27 April 2014

Poetry pen pal

The last few months have packed a lot of poetry-firsts for me: my first chapbook was published, I attended my first AWP Conference, I received my first-ever solicitations for poetry submissions from literary publications (two!), and then several weeks ago I received my first-ever piece of poetry fan-mail. A high school student (we'll call her H) reached out to me through e-mail after having discovered my poems on wicked alice. She was writing a school paper about me and my poems for an English Lit class--she had chosen me as her contemporary poet for researching and analyzing. I can't say how surprised and flattered I was by this message. The fact that strangers are reading and enjoying my poetry, that they are discovering me online and making personal connections with my work, is astonishing to me and so exhilarating.

H and I corresponded for a couple of weeks, trading questions and answers, and discussing poetry and feminism and fairy tales at length. Her final paper has been completed and turned in, but we have promised to continue writing. H told me that she was very pleasantly surprised that I was so willing to talk to her and to respond to her questions so quickly. I was endlessly impressed and warmed by her politeness, her sharpness and insight in interpreting my poems, and her enthusiasm for learning the backstory for each piece. Beyond being extremely flattered, this experience has also left me feeling very refreshed. You put your poems out there in the world and people actually read them. How awesome is that?  

17 April 2014

Forthcoming: The Wolf Skin

My second-ever poem solicitation ended in the fastest and absolute best acceptance letter I've ever received. My two poems "Tornado Alley Love Song" and "Girl who Gave Birth to an Apple" are now forthcoming in the online lit mag, The Wolf Skin. Many thanks to founding editor, Trevor Almy!

And what a great name, right? Their philosophical mission is rooted in Native American trickster tales--right up my folk-and-fairy-tale-alley, for sure. 

Also, I have a big soft spot for wolves. They are in a fight against artificial extinction in the United States right now in a big way. Coming up against hunter-friendly legislation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services' removal of gray wolves from the list of federally protected species, these beautiful animals are being unfairly vilified for being what they are. If you find the mass-killing of wolves in the American West and their quickly dwindling populations as painful as I do, you should speak up for them, too. 

Every time I look at my dog, I see her distant cousins in there. They are family.

UPDATE from 04/23/2014: The poems are up! You can now read "Tornado Alley Love Song" and "Girl who Gave Birth to an Apple" on The Wolf Skin.

11 April 2014

The Book of Scented Things

After a year and a half of poem solicitation, packaging and mailing out dozens of perfume samples, correspondence with contributors, reading and organizing brand-new beautiful poems, designing and laying out the book interior, proofreading and proofreading and proofreading, sending out proofs, making and cataloging corrections to the text, then proofreading and proofreading and proofreading some more, this anthology has entered the world.  

Stunning cover design by Carla Echevarria.
The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume has been a labor of excitement and obsession for Jehanne and me and the Literary House Press, including our awesome intern, student Samantha Gross. And although it will not be officially released until October, we have held the first copies in our hands and felt the incomparable sensation of months of difficult, precise work made tangible. 
Can you smell that? 
Poetry is in the air. 
Happy National Poetry Month, one and all.