I just happened to look at the website of the small press where I submitted my manuscript back in February—& found a press release from early March, where they already announced a winner! Obviously it was not me. And obviously they didn’t wait till July/August as they had said.
Well, that motivates me even more to submit it to the other press by July 15.
June 15 came & went, & my life is in just a wee bit of upheaval so it’s not surprising that I didn’t get this submission together as I wished.
I’ll be gone next week & will come back poetry-soaked, & maybe with a few revisions to make. I should give myself time for revising a bit, then. Let’s say my new deadline is July 15.
to submit this manuscript to. No contest is involved, & there is no reading period. This press favors projects with a social justice bent.
I think I’ll set myself a deadline for this submission, since there’s no external one. Let’s say June 15.
that I updated here after making my first submission of this manuscript to a publisher . . . but I don’t see an entry on that. I guess I did it only on my Goodreads blog. Well, I sent it out in mid-February, just in time to squeeze into the annual open reading period of a small press that publishes 1-3 poetry books annually. One is chosen by an outside judge, & often there’s also an “editor’s prize” book chosen by the press’s editor. The editor seems to have an aesthetic compatible with my work, as evidenced by recent books he has published.
Oh, & I like the fact that instead of the usual reading fee charged for a contest, those who submit are asked to buy one of the books published by this press. So even if my manuscript isn’t chosen, I have supported the press & another poet, & I’ve enriched my collection of poetry books! Nice.
Notification will come in July-August. In the meantime I hope to submit to another small press as well, maybe even this month.
My last decent head shot was taken in 2003, preceding the publication of my first collection of poems. I definitely need a new one—hopefully soon for the back cover of the Colombia collection, once the manuscript is accepted, but in the meantime also for publicity surrounding occasional poetry readings & other presentations.
Today a friend sent out a recommendation of a photographer friend of hers in Chicago who is offering a May special: 10-15 informal shots in the location of one’s choice, preferably outdoors, for $75. It’s a great deal, & I’m already in touch with the photographer to plan the shoot. Because of the tropical setting of my Colombia poems, we may end up doing it in the tropical habitat section of the Lincoln Park or Garfield Park Conservatory!
If anyone else in Chicago is interested in this special, let me know & I’ll send a link to see her work & get in touch if you like it.
So far during January I have written two more Colombia poems that I’m pretty happy with. Now, I think, I have enough strong poems to stand together as a collection – weaker ones can be left out.
Maybe my next step should be reworking the intro/background/glossary material. Which means reassembling the whole manuscript, making sure all the latest versions of the poems are included, & reading it closely, taking note of which Spanish terms should be defined & which events/names might be obscure for readers.
Tomorrow evening I should print out the ms with the latest versions, so that I can do some marking up during my work commute next week.
that publishes fiction & poetry by Spanish speakers & Native Americans, & related to Latin America. He happened to accompany his wife (who writes poetry) to a workshop I attended last Sunday afternoon. He responded really positively to the poem I brought for critique, which tells of my family’s arrival in Colombia many years ago.
As we were all getting ready to leave, I asked him for a card & told him I have a manuscript. He said ruefully that he is VERY backed up in that department & won’t be able to look at anything until maybe 2011. That is completely understandable—many small presses are able to publish only two or three books a year. But he reiterated that he loved the poem I had workshopped, & I let him know that I had studied with Martin E.; they know each other. I’m very pleased to have met him. Who knows what might come of it?
Meanwhile, besides continuing to work on poems, I have been continuing to collect names/websites of small presses that seem promising. Yesterday the author whose book I’m currently editing told me that she was happy to have a poet working on her book! Turns out that a former colleague of mine is now a colleague of hers; that’s how she found out that I write poetry. She sent me (unasked) a link to the publishing house associated with the university where she teaches. It seeks works rooted in diverse cultures & runs an annual poetry manuscript contest; this year’s postmark deadline is tomorrow, too soon for me to mobilize . . . but maybe next year!
In recent weeks I’ve written a couple of poems about being in the rural community in Choco: (1) getting mosquito bitten & (2) the time I was in bed & the house started shaking back & forth . . . I will refrain from saying why, but that night I fell asleep laughing.
The poem about singing, which I posted about earlier, was my final piece at the music-poetry party. People really loved it.
I also wrote a sad poem about sex trafficking.
Now I’m doing a poem that will consist entirely of Colombian sayings/proverbs & my own translations of them. The idea is to do some wry social commentary without referencing any specific situations. Definitely fun.
So this project is moving right along.
The other day I wrote a prose poem about the most painful memory of my childhood. I’m not sure why it never occurred to me before to write about that time of misery (a fight between my parents). Making this poem has been very therapeutic, both for me & for my siblings who have read it.
This poem will definitely not lighten the mood of the collection, but it will provide variety in subject matter. The other poems I’m currently working on can do the mood-lightening work.
I’m working on the first assignment that emerged from the manuscript critique class I took in June: write more positive/hopeful poems to intersperse with the many sad stories I am telling. I wrote one longish poem on braids – literally (six different ways Afro-Colombian women braid each other’s hair) & as a symbol of their community’s life together on the land. The first workshop where I read it, last Sunday, was extremely enthusiastic about it.
Now I am working feverishly on a poem telling stories of singing, which was a powerful bonding activity for my family & became our default way of responding collectively to almost any difficult situation (or time of boredom). This one is really going to sprawl across several pages, with the sensory details of places where we sang plus, of course, poignant lines from our songs, in English or Spanish. My only structural problem is that there are two intense occasions when songs emerged in recent years: as my mother was dying in an emergency room & asked us to sing, & when paramilitaries entered a Colombian community that I was accompanying. Probably it will be best to let one of these (my mom’s death) hive off into its own poem . . .
I’m extending the brainstorming to my siblings & asking them to e-mail me with occasions of singing they remember & especially beautiful or funny lines from songs we have sung over the years.