Monday, December 28, 2009


This year went quickly.


Going to see THE ROAD again in a crappy little theater in Hermitage. Saw it in NYC a few weeks ago. Loved it, but I want to see the cut of the film how it was supposed to be. I hope that happens.


Need to get my movie list in order, and my favorite records of 2009.


Have a ton of books I want to read. Novels too. Not just poetry. School doesn't start again until January 25th. I don't think I ever had a break that long in PA and VA.


This is one of the paintings I'd love to have for the cover of Ghost Lights. I hope Lois Dodd lets me have it and doesn't want a ton of money. Since I love it so much, I'm sure it'll be unable to grace the cover.


Five blurbs in for Ghost Lights. Still waiting for a few more. Need to have the galleys. I'm thrilled that people are saying such nice things.


Haven't written a decent poem in a long time. It's been the longest stretch since I started writing. Haven't sent out a lot of work recently either. Though I do have the last handful of poems from the new manuscript out at a good amount of journals still, and some of them have had them for a while. Maybe the rejections are coming along slowly. Maybe someone will actually want something.


I need to begin a third manuscript, but I'm not rushing it. I don't think the second one's going to change all that much. Maybe I'm crazy, but it's weird and I like it, and it represents a significant part of the changes of the last few years.


I do have high hopes for production this spring semester. Hopefully I don't let myself down.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Jess and I are off to New York City this weekend. She wants to see a show. And the tree. And Times Square.

Now that we got an insane deal from a friend of a friend on a hotel right by The Meadowlands, I really want to snag some tickets to the Giants / Eagles game this Sunday night. For Sunday Night Football. Which would be awesome. It'll be the first and officially last time we have a shot to do so before the new stadium. That would kind of make my year complete, even though it's pretty much been complete already (see previous post).


After watching the Denver Nuggets dominate in the playoffs last year, I've become a new follower of the team. I don't think I can officially call myself a fan, but they're fun to watch, and I'll always catch a game now if it's on TV.

When I was at my aunt's for Thanksgiving, everyone had gone to bed, and I was watching the Knicks / Nuggets game, and one of the announcers said something about J.R. Smith that I thought was extremely apt for what I want to do with whatever material ends up becoming some semblance of a start for my third manuscript.

He said, "J.R. Smith's dangerous because he has infinite range and no conscience." I thought that was beautiful, especially since it was said about a basketball player. However, if you see some of the insane shots Smith puts up, and sometimes makes (more often than you'd think), then you know what I'm talking about.

But think about it.

If, as writers, we don't believe we have infinite range, than we never push ourselves to go beyond what we're capable of. Insert name after name after name of poets who keep writing the same book after the same book after the same book (or, for those who don't have a book out, the same poem after the same poem after the same poem). And having no conscience is the part that I've been fairly lucky to have, even though it's gotten me into trouble in some cases (and it still might if certain people see Ghost Lights, since there are poems in there that certain people may not want to read, for a number of reasons). Just another reason to put your balls to the wall, especially since so many writers keep doing the same things, sacrificing heart for music, sacrificing balls for artifice.

I hope I never succumb to that.


Got the third blurb for Ghost Lights, with still a handful to go.

I think I'll have a good mix once all is said and done. And I'm grateful for the time everyone's taken to write something about the book.

If everyone's saying the same thing on the back cover, then what's the point of reading more than one? Or any of them, for that matter?

And yes, I don't need you to tell me that people mostly don't read the blurbs anyway, because I know that. But thankfully folks have been, in my opinion, writing representative statements that hopefully will make someone at least open it to see if they're interested. And if they're not, I'm glad they at least wanted to see if they were.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The end of the semester, as those of you know who are in school or teach at the college level, is upon us, and the insanity, though past the start, is still in full swing. Hence the lack of updates.


I turned 28 today.

I had a pretty amazing year.

My first book got accepted for publication by Dream Horse Press.

I got married to an amazing woman, and though I'm biased, our wedding was also amazing.

I got into four out of eight schools for my PhD before finally choosing Binghamton University and moving to Vestal, New York with Jess.

And I "finished" a second manuscript, which is now officially at a total of nine contests and open reading periods.

I'm not quite sure how all of that happened, but it did, and I'm extremely thankful.

That said, the last the thing I want to do is slow down.

My new goal is to have the second manuscript accepted for publication by the time I turn 30 in exactly two years. It's lofty, I know, but I really feel that it's in a much better position than Ghost Lights was at that point, and even if it's deemed not so, I'm going to keep sending it out.

Though I didn't get a ton of poems written during this semester, which I expected, I'm hoping to come back fiercely next semester.


I keep thinking about the page length for single collections of poetry. Ghost Lights, in a .doc file, is exactly 51 pages of actual poetry. At one point, I probably had it up to 60, but I kept cutting, and that's one thing I made a point to do, especially with published poems.

That's how the new manuscript is, too. I think it's exactly 50 pages of poetry. I like it like this.

I probably always will.

Longer collections seem to bum me out. I always keep finding poems in collections that I would've cut. Maybe I'm too hard on those books and my own manuscripts? Not sure.


Spent last weekend in Goshen, New York, at my Aunt Janet's for Thanksgiving. Saw a lot of relatives, drank well and ate well. Can't ask for anything more.

The weekend before Jess and I went to Baltimore. She had a suturing class she decided to take part in for her job, and since I literally hadn't been anywhere since Ithaca in three months, it was good to get out of Vestal for a bit. Had a blast. Met new people. One of the best weekends I've ever had.


Speaking of getting away, here's an interesting blog post by Susan Rich: Artist Residencies - What You Should Know.

Residencies and colonies have always been funny things to me. I've never applied to one because I've never had the desire or need to go to one, but this seems like a good start for those who are interested.


Hopefully Ghost Lights will be out sometime around May 2010. Once I get the galleys, which should be soon, I'm going to spend day and night looking, changing, questioning, finalizing.

I already have some folks who said they're interesting in reviewing it, and I'm in the process of setting up some readings for next year. There's still a lot I need to learn about all this promotion stuff. Thankfully I have a lot of writers I can talk to.


There's probably more I want to write, but I can't remember anything else. Except that The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans was a great movie. Hilarious, dark, fun, and insane.

Kind of pissed The Road didn't get a wide release. Hopefully in a few weeks though. The Lovely Bones better be wide, because I'm psyched to see that too, but I'm not holding my breath.


Oh, and it looks like the new issue of Handsome is out and shipping in December.

Look at that cover. Wow.

There's a poem in there issue from Ghost Lights, and it looks like I'm in good company, which is no surprise to me.