Monday, June 1, 2009


Though I got three rejections in the mail today, my contributor copies of River Styx (which also has a spiffy new website) arrived, and much to my surprise (because I didn't hear about it this at all from their website or upon hearing of my acceptance), there was also a check for $15.

I didn't think I'd ever get into River Styx in the first place, but what blew my mind about it was looking at the last few issues' table of contents. There are always a ton of heavyweight poets, so I'm pretty happy I get to share the pages with such folks.

In this issue: Lance Larsen, Dorianne Laux, Alison Pelegrin, Oliver de la Paz, Carrie Shipers, Albert Gordbarth, David Wagoner, and a lot more.

I have only two more poems from Ghost Lights that need to be published (in Handsome and Lamination Colony) until all of the poems from the book are out there in the world in print or online journals.

It's a strange, strange feeling to say that, trust me...


Though I know the current Redivider is out in the world, I've yet to see my contributor copies. I wonder if they got lost. I did email them again to check, so hopefully they'll be on their way soon, as I'm excited to see the issue.

And I hope Ashley Capps doesn't hate me, because her first book is amazing, and it was the posted link that inspired the poem...


From an awesome New York Times piece / interview with Frederick Seidel:

He led me into his study, a tall, bright, white space with a large window and a broad heavy desk facing it. Books lined shelves that line the walls to the ceiling, tidy rows. Photographs of friends nest everywhere, scenes from a life.

“It’s very much,” Seidel said, “to do with the sense you develop, in the writing of a poem, that at a certain moment it has its separate being from you to which you have your obligations. You’re you; it’s it; and eventually, it really will separate from you and be absolutely not yours anymore — even if you made it. It is, of course. But it isn’t. It’s a thing out there.”

Seidel gestured to the window, to Manhattan, to the lights that shone in the dark. I looked at them and saw, reflected in the glass, hovering over the city, Seidel. I turned back to look at him, the real Seidel.

“So this is where you write?”

“My boy,” he said, “this is where I live.”


I was at Target about an hour ago to grab a gift card for a future wedding shower for friends, and I was struck by a couple probably around my age (or younger) at the end of a stoplight at the Broad Street intersection, begging for money.

The sign said, "Passing Thru. Anything Helps." But they seemed able-bodied and dressed very much Richmond art nerds-esque (go to Ipanema Cafe on a Friday night after 10 and you'll see what I mean), so I was wondering what the hell was going on. Did they run away from home? Did they get into trouble and are running from the law? Are they following Phish and somehow their party left or abandoned them?

I can understand the older homeless men and women and wounded veterans, but I was just confused by this whole thing.

And then, regardless, I felt guilty for not giving them $1 when I had $8 wrapped around my money clip in my pocket...


I think tonight's the last night to submit to the Best New Poets competition, and since this will be the last year I can submit (as Ghost Lights is coming out in spring 2010, when I will no longer be eligible), I'm going to give two newer poems another shot.

One reason I'm hesitant is that Meridian has sent me nothing but form rejection letters, sans ink, in the last four years or so. Which is fine of course. But Meridian readers, I'm pretty sure, are the screeners, so that always decreases my chances a bit.

That said, it's $3.50 for two poems, I like what they're doing with the project, and this is my last chance, so why not submit? Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to send...