Read my poem!

Here is a link to my poem, “Waking Up,” in Deep South Magazine’s Poetry Month issue.

My Poem “Waking Up” in Deep South Magazine

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The Human Centipede and Other Horrors (Monstrous Texts and Publishing Multi- or Un- Genre Work)

This semester I am taking a class called Conjurations, taught by professor and writer Tisa Bryant. It’s a really interesting class because we don’t workshop, we produce work in a lab setting. I honestly wish we had this type of class each semester–as a requirement–because I’ve produced the work I needed to round out my thesis collection. The pieces I’ve written also bring my collection into different, deeper realms than before. We do in class writing, as well as take home assignments. Tisa even brought in a hypnotist/poet to do a hypnotism writing experiment that yielded a poem for me after some editing.

More recently though, we read Bhanu Kapil’s Incubation: A Space For Monsters, which is a beautiful, grotesque book that explores issues of identity, cyborgs, monstrosity, the body, hitchhiking, spectatorship and soooo much more. After reading this book, we were asked to create our own monstrous text, following a bit of Bhanu’s form, but with our own monster and our own idea of the monstrous. My first version of the exercise used snippets of her words, as per the assignment, but I now have a stripped version that is truly me. At first I had a hard time starting the piece. I mean, I certainly feel involved with my own dark side, but what would embody it? What would be my monster?

Then in class Tisa reiterated the hitchhiking aspect of Bhanu’s book. Ah! Psychic hitchhikers, I thought, and was immediately brought back to a little over a year ago when I first encountered the horror that is the film The Human Centipede. I will absolutely NOT go into any details of the film other than the centipede is comprised of three bodies sewn together. I have not seen the film, hearing and reading about it, and seeing some images, were enough to infect my brain in a terrible way. I couldn’t get their image out of my head that night and was only able to sleep when I was just too exhausted not to. I felt terrified, and thankful that my mom was coming to visit the next day so I wouldn’t have to sleep alone. I felt infested by the film, enraged by the filmmaker, and infected with a kind of lunacy I think might be similar to how psychotic people feel. I really felt like I was going crazy. After some days the images would flash less into my mind’s eye, but I’d still get fixated on them occasionally–at quiet moments: the shower, before sleep. I ended up going to my therapist in Santa Fe. He told me I had picked up a psychic hitchhiker, a mind virus. He helped me to rid myself of it and though I was still shaky for a while, I am now much much more at peace.

Back to Conjurations… so I had that moment where I put two and two together. I would write about the human centipede–write it as a character, as my monster. In writing it, I think I came to terms with it even more. What emerged is an autobiographically inspired *story.* And here’s where my publishing issues come into play. The piece is in numbered sections, like poems can be, but is in prose. Still, prose that sounds like me. But it’s not fiction exactly because it is somewhat *true* in the sense that maybe it is nonfiction. But it’s also surreal and imagined. I’d like to publish this piece. I sent it to 5 journals today. Since I am having trouble putting the piece into a genre, I looked for journals that are open to “experimental” or non-genre-defined work. I hope one of them will like the piece enough to publish it.

Genre pinning is never a problem for me these days. I write poems that look like poems. I submit them as poems. Pretty easy. I mean I still have to know what journals will like my approach to poetry, but at least I know that it goes in the poetry submission box. This time, even the more experimental journals generally (not always) had two categories or three to submit your piece as.

This submission conundrum brings me to this: my text successfully became what was intended by the assignment. It became a monster: unruly, dark. So in a way, even though I spent a really long time finding potential homes for it, I think the processes of realizing where it exists in terms of genre affirmed the monstrosity of my monstrous text.

And with that, I’ll leave you all for the evening, my many limbs trailing behind me.

Small Victories (on being persistent)

Got an email this evening from [PANK], a lit journal I’ve been submitting to for a while. I received three encouraging rejections from them, asking me to send more work in the future. I tried again recently and viola! my poem “Gods” will be featured in the July issue! When people tell you to send more work, you really should. They wouldn’t say it if they didn’t think your work was good. Also, refer to, or address your next submission to the last person who contacted you at the journal. That way they see that you are thoughtful about your resubmission process.

Anyway, just wanted to share my news! 

First Book Prizes

Ugh! Back from Spring Break and feeling very done with school… despite the 6 weeks until graduation. Basically my thesis is *done.* I mean, it just feels very done. The writing of it. I think Mady really helped me organize it. Now I can just go on revising it until the end of time. However, I would like to get it published as soon as possible. I don’t know how much of a real chance I have at this point, but I am starting the process of submitting to first book contests. 

Just submitted first to the Four Way Books first book contest.

Upcoming contests to submit to include Tupelo Press and the Agnes Lynch Sarret Prize, among many others. There are some to submit to this spring, then the rest in the fall. I truly, truly, hope one of these contests will decide to publish my book. 

So much to do before graduation. My thesis reading is coming up in May. I am moving in with Max. Lots to do. Lots to do.

On another note, I had a really great final interview with Teach For America, so hopefully they will accept me to teach in the fall. The final interview was interesting. I did it in Memphis because I happened to be visiting there already for Spring Break. It was interesting because I was one of 3 older people there. And I’m obviously not old, but by older I mean not still in undergrad. I felt like I was more qualified than the undergrad kids. Though they all did well too, I felt like I was most comfortable in my teaching demonstration. The private interview was really comfortable too. 

Just found out I didn’t get free admission to the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at UMass Amherst this summer. I am very happy with the other CalArts person they chose though because her writing is amazing. I could still go but I have to pay and I just don’t think with moving and all that I’ll have the money to go. 😦

Okay, I got to run.