Lots of news to write about!
Two biggest things:
1 – No Bullshit Review is live with its first issue! It’s only in print, but you can find out more by going to the site: http://nobullshitreview.tumblr.com. I’m really proud of the first issue and all the great writing I was able to accept for it. There are instructions for getting a copy on the blog. Really easy: send an email to email@example.com with your mailing address (like I said, in print only).
2 – I got a manuscript accepted! It is titled How to Lose Faith, here’s the announcement link: Blast Furnace Press. Take a look at the most recent issue of the magazine! This will be my first chapbook publication, and includes a couple of poems from my thesis, a couple published elsewhere, and some new stuff. I am really excited about it, it means I get to call myself a full-fledged Published Poet!
There’s been a lot of radio silence lately, I went and got myself an adult job, so there’s not as much room for activities. But I have done a lot in the last few months, including getting a magazine up and running, reading submissions and putting together enough content for a whole issue. Not to mention revising that manuscript over and over and submitting it over and over.
It is a strange beast, to finally come into fruition this way. It is a strange beast, to winnow a ~70 page manuscript down to several poems. It is a howling clawing process, in fact. And it is even harder to describe, but I may take a stab at it over on the other WordPress blog.
In the meantime, check out No Bullshit Review, send me a poem or three, or a nonfiction piece. Everyone hurts for good nonfiction submissions, and NoBS Review is not an exception.
almost. almost almost almost. and nearly..
The new issue of Pea River Journal comes out soon, with two poems by yours truly!
The initial post introducing the ideas here occurred over on Poetry Thesis Musings, a blog about it being self-defining. Go ahead and take a minute to read that; it’s short, I promise.
Now that you’ve read the initial post, walk along this exploration with me. The beginning of this journey is about the act of close attention. As just about any poet will tell you, close attention is one of the primary aspects of writing poetry. Another way to say this is that poems do not unveil themselves without your hard work of paying attention to the world around you.
But what does this have to do with revision?
Good question, you! Where ecstatic creation in the face of the results of close attention (a good example is found among the Beat Poets) may result in much earnest poetry–and even very good poetry–the act of revision asks for close attention to the poem, the poet, and the subject of the poem. Revision forces the poet to decide, to act, to reflect, to unveil, and to question.
Continue reading “Revision and Creation: 1 – Close Attention pt. 1”
Right now, I am missing my books. They are all boxed up, you see. So all of the listings under “Upcoming Reviews and Reflections” are on hold. At least most of them are.
I do have a couple of those with me. Strike that, I have none of those with me. But I do have the following books, which I’ll be adding to the list: Continue reading “What I have Missed”
About three years ago, I attended the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, where I presented on the concept of using revision as an integral part of the creative process. I have come to view revision–my opinion has been revised–as even a primary source of creativity.
Over the past year, in particular, as I was working through the thesis project, revision was a primary mode of work. In one way, I felt a hole in that I was not creating any new poems. This however, was not really the case. Reflecting now, several months after the defense, I can see that both the work as a whole, and the individual poems, are substantially different. Of the initial chapbook-length collection I began the process with, only a few poems remain in the bound thesis, and most of those amount to completely different poems.
The revision process had, in other words, become the primary creative mode.
I wonder, and you may be wondering, the why and how of revision functioning as a primary creativity mode. I have three ideas about this:
- Close Attention
- Time Scale
- New Avenues
Expect new entries soon on each of these topics.
As I wrote in the introduction to this essay, I have discovered over the last couple of years a faith in my writing. This faith is composed of those outlined above, and I think to a greater or lesser extent my writing exhibits it. I think an interesting question might be how I got to this place where I feel confident in and trust my abilities with writing. There are two things, I think, that contributed to this building faith. Continue reading “Faith and Writing – pt. 3”
Writing is an act of faith in the self. Because writing is, as Hugo notes, “an act of self-acceptance” (71) and faith—in this understanding—is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the self, writing is an act of faith.
But what does this really mean? An act of writing—of putting words onto paper or into electronic form—necessarily conducts an individual’s unique perspective into the world at large. Continue reading “Faith and Writing – pt. 2”
Passion for truth is an idea with more than one face. It includes the determination to look closely and long, to be unsatisfied with the secondhand and assumption. It includes the emotions and the body…the writer’s whole being is the instrument of perception, not only the mind…only the hunger for something beyond the personal will allow a writer to break free of one major obstacle to originality—the fear of self-revelation.
— Jane Hirshfield, “The Question of Originality,” Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry.
An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance.
…one reason a poet [writes is] to become a better person…a lifetime of writing [is] a slow, accumulative way of accepting one’s life as valid.
— Richard Hugo, “Statements of Faith,” The Triggering Town.
The above statements lead me to this thought: the act of writing—in my case poems, but writing creatively in general—is an act of faith, and not necessarily in the religious sense. At some point during the last three years, I made the transition from thinking of myself as wanting to be a poet to having faith that I am into the beginning of this journey of being a poet. Continue reading “Faith and Writing – pt. 1”
“Because I want things to exist in the world.”—Impossible Mike, “an excessive pointlessness beyond terror and despair: why do i write”—HTMLGiant
Part 1 – The Existential
Part 2 – The Practical
Part 3 – The Personal
My family, previous girlfriends, and my wife will tell you I am not very good at communicating. This is true. I spend more time thinking through what I will say than I do saying it. This has the added quality that once I have thought something through, I express myself as economically as possible. My vocalizations usually come in the form of “Yes,” “No,” or “I don’t know,” leaving little for a conversation partner to grasp upon. So I have found that writing is both a way to think through things, but also a better way for me to communicate. There is something about the physicality of writing—whether by keyboard or by pen and paper—which allows a better expression for me than what seems to be an ephemeral act of speaking. Emotions, thoughts, reasoning become more readily accessible. Continue reading “Why I Write – Pt. 3”