Thursday, February 17, 2011

Late to the Party

AWP was a good time.

There's really not too much to review, I suppose, but I should put something down before I forget everything I wanted to say.

We had about eighty or so people in the audience for our panel. Honestly, that was a lot more than I thought would show up.

This was it:

S158. From the Page to the Small Screen: What the Information Age Means for Us . (Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, Terry Hummer, Maggie Dietz, Mary Flinn, Brian Brodeur, Keith Montesano) As digital technologies such as blogs, online periodicals, hypertext, and phone Apps gain legitimacy, more writing than ever before finds its home online. Some big questions loom: What is lost or gained when we translate our work from the page to the screen? Are these technologies promotional tools or new creative forms? Are we witnessing the death of the page or its evolution? Panelists from Slate, Blackbird, the Favorite Poem Project, AmeriCamera, and the blogosphere will answer these questions.

Thanks again to Andrew for getting everything together, and everyone for making it what it was, even only for an hour.

The main reason I went was the panel.

But I also wanted to meet a lot of people I only "know" through Facebook, and that I did.

I also needed to give Ghost Lights to some blurbers (Paul and Lisa, I still owe you a book).

Wojahn had a signing, but Pittsburgh Press was all out of World Tree. Kind of had me bummed.

It's always amazing to me when I see the complete mix of frighteningly egotistical people that are like sharks to just one drop of blood, and then the people who turn out to be absolutely humble and down to earth. I wish everyone could be in the latter category, but even that realization makes me happier to know, now, so many of them.

Books I picked up:

Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie - Joshua Harmon
Requiem for the Orchard - Oliver de la Paz
Vivisect - Lisa Lewis
Reliquary Fever - Beckian Fritz Goldberg

Was going to buy many more, but I already have a ton to read, as we all probably do.

Plus, since we got a new bookshelf, in the words of Jess: "It really doesn't look like the we did anything. We just moved the books from the original onto the second."

Near the end of AWP, as the book fair was closing down, someone handed me an uncorrected proof of Michael Kimball's Us, which seems right up my alley and I can't wait to read.

Was it you, Michael? Or was it Giancarlo?

Unless I have a reason for going next year in Chicago, I'm probably good for a few years. But maybe things will change.

That said, to all the people I met, drank beers with, shot the shit with, I wanted to say thanks to you. You're all what made AWP for me this year.


The crossroads point has set in with my second manuscript.

At what point do you say, "It's finished" or, "It's done"?

Is it presumptuous to say that?

Isn't there always something that can be done, even if it's realizing in the .doc file that you have two spaces between a word instead of one?

That said, I'm confident at this point. More confident than I've ever been with it.

The book's not for everyone, just like Ghost Lights was not and is not. But I have a lot of faith in it, more than I ever have with Ghost Lights (is that how it should be?) so hopefully that accounts for something.

I just got it out to five more places, with a handful more added to the list in the coming months.


I also feel like I've started, finally, a third project.

It still weirds me out a bit to type that.

I know if I don't move on, I'll be stuck, drafting and shredding, deleting.

But I have an idea and I'm running with it.

Unlike the past two manuscripts, I think I'm going to sit on these poems for a while, amass the good ones, tweak them, keep them in mind.

I'm usually fast to send out poems, but admittedly, I like to think a lot of my drafts don't take months, or sometimes even weeks, for me to be finished with them.

A thought's usually in my head for a while, and then usually I can get what I think is a decent draft down when it starts making itself known that it needs to be in words.

This new thing I'm working on isn't like that, so it's important for me to see how it develops. And slow is the way to go at this point. Or at least contained.

Even if it's just a glimmer at this point, I'm excited to see what happens.

And my last new poem, before the few I wrote in this last week, was written in October.

Too long.

Light the fire.


And also speaking of manuscripts and projects, I have First Book Interviews slated until, at the earliest, May 15th.

Again, I'm getting back to doing one every two weeks. Should I get a flood of them in the next few weeks, maybe I'll do a two-for-one every once in a while, but I want to make sure that the schedule fleshes itself out accordingly.

A lot of good interviews are on the way, so stay tuned.


You should listen to the new Twilight Singers record, Dynamite Steps.

Greg Dulli has been an influence on me for a long time.

I've written a lot of poems to Dulli-related projects, and somehow the dude never slows down.

The new record's fantastic. It deserves your time.


This is a busy semester for me, as it's my last semester of course work.

Soon it'll be time for field exams. And I still have to get the language requirement out of the way.

My main goal for the next two and a half years? Get my second manuscript published and have whatever my third's going to be (hopefully there is one) turn out to be my dissertation.

If I have to set myself up for disappointment, then so be it. But that's what I'm shooting for.

That means I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing, but at the very least, First Book Interviews will still be popping up every couple weeks.