A Kick in the Pants

What a ride I’ve been on! It’s been ages since I blogged. But no apologies for that. Here’s why.

After a long hiatus, many bloggers feel the need to come back groveling and guilty, and I’ve even read other bloggers advising on how to deal with a long break from your blog (never apologize, never let it happen in the first place, act like it never happened, etc. and contradicting etc.). To all them I say Why in the world would I ever apologize for having a real life? And God help the folks who need others’ advice on how to live that life. Sheesh.

Here’s what I’ve been up to: Some vacation, some writing and lots and lots of submitting to magazines. Oh that’s a fun sport. Almost as fun as busting my tailbone last month. (Sacrum, meet concrete. Concrete, meet sacrum. They did not get along, but they did hit it off, ha ha.) At least when you bust your tailbone, you can detect increased comfort in a month or two. But with poetry submissions, you usually hang in a silent limbo for three to six months, then get rejected. Are we having fun yet? It’s an occupational hazard, but at least I’m getting a wickedly funny poem out of the experience, which I will share in a future post.

I’d like to share one sliver of this second pain-in-the-butt experience (the poetry one). Yesterday I got a “no thanks” and the editor didn’t even spell my name right. Can I get a “dodged that bullet” whoop whoop? I especially liked the “good luck with that” closing on the email. I swear, who are these people? Poetry is an incredibly subjective matter, I get that, but a little respect for writers is a reasonable thing to expect from one who makes their living off of their hard work, wouldn’t ya think? Ok, I may be exaggerating “make their living” off of editing a poetry magazine. It’s probably pays about as well (nada) as writing poetry, in  many cases, but culture must be cultivated and we’re all in this same boat, so how about we paddle in the same direction at least?

Which leads me to this impassioned plea: Buy some poetry books this month. It’s National Poetry Month and Poetry has been working hard to make this nation one worth having. So ask not what poetry can do for you, but rather what you can do for poetry (hint: buy some!). Poetry books makes great gifts…no question that when you give someone a book of poems, you give a special, timeless gift they won’t forget. And no, dirty limericks don’t count. Try Mary Oliver or Robert Frost or Robert Haas or Marie Howe or Dorianne Laux or Ellen Bass or Tony Hoagland or David Shumate instead. If you’re lucky enough to have an indie bookstore that actually carries poetry (my hometown indie flat out told me “we don’t carry poetry, shelf space is too valuable”…I guess so they can sell more Kim Kardashian oeuvres?), then get a cup of joe and browse away. Otherwise, Amazon or Powell’s are great online venues for flipping through the virtual pages. I’m less interested in how you shop than in how you embrace a full and meaningful life, my friend. Happy hunting!

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4 Responses to A Kick in the Pants

  1. ed furlong says:

    April is the cruelest month in so many ways…

    Another poet I am encouraging folks to read:

    Mary Karr–Sinners Welcome–Crosses (pun intended) between her poetic and spiritual life, as if they were separate. Just finished my first read through and am still amazed. Apparently she has written some highly regarded memoirs, which may get me to read a memoir, a genre that I have held at arm’s length for some time.

    Keep up the good writing and hold strong against the temptation to apologize for working at what is true to you, instead of this blog. Will drop by from time to time, rest assured.



    • Thanks for the tip, Ed, will get my hands on Mary’s book soon. As one whose spiritual-poetic divide is virtually non-existent, I will enjoy her, I’m sure. Here’s to not compartmentalizing ourselves!

  2. Sue Baron says:

    I’m on that short list of people who regularly buy poetry books. Recent purchase: The History of Forgetting by Lawrence Rabb. A few really good poems. A few really odd. That’s where ‘subjective’ comes along and let’s everyone choose the best fit. Everyone should try it!

    • Yea for you, Sue, for buying poetry (not the best syntax, but you know what I mean). And extra credit for recommending others try it. I think there’s so much there that goes undiscovered. These are hard times we’re witnessing today, and poetry is a great salve. Will try the Rabb book and get back to you….

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