The Life and Times of an Unknown Poet…

I finished electronic submissions this past weekend and I just completed hard copy submission packets for everyone else who has yet to give into the ease of submission managers. I’ve completed 50 submissions total and I’ve already received three rejections (electronic submissions can make the rejection process a lot quicker), so I have or will soon have about 47 submissions out in the world.

I’ve encountered something during this round of submissions that I’ve never encountered before: anxiety about sending poems to people I know. The universities where I received my MA and my MFA also house two very well respected literary journals and I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’ve been avoiding sending to them. Actually, as long as I’m being honest, I’ve avoided sending to any places where I know the editors are former peers or mentors. I know this makes no logical sense and it’s not like I fear rejection or criticism (I mean I went to school for poetry for crying out loud) but maybe I do fear it from people I know and respect. This may be oversimplifying it a little bit. I just seem to feel a slight twinge when writing certain addresses on submission envelopes…

I’m reading two different books right now. One is Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and the other is Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker. In a way, it isn’t really fair that I’m reading these two books at the same time. I love Elizabeth Bishop and I’ve read just about every conceivable thing by her or about her. This recent edition from the New Yorker is delightful and where most people would find reading pages of letters tedious, I really enjoy it. I’m never going to get meet Miss. Bishop but I can hear her voice in her letters and her conversation. It’s as close to a dialogue as I’m ever going to get, so I’ll take it.

On the other hand The Corrections is challenging and the verdict is still out whether I’m enjoying the challenge or not. I found the beginning of the book intriguing but odd, but as I move further into the novel I’m having trouble deciding if I’m still intrigued or just annoyed. I know I missed the boat on this book in terms of timeliness. Most of my friends jumped on Franzen’s bandwagon along time ago, but I’m going to finish it and then I’ll comment in full.

The days are lengthening and the sun seems to be making its presence known more and more often. I noticed the tips of some green shoots pushing through the leaf beds. Spring break is just around the corner and I look forward to spending some time working on my chapbook manuscript and working through some new poems that are bumping around in my head.

Last night I didn’t sleep well. This usually happens when I have a lot going on and can’t keep my mind still. When I did finally slip off into sleep, I had dreams of poetry and lines and words. Spring brings rejuvenation in many forms.

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