I got my contributor copies of The Pinch (which used to be River City) yesterday, and I must say I'm very impressed. I've been lucky with my contributor copies as of late, as I've liked much of the work within the pages. And of course that isn't always the case with journals.
And another plus is that physically the journal's like a toned-down sexy Ninth Letter. Meaning it has that same smell, quality paper, beautiful artwork spaced throughout, and a variety of styles as far as the work goes. I had a subscription to River City as it turned into The Pinch and I always wanted to be within the pages.
So there you have it.
Also included within the pages: Michael Czyzniejewski, Farrah Field, Troy Jollimore, Allison Joseph, Paul Lisicky, Tim Lockridge, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, D.A. Powell, D. Antwan Stewart, Patricia Waters, and many more. There's also a great interview with C.K. Williams, whose work has always been a huge influence and vastly important in my poetic life.
I also have to mention that D. Antwan Stewart's poem, "Leitmotif," blew me out of the water. I found his email and emailed him about it right away I liked it so much. It's the small things like that which can break me out of any poetic rut I'm in. It's a vulnerable poem, one that's beautiful, honest, and heartbreaking. The sad thing is: I don't see much work like that anymore among the pages of journals, and that in itself saddens me. I read enough journals, so it's not that I'm limiting myself, but that's the poetry that really can mess with my emotional conscience in an oh-so-good way, and if the work isn't doing that, then I wonder why I'm reading it in the first place.
Speaking of beautiful, the new Jóhann Jóhannson record, Fordlandia, is just that. In the world of all the classical composers, I think there are the folks my age who are listening more to Jóhann Jóhannson, Nico Muhly, Steve Reich, Hauschka, Philip Glass. The classical composers are classical composers for a reason, and their works will be heard until the world is no longer. But it's time for the young folks to change things and start spreading the word about the music from our generation. Or music that are generation is listening to in the realm of the classical.
At any rate, I think Jóhann Jóhannson is immensely talented and will be around for a very long time. He only has a few records out, but they're all gorgeous and worth your time.
I have to mention Leslie Harrison again, because she has another good post that deserves at least a glance, especially for those of us who are still trying to get our first books published.
And this is what a lot of folks don't talk about during interviews or manuscript conversation: the small mechanics and design on the page. I feel like a few of the first books recently I've read aren't necessarily copy-edited poorly, but there were some things I would've changed. Maybe I wouldn't mind eventually working for a published in that sense. I don't know. But even in the post, I never thought about the serial comma, or even knew that it had a name. I'm a stickler for including the comma before the last "and," as that's always how I've written. Maybe I like forced caesuras. I think I do.
But even before this post, that's something that I was looking for in my manuscript: consistency. Colon, or Dickinson dash? Semi-colon, or new sentence? Bold titles or capital letters? How should poetic sequences look on the page? And this maybe takes it above and beyond, but in some manuscripts I've seen the letter f, because of the prongs on the top, make it look there are two spaces between a word, and that's something I can always spot. I think eventually if an editor is sharp enough and cares enough they'll add their two cents on both consistency, possibly the proper form, and would read and look the best.
It's still nuts, though interesting and always a concern of mine. All this work for the few people who will care about the book. Why do we torture ourselves this way?
I haven't been sleeping well lately, and I'm not sure why, especially since the weather is so nice for sleeping now. I have the GRE Lit Subject Test in a week and change, so maybe that's it, even though it probably doesn't matter what I score on it, especially since there are a few schools that aren't requiring it in their application process. The thing is ridiculous. Everyone who's taken it or is planning on taking it knows that.
Maybe the fact that Jess and I will be moving in a year to who-knows-where. If a school wants me. I'm not sure what's going on, but I need to get it under control. I can't use lack of sleep for creative means like some people.
In a completely other world, Big Blue is 4-0, though I'm not sure I like the touting of them being the best team in the NFL. I do, however, think they're a legitimate contender, and we're looking pretty fantastic so far. It's what I said from the very beginning: our core is ridiculously strong. If guys get hurt, we have back-ups. Look at the Yankees and the Cowboys. Just because your team's essentially an all-star team as far as players, it really doesn't mean anything by the end. The core's gotta be strong.
My brother's going to Cleveland on Monday night to watch the game with a friend, who's a Cleveland fan, and as he said, "Since I'm in the Dawg Pound I probably can't wear any of my Giants stuff," to which I replied, "I don't think it's a big deal, but you just don't want to get drunk and start saying stuff to the wrong people."
There was some old guy who got stabbed a few years ago because of shit that was talked between Steelers and Browns fans. Though that rivalry's one of the most insane in football, I still think Steelers and Browns fans can get a bit crazy. My hometown is an hour and a half between the two cities, so I unfortunately grew up around a wealth of them on both sides.