Black River Finalist

It’s been a hot, quiet summer…is that ever a good sign?

blpMaybe it is! In August my chapbook manuscript was a finalist for the Black River Chapbook Contest. Here is the full announcement on the Black Lawrence Press website. Huge congratulations to the winner, Megan Privitello.

It’s thrilling to come so close to winning a prize like that, especially one that creates such beautiful books, but I’m not feeling deterred. Being a finalist has only ignited me to work harder on the chapbook, to make every word necessary, every image fresh. Before the year is over, I’m hoping to submit it for 4 or 5 more contests and bank on 2016 being a good year.

It seems promising, doesn’t it? 2016 is an election year. And, for some reason, those even-numbered years always feel better to me. (No offense, 2015,13,11). I think this is just part of the trajectory of my life, being born in an even-numbered year, graduating both high school and college in them. 86, 04, 08, 16…I mean, it seems like I should play the lotto with these numbers. But instead, I’ll pray for poetry and wear my new I Heart Hillary t-shirt.

I have new poems forthcoming in Cider Press Review and at the Four Way Review. 

I’m particularly excited about the Four Way Review poems as they are from my new full-length manuscript project. The chapbook manuscript is all prose poems, but this new manuscript is a different animal. I’m writing lineated poems again (yee-haw!) and working on a “project book.” Which is a term I wasn’t even aware existed until I stumbled upon a cool website called The CloudWolf-Centosy House a few weeks ago. I went there to read an interview with Simone Muench, author of Wolf Centos. I wanted to know more about Muench’s process while writing the centos and The Cloudy House provided me exactly what I was hoping for and then some.

This is my way of gently prodding you to read both Wolf Centos and check out They Cloudy House! Wolf Centos is a great book for language. If you are feeling banal, stuck in the regurgitated language soup of everyday life, I recommend Wolf Centos. The cento form, which Muench describes as ” a remix form that gleans pre-existing texts in order to compose new texts from found material” brings with it an energizing effect. The mash-ups of voices, cadences, diction and syntax make it impossible to remain in stasis.

Here’s one of my favorite centos from the book:

Wolf Cento

Desire discriminates & language
discriminates. Let me lick
your closed eyes: where the landscape
beings to smoke; the blue petals
become a single text,
a wolf in a wilderness of snow.

Open my ears & let your frenzy enter
relentlessly, like a blind machine,
like a sea captain who doesn’t trust the stars,
carried off by an unsteady boat.
My life, this shirt I want to take off–
what can’t be said is the dark meat,
seeking your mouth in another’s mouth,
the whispered cries of animals without sleep.

[Simone Muench. Wolf Centos. Sarabande, 2014]

See what I mean? Now all I need to do is decide what to be for Halloween. Suddenly the “girl in wolf’s clothes” costume is totally appealing. Rob wants to be Mad Max. That means I’m tagged for Furiosa. Since it will probably still be 100 degrees at the end of October, this makes a lot of sense. 

Some years I just throw on my Storm Trooper beanie and call it a done deal. Say, I’m only here for the candy.