Saturday, June 29, 2013

I'm very glad that my publisher isn't promoting herself, (as a poet), over my book. I was extremely lucky to have published with 3: A Taos Press. My publisher has a lot of class, and overall it's been a fantastic experience. It's very important for a publisher to take care of his/her writers in terms of encouragement, commitment and some publicity. It makes a writer want to promote the press. My publisher also was committed to thoroughly helping with the editing process and making changes according to my requests. This was not completely done last time around with the first book, so overall I feel the second collection is a stronger collection. I hope more people will purchase it and read it. A couple of positive reviews have been written, and I suspect a few more will be written about it. It's difficult to know how things are going in terms of reception, but I have faith that things will turn out better this time.

It took me a long time to feel comfortable with the collection since it dealt with trauma and recovery. I think that's why it took so long to write. It is my hope that the book will touch someone and help them with these issues-- to not hide and feel shame.


My next manuscript also deals with trauma and recovery. I've been sending it out to presses. It's my hope to have some good luck with it soon! This manuscript came together much more quickly. I think this is because I have progressed in my recovery. I think it's working well! It will be interesting to hear back from another press and to re-send it to the earlier press which said they liked it.


Looking forward to a couple of books this fall! (Especially Rachel Daucus' and Paul Manuel Lopez's)
Not a lot going on in Colorado. Will spend some time with family on the fourth, and then I hope to get back to revising third manuscript and hopefully writing some new poems. It's amazing how much more time I have to write and how that has made a huge difference in terms of productivity. Time is money, and money is time, but I'd rather have the time than the money, and for this, I am truly, truly blessed.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Exhausted and recognizing that I do this writing here to relieve stress, irritation and over all misplaced ambition.

I've been writing a lot. Recognizing I should open a tumblr account or something, but I like the blog format. We'll see.

Worn out by poetry snobs these days. Seriously.

Let it go--

Let it go--

Let it go--

One thing I learned at Leadership Academy (Colorado Mental Wellness Network) is that to be a leader means to serve. I don't think this necessarily means serving in a highly visible role. Sometimes it means lurking in the shadows and teaching something like developmental writing while peers are teaching poetry or ethnic literature or something that may make them feel quite self-satisfied. Sometimes it means helping others quietly. Sometimes, it means working outside of mainstream institutions in the community, for real.

Like I said, I'm a bit irritated, but it's time to think about the third collection I am working on, and I am working hard at it. There is always work to be done, and I suppose that doing such work is the backbone to contentedness-- in part.

I have no desire to dictate to others what needs to be done via the "community" as in my opinion, everyone is different, everyone has their path. Trying to force my path on someone else doesn't seem like a worthy endeavor for me. I believe in freedom and responsibility need not be someone else's demanding agenda.

Listening to Fur Elise and relaxing, trying to relax, outside beneath a large black umbrella. A mesh of net to keep bugs away, flowers everywhere. Time to revise and write.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Recognizing that I've written only one scholarly essay of late. Somebody was encouraging me to write more since I have the PhD. I did recently write something on trauma and Latina Poetry. It will be interesting to see how it is received. I've written it in terms of cultural and personal trauma, but I'd rather not go too far into it on the blog as it is being considered elsewhere.

I'm trying to think what writers and thinkers and artists have been major influences, and one answer is obviously Bob Dylan. Other influential poets include Yeats, Eliot, Plath, Sexton and interestingly enough, Wallace Stevens. More contemporary figures include Stephen Dunn, Forrest Gander ("Eye Against Eye," John Ashbery, Joy Harjo, and people like Tony Hoagland, Dorianne Laaux and Lorna Dee Cervantes. This is not to say that I find everything written by these people my cup of tea, but I do feel they all have recently and in the past affected my language and stylistic choices.

I am still learning, and I'm recognizing the sheer loneliness of being a writer tonight. One is sometimes surrounded by friends and peers, yet one is ultimately dealing with an extensive amount of solitude, reflection and consternation, but there is also pleasure that comes with the territory. Some days one might even question the talent or capability one has. Some days one might even overestimate the talent or capability one has. The pendulum, for me, is often swinging back and forth, but the balance comes "outside" of writing and finding what really matters in life. That takes me outside of myself, and it helps me see what I'm doing more clearly. This kind of balance is new and healthy.


For some reason, Bob Dylan remains a central figure in my continual development as a "poet." I find his work compelling and always have found it so. Used to listen to Blood on the Tracks intently, among other albums. His language is always intense, sometimes soothing, sometimes reflective, angry, wild, soft, impatient, hardened, loving and hateful but always precise and cutting. This seems to me central for a writer or poet, to have a range of emotive and/or intellectual reach. I want piercing language, and I want to challenge myself to find a cadence, a rip, a rift, and a reason for the choices I make. I don't want to write something that is haphazard and not thought out carefully. Mostly I want something that matters to humanity. I strive to make sense of what is often nonsensical. Sometimes I relish in the playful harmony or disharmony of language. It is this unearthing of the unconscious that I find appealing. Often, I do not know that the unconscious is speaking. It makes a poem more layered and oftentimes results in a subtext which is beyond the writer's consciousness which is interesting.

I do not tend to focus on others sense of language, politics, urgency or sense of community. I try to focus on the poems, and although I have been a slow writer the last eight years, I'm finding a burst of creative language and poems are coming very quickly.

I do not want to command, cajole, demand or condemn other poets anymore. This has a lot to do with that balance.

A bit of humility is a good thing, but perhaps I've had too much of a sense of a false humility. It is difficult for me to say I am careful with my language as a writer, and I try not to rush poems. When they come they arrive often as surrender, prayer, dream and gift.

I am feeling that sense of isolation again, and it is perhaps a good thing for people to walk down that path.

Need to send out some questions to some Latina poets again, write two book reviews and continue to revise third collection, which is coming together.

Not sure why I blog when blogging is over. It helps me to think things through, to be true to myself and my writing. I think the poetry world is totally full of crap, and I feel I have a voice, and I do in the end have something relevant to say.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I was invited to help teach a creative writing class at the local mental health center. It seems my path is working out in the community rather than in academia of late. I am so happy! Also, I attended a state caucus on mental health and have been taking a class called "Wellness Recovery Action Plan" which teaches one how to be an effective peer for others. I am still interested in becoming a "peer specialist" in the mental health field.

I believe that creativity heals. I recognize that sounds hokey to some people, but I believe one can not write about others until they understand themselves. Again, this is why I believe in the first person lyric. It seems a necessary step, like learning the classics for me. I believe in narration because stories matter. One can be innovative in these forms too. Poetry is not restricted to one narrow aesthetic. People are free beings and we will write what we wish to write, not what others dictate to us!

104 degrees here in Texas yesterday. At least 100 today. Will go to library tomorrow and write/revise. I need to get busy with it.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Conversant re-published the interviews I did with Christine Granados, Cynthia Cruz, Carmen Gimenez Smith for HerKind. I plan to do some more interviews of the same type later this summer, but I'll publish them in a different place.


Will be heading to El Paso, Texas next week. Very excited. I have a reading with Matt Mendez at the Percolator downtown. It will be at 5pm on June 14th. My book SEVEN was selling nicely, and it seems to have slowed down a bit, but I think the reading in El Paso will help. Lots of activity here in Denver as mom is in town.

Thinking a lot about how I need to get back to the manuscript for the third collection. This one was written fairly quickly compared to SEVEN. Needed to work through some things obviously. Ironically it took seven years, plus a year of editing to get SEVEN out in the world. A Poetry Therapist has shown interest in the book and said it can be of help to others dealing with trauma. This makes me happy.

In any case, it's time to work on manuscript #3. I've been unfocused on polishing it the last month or so, but I did send it out to a contest, and will get it out to a couple of presses soon. I've cleaned up some typos/errors and formatting issues since I sent it to that press. Hopefully another press will like it as much as the first one did. I have a good feeling about this one, too. It came together very quickly, (about ten to twelve months or so), but I'm not teaching, so I have had more time to write.