02 November 2020

A new poem, a few thoughts on my process, and some submissions.

It's Monday, and Mondays usually end up being a partial extension of my weekend. I am always up early to answer student emails and to make sure that the week's lessons are all prepared and assignments are all working properly across my four online classes. Monday at 8 am is always my students' weekly assignment deadline, and it's also when the next new week's assignments open up, so the morning can be hectic and full of emails. Even so, I usually switch gears to writing, revising, and submitting my own work after lunch.

(I often grade late into Fridays and Saturdays, and following those sorts of working weekends, I don't feel bad about salvaging a scrap of Monday afternoons for my own work. This past weekend, I was grading until 4:30 pm on Saturday, which was awful.)

I pulled a few newer lines from a writing journal this morning, and I think it is already shaped into a passable draft of a new poem. It's titled "That Long, Vacant Room," until something else jumps out of the poem's lines and makes a better title. 

These lines were part of a found poem that I cobbled together in October: with both hands, she slipped into his mouth, and made up a bed in that long, vacant room. I really like it--and although the poem is rough, with these lines in the mix, I think there's some potential there. 

My process includes snips of found poetry from time to time--I use found poetry in my altered book journals, and while much of that doesn't translate over to my written poetry, I do find the art and craft of found poetry to be a wonderful way to generate new ideas and to look at word choices in a very different way. A few of my favorite lines in my own poems started from a found poetry exercise; the practice rarely lets me down when I'm feeling stuck. Somehow, at least to me, when words are cut free from the context of the page, they can become more flexible or versatile. More fluid, almost. It opens my mind and stirs things up. Even if I'm feeling too blocked or stuck to write, I can usually muster enough energy to get out my "found poetry kit" and move words and phrases around on a sheet of paper for a few hours. 

Also today, I rounded up a few poems and sent some work to the Barely South Review, and I sent a poem to The Fourth River. TFR is published at Chatham University, where I earned my MFA--I've never sent them any of my work--not in the 15 years since I've graduated. The idea of it always made me a little uncomfortable. However, they have a weekly online feature called "Tributaries," and I'm hoping that the poem I submitted--titled "Grief"--might find a home there.

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