Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Texas Poet Laureate Jan Seale Reading

There's the Texas Poet Laureate Jan Seale reading at the Mcallen Creative Incubator last Friday. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to read, too! I sure had a fantastic time. It helped, also, that I was in the company of many many friends -- El Valle's very own poetry community.

I could write on and on about what happened, but perhaps some pictures would be appropriate? Yes, yes of course!

Me, taking the stage in all my dorky excitedness, which seemed to emerge on more than one occasion this particular evening.

Here I am! Reciting my "Goddess in Cowgirl Boots" sonnet. Oh what fun, what fun!

I'm a big fan of candid shots! But me, I'm front and left, next to Vanessa Brown, then Brenda Nettles Riojas, Rossy Lima, and Shawn Elliot. Up on top? From left -- Edward Vidaurre, some girl I don't know, Daniel Garcia Ordaz, Kaitlin Martin, JAN SEALE! Rachel Vela and Erika Garza Johnson. Yeah... we're a fierce bunch. 

Oh oh oh! I was just about to go up to Jan and ask her to sign my book. Yeahhhh I get a little excited sometimes...

Here I am, trying to contain myself and NOT say something completely dorky.

Jan Seale, telling me to talk to the hand, missy. Nah I'm kidding, Jan was WONDERFUL! We chatted it up for awhile, and she was super friendly. Her poems are pretty much fantastic.

By the way -- All photos courtesy of Illeana Garcia Spitz, master of the camera B-)

So the reading went really well; I was honored to be a part of it. I hope this is the first of many readings with Jan!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My First Blurb Rolls In!

Oh oh oh oh oh!

I have a few things going on at the moment, but for today's post, I think I'll talk about blurbs.

Asking for blurbs is hard. I feel like such a needy pathetic turd asking for them, but it's so necessary. I want my book to be taken seriously, so I'm trying to get a good list going of poets I know and respect. But most importantly, poets who might be nice enough to say "yes" and actually come through in the end!

At my last meeting with Editor last week, he set me up to the task of blurb finding. He outlined the three main "target audiences" for my book, and said I should try to find a blurber for each area. I agree that this is, indeed, sound advice.

My three areas are:

1. Borderlands
2. Feminist
3. Sensuality

Ahhh here we go again...

Editor asks me if I know certain poets, drafting ideas who I can ask for blurbs. I nod, sure, I can ask her, yeah, she might do it... but it seemed as though finding a blurber for the "sensuality" category was going to be a challange.

How about Molly Peacock?  I ask Editor, waiting for him to squeal like an excited child at the sound of her name (like I do). Molly Peacock is my favorite contemporary poet... and if you've followed this blog, you'll know that I met her at West Chester last summer. She was so incredibly nice, and requested that I send her my thesis manuscript after I told her that she was indeed, my hero. I sent it to her, and within a week or so, she writes me back encouraging comments about how interesting and unique my writing is. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Anyway, let's get back to blurbs!

Editor gives me a suspicious look. You know her? That'd be great...

I nod my head, vowing to try and see what I can do.

So I email Molly, and say a little prayer. All these crazy thoughts are rushing through my mind -- will this amazingly talented poet even remember me? If she does, maybe she was just saying she liked my work when indeed she hated it and thought it was nasty. Or probably most likely, she's insanely busy doing heroic Molly Peacock business and will laugh when she reads this little poeta's request for a silly little blurb for her insignificant book.

Days go by. I begin to sulk. Molly doesn't love me, I think to myself in complete emo melodrama. Nah, in reality, I just put it in the back of my mind.

But then! Molly replies! And low and behold, she agrees to write the blurb! Which results in me doing some crazy wild happy dancing in my office (you'll be relieved to know, I have gotten a curtain for my window so the happy dancing had no witnesses).

But there's always this little feeling in the back of my mind. Sure, wonderful generous poet agrees to write blurb, but will said poet pull through? Or was she just being nice... and then she'll decide not to do it, or forget... or get too busy... whatever!

Not Molly. A few hours later, another email from her, this one containing a wonderful wonderful blurb.

I squeal, I jump up and down, I show BruBru who really doesn't understand what's going on, but nods at me as if I am crazy.

So that's right -- none other than Molly Peacock wrote a blurb for my first poetry book. I'm so incredibly humbled and in awe at her generosity. MOLLY PEACOCK WROTE ME A BLURB! MOLLY PEACOCK WROTE ME A BLURB! MOLLY PEACOCK WROTE ME A BLURB!

"With her deft, sensuous, jaunty, and vital poems Katie Hoerth makes a smart debut in The Garden Uprooted..."

The blurb goes on... but but that's the best part. Sensuous! Yay! Exactly what Editor was alookin' for.

And... I have a few other "yeses" that I'm particularly proud of -- but I don't want to jinx it before the actual blurbs come in. Here's to hoping, and aiming high!

I think that's the lesson I'm taking away from this whole experience. Asking Molly to write me a blurb was an enormous long shot. After all, she's an amazingly accomplished poet, one of the most of our time. And me? I'm a little no name just starting out. We aren't that close, we've only talked a few times and exchanged a few emails. She probably has a million students, and a million young poets who love her and write her fan mail.  But you know what, oh blog readers? She's an actual person, too. I had nothing to lose by asking, and having her write about my work? Well, that totally made my day/week/year... ok lifetime. I couldn't think of anyone more appropriate :) So aim high! The worst thing someone can say is "no" and break your trembling itty bitty heart.

I'm getting so excited for this book. It's coming together. Oh my oh my oh my.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So How Was Carinos, Katiekins?

Fantastic, thanks for asking.

Here are a few pictures, taken by, you guessed it! My BruBru.

There's me! In all my mistress of ceremonies glory

Oh! That's my dad at the guitar. And my mom...
 It was pretty packed, as usual.

Here's a nice group picture! Oh, I stand out I don't need to point myself out. But! My mom's standing next to me. And who is that?  To my other side is Christopher Carmona, Beat Poet extrodinairre. And standing next to him in that adorable little hat is Edward Vidaurre, general manager of Carinos by day, Barrio Poet by night.

Oh! I just love this picture. Lily and I! Lily's such a great host :) Her hubby's Edward... who is equally awesome, and who I am forever indebted to for helping me put this wonderful event together at his restaurant.

Let me recap the evening:

I only slaughtered a few peoples' names.

I sold a good stack of books.

I recited my sonnet without hiccup or slur.

I drank sangria, and was very merry by the end of the evening!

All in all, a success!

Can't wait for the next reading, this coming Friday. Excited to meet and read alongside Texas Poet Laureate Jan Seale!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reflections on a Discussion with Editor

I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile now, but life's gotten so complicated in a completely good way.

A few days ago, I met with Editor. He swang (that's a funny word) by my office earlier this week to talk about my manuscript, and we got to talking quite a bit about my book, plans, edits, and... poetry in general.

Apparently, what Publisher likes about The Garden Uprooted is how I handle the oh so delicate topic of sensuality. Why thank you -- I say graciously, though slightly uneasy with where this is going.

If you've been following this blog, you may know that I like to write, for lack of a better word, sexy poetry. It's fun -- there are tons of metaphors, the language is always intriguing, and when handled well, sex can be a great undertone to a poem. I like playfulness in poetry, that's my style, my voice. I don't write about "sex for sexy sake" though. I usually use sensuality as a tool to open up discussions, mostly about gender roles.

ANYWAYS I didn't think that was very ground breaking. I don't write anything explicit. I like to walk that line, to test it, to see how much I can get away while still being clean and academic :) :) :)

HOWEVER -- If you know Katie the Person (not Katie the Poet) you know I'm very... ah... squemish? I'm not shy... but talking about sex? No thank you! The word "penis" will induce heavy blushing on my part. Those sexy poems in my manuscript? I couldn't read them aloud with a straight face, especially because my PARENTS usually attend my readings. Editor (who knows me personally, a little) said he had no idea I wrote poems like this.

Yes yes... I reply, my eyes staring down at my boots, slightly ashamed of my less than prestine mind.

Well, I got even more uneasy when he told me that the poems were autobiographical, memoir, if you will.

Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! I protest.

I'm not the person in the poems! I'm not the person in the poems! I'm not the person in the poems!

LOL... oh boy, here we go again. I spent the better part of last year having this same discussion with Thesis Advisor.

And and and it even came up a few days ago with my online critters... that I am the speaker in my poems. I called my speaker a wuss, and then all of the sudden critters were jokingly telling me -- don't be so hard on yourself, Katie. All in good fun, of course, but still... that idea lingers!

Gwahhhhh! LOL. Persona? Persona? Persona?


Because I think of the speakers in my poems as PERSONAs, I feel so free to write whatever, to go there, to take risks. I'm not belting out my life story -- it's my speaker's life story. Sure, there are similarities, of course. But have I ever... oh... say.... had a miscarriage like the speaker in my poems? No! Had sex with an old man? No. Picked onions naked in a field? Oh heavens no.

See, those are my personas. I have quite a wild imagination, it's true. But in reality, my life is boring. Oh so boring. Oh oh oh so boring. If I were only to write poems about what actually happened to me, it would put everyone in the world to sleep. ZZZZZZ

But Editor tells me, after my rant, Katie -- that doesn't sell books.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

My First Rejection of 2012!

It came yesterday! X-D

I need to find a way to get a little counter for these things... and post them somewhere here on the blog. If only I was slightly more internet savvy. Oh well.

With my new attitude towards rejections, I actually found my heart flutter a bit when I saw it in my inbox. I'd gone quite a while without getting a rejection letter, so it felt good -- just knowing that someone, an editor, was reading my work.

The best thing? It was a personal rejection letter! What a good way to kick off 2012.

So here's to many many more... and hopefully some acceptances sprinkled in, too!


In other writerly news:

I'm getting all geared up for tomorrow's reading. I've even memorized my new sonnet X-D Got a good feeling about this! On my kitchen counter sits a big old box of books from Mouthfeel Press, and I can't wait to see those books in the hands of my Valleyites! And I can't wait to get back in the swing of the poetry community. I haven't been out and about in awhile... and perhaps I'm beckoning a bit of a hermit.

Ok... I do have more news to share but for another blog post, perhaps!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Poetry, Pasta, and Vino Nove

It's coming! :) Just around the corner. Here's some info, finally -- it's ready to post.

Pasta, Poetry & Vino Nove


@ 7:30PM

“We’re back!”

Carino’s Italian will donate 15% of the proceeds from this event to:



MC: Katherine Hoerth

Katie is the author of three books of poetry: Among the Mariposas (Mouthfeel Press, 2010), a chapbook which received the Nuestra Voz Prize in 2010, The Garden of Dresses (Mouthfeel Press, 2012) a forthcoming chapbook, and her first full poetry collection, The Garden Uprooted, which will be released this year by Slough Press. Her work has also been published in several journals, including Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Front Porch, and Conte: A Journal of Narrative Writing. She serves as Assistant Poetry Editor at Fifth Wednesday Journal, and teaches writing at South Texas College.

Featured Readers:

Rossy Lima

Julie Corpus

Edward Vidaurre

Arturo SaldaƱa

Rachel Vela

Linda Romero

Meliton Hinojosa

Brenda Nettles Riojas

Richard Sanchez

Shawn Elliott

Christopher Carmona

Olga Herr

Araceli Rodriguez

Corey Mangan

Vanessa Brown

Rodney Gomez

Kaitlin LaMoine Martin

Jose Ponce

Erika Garza Johnson

Featured Artist:

Susan Hoerth is a Wisconsin native who lives in McAllen. A nomad by nature, she collects bits and pieces from her travels around the world and assembles them into a fine art collection of curios. Susan has a keen eye for vintage items, and uses them to retell stories of the past, breathing new life into history. Her pieces reflect the discarded and forgotten ordinary moments in everyday life. Most recently, Susan has ventured into exploring discarded books as her medium of choice. Browse her collections online at http://www.etsy.com/people/Raidersofthelostart

My MOM is going to be the featured artist :-D And my DAD is going to play his guitar and and and and and and it's going to be an awesome event -- not to be missed. Hope to see YOU there!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Some Exciting Things Coming Up!

So I've been hibernating lately, and it's been absolutely wonderful.

You see... for the past two months, I've really been focusing on my own writing, on me, on my ideas/goals. Katie's been a hermit, but... eh... I've been a productive hermit! This winter break has been fantastic -- yes, I've still been in "the office" but no one stops by since the campus is pretty closed, and I haven't touched or thought about my spring teaching, which ah... starts up again in about a week.

This time of reflection has done wonders for me, though. The quiet has really taken me to a place where now I have direction, focus, and plenty of creative juices. It's been lovely lovely lovely.

But that ends next week. I have a lot of exciting readings and poetry events on the horizon, and it's time to shed this hermit skin and put my social face on again. Yikes... ok, note to self -- wear make up.


I just hope I'll be able to keep up this magical pace of writing with the world awaking around me again. Since the beginning of 2012, I've already written 4 poems. Can you believe that? 4 poems in one week. Oh my. So I'm already 4/50 if we're looking at my 2012 goal.

And my fiction's been chugging along, too. I keep the pace at about 2k per day, some days much more even.

I just hope that once life gets a little crazy again, I can keep the good habits.

Anyway, take a little looksie at the side bar for upcoming events. Yes, I'm reading with the Texas Poet Laureate and yes I'm excited. And yes I'm MCing a reading next week and yes I'm nervous and and and...

Back to writing, Katie.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Writerly Goals for 2012

You knew it was coming, right?

I can't survive without my goals :-)

So here they are!

I will write like a madwoman. I will write like crazy. I will write, explore new genres and styles, I will push push push on the boundaries of my abilities. I will write until ink gushes from my pupils.

In 2012, I will:

Write 50 poems. That's about one per week.
Write a new chapbook -- it's in my mind, and starting to materlize on paper, too. Tenetively, she's titled Texas Exodus, but we'll see. She should be done done done and submitted to publishers by the close of 2012.

I will continue writing fiction, too. I will challange myself, I will feel uncomfortable, and I will learn to like it.

I will finish my novel. I will rewrite it. I will edit it. He will sit on an agent's desk by the close of 2012.

I will read and study short stories, and then I will go back to writing them. I will write 4 short stories in 2012, one of them relating to an idea I have for a historical novel set in south texas, 1900. I have plans. I will watch them materialize.

I will submit, too.

I will continue my "submission bomb" for the poems set to be published in The Garden, Uprooted.
Once publication rolls around in June, I will switch gears, submitting new work to journals at a slower pace, two packets per week.

By the end of 2012, I will have submitted my poetry to at least 100 journals. I will amass rejection letters. I will laugh in pain. I will cry with joy.

I will submit my novel manuscript, too -- to 6 agents.

I will submit my next chapbook to 5 publishers. I will enter contests.

I will write 4 book reviews.

I will meet success. I will meet failure.

I will write until my fingertips are nothing but bone. I will love every minute of it, because there is nothing on this earth I would rather do than write. Nothing.

I will not worry about things beyond my control, but feverishly work at those things which are. I will be the best writer I can be. I will be the best woman I can be.

I can do it :) I absolutely know I can.