Time Travel Coming Soon!

Some of you know that I’m a huge time travel enthusiast–reading about it, watching movies, delving into the scientific possibilities. 

delaurian

And I’ve always wanted to write a time travel novel.

Well now I finally have!

It’s a romantic adventure called Time Flash: Another Me.

There are no DeLoreans, but there is a wacky scientist.

And a possibly-magical cat.

tt quote smith

I’ll be releasing my novel soon.

Stay tuned for more details!

 

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In Praise of Philip Levine

I am so excited to have just received my copy of Philip Levine’s posthumous collection,                                                 The Last Shift.

I am savoring reading his words, which have always affected me so deeply.

His very first poem in the collection, “Inheritance,” moves me to tears, especially the last few lines.   The poem is about a watch and other items Levine, as a child, coveted of his grandpa’s. He used to sneak into his grandpa’s room and look at the objects.

Here’s how the poem ends:

 

…I could call them

“Infinite riches in a little room”

or go cosmic and regard them

as fragments of a great mystery

instead of what they are,

amulets against nothing.

phil l

I met and spoke with Philip Levine only once, but the memory of his humbleness and humanity will stay with my whole life.

I wrote an elegy for him the year he died (2015), but never presented it anywhere.  My verse adopts Levine’s practice of the 9-syllable line (mostly), a syllable off from what the ear is used to with the more common English 10-syllable line, giving the overall composition an uneasy bearing or forward momentum.

 

A Simple Truth    

in memoriam for a great poet

 

I imagine Philip Levine time-

shifting in Trafalmadorian

fashion to 1936 where

he is an angel-on-the-shoulder

weeping as Lorca is tortured, then

murdered; to Fresno State his first year

teaching where on a lunch break he sits

with a student reciting Roethke;

to one April in Detroit, the mud

Biblical, men milling, cued up

for news of work that never arrives;

back to the mills, haunted as the men’s

eyes who labored there, understanding

one human being is everyone.

 

And how many more lives than the six

million hearts stopped by Hitler does he

daily visit with his words?  Grass, boats,

dust, wind, the darkening skies, two sons,

a brother, the loves declared, unnamed

desires that were answered not by

their aims, but by the simple truths, small

red potatoes, melting butter, salt.

 

The book is open to the first page

yesterday. Tomorrow is always

the fourteenth of February.  And

today it is 1941

five minutes to 8AM, sweet Phil,

Billy Pilgrim, this day never ends.

 

Yes, oh yes, it is enough to say

what you can, the gift of transcribing

ordinary suffering into

extraordinary joy, your name

hangs in the brilliant morning air, a

feather, eyelid of a magpie, closed.

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Poetry Check-In

So I’ve been doing this research thing for my next poetry collection.

Finally managed to finish reading the first book on my list.

It was a slog…

but I did get some great quotes for epigraphs

and as poem-starters.

 

scary

 

Promised myself at least 3 drafts of poems a week.

Well, now I have 9 poem drafts from this book.

Will any of them grow up to be real poems?

That remains to be seen.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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Out into the world…

progress report

 

Met my submission goal for the month of February.

 

Here’s what I sent out into the world:

1 personal essay

1 short story

5 poems to a contest

7 poems to several venues

1 application for a writing class

 

I’ve seen other writers set a goal of 100 rejections per year. I’m going to aim for 180.

 

That means I have to submit at least 15 individual things a month.

 

If I get rejected every time, I will easily slide into my goal.

 

But what if someone says yes?

 

Well then, good problem to have. I’ll just need to keep writing and keep submitting new work.

 

Either way, rejection goal, here I come!

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Poetry Publication Goals — First, some good news

First the good news–my first poetry acceptance of 2018 to a very small local journal called North Coast Squid. The poem was one I have been working on a very long time and felt very attached to. I’m so glad to have it find a home with a local print journal. I’ve only lived in Oregon a little over a year, but I’ve felt the literary community was closed off to me. Now, it feels like one door has opened. Perhaps more will follow.

Squid-5-Cover (1)
I’d like to submit more poems this year than I did in 2017. My depression and angst over the state of our nation got the best of me last year. Not only didn’t I write much, I also didn’t send much out.

I do have a backlog of poems I’d like to get into circulation. Some are speculative, some political, some more autobiographical. I’m planning on having one day each month where I focus on getting poems out.

Wish me luck!

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In Research Mode

I’m in the research phase of writing poems for my next poetry collection.

My last 2 collections were written after a long sojourn into research:

Red Riding Hood’s Real Life

RedRidingHood

&

Four Quarters: an homage to T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets

4q

Right now, I am reading and taking notes, but not writing any poems. At least not yet.

Maybe that’s because the current book is kind of boring. I am still going to plod through it. Hope the next one will be better.

I don’t write all my poems this way. It’s only when I am working with a theme, especially one way above my head, that I do this.

This collection has a science theme.

Until I write a whole group of acceptable poems, I am going to be slapping myself on the forehead, saying, “Why do I torture myself this way?”

Maybe I like the challenge. And I do enjoy learning more about topics that interest me.

But sometimes the research phase is overwhelming.

 

 

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2018 Poetry Goals

It’s been a long while since I kicked myself in the bum and said “Get to work.”

But I’m ready.

ECRGHN poetry word in mixed vintage metal type printing blocks over grunge wood

My 2018 poetry goal is to complete drafts of at least 3 poems a week.

Not 3 masterpieces. Just 3 drafts.

I’m giving myself permission to write crap if crap is all that comes out.

But if I allow myself to get out of the way and just write, the truth is, there is usually something salvageable there.

One way to get out of my own way and give myself permission to write is to do writing exercises.

Writing exercises have a wonderful way of short circuiting my critical voice, and taking me from “planning mode” into just writing in the moment.

Here’s to all of us writing more and more freely in 2018!

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