art, poetry

april approacheth

So we are quickly (too quickly!) coming up on National Poetry Month. I’d set myself a goal for the year of participating in (and completing) NaPoWriMo, but I’m just not sure I can do it. This whole 3-classes-at-a-time thing is much harder than I thought. So I’ve decided to give myself a break this year: no poem-a-day, no blog-entry-a-day. I will write when I can, I will blog when I can.

My only real promise is that I will continue to think about poems.

Meanwhile, things are brewing:

I have decided to shelve the manuscript for awhile – two solid rounds of rejection from major presses and contests takes it toll, and the time required to research presses and contests, and then prep for submission, is just too much for me right now. I am hoping, in the one-week break between semesters (coming at the end of April) to pull some of the stronger poems into a chap manuscript and send them out, but I’m not sure how that’ll pan out.

I am becoming more and more interested in spoken word, slam and performance. Not likely for myself, but definitely as an aspect of poetry that I have never really given much attention to. But at AWP, I attended Patricia Smith’s book release party and had my mind totally blown by some poets from Louder Than a Bomb. In particular, Jamila Woods with her “Pigeon Man” piece freaking rocked my world. And in April, I am being generously hosted by the Pleasantville Poetry Slam, where I will give a featured reading and watch the slam. I am terrified. TERRIFIED. Listen, I don’t slam. I don’t perform. I stand there and read my poems. But you bet your ass I’ll be trying to up my game a bit. (You should come to the slam and make me feel a little better.) And this morning I got a list of names to check out from a friend in Canada who is about to go all Thoreau (the Walden version, not the Civil Disobedience version).

At the same time, I’m thinking about politics. Oh, yeah, of course I am, it’s election year. But that’s not really why. With the whirlwind of anti-woman, anti-feminist activity that’s happening, I can’t help but feel constantly assaulted by the world. And in Chicago (yes, Chicago again) I went to a panel discussion on political poems. There were four panelists, but I was so taken with two of them – Matthea Harvey and Nick Lantz. Harvey talked about her process for writing her Future/Terror poems, and Lantz talked about his exploration of the difference between poets and politicans, using the language of the politicians: essentially, that poets lie to expose truth, and politicians reinterpret truth in confusing ways to obscure some larger truth. And so I’m thinking about both of those talks, and about how the world is changing and not changing, and I’m in research mode. I’m googling, I’m wiki-ing, I’m getting ready to go to the library. I’m taking pictures and planting gardens and watching reruns of Buffy in my downtime (no lie: by “downtime” I mean “the ten minutes each morning after my shower when I get dressed and dry my hair.” That’s right, I’m watching Buffy while that happens).

And while all this is brewing in my brain, I’m still working. And homeworking. Managing to maintain an “A” average in my classes and keep the status of “rock star” in  my new(ish) role at work. I’m running or kickboxing 6-7 days a week, losing weight and making good choices in food (except for last night, when I stress-ate an entire bag of Ritz Toasted Chips–my mouth hurts from the salt). D assures me I have been awesome lately, despite the lack of help I’m offering in cooking and cleaning. Jake tells me I’m a good mom. I suspect there are people in the world who would disagree with both Jake and D; I am learning not to care.

Does that sound terrible? It feels terrible. Still, I am learning not to care.

There is a hole waiting to open beneath me. That’s fine, let it open.

I will not fall in.

1 thought on “april approacheth”

  1. I understand where you are with the school and work thing! I did that for the last two years, and now thinking about grad school… well, I’ve taken a few months off. I needed to. Trust your family, they know you best, and that whole Dr. Seuss thing about those matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter is worth chanting to yourself in those dark doubtful moments. You are awesome, Ms. R!

    I am thinking now that I’ve got the Dad Poet blog back up and running I will do something for National Poetry month, but I don’t want to set myself up for the failure of poem a day. For one thing there is a trip to NYC in there! I will try to post something poetry, mine or someone else’s, or something about poetry throughout the month though.

    Thanks for turning me on to Nick Lantz! Writing political poems scares me, but I may take a stab at it again. Maybe some freewriting is called for.

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