I’ve just finished proofing the pdf’s of chapbook #1, Easter Sunday. Carrie Hunter of Ypolita Press and I have gone over some really awesome cover art, so just you wait.

I’ve just updated my acknowledgments page for chapbook #2, Cherry, and submitted this to Brenda Iijima of Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, so just you wait (again).

I have three poems — “Accessories,” “Corpse Eater,” and “Worry” — forthcoming in Eleven Eleven.

I am reading/speaking at two different places next week: Los Medanos College on Wednesday afternoon, and Manilatown on Saturday.

I’ve just eliminated my portion of a fairly large stack of poetry submissions for [unnamed state] Cultural Council Artist Grants Program. From a stack that was ~ 1/2 of a foot high, I selected two submissions of 15 pages each. And I don’t know why, but after combing through this stack, I am still surprised how many poets’ anonymous submissions include names in headers, as well as handwritten headers and page numbers, what looks like the 9,000th blurry Xerox copy of poems printed out from what looks like MS DOS, poems presented in fancy and frilly fonts (each poem in a different one) and containing the author’s thinly whited out name somewhere on the page. Eliminated. And this is not even taking into account the quality of the poetry itself. Do these above mentioned items affect my selecting or not selecting one entry over another? Yes. Yes they do. Is this unfair? No. No, it’s not.

I have previously blogged about a KSW class/seminar I took many years ago, which was taught/headed by Brian Komei Dempster, and in which he detailed the items to include in your submission packet, what to include (and for God’s sake, what not to include) in your cover letter. You know, I still use his cover letter which he provided to us as one example of a to the point cover letter, as my template, when I’m plugging away at the submissions thing. In this class/seminar, he also discussed how to go about deciding which publications to submit our work to, and then further discussed enrolling in and applying for writers’ residencies and fellowships, what alternatives there were to applying to MFA programs, especially if we weren’t sure yet whether we wanted to or needed to go that route. The only thing I do not remember him going over was how to make your CV. And that was fine since I had no CV to speak of. This was well before I even finished college, and well before I got some substantial publication cred under my belt, and so this is why I count Brian among my poetry mentors, even though I don’t think I ever shared my poetry with him (I wasn’t really writing a lot at the time anyway).

So there’s that. The importance of lookin’ like a pro. A local emerging poet had recently asked me if I could teach him how to get a submissions packet together, and it was then that I re-realized this is not common knowledge. I’d asked Brian if he would ever hold one of these classes again, and I think I’ll offer to co-head one with him next time I ask him.

That is all. Leftover homemade lasagna in my belly, and I am wishing I weren’t sitting in my cubicle right now. (Oscar made it; I helped. We fed Javier and Craig last night: lasagna, whiskey, a pretty super salad (with peas, homemade pesto, toasted pine nuts, goat cheese) and strawberries balsamico with mascarpone.)

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3 thoughts on “Poet : Work : Updates

  • March 5, 2008 at 10:31 pm
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    Intersection is having something in April w/ a Manic D press editor re Is Your Mss. Ready for Publication? KSW recently had someone do a seminar on submitting work to journals, I believe. If you put something together, it’d be great to hear. As a part-time writer, it’s hard to manifest an internal push to get work out there and/or to feel ready as someone not in a big writing community or MFA situation, I believe. Your next book should be a cookbook.

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  • March 6, 2008 at 7:38 pm
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    Thanks Debbie. I’ve seen that Manic D editor seminar, which is I think geared to the emerging writer who already knows how to submit work to journals, et al. At least that’s my assumption of someone who’s worked to the point of having a full length book manuscript. I may be wrong though.

    I remember also something recently at KSW – what you mentioned here, but I don’t know the specifics of that seminar/workshop.

    I do want to talk to Brian about his workshop before I go and create my own. It was such a long time ago and it was one of the most helpful things ever. But yeah, I’d love to conduct one, if not informally out of my own home at some point, like a submissions party or something.

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  • March 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm
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    How about making your submissions party a from-the-ground venture party too and start getting donors/donations for your journal venture. I lost my wordpress password and haven’t been checking in on your reorient thoughts lately.

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