poetry giveaway image of books

Update! The names have been drawn and the books, finally, have been sent. My thanks to everyone who participated, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Poetry month and that you’re still writing!

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Yes, it’s National Poetry Month!

And yes, there’s another Big Poetry Giveaway! Many thanks to Andrea Blythe for hosting the giveaway this year.

It’s easy: Add your name by commenting on this post, and you’ll be entered to win one of two poetry books:

The Book of Endings, National Book Award finalist, by Leslie Harrison

The Scene You See, hot off the presses, by me

In the meantime–write, revise, celebrate!

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The CDC Poetry Project isn’t affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control. It is the (evidence-based) brainchild of Sarah Freligh and Amy Lemmon, who launched the project shortly (very shortly), after the CDC’s list of banned, um, discouraged words became public.

I’m grateful for their efforts and grateful that they chose my poem among the many fine poems they have been posting since January 1.

Check out their site! Write a poem and send it.

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Yes, I realize that it’s already Epiphany, and I’m just now getting around to posting my well wishes here. My apologies–and I hope your year is off to a great start!

I’ve already received my first 2018 rejection for a little something I wrote on December 31 and sent to Rattle Poets Respond.

For the fun of it, or the heck of it, here it is:

 

Baby, What Will We Do with This Baby?

 

The man at the side of the street stuffs
balloons into the van, bunches of white, black,
silver helium-filled, buoyancy bubbling
into the van’s gullet packed to the gills
for some celebration, the year’s end,
the nascent next, how America used
to worship the new and now embraces
one past or another, the years we barely
remember sticking like gum to our shoes,
and driving by these bobbling clusters, I blot out
thoughts of them popping into the ocean,
rubbery rags snagged in tern, turtle, tuna.
Instead, picture them a constellation of suns
brightening the later night, lifting lighter
than the air we’re breathing, and might this year
we all rise to each of our own occasions.

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No, I don’t have any scheduled right now.

But this year, as part of my studies at Rainier Writing Workshop, I’m interning for the WordsWest Literary Series. Hosted at C & P Coffee Company in West Seattle, WordsWest kicks off its season next Wednesday, September 20th!

It’s a grand way to start a year, with poet and spoken word artist Daemond Arrindell and poet and variety show host Jeanine Walker. I’m really looking forward to hearing them both. Plus the music of Maketa Born’s steel handpan.

Come on out and join the fun. We have a fantastic year ahead.

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On his blog, Steven Pressfield has been talking about artistic resistance—those times when we get some feedback and, feeling crushed, discard all comments and suggestions. He compares that resistance to the stages of grief (shock, denial, etc., through acceptance). He also discusses how harmful it can be to resist and reject the feedback.

Read the whole post, but briefly he talks about how important it is to work through our reaction so that we can truly take in that feedback—step back and hear it objectively, look at our manuscripts and see how those comments might affect it.

This works well if you have a trusted reader (he does). But what if you’re receiving those comments from an editor or teacher you don’t know well? What if they rewrite your poem to illustrate what they mean? For me, the rewrite is an especially tricky issue—the result might be brilliant, but what do I do with this, now that it doesn’t even feel like mine anymore?

My strategy: After I step back, take a break and get a little distance, I look for the underlying intent–what is the impulse behind the edits, how can I use it in my own voice? If I know what’s driving the suggestion, I can keep the conversation open, keep working on the poem, and learn new things in the process.

What are your strategies for hearing and using comments and suggestions?

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