Well, I said I’d try, right? And if you don’t remember what I said last time, or don’t know what I mean, it’s just as well. Remember how I said I hate to apologize about not posting when I could be posting?
So how goes National Poetry Month in your neighborhood? It’s now becoming international poetry month, officially with Canada taking part, and unofficially with countless others all over the globe joining in the celebration.
So since I have not yet started to share the great stuff my friends are doing on WordPress and elsewhere for the thirty-day festival of lines, why not tell us a bit about what you are up to?
Tomorrow morning I’ll be “guest poet” at the historic Priestley Chapel here in my hometown of Northumberland. I’ll be reading poems from my (hopefully) first chapbook, The School Bus Poems. The manuscript is finished, aside from a few tiny edits I made in pencil today as I poured over it at the sub shop. It’s going out to several chapbook contests, so wish me luck; send good vibes; light a candle, however you try to bribe the powers that be. I don’t mean about the reading; I’m a ham, so I’ll be fine. I mean about the publication.
I’ve been doing months of research now, reading, catching up on what literary magazines and poetry journals are out there, what styles they like, and whether they might be interested in my work. I’ve also been researching various poetry contests, and first chapbook awards, and their previous recipients. It’s been fun and engrossing getting out of my shell, though it’s put me into a bit of a different kind of shell, one that involves reading more than writing, so I’m coming down off that egg (hey, some metaphors sound better in your head than they look in print, don’t they?) and not only editing and polishing my previous work, but writing new poems as well.
I think by now I have at least two other chapbooks worth of material. It seems that the popular thing now, what most chapbook competitions are looking for is a “project,” a body of work that is thematic. Luckily the skeletons of such themed projects are just falling together from twenty years of obsessively writing about my obsessions, but with enough variation to keep them from becoming too predictable I think. My plan is to have two or three out there vying for editors’ attention in hopes of getting one of them published this year. Big dreams, yeah, I know.
I’ll also be reading again this week with my favorite bunch of poets at Faustina’s Gallery in Lewisburg for the April Poetry Under the Paintings gathering. If you are local and haven’t popped in yet, we’d love to see you. You are not required, but encouraged to read. And the poems you share need not be your own. Feel free to read whatever you like. We just get up one person after another and read a poem at a time between bouts of friendly applause and a shared love of poetry read aloud. We normally go through the circle at least thrice.
And that is happening on Thursday, the 10th of April. Usually we meet every second Thursday, and you can follow that on our Facebook page. Next month PUP will be celebrating our two-year anniversary and we’ll be planning something special for that. Don’t ask me what, as it will spoil the surprise. Okay, and yes, you’re right, I really have no idea yet what that surprise will be. But don’t you see how that makes it all the more surprising?
Okay, back to my previous question; what are you doing to celebrate National Poetry Month? Go on and brag and share and spread the joy in the comments.