These lines from Mary Oliver’s “When Death Comes” took on new meaning when I read them on the afternoon of January 17, 2019. I’d read the poem before, but time has a way of changing your perception of what you read. In this case, I was re-reading one of Oliver’s most well-known poems about mortality just hours after learning that she, my favorite poet, had died from lymphoma at the age of 83.
The timing was eerie, too. Around the same time last week, I started working on a similar tribute to my favorite author of all time, Ursula K. Le Guin, who had recently passed away. (Oliver died 5 days before the first anniversary of Le Guin’s passing.) So, naturally, I’ve been drawing comparisons between the relationships I have with their work. And I remembered one difference that might surprise some people: While Le Guin’s stories resonated with me right away, it took a few years for me – a fantasy fan and a poet in equal measure – to fall in love with Oliver’s poems.
When I was preparing my final poetry submission of 2018 during the last week of December, a surprising question popped into my head: “How many submissions did I send out this year?”
You see, I don’t set goals for a certain number of submissions each month or year, especially since poetry is still a part-time endeavor for me. Instead, I continually write and revise my poems, read various journals, and submit to places that I think would be a good fit for my work. And while I track my submissions, it’s mainly to remind myself of the facts, like which publications I’m waiting to hear from and which poems are currently out on submission.
So, for those reasons, I really had NO idea how many submissions I’d sent out in 2018. (*lol*) And not knowing that number made me curious. So I reviewed my tracking sheet, did some math, and decided to blog about what I found, with some relevant tips to boot.
Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you had a warm, safe, and joyful beginning to your 2019.
Today I’m thrilled to share two new poems that have been published over the past couple weeks. First, “Osprey at Bass River” is featured the Winter 2018 / 2019 issue of Canary, an online literary journal focusing on nature and the environment. This poem was accepted back in March, and the joy of finally seeing it in print (and with a fitting photo to boot) has been worth the wait. 🙂
What’s this? More poetry news?? 😮
Yes! I’m happy to share that Amethyst Review has published my poem “Gifts.” Amethyst Review is a UK-based online journal that publishes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories exploring spirituality in creative ways. “Gifts” in particular is a tribute to nature, unexpected surprises, and gratitude.
I’m thrilled to share that my poem “Breath of a Humpback Whale” has been published in the Fall 2018 issue of Muddy River Poetry Review! This poem was inspired by a whale watch I went on last fall – or, more specifically, a particular moment during the whale watch that took my breath away. 🙂
I had an idea while preparing the Favorite Fiction Reads of Summer 2018 post recently. Even though I read nonfiction (mainly on writing and creativity) and poetry as well as fiction, I only ever blog about fiction. But I’m not just a reader. I’m also a poet, a dabbler in speculative fiction, and a perpetual student of the craft of writing. So why not blog about the other kinds of books I read, since they’re just as important to my literary life?
Hence this week’s experiment. This round-up shares mini-reviews of five poetry books and four “writerly” nonfiction books I’ve read over the past few months. If any of them pique your interest, you can check out more information on Goodreads via the link in each title. Most importantly, if this kind of post is something you’d like to see again (maybe every 3 or 4 months), let me know in your comments. That’s the best way for me to know whether this is worth continuing as a blog series.
About a year-and-a-half ago, I began reading one poem a day before going to bed. If time allowed, I might read two poems, especially if I was alternating between a regular poetry book and a longer “best-of” collection. Since then, this habit has become as essential to my routine as writing, breathing, and sleeping. More importantly, I’ve already noticed the impact it’s had on my writing as well as my life in general. (That last bit might be a story for another day. *wink*)
Maybe you love poetry, too, yet you struggle to find time to read it because of work, family, and other responsibilities. Or perhaps you haven’t read much poetry before and would like that to change. Reading a poem a day could be the perfect solution – because, like other habits that eventually stick, you might find yourself enjoying this short, simple act so much that your routine will feel incomplete without it.
So, how can you benefit from reading a poem a day? Why should you even try in the first place? Let me give you five reasons, starting with…
Um…. Hi everyone. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
The short story is, I had to take about 2 months off from blogging here. It was unexpected, to say the least, and I feel badly that I disappeared unexpectedly like that. But don’t we all go through periods when life offline goes a little… well, nuts, and we have to rearrange our priorities temporarily? And now that things appear to be smoothing out, I think I’m ready to make a comeback.
And what an appropriate post to return with, right? I really do love this What’s Making Me Happy series, and for so many reasons. So let me share some of the things that brought much-needed joy and lightness despite the stress of the past two months. Feel free to share what’s made you happy recently in your comments. 🙂
I’m sort of glad now that I decreased my blogging schedule again. Because January was a blur, and not a fun kind of blur. I was buried with work at my day job for most of the month, which cramped my free time to a minimum and zapped my blogging time to… well, zero. But some good things happened in January, too, and I can’t forget or discount any of that goodness.
That’s why I’m grateful for this series. What’s Making Me Happy reminds me of the highlights, fun events, and other recent joys – and after a month that drags you down in some ways, it’s a nourishing perspective to have. This month’s Happy post is twice as delightful, too: I’m covering both December and January, with three joys from each month. And with my slower blogging schedule, this bimonthly format might be the way to go from now on. What do you think?
Let’s start with…
The 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal is out! The special edition was published just in time for Curry College’s Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20. It features new and previously published works by current students and alumni. I’m honored that the staff chose to include three new poems of mine: “Eve of Spring,” “Nightmusic,” and “The Critic and the Muse.”
The 40th anniversary issue is not available online or for purchase outside Curry. So, I took some photos of the issue for you to see. Have a look!
The cover of the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.
My poem “Eve of Spring,” as printed in the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.
My poem “Nightmusic,” as printed in the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.
My poem “The Critic and the Muse,” as printed in the 40th anniversary issue of the Curry Arts Journal.
The Curry Arts Journal staff is also uploading the pieces published in the 40th anniversary issue onto their website. Once my poems are online, I’ll share the links with you here.
Coming Soon: My review of Ayreon’s The Theory Of Everything should be online at Sonic Cathedral next week.