Category Archives: Poetry

Three hours and twenty two minutes later—Why I hate looking for publishers

Hunting for publishers is just NOT a linear process—it is multi-directional information OVERLOAD.

…and you know how I love to be linear when it comes to accomplishing a task! [Note: nonlinear mode when creating is just fine. It’s necessary. Even fun!]

When hunting for publishers, I find, there are fields … acres and acres of them, simply littered with rabbit holes to go down. Fall down? Plummet head first? Deep, dark, twisting, rambling rabbit holes. Who knows where I will surface?

This morning’s goal:

Find 10 potential publishers for my haiku book, Where I Go Walking: Vermont Haiku Around the Year, to add to my orderly, linear table of publishers in Google Docs, so that I can continue to send this manuscript out!

Seems easy enough, right??

I emerge, dazed, hours later. All the blood has drained from my rear end from sitting in one position; my neck is permanently craned forward. I pry my teeth apart to take a deep breath.

My brain is scrambled. So many jigs and jags—online journals that publish haiku, broken links to presses that no longer exist, windows and deadlines for submissions, haughty book reviews, snarky submission guidelines that talk down to writers as if they were only ten years old or lack any meaningful education whatsoever. Lofty proclamations of what “good” haiku should look like. Tantalizing retreats in forested places to study haiku … images of steaming coffee, literati hobnobbing, smell of pine, consciousness-elevating conversations … Oh, wait. That’s maybe for next summer. Back to the task at hand.

Three hours and twenty-two minutes later, I now have added only ONE new possible publisher to my list. Really? Oh, and 6 online journals with submission details, because, well, if I am any good, of course, I DO need to submit to those regularly as well now.

My heart feels squished. The Imposter Syndrome looms large. Who am I anyway? Is this even worth my time? Who cares?? I just wasted so much time. My Sunday afternoon.

Suddenly I want to go and pull weeds from the garden, feel my fingers in the dirt. Feel the cold wind on my face.

My manuscript turns over in my desktop file folder and yawns.

 

 

 

Losing a Pet: Healing Through Poetry

Losing an animal companion is one of the hardest losses. I have had the good fortune to have one of my poems, “Drool,” published in this beautiful collection of poetry: Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Remembering and Grieving Our Pets. Louis Hoffman, Michael Moats, and Tom Greening, Eds. University Professors Press.

Link: http://universityprofessorspress.com/project/our-last-walk-using-poetry-for-grieving-and-remembering-our-pets/

A perfect gift if you know an animal lover. I’ve read many of the poems in the collection and they are wonderful! But have a tissue handy!

 

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Old Mr. Mingus always loved to “go for a ride!” 

 

Once a Siren

A spring pond
adorned with water lilies,
minnow-tickled.

Sweet, wet life drip,
ripples in the mist.

Water nymphs
skate on mirrors
of flat grey sky.

Desire feeds
experience which feeds
desire.

Ten bare toes
sinking in soft silt.

Two white arms and two
white legs exposed,
fresh air goose bumps.

Ten red fingernails draw
circles on the surface.

Diving under
sound ceases
except for bubbles and
swish, she glides,
silver hair undulating
like a water weed.

Her blooming resurgence a
surrender to cloudburst.

Surfacing, cleansed and shivering
she cocoons the coolness
in a turquoise towel.

Treading slowly through
wet green grass
towards a solitary
naked evening.

Need manuscript feedback?

One of my favorite writing gigs is to help other writers revise and strengthen their creative works. I’ve helped those who write fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry by providing in-depth page by page comments. If you have a manuscript draft and would appreciate another pair of eyes and ears for your words, email me at word.artisan.vt@gmail.com and we can work out a plan that suits your needs and budget. I have an MA in Fiction Writing and an MFA in Poetry, along with years of experience with various kinds of writing and editing. I’ve also been a teacher. My writing has been published in online blogs, online magazines, books, and newspapers. Writing is a solitary act, but it can be a wonderful process to work with another writer!

Love this fall poem by Rilke!

Autumn Day

Rilke

 

Lord: it is time. The summer was so immense.

Lay your shadow on the sundials,

and let loose the wind in the fields.

 

Bid the last fruits to be full,

give them another two more southerly days,

press them to ripeness, and chase

the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

 

Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.

Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time,

will stay up, read, write long letters,

and wander the avenues, up and down,

restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.

Winter’s Weekly Vacuum

And so it is that we in the North bear out these long winter months pressed inside rooms that seem to grow ever smaller. Tufts of cat and dog hair drift about the floor amongst fragments of bark and splinters as we open the wood stove to feed it one more time, again, again. Houseplants toss leaves and stems to the ground in protest of the dearth of humidity, while stray popcorn pieces from the umpteenth movie we’ve watched lie tangled in rug fringe. The dog stares vapidly into space or clings to us like a small child. The cat perfects her staircase acrobatics, until one day she begins to excavate the plants. Potting soil flung in all directions is pure sport. We reach out to touch anything for the thrill of electric static zap. Sometimes, tired of waiting for Mark Breen with his Eye on the Sky to pronounce our fate in inches of snow or ice or mercury’s descent, we walk boldly barefoot out on the porch, look up at the stars. We don’t even wear hats.

 

Mingus passes the time.

Mingus passes the time.