Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! Happy Summer!

Ella holding a lobster

The Summer o' Fun has begun!

Even though the kids' last day of school was Monday, we've been in high gear for the last two weeks. It's hard to believe that for 10 years I commuted 80 miles roundtrip for work, which I did year round. Now I'm fortunate enough to teach and not have to work during the summer. So every day, even the tough ones, is a gift. 

Summer is moving a little too quickly for me. 


I've been thinking a lot about what it means to line up your values with your vision. There's no recipe or trick to doing it. I'm not sure if I even had a model for it. My parents were hard workers but never used language like that, other than say do what makes you happy. And I did. Poetry and family has always been at the center, and knowing what grounds me makes it easier to decide how I spend my time. So having summers off, being with the kids, and still finding time to write? No contest! 


This month I am writing a poem a day. Wish me luck. Much easier to do PADs in July, November, and January than in April. Why do I even bother with April? 


Also this month, in theory, I will wrap up the major edits on my next manuscript. And, it's time to take out the Juno poems and decide what to do with them. Not sure what I want for that project but I have some ideas about connecting the past to the present. I think I'm ready. This is a good time to work on new poems because there's so much change happening in places, quite frankly, I didn't think I'd ever see in a lifetime. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday folks! Time for confessions.  

This is the last full week of school for my kids, so between end-of-school-year activities and little league baseball, we've been busy. 


Congrats to Alex and his teammates for making it to the city championship! They played their hearts and lost to a tough team. Couldn't ask for more than that. Alex starts all-stars soon so the second half of his season begins this week.


The warm weather has restored my soul. But like most New Engenders we're still traumatized from this past winter. Seriously, not a day goes by and I don't flashback to the mounds of snow on the sidewalks are curbs. Not. One. Day. Fortunately, late nights at the ballpark in shorts eating ice cream helps. 


Recently, I became poetry co-editor for Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices. I'll be working with Ben Berman (who may be one of the nicest people I've ever met) and Lee Hope (also extremely nice), who's done a fabulous job steering the direction of this online magazine. Also, Solstice will produce an occasional print edition moving forward.  

It was a very cool opportunity I couldn't refuse.


Manuscript #3 is done! It's being reviewed by some of my closest poet friends. The plan is to get edits back by mid-July, and then continue to work on it at our Millay Colony retreat. It feels good to get this book together because this is some of my strongest writing. I'm happy with the title, mostly happy with the order--just feels good to call this group of poems complete, especially since I haven't been writing much at all these past few months. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Calliope Reading Series

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of reading with the Calliope Reading Series at the West Falmouth Library. Such a wonderful group of poets and poetry lovers on the Cape. I read with Barbara Crooker (far left) and Irene Willis with an open mic after. Our poems seem to complement each other, which makes for a fine reading when that happens. Many thanks to Alice Kociemba for putting us together.

Irene Willis

Barbara Crooker

Alice Kociemba

I brought Alex and Ella with me, which I don't do often when I have to drive more than an hour. It helps that the event was help at a library where they didn't have to sit still. There are no kid pics from the reading because they are SOOOOO over mom and the poetry thing. I made the kids a deal: if they didn't complain about the car ride, I would take them to KFC for a meal. Everybody wins.

Kid pic from the beach:

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, folks. Share a little of yourself with us and we promise to do the same.

For Mothers' Day, my mother bought me a camera. So I've been playing around with my new toy every day since. Unfortunately, I can't find the directions. I have no idea what to do besides point and shoot.

Here are some pictures of some geese. Or ducks. Geese. I'm not sure what they are.


A few days ago I was speaking with a friend about our poetry careers. After a bit of a back and forth, my friend asked me, "What do you want?" And while I answered the question, I'm really not sure. It was a question about long-term goals, and while I have an answer, I really had to think about it. I know what I want long term, but what do I want at this mid-point in my career? What do I want for my writing?  I need to keep busy, keep progressing. Part of me thinks I've taken my eye off the ball.


It's hard to stay focused when the weather rises above 70 degrees.


Manuscript revisions are progressing. I'm hoping to finish up by June 15. My self-imposed deadline gives me a month to send it out to friends, and then work on the edits at Millay Colony. That's right! Mid-July, a small group of us will rent out Millay again to work on various projects. It will be heaven. I don't do well with nature (ticks, snakes), but I am looking forward to this.


Much of my free time has been spent at Alex's baseball games. The playoffs start this weekend. I'm excited for him now that his hitting is coming around. I love watching that kid play. He's so smart on the field.

Not to be outdone, Ella has been singing music from the Into the Woods soundtrack around the house, which is a step up from Pitch Perfect 2. I wonder if I have Broadway star in the making.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Confession Tuesday

Happy first week of spring, folks! Well, if you live in New England, it is a rainy and cold 46 degrees on June 2. Tell me again how there's no such thing as climate change?

Onto confessions ...


Here's a photo I took of Ella this morning for her PowerPoint presentation on earthworms. First of all, she doing a PowerPoint. Hello, technology. Second, notice she's wearing a winter coat. Ugh. I do love this photo.

Well, before Sunday, we had been experiencing unseasonably warm, dry weather. It spoiled me. After the harsh winter--which most of us are still traumatized from--I really though nature owed us. Wrong. But, of course, she had other plans. This too shall pass, right?



My second book, Misery Islands, has been selected by Mass Center for the Book as a 2015 Must-Read Book in the poetry category, and is a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry!

The full list of nominees:
Liam Day, Afforded Permanence (Aforementioned Productions)
Jeffrey Harrison, Into the Daylight (Tupelo Press)
Fanny Howe, Second Childhood (Graywolf Press)
Jennifer Markell, Samsara (Turning Point)
January Gill O'Neil, Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press)
Afaa Michael Weaver, City of Eternal Spring (Pittsburgh UP)

The winners and finalists are promoted to libraries and bookstores across the state. Winners in all categories announced in September.

I'm thrilled that this book is hitting a stride and finding an audience. And, I love the idea of having books promoted with libraries and book groups. How cool is that?


Still working on third manuscript. I'm revising poem by poem, which I should finish this week. Then, I'll send it off to poet-friends to read. Out of the 59 poems, I feel confident about 40 of them. Now, does that mean I should cut the weak ones? This is why I need a few semi-objective readers to give it to me straight. My biggest fear is that I'll write new ones and want to add them. Oh well, there are worse problems to have.


"Shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather."


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