Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Editing Obsession

Am I the only one who can get absolutely absorbed in editing a piece? I've been reworking reworking reworking a poem, Miscarriage, that I wrote maybe three weeks ago. And it's morphing into something strange.

Anyway - here's just a stanza, and it's three different stages as an example:

Version 1

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


Ah... ok... so what's the news today?

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

Open Mic!

Tonight at Ambrosia! Open mic starts at 8:00.

I think I'll be reading but no promises, ok?

Ah who am I kidding I'll read.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Poems Exploded and It's Not My Fault

Well all the sudden I have my poetic hands full again. Woot!

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

Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and other stuff.


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 atvgomez@southtexascollege.edu

It's local! So no travel costs. But I want to get a panel going... hmm..

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Yesterday, after my goal oriented post, I proceeded to finish a poem I'd been working on AND prep the two submission packets that I declared 'due by friday'. I just didn't pop them into the mail yet. I always have trouble locating my stamps. That's the biggest hurdle in my writing. Finding my stamps...

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?

Don't know.

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

A Post with Goals always seems to help...

Unmotivated... again.

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

It's Friday, and it's gloomy!


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

My fictional self

Ok, so I wrote another poem yesterday and I kind of like it :)

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.

Who knows.

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

Katie's Writing

So today I'm struggling a little bit with writing in my blog.

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

Tropical Storm Hermine

Oh man...

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

Applied for Graduation Today!


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.


Ok, now back to work. I haven't met my weekly goal yet, and its Friday already!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day Back in Class!

You know, I'd forgotten how utterly exhausting it is going to evening classes.

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 :)