Poetry, process, progress.

The words leak out my ears

The words leak out my ears

I see that it has been a very long time since I posted here and believe me, it is not because I went into dry-storage. I taught poetry over the summer then went straight to a busy fall semester with three writing-intensive courses and of course, the onset of creative writing submission season. It has been a good year for me so far, with half of my goals met–I have placed more than twenty poems this year and my poem Things Found Along Boyer Road Between El Dorado, KS and the Dump from TAB was nominated for Best of the Net. The rest of my goals are still to happen. I don’t have an accepted book manuscript, but I have two manuscripts outs there, and one has been chugging its way up more than one press’s ladder. I do not have any Pushcart Prize nominations, my other goal, but the cutoff isn’t until December 1.

These may seem like strange goals in that all of them involve just plain luck. After all, there are lots and lots of good poetry out there and not all of it gets published. I set the goals anyway so that I do my part, the part that has little to do with luck: working every day on writing, revising, and sending out poems. If I don’t do it, the words may literally leak out my ears never to return, and that would be a shame. There might have been a poem born that died while I was making dinner or more likely, in the drive through. I still might miss it, but if I start the day with a little writing and end it with some more, what happens in-between somehow fits in and swirls things around until I have something.

I begin NaNoWriMo tomorrow and it won’t be a novel in thirty days, Instead, it will be a chapbook in thirty days, I have the idea and just need to work on it every day. In the past I’ve used Robert Lee Brewer’s November chapbook prompts and although I ended up with some very good poems, I did not get a chapbook. The poems were scattered, no connective force. This time I think I have that (sorry to be vague, but I don’t want to jinx anything), so I will work on it every day and in the end should be able to cull the thirty drafts into the 15-25 pages of poetry needed for most chapbook contests.