Brag List

In my last post, I looked at my stress points. This list is all gravy.

Much of 2017 felt like an assault on all the social constructs I’d come to believe in. But my love of poetry grew in a way I didn’t think was possible. While there were those in the public sphere who questioned the very concept of truth, I leaned into words deeper than I ever have. I taught them. I wrote them. I fought for them. I believed in them. Still do. This my core and it is rock solid.

So I’m going to brag about the things I did to deepen my connection to words—in a year when I barely published a poem. If you’re feeling like 2017 was a year when you got nothing done, make your own list and leave your link in the comments. I bet you'll be surprised at how much you actually accomplished.
  1. I wrote 45 poems in 2017. That’s around the number I average per year, but this year I liked fewer poems. That’s unusual. Most likely, I'll revise fewer than half. I will carry the survivors into 2018 to see if they are worth publishing.
  2. Of the few places I published, here’s a quick roundup:
    • Poetry Foundation/American Life in Poetry “Sunday
    • Mom Egg, “Poet-Inauguration
    • Renga for Obama. I worked with Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair to add our lines to the renga chain (See April 8).
    • My poem, “Old South Meeting House,” originally written for the Academy of American Poets to celebrate 100 Years of the National Park Service, was included in a Boston anthology City of Notions.
    • My poem “The Rookie,” originally published by Prairie Schooner, will be part of a sports anthology edited by the beautiful and talented Natalie Diaz.
    • An acceptance to Plume, poem to be published in February.
    • This ancient video of me in the P.O.P. series was published.
  3. Last year, I attended a poetry event at the White House (… when my president was in office. *ahem*). This year, I visited the Library of Congress, and attended the Pulitzer Prize luncheon to see Tyehimba Jess received his award for Olio.
  4. Another successful Mass Poetry Festival, and looking ahead to the festival’s 10th year. (woo hoo!)
  5. Through Mass Poetry, my connection to the Poetry Coalition has buoyed me in a way I never expected. This alliance of more than 20 nonprofit poetry organizations in 10+ cities working together to raise the profile of poets and poetry in the U.S. We met this past November in Tucson and Phoenix, and in addition to creating the 2018 theme (poetry and the body), we attended a once-in-a-lifetime reading with Rita Dove, Joy Harjo, and Sandra Cisneros, hosted by Natalie Diaz. *Magic.* 
  6. Incredibly proud to work on the boards of AWP and Montserrat College of Art. I’m grateful to these institutions for letting me be a part of the conversation nationally and locally.
  7. Another year of teaching at Salem State. I hope I’m making a difference with my students, one poem at a time.
  8. And three items for the future file: 
    • I’m currently writing a poem for Salem State University’s new president to read in a few weeks at his Inauguration.
    • My next book, Rewilding, will be published in November 2018, CavanKerry Press.
    • And one REALLY COOL LIFECHANGING THING that I can’t talk about publicly for a while. Yeah, I know. Sorry for the vague-plaining. But it is very super cool and unexpected and mum's the word, kinda sorta.

All in all, not a bad year. Not bad at all. And in December, I started blogging again. Woo hoo!

Bottom Line: My Brag List is much longer (and stronger) than my Stress List!


Jim Brock said…
Wowie, Jan!

I don't know how else to put it, but I just admire what you've done and accomplished and are working on--only in my role as a spectator and fan over the years, but I think I do have a little appreciation of what you've been through over those years.

I can't wait to hear what the big news is!
January said…
Thanks, Jim! Will this be the year we catch up with each other at Tampa AWP? Here's hoping for a miracle. Happy 2018! XO

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