Thursday, July 28, 2011

The San Juan Spruce

So remember a few days back, when I received a wonderfully encouraging rejection letter from COR?

Well, at the end of the note, the editor invited me to submit to the next issue. The issue I submitted to originally was "The American South".

I have a complicated relationship with the "American South." I live, as you know, in deep south Texas, which really isn't considered a part of "the south" proper. But we're kind of south? I mean, you don't really get more geographically south than say, south Texas. And not only that, but... I'm not from here. I just have to open my mouth and people know I'm not from here. Whenever anyone asks, "where you from?" and I answer, "south Texas," I always get a smile -- "yes, but where are you ORIGINALLY from." I always get that.

So I think me considering myself a southerner is irrelevant. I'm not one. My voice gives it away -- the way I say "about" and "bag," the fact that once in awhile I let the word "bubbler" slip, and "pop."

The next issue of COR is a special issue on "The Great American North." My initial thought? No way in hell, I'm from the south, what can I have to say about the north??

But actually...

I'm also a girl from the north, The Great North Woods, to be exact! I mean, not since I was like ten years old, but still! And last week I started thinking, what could I possibly write about the north? I only have traces of memory of it. But on the other hand, I'd really like to submit more work...

And then it hit me! And the poems have exploded. I've been musing musing musing, and over the past week I've written FIVE (yes, FIVE) pages of metrical poetry about the San Juan Spruce, but really, about feeling displaced, and coming to accept and celebrate the fact that the world migrates, and with the world, our bodies, too, move.

So, thanks, COR, for inspiring me. That rejection letter... gosh, its the gift that keeps on giving. I haven't written this much in such a short time... er... ever?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Encouraging Emails Make Me Feel All Warm and Fuzzy Inside


Today, I got an email from none other than Molly Peacock!

If you've read my West Chester Saga, you'll know the story: Girl decides to wear six inch heals, Girl gets caught in Philadelphia rain, Girl meets poet, Poet offers girl ride, girl feels giddy and talks poet's ear off, etc etc...

Well long story short, Molly wanted to read my thesis. A few weeks ago (After taking an nth glance at it myself) I send it her way. And she got back to me today with some very encouraging comments.


Molly's pretty much my poetic idol. I've loved her poetry for... er... ever? And then when I met her, I was so unbelievably impressed with her as a person, too. Ok, so I have a poetry crush. Get over it. No, I can't get over it.

Anyway, this made my day. In other slightly less interesting news, I've received two rejection letters today and I really don't care.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rejection that Doesn't Hurt Too Too Bad

Yes, this rejection letter went up on the fridge. 

It came in the mail yesterday, from Crab Orchard Review.

I sent in my submission back in the dinosaur days when I still bought stamps, oh, 250 days ago. (note to self: buy stamps again)

The first sentence: "Though your poems weren't selected for publication" and I stopped reading there, folded up the paper, and set it down near the trashcan. I didn't need to read the rest, I didn't get in... what else matters?

Well, a few hours later, after I'd "gotten over it" and perhaps cracked open a certain beverage, I returned to the letter and proceeded to read it in its entirity. Afterall, I had met the editor, Allison Joseph, at West Chester a few months ago. If I loved her poetry and personality, maybe her rejection letters aren't all that bad.

Turns out, its a personal rejection, encouraging me to submit again, and letting me know that I made it to the final round of consideration (hence, the 250 day wait for a response, because it was in that ever illusive "maybe pile"). It also mentioned congrats on my recent pubs.

From a fantastic journal like COR, a tiered/personal rejection is something to celebrate. So celebrate I did, and put it up on my fridgie reminding me that I'm getting closer to where I want to be. I just have to keep chugga luggin'.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Few Pics from Carinos

As promised!

Ileana Garcia-Spitz once again took some great photos of the event. Love love love the way she does it!


Brenda Nettles Riojas

Edward Vidaurre, the man who put is all together.

Me, again.

Ed Clint, the talented guitarist, songwriter, poet.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Ok so my life's once again filled with poems.

First, I'll begin with the best news. Conte will be publishing my poem, "South Texas Lawn Song." Conte's actually the only place I sent the piece, since it was so new! I've never had a poem accepted on its first run, so this is super encouraging. This summer, my poetic style is kind of morphing, and I think this is a sign that its morphing in a good direction. "South Texas Lawn Song" is different from my other poems, and took forrreverrr to get perfect. But now its perfect, and will be in a wonderful journal :-) The best part is that Conte is an ejournal, so you'll be able to read it right when it comes out. Yay!

In other good news: I'm going to be interviewed! That's right, Brenda Nettles Riojas, the voice of Corozon Bilingue on our local public radio station, KMBH 88.1, asked me if I'd be willing to appear on her show sometime in the near future. I'll have details to come. But meantime, check out their website here! Brenda's interviewed a host of great poets, including Amalia Ortiz, Viola Canales, and Kamala Platt.

And in other news? Ah. Last night!

Twas a great success at Carinos. Again, I've been reading my new poetry as opposed to my older stuff, and I think its going over well. I mean, my new poems aren't so much spoken word type pieces, and I feel a bit out of place reading them... but... that's what I'm passionate about right now! So that's what I read, actually, "South Texas Lawn Song," a new metrical piece (gasp), and one old poem, "Original Sin" which you can check out on Writers of the Rio Grande. I had to leave the reading a bit early (since my parents were with me and were getting antsy), but for me, the highlight of the night was hearing Ed Clint play his original music, Narco Train. It was awesome!! But you can hear him here.

So once I find some pictures, I'll post. I'm pretty sure someone took pictures, and I'll be checking Facebook.

Was a great 24 hours for the poet Katie. Can't wait to see what's next ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Breakwater Review Issue is Live!

So now you have another place to access my lovely work on the net! Check out Breakwater Review Issue 5. Please do it right now I promise you won't regret it.

And if that's not enough Katie poetry for you, may I also send you here: to the Writers of the Rio Grande website, where they've reprinted Chocolate Sundae. That's one of my favorites to read, since its about ice cream and other delicious things (like boys). 

In other Katie news, I'm going to be reading at the next Carino's Cares event! Here's all the juicy details:

Wednesday, July 13 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Carino's Italian
421 E. Nolana Loop
McAllen, TX

More Info
Enjoy an incredible night of Poetry paired with Pasta & Vino.

Our MC for this special engagement is:

Brenda Nettles-Riojas

Brenda Nettles Riojas is the author of La Primera Voz Que Oí. She is working on her MFA in creative writing through the University of New Orleans and has completed residencies in Spain, México, and Italy. She is a founder of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival.

The non-profit benefiting from this special night is RGV Educational Broadcasting, Inc. It is a nonprofit corporation, which operates KMBH-DT38, KMBH-FM 88.9, KHID-FM 88.1 - the Rio Grande Valley's PBS and NPR affiliates and provides a variety of educational programming and services.

And if you're looking for something to do tomorrow, Dr. Jose Rodriguez, a fancy poet from SUNY, will be here in El Valle reading at the McAllen Barnes and Noble on Nolana at 4pm. Go. You won't regret it. I read with Jose before he was Dr.and before he had a book to his name. He was pretty much awesome back in the day, and I'm pretty sure now he's exponentially more awesome.

 In perhaps slightly less interesting news: My attempts to break my coffee addiction have failed miserably. Out of concern for my stomach ulcers, I went coffeeless today, up until about ten minutes ago. I feel like a person again. Bruno says maybe I can still drink coffee, just add milk to balance the acid. So now I'm taking my coffee with a touch of skim. Not bad. It tastes almost just as good as before.

The poetry and ulcer saga will continue... hold on to your seats.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Let's See How Far We've Come...

I had a nice long weekend. Ok, backtrack -- I had a crappy long weekend. I've been sick to my stomach again, so much of my glorious time off was spent in bed. When I was up and about, I was either cleaning the house, or shopping for Bruno's birthday present.

I promise, long winded story will have some significance, ok? I'm even going to quote Anzaldua. So be patient.

On Friday eve, Bruno was feeling a bit antsy having been home with me the entire day. And he suggested we go to the movies. "Fine." I conceed. Whatever, I'm thinking to myself. I'm either about to vomit here, or about to vomit at the theater. What's the diff? He asks me what I want to see, and I tell him it doesn't matter. Whatever he wants. Next time, I'll choose!

Bruno, being a man, wants to see Transformers III. Under normal circumstances, I would have wildly protested. But, eh, fine. Let's go.

So off we go to the movies! $25 later we're in seated in the theater, making sure to choose two seats where you can get rid of that pesky arm rest in the middle. After ages of commercials for movies I'll never want to see, Transformers III begins. And guess what the lovely opening scene is?

A woman's butt. Yeah. In tiny panties. Her butt is in 3D. I laugh. This is going to be a long night. I vow to watch the remainder of the movie very carefully, through a feminist lense. This will keep me awake!

The movie was God-awful. I think it was written by a post-modernist with a brain cell deficiency, a post-modernist who, mind you, doubles as a misogynist and has no exposure to ethnic minorities other than what he sees in B rated movies. I almost vomit twice, thanks to the absolutely nausiating dialogue.

Anyway, the next day I'm left with this horrible taste in my mouth. I live in the world of books. I'm the first to admit it. Its a "la la land" of theory, stories, and poetics. And in my own little world, women are multi-dimensional in a very different sense than in Transformers III.

So I'm feeling a bit sad. In a post-feminist world, post-colonial world, we, as a people, have access to so much knowledge. We've got Julia Kristeva, Judith Butler, Gloria Anzaldua. And on the surface, there's equality for all. But all you have to do is step out of your world of ideas, into the everyday, and the ugliness is there. Women are sex objects, passive, meek, and useless for anything other than their bodies. And how about African Americans? Why, they're the meat and muscle behind the white boy's brains. At least, that's the world depicted in Transfermers III, and it made me sick.

Anyway, so today I'm reading up for my south Texas lit class. And I'm reading Anzaldua, and come across this passage from Borderlands:
 "...the white culture emphasizes that we are all equal, men and women. However, underneath all that there is this violence against women, all this negative stuff about women. So if you can see through that illusion, through those cracks, you can see to that reality."
So yeah, you tell it, Gloria. Remind us that we have so much farther to go. And really, all this poetry, art, theory, philosophy, literature, how far has it taken us? How many more people will watch these movies than read your books, or Bhaba's or Said's or Butler's or Foucault's? It's a sad reality, and welcome to it.