Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Memory Loss and other unfortunate side effects of my crazy crazy life

Yesterday was both eerie and fascinating.

You see, I've been wildly busy lately, hence, my dearth of blog posts.

I'm working on finalizing The Garden of Dresses which is set for release on March 2nd. Going through proofs and galleys, edits, and I kind of restructured the entire thing from my original plan. So it's been a challenge.

And not only that, but I've been planning my "talk" and reading for the panel I'm moderating. I've spent the past few days watching YouTube videos of AWP panels, learning what to do and what not to do.

And then there's my collection, The Garden Uprooted, that's demanding bits and pieces of my attention and time.

And the characters in my novel refuse to shut up and learn that there's a time and place for them, and that time and place is not now. So I have to keep writing their story X-D

And this is all of my writing stuff, my "Extra curricular" because on top of all this I'm working two jobs, and taking a graduate class (remind me, Katie, why did you decide to take all this on??).

So in other words -- I'm busy. I'm stressed. I'm driving myself ::just a little bit:: nuttsos.

And perhaps my little brain is reaching some sort of a breaking point. Yesterday, I got home from job #2 at about, oh, 7:30pm, and was ready to settle in for an evening of working on my novel. I haul my book bag, my purse, and my "professor" bag, thinking all is well, I'm ready to relax...

This morning, Bruno wakes me up, beyond concerned. "Katie?" he asks, "Katie are you ok?"


He proceeds to tell me that apparently, I left my car door open. No, not unlocked, OPEN. As in, forgot to close. Stray cats were resting inside.

And just a few days ago, while driving (and admittedly  reciting a sonnet and working on auditory edits)I nearly took out my back fence.

Gosh... gosh gosh gosh I hope all of this is just temporary authorial insanity.

Regardless, I'm chugging on, functioning with perhaps only half my brain.

See you punks in Chicago B-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Garden of Dresses Chapbook Update

Because I know you're just dying for more information, right?

The chapbook, The Garden of Dresses, is set for release on March 2, 2012 which happens to be the day I arrive at AWP.

My publisher's set up a book signing for me at the book fair, which I am beyond excited about. I'll be at the Bordersenses/Papagayo table S3 at 3pm. Come say hi! I promise not to swindle you into buying books. I cannot promise, however, that I won't hug you. I'm a hugger. You've been warned!

And then of course, I've got my panel to moderate the following afternoon. Nerves! Nerves! Nerves! Oh my goodness gracious.  Feeling very overwhelmed at the moment... I can't complain, it's all good -- but it's a lot to process.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How Katie Takes Rejection, and Other Confessions of a Would Be Drama Queen

So I know I promised this year I would grow that writerly thick skin I need... you'd think that after all the rejection letter's this girl's received in her lifetime, I would be over it. I'd be tough. ::Flexes::

and... you see, I thought I was but...

I guess I'm not. Today I got a certain rejection letter and it's stinging a bit more than I thought it would. So what to do, what to do, to rid myself of these rejection blues?

Normally I:

1. Toss a few submissions out into the universe

This normally works in making me feel better because, well, it helps me to have many balls in the air at once. That way, I'm never really counting on just one journal/publisher/job. So, maybe that's what I need to do to shake this ugly feeling.

2. Create

Ah yes, there's nothing better than creating to rid one's mind of this. In fact, lately, I've been turning to my novel whenever life isn't working out how I'd like it to. I don't know, it helps me to have another world to escape to. So... perhaps tonight, it'll just be me and my characters...

3. Go for a run

Yes. Go for a run. You know, when I treat my body well, it has this amazing affect on my mood. But the opposite is true, too. So, no binging on chocolate, GOT THAT? Got it. Gwahhhh!

4. Update my C.V.

For some reason, and call me full of myself if you'd like, but updating and going through the details of my C.V usually brings me out of a funk. I look and think to myself -- gosh darn look at all the wonderful things I've accomplished. I've come a long way. So, instead of letting rejection and failure get to me, why not celebrate success?

5. And when all else fails, there's always alcohol.


This did make me feel a little bit better though. Couldn't have been more timely.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Got my 3rd Blurb!

Now wait just one fantastical moment...

I never blogged about getting my second blurb. So now, how can I blog about my third one? Gwah. This blurb getting business is driving me nuttsos.

Katie is proud to announce that she is relieved to now have 3 blurbs, which is enough to not look pathetic. Yay!

And ::drum roll please:: here they are!

"With her deft, sensuous, jaunty, and vital poems Katie Hoerth makes a smart debut in The Garden Uprooted. From “How To Marry a Prince” to "Breakfast with Fur" to “Not the Sonnet You Dream Of,” the poet mixes fairy tale images with visceral descriptions in this sexy—and crafted—first book that keeps turning preconceptions inside out."

Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden and The Second Blush

“Ripeness is all” in these poems where mangoes, melons, and pomegranates redden and fall into the dry soil of south Texas to be eaten, to rot, or to bury their seeds. Against this lush and fertile backdrop, a clear-eyed gringa elopes on her eighteenth birthday with a Mexican native old enough to be her father, whom she envisions as catching her before she too can hit the dirt and spoil. That backstory is the only part of this collection not set in the sensual present moment, where the juices of burst fruit and kisses and the lyrical Spanish language seep into poems meant to be savored on the reader’s tongue. The Garden, Uprooted is a debut collection from a young poet to watch."

Julie Kane, Lousiana Poet Laureate and author of Jazz Funeral and Rhythm and Booze

"Finding a home, putting down roots without suffering “root shock,” knowing and accepting who you are, and finding ways to be accepted by others, these are difficult tasks, especially if you are a transplant from Sheboygan living and writing in the Rio Grande Valley. Katherine Hoerth's poems show the way, her personal way, and they do it with grace and honesty. She understands what we must all learn—what it means to be human."

Robert S. Nelsen, President of the University of Texas Pan American

How fantastic and wonderful, right? I'm feeling so warm and fuzzy inside.

Phew. Ok, big stress lifted off this poet's back. Now if more come, they're gravy gravy gravy. Yay!

Accumulating blurbs is quite intimidating. I've said that already though, haven't I?

Editor is coming to down to El Valle to talk specifics again this weekend. I'm a little nervous to see this book come together, but I think it's coming along pretty well. We shall see.

In other Katie News --

I had a fiction writing marathon this weekend. I wrote about 12,000 words, which is pretty amazing for me. I'm starting to scare myself -- seeing my fictional characters appear at random times throughout the day. In fact, my main character is sitting across from my desk right now. (ASIDE: Benjamin! Wave you old fool! They're staring!) X-D

Yikes. Ok, time for a break from noveling. Back to the poems. Need to switch gears before I completely lose my mind (too late).

Friday, February 10, 2012

We're 10% Done with 2012. How are you surviving, KatieKins?

Pretty ok I guess.

I think right now might be a good time to check on my progress X-D Especially on that resolution for accumulating 100 rejection letters. We're about 10% of the way through the year, so in theory, I should have 10 rejection letters? And maybe a few acceptances? Let's check it out!

"Katie's On A Rejection Mission!"
6/100 Rejection letters

Ok so maybe I'm not doing so hot in this department. I need to kick it up a notch ;) BAM! LOL. Sure why not.

But how about acceptances?

I mean, I don't really have a goal for acceptances, but so far in 2012 I've received acceptance letters from 3 different markets! X-D For 5 different poems. So that's exciting! My ratio is starting off pretty good, I suppose. I say it's easier to look at markets rather than indivitual poems. So that makes me 3 acceptances/ 9 responses. 33%!!!

Hey I'm feeling better about 2012 already. Here's to hoping there's more exciting things to come :) :) :)

Other goals --

Write 50 poems. Heh. I've written 6 poems this year so far, so I'm just a little bit ahead. They're all for my next chapbook, so I'm working on having that done by the end of June. It's on track and I feel good about my progress.

Finish Novel. Ugh. I'm dragging my feet with this. It's getting hard to find time to write each evening. This is something I need to work at making time for (and FOCUS on actually finishing, instead of going off on tangents with my characters which I love to do by the way).

Short Stories. Haven't started this. Once novel's done, I keep telling myself.

Book Reviews: Ok, ok, ok I haven't done this either. But I'm not behind yet, because we're only 10% of the way through 2012 and I only need to write 4 X-D

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why Poets Should Try Their Eager Little Hands at Book Reviewing

So maybe I've mentioned before that I write book reviews for BOXCAR Poetry?

Maybe I hadn't -- but my first review is live! Check out the latest issue here along with my review of Stacy Gnall's debut book of poetry, Heart First Into the Forest.

I learned that writing a book review is pretty darn time consuming. It takes multiple readings of an entire book to really get a good feel for it. And then there's piecing everything together, figuring out what your "strategic location" (harharhar sue me I'm reading Said ATM) is in relation to the text, and then there's actually writing. All of it takes a lot out of a little poet... but it is, indeed, a supremely worthy endeavor.


For one (and probably most important) it makes YOU a better poet. Getting that intimate with another person's text teaches you a lot about what works, and what doesn't. From writing this review, I learned a lot about the importance of macro structure, of "anchor poems" that hold some sort of narrative throughout a collection.
And not only that, just like the term "close reading" implies, you learn about the micro stuff that comes with poetry, too. This particular book had a lot of rhythm, which is something I know I need to work on with my own poems. So cool! I hope some of Gnall rubs off on me.

Writing book reviews also helps you to champion the type of work you love. Now that's pretty abstract, too. But we all have a certain "type" of poetry that we relate to, and it's usually the same type of poetry we ourselves write. So you're helping to further your field, in a way? Does that make sense? Ok let's get a little bit more concrete. Gnall's book of poetry has a lot of retellings of fairy tales in dark and sometimes kind of sexy ways. Now who else do you know that might do this? Why me, of course! So in giving the book a positive review, I'm therefore championing, too, the type of writing I do, carving out a slightly bigger space for it in the poetic conversation.

Writing book reviews helps you get into journals that normally would probably want to laugh at you hehehe... I mean, now, on my list of pubs, I've got BOXCAR, which is a pretty stellar place to say you've been published. I had submitted poems to them in the past, and have received a good share of form rejections. So if you can't beat um, join um, right? Now I'm a regular reviewer!

It's good poetry karma! I'm putting it out to the universe that I read, respect, and review the works of other poets. Maybe maybe maybe someone will do the same for mine come May? :-D

Writing book reviews helps you to justify your addiction to reading books. This is true. You get free books, which frees up money in my budget to... well, buy more books. Harharhar. And not only that, there are a lot of paying markets out there for reviews. I don't get paid, but hey, maybe if I build up a good list of credits, I can start writing for another journal that does (in addition to BOXCAR, because I love writing for BOXCAR now!).

Also, you just plain look smart. Now, when people ask me -- what do you do? I say, "I'm a book reviewer!" which is a whole lot sexier, in my opinion, than saying I teach English at a local community college.

People are nicer to you. Now that I'm a book reviewer, poets want to be my friend. Yay!

So there's "the why." My next blog post, maybe, if I'm not too lazy, I'll cover "the how." Probably not. Don't count on it.