National Poetry Month, Some Updates, and a Poem!


It's been awhile again hasn't it?

It's National Poetry Month, and what a better time to return to this space and to my habit of daily writing. With the fury of summer just around the corner, I figure this month's NAPOWRIMO is the perfect reason to get that poetry muscle in shape again.

Before I jump into my NAPO fun, I'll give you a little update on life from the Katiesphere, what I've been up to these past few months since I list stopped in. It looks like I'd left you on a bit of a cliffhanger, as I was on one, too! Well, biospy came back clean and I am in (relatively) good health. As far as everything else, still TBD! Though I hope to drop some good news soon.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, table and indoorOf course, the spring semester rolled in with a roar. It always does. But life has been good, truly, and exciting, too. In February, I attended the People's Poetry Festival in Corpus Christi and presented on Poetry of the Body. Lately, that's been my obsession, my focus, as a poet. I've been working on a manuscript tentatively titled An Iliad of Bones, which is about my own personal health struggles re-imagined through the lens of Helen of Troy. The book is morphing into a discussion, too, about women's agency over their healthcare choices and bodies, which I really like. Anyway, this book is probably going to comprise my summer project, and presenting about it in at TAMU-CC helped me figure out exactly what this book was trying to say/do. There's me (far left) at the People's Poetry Festival.

Then, we had FESTIBA, which is always an adventure. 2012 Texas Poet Laureate Jan Seale hosted a workshop that I helped organize for her, and in addition, we did a reading together along with riverSedge literary journal. It was a great time! Jan and I even went to the Valley Symphony Orchestra together after the FESTIBA festivities :) I always have a great time with her.
There we are, below, the entire riverSedge team: Managing Editor Rob Moreira, Me, Jan Seale, Nonfiction Editor Marianita Escamilla, my colleague Miriam Herrera, Editor-in-Chief Phil Zwerling, and Danielle, the T.A who makes the magic happen. In the back, that's Thomas, another one of my colleagues and a fine fiction writer to boot.

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The following week, I headed up to Austin for REVEL Unclassified, a music and poetry venue that hosts weekly events in a brewery. At first, I was a little skeptical, but in the end, I was so glad I went and had such a marvelous time. I was treated so well, and the audience was so supportive of my work. I read my feminist Eve poetry. But of course! What else? B was happy because he got free beer out of the experience because he was "part of the show" as the bartender explained. And indeed, he was! He took some really wonderful pictures.

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Over spring break, I headed up to Baylor University for the House of Poetry and the Beall Poetry Festival. I had never been to Baylor so I thought this would be a good opportunity to meet new people and explore something different. What better way to spend spring break, right? It turned out to be another fun event. I read a few poems, but perhaps the highlight was an incredibly insightful lecture given by Bruce Bond. I have been a fan of Bond's work for a couple of years now since I'd read a couple of his poetry collections. It has this depth to it, but not just that, an amazing beauty, too. So, getting to hear him talk about his aesthetic as a writer was like returning to school. I learned so much! One of the other really neat things about Baylor was the Browning Library. I had to take a selfie in front of it with Pippa, the eponymous character in the verse drama, "Pippa Passes." The library also holds some amazing artifacts from both Robert and Elizabeth. I hope to return when I have more time to explore. Talk about a nerdy spring break, huh???
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Now it's April, and I really just have ONE poetry event planned this month: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival at Eastern Oklahoma University. I am very much looking forward to it since I've heard some wonderful things about it from other writers. I'll be leaving next week!

This semester has been filled with travel, with networking, and with exciting opportunities. I am really looking forward to summer and returning to a feverish writing routine, getting back into my own head for a little while and pulling An Iliad of Bones together.

Which brings me to today's NAPO #1:

The prompt was to write a Kay Ryan-esque poem. I love these prompts because they force me out of my comfort zone as a poet a little bit. Lately I've been writing sonnets, so today, I did a little writing without a strict meter or rhyme scheme in mind, and I found it quite freeing. Good exercise! Here's what I came up with, inspired by my lazy cat, Rascal, who happens to be on my lap now as I type:

Poem for Rascal, Snuggling

Why do cats
Try to fit
Into the smallest
Crevices of life?
The elbow’s crook,
The space between
Knees, the thinnest
Slant of sun
Pouring in through
The bay window?
To feel the world,
Its tug against
The warm body,
To know the boundaries
Of your flesh,
To stretch out
A single paw
And claw through
The border of your shell 
with a yawn.
May the universe
Be a womb
Your body fills.
May your purr
Lullaby the world

To gentle slumber.