Tuesday, September 23, 2008


When I saw a still from Ballast as one of the Sundance movies a year or two ago, I thought it was striking. When I found out more about it, I was even more excited.

The trailer was finally put up a few days ago, and immediately after seeing it, just the trailer, my thought was, "I really can't see how this won't be making an appearance on my favorite 100 movies list once the next one is constructed."

Immediately many directors came to mind: The Dardenne Brothers, David Gordon Green, Terrence Malick, Charles Burnett, Ed Radtke, and Lynne Ramsay. If that's not worthy of jaw-dropping awe, then I don't know what is.

The movie opens in New York October 1st, so if you live there, see it. And if you see it, you should let me know about it.

Can't wait until I do.


In a post titled "The Good, the bad, the numbers," Leslie Harrison talks about some interesting manuscript-related things, most which seem important, at least to me.

Here's one of the excerpts:

Number of contests this manuscript got sent to: 6.
Number of years I worked on this ms before sending it anywhere: 8.
Number of poems from this ms published in journals prior to its winning: Umm, maybe 8.

The second and third lines of that are very good to know, mainly the fact that she worked on it for eight years before it was sent out. I thought about my own, and I realized that technically it's been worked on for about two years, mainly because even the published poems -- almost every single one I think -- I wrote my first two years of my MFA either weren't good enough, or they didn't fit, or were never a part of the manuscript from the beginning.

That said, and as I've said before, I think it's ready to go now. Every unsigned "Dear Poet, this manuscript blows. Enclosed are the ashes left from the fire in the bucket we used to burn it." I'm kidding of course, and the great thing about rejections are they push you to make a better manuscript, or better poems. That's what every one did for mine. Without them, and without having sent it out to all those contests, I wouldn't have been as furious when it came to changing things.

I also feel like I could spend another X amount of years on it, and it wouldn't change much at all. Another good sign I hope that it's legitimately ready. It's a book now. It wasn't when it was getting the few placing nods it got about a year ago, and still, the fact that it was placing also made me work harder. And even though I'm sending it out, it may take another five years. I really hope it doesn't, but be that as it may, I'm still trying to work on new stuff and get away from a lot of the types of poems that comprise GHOST LIGHTS.

But I think it's important for folks like myself to look at the time Leslie spent on her manuscript. In the world of tons of new journals and MFA programs now, don't tell me that there aren't those racing to get a career and put a book out. Then again, it's probably been like that for a while. Yet there are also folks that are making sure there book is as solid as it can be before they send it out. Giving. It. Time. I did things differently, and we all do, but I always like hearing things like that -- and find them kind of fascinating, because I'm more of a nerd probably than I'd like to admit -- in blog posts from poets.


Since there's going to be a July wedding in 2009 for Jess and myself, we're trying to get as much clutter out of already fairly clutter-free apartment, even though Jess would probably complain that it's all my stuff comprising the clutter. Moving's going to be a bitch anyway, but trying to do some things now will save a lot of hassle.

One of the most contributing factors is the amount of paper journals and magazines I have.

When I first got to Richmond I decided that if I was going to try to publish poems, I should buy some subscriptions to journals. This was a great idea, and a very helpful and instructional one. However, after a few years, they added up, since most of them are thicker and wider than actual books. Not to mention the small stack I have going of issues I'm appearing in. I'm not Bob Hicok, so I don't have many to speak of, but hopefully the list keeps growing as the years go on.

My question is: What's the proper way to get rid of them? I don't want to throw them out, but there are too many to keep and have around, especially since I won't be returning to almost all of them. I think they could help folks who are curious about publishing, since the reason I did get all the subscriptions was to not only read them, but to see what they looked like, how they felt in my hand, what kind of covers they had, and of course what they were publishing to see if I had a chance to get in there with my own work.

Like I said: I don't want to throw them away, but I want to make sure they're going to go somewhere people will have access to them, either by reading them or taking them for free. I'm done with them, and even though they're a few years old, they're still good for reference at the very least I'd imagine, and in many cases the journals have the same editors and aesthetic.

Let me know if you know what would be a good idea, or if you have experience with this. I don't need money for them and don't expect it, but "donating" doesn't always translate into something that makes people happy. Meaning: I want them to be used, for whatever reason, by people. Not get taken as a donation and thrown in the back alley for the garbage truck to collect, when I could've done that myself.


It was Finland's second school massacre in less than a year and the two attacks had eerie similarities. Both gunmen posted violent clips on YouTube prior to the massacres, both were fascinated by the 1999 Columbine school shootings in Colorado, both attacked their own schools and both died after shooting themselves in the head.

I still can't believe things happen like this. I almost can't comprehend it. Like everything occurred in a language I will never understand.