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Showing posts from 2014

Welcome, November

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If you know me, you probably know that I NaNoWriMo.

I know, I know, it's really the garage band of noveling for amateurs and wannabes, but for one month out of the year, I don't take my writing or my self all that seriously and embark on the totally ridiculous, unrealistic, and wildly fun task of pulling a novel out of my behind.

And you know what? I'm actually pretty damn good at it :D I mean, at NaNoWriMo. At writing novels that are worth publishing? Heh, not so much, but one day I'll get that down, too.

This year is going to be a particular challenge, though I am determined to give it my best shot once again. About two months ago, I had this crazy dream, and when I woke up I thought, THAT WOULD BE AN AMAZING NOVEL IDEA! And so I began planning and thinking about how my story might come together for. This month, I'm writing a speculative love story about a cafeteria lady and a high school janitor who have the power to travel to different dimensions and times.Wil…

Goddess Wears Orthopedic Shoes...

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The goddess with her new "pimp cane"
The past month has been the most difficult and wonderful of my entire life. And I say that without hyperbole, without exaggeration -- just with stark, real honesty.

A month ago today, I was in the hospital. I woke up that morning and felt the most terrible pain I'd ever experienced. It was more pain than I could bare. More pain than I knew possible. I called my doctor to let her know I was coming in, but as I got out of bed to make my way to the bathroom, I blacked out, fell to the floor, and went unconscious. I remember thinking how I just couldn't do it, that there had to be something I could do to end the pain, and my brain just shut down.

B was there, thank goodness, and called 911.

The next thing I know, I'm waking up, and the paramedics are loading me into an ambulance. I try to put on a brave face, but I was scared out of my mind.

At the ER, the the doctor looks at me for two minutes and wants to send me home. "Y…

Langdon Poetry Weekend in Granbury

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This weekend was absolutely lovely.

I had the pleasure of heading up to Granbury, Texas, for the Langdon Poetry Weekend, a gathering of Texas poets. A fairly small festival, it's well-attended by publishers, laureates, and talent.

Now, I've gone to my share of poetry festivals and conferences over the years, but to be completely honest, I think this was my best experience yet. This really was all about building a community of poets, of sharing ideas, of inspiration. The readings were all held in historic buildings near downtown Granbury, a small but beautiful town in north-central Texas. Everyone there seemed as though they were old friends, and though it was my first experience here, I felt like I was a part of the group. It was absolutely wonderful. I hope to return next year.

So here's my story!

It was early August. I had never heard of Langdon Review of the Langdon Poetry Weekend, and I kind of pride myself in being in "the know" in the Texas poetry communit…

Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots

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So...

Here's my official announcement, dear readers!

Lamar University Press will be publishing my next poetry collection, Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots. I am over-the-moon excited for this. Its tentative release date is September 1st, which is incredibly soon. To launch the book, I will be presenting at the Langdon Poetry Weekend in Granbury, Texas.

The book will be available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and I will likely have an armful of books wherever I go :-)

So how did this come to be? Well, let's take a journey down memory lane, shall we?

It was late 2011. I was feeling this mixture of elation and depression about the acceptance of The Garden Uprooted. It's a little tough to explain, but my first book was something I had cherished and worked on for years, all my years in grad school and beyond. It was my identity as a poet. And it was out of my hands, gone.

I needed something new to obsess over, something new to strive for, so I began writing. I remember I was g…

Katie as Editor

So this poet is pretty proud today, well, yesterday, but I just got around to writing this today because... well, reasons.

Anyway, the first issue of Amarillo Bay with me as poetry editor was published. You can check it out here.

So what does the editorial process of a literary journal look like? Well, now that I'm so experienced (hehehehe) let me shed a little bit of light on the process.

The whole thing began oh, about three months ago in May. I got the "job" and my first task was, of course, slush sifting, which means, of course, going through a bunch of unsolicited submissions in search of gems. I started receiving said submissions right away, and each time my inbox was full, I have to admit, I felt a little excited and honored. Poets from all over the world (and I can say that because some dude sent me a batch from Brazil!) were sending ME their poems to read.

My process for slush-sifting looks like this: I read the batch of poems. The ones I knew weren't a good…

An Afternoon with the Texas Poet Laureate

I am blessed, that's really all I can say.

This summer, I am teaching creative writing for the first time, which is, of course, something I've always wanted to do, although I admit that I've felt a little overwhelmed with the task of piecing together a curriculum that actually encourages and fosters creativity in college students. On my first day of class, I entered the classroom thinking, Oh my goodness what the heck did I get myself into?!?! These students, unlike the freshmen I typically work with, wanted to get something out of the class, something more than a grade. They had expectations. I couldn't let them down.

Well, after a few days in class, I received a curious Facebook message from Jan Seale, the 2012 Texas poet laureate, asking me to call her. Now, I've been to a few of Jan's readings, we've exchanged polite conversation, and she's a bit of a literary celebrity. I called her right away, wondering why SHE would want to talk to ME.

She invit…

Rejection Letters, Redux

I feel like it's time for me to return to the subject of, well, rejection letters.

Let's talk.

With the completion of my second poetry manuscript, I'm now in what I like to call "submission mode" which inevitably means I'm also receiving heaps of rejection letters once again. Part of the process, I know, and I'm totally over it already.

On Wednesday night, I sent off a handful of submissions before bed. I'm using Duotrope again to research new markets, and found two that I wanted to try. I spent a little time reading their online content, figured, hey, looks like it might be a good fit. I sent off a submission of poems to each journal that I thought might fit with their aesthetic. The whole process took me about an hour to put together two packets and send them off. A typical evening.

Well, the next morning, I'm going about my routine. First coffee, then email. And in my inbox, there's a message from one of the two venues. I figured it must be…

Amarillo Bay!

I have some exciting news to share!

First of all, I have a handful of poems up at Amarillo Bay

And second of all, I'm going to be taking over as Poetry Editor, starting with the next issue in August!

I couldn't be more excited about this news. I've been an assistant poetry editor before, I've been on editorial committees and have helped make decisions, but this time, it's all up to me. I get to read the submissions, decide what gets in, send out rejection/acceptance letters, copy edit, the whole nine yards.

So far, I've really enjoyed working with AB. The other editors are super nice and welcoming. And believe it or not, I like sifting through slush piles. For me, it's an exciting prospect, to dig through submissions, looking for gems. I even sent out my first rejection letter yesterday :D

So do take a look at the journal, and if it suits your fancy, send a submission in. My goal is to respond back with personal notes to everyone who submits. No form letter…

Insomnia

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A few weeks ago, I was invited by Daniel Garcia Ordaz, the publisher at El Zarape Press, to write an introduction for their latest release. How could I refuse? Not only do Daniel and I go way back, but it was a pretty exciting offer because 1. the author of the book is none other than Edward Vidaurre, who I love and 2. I'd never been invited to write an introduction to a book before, and it sounded like something every proper poet should try her hand at.

So, away I went. I dove into Edward's book, and quite honestly, I was blown away by how smooth the book read, how the poems and their rich images just kept flowing, one after the other. I wanted to express that breathless feeling in my intro, but not only that, I wanted to give Edward's book context. I THINK that's what an introduction is there for, to give a collection some context and explain how it fits into the greater discourse of contemporary poetry.

So that's what I tried to do. I hope I was able to give Ed…

Welcome to Summer 2014

So it's time for a change of gears!

My grades have been submitted. I'm spending the majority of my days in my bathrobe. The air conditioner is blaring.

Yep. It's summer again!

And my goodness, am I grateful.

I've been on vacation for about a week, and so far, it's been pretty amazing, and believe it or not, pretty productive, in my own Katie sort of way. Of course, I had to decompress after the craziness that was April and early May, but I'm coming off of that now, and I'm in the mood to get things done, which is a good thing. I'm off of work until July 9th, and as always, I've got a good stack of things I want to accomplish.

1. My poetry manuscript. Very, very important. So, this is the same ms. I slaved away over last summer, and I thought I was done with it. I'd been submitting it a handful of places, got a few sniffs, and things are looking good. BUT, it's too short. So guess what I'm doing now? :D And believe it or not, it's bee…

Napowrimo #23

Today's task was a homophonic translation. This is just ridiculous. I "translated" Rilke.


Napowrimo #22

Something super short and simple for this busy day.


I love it when air
smells like rain
and the earth moans
with thunder. Dust
kicks up with the wind
and the first drops fall
so hard they imprint
the thirsty earth
like the pocks of my skin
beneath the impassioned
tips of your fingers.