A Return

It’s been a long hiatus because I’ve been dedicating my time to another project. I actually feel rusty coming back to this blog. Is my voice right? What about my tone? What was my “persona” for this blog vs. the other one? Oh, whatever.

I’ve been struggling in my personal life with a great degree of powerlessness. There are things I want in my life that aren’t happening, and in response, I simply stopped writing poetry. It was a painful drought from December 2013 to September 2014. Poetry is often a way I process feelings, emotions, instances. I rarely write “confessional” poetry, or even poetry that includes much of me as a character, but I often find a way to write about something without really writing about it.

I wrote several poems about women married to awful husbands as I was preparing to get married myself. I felt this churning worry of what would happen if I marry someone who changes into someone awful? or someone who is already awful and just hidden it really well from me? I wrote poems that enacted that fear, and it made my fear lessen. If these women could survive, I could.

It took me 10 months before I could start writing about it without really writing about it, and it’s helped, like I’m finally starting to maybe become myself again.

This past weekend, I also went to the Southern Festival of Books. I went to a lot of great sessions and picked up new books from Dan Albergotti, Megan Sexton, and John Bensko.

I also felt a renewed energy to get my full-length, Swallow Tongue, out and about and published. As I’ve written before, I turned down a publication offer for it earlier this year. After attending the conference and reading through the lovely books I picked up, I have some great ideas on how to tackle editing it once again. I’ve also selected a press which I really, really, really want to be published by, and I just started saying yesterday, “when they publish my book” instead of “if they publish my book.” It’s going to happen. I’m going to visualize it a bunch (plus do all the necessary editing and submitting that goes along with it). They also have a contest deadline coming up, and it’s time for me to get off my butt and start putting some action into place.

So, it’s been a long road with this book, but these will my last (hopefully) round of edits on it, and I think these are legitimately good changes.

*Have two framing poems

*Change from 5 sections to 3

*Trim, trim, trim. I have at least 10 poems I just need to let go. They’re not that great and could trim up the flow more.

I started yesterday by putting in the framing poems, and this morning by replacing some of the not-so-great poems with stronger, more recent ones. I also highlighted the rest of the ones I think need to go, and I’m exploring things to replace them with. Albergotti’s Millenial Teeth plays a lot with form, and I’m interested in the idea of bringing in another ghazal or a sestina. I also love the active practice of writing in form.

It’s a start. I’m back. A little broken with a little more experience, and it feels good.

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4 thoughts on “A Return

  1. oh i wish i’d known you were there–i was at the festival too!
    i know what you mean about processing emotion–i’ve never lost a baby, but when i was pregnant, it is all i wrote about–i guess its a way of processing my fears. good luck with the manuscript–i think that is great that you have a specific press picked out!

    1. I actually saw you were on the listing, but a friend and I were leaving early and so I couldn’t make it. I sent you lots of good thoughts! Did you enjoy the festival? I absolutely loved it.

      1. it was so much fun, despite the drizzly weather! I took a few creative writing students along and they had a good time too (they loved Pat Conroy, apparently?). I’m hoping to bring a group next year too =)

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