For publication news, I recently had an interview and four poems published in Connotation Press. I like that this journal frequently interviews the poets about their poems. Nice to have a bit of chatter along with the poems. I initially submitted to Connotation because they'd carried a review of Temptation by Water in a previous issue. Therefore, I liked them!
I also have three poems in IthacaLit, a new online journal. This one came from a solicitation to submit by the guest editor who is also poetry editor of another journal where I'd recently had some work accepted. It's so nice to be wanted, isn't it? And don't you hate it when someone solicits your work and then rejects it? Bummer. But the news was all good here. This journal plans to include a limited number of poets in each issue—this one has twelve. There's also a featured poet with an interview. And some very nice artwork as headers. The plan is to each year produce a print issue with some of the poetry and artwork.
Then I recently had two really nice readings. The first was at DelRossi's Trattoria in Dublin, New Hampshire. I'd read there once before, back in 2005. That reading was preceded by eight days of torrential rain. The highway I was on to get up there—I think it was 91—opened up with a sinkhole. I was in the same spot for 4 hours! The whole drive which should have taken little more than 4 hours took more than 10. Once in NH I hit roads I could not traverse due to flooding and found myself on alternate dark, dark roads with no idea where I was going. But I made it. And the next day went to the reading, only to learn that the other poet, who lived in New Hampshire, hadn't been able to make it. There was a decent audience but certainly diminished by weather. So I was delighted to be asked back. Then it turned out that there were all kinds of festivals and other readings the same weekend. I expected to read for an empty room. Not so! Happily, we had a nice turnout of jolly people. I spent two nights in a hotel, enjoyed the fall foliage, indulged in room service, and did a bit of writing.
The second reading was last week for the University Women of West Essex, a local group. This was their fall luncheon meeting so I had a free lunch. Then I read—my presentation was "Poetry and the Lives of Women," a combination of poems and talk about subject and process. Lovely turnout and as these women were all local we had lots of connections. I'm happy to say that both readings resulted in some joy-inducing book sales.
One more piece of news. Remember the chapbook I wrote about almost a year ago? For the Greatest Hits series. It's a long story, but I had long ago concluded that it just wasn't going to happen. It had completely stalled out although I'd sent in my manuscript. Yesterday I learned that the woman who has bought the series is now going to take over the publication of my chapbook at a different press. That's exactly what I wanted to happen.
Perhaps I should have known that luck was on my side when I recently won a Mail Chimp t shirt. Mail Chimp is the email service I use for my Poetry Newsletter (sign up in right sidebar). Every once in a while they have a big giveaway. The day they recently had one I sat in front of the computer for an hour watching the countdown. Then as soon as the giveaway link was posted, I was there. And lucked out!
Friday, October 28, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
If you'd told me a year ago that I'd be excited about having my book available in a Kindle edition, I would have said you were wrong. But here I am, a year later, excited to tell you that my latest poetry book, Temptation by Water, is now available in a Kindle Edition.
Why the change of heart? It recently occurred to me, and not a minute too soon, that this new way of publishing books and reading them is here to stay. And has several advantages. For one thing, for the author it's a great way to supplement the print edition of a book. My book has been out for a year now. Perhaps it will gain some new readers in its new form. As a reader of books, I'm also realizing how convenient it is to store and carry books in a Kindle. No more packing and carrying a heavy bag of books for a trip. They can all go onto the Kindle reader. Another nice perk is that there is no shipping fee with a Kindle book.
When poetry books were first appearing in Kindle editions, I read a lot of complaints about the results. For example, there were problems with line spacing and stanza breaks. Those problems have now been worked out. The Kindle version looks very much like the print one. Then there have been advances in the readers themselves. My ears perked up when I read the first ads and articles about Amazon's new Kindle Fire. Not only is it very reasonably priced at $199, but also it is wireless and can take you to the internet and to your email, thereby serving nicely as a substitute for the laptop.
Then right about the time the Kindle Fire announced itself, my publisher emailed and asked if I'd be interested in having a Kindle Edition. I'd asked him about that months ago, just out of curiosity. He'd recently done a prose book for Kindle and was ready to do his first poetry book. I said, Yes, let's do it. He got to work and in just a few days sent me the proof for the Kindle version. But I have no Kindle Reader. How, then, to read and proofread? A quick Google search took me back to Amazon where I discovered that they offer free downloadable Kindle Readers for computers, iPads, iPhones, BlackBerries, and Androids. So I downloaded one for my Mac and within minutes was reading and proofing my book.
In less than a week my Kindle book was officially listed at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (for Nook).
I immediately ordered the Kindle Fire, but it won't ship until mid-November. Of course, I was anxious to see how the book would look in its final form. So I ordered a copy. Bingo! There it was immediately on the Kindle app on my desktop. I am very pleased with the appearance. The Table of Contents appears in blue and all titles are underlined, making them look like active links, but they're not. Poems are single spaced and stanza breaks are correct. This Kindle App saves all orders in its library. Once my real Kindle Fire arrives, I can move any titles to that.
One note—at Amazon you can read some sample pages with the Search Inside feature. If your print book has this, your Kindle book will automatically have it. Sometimes spacing issues appear. However, if you have the free sample emailed to your Kindle app, those issues will disappear and you'll see exactly how the real thing will look. You'll find that delivery option on the right side of the Amazon page.
By no means am I'm done with print books, mine or yours, but I can see this Kindle Fire becoming a significant part of my reading.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
It's my pleasure to host a salon to celebrate the publication of What Matters, the newest poetry collection by Adele Kenny. Adele lives a life fully immersed in poetry. She has for years run a workshop at her home. Many New Jersey poets can trace their published poems back to Adele's living room. She also has for years run the Carriage House Reading Series in Fanwood, NJ, and has hosted many poets there. I've heard Adele read several times, have read her books, and am now happy to hear what she has to say about her new book. Please join us.
Diane: Tell us how you went about writing these poems and assembling them into a collection.
Adele: My muse is fickle – she takes three-martini lunches, and heads to the south of France for months at a time – which means that I don’t write as often as I’d like. The forty-seven poems in this collection were written over the past ten years.
For me, poems almost always begin as single images. This was especially true of the poems in this collection. A very few of the poems also appeared in Chosen Ghosts but were extensively revised for What Matters; I included them because they are part of a “story” that overlaps from one book to the other, just as life experiences sometimes overlap. My goal was to create a collection of poems that would be intimate rather than private, a collection that would touch the universal part of readers’ hearts, as well as the personal.
Diane: Tell us the story behind your cover.
Adele: My good friend and fellow poet Edwin Romond wrote of the cover, “I don't think I know of any cover of a poetry collection that better captures the soul of the contents than yours. Absolutely perfect.” I was grateful for that note from Ed because the cover painting (Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rossetti – poet, painter, and Christina Rossetti’s brother) was the first picture that came to mind when my publisher asked if I had any ideas for the cover illustration. I’d written an ekphrastic poem based on the painting (“In Memory Of,” in section three of the book), and the painting image admittedly haunts me.
A long-time fan of the Pre-Raphaelites, I feel close to Beata, which, I believe, “speaks” the meaning of What Matters: loss, grief, coming to terms, healing, survival – all things I suspect were present for Rossetti when he made the painting, although his particular circumstances were quite different. In addition, Rossetti explained in a letter that he portrayed the woman in Beata (his wife Lizzie) in a state of “spiritual transformation” – a fundamental theme of What Matters.
I considered other possibilities for the cover but always came back to Beata. My publisher (John Weber at Welcome Rain Publishers) generously purchased the rights to use the image, which is housed in London’s Tate Gallery.
Diane: How did you select the title for your book?
Adele: Strangely enough, What Matters had a title several years before it became a book. Like many images in the poems, the title came to me late one night. It literally “popped into my mind” before I’d even begun to think of the poems in terms of a collection. I woke up the next morning knowing that What Matters would be the title of my next book. That day I took a long look at my newer poems (revised, written, and in process) and began to see them arranged in sections relative to the experiences that drove them. The title powered the long process of writing, editing, tweaking, and selecting.
Diane: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
Adele: What Matters is a book about survival, specifically my own experience with breast cancer (the three sections of the book – before, during, and after), but it’s more than just a collection of poems about an illness. In fact, few of the poems focus exclusively on that. Interestingly, though, as it worked out, the official publication month of the book is October, and October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I like to think that What Matters offers meaning and hope to readers who have dealt with the illness themselves or through family members and friends.
Most importantly, What Matters affirms that we’re all survivors of one thing or another (grief, fear, illness, losses of loved ones); individual experiences differ, but we’re all survivors. What Matters looks at life as it is and celebrates the moments in which healing begins, the ways in which the human spirit survives, and the ways in which we remember how to live. I’ve come to believe that one of the things poetry does best is to tell readers that they’re not alone. I hope the poems in What Matters do that.
Diane: Please choose a poem for us and, if you like, tell us why you chose this one.
Adele: The poem I’ve chosen is “Like I Said” because it’s one of the lighter poems in the collection and shows that sometimes it’s good to take stock of things and to “laugh at life” (it’s also a “goof” on grammar and pop culture) – the point being that, despite whatever else, “what matters” is the peace we make within ourselves.
Like I Said
Okay, so it’s Sunday. I didn’t
go to church. I’m an Irish Catholic,
I know about sin, but I was tired and
just didn’t feel like getting dressed.
On Thursday night, I fell and broke
a slat from the garden fence. My
hip still hurts – the bruise is as big
as my Yorkie’s head.
That would have been enough, but
this morning the vacuum coughed up
a hairball and quit. The only food in
the fridge is a bearded yogurt.
The washing machine refuses to spin.
There’s no clean underwear left, so
I’m not wearing any. Like I said,
I was tired; I didn’t feel like getting
dressed, so I didn’t go to church and
abdicated rights to all that grace.
I put on a pair of dirty jeans, a dirty
shirt, and sat outdoors all morning.
I did nothing but talk to my dogs,
watch squirrels, and wonder what it
might be like to nibble Prozac from
Johnny Depp’s lower lip.
Let's all gather round while Adele reads her poem for us:
Now it's time to enjoy the snacks that Adele has requested. First, her favorite beverages, Korbel Natural Champagne and Yoo-Hoo. Then something sweet: dark-chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting and something savory: Cornish Pasties (small D-shaped pies filled with meats and veggies). These snacks might very well serve as a metaphor for the collection.
Overheard at the party: “In Adele Kenny's finely wrought meditations on grief and loss, she never forgets that she's a maker of poems; in other words, that the poem in its entirety is more important than any one of its utterances, phrasings, or laments. What Matters straddles two of the exigencies of the human condition: diminishment and endurance. It abounds with poems that skillfully earn their sentiments.” (Stephen Dunn)
Before you leave, be sure to pick up a copy of What Matters. Feel free to add comments in the Comments section.
|Click Here for Amazon|
Video: Adele reads selections from What Matters
Visit Adele's blog, The Music in It, for weekly prompts.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Time to once again update the list of print journals that accept online submissions. The list has grown this time by a baker's dozen. Clearly, more and more print journals are moving to online submission managers. I sort of miss those trips to the post office. But am happy to save paper, envelopes, and stamps. Thank you, Journals!
The Baltimore Review has been removed as it has become an online journal.
Journals new to the list (not necessarily new journals) are indicated with a double asterisk.
The number of issues per year appears after the journal's name.
The reading period for each journal appears at the end of each entry.
Unless noted otherwise, the journal accepts simultaneous submissions.
As always, please let me know if you find any errors here. And good luck.
Jan 31 - April 30
Sept 1 - May 31
February 1 - May 31
June 1 - November 1
June 1 - November 15
Sept 15-Dec 15
**Black Warrior Review—2x
Sept 15 - May 15
November 1-April 30
August 5 - Oct. 5
April 1 - Aug. 31
September 1 - May 1
August 15-October 15
January 31-March 31
January 31-March 31
August 1 to 1 November
December 1 to April 1
October 1 thru February 15
print and online journal
no Jan, Feb, June, or July
**The Florida Review—2x ($3 fee)
August thru May
most recent reading period was June 1, 2011-August 1, 2011
Greatcoat—1 or 2x
November - May
August 15 - April 15
deadlines: Winter issue: November 15
Summer issue: April 15
Sept 1 - May 31
Aug 1 - Oct 1
Sept 1 - Dec. 15
rolling for 3-4 weeks at a time
check website for dates
September 1 - May 1
September 15 - January 15
Submit to Poetry Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sept 1 - Dec 1
Sept 1 - Nov 15
October 1 - April 30
**The Mom Egg—1x
July 15 - Sept. 30
Meridian—2x ($2 fee)
for the Summer issue January 1 through March 1
for the Winter issue July 1 through September 1 (contest only)
Sept 1-May 31
August 15 - November 1
Sept-May (summer okay for subscribers)
Aug 15 - May 1
September 1 - April 30
Jan 1- May 1
June 1 - Jan. 15
September 15 - April 15
check website for submission dates
Sept 1-May 1
September 15-March 31
considers previously published
No June, July, August, or December
April 1 - Oct 1
Aug 1 - Jan 1
August 1 - April 1
Jan 1 - Feb 1 / July 1-Aug 1
Feb. 1 - April 1
No June, July, August
August 15 - May 15
Sept 15 - May 15
**The Stillwater Review—1x
deadline Nov. 15
Sept 1 - Dec. 31
Sept 15 - Nov. 1
Sept 15 - April 30
Sept 1 - December
September 1 - May 31
October 15-December 15
Sept 1 - March 1
Sept 15 - Jan 15
August 1 - Oct 15
Dec 15 – Feb 1
April 15 - July 31
Aug 15 - April 15
Sunday, October 2, 2011
|Click Cover for Amazon|
METAPHOR: WHAT IS IT LIKE?
Poetry is rooted in metaphor, in which things which are superficially different are revealed as being in some essential way, similar. We say, this is like that. And when it's true, when it's accurate, barriers collapse and we get a glimpse into the oneness of the world. But of course it's necessary for the metaphor to be vital enough, original enough, to actually do its work.
One of the main functions of metaphor is to heighten emotion. But the more sophisticated we get about language, the less we are moved by its conventional expression. Because of this, we constantly seek ways to make emotion fresh.
In Best Words, Best Order, Stephen Dobyns writes, "If the poet can get us to believe about a small thing, we will be more likely to believe the poet about a big thing. One of the quickest ways to establish the reader's trust is through precise description of physical setting. More difficult are precise descriptions of emotional and spiritual conditions. All three mean giving us a combination of the familiar and unfamiliar, what we know with what we do not know. These three types of description are best communicated with the help of metaphor. And it is probably through the quality of metaphor that the poet most quickly achieves or loses the trust of the reader."
So how do we discover the metaphors that will allow us to say the unsayable, to join intimately with the reader? Whether you’re writing a first draft or working to revise, here are some practical ideas for opening up the world of metaphor in your poems:
Look in unfamiliar places:
Many of us operate in metaphoric ruts. Thus we wind up with an overabundance of similar, overused, images. I call this “the green vine school of poetry.” I struggled with this myself for awhile, winding up with a glut of garden imagery. So if you seem always to be comparing things within some overly familiar territory, look elsewhere. Look under the hood of your car, in your elementary school, in a shoe factory, in a hospital, in the grocery store.
Also, vary the scale. Look small, under the microscope, one thread in a bolt of cloth or even one fiber of the thread. Look big, out into space, back in time to when the stars were born. Getting away from the middle ground can open up a wealth of unexpected images.
It’s good to look in your imagination, but you can also look literally. If you're trying to think of a metaphor for what it's like to touch your lover's skin, or the pain of cancer, or your dog's exuberance, take that unsolved metaphor with you and look for possibilities throughout your day. As you drive around town, brush your teeth, fold laundry, pay bills, count out change for a customer, look for what your lover's skin might be like. With everything you see or touch or smell, ask yourself, is it like this?
It can be useful to make lists of metaphors Write twenty or thirty possible metaphors for what it feels like when your child has a fever or the way dirt clings to a carrot when you pull one out of the ground. It's easier to brainstorm a whole page of ideas that don't have to be good, than it is to have to write one perfect metaphor. So, if you make a list of all the images (and some can be terrible) you can think of, you’ll loosen up your mind and you may, in the process, stumble upon one that’s accurate.
Imitate the holiday ham:
If you can think in metaphor, from the start that's best, of course. A poem that doesn't have some muscular language working right from the beginning is going to be harder to bring to fruition than one that does. But sometimes we don't have the ability or the good fortune to get those necessary metaphors in the first draft. In that case, it's often possible to go back and add them in. I think of this as the holiday ham method. When you bake a ham, you make little cuts in it and then you stick cloves into the little cuts. Well, that's what you do with the metaphors—you look for places in the poem where you can insert them. For example, you may have a line that says, “She walked toward me.” So you can make a little slit right there and ask yourself, How did she walk toward me? She walked toward me like…
Don't be afraid of the strange. Galway Kinnell said, "It's okay to have something strange in your poem. In fact, it's preferable." Strangeness is often where the most interesting images live. Be willing to be wild, to go out on a limb, to risk making a fool of yourself. If you always stay safe with your metaphors, you'll miss out on too much. You'll be censoring your metaphors before you even generate them. Often metaphors which may seem too odd when you write them, turn out to be the most resonant.
Ultimately, the metaphors need to deepen the impact of your poem or they'll detract from it. Beautiful or interesting or wonderfully strange as they might be, every metaphor must be in service to the poem. And anything that doesn't enhance the poem, diminishes it. But it’s easier to take out a metaphor that’s not needed than to write a brilliant metaphor. So while you’re in the generative mode, don’t be overly critical. You may put a dozen metaphors in your poem and only wind up using one, but if it’s the right one, that’s all you need.