Wednesday, December 15, 2010
And I should be happy cept I'm not.
I think maybe I'm the only person at UTPA who's a little sad the semester is finishing. It means that my thesis defense is inching closer, and I'm that much closer to graduating, that much closer to the black hole of 'what's next?!'.
Ok, so here's a little story to leave with -
I was at the library yesterday, browsing through thesis manuscripts in the special collections area. I come across a manuscript that says "Hoerth". My heart skips a beat. Did my thesis finish itself? It's a UTPA miracle! I open up the black book, and no... no indeed it is not my thesis. It was my daddy's thesis. At that moment, I imagined mine, completed, sitting next to his on the shelf. That's where it'll be come April. It must be done.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I don't even care :-)
It's offical, I'm a poet. HAH! Rejection notices from Barn Owl Review and elimae. It didn't even get me down a little bit.
Also, I've prepped a proposal for the NACCs conference at STC, and sent it out yesterday. If all goes well, I will be welcoming my lovely MFP poet friends to the Rio Grande Valley in February. It should prove to be lots of fun!
What else? No other news, sorry. Poetry class' last meeting is this evening, and I'm giving a presentation. Ugh. It's ok I'll survive.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Ok, so maybe I've mentioned this a million times before - but I was pretty happy to help promote the event and hopefully my constant blogging on Chachalacas In Orbit (chachalacasinorbit.com) and facebook paid off. We had a decent audience, I helped by bringing in my family :-P
I read two new poems, one oldie but goodie. Other students in my graduate poetry workshop read, too, along with my professor and other random people. It was a good event. All in all, a lovely evening on a romantic balcony with tasty ethnic cuisine. Hopefully this is one of what will become many poetry reading at Cosina.
Unfortunately I don't have pictures... but hopefully I can get ahold of some soon. I saw plenty of flashes! Will post when I find out who was behind them ;)
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Submitted yesterday to Blood Orange Review (again.. yeah they rejected me last year but I'm over that), storySouth, Analecta... and that's it!
I don't know why I was just feeling really positive about my writing. I've got a good feeling about all of this.
So tonight's the big reading at Cosina del Caribe and I'm excited about that. My adoring fans will be there (lol, Bruno and his mom, possibly my parents too :-D), along with my fellow MFAer comrades.
Confession time? I'm thinking yes. Be warned, a rambling rant will follow.
After a huge flood of submissions this week, I'm starting to feel self doubt coming back. I feel like God is trying to let me down easy sometimes, giving me little signs to not put all my hopes and dreams into this illusive and lofty goal of being a poet. How selfish is it to be a poet? Very.
Examples of these 'signs':
I was watching How I Met Your Mother yesterday (heh heh heh, yes I'm a loser at times). I like watching mindless television after work on Fridays, with a nice full glass of chardoney. Anyway, the episode was about Ted (protagonist) trying trying trying to be an architect with little success. And his friends tell him that he shouldn't be doing something that's so hard, that he should go where 'the universe' is leading him, instead of trying to pave his own path in life. So Ted ends up becoming a college professor (oh, yeah, that's soooo easy to do...) instead, and lives happily ever after because his future wife ends up being one of his students. Que romanitco!!! If he didn't 'take the hint' and kept trying trying trying to be an architect, he would have died all alone an old man never being married.
But... I've already got my soulmate by my side :-) And I'm finding bits and pieces of success along the way. I'm not Ted... am I?
Ok Ok Ok, another example maybe. I'm trying to rationalize my selfish endevors.
Bruno and I were enjoying yet another glass of wine out on the patio. He was firing up the grill, I was watching our lovely cats frolic in the garden. Bruno, out of pretty much the blue, tells me that he thinks I should have been a vetrinarian. HUH? Ok maybe it WASN'T out of the blue, I was explaining to him how Mr. Murano (my favorite cat) processes phenobarbitol through his liver~ how it's ever so slowly overworking it, and how we should switch to another anti-convusant once we see the earliest signs of liver decline (loss of appetite, yellowish poo... jaundice, but once you see the jaundice it's usually too late). Kepra, another anticonvulsant, is processed through the kidneys. Now Murano has a history of kidney stones so maybe it's not a good idea... blah blah blah I was going on and on about feline anatomy, chemical reactions in the stomach and brain, ect. He was looking at me like I was crazy, and he asked me, "how the heck do you know all of this?"
I thought about it for a moment. I just ask a lot of questions to vets, do a lot of research, I read feline health articles, a lot of web surfing... because I've had a lot of sick cats in the past and I always want to do what's best for them. I did really love taking Bio classes as an undergrad...
So Bruno ended up telling me, Katie - you need a plan B. What if plan A doesn't work out? What if you don't get into a PhD program, what if you don't get a job as a professor? Would you be okay with that? What if you don't meet your goals?
I didn't know how to answer him. What if I don't meet my goals?! What if I don't meet my goals!?
Bruno told me to have other goals, too. Be flexible in life, but never settle for anything less than your absolute best.
And he's right. I'm goal oriented to the point of it actually being dangerous. I honestly don't know what I'd do if I didn't meet my goals. And why is being a poetry professor my goal? I don't know how I've gotten here. Who is this woman, and what makes her go go go?
While I was lying in bed this morning, unable to go back to sleep and unable to get up, something in my mind told me that it was absolutely impossible to wake up in ten minutes. I must awake and fall back to sleep in incriments of 20 minutes, not ten minutes. Impossible, I thought to myself, impossible. At that very moment, the sprinkler system kicked in outside my window with a loud thud of water pressure. I shot up, looked at my clock. It was 6:50, incriment of 10 minutes, not twenty.
Nothing's impossible. I'm taking that as a sign from God, or in the wise words of Ted from How I Met Your Mother (and my mother too), from 'the universe'.
Nothing's impossible, Katie. Nothing.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I feel like such a dork, lol.
Ok well as you may already know, I have a reading coming up with my fellow poetry classmates. It's on Saturday :-)
Last night in poetry class we were making the final preparations for the reading. I think it's going to be a good one. I hope all of my adoring fans (ok, my parents and Bruno) can make it out. I've written TWO new pieces specifically for the event. Did I mention about my new onion poem? Ok well I'm mentioning it now. Also I wrote a poem about grapefruits.
Which brings me to my latest thought:
Is my poetry too obsessive?
Well, I've always heard the advice (and followed it's true) to "write about your obsessions". Hence, lately I've had this obsession with plants/horticulture. And I've always been obsessed with writing about sex (I can't say I'm obsessed with sex that'd be too embarressing to admit :-P). My poetry reflects these obsessions, I'm excited by the metaphors that can be teased out of these subjects. They allow me to reflect on life, gender, sexuality in a playful way - writing about prostitutes and or the idea that relationships between people have become nothing but commerce is hard. But writing about people buying grapefruits is not. You see where I'm going?
Ok... and lately I've been criticized (by several people, actually) that my writing is too... mmm... too much sexiness. Too much about the same things. I only write about sex. Why not write about something else. Blah blah blah.
Well, my answer is that I write about my obsessions. I write about my obsessions. I WRITE ABOUT MY OBSESSIONS.
Like I'm told to. By my creative writing professors, by books on poetics, like most writers do...
I write about my obsessions.
But what troubles me - is that some of the SaMe PeOpLe that say write about your obsessions tell me now, you only write about sex.
But what if that's my obsession :-( Where's the line? Have I crossed it?
It's a valid criticism, though. I mean, I want my writing to be multi-dimensional. But I don't want to be too general. I don't want to write about things I don't care about. I don't want to HAVE to write about things I don't care about. Like, for example, one should not feel obliged to write about political poetry if you don't care about politics. Am I a shallow and silly little blonde who only likes to think about her hair, make up, the latest shoe, or looking undeniably sexy? Maybe. And maybe my poems reflect this. And maybe, just maybe, that's ok.
(throws little hissy fit)
Ok I'm done.
Ok I'm not I lied. I have a tidbit of other news to share.
I've submitted again X-D To Columbia Poetry Review and Notre Dame Review. Yay Katie you're so on a roll.
Aye, back to the thesis. Thesis... I hate you (and love you at the same time)
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
but today I do :-) See, that's the beauty of serious procrastination. The calm before the storm. As I sit in my office this morning, I could think of all I have to complain about - having to be here at work on this lovely Wednesday while most of my family's off, I could complain about my lack of inspiration lately - my poetically dry disposition. I could also complain about my low pay, the messy house I have to go home to tonight - or the oodles of money I had to drop to host this stinkin' thanksgiving dinner... grumble grumble... I could complain about a lot of things :-P
But... I won't (ok... maybe I just did).
Instead - I'll be thankful that I have a job, one I actually enjoy
I'll be thankful that I have the luxury of poetry, no matter how badly it treats me sometimes ;)
I'll be thankful that there's money in the bank - enough to get buy.
I'll be thankful that I have a place to go home to, with a wonderful bruno, and many many cats (who are healthy, I am thankful for their health and my own)
I am thankful that I have a family ~ a great one.
I'm thankful that I'm able to host a thanksgiving :-) At my beautiful house, with my beautiful family. The weather will be beautiful, and the house will smell delicious.
Tomorrow'll be a whirlwind of a day - so today I'll just be thankful that it's hours away X-D
So life's good. I'm getting better at accepting that.
This year, if nothing else, I've learned to be thankful for everyday. Each day we're here is a gift, and it is our responsiblity to use it wisely and never, never take it for granted.
This year, I'm thankful for life - and having the eyes to watch life bloom before me.
Monday, November 22, 2010
If you've followed my blog even a little bit, you'll know I'm the type of person who thrives on setting goals, and looking back to see how many I've accomplished. It's an obsession, and one that sometimes gets taken to the extreme. But, birthdays always make me think. God's graced me with another year of life. What on earth did I do with it? Am I a good keeper of my own time?
I told me dad - put your years to work for you, or else they'll slip away. He looked at me a little weird. I guess it IS a little weird to think of your time in that manner. But really, honestly, I can't help it. I'm incapable of enjoying moments of peace and nothingness. Every moment must be purposeful, because you know - we never know how long we have here.
So... what did I do with year 23 of my life? Well... this time last year I was on a 'break' from grad school. Ok - so I admit it was a break because not only was I broke financially but emotionally as well. I was tired of writing, of scrambling, of feeling the pressure. I needed some time to step back and reevaluate.
And I did :-) When I turned 23, I was ready to get back into the swing of things. I was determined to graduate, to publish, to grow professionally.
I remember the holidays last year,
I remember on New Years Eve - how I got the call from Mouthfeel Press about Among the Mariposas being selected for publication.
I remember being there for Bruno when his father was sick, and eventually when he passed away.
I remember grieving, the slow process of healing.
I remember returning to grad school,
publishing publishing in Borderlands, even in the Monitor, and most recently in Cold Mountain Review
I remember cherishing my contributor copies ;)
I remember the Valley International Poetry Festival :-D My dynamite reading at Barnes and Noble with the book fair, reading at Savory Perks, reading reading reading everywhere that would have me.
I remember beginning to write for Chachalacas in Orbit :-D
I remember being ill, and afraid.
I remember conferences - going to UTSA twice
I remember starting my new 2nd job, feeling overwhelmed and then getting used to it
I remember beginning my thesis, feeling overwhelmed, and getting used to that, too.
I remember frustration, in many things.
I remember talking with Bruno... many times, about the next step, where will we go?
I remember uncertainty.
I remember healing.
I think 23 for me was a year of healing - a year of triumphs. It was a wonderful year. God - I hope that you agree, I've put it to good use.
I'm thankful and blessed with each day here on earth. I'm vowing never to forget that.
Well, I know sometimes I can get a little 'pie in the sky' idealist, but umm... back on earth I have a tidbit of news to share.
The post is up concerning the Cosina del Caribe reading. I'm excited! You can find all the gooey little details here: http://chachalacasinorbit.com/2010/11/cocina-del-caribe-poetry-reading/
Come check us out if you have a chance :-) It'll be a good time, ok?
Ok! With that I'm signing off. My last appointment before lunch is here~ nomnomnom!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Its out in the mail and I can't take it back now :-)
So I submitted about 8 poems to them for their horticulture issue. It just seemed too perfect with my plant obsession as of late. So let's see if anything comes of this.
Hmm... what else? Oh! I have a reading coming up. And I'm blogging about it on Chachalacas In Orbit! My latest post should be up pretty soon. I'm going to be reading at a Caribbean restaurant along with my poetry professor and some fellow students. My mom might even be showing some art :D so she's psyched about that, too. Details certainly to come.
Hmm... I guess that's about it. Just in general, things are looking up for me. I applied for a teaching position at a university (hah, yeah...right!) which I know is a SUPER longshot but whatever I had to try. And I'm studying my GRE again... I'm giving myself more time, and resolving not to stress about PhD applications until next year. I get overwhelmed so very easily, and it was really really really stressing me out to the point that I was becoming unproductive and ill again.
So I'm taking a big step back, a deep breath, and I'm going to nibble away at it one tiny piece at a time. I'm going to apply next year. Deep breath, Katie. You can and will so totally do this ;)
On a lighter note, I believe I have found the perfect fall boot.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
"We are so pleased to accept “Good Girls” for publication in the upcoming issue of /Cold Mountain Review/."
Ahh! I'm so unbelievably happy right now~!!
This little email just sent me to the sky and back X-D X-D X-D
You see, there I was, just studying away for my GRE exam, in slight agony, when my phone went BEEEEP.
I was angry because, well, I was in the middle of looking up what the heck scintillate means, when I opened up my email and there it was, titiled "YOUR POEM WAS ACCEPTED"
ZOMG! I even have to sign a CoNtRaCt!
So yes, I'm a dork, I know. I did a little research on the magazine, and it is so totally professional. Among the other contributors are creative writing professors, award winning novelists and poets, and even a Gugenheim Fellow.
How is my little bitty poem, "Good Girls" going to look next to those? Pathetic. But whatever! It's pubbed, I'm estatic, and I'm giving myself the rest of the day off from gre study~!!!
Oh, check out Cold Mountain Review HERE:
I'm excited for tomorrow's conference. I'm excited to leave the valley for a day, meet lots of talented authors and scholars, and see the lovely riverwalk again. Once I get over the whole driving on the expressway deal, I think its going to be a bit like a mini vaycay.
I'm reading at 4:30, and again at 7:30 at Gallerista Gallery, UTSA Downtown Campus.
Anyway, I was writing an extended bio today about myself for the conference. I realized something, I sound like a mildly interesting person! :D lol. Here's what I pounded out between student appointments:
Katherine Hoerth is an MFA candidate at the University of Texas Pan
American. Her first chapbook of poems, Among the Mariposas
(Mouthfeel Press, 2010), received the Nuestra Voz Poetry Prize. The chapbook
speaks to living in the borderlands, belonging, and forging an identity along
the muddy waters of the Rio Grande. Her poetry has most recently appeared in
Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and the Texas Journal of Women Writers. She
regularly contributes to a Rio Grande Valley arts blog: Chacalacas in Orbit (www.chachalacasinorbit.com)
Katherine currently teaches English at the University of Texas Pan
American, and advises incoming freshmen English majors. She works with the
Upward Bound program to help promote post secondary education to low income,
migrant, and minority high school students. She has also taught English to
recent immigrants in Santa Rosa, Texas and served as chief editor to UTPA’s
Gallery Magazine. Through both her work and her writing, Katherine is committed
to serving her community in the Rio Grande Valley by promoting the arts,
education, and change to help break the cycle of poverty that all too often
snuffs out the dreams of many young people.
Katherine is currently working on her MFA thesis, titled The Tip of the
Tasting Tongue, which is a manuscript of poems dealing with border and gender
identity. She plans to graduate in May 2011. She can be reached on her
personal blog at (www.katiehoerth.blogspot.com) or
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
1. A PhD - because it means the end of the road, that there's nothing left to teach me and if by that point i'm not brilliant then... well... I'm officially a dunce.
2. The GRE - MUST SCORE 700 MUST SCORE 700... stupid powerprep software is depressing me :( all the sudden I feel very very dumb.
3. Rejection letters that tumble in daily, though now I've learned to just delete them
4. My thesis, which piles up and gets bigger every day. I don't know how to break it down into bite sized pieces of work, and time is tick ticking away.
5. My professors. They're smart, confusing, and completely unhelpful at times. Ok, I'm a big girl and should take more responsiblity for my own education - yes I get the point.
6. Driving on the expressway. Nuff said.
7. Being in a big city, getting mugged, walking around at night, getting lost, missing the bus, crying in public... yeah, all stuff I will likely do.
8. Meeting new people, and not knowing what to say to them - so awkwardly hugging them.
9. My second job, which stinks at times but is wonderfully beautiful too.
10. Life, in general. It's big.
11. Anything unknown, which is like everything for me at the moment, including what I'm going to eat for dinner.
What I vow to do with these fears:
get them down on paper, crumple them up, and throw them in the trash. My fears will NOT keep me from becoming the person I know I need to be.
Ah... ok so confesison time, I'm kind of getting ready for my regularly scheduled nervous breakdown. I feel like everything's just piling up on my chest, closing in. Gwah I'm going to vomit.
I'll get through this - one way or another. Bruno had some good advice for me in regards to the whole PhD application process thingamajiggie - to apply for jobs, too. Because - maybe I really am too young, naive, and inexperienced to take on this monumental task. Maybe a few years in the workforce (academia, of course) will do me a bit of good.
I mean, my wisdom teeth haven't even grown in yet. LoL. Another fear - them ruining my lovely smile.
On a lighter note - while I am completely a nervous wreck over driving there, I will be heading out to San Antonio on Friday for El Mundo Zurdo :D I will meet new people (like my editor who is kind of my hero) and no, I will not run up to them and hug them like the naive valleyite I've become.
Also, I've been writing. Yes, yes I have : ) And it's good stuff, too! I think... anyway. Ah... maybe a bit of stress is good for the creative juices.
Maybe. But probably not.
Ok nuff for today :D I've officially ranted.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I've broken my publishing rut! See my latest pub HERE:
That's meee! Katherine Hoeth... wait a minute... they mispelled my last name. Ok, well read the poem maybe they did it on purpose ;)
Well... that and I've also once again flooded the market with submissions. Bad news came atumblin' in from Hayden's Ferry Review, Blackbird, and... probably more I'm just selectively forgetting. But let this not be a day of woe - but a day of triumph :-)
Katie's pubbed again, even though - yes, local newspaper, but regardless I am proud :-)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
After a long talk with BruBru, we've decided that indeed - we have outgrown this valley.
I love 'The Valley' with everything I've got - it's my home, the place I write about, where most of my family lives, where I grew up, and where I'll always be attached.
But... it is almost time to move on.
So my plan is to finish up this MFA, and then ride the wind to wherever it takes me. I'm going to start prepping PhD applications ASAP. I'm going to start looking for a new job. New life. New home. New town....
but the same Katie. I promise.
Details to come - as soon as I figure them out. I would very much like to stay in Texas, and my eyes are most certainly on Houston or Austin... maybe Dallas, even El Paso... or New Mexico. One thing for sure, though, is that for both my personal and professional well being, come August, I will be someplace else, moving up in life, becoming the Katie I know I need to be.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I'm really loving my poetry workshop this semester. Something's jiving well with me, my collegues, and my prof. My writing is changing. It's less narrative, more lyrical. Or - the narrative is in the lyricality of the words. Something like that.
Here's a little piece of my latest poem: The Green Lake
I’ll ask you –
will you let the heat of your body part the surface? A stone
skips across the water, leaving ripples of breath
between your answer. I won’t tell you -
this lake hides a beast behind her eyelashes
and tall grass. The hurried breaths of lovers
and the smell of sex exists between the hissing
of snakes and songs of frogs. This body
That's my favorite stanza.
Anyway - life's happened. Between my two jobs, working on my thesis, my grad class, chachalacas in orbit, being bruno's moral support, readings, writings, submissions, rejections, conferences, presentations, book signings, ect - sometimes I really feel like I'm going to lose it. I have a history of taking on too much and not realizing it, and then losing it completely. Aye. It's my talent. Then I get sick. And nothing gets done.
I can do it all, I can and usually do pull through.
So today I'm writing this post to get myself focused. What are my priorities in life right now?
Writing. Of course. Not just for the thesis, for class, for my students, for publication, for blogs - but most importantly, writing for myself. If I write too much for others, I'm afraid that I'll lose natural love of writing that I've always had.
Peace. Finding it amongs the words and mariposas, embracing it.
I think that peace resides in the tiny caesuras of our lives - between the line breaks of hurried breaths.
Next week - that's it. I'm going on vacation.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Ok so I'm feeling seriously overwhelmed these past few days. I think maybe it's the second job. Anyway, news to report:
The El Mundo Zurdo program has posted. So I now have a day/time that I will be reading at UTSA. I will be reading Friday, November 5th at 4:30 in the Durango room. Joining me will be poets ire'ne lara silva, nancy green, Laura Eglin, and Carolina Monsivais (all mouthfeel press authors! :) :) :) )
I'm uber excited to meet these talented ladies. I feel unworthy, so unworthy....
Still pumped about Saturday's reading at Jitterz. See sidebar for details on that one. Don't forget to come out and show your support ;)
I wrote a new poem for my grad class. And it's about being... well... overwhelmed I guess. Here's a little exerpt:
At the moment her finger switches
the coffee maker on, a body curls
into question against the force
of water. She listens for the groan
of the machine, telling her the single
serving of bitter beans is ready
to pour into the fine bone
china. As she pours
her first cup - the sunrise pours in.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
First of all, I would like to thank Pablo from Chacalacas in Orbit for the wonderful preview of my chapbook. You can see it here:
It looks absolutely fantastic! And what is that at the end there? That I will be writing for the blog? Why yes, yes I will be X-D In the very near future be on the lookout for my reviews of literary scene happenings here in the Rio Grande Valley.
This bit of wonderful news aside, I also have another tidbit to share: I'm going to be featured at a reading organized by Art That Heals! Here's the details:
Art That Heals, Inc. presents Coffeetalk Series: 2nd Saturday of each month @ 7:30 p.m. with featured speakers/artists/performers
and Open Mic @ Jitterz Coffee Bar in Mission. Featuring Katie Hoerth, award-winning author of "Among The Mariposas." The mission of Art That Heals, Inc., is to promote cultural literacy in the Rio Grande Valley by promoting the arts and to use art to help end the AIDS pandemic. http://www.athinc.org/
So if you're interested in an autographed copy of the book I will be there, with my books of course~
The event will run 7:30-9:00pm at Jitterz Coffee Shop in Mission!! 1625 North Conway
If you're interested in reading at the event, there will also be an open mic! So bring your poems.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Anyway - here's just a stanza, and it's three different stages as an example:
The toothless smile of satisfaction – rose
across her dimpled abdomen. Her breasts
hang above, the heads of a widows in prayer.
Everyone watches – eyes taking
in the color of bare skin – skin bending
in the hurricane that blew past. She sways
to the music that couldn’t carry her home.
All the eyes are on her toothless smile–the rose lips
that cut across her dimpled abdomen. Her breasts
hang above, the heavy heads of a widows in prayer.
Her bare skin bends in the hurricane that blows past
as she sways to the music that couldn’t carry her home.
As she dances - her voice thunders in the hum
of fronds, and all eyes are on the toothless smile –
the rose lips that slice
across her dimpled trunk. Her breasts hang
above, the heavy heads of widows
heaving a prayer to the wind:
please carry my smallest of seeds home.
HUH? Going from one to three, you hardly see any resemblence - except the two central images of the scar and the boobs.
I know I blogged about this piece before, but man is it bugging me.
Ok, well - back to my regularly scheduled day of sneezing.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Another rejection - this time from Sycamore Review. That one came in on Friday evening, and it didn't really bum me out at all.
Yay, thick skin!
However, I am bummed out by a bit of a cold coming on. And the fact that I ended up missing the Ambrosia open mic. First, I wasn't feeling the best on Friday. Bruno got out of work late and wasn't in the mood to go with me, either. And then, Saturday was my first day working with Upward Bound, so I figured it would be a good evening to stay in and relax.
So relax I did.
And Saturday - I had a pretty good first day working with the kiddos. I just forgot how utterly exhausting working with youth can be... zzzzzzzzzzz....
So this week I'm ready to tackle the following tasks:
Find my stamps, still haven't done that yet... and send out those two submissions
Write a leaping poem for class
Focus on getting rest, and getting better. I can't afford to let being sick bring me down.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
First of all, I had a wonderful poetry class last night. We talked about Blake and Neruda, about leaping and taking chances in writing. I <3 Blake and Neruda. I left the class with two stacks of poems to critque. One, for our next workshop meeting and the other....
is for a poetry contest that I'm helping judge. That's right. Me. Katie. Judging a poetry contest.
Ok so it's not a huge deal. But anyway I'm pretty excited to crack into that stack of poems and choose a few winners.
You know what, in retrospect I should have posted the contest details up here. Ah well, hindsight is always 2020 excuse my cliche. It's morning and the coffee I made is too weak.
So I'm judging the Green Living Poetry contest here, for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Yay! Co-judging, along with my good friend the Poet Mariachi.
Wait a second... how come I don't have a cool nickname? Ok, from here on out I will refer to myself as La Guerita de Maiz. :-D Love it.
Other news? Why yes, yes there is some.
A very nice gentleman by the name of Pablo contacted me yesterday concerning his new blog, called Chachalaca's in Orbit. Apprently he reads this blog (hurray!) and is going to write about my book, Among the Mariposas, for Chachalacas.
I checked out the website and it's pretty rad. So check it out for yourself too. It's a great way to stay up to date with our burgeoning art scene here in El Valle.
So here's the link, folks:
And even more exciting, I'm going to be writing for them as a weekly contributor concerning literary events here in the Valley.
Yes, I'm crazy busy but you know what, this is going to give me a great excuse to be a more active participant in the local literary scene. You would never guess it, but I can be a bit of a shy individual (gasp!). I get nervous when I do readings, but maybe everyone does.
On an unrelated note, I need to put in another order for more chapbook copies....
So I'm back to being busy bee Katie, which I appreciate. I just need to remember to make time for MY poems too. Teaching, editing, volunteering, socializing, networking, ect is all fine and dandy. But the whole purpose of this is so that I can become a better writer. And that requires ass in chair fingers on keyboard time. Which, I need to make sure that I ALWAYS have. It is absolutely most important.
So today's goal is to judge that green living poetry contest. Secondary goals are to do a journal entry, to order more chapbooks, and to begin critiquing workshop poems.
I can do this. I can do it all.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
They updated the Borderlands website to reflect the latest issue - the issue in which my poem North on 281 appears! Hurray! :)
Here's the website in case you're interested in ordering a copy of this lovely and professional publication (I'm throughougly enjoying my contributor copy):
In other news...
I start working a second job this coming Saturday. I will be working with Upward Bound as an English instructor here at UTPA. I have a bit of mixed feelings about it. On one hand - it's going to be GREAT experience for me. I'll be working with secondary students, something I've never done before. Plus, it looks nifty on my resume: English Instructor at UTPA
But on the other hand - I'm a bit afraid. Bruno (who used to be in charge of the computer labs at the university here) tells me that he dreaded when the kiddos would come into the labs to use the computers because they were rowdy. I taught middle school for two years, so I know all about rowdy. But what if I've 'lost it', as in - my touch as a teacher? :-/
Plus, there goes my Saturdays. And once in awhile I'm busy on Saturdays. I like to do conferences, readings, ect.
But... its not permenant. And, the extra money will be wonderful, plus the experience is very nice. And.. it's a little taste of teaching high school which is something I've never done before. I'm thinking of teaching high school once I graduate with my MFA if no university work is available here in the valley. Like, AP/concurrent enrollment high school kiddos. I already have my lisence so it's doable. And this will help me see if that's really what I want to do.
Anyway... other news? Oh yes. A conference! I'm thinking of prepping a proposal.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Conference at South Texas College Feb 24-26, 2010
Call for Submissions“De Diosa a Hembra to Chicana: Celebrating the Last40 Years of Chicana Activism.”2011 NACCS-Tejas Regional Conference
South Texas College, McAllen, Tejas
24-26 February 2011
The Mexican American Studies Program at South Texas College is accepting submissions for papers, exhibits, performances, or cultural productions for the2011 NACCS Tejas Regional Conference at South Texas College. The year1971 can be considered a turning point in Chicana activism as a group of Chicana leaders from across the United States came together to voice theirconcerns as women. These concerns stemmed from discrimination in the home,work place, school, and within the Chicano Movement itself. Other issues addressed at the conference included concerns over healthcare and the relationship to other feminist movements and sexuality. These women, numbering in the hundreds, united and disunited in Houston, and sought various resolutions to their concerns as they strived for social, cultural, racial, gender,and sexual equality. This is the historical spirit that will be celebrated and examined during the 2011 NACCS Tejas Regional Conference that will be heldon the 24th through the 26th of February at South Texas College.
The NACCS Tejas Regional conference will provide a forum through which we can collectively explore the past, present, and future of Chicana activism.While the primary theme for the conference centers on analyzing and reflectingon Chicana activism, other topics related to the Chicana/o, Latina/o, or MexicanAmerican experience are also welcomed. A 100-250 word abstract should besubmitted for the paper, panel, exhibit, performance, or other.
Deadline for Submissions: December 7, 2010
Send questions and proposals electronically to Victor Gomez firstname.lastname@example.org
It's local! So no travel costs. But I want to get a panel going... hmm..
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Anyway... how about for today?
Well, today I'm going to journal and freewrite... maybe work on a bit of editing, but the focus will be on new creations. What's the next big thing, Katie?
Oh... a tidbit from yesterday's poem! :
Now, years later my body lays still next to his, and I hide underneath covers and sheets as I watch the evening news – men in combat boots crossing over the eggshells of peace into Kuwaiti desert. While Bruno studies the bank statements, sprouting fresh gray hairs, I study the way those hairs curl at the first folds of tired skin, wondering when our next mistake will blossom into a shining yellow yolk across the expanse of our lifetimes.
It's in prose form. I kind of like the freedom of prose. But I like to play with linebreaks, too. So... hmm... maybe this one needs a bit more editing.
Off to actual work!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Another rejection came in this weekend, this time from Ante Review. Its ok - I'm over it. A World of Warcraft Marathon and pot of homemade black bean soup later I felt like myself again. Oh, and a trip the the gym.
My favorite things in the world are cooking things from scratch, playing video games, and exercising. Oh, and poetry. But not when I'm angry with poetry.
And don't forget coffee...
Ok - so I'm determined to make this week better. More productive. What are my goals?
Get some serious ass to chair time and focus on this poem that's been sitting in my notebook for weeks. I would LIKE to have it ready for my workshop on Wednesday. If not, that's ok - I have an arsinal of poems that desperately need workshopping as well.
Prep and send out TWO submissions. One for PRISM International, one for Southern Review. Deadlines, Katie, deadlines!
Eat more veggies. Yes, for some reason this helps me tremendously. In mood and spirit primarily. I feel like crap when I eat like crap.
And get back into my twice daily walk routine. This helps me too.
I've been feeling my back and stomach pains returning a little lately, and that just makes me determined to be healthier. The weather is beautiful at the moment, high of 88. That's unseasonably beautiful for the RGV.
Any other goals for the week? Yes. Journal. Everyday. It is tremendously helpful to journal daily, in both my writing and... well... everything!
So I have the recipe for wellbeing. For happiness, for contentment. I remember when I first started college I was 17 years old, and a little bit depressed. I will spare the details, but I remember one Sunday afternoon thinking to myself, how can one be happy? I thought to myself... with balance. Balance is what makes a person happy. So since then I've tried to live balance, and it kind of works! Feed your mind with books, your body with good food and exercise, your heart with the company of people you love (and cats) and your soul with God. And when you're nourished in all things, you find happiness.
So for my mind - I will write, read, keep going on this poetic endeavor. But it cannot consume me.
For my body, I will cook more food at home, consume less refined sugar, and do more light exercise. Yesterday I ate pretty much only vegetables, and I feel better today as a result.
For my heart, I'll spend more time with Bruno. Even though... he's insanely busy with crazy computer projects. In which case I will spend time with our cats.
And for my soul, I will read the Bible and go to church this Sunday.
One step at a time, and I'll get there.
Friday, September 17, 2010
So it's raining, I'm guessing because that hurricane Karl in Mexico. Did I ever mention that lately I've been absolutely obsessed with hurricanes? It's pretty crazy, I go through these weird obsessions and lately it's hurricanes. I will probably be depressed when hurricane season is over, until I move on to another obsession.
Which SHOULD be poetry. But how can I be obsessed with something that moves so slowly? Hurricanes form, strenghten, make landfall, and then by the time it's all over a new one has formed.
Poems form, strengthen, then fizzle out and die on my USB drive unpublished :'(
Ah... ok I'm being melodrammatic. New Plains Review sent rejection email a few days ago. I'm feeling very lost on my thesis endeavor, and I haven't been writing because I'm busy with... actual work.
Next week will be better, Katie. Promise.
Ok. I'll sort of believe myself then.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
And, I'm starting to notice a new freedom in my writing.
Whereas - in the past I would simply write the truth, things I'm feeling, experiencing, living, ect, I'm starting to now write more freely. I'm getting better at putting myself in fictional scenarios, morphing my everyday experiences into something more meaningful, interesting, poetic.
Its actually quite inspiring - to write lies.
But also, at the same time - I wonder how much of what I write people end up thinking is my actual experience? For example, if I write a poem about affairs, will people automatically assume that I've been a particpant? How scary to think... that yes maybe they will.
My mom seems to think that poems must be autobiographical. And I'm guilty of it too. When I go to an open mic, I judge. I think to myself - wow - that lady's done THAT? Pretty ballzy.
Like Kim Addonizio. Her poems are so no nonsense, sexy, dealing with drug use, drinking, the whole nine yards. I've built up this persona of her in my head, as like this modern sexy lady version of Kerouac, creating a seductive tornado around her every where she goes. But um... she's probabably ACTUALLY nothing like the persona in her poems... right?
I'll use myself as an example. I write about sex. Alot. About female sensuality, permiscuity, taboos... you name it! But... lol... I have the most vanilla sex life in the world. I'll admit it. But maybe people think I'm some kind of strange fetish lady when I read my sexy feet/fruit/cake/car/shoe/coffee cup poems.
Anyway, on that note - a piece of my latest creation.
Now comes the shirt, the jeans, the bra,
the panties, all tossed into a corpselike
pile - a tiny monument.
The toothless smile of satisfaction – rose
across her dimpled abdomen. Her breasts
hang above, the heads of a widows in prayer.
And no, not me - I've never stripped. Nor do I have a scar riding across my abdomon from a tummy tuck or c-section. Nor do my boobs sag (promise)
LoL. Ok, enough for today. before I write something true.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
First - a confession. No news to share today, folks. This one is purely reflective.
Ok I lied. A little tidbit of news. I might be going back into teaching :-X But part time. so rest asured that I won't be doing too much harm to today's youth.
That aside - last night in poetry class I had the mother of all migraines. It started coming on the minute I arrived on campus. I should have felt it coming, and stayed home. But no, I didn't listen, and decided to go anyway.
And in class, we were discussing duende, the source of poetry, and we did some writing exercises. Boy - I tell you, I'm used to being in some kind of pain, but migraine pain is a little bit worse than stomach pains. So umm... its hard to write under circumstances.
Anyway - in class we were talking about the trends in poetry, too. How poetry today is more experimental, more about language play. And how confessional poems are horribly out of fashion. Oh boohoo. You know - I'm guilty of this. Here's Katie's confession.
I don't like confessional poetry. Yet - I write it. Huh?
I'm weird! I know! I've always looked down on it, like - for example, Plath. Ok, no denying her writing is good but umm... do I need to know the gooey details of her life? Why not write about something less depressing?
And yet, taking a look at my own writing - its all about my life, my experiences, what my body sees, feels, takes into itself. I draw on my past relationships with people, experiences with culture, what I take in from the tip of my tasting tongue. For me - that's my poetry.
What could be more sickingly confessional?
So... on the surface, I don't like confessional poets. But, if you get past my pith, you'll see that I must love them so much that I've become one of them. Without realizing it.
Kind of like how i'm slowly becoming my mother.
There. My Katie Confessional Thursday is complete.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I was so hoping to have an extended labor day weekend thanks to this tropical storm. But alas, here I am in my office...
Last night I was so cursing about how ridiculous it was to have school/work today. Oh my! Tornado warnings?! and I have to drive in that? Insane!
I went to bed amidst the whistling of wind out my window, listening to the pangs of rain drops on the roof - curled up and just a little bit scared. I'm such a wuss, I wouldn't fall asleep until bruno came to bed and held me. Ugh. I disgust myself sometimes.
And so this morning I wake up to clear skies, a cool breeze, and the world is just a little bit wetter. Ah - ok... so the UTPA administration knows a little bit more about meteorology than this lazy poet does. Good call, people, good call. It would have been somewhat silly to stay home on a beautiful day like today (although, let's be honest - I would have thoughoughly enjoyed it!).
So... last Friday I submitted to Sycamore Review. And... hmm... I guess that's all the news for me. Gosh I'm in a rut lately. I haven't had a pub in awhile. Hopefully this changes soon.
My Labor Day weekend consisted of family BBQ, a rained out artwalk, baking two cheesecakes, and having much time to laze around. I'll call it a success, even though I didn't even get one word on the page.
Ok - so today its back to reality. Back to work. Back to the empty page. Back to submissions. Back to school. Let's get on this, Katie. Or else you'll go nowhere.
Friday, September 3, 2010
So that makes it official - right?
That means there's no turning back - right?
I mean, wasn't a big deal or anything, I just walked over to their office this morning and dropped off a seemingly meaningless piece of paper. But as I handed it away, I sighed.
Yep - its going to happen!
Nine months from now, I will be Katie, MFA.
XD XD XD XD XD XD
Ok, now back to work. I haven't met my weekly goal yet, and its Friday already!!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
When I finally made it home last night, I was pretty tired. Phew! How was I able to do this before? I was at UTPA yesterday for a total of 14 hours straight.
But my new poetry workshop class seems pretty good. We did a lot of writing exercises yesterday which is helping me to up my daily writing. Yay! I've been writing all summer though... so going to class just puts a little structure to my writing schedule.
Anyway - I'm happy (yet exhausted) to be back in class. This is my LAST POETRY WORKSHOP of my MFA experience. I hope to make it a good one :)
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I've been blogging almost an entire year! Yayy!!
As of tomorrow, my blog will be one year old. I've done a lot in a year. Ok, so the past few summer months have been rather uneventful. But right now I'm going to rewind a bit, and revel in the successes and struggles that the past year has brought me. And because I'm so damn goal oriented (to a fault, remember...) I might even set some goals for year two of blogging.
I started this blog last September as a means to keep myself accountable. What do you mean, Katie?
Well - I figured that if I blogged and posted my tidbits of writing, that it would be a motivation for me to show the world (mainly myself I'm my most avid reader) that I am actually writing and actively participating in the poetry world. This blog was going to be my publicly poetic face, with its pimples and all! :) Aww...
And then the blog started evolving a little. Instead of posting my writing exercises, I started blogging about my activities, my submissions, my successes, struggles, and failures. Now its a way for me to keep track, to look back and say - look how far I've come. To study all my mistakes. To make them all over again.
So this time last year, I was an M.F.A student vowing to take this writing life a little more seriously. I made promises on my blog, saying I would submit to the Nuestra Voz competetion, that I would submit to Borderlands, to Denver Quarterly (which I never got around too... oops!).
So since beginning blogging, I have had the following successes:
Published two poems in Reflections (In... October I think?)
Published Among the Mariposas (Mouthfeel Press, 2010). I was notified last December. I still remember that day. I was at the gym, and people were staring at me while I jumped for joy while speaking with editor on phone.
Published a poem in Borderlands
Published three poems on Clean Sheets
Presented at the Wild Tongues Conference
Proposal Accepted for El Mundo Zurdo Conference
Began work on thesis
Received the Nuestra Voz prize, and an Outstanding Achievement award through my university
Did numerous readings and book signings, was featured at a book fair, and made many friends along the way :) :) :)
But has it been all shits and giggles? Certainly not. In the spirit of honesty, I've hit my roadbumps too. I've accumulated a pretty nice collection of rejection slips, my first shipment of books were sent to the wrong address (completely my fault), and my fragile feelings have been hurt by fellow poets and professors. Yes, I cried.
But through it all, I think I've had a successful year. I put myself out there, I climbed out on that shakey limb and held on for dear life. And I'm hanging in there! I will continue to do so, regardless of the struggles that are ahead of me within this next coming year.
This time last year, I would have never DREAMED that I would be fairing so well right now. I thank my friends for their encouragement, my family for their support, my editor and publisher for believing in me (you are the greatest :), my professors for pushing me forward, my collegues for their great criticism, and of course - my biggest fan, I thank Bruno :) He doesn't read this blog (or know of its existance) but he is what keeps me pressing on. You're one sexy geek, Bruno.
So this coming year - what do I plan on doing?
Well -I hope to publish publish publish in journals.
I want a good portion of my thesis manuscript published in good quality journals so that I can start considering publishing it as a whole. But this is going to take so much work, and even more luck. Aye.
I want to present at more conferences. I still dream of AWP 2011.
I want to finish my thesis
I want to graduate
I want to begin working. I pray to God that this time next year I will be teaching. I don't care if its remedial writing! But I need experience desperately. And this is what terrifies me the most.
Last year was great, awesome, productive, and filled with so much joy. These next twelve or so months are going to be a whole new struggle. I just hope that I can get out of this little funk I'm in, and start adding to the CV again until it bestows upon me the title - Professor Katie. Real Poet Katie. Good Wife Katie. Skinny Katie. Beautiful Katie. Sexy Katie.
So my CV won't be able to make me sexy... lol. But a girl sure can dream...
Monday, August 30, 2010
Another one of my shining moments...
Remember that poetry contest I entered on Friday? For Ante Review? Ok, well... on Saturday I got an email from them.
Editor wanted my poem, because I FORGOT TO ATTACH IT TO EMAIL.
Ok, so that was a serious brain fart. But at least they were kind enough to request it again. I am grateful (though I look like a serious goof. But I am a serious goof.).
Other news? Today's the first day of class at UTPA. Ah yes, traffic was at a crawl, parking was a battle, and the campus is alive with wide eyed students. I'm taking one poetry workshop class, and I'm starting my thesis hours. I briefly talked with my professor last week at the college convocation, and I'm feeling pretty good about 'things' so far.
I know the next 8 or so months are going to be a bit of a struggle, but I'll get through them and thrive. That's what I do best! Well... that and making airheaded mistakes.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
You see, I've been having a beautifully productive week this week. I've written TWO poems in two days. They've come out pretty good too, needing only a little editing here and there but for the most part they were born in one good piece. Yay!
So I was really looking forward to coming into the office today and sitting down at my keyboard to type out number 3. And a little thought snuck into my head, "Katie," it said, "you've already passed your goal for the week!"
And I thought to myself, huh... yeah I have haven't I?
Since then, I haven't been able to write.
You see, I'm so goal oriented. Who ever heard of being too goal oriented? But that's me, I do it to a fault.
I do everything to a fault. Geez. No wonder I haven't had any pubs lately.
But in better news~ I HAVE been arranging my thesis! I've been adding my latest poems, thinking of names for my sections, ect. Its very exciting work. Right now maybe my mind is more in an editing mode? Ah, enough with your excuses you pathetic excuse for a poet.
By the way - I'm my own worst critic too.
(and my biggest fan) wait... my only fan :D
Monday, August 23, 2010
I come from a completely non-religious home. Bunch of heathens! Nah - I had a pretty privledged childhood but it was devoid of religion. But I've always been drawn to Christianity, since as far back as I can remember I've 'talked to God'. I'm weird. I know.
So when I was about... oh... eight years old I started going to church with a Mexican family. I didn't (and still really don't) know much Spanish. But they wanted to take me to church (their youngest girl and I were best of friends) and I was grateful, so I'd sit through the Spanish services and listen as best I could. The mom, I still remember her vividly, was Carmen. And one day she took me into the pastor's office and asked me if I'd like to acceptamos Jesus Cristo into my heart. And of course I excitedly nodded yes.
So the pastor and Carmen took my little trembling hands and prayed over me, and then I repeated as best I could a Spanish prayer and we said "Amen!" together. I opened my eyes and felt hugely satisfied with myself. I did it! I was saved! Carmen and her family took me out for lunch that Sunday afternoon, and it was a joyous affair.
The next few weeks Carmen wanted to get me Baptized. She asked my parents, who weren't against the idea and said to go ahead. So Carmen took me to a few Baptism ceremonies so I could observe (so I wouldn't be afraid... you know... to an eight year old girl it IS a little scary), and I chickened out. I told Carmen I wasn't ready to be Baptized. She told me not to worry, that Jesus had already saved me and loved me very much no matter what I did. She told me to keep praying.
And so I was thinking about that Baptism. How would my life be different if I HAD gone ahead and gotten Baptized? So I wrote about it, naturally. That and my feeling of complete otherness while in the church, an otherness I shrugged off and eventually learned to embrace.
Its a cute poem I guess, nothing super deep. Just, if I had been Baptized, I think I would have been Baptized into more than just a religion. Now, looking back, it probably would have been a cultural Baptism, too. And I would have become more apart of a foreign community.
I loved that little church. Maybe one day I'll go back, attend a Spanish service, and be Baptized in El Nombre de Jesus Cristo. Not all of us are so lucky to have Carmens to guide us.
Here's the last stanza of my poem, anyway:
and in El Nombre de Jesus Christo, I breathed in the thick water –
emerged with hungry lungs, hiding my blue eyes
behind squinted eyelids. Somewhere in the water
floated a blurred image, the little girl trembling,
wrapped tight in a auburn towel and the dark arms
of a preacher who kissed my forehead clean.
Ok so I promise the rest of my posts won't be so... pious. Anyway, in other news...
I'm still struggling with that newspaper submission. Bruno (the all wise computer engineer lover) advised me not to submit my very best work, to be optimistic that it will get placed elsewhere and to submit something new/previously unsubmitted. So ok, I'm taking his advice.
Friday, August 20, 2010
But I just can't seem to decide which pieces to submit to a local newspaper. Part of me (the pessimist) is saying, "Submit your very best work, because you're not going to find another place for it and its the only way to even get published in this newspaper" and the optimist in me is saying, "Don't submit your best work! It will probably be accepted by a reputable journal and then what are you going to do!?"
So, now I'm stressing over it. I sure do think a whole lot more than I write or submit. No wonder I have so few pubs...
I think I need to sleep on this one.. maybe ask bruno what to do. He knows nothing about poetry, but somehow always has the best advice.
Submitted to Waccamaw~ took very little time, and I was way overthinking it. I had been going to the website with the intention of submitting just about every day. And yesterday - I finally did it. Phew~! Let's hope for a response soon :) :) :)
Other news? Not so much. I don't know I've been feeling pretty dry poetically lately. I saw a dog get run over yesterday and it disturbed me a great deal. Whenever I sat down to write yesterday I couldn't get the gruesome picture out of my head. Why did I have to slow down and look? Because I'm weird like that. Ugh.
But then I was thinking - this image is haunting me for a reason. Maybe the only way THROUGH it is to write about it. And then I can move on to better things. Maybe? Maybe.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
My goal was to get through the book and do the writing exercises this summer, but I had taken some time off because - well - sometimes I don't feel all that inspired. Actually, this summer I've been pretty sick and I know that's not an excuse but I'll use it as one.
Today I was feeling pretty inspired (still not feeling WELL though, so see, there's proof that its not an excuse), and picked up the book. Low and behold - a chapter on... Pain! Perfect! :)
The exercise was to write a pantoum about your pain body, to invision it as an object and write about it. Cool! I don't know why, but I always picture my pain as a black olive. I LOVE to eat olives, but I'm always afraid of the little pits. So I buy them shredded or sliced, even though really I enjoy eating them whole.
I've tried to write pantoums in the past but I always give up frustrated. But this time I saw it through, and actually... it's pretty ok! I'll post a little excerpt:
My pain would come on an olive branch
Shining black in the Grecian sun
But instead I pick it up at HEB
Canned and in a salty broth.
Shining black in the Grecian sun
Pain, ah, I know you so well
Now canned and in this salty broth
I’ll use you in a salad, I think.
And of course it goes on and on and in the end I have to swallow it whole to - maybe - digest another day. Do pits digest in the stomach? Who knows.
Anyway, one thing I do know - my stomach is feeling a bit better. So maybe I should continue writing? Nah, I have actual work to do~ Hah!
Oh - in other news... I submitted to Memoir and... last week. According to Duotrope, though, it has a really low acceptance rate. So I'm not getting my hopes up.
And I've been wondering, how often do most poets submit to journals? I aim for once a week, but usually its more like twice a month. I know its more important to write than to submit, but I just wonder how often others submit. Hmm...
Ok for real this time - off to do some real work.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Its real. Its finally happening. I'm actually seeing the light at the end of this MFA tunnel...
Nine months or so from now, if all goes according to plan - I'll get my masters degree.
And so what does this mean? For me, loads of stress. I'm freaking out. First of all, thesis horror stories. Gwahh... I hope everything goes smoothly for me. But already its been a little rocky. Boo.
And secondly - I'm really afraid that my work won't be taken seriously. I mean, is it really MFA quality? I'm not so sure sometimes.
And then there's this... ok so I graduated, now what? In case you haven't noticed by now, unknowns make me REALLY nervous. I mean REALLY nervous. And this is one big fat unknown.
Ah well... its ok. I just need a little luck and some faith things will turn out.. right?!!?
Friday, August 6, 2010
Here's Lady Mariposa, friend and fellow MFA student at Panam. I like this picture because you can see my brother, Poops. He's the big white guy in the back. Hah! Next next to him is my good friend and upcoming poet, Nallely. Also pictured is Daniel (Poet Mariachi!) up in the front, and Laura (another MFAer).
I convinced Bruno at accompany me to Ambrosia last night for the open mic. I brought with me some new poems, had in my belly a delicious homemade dinner and glass of good old fashioned courage ;-) That always makes readings a little bit easier.
We got there a little late. My uber supportive parental units were there already. Aww :) Unfortunately, the AC wasn't working in the coffee shop and well, that coupled with south texas heat and my mom... they don't mix. They had to leave before I got to the mic. I was one of the last poets to read, anyway.
La erika introduced me, and... she made me sound all badass! :-D She mentioned my book and my award, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I read That Sort of Woman, a new poem Eros, and Upon Hearing Bruno Speak Spanish. I even embarressed Bruno a little bit, calling him out to the crowd. But he likes it ;-)
I like ambrosia because it's small and intimate. I didnt' feel real nervous going up there, with so many familiar faces in the crowd. It was the usual crew, a great and supportive group of poets. You know, it really makes a big difference being a part of a poetry community.
I'll post pics up later. I have a new biggest fan, my brubru :) He kept raving about my car poem, and my Spanish. Aww... que romantica.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I've reached 100 posts!
Where does my 100th post find me? Why, doing what I do very best. Wasting time :-D
I had a major breakthrough yesterday on thesis quest. I've tenetively structured my mess of poems around three major themes - tasting womanhood, tasting love, tasting pleasure, and tasting language/culture. I know, they're so cliche. Ugh. Whatever.
Maybe it's the story of the body, how it grows, tangles roots, reaches for the sun, and digs deep into the earth. Maybe. Something like that.
I have a lot of work to do. Open mic tonight? Maybe so. I need to read a few of these new poems, see how they are received.
But happy 100 posts!!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
It's true, I know I know... and I simply do not do enough of it myself.
So last week I got on amazon and ordered a few new poetry releases. I ordered Addonizio's latest book, Lucifer at Starlight (something like that), Laux's latest release, Facts About the Moon, and Anna Journey's (newish) book, If Birds Gather in Your Hair for Nesting.
I thought Journey's would be the most helpful to me, in my current state. I need to read someone who is doing what I NEED to be be doing, publishing their first full collection of poems and working on a PhD (maybe she finished her's already, but while she was writing the book she was in the program).
So I've been reading it today, yesterday, and such. The poems are so unbelievably rich in imagary, and dense in content. She'll weave two stories into one poem, tie them together with a common image, wild! I have to read her poems several times to really 'get' them (no I'm not very smart, I'm actually a pretty slow reader), and it seems like on every read through I discover something deeper, more magical, about the words. Ah...
And looking back at my own writing, how can I... ehm.... be more like her? I mean, if only I could, right? That's not really the idea when you read and admire someone else's work, but I think it's only natural to somewhat emulate them. And it's a good thing. I can feel her writing influencing my freewrites. I'm trying to make my language more dense now, more rich in color, feeling, story. And she'll use an image more than once, like expand on it in a different poem. I like that. I hate the idea that once I use an image it's gone, like a little packet of cream. Boo.
So anyway, my freewriting session today was preceeded by reading some Journey, some Addonizio, and I think my writing is really benefiting from the experience. Here's a portion of my writing from today:
.... All I knew
is that your skin made mine tingle – and my peeking curves
made your eyes burst to life like peony, underneath a blanket
of heavy rain. And so you came in - a barrage
of sunbeams, Barefoot wine, trembling tongue. Never
mind the ash that dripped from the tip of your cigarette.
Never mind how it rested in a fine nest of my blonde hair.
Right? Getting more FULL. Yay.
So lesson for today, go buy a collection of poems. Especially from a poet who is relatively new.
Another good thing - my copy of If Birds Gather in Your Hair for Nesting was signed my Anna herself :) :) :) What a treat.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
so yesterday morning I was bummed out about that AWP thing.
I opened the email (it had been filtered by my spam filter thingie), and I already knew before having to read it that we didn't get in. But I was still wild hopeful, scanning the message, and then - sure enough, there was the most hated word in the entire dictionary, "unfortunately".
And after reading that, I closed the email. Damn!
But you know what?
I wasn't all that bothered! I mean, initially, yes. But I got over it remarkably quickly. You know what I think it is? I'm already moving on to the next thing. I've got my mind on PhD's and the job market. I'm getting nervous for thesis/graduation. I'm trying to work out every little detail in my head. Somewhere during the summer, my gears have shifted a bit. I'm no longer so focused on publishing (although, let's face it, I always will be) and conferences, but now I'm feeling the itch to make the next professional step.
And it is scaring the living daylights out of me. I know it will be 10 months before I walk that line at graduation (and in those ten months I must slap together a thesis!), so there are so many unknowns there. And let's say that everything goes smoothly, thesis gets defended, and I graduate. Then what?
Job? Am I going to be able to be a professor? How about a lecturer? CAN I at least adjunct in the evenings to build up some experience? Will I have to apply again at public high schools (which, wouldn't be that bad because I could make some mad cash with a master's degree)???
And let's say that THAT goes smoothly. Let's say I do get a job. Then what? The next step is to work on getting that PhD, which would mean moving, which would mean another job search for me AND brubru, and and and buy a new house, and leave my family behind and buy cat carriers to move all of my cats and and and and and that's IF I even get accepted somewhere... and what about Texas Tech online and and and and
see. there's so much what if's and maybes, so many unknowns coming up in the next ten months. Decision time and grow up time is just around the corner, Katie. And can I afford to let AWP get me down? No. I need to keep pushing on.
OH... so why was yesterday NOT the worst day of my life? Well, I got my contributor copy of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review in the mail. YAY! The mag is really beautiful, and it looks uber professional. I feel honored to be a part of it. I'm probably the biggest loser published there, but that's ok. I'm only 23. (someday my age will no longer be an excuse for my loserdome, but whatever, let's worry about that when it comes.)
Monday, August 2, 2010
Got notification from AWP today that our proposal was not accepted. This seriously sucks.
So, maybe I'm being too ambitious, right? AWP seriously was a long shot. I think it is mostly for writers who are more well known, have carved out a place in the literary world for themselves. I'm just beginning, and AWP would have been wonderful, but it is a no go.
So today, I will try not to think about it. I need to focus on what is next. Which is... well... that part I still need to figure out.
The thesis. Yep. My priority MUST be the thesis.
Friday, July 30, 2010
I sent out Black D'orsays, Just Words, and Upon Hearing Bruno Speak Spanish.
You know, I've been meaning to do another submission to this publication all week long and I've been putting it off and putting it off. And now, finally, it's done, out there, can't take it back. I think I just felt really intimidated, and everytime I go back and look at my pieces I feel less confident about them.
I need to write more, better...
I don't know, I'm having more self doubt lately. I think I'm ready for some more poetry classes. I've done a lot of work this summer, but it is hard to stay motivated on your own. Entering into a community of poets helps, just because I can bounce ideas, images, ect off on other people and I don't feel so weird, say - for example, writing about seducing a man in the poetry section of the library while reading Whitman. Aye. I'm a weirdo.
I shouldn't be afraid of my obsessions. But it's so hard. I just imagine the people reading my work thinking what a strange person I must be. And then I think of reading my work in front of a thesis committee... and what if no one takes it seriously? :-( So many unknowns. This is going to be an interesting academic year.
But I will make it though!
So my summer writing, successful. I produced a few good pieces, and have a lot of raw journaled material to work with which will be helpful. Now I'm switching gears a bit - away A LITTLE BIT from writing for the next few weeks and I'm going to start focusing on organizing what I have, polishing, and conceptualizing the thesis. That way, when I meet with Dr. S next month, I won't look like a complete blundering bafoon.
With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work ahead.
And then there's the prospect of PhD program apps. Ahhh I don't even want to think about it!!!!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
That poem is just beautiful. I could write from now until the moment I die and I'll never be able to write like that.
Well, news for today - I'm off to a PhD info session to learn more about applying to and choosing a school. I have lots to learn, and I'm glad to have this opportunity.
Hopefully more good news to come, but we shall see.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Top 10 Productivity Pitfalls for Writers to Avoid
Oh boy, do most of these apply to me or what?
I mean, I'm pretty good at setting goals and following through. Lately - I've been true to my goal of writing daily, submiting biweekly, and polishing up more or less a poem a week. And I'm working towards my larger goal of the thesis.
I understand that everything is one step at a time. But my problem is that sometimes I let negativity get the best of me. Fear is something that I'm used to now, and I really try not to let that get in the way of TRYING. I honestly think that my control over my fear is what separates me from many of my collegues. Failure? I hate it, but I'm not afraid of it.
And as far as the whole isolation thing, well... right now I suffer a little from that but taking my workshop class this coming fall will help :-)
I think I'm well on my way. Anyway... I just have to emerse myself a little more and put my entire self into my pieces. I can do it!!!
Monday, July 26, 2010
by Kenneth Patchen Kenneth Patchen
As we are so wonderfully done with each other
We can walk into our separate sleep
On floors of music where the milkwhite cloak of childhood lies
O my lady, my fairest dear, my sweetest, loveliest one
Your lips have splashed my dull house with the speech of flowers
My hands are hallowed where they touched over your
It is good to be weary from that brilliant work
It is being God to feel your breathing under me
A waterglass on the bureau fills with morning . . .
Don’t let anyone in to wake us.
Just thought I'd share, plus if I post it here then I feel somewhat obligated to follow through and submit myself. My goals for the week:
Submit to... something! Either Toronto Quarterly, or perhaps enter that nifty looking prose poetry contest.
Get at least one new poem written to add to the thesis collection, and tie up loose ends on summer pieces.
I have a very busy week ahead. I washed my USB drive on accident, but luckily I've been able to recover most of my work. I'm so stupid sometimes.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I will be reading in San Antonio at UTSA on November 5th as part of the El Mundo Zurdo Conference. I will post more info soon, but I am very excited about this. Not only do I get an opportunity to share my work at a conference, an awesome line on my CV, possibly some books sales, a hopefully romantic weekend at my favorite San Antonio B&B (Gardenia Inn!) with the BruBru, but ALSO, I get to meet the Mouthfeel Press ladies and present with them!
I don't think I'm going to be able to contain myself. I will likely run up and hug my wonderful editor and thank her for the wonderful opportunity of publishing my first book :) Teary eyed! LOL, I'm such a dork.
So finally, some good news to report, right? After the last slew of rejections, I was feeling unmotivated, disheartened. But every little success, every small victory, leads to the greater goal of being an awesome poet ;-) This is just another part of the ride!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I'm not journaless, and for awhile I was allowing this to be my excuse for not writing everyday. How lame am I? Very.
But this week, determined to get out of my rut, I've returned to my Ordinary Genius book and have begun writing a minimum of one page per day.
I'm currently reading a chapter on visualization before writing, to help you get all the wonderful details in. Mostly, what I've been visualizing is stuff from my past, and it is making my poems more... memoir like. Ugh. Who wants to know the nitty gritty details of my boring life?
A few things I've come up with:
the way my feet hit the ground and the ground still receives them
tongues pink and flailing against the baby blue of the sky while the pink is exposed on their cheeks. Pink – the color that reminds us where we came from.
sometimes it all just comes flowing out in tears Or screams of pink joy, joy that’s made of flesh, the flesh we cover up and hope to forget about, like the flesh of our mothers, fleshy and round – the rolls on your stomach, always one too many. And they continue, we open like Russian dolls, one after another, a layer of flesh atop a wedding cake of beauty
That one I kind of like, just because it's like one image floating into another... like a bad version of stream of concsiousness :-P
And I love the way his eyes – behind his glasses, open like fresh daisies when they lock into mine. And I know that my mother pushed me
Into this world for the sole reason
Of washing the delicate skin underneath his feet.
And I still remember the room, the room I would hide away in. I remember the carpet, thick with cigarette smoke, and the window – clouded with age. And now when I go back, sometimes I’ll see just a few of the hairs I left behind – long and golden, hairs that once curled around my winding finger while I talked on the phone with boys.
WEDNESDAY - This day I wrote a story about my mom. It's not in poem form, it's very raw still, so I can easily share :)
Parent and child memory
We were in the whirlwind rush of the mornings – the stress of waking painted all over the emerging wrinkles on her face. The sun was already in the sky – the sky was already lit with rays, and the morning had already begun.
I must have been about sixteen, because I remember reaching for the car keys in the kitchen. I remember my mom, wearing worn blue jeans (the kind all moms wear), sandals, and a blue polo shirt. Her hair was a wavy mess, pinned atop her head like a frayed crown. I remember she grabbed her purse, and, hesitating, stepped back into the kitchen. She smelled of morning – a mixture of fruity shampoo and the sour smell of sleep.
“Let me just put these cinnamon rolls away”, she said, grabbing an almost empty pan from the stovetop. I nodded and watched from the entryway, jiggling the keys a bit and listening to their ring. As she opened the refrigerator door, I must have looked away knowing that something was about to happen. I remember the shriek, restrained yet pitched with emotion, her body folded over in pain, her face hidden behind a wall of brown hair. I remember the pan crashing to the ground, the rolls picking up dust as they slid across the kitchen floor.
“What happened?” I asked as the electricity of fright woke me again. I bent down to pick up the rolls, the pan, waiting for my mom to look up, to tell me everything was ok.
And she did. She flipped her hair back, slowly stood up, and pursed her lips just a bit. Her eyelids wrapped around her eyes tight, making her look like she had more wrinkles than she actually did. “My toe,” she mumbled, letting her lips relax into smile.
Putting the pan on the counter, I looked down at her toe – bloody, the nail hanging on by a thin sheath of skin. My mother bent down, finally freed from emotion, and yanked the nail. She tossed it in the trash, grabbed a paper towel, and wiped the blood from her toe leaving clean baby skin exposed. She looked up at me and smiled.
“I can’t very well go to work like this”, she commented, and walked to the living room with a bit of a limp. On the coffee table sat a tiny container of nail polish. She grabbed it, bent down, and covered the skin where the nail was supposed to be in nail polish. I remember shivering, thinking of the sting the polish must cause on the open wound.
My mom slipped her sandal back on, and proceeded to the door. “Let’s go, Kate”
and left you.
Closed the door behind your body
Wrapped tight in sadness, your crinkled face
Pressing into the pillow leaving its mark
On me like a blushing purple bruise.
So they're just quips from the week's writing. I will write more tomorrow - of course. And maybe even through the weekend. I have a lot of work to do before I can get any of this into polished poem form, but that will be for another day. Time to do some REAL work ;-)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Give it a try! Ever wonder who you write like?
I got several different responses depending on what piece I entered, if I was putting in stuff from the blog or from my more edited stuff, ect. So it's not really that accurate, but it sure is fun :D
KH lives in Edinburg, Texas with her five cats and her soul mate that she affectionately refers to as Bru Bru. She is an MFA student at the University of Texas Pan American and the author of an award winning chapbook Among the Mariposas. While she would never admit to it in public, K spends much of her spare time playing old school RPGs and World of Warcraft.
Harharhar... ok so maybe this is the MOST accurate author bio I've ever written.
Different bios for different purposes, right?
Monday, July 19, 2010
Recently (Friday, I think?) I submitted to Sugar Hill Review, something like that. Let's see what happens. I submitted a new piece, That Sort of Woman, which I had been working on... maybe for the past three weeks on and off. The piece went from poem, to essay, to prose poem, to essay again, and back to poem. Aye. If only my genres would quit... mating.
Other news... mmm... nope there is none. Other than the fact that I am super excited to be hiring a maid. Hah. I am finally conceeding to the very obvious fact that I am a feminine failure. But I will not be a poetic failure. So while someone is scrubbing away at my dirty kitchen floor, I will be typing away. That's the theory, at least.
Let's see how this turns out.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I know I haven't been updating, leaving little breadcrumbs to mark my way to... what is seeming more and more everyday like failure. Yes, I'm being melodramatic but that's how I've been feeling.
Self doubt has an ugly face, and she's been peeking into my thoughts what seems like daily. I guess it's common, right? Well - this self doubt has been keeping me from writing. It's my fault for letting it get to me. I keep thinking, what do I have to say? Ugh, another vagina poem? Get over it Katie no one wants to read this garbage.
I've had several rejections lately. First - Texas Book Festival. I was a little down. Bruno had put the ominous envelope on the kitchen counter unopened. I knew what it was the moment I saw it. Rejection. I was right. Looks like I won't be going to Austin anytime soon.
Also - Minnetonka Review rejected my work. I was disheartened. I really like their publication. Well, I am determined to try again, maybe.
And to top it all off, I've been thinking to myself - why am I even in this 'biz'? What is the purpose? I'm investing so much of myself - my time, my money, my energy, my thoughts, my obsession, my sanity - to this pursuit, that will likely yield nothing, nada, ziltch. I was reading about English PhD's, excited to start working on my applications, and the stats are dismal at best. So few graduates get hired. And can I really devote five, six, TEN years of my life to something that will likely not yield results?
Of course I can. I will. And you know why? Because I've always been the person who is the exception to the rule. I'm determined, I'm mildly talented, but most of all - I'm not letting this failure business get the best of me.
So today is a new day for the poet in me. I've spent the better part of today editing old pieces, rethinking - making them better. I'm not taking these failures as a sign to quit, they are a sign to work harder, work fresher, work better.
So with ass in chair, fingers on keyboard, mind in the clouds - I bid you a'due!