My daughter says…

My daughter tells me about her friend–how he uses Facebook to get the word out about his upcoming spoken word performances.

He creates a new Facebook profile picture and he asks his friends to use it for their profile pictures. The idea is that it starts to show up a lot–and when other friends ask about it, they get a link to the event.

Does this work? Is it annoying?

I don’t know, but my daughter says I should try it, and this seems like a prime time. If you have friends in the New York area, can you help me get the word out? (And help with this experiment? It could be brilliant–or it could be the fastest way to lose Facebook friends ever.)

Here (again) is the picture:

Cornelia Street Cafe, New York

Here is the link: http://on.fb.me/yGugPH

(In the best interests of the Department of Redundancy Department, I’ve posted a Facebook note, too.)

Countdown to NYC: 2 days
Countdown to The Cornelia Street Café: 3 days

3 days to NYC

Countdown to Cornelia Street: 4 days.

What to wear: Not yet.

New shoes: Nope, not yet. (All my shoes are clunky, old, and not good for long walks–a triple whammy. I need style plus comfort if I’m going to Gotham.)

And the ups and downs: Today I found out that one of the papers I’d sent p.r. didn’t, in the end, have room to fit us into their calendar. On the one hand (always that one hand!), I was glad they at least showed an interest. But it was still disappointing.

I’ve been trying to stay philosophical. Lately, disappointments seem to be followed (even at a length) by… what’s the antonym of “disappointment”? It seems to even out.

Oscillations.

And another sneak preview–Sarah Sarai’s poem “Like Wings”:
What can be said. Speed is
a calling. Desire is a bidding.

Judgment rises from steam
and then where?

Fortune is the heart of
two chambers like wings

and the instinct to soar,
migrate, see the world

and its topographical
gestures. Topography is

the back of a woman seen as
desert or a reptile’s spine

seen as disco hall of mirrors 
as glitter and gold lamé.

You have not learned to trust
(the muted instinct).

Fixed stars are lighting
your dance floor. Risk.

Sarah Sarai, “Like Wings,” published in Redheaded Stepchild

Write-O-Rama is tomorrow!

Really, what could be better than writing all day? And with lunch in the middle?

Hugo House is adding a March session of its popular fund-raiser.

When: March 3, 10:00 – … (lunch and an open mike at 1:00, and another open mike at 5:00)

Where: Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 206.322.7030

You can register ahead of time or at the door, and you can see the schedule here.

I’m leading sessions at 10:00 and 11:00 on breaking up the narrative. Here’s the description:

Starting with images and seed texts, we’ll fly through rapid-fire prompts–a fast way to get out of our comfort zones and generate fragments and sections. Then we’ll take some time to collage those parts into poems or prose pieces that tell a story in or out of sequence.

And Karen Finneyfrock will lead a session at noon on using broken form.

Should be a smashing good time!

And it’s 9 days until NYC…

Where do the poems go?

Trail in a forest; image from Office.com

What’s the next project? The next direction? Where can I go–with poems?
 
I like to work on larger projects or series. I take comfort in knowing what I’m exploring. It gives me a starting point. But when one of those projects feels finished, I need to find another one.
 
Finding the next project shouldn’t be hard, because I make lists and more lists. Subjects that suit my fancy at any given moment. Currently on the list: Chagall, Nijinsky.
 
But does an idea have the power, the pull to go the distance for an entire book or even an entire chapbook?
 
Even with my series tricks, lately I’ve been stalling out, spinning my wheels on the September poems–and then questioning everything I’m working on. Where is that spark?
 
For me, my best poems are the poems I have to write.
 
Into the Rumored Spring was that way–poems saying, “Hey, hey, write me.” Poems waking me up.
 
I’ve been reading Breach, by Nicole Cooley, and I get the feeling that maybe she had to write those poems. They have that kind of urgency.
 
But not every path I start down pulls me that fiercely. Or maybe I’m practicing, trying to learn something new. Even deliberate practice is still practice. Exercises. And can exercises be poems? Sometimes, but they still become isolated as one-offs, not fitting into any bigger picture. (Yes, even though I’m a messy person, I like all my poems to fit in somewhere.)
 
I know writing consistently is important–the practice, the habit. Learning all the time helps me to be ready when I do trip into that next compelling trail to follow. And late this afternoon I realized that I could maybe find that next project by exploring those one-off poems. Maybe one of them is the key to the door to the next adventure.

But for now, I’m going back to the three (!) projects I thought I’d finished–a combination of much self-doubt and wanting poems to work on. I’m writing new poems for those used-to-be-old projects or I’m diving into deep revision on existing poems–trying to keep my voice limber and my skills sharpening. It gives me the comfort of a project and some open space to explore. Which means I never finish anything. And my mom could have told you that.
 
Do you like to work on long projects? How do you discover your projects?
 
Or do like your poems one at a time?
 
Have you worked on a book-length poem? (That might be the best of both worlds, but I haven’t tried to light that fire yet.)
 
And how do you exercise your writing?

Hearing as practice

Last night, I heard Nicole Cooley, Beth Ann Fennelly, and Erika Meitner read at Open Books. A riveting evening. Vibrant. The images, the structure, the story/not-story, the pull-no-punches telling–even the introductions to each poem.

Ahh…

And I confess that at one point, one quick point, surrounded by such splendor, I thought, “My new manuscript is crap, it’s all crap, it isn’t ready to send out, it won’t ever be ready to send out, I need to write much better poems.”

But the poetry was coming again, so I let that moment pass (really!) and was whisked away by more poems.

I came back to those doubts on the way home–doubts surrounded by inspiration. And by the time I reached the freeway onramp, I realized that this is exactly what I need. Seeing and hearing how it can be done (this way and this way and this way and this), another understanding.

Another door opens.