Friday, February 18, 2011

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

I should have known. Tom Petty had this figured out a long time ago.

Today is February 18, and Dowsing and Science will be released on March 1. In any long view, that is the blink of an eye, an instant. Right now, though, that period of anticipation seems like an eternity.

My author's copies will arrive any day now, and then the reality will start to sink in. My publisher is graciously sending out review copies, a great weight off my shoulders, and I can move on to the business of hoping and fearing what reviewers might say.

Publicity arrangements so far include a blog tour with four stops scheduled in the next couple of months. Anyone who would like to extend that tour is welcome to get in touch.

Barring anything disastrous, there will be a Washington, DC launch event at some point in the spring. One venue that seemed promising for that purpose is closing at the end of this month, so event planning begins all over again.

Now there are readings and talks to schedule, and invitations are more than welcome. Fortunate are the writers who have agents and speakers' bureaus, and it would delight me to become one of them.

But for now there is the waiting. So close, and so far away, is the publication of Dowsing and Science.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Time for Valentine's Day (of 2012)

In all the excitement of recent weeks I have forgotten to mention an anthology publication that would have been perfect for yesterday but remains timely for Valentine's Days yet to come.

My poem "Intermezzo" (originally published as "First Blush") is included in the recently released Touching: Poems of Love, Longing and Desire, edited by Sari Friedman and D. Patrick Miller, which is the second volume of the Fearless Poetry Series from Fearless Books of Berkeley, California.

I am honored to appear in this volume with quite a few accomplished poets, who include but are not limitied to the following: Maureen Tolman Flannery, Linda Nemec Foster, David Knopfler and Sy Safransky. Last but by no means least among my neighbors in the anthology is Myra Sklarew, with whom I had the great good fortune to study while I was an undergraduate at American University.

Come for the poems, and stay for the photographs by Kelly Puleio.

Monday, February 7, 2011

AWP 2011 and Ideas for AWP 2012

It was fun, and it was exhausting.

After a few days of attempting my best impersonation of an extrovert, I am now ready to sit back and make sense of AWP 2011 in Washington, DC, where I live.

There are many lovely people I see only there, or only there and a couple of other places during the year. I may sing their praises in a separate post if I can do justice to anything like the right number of people.

Yet the mind already turns to AWP 2012 in Chicago, where I have lived and studied; I grew up in the Far West suburb of Aurora.

While it seems unlikely that I will propose a panel for 2012 myself, a glance at this year's schedule suggested a few that others may wish to take on.

They are the following:

  1. No Text Please, We're Students: Reluctant Readers in the College Classroom

  2. Writing Auto-Erotic Identities

  3. Libel and How to Get It Right

  4. Dairy Queens: Gay Male Poets of Wisconsin

  5. New Opportunities in the Teaching of Fortune Cookie Composition

  6. He Takes Out a Felt Tip, You Take Out a Ballpoint: Writing the Chicago Way

  7. Establishing and Maintaining a Lactose-Intolerant Writers' Group

  8. When Your Promotional Strategy is Better than Your Writing: How to Hide the Gap

  9. War of 1812 Bicentennial Reading

  10. Desire and Ambivalence in the Rejection Letter

  11. Stranger Things Have Happened, but Not Many: When Political Poetry Is Actually Good

  12. Reconsidering William McGonagall

  13. Deservedly Neglected Illinois Writers

  14. The Barbaric Yawp, or Teaching Creative Writing to Dogs

  15. A Celebration of Solipsism: New Confessional Poets

  16. Prize Winners Display their Fabulosity

  17. What Would Nelson Algren Do?

  18. The Ego Has Landed: Projecting False Modesty Once Your Career Takes Off

I wish the best of luck to anyone who wishes to make these ideas a reality. Attribution of the original source will be most welcome.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Off to the Fair, or AWP and Me

To paraphrase Emily Dickinson, and do so badly, because I would not come to AWP, AWP kindly came to me.

AWP, generally pronounced by its letters rather than as rhyming with Walt Whitman's "barbaric yawp", is the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. The initials also serve as shorthand for the annual conference, which begins today in Washington, DC, where I live.

Avoiding travel in a snowstorm of historic proportions is a stroke of good luck, and there are others. Without the burdens of representing an academic institution or speaking on a panel, I can take in readings and other events, as well as check out the Bookfair without any great pressure.

Of course, I will have a few goals and one scheduled event. Tomorrow, February 3, I will be joining edtor Jessie Lendennie and other contributing poets in a signing of Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology at the Salmon Press table.

Other projects will involve freestyle hawking of my wares. Newest among them is my sonnet "Botanical Garden," which is the February selection of Broadsided. I will be handing out copies myself, and others are encouraged to print out and post the poem, illustrated by Ira Joel Haber.

Also debuting at AWP is Issue 9 of Los Angeles Review, which includes my unusually long free verse poem "Labor Day at Venice Beach"--inspired, as they say, by actual events.

I am also in the pleasantly odd position of promoting a book I don't yet have in hand. My essay collection Dowsing and Science, described on page 49 of the Spring/Summer Catalog of the Texas A&M University Press consortium, will be published on March 1. It will be a challenge to make people remember the title of a book they haven't seen. Still, the collection contains essays of varying lengths, tones, and subjects, including a few personal essays as well as a preponderance of intellectual and cultural criticism, and that variety makes Dowsing and Science a compact and reasonably priced choice for classroom use as well as personal reading. (Yes, I am selling my book here.) It is presently available for pre-order from the publisher and online sellers in the United States and nine other countries.

Finally, I will be reminding people that they can still obtain my collection Settling for Beauty, which recently received a favorable review from poet and fiction writer Eric Hendrixson.

In the midst of all this I will have the opportunity to see friends and pass out my card, which includes the URL for this blog. Comfortable shoes will be crucial.

And now it's off to the fair or, in the word of British novelist David Lodge, "Whee!"