hand Harmonica" is featured in the newest issue of Slipstream. This issue embraces the theme, Lust, Dust and Rust, (What a stunning cover by artist nyk fury! ) and features great work by poets Marc Pietrzykowski, Cat Weiss, Rachel Squires Bloom, Alison Stone, Rebecca Schwab, Jim Daniels, and Gerald Locklin. The Slipstream editors are now reading for their next themed issue titled, Elements. Stop by the journal's website for both fun reading and submission guidelines.
It's August, and that does mean that I have to at least start thinking about the new semester. Right now, that is all I have been doing is thinking about it. Oh, and I did pile all my new textbooks on my desk. That's about it.
As always, summer has gotten away from me. I didn't get all the writing projects done that I wanted to get done, but I wasn't a total slouch, either. The last few weeks or so, I have spent considerable time updating my Goodreads account. I found Goodreads a few years ago and then somehow I lost it (too caught up in all the social media, I suppose). Anyways, I have been copying and pasting all my reviews from my old blog on Goodreads in case I decide to take my old Wordpress blog down. This way, at least members can read my recommendations and reviews.
Speaking of reviews -- I have posted two new reviews under my Book Picks tab (these reviews have also been posted on GoodReads). The first review is a poetry book titled, Waiting at the Dead End Diner by Rebecca Schumejda. As I stated in my review, the world needs more waitress poems.
Here is my contribution: "She Likes to Work Graveyard" published in Fried Chicken and Coffee.
Finally, Followers and Friends of my blogs and website know that I have studied and presented numerous papers on Centralia, a town that slowly disappeared because of an underground coal fire. Centralia has taken on a mythical quality in pop culture and indeed makes an appearance in the work of poets Sherry Fairchok, Barbara Crooker and Karen Blomain. Two of my favorite novels, Coal Run by Tawni O'Dell and Those Who Favor Fire by Lauren Wolk, both feature Centralia-like settings.
But, there's a new book in town. Natalie S. Harnett has recently published a novel titled The Hollow Ground which is also inspired by Centralia. It's a fantastic read -- especially for anyone who likes coming-of-age stories or is interested in the Anthracite region of Pennsylvania.
Now, on to the remaining days of summer!
Last week, when I started my advanced poetry workshop under poet Shara McCallum, she talked a little about Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, a thin children's book that describes a small boy named Jack who does not want to write poetry because "poetry is for girls." The book then follows Jack as he learns to love the art of poetry through both the works of some famous poets and his own writing.
I loved this book so much so that I may buy copies of this book in bulk next Christmas and give it to every child I know. It's not just that the book was such a good story; it also said a lot about the poetry world and poetry writing in general.
In our class these past two weeks, we have spent a lot of time with form -- exploring forms that I already knew, forms I knew but never have accomplished, and forms I never really thought about before. I'm happy to report that in the last two weeks, I wrote two sestinas, a form I teach, I read, but have never managed to finish. Now, I have to admit that neither sestina is especially any good, and indeed, one is probably going to be revised into a more open verse form, but I'm still happy that I managed to finish them. I also managed to revise three other poems and are working on two others. So, this poetry break was good for me and my writing.
In other news, Rochelle Hurt spent some time on the Best American Poetry website this past week talking about many poetry topics, but certainly one that is near and dear to my heart: a Rust Belt poet's relationship to their home and their work. Read "The Aesthetics of Ruin" for a discussion of this relationship as well as some notes about poets who write about debris.
Rejection is part of the writer's life and I don't believe that I could write anything today about rejection that hasn't already been said. Perhaps the best quote I have ever heard about rejection is this: "Rejection is a sign of a writer at work." Yes, I put quotes around this sentence, but it's really a paraphrase because I have no idea who said it, and a quick Google search didn't help me. I did, however, find this interesting website titled Literary Rejections. Many of the quotes are familiar to me, but others were new -- with lots of advice about rejection worth thinking about.
Still, this isn't really a post celebrating rejection. Instead, it's a post celebrating the publication of my poem, "Chameleon" in The Redheaded Stepchild, a journal that specializes in finding homes for the rejected poem. In other words, this is a journal that celebrates rejection! My poem joins work by poets Carol Berg, Kimberly L. Becker, and Lauren Camp (among others!) Stop by and enjoy all the work!
It's Almost April! It's Spring! It's Almost National Poetry Month! And it's the Big Poetry Giveaway 2014!
I am a Rust Belt writer who lives in northwestern Pennsylvania. Mainly a poet, I have recently started exploring the world of prose, both fiction and literary nonfiction. I teach right across the state border at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York.
I fell in love with the poetry of Erin Ganaway when I first read her work in Town Creek Poetry. Take a look here and I am sure you will love her poems as much as I do!
Ganaway's first collection of poetry, The Waiting Girl, is a lyrical journey between two worlds: the land of the Appalachian South and the coast of Cape Cod. Deeply rooted in place, Ganaway's poetry explores the interconnections between what it means to be human in landscapes that both bind us and push us away.
Winner of the Texas Review Breakthrough Prize, The Waiting Girl will not disappoint! You can read more about Erin Ganaway's work and her collection on her website.
And now for my second poetry giveaway....it's a Chapbook Grab Bag! Yes, I will include a copy of Wearing Heels in the Rust Belt (Winner of Main Street Rag's 2011 Chapbook Contest), but I will also be including at least nine other chapbooks, including collections by Karen Dietrich, Charles Jensen, Roy Seeger, and Joseph O. Legaspi. The winner will be guaranteed a wide range of voices and publishers!
Please leave your name and contact information below (such as an email). And if you want more information about the annual Big Poetry Giveaway, take a look at Kelli Russell Agodon's blog listed here!
Every small town in America had them: those girls who were up to no good. They wore their clothes too tight, teased their hair too high. They hung out where they weren't supposed to, did things like smoke and drink and swear. They most certainly had sex. Even as a child, I was fascinated by those girls -- so fascinated that they appear again and again in my poems. I call them The Pool Hall Girls.
I am thinking about my Pool Hall Girls today because my review of Alexis Ivy's Romance with Small-Time Crooks appears in the latest edition of Prick of the Spindle! Take a look here.
And in case you want to know more about what I have been reading (And I have been doing a lot of reading, here. Spring has not yet come to rural Pennsylvania. It's way too cold and damp to venture outside to do yardwork), take a look at my latest poetry pick, The Rusted City by Rochelle Hurt listed under my Book Picks.
In the blogging world, I have read a lot about book clubs/reading groups/individuals aiming to read 14 books by women in 2014. My initial thought was, wow, I read a lot -- reading 14 books by women in one year should not be hard.
I keep a list of books I read, so I looked at my tallies for this year. So far, in 2014, I have read 18 books and only four have been by women. That surprised me; thus, I decided to take a look at what I read last year.
In 2013, I read 209 books. I read a lot of different kinds of books, so included in that list are novels, literary nonfiction, nature writing, memoir, poetry, and young adult books. Out of 209 books, 126 books were written by women. To break these numbers down even further, 25 of these books by women were novels, 21 were poetry collections (both chapbooks and full-length collections), and 47 were young adult novels (YA novels are my guilty pleasures). The remaining books were memoir, nature writing, and history. So yes, I read a lot of books by women.
However, what I did notice was that while I read a lot of poetry books by women, I don't read a lot of nature books (books that are comprised by individual essays about nature or book length scientific studies) by women. Since I am trying my hand at nature writing/personal essays, I am realizing that I simply need to read more women writers who are exploring this genre.
For more information about this challenge, see Kathleen Kirk's latest blog post.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.