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Category: writing about writing

South Florida Poetry Reading

Starting the year off, a longer poem of mine has been published in the newest issue of the South Florida Poetry Journal. There’s also an audio recording if you’d like to hear it aloud and follow along. The editors invited me to do a reading – my very first reading anywhere – at the Broward County Library. I don’t like public speaking and I was nervous, but I think it went well. I met poet Denise Duhamel and she signed my copy of her latest book. She was funny and full of infectious energy. She teaches poetry at my alma mater and was trying to convince me to pursue an MFA. I still think about it from time to time.

More good news: I was recently named a finalist for the 2016 Lascaux Prize in Poetry. My poem will be published in an upcoming anthology alongside the other finalists and winner. The poem was inspired by “A Chinese Banquet” by Kitty Tsui. Please do yourself a favor and read her work. Her poems are coming back into print soon, which I’m very excited about.

I’m working towards a full-length collection and have figured out its structure. It’s helping to push me forward, along with a fresh spreadsheet keeping track of all my rejections/acceptances. I’m hoping these neuroses turn into something I can eventually hold in my hands and hug to my chest.

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Writing in Real Life

For the very first time, writing has been brought to the forefront of my “real life” career. It’s odd – the workweek tedium is suddenly being broken by…stretches of writing? I am not used to this. I’m now helping my company revamp all of the writing across their websites, as well as coming up with ideas for blogs. I am appreciated and getting paid for my contributions. It’s a nice place to be in.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to attend the AWP conference this year. I was invited to give readings and help man the Conium Review‘s booth, but I’m unable to make the time and take a trip to Los Angeles. I wonder if there will ever be one in Florida?

In order to remain an active participant in the literary community (other than just writing and tweeting quietly sometimes), I’ve accepted a position at The Review Review to review literary journals and occasionally conduct interviews with editors.

Here’s an issue of a journal that you should probably read:

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It’s Rattle‘s feminist issue, featuring an interview with Maggie Nelson. Now you know I’m all about that.

I’ve also started a blog where we can all share our favorite poems with each other. My goal is to highlight a wide range of poets from all kinds of backgrounds, especially those that may have been overlooked. Feel free to submit, follow, and share.

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Tarot & Talismans

The king tides are upon us and the moon has become very prominent. South Florida is flooding worse than anticipated and people are trapped in their houses. It seems as if my hexes have been working after all.

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I had started reading up on the tarot, but I got distracted by other books, such as A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (still reading) and The Field Guide to Surreal Botany. I want to keep a notebook on all 78 cards, what they can mean, what they mean to me. Worthy to note: I’m not religious, nor do I define myself as a spiritual person. I don’t believe in the afterlife, in souls, in spirits, in the divine. I know all those beliefs just act as balm or distraction from our ruminations on our own mortality. Yet I’ve always been fascinated by certain pagan rituals and mysticism—I especially appreciate how these acts encourage creativity and use of one’s own intuition. Intuition over superstition. This does not seem very prominent in other organized religions. I’ve known pagans who are also atheist, and I can understand why this wouldn’t be a contradiction.

My partner in literary crime, Melissa Dominic, has her fascination with rocks and gems. They serve her as talismans. She also reads tarot and understands my need to be my own kind of cartographer. I keep journals of brain sketchings to make sense, to do something with the buzzing in my head. This tarot notebook is just a new medium.

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I was taking a break from writing and submitting to journals, but this didn’t last long. Writing is such unbridled bliss to me, it really is, but submitting gives me a headache. It’s homework. Or rather, it’s like applying to job interviews and getting turned down repeatedly. Who has time to schmooze on social media after all this? (Really, I just want to be a recluse and have editors magically find me, fall in love with me, and publish me.)

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