(1) In the beginning the author read Let There be Write by Nancy Fulda and decided to write a blog entry.
(2) And the blog entry was without form, and void except for the editing features at the top of the Wordpress ‘Write Post’ page. Which the author found annoying.
(3) And the author said, Let there be things in my day worth writing about! And there were none.
(4) And the author saw that her life was dull and meaningless. And she was sad.
(5) And then the author remembered that she had submitted many poems and needed to check her e-mail and so she saved the post as a draft. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
(6) And the author said Let there be replies, and let them divide the submitted and the trunked.
(7) And the author saw that there were no replies. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
(8) And the author said, let the e-mail program bring forth acceptances, or rejections. But mainly acceptances and it was not so. And the evening and the morning were the third day. Because it apparently took a long time for this author to check her e-mail and respond to its emptiness.
(9) And the author said, let me send out more poems. By snail mail. And she divided her poems into batches as the goddess Joanne Merriam had bade her. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
(10) And many more days passed.
(11) And the author said, let there be replies now. But there were none. And the evening and the morning were some other day.
(12) So the author suffered in the image of her failure and lonliness; more poems, created she them, and said unto them, be enticing, and good, and replenish my bank account, and bring me prestige and literary acclaim, for you are my greatest work. And then she remembered that they were poems and crossed ‘replenish my bank account’ from the list.
(13) And on the nth day, the author remembered her blog entry and checked her e-mail again but there was nothing and behold, she angsted.
Inspired by Deb Kolodji’s cinquain contest, today I endeavored to make my students understand the importance of revision in the context of the portfolio system.
First I had my students write a cinquain (adhering only to the syllable requirements–they only had two minutes so talking about imagery, enjambment, etc would’ve been… a headache). When done, they passed it to another student. That student’s job was to rewrite the cinquain as a haiku. After two minutes they passed it along again, this time the student’s job was to rewrite either poem, or add to either poem in free verse with at least 10 lines. When they were almost done I added that they had to include one of three things:
When that student was done, the sheet of paper was returned to the original author who then was required to rewrite/add/whatever in whatever form they desired on the back of the sheet of paper.
Tonight they are to reflect on the changes the poem underwent during the process.
Since the exercise (like most of my classroom ideas), was a product of my fear/anxiety/9AM fog state of mind… when I wrapped it up in the end to explain why revision was important, I don’t think I fully explained it as well I should’ve. However, they’re turning these things in on Friday so I’ll have time to prepare a better lecture. I’ll also probably bring in copies of some poems that have undergone major revision so they can see that even good writers (ha) rip up their work and try again.
Because I am a shameless thief of all of Oliver’s good ideas (like this), I am also going to participate in the 52 book challenge. The gist is: read a book a week. My problem is I read in spurts… so I didn’t read anything from January thru March, then I read 4 books in 6 days.
I’m very odd.
Anyway, here’s the list so far, and it will be updated throughout the year.
I’m really not very good at titling things… which is odd because coming up with a title used to be my favorite part of writing. Normally it was some random connection that only my mind could make. For example, my Freshman year of college I took this course that required us to post regularly on a forum. One time we had to take this personality test type thing, and the results were colors–mine was Blue/Green and so the title of my post was the name of some car search website that had commercials out where a man and a woman are selecting a car and they pick the color ‘Blueish Green’.
Another time I titled a research paper ‘A Husband is to Get’ (line from Fiddler on the Roof) because it was about Jewish divorce law (and the document that a man gives a woman when he wants to divorce her is a ‘get’ but women can’t divorce men without approval from some council type thing and I didn’t think that was fair).
So maybe it’s a good thing that I no longer do this.
There’s an Ai poem that I really like just for its title: “I Cannot Stop Loving you so I have Killed my Black Goat”.
One day I’ll write a book of poetry the name of which is “Bad Titles”. It won’t be ironic. It will just be a statement of fact.
“Rational Fear of Cockroaches” has been making the submission rounds for a good long while. It was written in about 10 minutes during a Denise Duhamel workshop at Tulane (as part of the Florie Gale Arons Poet program). Despite the short amount of time spent working on it, it’s always been one of my favorites as well as Oliver’s. It was also the only poem I could feasibly call speculative when I actually started looking to submit to genre markets. When it was rejected from the first couple of markets, I didn’t worry. When it was rejected from its 8th or 9th, I did. You get to the point where even poems you like just aren’t worth the masochistic effort. So when it finally found a home at SGO, I was happy.
As was Oliver. Who now thinks he’s a genius. Actually he thinks he’s more of a genius because he liked “Karma” when my workshop didn’t. Well, they liked it but they wanted more explanation. But Karma sold in it’s original form so… who knows. I’ll probably still end up writing a second version of it and bringing it to workshop next semester. Because I never know when things are done.