Monday, May 31, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Welcome to June, and Confession Tuesday. I hope the summer-like weather is bringing out the sinner in you! Share a little of yourself with us and we promise to do the same. Don't forget to visit the folks doing time in The Confessional (see sidebar).



I forgot it was Confession Tuesday! I was just laying in bed listening to the rain fall (wondering if my car windows are up), and realized it's not Monday. So here I am, scribbling a few confessions with thunder in the distance.

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Besides going to Block Island for a reading, I had a chance to see Sex and the City 2 this weekend. I was never a big fan of the show, but I saw the first movie on cable television so much I couldn't avoid it. Through all the ridiculously over-the-top fashion and recession-proof lifestyles, something about these four women spoke to me. Maybe because their message has changed from being young and free to being young, free, and encumbered with responsibilities.


The truest moment in SATC2 for me comes when the characters Miranda and Charlotte have a heart to heart about the difficulties of motherhood. Earlier in the movie, there's a scene where Charlotte cries in the closet after yelling at her daughter for getting food coloring on her clothes, while her infant daughter is sobbing uncontrollably in the high chair. What mother hasn't left the room for a self-imposed time-out? Miranda also is having trouble finding that work-life balance many of us try to seek.

By the time the two ladies sit down for a cocktail, they are more than ready to open up about the hard work of being a mother: it's a blessing, but overwhelming; sometimes motherhood is not enough; sometimes we think about getting away; and, how do women without help (which is most of us) do it day after day.

It was a little bit of validation for this Poet Mom to see women on the big screen talk about these rarely discussed issues.

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I hate cutting the grass. I mean, it's great exercise but it represents everything I never signed on for but am stuck doing. (That's a gripe, not a confession.)

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Going to Block Island gave me a chance to start a new poem. Hope to post it this week. Since I didn't write any poems worth keeping in May, I'd like to get back to a poem a week in June.

This also is the month to start working on revising poems in manuscript #2. I expect this to take up the bulk of my time, this and lots of play time with the kids.

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Yesterday, my friends and I shot a video for one of my poems. That was the post I had ready to go for today before I realized it was Confession Tuesday. Pictures from the video shoot will go up later this afternoon.

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Bring on Summer of Fun 2010!

Memorial Day




This is my dad and me in November, 1970. I'm not sure where mom took the picture, maybe in military housing on one of dad's trips to Hawaii, or somewhere in Virginia where he was stationed.



My dad served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was in the Marines for 20 years, and worked as a civilian police office on the Norfolk Naval Base for another 22 years. He's retired, and now serves my mom--as it should be! *smile*

On this Memorial Day, I celebrate my father, all the enlisted men and women serving now, the families of those who serve, and those who have served this country during the years.

Love you, Dad!

Soup and Song

How did I come to read poetry on an island 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island?

About a month ago, Pastor Steve Holloway sent me an e-mail titled, “Would you like to come to Block Island with the kids?” An e-mail like that deserved serious attention. Steve, also a poet, went on to explain that he found my poetry online, and watched a YouTube video from the CityLit Festival in April. It turned out to be the weekend the kids stayed with their father, so I went down with my BFF Suzie and had a blast!


We read at the Soup and Song coffeehouse, a space inside the church where the local community share a meal, along with music and poetry. We had a packed crowd of children and adults from all over the island.



It was an honor to read with Steve and Rhode Island Poet Laureate Lisa Starr.





She reminded us to stay in the moment, to be present and not let the days slip away without noticing them. I took that message to heart, listening to that little voice inside of me every time it spoke.

I slept. I wrote. I walked along the beach and collected rocks. I ate blueberry pancakes two days in a row (Yum!). Most important, I laughed a lot and took plenty of pictures.

My sincere thanks to Steve and his family for sharing their home with us, and giving me some much needed "me" time.



The Harbor Light Church with yard sale in progress.



The Southeast Lighthouse.












A view from the ferry.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham



The kids and I woke up this morning and read books, which we tend to do from time to time. I usually do the reading, but today, Alex, my six-year old, read Green Eggs and Ham all by himself! I had forgotten how hard it is to make sense of words at the most basic level. He had a little trouble with words like "will" and "would," but his effort was just amazing! It was a true mommy moment for me! My baby's growing up. *sniff! sniff!*


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Last night, members of our local writers' group got together to plan upcoming events for Arts Fest Beverly. Poet Colleen Michaels has spearheaded an effort to have writers added to the hefty roster of artists and musicians taking part this year. Lots of kid activities and adult entertainment in the Writers' Studio on Cabot Street. Scroll down for schedule details.

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I have the day off. Yahoo! Block Island, here I come. Also, hope to see the movie Sex in the City 2. Enjoy the weekend.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

ForeWord Reviews' Book of the Year Awards



I'm proud to announce that Underlife took the Bronze in ForeWord Reviews' 2009 Book of the Year Awards for poetry! Woo hoo! Thanks to ForeWord Reviews for putting me in the mix with such great poets and poetry collections. It’s quite an honor.


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About the same time yesterday, I found out that yet again I was turned down for a Mass Cultural Council Artists Fellowship (FAIL!) But, congrats to the winners and honorable mentions.


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Wednesday was a soul-crushing day. But I’m hopeful that today will be much, much better.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Block Island Reading



I’m very excited about this weekend’s reading on Block Island. Hope you can make it!


Friday, May 28
Reading with Lisa Starr, music by Virginia Dare
Soup and Song coffeehouse
Block Island, RI, 7 p.m.


January G. O'Neil will give a reading of poems from her book Underlife at the Soup and Song coffeehouse on Block Island, RI. The program will include a reading by Lisa Starr, poet laureate of Rhode Island and author of Mad with Yellow, and songs by Block Island folk singer Virginia Dare.

Soup and Song is located in the Harbor Church just up the hill from the Point Judith-Block Island ferry in Old Harbor. Free soup and sandwiches are offered at 6:30 p.m. Coffee and baked goods, also free, are available through the performances. Donations are received which go to the artists. Soup and Song is sponsored by the Block Island Prevention Task Force and Harbor Church.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reading on the Web

Most of us can write for the Web, but have you ever stopped to think how we read on the Web? I was in a Web writing workshop yesterday and heard this little nugget that piqued my interest.

In general, Web readers read copy in an F- or E-shaped pattern. From useit.com:





The red portions are the most-read sections, followed by yellow and blue sections. The gray areas? Forget about it! This is the sidebar/banner ad space. (When was the last time you clicked on a banner ad?) We read in a horizontal pattern, and then move vertically scanning a Web page for relevant content.

Web site copy is written for people who skim. Now, I think blog visitors are used to reading longer pieces so there are always exceptions. People read our posts to make a connection or get information. Yet, from my own experience, I don’t read too far below the fold when reading copy on a screen. I scan. As for longer pieces, I print and read them when I have more time.

So, here are some basic tips to make your content more reader friendly:

  • Put keywords and important themes in the first two paragraphs
  • Use short sentences
  • Write in active voice
  • Use bullets and subheads
  • Use keywords in your headers
  • Use, but don’t overuse, bold and italics
  • Add links to enhance your content
  • Be authentic
  • Minimize typos

These tips won’t work for all types of Web writing. I don’t think that all blog posts have to be short—not in the least. I tend to write my posts with breaks between thoughts (ex., see Confession Tuesday post) to give the eyes a rest. If I really want to expand on a topic, I do, using some of the items in the list above. Today’s readers want to visit your page, connect or get info, and move on.

Confession Tuesday

It’s the last Tuesday in May! Share a little of yourself with us and we promise to do the same. Also, be sure to say hi to the folks doing time in The Confessional (see sidebar).


Feel better, mom!


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Thanks to everyone for the kind words about my poem “Early Memory” on the Academy of American Poets’ Web site. Can’t tell you how honored I am to be a part of their poem-a-day series. Woo hoo!


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Last night, my friend and Underlife cover designer Eric Stich took new publicity photos of me. We set about on the streets of Boston to find settings with an urban feel. I’m so used to taking pictures of everyone else that it’s hard to get in front of the camera. If we get anything worth showing, I’ll post a few on the blog.

Oh heck, it was fun being out on a Monday night. Thanks Eric!


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With the help my neighbor Katie, my vegetable garden has been planted! Anyone who knows me knows that gardening is not my thing. I like the finished product, and while digging a hole in the ground is not that big of a deal, well, I’d rather write a poem about gardening than doing the work. Anyway, Katie came over with her young son; all the kids played together while we tilled, dug, and planted. And now it’s done. One more thing off the list!


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I complain a lot about not getting things done off of my to-do list, but I was reminded yesterday of how much I do daily. But I'm still not writing very much. So a friend suggested that instead of writing every night, I should try consecutive days—two days on, one day off. Maybe I can pick up some momentum, which will take the pressure off. Also, this new mini-schedule will allow me to get in some reading. So here’s this week's list.

1. Write two poems
2. Revise and put together a set of poems for submissions
3. Pitch an article
4. Write a book review
5. Update blog; I think it’s time for a refresh

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Home Grown Festival

Last night, I was a part of the Home Grown Festival, a fundraiser for the Beverly Public Library. As predicted, it was a hoot! The evening was filled with skits, performances, comedy, short films, music, poetry, and laughter. Not sure how much money was raised for the library, but we had about 100 people at the event. Thanks to Sean Devlin for organizing another terrific evening for a great cause.



"Actors" for the old-timey radio skit.



Leigh Calabrese playing the saw!


Poetry vixen Colleen Michaels.


Yours truly.


Left to right: Terry Kennedy, Kevin Carey, and Aurelia Nelson performing Sean Devlin's play Gloucester Cowboys.




Music by the S Band.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

TGIFF

I’m slogging through one of my many to-do lists. I’m getting things done, such as organizing dates, coordinating kids’ schedules, getting reading for summer camps, really mundane things that really give me a sense of calm once completed. It’s nice being able to control the controllables.


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Writing has taken a back seat to revision. I’ve been weeding through my manuscript, making notes and moving poems around. For me, the process is anxiety-filled yet satisfying at the same time. I’ve had enough distance from the work that I can really serve the poems. I can strip away much of the emotion and really take out words and phrases that don’t fit. And, I’m able to add lines here and there to flesh them out.


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On the agenda this weekend: T-ball, play dates, gardening, poetry, and a little adult time at the Home Grown Festival. I’m really looking forward to this fun little gathering to benefit the Beverly Library. Should be a hoot.


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Call for work: Gulf Coast poems

Poets for Living Waters is a poetry action in response to the Gulf Oil Disaster of April 20, 2010, one of the most profound man-made ecological catastrophes in history. Former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky describes the popularity of poetry after 9/11 as a turn away from the disaster’s overwhelming enormity to a more manageable individual scale. As we confront the magnitude of this recent tragedy, such a return may well aid us.



Thursday, May 20, 2010

We Are Feminists Because


Thanks, Cindy, for sharing this with me.

Review of Underlife

Kimberlee Gerstmann at Scraps & Sass was kind enough to write a review Underlife. Here's a snippet:

It was a rainy pre-spring day, and my husband was out of town for work. I’d returned home after a grueling day and was looking forward to some quiet time. I quickly scanned the mail and found a mid-sized manila envelope addressed to me. Inside the dim confines of the wrapping was Underlife by January Gill O’Neil. I flipped through the first few pages and instantly wanted more. My plans for the evening shifted. Instead of watching tv and going to bed early, I ended up eating take out and reading through the book from cover to cover.



Visit Scraps & Sass for the full review. Thanks Kimberlee.

Read other reviews of Underlife from the Virtual Blog Tour.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Country of Loneliness

Photos from Dawn Paul's reading at Porter Square Books last night for her book, The Country of Loneliness.





Members of the Salem Writers' Group: Kevin Carey, Colleen Michaels, Jennifer Jean, and Laurette Folk




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Porter Square Books is a mainstay in Cambridge so I was happily surprised to see a copy of Underlife on the shelves. The bookstore now has a signed copy, so run--don't walk--and buy a signed copy today! (*smile*)

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Collin Kelley has a few things to say about Poetry and Technology at Very Like a Whale



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Go Celts! Go Red Sox!

Home Grown Festival

Hope you can join us!

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Home Grown Festival: Fundraiser for the Beverly Public Library
Sat, May 22, 7 p.m.
American Legion Post, 3 Judson Street, Beverly


Join us for a fun evening of home grown entertainment and collaboration hosted by Sean Devlin to support the Beverly Public Library.

The Fish Flake Hill Cultural Center will serve up an evening of home grown entertainment, featuring a full production of Algiers, Kevin Carey’s 10 minute play. Algiers was featured at the New Hampshire Theater Project and the Firehouse Theater in Newburyport.

Tom Martin, Beverly’s top mailman, entertainer and old time radio guru, will be sampling old time radio shows, and he will show us some cool sound effects like galloping coconuts!

Leigh Calabrese will be playing the saw. Dan Stevens will be screening a selection of his short comedy films. Other performances will include stand-up comedy by Brett Johnson, a reading of Sean Devlin’s 10 minute play, poetry by January Gill O'Neil, The Gloucester Cowboys, and live music with Doug Baumoel.

Coffee, snacks, cash bar, a raffle and some strong language. Tickets are $7.00, available at the door. All proceeds will go toward purchasing new books for the library.

The Fish Flake Hill Cultural Center (aka Devlin’s Garage) has brought you the Trashfinder’s Ball, The Bookmobile Theater, The Fish Flake Hill Talent Show, and the downtown Halloween Parade.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks! What's the one thing that drove you crazy last week? Or the one thing that bought a smile to your face? Share a little of yourself today on Confession Tuesday and we'll promise to do the same.



A good friend of mine says that these days, people are getting their inspiration/spirituality from one of two places: religion or Oprah. Sometimes both. Well, anyone who knows me knows that worship at the altar of Oprah.

So yesterday I went to Oprah's Web site and found this video of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. Gilbert's words have been a touchstone for me as I move into life after divorce, so whenever she talks, I listen. (If you have a 20 minutes to check out the video, please do.) She's a terrific storyteller. I identify with her views on creativity, on failure, and on living well, which is a good model for me--someone trying to honor who and what she love vs. life's mundane but necessary obligations.


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Now that I've been given this second chance to become whoever it is I am supposed to be, I hope I am living a life that honors my children, my parents, and the people who care most about me. I hope I am making a difference somehow. If not today, then tomorrow, and the next day, and forever after.

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I am too hard on myself; I recognize that and am working on it. I need to laugh more.

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My poem, "Shelf Life" is up at Salamander Cove.

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This week I'm trying to nurture my creative side by saying yes more than I say no. What I really need to do is write poetry and read a few poetry books. And spend a little more time laughing with the kids. Good thing summer is just around the corner.

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I make a lot of to-do lists, but I enjoy making them and crossing items off. Makes me feel as if I'm moving forward. So for this week:

1. Write two poems, one from a Big Tent Poetry prompt
2. Read a poetry collection and a fiction book from my reading list
3. Revise 4-6 poems to send out for submissions

Keeping it simple this time. Maybe I'll start Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert for fiction, and Susan Rich's The Alchemist's Kitchen for poetry.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up







Alex and Ella have made sticking their tongues out and mugging for the camera an art form. But, they are pretty darn cute.



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We spent part of the weekend with my college friends in Springfield. It's a nice visit for us because the kids play well together. They went off to play for long periods of time, so I was able to a chance to hang out with the adults. They enjoy the freedom, and I love being able to hear my own thoughts.


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Happy birthday, Heather!


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Finally made it to the dr.'s on Friday for antibiotics. I guess I had a sinus infection, a first for me. I'm not one to get sick but this caught me by surprise. Feeling much better today.


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Had a great time on Sunday reading poetry at the Open Studios event at the Newton JCC. I read with the Bagel Bards in a round. Nice to read with other local poets surrounded by art!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Working for the Weekend

Happy Friday, folks. So much for working late. I’m right back at it again today.


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Nic Sebastian is at it again with her terrific Ten Questions series. This time, the focus is on Poetry and Technology. Amy King is first on the list with some terrific insights about how technology is changing poetry (or how poetry is changing technology).


Here’s the weekly schedule. I have an interview coming up in July:

Colin Kelley
Ren Powell
Chris Hamilton-Emery
Cati Porter
Ron Silliman
Sandra Beasley
Dave Bonta
January O’Neil
John Vick


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I’m reading this Sunday with the Bagel Bards. Hope you can join us.

The Bagel Bards, a literary organization of Somerville, MA, will be reading at the Newton Open Studios event: 1 to 3PM May 16 at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston--Newton Campus:

Leventhal-Sidman JCC
Location #60: 333 Nahanton Street, Newton Centre

Featured Poets:

Zvi Sesling
Ruth Chad
Barbara Bialick
January O'Neil
Lolita Polanski
Jack Scully

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I wasn't sure about plans for this weekend. What I really want to do is rest, but with two little ones in the house, rest is not an option. So I’m doing the next best thing: hanging out with friends so the kids can play together and give me a chance to speak to the adults.


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For a busy, seemingly unfocused week, I crossed a few things off the to-do list:

  • Made a few inquiries about readings for fall '10/spring '11
  • (This wasn’t on the list but cool indeed) I was asked to be on a panel for AWP D.C.
  • Started to plan a writers’ mini-retreat

Did not write any new poems but finished one I had been working on for weeks. Not a bad week. Not a bad week at all.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Commence the Commencement



As of 9:48 p.m. ET, I'm still at work.

This is the one night of the year I work late, really late, as my coworkers and I put together the commencement booklets for the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies this Saturday. In less than 8 hours, we check all the names, awards, and program info. Then the books are designed and sent to print; the last book should go in a few minutes and copies will arrive tomorrow, late afternoon. My job is to make sure the books are error free (because who wants to see their name misspelled on graduation day).

The commencement booklet is the official record of the graduating class, as well as a keepsake. I'm proud to say that my team has an error-free record (hope I haven't jinxed myself). It should look as if it literally dropped out of the sky, perfectly printed and bound, as if it was effortless to create. Not the frantic race against time it is to put these babies to bed.


Speaking of bed, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why Poets Are Like Entrepreneurs

I have often said that poets and entrepreneurs have a lot in common. We’re self-starters. We often work alone, and work long hours for little or no pay. We’re creative types willing to take risks in our craft and in our development as writers. But we have a vision, so we know how to arrange our lives to follow our passion—writing poetry. Poets, in some respects, share a kinship to social entrepreneurs, because what we do has the ability to bring together a community and to benefit society as a whole.


And, if we have a book, project, or event to promote, we’re often the content provider, editor, event promoter, host, marketer, social media expert, Web tech, agent, and venture capitalist, all rolled into one.


On the other hand, doing even one-third of this stuff leaves little time to write, much less work a day (or night) job and raise a family.


Why am I thinking about this today? I’m feeling rather blah and unfocused. Could be the head cold or the Sudafed that’s making me blasé. In any case, I’m in the process of re-evaluating what I should put my energies into during the summer while balancing a busy home life and work schedule. Heck, if I can eliminate one thing off of my to-do list before collapsing into bed, I’m a happy woman.


Here are some things we can take from entrepreneurs:
• Define your goals
• Have a plan
• Get feedback
• Reach out to your community
• Re-evaluate
• Focus and be consistent


My goal with Underlife is a simple one: get a second print run, which means selling through the first. (At the beginning of May, Underlife had sold almost one-half of the first print run. Woo hoo!) But my goal as a poet has always been to constantly improve as a writer, and to use poetry (mine and others) as a way of creating community.


I don’t have a lot of money to spend or time to waste, so I am developing a manageable plan with realistic expectations. This blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads are ways in which I reach a broad audience. I give as many local readings as possible, submit poems to journals and online publications, and write articles/give interviews for anyone who will read them. I do those things because they’re fun for me, not because I might sell more books. I don’t give away a ton of copies but try to get Underlife into as many hands as possible. This is not rocket science. In fact, most of us do these things already.


So many poetry collections are published every year, it’s hard to get anyone outside of family members to care. But that’s the beauty of being poet-preneurs: we have “gone rogue.” We understand what it means to try, fail, and fail again—and often. We don’t do this for the money because there is none (not at the start).

Every once in a while, my words connect with a reader. It's usually from a poem I didn’t think much of at the time, but somehow it has resonated with another person. I have made a connection. For me, that's a good as the first sale, the first deal, or the first dollar bill an entrepreneur earns from sweat equity.

If this isn't entrepreneurship, I don't know what is.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Confession Tuesday

If it’s Tuesday, it’s time for confessions. Share a little something about yourself, and we promise to do the same. Don’t forget to visit the folks seeking forgiveness in The Confessional (see sidebar).


Ella woke up at 2:30 a.m. with a cough. She climbed into bed with me, and she’s a restless sleeper, which makes me a sleepy Poet Mom today.


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This is my busiest week at work for the year, and since Ella and I are fighting spring colds, I’m worn out. All I want when I get home is climb into bed tonight. But I can’t—too much to do at the end of the day.

“And miles to go before I sleep …”


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I thought this was going to be a slow month for readings, but I picked up a few May dates in the last few days. Woo hoo!

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Have you seen this list? It is an evolving, informal, and incomplete list of contemporary female poets writing in (or translated to) English. I think it’s has more than 700 names.


Thanks to Jessica Smith for putting it together. Now, whenever someone says, “Where are all the female poets?” Show him this list. And yes, I checked to see if my name was there (it is!). If there are omissions, let Jessica know.


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I want this shirt.



The design is the first edition book cover of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Janet Halverson.


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I’ll update my to-do list this week, but I’m afraid to—it’s ugly! But I am working to eliminate some of the stress points in my daily life so I can make more time for the kids, poetry, and me. it's an ongoing battle! I'm finding it harder and harder to make myself a priority. I'll have to work in some "me" time as soon as humanly possible.


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Thanks for stopping by. I really do appreciate it. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothers' Day Recap


Happy Mothers' Day to all the supermoms who make it look easy!

My Mothers' Day started at 5:30 a.m. when Alex and Ella got up to make breakfast and bring it to me. In preparation for the day, I taught my six-year-old son how to make toast (that was a big deal for him),while my four-year-old daughter learned to pour orange juice without spilling it. They also brought yogurt and strawberries to me, along with the sweet cards they made in school. It was very cute! Then, lots of activity throughout the day with lunch at Bugaboo Creek (read: kids love talking mechanical animals), and later, we went to see How to Train a Dragon in 3D--which we LOVED--and dinner back at our house with friends. This on top of roller skating on Saturday. Whew! Probably doesn't help that I've been fighting a head cold all week.


Still, the weekend was a lot of fun! The kids tried really hard and it showed. Alex says it was "the best day ever!" He says that often, but I'll take it anyway.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Jim Brock's Review of Underlife




Oh, happy day! Jim Brock is back in the blogosphere with a new blog, Gods and Money. His fourth collection, Gods and Money, will be published by WordTech Editions later this year.

He has kindly written a review of Underlife, and I couldn't be happier. Here's a excerpt:

I had ordered Underlife as a text in my "Poetry and the Other Arts" class at Florida Gulf Coast University--I was coupling this book with Denise Duhamel's Kinky to explore dynamics of popular culture in contemporary American poetry. The students' reactions were mixed, mostly favorable, and January's poems gave us opportunities to talk about issues of accessibility and narrative poetics. The strength and weakness of her work reside in those very qualities, although I would argue that the book demonstrates a considerable range with formal experimentations, with sophisticated moments of dissociative improvisations.

Read more at Jim's blog. Nice to have you back, my friend!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mulch

Why did I post pictures of my yard? This spring and summer, I decided to focus on the outside of the house. For months, I would make a list and try to motivate myself into a direction. Picking paint colors for rooms stresses me out. Can't tell you how satisfying it is to see the piles and piles of leaves cleared away.

It feels like my life is moving ahead in a positive direction again. I'm looking forward to entertaining in this space, something I haven't done in the last year and a half. The weight of the past feels like it's lifting.

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Thursday is my work-from-home day. It's the one day of the work week where I get to recalibrate. My commute can be more that two hours roundtrip, so I appreciate having the day at home to work without the stress of the drive.

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I just received an offer to read on Block Island, and I get to bring the kids!

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I'm finishing up a poem I started during NaPoWriMo but never posted (poem #8). Thanks to the Salem Writers Group for the feedback. Feels good to revise and finish a poem.

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Tonight, the kids and I made and decorated cupcakes. Yum!

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I am happy, happy, happy!

Before and After

One of the things I dread most in life is yard work. I did minimal maintenance on my lawn last season, but it was apparent that the yard was more than I could handle. It wasn't maintaining the grass so much as getting rid of the sticks, branches, and leaves that had accumulated. So I hired a lawn guy! Here are the results, before and after.


Before










After












Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks. Time to hear your confessions! Share a little of yourself with us and we'll do the same. And don't forget to say a prayer for the folks doin' time in The Confessional (see sidebar).

If you're confessing on your blog, let me know so I can come by and visit your neck of the woods.



Too bad I don’t have a guest Confessor today. I’m sure his/her confessions would be much more interesting than mine.

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Work-life balance is a myth. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to themselves.

Feels like my life is spinning away from me. Not quite out of control but definitely more interesting and more complicated. It's time to take control of it but psyching myself up to do that requires so much willpower. Ugh. I'll get there.

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My home office is going through a bit of a reorg. I'm cleaning out the clutter of the past to make room for the influx of books I've bought this year. And, I've finally bought an accordion folder to catch all my receipts for po-biz stuff.

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I love the idea of making room for something new in my life.

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This past weekend I re-read my second manuscript; it's far from ready. I knew this. Still, I was hoping it was further along then when I lasted looked at it. Part of making a manuscript work, I think, is getting the individual poems to read as if they belong together. I like reading collections that feel like there's an arc (but I'm also for a collection of great poems with no arc). I also feel as if I haven't lived with these poems long enough.

I see lots of revision in my future.

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I'm really feeling the urge to write poems that "go there." Lots of them. Poems that challenge me and challenge the reader. That's what I'm most excited about this summer. That and spending time with Alex and Ella.

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Three words: Red Sox baseball!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Filling Holes



Photos from yesterday's reading with Rosanna Warren and Tom Yuill. Tom's book, Medicine Show, is off to a good start. And, it was nice to meet Rosanna Warren and hear her work.

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Get under the tent! Big Tent Poetry



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Sunday was a beautiful day, a lovely way to end the weekend. Brunch with BFF Suzie, a poetry reading, and spending the last hours of the day with the kids. Who could ask for anything more?

I also looked through manuscript #2 after a long break from it. It was good to get some distance from the work, because now I can see the holes. Good thing I like filling holes. I can see now what I'm missing: teeth!

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Today I will be collecting poems to submit for publication. And, I'm tightening up a poem I started during NaPoWriMo that had to put aside because the subject required more time than I could give it. But it's been a while since I've worked on a poem I think is really good.

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