Drafting & Celebration: “The Tanner’s Wife”

As The Pinch has been revving up for the Southern Festival of Books, things are hectic, but will settle down again soon. SFB has an amazing line-up this year and The Pinch is so excited to get out there. Make sure to come visit us! We’ll be in a booth across from the food vendors (lucky us!) and will be hosting several sessions as well as helping out with the party Saturday night.

In other news, The Los Angeles Review accepted my poem “The Reaper” (currently called that. They suggested a change.). I worked on this poem for over a year and sent it out to a ton of journals hoping to get it published (one of my masterpieces). I got a lot of personalized rejections (“We really liked ‘The Reaper’ and it brought up much debate, but we ended up deciding to pass on it.”) and no acceptances. FINALLY LAR, who I’ve been published by before and am glad to have struck up a rapport with Tanya Chernov, their poetry editor, accepted it. Sometimes, masterpieces do get published.

In the midst of chaos, I have still found time to write. I finally worked more on the fox poem mentioned here. First, I went and looked at The Journal’s current issue, up online. I had recently received a personalized rejection from them, and I wanted to check out their new website as well. I stumbled across “Orpheus, 1865” by Ryan Teitman and was blown away by the gorgeous magic of this particular prose poem. I chose to frame my fox one as a prose poem as well. “The Reaper” is actually a prose poem, but I don’t write many of those. I’m still working on the ending of this one, but I have the relationship, and the reason for the tanning all there.

Here’s the opening:

“The woman hides behind a stump to watch. Her husband suspends a fox skin, the color of copper, over a fleshing beam.”

The opening sentence is taken from another Teitman poem up on the website. I’m leaving that there for now, but I may replace it. I really like the immediate set-up that a woman is hiding to watch her husband do this, so there’s a level of disconnect, lack of sharing.

My favorite so far is this, the reason for the husband’s obsessive tanning:

“Last year, he watched from the window their daughter chase a butterfly into the street and get knocked hell-high. He lifted her from the curb, cradled her head like the melons he grew in their garden: her eyes blinking rapidly, her lips opening and closing, opening and closing. She died in a quick splutter, there against his chest, there in front of their home.”

I’ll still play around with it, as I do with nearly every poem, but I’m always grateful to see little ideas actually get some meat to them.

See you at the Southern Festival of Books!

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