September 15, 2011

Crush, Hack, Calendar, Frost

Another semester, and my ducklings seem particularly lovely and smart. I'm having them read Richard Siken's Crush this week as their first adventure into the long poem (which my class is themed around). As I teach them about the long poem, I find my own poems are growing smaller and sparser and quieter. I've been reading a lot of Octavio Paz and now I can't seem to stop writing about abandoned houses.


Hacked the manuscript up one more time. I'm making October 1st a hard deadline for sending it out. I have a list of ten or so open reading periods and competitions for this year, and I'm starting to have second thoughts. The more I read other first books (mainly, the more I reread Crush), the more I think maybe it's not ready yet.


Since everyone keeps on asking for my opinion on the MFA rankings (read sarcasm here), here it is: I found Seth Abramson's rankings on his blog to be invaluable when I began to think about MFA programs. Not the rankings or the vote system themselves per se (I didn't even apply to the Iowa workshop, which is the top ranked school), but just how much information (stipend, teaching load, size, etc) was compiled into one place made a huge impact on my decision. Calling the methodology into question isn't an unhealthy practice, but the attacks directed toward Seth and the staff of Poets & Writers I find to be troublesome and childish. Laura Eve Engel writes more elegantly and in-depth on this topic here, and I find her post to be one of the best I've read on the matter.


Some friends and I got to discussing who we'd want to be included in a poet bathing suit calendar. I'm making my wishlist.


The weather has dropped, and now's the season for many late night walks. There are herbs (dill, rosemary, thyme) drying over our windows, and pickles pickling in a crock. The forecast mentions frost and an alleviation of migraines. Everything, it seems, is preparing for winter.

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