Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Two Months to Go

Now home from New York, I'm looking to get back into rhythm as quickly as possible. The official end of AWY is on the horizon (just two months left), and I'm increasingly conscious of the limited time I have remaining -- especially since a couple of those weeks will be eaten up by the holidays. I don't expect that the end of December will bring an abrupt and complete halt to all things writing-related, but I do know that I shouldn't count on getting anything major done after that time. What I hope to do is have the first draft (at least) of a manuscript complete by January, so that I can work on revisions and final details in the following weeks.

Right now I'm focused on several things. First, I want to send out another submission -- it's been a while. Second, I need to review the poems I've drafted so far and start cataloging which ones are in good shape and which need work. That will also provide a foundation as I begin organizing everything into a coherent collection. Third, I'd like to begin work on an essay about this experience -- something I've had in mind as a goal from the outset. Finally, I'm going to start planning for some of the other details involved with getting a manuscript together (cover design, etc.).

Right. So, back to work.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Travel Writing is...

... not as interesting when you're only going to New York for a conference. Yet that's where I'm headed for most of this week, which unfortunately almost guarantees zero productivity from a writing standpoint.

I don't know how writers who travel frequently manage to work despite the disruption it causes. I guess they must get used it, but for me it seems almost impossible. The distractions are endless, the process exhausting. That said, I do find that I tend to return from trips with new ideas for poems, so it's not a total loss. We'll see if this trip finds me coming home with souvenirs. I'll let you know next Sunday or Monday.

Also, late last week I sent another batch of poems to my readers. This is the ninth group I've asked them to review, and I expect to send at least two more before A Writing Year is up. I'm excited about these recent poems and looking forward to getting feedback.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

October Update

A long silence between posts, owing to back to back trips out of town and general work craziness. To shake off the lingering effects of not writing for the last few days, I thought I'd take this opportunity to take stock. Here's what's going on:
  • Submissions: I'm still waiting to hear back from VQR. No clue whether the mounting weeks my poems have been under review is reason for optimism or not. I suspect not. Before I left for my trips I also sent off some poems to the Kenyon Review. I don't expect to hear back from them for a while. Finally I'm hoping to submit at least one other batch before the end of the month, maybe to Shenandoah or a local Chicago journal.
  • Poems: I've drafted around 15 reasonably solid poems since July, some better than others. About a dozen of those were written in the past two months or so and embody the new style I've embraced.
  • Reading: All told I've read 33 books for AWY so far, including 24 collections of poems and 9 books on writing/poetics. Eventually I'll get the full list up here.
  • Events: I have to say I've done terribly in this respect. It has seemed all but impossible to get to readings and other literary events after work, especially, but really there's no excuse. It's downright shameful.
  • Manuscript Preparation: I've got the concept. Now I just need to get everything in order. I expect to spend a lot of time in late November and December combing through what I've produced and revising older poems. Figuring out an effective structure could be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Published in Poetry

Well, technically at least. The editors at Poetry haven't changed their minds about not wanting my poems, but they called yesterday to say they're going to print a letter I wrote in full in their November issue. As I said to my wife, if my dream of being a poet doesn't work out, at least I'm well on my way to an equally glamorous and enriching career in letter-writing about poetry. It's always good to have a backup plan.

UPDATE: The November issue is now available. You can check out pieces of it online, here.