29 March 2021

More "first book award" submissions on the last day of Spring Break, and starting big projects at the last minute.

Well, an artist friend shared a publishing resource over the weekend that details an exhaustive list of book awards for poetry. I am reluctant to share it here, because the creator has intended it to assist women and non-binary writers who do not have the time or access to research this level of information themselves. And, while I certainly am aware of some of the opportunities she has included, there are many presses (and several first book awards) that were not on my radar. I am appreciative for the assistance that this resource has provided for me, and if you want more information, feel free to email me. 

Through this resource, and from my own list, I was able to submit to seven first book contests over Spring Break, and I sent a sample of work to an eighth publisher, Acre Books. I am exhausted, but very excited that I had a little bit of money set aside from tax returns to cover the cost of submissions.

My manuscript Faster Than Hares and Rabbits is now under consideration at the following additional presses: 

Birdcoat Quarterly's 2021 Book Contest

Tupelo Press's Berkshire Prize for First or Second Book

Trio House Press's Trio Award for First or Second Book

Switchback Books's Gatewood Prize

I hope that some of the smaller/less publicized awards may provide a greater opportunity for success; I am confident that my manuscript is strong, but it's difficult to put oneself out there. 

There are a few other presses that have open reading periods this summer, and Milkweed Editions and BkMk Press have reading periods coming up, too, so I will probably wait until the end of April and submit to 3-4 more opportunities, as well. 

Spring term begins this morning, but I started to paint the living room ceiling yesterday. LOL--I'm hoping to get the whole living room done this week or next, so that I can rehang the art and start planning my next project. 

I have blueberry bushes and a lilac to plant, and several perennials to transplant, so that should happen this week, ASAP.  The back yard beds are going to be expanded 2-3 times the size they are now, if only from making space for the transplanted lupines. Grass is already high, and it's going to be 75 on Wednesday, so I think I'll be in the yard for a good chunk of the day. 

I've also decided to start a new perennial from seed--I picked milkweed, which can take up to three years to mature and bloom. Like the lupines, they will pay off eventually. (I've also tried to start poppies and echinacea from seed, and neither one made it through the first winter.) I also bought seeds for foxglove and cleomes (which i LOVE), but they should mature and bloom this year. I'm eager to add more flowers to the back yard that will attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.

The bathroom could stand to be painted, too, but I will have to move the washer and dryer out of there, so it's a huge hassle. The kitchen walls and ceiling need painted, too, but I have to buy new kitchen lighting. I'd also like to paint the exterior doors eventually--I have a deep fuschia color picked out. I'm hoping that those projects will happen over summer. It's time to focus on the garden--and to take some time to teach and work on the tattoo project, so my aching joints can heal a bit before another paint job. 

So, I'm back into the waiting game regarding submissions--my work is now out at 64 different presses, if I count small submissions + the manuscript.

27 March 2021

Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.

Sometimes, I think all I need to do is complain about something a few times, and I'll feel good enough to take care of business. I spent some time last night on a CV from 2017. I was surprised I had it--I thought for sure it had been at least 10-12 years since I updated one. 

So, this morning I opened it up, reorganized a few things, proofread it, and I sent my manuscript + CV to the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. 

The results of two fall contests haven't been announced yet, so my book is under consideration at five publishers right now, I feel really good about that! And, I have a chapbook manuscript out at a fall contest, too.

26 March 2021

Spring's crop of "first book" awards.

I finally pulled together a completely new version of my full-length poetry manuscript, Faster Than Hares and Rabbits--I removed about a dozen weaker poems, making the collection more cohesive in the process. I have done a little work at a time, then today and yesterday, I put hours and hours of work into revising some of the poems and organizing the whole thing. Culling poems was easier than I'd expected--I'm hoping a leaner manuscript of higher quality will work in my favor. 

This afternoon, I sent a copy to the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize at Kent State University. Tracy K. Smith is the judge, and while I find that intimidating, I did not let it dissuade me from submitting. I passed on a few fall contests because I was worried that my work didn't have anything in common with the judge's work, but I am trying not to overthink the process. I am proud of my recent work, and I am trying to be more confident about it, too. 

I also submitted to Elixir Press's Antivenom Poetry Award, which is for a first or second book of poetry. Both of these contests read blind--no names, no acknowledgments, to identifying information. I prefer this--I feel like my poetry should stand on its own, without someone also weighing how impressive my publications are. 

I plan to submit to the University of Pittsburgh Press's Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, too, but as I was reading requirements today, I realized that they want a curriculum vita included with the manuscript. So, I have until the end of April to get a CV pulled together. I am discouraged, because it makes me feel that my spotty publication history, and perhaps even my position as a community college instructor, could be used to subtract value from my manuscript. I will absolutely submit, but I'm glad I have a cushion of time in which to tackle the curriculum vita. 

On a positive note, my publications from 2020 and 2021 are multiple, and I have generated a lot of new work. So, the manuscript no longer relies on poems that were published 10+ years ago. I feel that if I must include acknowledgments, at least my manuscript of March 2021 looks more current/relevant that my manuscript of September 2020.

24 March 2021

On Tuesday, poetry was work.

I am supposed to be reorganizing my collection for the spring crop of first book prizes, but I spent most of my Tuesday working on revisions and on sending my work out to new publications. 

As I have mentioned this week, I received a number of rejection slips in just a few days--while offset by a couple of acceptance letters, the rejections did leave me in a position where I had work that could be sent out again. 

I revised a few older poems, and four brand-new poems were revised and made ready to send out into the world for the first time. All told, I sent 3-5 poems to five separate publications yesterday. And, I submitted to one more this morning.

I sent to Still: The Journal, which published Appalachian writers exclusively. While I do consider myself very deeply connected to the area where I grew up, and my family is still there, I know that my current location may hinder my acceptance there. My work is not connected explicitly to that region, but I do think that some of my tendency toward magic realism/fabulism in recent work is absolutely a response to growing up in an industrial town where much of my escape came from books and movies with magical elements. It might be a stretch for any editor, though.This is my first time submitting work this this journal.

I also submitted to Gold Man Review for the first time--they focus on writers from the West coast states. Here I am, trying to straddle the entire United States. LOL.

I also sent some work to Phantom Drift, after spending a little time researching publications that focus on publishing fabulist authors. And, I submitted for a second time to Outlook Springs. Their editors write that the journal is "devoted to fiction, poetry, and non-fiction tinged with the strange." These are the sorts of journals where I hope my work finds a home, but I'm never quite sure if my brand of strange is what they're hoping to find. 

And, I submitted to Fugue yesterday, as well, for the first time. This morning, I sent four poems to North American Review. 

Interspersed in these submissions was the new poem "Witchcraft," as well as three other new works: "This Chapter," "Pickpocket," and "This Daughter." I need to back away from using "THIS" as the first word in poem titles for a while--I'm afraid I've come to rely on "this," and I know that's not good. I just hate writing titles.  

So, my Submittable account is bulging with newly-submitted work, and I am caught up on recording rejections and acceptances in my own records and at Duotrope. 

So, today will likely be my manuscript revision day, though it's Wednesday of Spring Break, and I'm tempted to jump in the car and take a drive out to the coast for lunch and some junk shopping. I also have a living room to paint and lupines to transplant . . . but I'm trying to take it easy, too. Faculty have gotten no extra time off this school year, despite our extra work as the whole college moved online/remote for a year.

I deliberately did not make a long honey-do list for Spring Break, because I have no honey to do it all. Ha! But, that is not a gripe. I enjoy living alone, and while I sometimes wish I had a partner to share chores and expenses, I know what it's like to have a partner who didn't contribute at all. And, I know that my first husband dealt with me going to graduate school twice--the second time, while commuting an hour east to teach full time, then commuting home, only to commute another 45 minutes across downtown Pittsburgh to grad school at night. I wasn't necessarily lazy, but I know I didn't help out enough at home. My life was school--I just wasn't there. 

Anyhow. I'm going to go to the grocery store, and hopefully to pick up some garden soil, so that I can con myself into getting those lupines in the ground, at least. I started them from seed three years ago, and they took over the raised bed where I've had them growing while they mature. I don't want to lose them--so much time and effort went into getting them to this point!

22 March 2021

HeartWood Literary Magazine accepts two poems.

I've really been struggling--the rejection letters have been doing a number on me, when I'm usually able to shrug them off. It's just been a while since I've had an acceptance thrown into the mix, and I've been starting to doubt my newer work. While I'm working to reorganize and reconfigure my manuscript, I'm starting to feel like my individual poems just aren't reaching the right editors. I'm working on reading more journals, on really paying attention to what's being published and where--but I often feel like I'm flying blind. 

Today, I sent out work to four places--Black Fox Literary Magazine, Neon, Broad River Review, and The Swamp Literary Magazine. I've not submitted to any of these publications before, and I'm hoping my work will fit what they might be looking for. Neon publishes speculative literature and horror--I sent a few of my creepier works, but I find that speculative literature is much like erotic literature--there are many different flavors, and my own take on the genre isn't always well-received. We'll see how it goes. 

I had really hoped to send a selection of work to the Fairy Tale Review during their current reading period, but they are looking for nonce poetry, and it's just too new of a concept to me. I'd not heard of it until a few days ago, and I am not confident that I wouldn't be wasting their editors' time. Their current theme is dreams and sleep, which is right up my alley, so I might get brave in the next week or two and send something to them, but I doubt it. 

And in a weird bit of timing, I received an acceptance email from HeartWood Literary Magazine, which is associated with the MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. They are going to publish my poems "That Long, Vacant Room" and "Ephemeris."

"That Long, Vacant Room" is very new--I believe I wrote it over Christmas break this year, so it's only a few months old. "Ephemeris" is about 18 months old--a short, little poem that I really like. Both poems contain teeth imagery, by chance. I am glad to see them both find a home. 

So, the weird timing--I just sent "Ephemeris" out as part of my submission to The Gettysburg Review yesterday, and "That Long, Vacant Room" went out to New Ohio Review yesterday AND to Black Fox Literary Magazine today. I feel strange about having to withdraw work that was submitted less than 24 hours before, but what can I do, really? I hope none of the editors are too irritated.

HeartWood Literary Magazine

21 March 2021

Santa Clara Review, and the ebb and flow of poetry submissions.

After having very little movement on the poetry submission front, the last few days have brought a flurry of rejection letters . . . I received a few more since my last post, and High Plains Register has gone on hiatus, so my submission there was released. 

I did receive an acceptance from Santa Clara Review--they are going to publish my poem "Spell-casting." This poem was written in early March 2020, while I was in San Antonio attending AWP. That trip was only a few days after Mr. Greene, my second husband, died--and the poem is about him. I am glad it will be published; I really like the poem, thought it's a little more sentimental than my work usually is.

I spent a good chunk of my morning pullng together submissions to send back out into the world, and I submitted to The Gettysburg Review and New Ohio Review today.

Santa Clara Review

Winter term is put to bed, and Spring Break's rejection letters.

My winter term ended on Friday, but I graded through Saturday afternoon . . . which isn't that bad, all things considered. I woke up today knowing I have the whole week to myself.

I had decided to work a light grading day on Thursday, and then I was lucky enough to be called on Thursday afternoon to receive my first dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. I was tired and cranky on Friday, post vaccination, so what I should have been able to finish on Friday was left over until Saturday morning. 

I am grateful--getting myself online at the computer on Saturday made it easier for me to prep my spring term classes. I am teaching WR122 and WR227 in spring term, and fortunately, I taught both in winter term. I was able to get those online classes ready for the whole term in less than an hour each. 

My literature course has to be built from the ground up, due to an unexpected change in textbook, but I built the first week's module and all introductory materials last weekend . . . so, I am able to focus on taking a spring break. I won't log back into the college website until early on the 29th.

Here at home, my vegetable garden is already tilled and fertilized and ready for tomato and cucumber starts once the nights warm up a little more. Having that done, I'm hoping I'll be able to carve out some meaningful time to work on drafting new poetry. I also have some AWP panels I'd like to watch before my access expires to the conference materials. 

I have to pick up a stack of poems from Staples--I had everything printed out, so I can organize a better, stronger book manuscript this week. There are 3-4 first book contests coming up, so I want to focus on presenting the best manuscript I can. I think some of my newer work is going to end up in this new version of the book.

This week, I've received several rejection letters, meaning I have some work to revise and send out again. Rattle rejected my submission; they're publishing a tribute to Appalachian writers, so I thought I might have a chance. They had my work for a really long time, but they apparently received work from over 900 writers who identify as Appalachian. Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Bennington Review, and Poet Lore also sent rejection letters this week. It was a bit discouraging, but I know it's part of the process.

15 March 2021

Just under the wire, all original work is graded in my winter classes. Whew.

Well, I promised students in my composition class that they'd have their grades by Monday morning at 8 am, and I literally submitted the last score at 7:58 am. Sunday and Monday combined, I rewrote an extensive rubric for the assignment (a Toulmin model argument/research paper) and graded 13 papers. 

This morning I've graded the few smaller assignments due in Week 10, and now, Final Exam Week is officially underway for my students. That prep work was done last weekend, so it's been nice to feel a bit of weight lift from my shoulders this morning. Still many, many revisions to grade before end of day Friday, but I am confident I'll get it done AND be able to reclaim a bit of my Monday to make up for the weekend I sacrificed. 

I have another twenty minutes in office hours, and I'll be able to spend a few hours outside in the garden again--rain off and on yesterday and overcast skies have given way to some blue sky and white puffy clouds today, and I am ready for it. 

I received a rejection letter this morning from Rubbertop Review, out of University of Akron. It is a small journal, and frankly, I regretted submitting to them as soon as I recorded it on Duotrope. Apparently, they're still reading submissions as if nothing is outdated, but their website is a year or more out of date, and their submission period didn't open when it was supposed to open in February. This happens every once in a while--I look at the publication's website and not notice that it has 2019 dates all over the place. Duotrope pays a lot of attention to this, and I just forgot to look up Rubbertop at Duotrope before submitting. Regardless, they didn't select any of my poems. I did get an invitation to submit again, so encouragement, too.

I think the selection of poems was fairly strong--I swapped two out for other works, and I submitted a new selection to Quarterly West this morning. 

In other news, Rattle apparently did a mass rejection of a ton of poetry submissions in the last week or two, and they've not yet rejected my submission from last July. I'm hoping that this means my work is in the final cuts for an upcoming issue. They have an issue on Appalachian poets coming up, and I am hoping I have a real shot at being included. They reject 99% of what they read, so it would be huge.

14 March 2021

A manuscript rejection from Perugia Press. You can find me in the garden.

I received a rejection letter from Perugia Press yesterday on my full-length book manuscript. They only select one book per year to publish, so it's a very small chance--but it's always a first book by a woman, so I gave it a shot. I'm disappointed, but not heartbroken.

I am looking forward to Spring Break--which starts next Friday on the 19th. This coming week, I have to focus on both getting all of my grading done AND on prepping my spring term courses, so that I can have a full 9 days without UCC. 

During that time, I'm hoping to reorganize my full-length book manuscript and swap in a few poems that I've written since fall. There are several first-book contests with late March deadlines, so the week off will be extremely helpful, and I'll be able to focus on my own work for an uninterrupted week. 

I started working on my raised beds a few times this past week, but I overdid it a little on Friday--my left knee has been giving me problems lately, so I took it easy yesterday. Today, I was up and ready to go, but it's miserable and wet and chilly outside. 

I did get all of my strawberry plants cleaned up--most of them made it through the fall, when I cut back on watering. My "clean up" is cutting off last year's dead leaves and replacing any dead plants with new starts. I have a LOT of starts; so many, I'm going to end up composting some of them. I'm pulling strawberry runners out of the garden pathways, out of the rock borders, and out of all other corners of the beds. Some of the runners have runners--I'm guessing it was due to the mild winter. My raised beds are made of cinderblocks, so the strawberries are planted in the holes in each brick. I have 80-100 plants--more than enough to grow sick of strawberries before I ever run out of them. It works well--it keeps slugs to a minimum, and the berries tend to grow ripen and hang off the bricks, so they're easy to pick. 

I still have to fertilize my asparagus and add a layer of fresh compost to them, and I have some lupines to pull from the artichoke bed before I finish cultivating around them. The lupines will be moving to the back yard this spring--I'm excited; I started them from seed three years ago, and they are huge and healthy this year. And I bought some sugar snap peas to plant--hopefully those will go in this week, too.

I bought a manual tiller--something called a soil ripper. I've always looked at them and wondered if they'd be easier than a cultivator or rake, and I'd assumed they'd be a waste of money. I finally bought one, and I can't believe I've lived without it! My raised beds get root bound from trees and shrubs in my yard, I think . . . I was worried I was going to have to move the soil and line them this year, but the soil ripper is amazing. It is still a workout, but it's much easier on my back. 

I am putting off grading the last of my students' original work--I have to quit looking for ways to procrastinate. 

07 March 2021

UPDATED: A Congress of Freaks.

I mentioned "Congress of Freaks" photos in an earlier blog post, but I thought I'd share a small collection of the congress photos I've found in the past few years. Congress of Freaks photos are dated group photos of all performers in a circus or sideshow.

Circuses often contracted with photographers like Edward J. Kelty to take photos of circus performers--I'd assumed these shots were used for press materials and souvenirs. According to Art Blart online, though, Kelty paid Ringling in order to be permitted to take these photos. 

This complicated my simple belief about these "congress" photos, because many sources claim that larger circuses like Ringling had their own in-house photographers for souvenirs and marketing. 

Part of my update on 3/15 is to sheepishly admit that I'd forgotten that I actually own a book on Kelty and his photographs. My circus/sideshow/tattoo history library isn't that big, but the copy I own is missing its dust jacket, and I completely forgot about it until I was doing some online research, scouring the interwebs for any books I still need.

I do not regret spending a bit of my early afternoon leafing through Kelty's photographs today. And, I did some fact-checking.

Kelty might have had to pay an up-front fee for access to the circus grounds, but he was given wide access and took photos throughout the day--some larger group and "congress" photos, and some of individual troupes and performers. He would then develop the negatives and print proofs on a very quick turnaround, to provide both the performers and the circuses the option of purchasing prints from him. There were other photographers who took the circus's photographs during the show and inside the tent, but Kelty made a name for himself with his large group photographs before the shows and behind the scenes.

The usefulness of the photographs for my purposes isn't really affected by how and why the photos came to be. They're rich with information that I could not and would not be able to find anywhere else, and certainly not while a pandemic has me trapped at home in rural Oregon. 

Bear with me as I'm organizing the photos by tattooed lady, not necessarily chronologically.

Betty Broadbent

I'm going to start with a few congress photos that include Betty Broadbent, one of the best-known tattooed ladies working in the 1920s and 1930s in the United States. 

The first photo below is from the Sells-Floto sideshow in 1931. It features Betty Broadbent on the bottom row, left side. And, Broadbent is standing next to Frances O'Connor, who worked sideshows as "The Living Venus de Milo"--such acts were known generically as "armless wonders" in the sideshow business. O'Connor was one of the stars of the 1932 film Freaks. You can see that both banners to the performers' right actually advertise O'Connor's appearance.

The second image here is from the 1937 season of Ringling/Barnum & Bailey's Combined Circus. This photo was taken by Kelty, and it shows Betty Broadbent in the lower row, left side. From this I know where Broadbent worked (and with whom) in the summer of 1937. And, at some point between 1931 and 1937, she moved from working under the smaller Sells-Floto sideshow to working with the Ringling/Barnum & Bailey Circus. 
It's important to note that Sells-Floto became part of the American Circus Corporation in the late 1920s, and in 1929, Ringling bought the American Circus Corporation. This move gave them a monopoly on traveling circuses in the United States. So, by 1931, Sells-Floto may have still operated their sideshow under the Sells-Floto banners, but they were part of the larger Ringling family. 

Ada Mae Vandermark and Betty Broadbent

This rare photograph that shows Betty Broadbent several years earlier, in 1928, working with Ada Mae Vandermark. Both women are on the bottom row of the photo--Ada Mae on the left and Betty on the right. This is Betty with her hair cut into a flapper-style bob, which she only had in the early years of her career.

I've never read anything to indicate that Betty Broadbent was ever anything other than the only tattooed lady on a bill, so seeing Ada Mae alongside Betty is an unexpected bit of history that can't be disputed.

Ada Mae Vandermark and Lotta Pictoria

To take a closer look at Ada Mae's resume, this photo from the 1927 Ringling/Barnum & Bailey season shows Ada Mae Vandermark on the bottom row, toward the left side. She is wearing a large snake as a boa; being a "snake charmer" or "snake handler" would have increased her popularity and her ability to draw a crowd--so it would have been a real value to hire her. Interesting to note, in 1927, the circus traveled with a second tattooed lady--on the bottom row toward the right, you can see Lotta Pictoria, too. It is interesting to note that this photo is included in the Kelty book, and the tattooed ladies are billed as "Miss Artorio, tattooed wonder" and "Miss Pictorio, tattooed girl." I have seen Ada Mae identified with the last name "Artorio" in a few other places, and now I can surmise that it's not incorrect, but that it was a stage name she used.

I've not found any research that speaks to these tattooed ladies knowing one another or working together, so this is another exciting morsel of information to find in a photograph.


And, while the following photo is not dated, it also features Ada Mae and Lotta together again. This may be another shot from the 1927 season, given the overlap in other performers between the two photos. 


Ada Mae Vandermark

To take a step forward to 1931, the photo below shows a much smaller Congress of Freaks from Ringling/Barnum & Bailey's 1931 season. The solo tattooed lady that year was Ada Mae Vandermark, pictured here on the bottom row.

And Ada Mae also appeared in Ringling's "Golden Jubilee" season in 1933. She's on the top right.

Lotta Pictoria
And, not to be pushed to the side, a few years earlier, Lotta Pictoria was the sole tattooed attraction in Ringling's 1925 lineup. Here she is, on the upper left:

Stella Grassman

And although a bit out of order, the photo below, from the 1929 season of Ringling/Barnum & Bailey, shows Edith "Stella" Grassman as the tattooed lady; she's on the top row on the right. Her husband, Deafy Grassman, was responsible for all of her tattoo work. I originally thought this photo was labeled the 1924 season--it's hard to read--but that date would have made Stella only 15 years old. So, 1929 it is.

Deafy worked as a tattooist in both Philadelphia and NYC. Stella is easy to pick out in photos--her chest piece is a large butterfly--much more feminine than the patriotic tattoos that cover most tattooed ladies of this era. She also often wore a costume that had a custom-tailored neckline to highlight her chest tattoo.

Here is a second congress photo with Stella in about the same spot on the top row--I don't believe it's the same year, as there are several differences in the roster, but this photo is not dated. My guess is that it's probably from 1930. Also interesting to note is the autograph or signature on the lower right bottom of this photo--every copy of this photo on the internet today is a copy of THIS print. I can't find a single copy online that doesn't include that signature, or that does include a date.

Lady Viola 

The photo below shows Ringling/Barnum & Bailey's congress from the 1932 season. In that year, Ethel Vangi, who worked under the stage name Lady Viola, was the featured tattooed lady. She is pictured on the top row, on the right.

That means that Lotta Pictoria worked for Ringling in 1925, but Ada Mae Vandermark and Lotta Pictoria worked together as Ringling's tattooed ladies in 1927, and Ada Mae and Betty Broadbent worked together for Ringling in 1928. Then, Stella Grassman was the tattooed lady in 1929 and at least in one other season, possibly 1930. Ada Mae Vandermark was back as the tattooed lady is seasons 1931 and 1933, but it looks as if Lady Viola was the tattooed lady in Ringling's 1932 lineup.

And while I can't guess at whether these performers worked an entire season or just part of a season, or if their contracts regularly overlapped like Ada Mae's and Lotta's or Betty's, but it's an intriguing look at some proof of a tattooed lady's reputation and employment. 

And none of these photos show Trixie Richardson, though she is supposed to have been working for Ringling in the late 1920s. I am certain that none of the women pictured above is also Trixie Richardson. 

it's just another puzzle piece, and I'm many puzzle pieces short of a certain history for any of these women.

Through these photos as well, I've seen a few costumes that I've not seen Ada Mae wear in any other surviving photographs--out of all of the tattooed ladies included in my research, Ada Mae seemed to have more costumes in her traveling wardrobe than anyone else working at the same time. 

Many of the tattooed ladies who were photographed for pitch cards in New York photography studios of the time actually wore the same handful of costumes and jewelry. This has lead me to believe that certain photographers kept a small wardrobe of costumes for circus attractions to wear, not unlike the "old time" photography studios that we still see today at tourist destinations throughout the United States.

04 March 2021

Two new submissions, and some thoughts after the first day of AWP.

As I was sitting in my studio watching an incredible panel on women writing over 50, I realized it's been a month since I've sent out any poetry for publication consideration. When I checked this morning, I haven't sent out work since February 9th. Close enough. It's easy to start thinking I'm just not working hard enough, not putting enough time into the process--I"m grateful I started tracking my submissions on Duotrope in addition to the excel spreadsheet I've always used.

Duotrope reminds me that I've sent 452 poems out into the world in the past year, and that is pretty fantastic.

I did receive a rejection letter yesterday from Superstition Review, so submissions were already on my mind. (And who doesn't love a rejection during AWP? LOL) I pulled together a selection of five poems for Cream City Review and another four poems for Waxwing, and I sent those out this morning. Both journals have deadlines at the end of March/start of April. 

I also scratched out a rough draft of a new poem titled "Witchcraft" yesterday afternoon. That's a working title; I'm certain it won't stay.

I have really enjoyed the first day of AWP's conference, and the second day is just about to begin. At first, I thought there seemed like so many less panels this year than usual, but they've also spread the panels across Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday--when all the panels are usually concentrated on Thu-Fri-Sat. So, there might be a few less options, and the book fair experience is difficult to replicate virtually, but I like the more gradual roll-out of panels. I'm really impressed with the panels I've sat in on, and I loved the reading I attended yesterday afternoon of contemporary Muslim literature.

I know I'm going to have to spend some time this week on grading, but I really want to focus on my own writing and craft this week.

03 March 2021

AWP starts today, and new tattoo books!

I made the decision to attend AWP this year as soon as it was announced that the whole thing would be virtual. Yes, it means that it was less expensive than usual to attend, but I usually look forward to having those four days in a hotel room, alone, to incubate new ideas and generate new drafts of poems. I am sure that the interruptions of the cats and of trying to stay focused on writing when I can see my house is a wreck is going to present its own set of challenges. However, I am really looking forward to being able to revisit panels and readings while I'm on spring break at the end of March--having access to all AWP conference offerings for a month after the conference is an amazing opportunity for attendees like me who are in Week 8 of a 10-week school term, when student emails and freak-outs begin to ramp up in anticipation of final grades. 

As I mentioned earlier this week, I bought myself a few new books on tattoo history and one on the history of the dime museum in the United States. I decided my 50th birthday was reason enough to spend the money on these five books, but truthfully, they'll all have bearing on my larger project. The most amazing book--a collection of Dutch tattooist Henk Schiffmacher's vast tattoo history archive was just released by Taschen in January, and it's gorgeous. 


There are some high resolution photographs of tattooed ladies--nothing I've not seen before, but larger and crisply in focus. The most incredible part of the book is that the limited history that's included via the photographs' captions reinforces some of the conclusions I've come to myself about tattooed ladies and about tattoo history in general. And, there is a revelation about Trixie Richardson! 

I will go into detail about that in another blog post next week--I'm a few minutes away from my first AWP session for the day, and I want to get myself set up in my studio before it begins.