Sunday, August 30, 2009

Football Season

Listened to the new Volcano Choir twice today, and I don't understand why the track they introduce to the public months before the record comes out is the one that isn't representative of the album as a whole in the least.

Some of the songs are a little over-the-top experimental to me, and the album's a little too dissonant almost from track-to-track.

I thought I'd love it, especially with the Pele and Collections of Colonies of Bees members, and though I like it, I was hoping for much more and got a little too excited initially.


Inglourious Basterds was good. I need another viewing. QT's most tense movie to date. I'll be floored, like many, if Christoph Waltz doesn't get an Oscar nomination.


Watched Scott Walker: 30 Century Man yesterday.

It's pretty incredible, and the dude's still an enigma, despite all the interviews. It's for everyone, though, not just music lovers. Fascinating stuff.

I can't wait to give more of his music another shot, since there's much to go through.

The Drift is more intense and horrifying than most Black or Death Metal records. I do know that.


Got an acceptance from Barn Owl Review today. It'll be the first journal a poem of mine appears in back-to-back. It's also one of the newer journals that you should subscribe to if you're thinking about adding another one to your list. Issue #2 is great, which is the main reason I decided to send again.


Nervous about The Giants, like every fan is, at this point.

Preseason doesn't tell us a lot. Look at The Lions being 4-0 last year.

And yesterday's game was better, but we'll see come September 13th.

Final roster cuts soon too. Will they keep Moss?

I'm sure that Tyree's going at this point. He was a factor in the SB win, but he can't stay healthy. Someone will pick him up, though.


First day as a PhD Candidate in English Binghamton University tomorrow officially.

I'm ready for the semester to start and to get back into everything.


Monday, August 24, 2009

New Manuscript Contents

I did this previously and I ended up taking it down. That most likely will happen again.

I still don't have a decent title yet. So that's next, along with hopefully ten more poems or so in the next few months or (probably) more, to give me room to cut and shape and move around the overall structure. We'll see how workshop helps this semester too. I have high hopes.

Goal for sending it to contests and open reading periods (including a contents page that'll most likely be very different): May 2010.




Ah, I knew it.

I already changed some stuff, so I decided to take it down.

Maybe soon enough it'll be something tangible.

What I Learned (Which Isn't Much) as I Completed My First Book and am Now Onto the Second (at Least the Construction Stage)

  • You'll be lucky to have a handful of people who truly care about your work while you're writing, revising, putting together a book, etc. If you have more, you're even luckier. And if you do have a handful, try and keep those folks around, stay in touch with them, and try to keep building. A community doesn't always have to be massive.

  • Trusting your own work is one of the most important things people forget. Advice is a tricky thing. But essentially, whether reading the work aloud or publishing it, once you're done with all the construction and draft stages, it's your name and voice and time attached to the work. Along with that trust, pride should make an appearance.

  • "By the end, your poems should be how you want them to look, how you want them to sound, and how you want them to feel." By the end, I said. This is some of the best advice I ever received.
  • Take risks. There's nothing better than remembering a room full of people judging you because you took a huge risk that ultimately failed. Sure, they should've been judging the work, but you're the one reading the poem with the piece of paper in front of you. No, risks aren't always successful, but they're eventually necessary if you want to write something people will remember reading.
  • John Keats is dead. You will not be the next John Keats. As a past professor said, upon a student in a public forum complaining he had no published work and was always getting rejected, "Let the critics sort it out when you're dead," or something to that degree. Spending a year on a poem to show the world how smart you are will only get you a lot of rejection and most likely depression along the way. I've witnessed such a situation.
  • Blogs aren't a bad thing, but don't take them as the new Harold Bloom medium of poetic and literary criticism. I've been introduced to so many new people and writers through blogs. I've traded manuscripts with writers after getting in touch with them through their blogs. I've written poems because of discovering others and their work through blogs, and their work inevitably ended up influencing my own.
  • Though I technically feel a bit odd for saying this, because mine's not even out yet, "The first book is not the be all end all." I plan on being in this for a long time: writing, hopefully teaching, etc. A plan doesn't always translate to inevitability. But how many established contemporary writers talk about how they only love their first book at this point in their lives? I wouldn't be able to name one, and it's usually the opposite. I am proud of my first book, I like it very much right now, and I will try to get it into the hands of as many people as possible who may be interested. But it's too easy to sit on something like that and not move on. So, basically, keep moving on, even if the forward progress doesn't actually feel like there's a destination attached to it.
  • One of the best reasons to publish poems, stories, reviews, etc: Discovering others' work in journals that you may not have discovered elsewhere. Seek these writers out elsewhere. Don't be afraid to try and get in touch with them.
  • There's probably much more I can't think of right now. Maybe I'll go back to this later and add more. Feel free to add your own in the comments section or comment on what I've said above. This is only one man's opinion.

Friday, August 21, 2009


The In-Laws are in town. They're out shopping with Jess. Getting hooks and the like so we can hang some of the things we brought from Richmond. We had many of our wedding gifts at Jess's house too so we didn't have to take them to Richmond and then move them, unnecessarily, again.


Saw World's Greatest Dad the other night. Quite possibly my favorite thing Robin Williams has ever done. Actually, it's hands-down my favorite thing he's ever done.

The movie had something that separates it from so many movies I've seen lately. It could be compared to Todd Solondz's work easily enough, but there's a lot I can't describe that I really liked that goes beyond that. Kind of almost so bizarre it represents a kind of artful reality that's so far out of reality that it immediately steps back in. Which makes no sense.

And it says a lot about worship in our culture. About suicide. About worship. About affectedness. About fathers and sons.

Props to Bobcat Goldthwait. I think he hit the nail on the head with this one. It isn't a perfect movie, but it's one I'll remember for a while. And with so much shit being made lately, that's something to be happy about.


Really excited about the Art Mission Theater in Binghamton. Moon is currently playing, which I really want to see.

Hopefully it keeps getting good movies, and it's something I hope to frequent.


Hoping to have all the Binghamton University paperwork done on Monday, before the first Orientation session on Tuesday.

Graduate Students also can start registering on Monday for classes, but hopefully soon enough I'll know who my advisor is so I can figure out what I'm going to take in addition to workshop.

Speaking of which, I can't wait to meet everyone and get this rolling again. Looking forward to being forced to write poems and getting out of my comfort zone that I'm in now.


The apartment's mostly set up. We got this amazing deal on Amazon for a 50" 1080p Samsung Plasma for $997 with tax and shipping.

Wanted to go for a 46" Samsung LCD, but it would've probably cost us $1200 - $1300 had we bought it from a nearby store.

Now we just need a stand and good HDMI cables, and we're ready to go.

And for those who don't know, I mention this because I've been wanting an HD TV forever. I waited for years because we didn't need one right away. So I'm happy to finally have one coming, that which should be here on Monday.


Put my in-progress second manuscript in three sections.

Gave it a new title (which is maybe worse than the other one).

Reworked a few poems.

Have a few more ideas kicking around on what else needs to be in the manuscript for now to make it around 48 pages.

Then the reality of it being truly a mess will start to hit me.

But with that I begin to take it more seriously if I want something (hopefully) solid to send out in eight months to a year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New York

Don't ever use PODS when moving. I say this forcefully, and I say this publicly.

Our stuff was not here when they said it was going to be here. Everyone tried to put the blame on someone else, and no one would take the blame or show any sign of apology, when most of our stuff is in that thing and was supposed to be here today.

Through sheer luck and the fact that it's a small world, we finally got a hold of someone from the Richmond warehouse, who went out of his way to get it on its way.

A long and frustrating story.

It better be here tomorrow.

Stick to a SmartBox or use a damn UHaul. That's us from now on.


Brighter news is an acceptance came yesterday from Linebreak, and new online journal that I really like. They also took one of the longest poems I've ever written, and I'm humbled that they decided to take a chance on it.

I hope whoever reads it doesn't hate it, because it might take them a while.


Getting settled in Vestal. Hopefully, as I said, tomorrow we can finally set up shop and I can have a desk and a chair instead of sitting on the floor to do this, which is OK for right now.

Lots of stuff done in the last few days. Appointments. Binghamton University things. Banking. Finding Wal-Mart and other necessities. Most everything's right off the Vestal Pkwy.

Hopefully we'll be exploring Binghamton soon enough.


The Giants won their first preseason game yesterday. Defense looks great. We'll see about the offense. Can't wait for the first regular season game.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Packing for the Last Time

In five days we'll be in Vestal, New York.

We got a POD instead of doing a UHaul, and the guy just left with it.

I hope nothing's destroyed, but that's the thing about just being married: You usually don't have the best stuff. Therefore, it's not hard to replace something like a lamp.

That said, I'm not looking forward to doing this again (yes, I know: Who is?), most likely in a year. We're married. I'll have at least three years left at Binghamton University after this year, so it may be time to get some equity. We're thinking a condo instead of a house. That would be easy to do in Richmond, but we haven't researched it yet in New York.

It's just so easy these days to become complacent and pay rent, especially when you keep gathering and more and more stuff fills your apartment. So I understand. That's why, in our apartment that we'll be living in together in five days, I still don't feel the need to replace a lot of the stuff we're taking with us.

We have money and gift cards from the wedding, but shouldn't that really be used for necessity? AKA: future nicer furniture for a condo living room instead of the hand-me-downs, and things like that.

Plus we have to get acclimated to much within the next year.

As always, we'll see.


I'm cleaning out the desk that we got from a friend a few years ago. The thing is massive. We're either going to take a sledgehammer to it or try to get someone to saw it into a bunch of pieces so we can get it in the trashcans. It's way too heavy to deal with and travel with.

I usually keep my rejections and acceptances in a pile, however, and it was interesting to see those places who haven't taken poems but have been encouraging. It's good to make that "Remember to send here in the fall" list.

Also, I decided I'm going to be a little bit more judicious in my journals I submit too. There are places that have rejected me, sans any semblance of ink, for years now, sometimes in the double digit range. Not a big deal, of course, but these are all snail-mailed submissions. A 44-cent stamp and usually around $1 to send the submission is around $1.50. Multiply it by ten over the last four years or so, and that's $15 I could've had in my pocket.

Right: I didn't know that would happen. Sometimes it takes once to send to a place to get an acceptance. Sometimes it takes six. Sometimes it takes sixteen.

But I'd rather spend the money, at this point, on past ink: encouraging editors, the "send again" or even "thanks for trying us" notes. And I found many of those I'd forgotten about. No guarantees, but it'll make me feel better to send to places where I have a more legitimate shot. Hopefully.

There's nothing like workshops and being back around writers and taking classes and whatnot that makes me want to start sending out work again. Maybe that's weird, but it's how it works.


Got an acceptance from Portland Review the other day, but the two poems they wanted were accepted by two different journals months ago.

I felt bad at first because apparently the email address I was using for them, when I let them know the poems were taken, was an old address. So clearly they didn't get the email.

That said, they took almost nine months to get back to me. It's fine, don't get me wrong, but that's maybe the second-longest acceptance response time I've ever had, so that seems to diminish your chances of publishing someone's poems the longer you wait.

I'll be sending again in the fall, though, and this time they have an online submissions system in the works I believe.


Also funny was another rejection from Controlled Burn.

They took two days to get back to me, and I noticed that the normal "Dear Writer" response that I've always received from them was not only in bold, but it was in maybe 18-point font. It seemed like it was on purpose. And I laughed more than I was taken aback, as that's the first time I think an editor has seemingly hated my work so much.


Back to cleaning out the desk. Soon enough I'm going to compiled my What I'll Miss About Richmond / What I Won't Miss in Richmond list.

Should be fun.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I decided to go ahead and add myself to the Poets & Writers Directory of Writers.

Anyone with just a handful of poems published can add themselves, technically, so it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it seems like almost every writer I know has a listing these days.

Has anyone ever been contacted through it?

Like everything else in this realm, I don't expect anything from it, but maybe it's good to have one more way to stay in touch with people and have my name out there if, for some reason, someone should want to contact me that can't find any other way.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I shouldn't be blogging right now, but I am. I have too much other stuff I should be doing.


The whole Bridgeville shooting debacle is very sad and sickening and heart-dropping. I hate to say what I'm saying, but Thank God only three people died, not counting the shooter. For all the "planning" the psychopath did, it seemed like the damage could've been much worse. That still doesn't bring back the lives of the three women he shot, I realize this, which makes me feel weird, again for posting the last few sentences.

And the fact that he was blogging, or writing, or whatever you want to call it, about his upcoming shooting, is frightening in so many ways.

Yet somehow I can't stop thinking of Brad Pitt's character at the end of Se7en: "You're a movie of the week. You're a fucking t-shirt, at best." That's the case for this guy. A sad, clearly good-for-nothing "man," who, because he had no social skills or no wherewithal, decided because he could not get laid, he would shoot a bunch of women in a Latin dance class at an L.A. Fitness in a small town outside of Pittsburgh? Are you fucking serious?

I continued to be baffled why these things keep happening, and how they are allowed to happen, and unfortunately, that they will probably keep happening.


The above makes the whole Steve Fellner / Seth Abramson debate look like the size of a grain of sand, which is one of the reasons more people should be writing their own poems instead of starting all the debates and blog posts they've written in the last few days.

Stopping psychopaths from easily obtaining guns is much more important to me than caring about what ALC is charging to read a personal statement, which is one of the reasons why I decided not to waste my time commenting substantially on the situation.


And yes, switching gears, on a lighter note, I sent out my last batch of poems today before the move to 10 places. Oliver de la Paz sent an encouraging "Get it done now before you move" note on Facebook, and I decided to wise up, listen, and get them out.

If good things happen, awesome. If they're all rejections, at least the work, for now, is out there, along with many other submissions.

I'm officially stopping until at least halfway through September, I swear.

And that's not too far away.


The Lovely Bones trailer is up. I found it amazing that a novel that's been so popular as of late is actually very, very good. That's what happens in the age of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult.

But it seems like it really can't miss.

Brian Eno score. Peter Jackson directed. A great supporting cast. Can it be sustained for 140 minutes? I hope so. I think so. I wish Ryan Gosling, who I think is an incredible actor, would've played the father, especially after Wahlberg's Titanic-sinking effort (can we call it that?) in The Happening, but alas.

So many good movies coming out from now until the end of the year.

Can't wait.