Monday, November 10, 2008

Where I'm At

Okay. So it seems the blog has devolved into simple updates. I'm cool with that, for now, as the end of the semester looms on the calendar, and the end of the MFA looms still larger.

Election: Obama! It's a beautiful thing to have a writer in the White House. Am I the only one who is anxious to see what sort of puppy the Obama's get? I think it says a lot about a President--some of my earliest notions of a President are shaped by the black-and-white photos of FDR with his scottie Fala. I know there are many more consequential decisions--like overturning Prop 8 and getting us back on track economically--but still I wonder.

Thesis: For now, I have a title: After the Ark, and a skeleton of sections. I do worry about filling things out with poems I really like, rather than simply poems I tolerate. But this takes a backseat right now to...

Fellowship Applications: The final list of where I'm going to apply is set, including: the George Bennett Fellowship at Exeter Academy, the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, the Milton Center Fellowship in Seattle, the Olive B. O'Connor fellowship at Colgate, the Stadler Fellowship at Bucknell, the Stegner at Stanford, and the Poetry Fellowships at the University of Wisconsin. Yes, the odds of actually getting one of these are very slim. Yes, I'm planning on not getting accepted anywere. Yes, it almost feels like throwing away money. No, I'm not done picking which poems I'm going to send, but I do have recommendation letters (I've been giving them copies of BNP 2008 as thank you gifts, it makes me feel very awkward).

Wedding Planning: At this point both Shelley and I are so bogged down in other places (She's finishing her last residency, will be a doctor of physical therapy in two weeks!!) that it's easy to let this stuff slip. But fortunately we got most of the big things (band, venue, photographer, minister, etc.) out of the way early. The next round of things probably involves invitations and figuring out just what, if anything, I'll be wearing that evening.

Rejection junction: Since we last spoke I've developed a much more prestigious stack, including nice notes from Shenandoah, Cream City Review, and Crab Orchard Review. But this is the longest streak of all-rejection I've had since I started sending out last year about this time. I guess it's to be expected as I'm trying out more reputable and thus, lower-odds, places. I'm trying to stick by my policy of always having something in the mail, if only to preserve my optimism.

The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr. Amazing. I mentioned to someone how much I enjoyed Rick Bass' first collection of stories, The Watch, and he told me that he thought I'd enjoy Doerr. It really is an incredible book. These are stories in the most traditional sense of the word. It's really refreshing in a world of flash fiction (nothing against it when it's done well, but more often than not I simply read these as emaciated scenes or wannabe Russell Edson's) to find meaty stories to knock me over.

One Body by Margaret Gibson. I read this collection before introducing her at Hollins, and it really won me over immediately. First off, the poetry is stunning, dwelling in realms I'm quite familiar with (mourning the loss of a parent through the always insufficient institutions of the churches we've been shuttled into), she's a Hollins grad (her, Annie Dillard, and Lee Smith, were all students at the same time), and LSU simply makes beautiful books. But now I'm rushing because the dog is barking. I really do have more intelligent things to say...I promise.

That's all for now. College basketball season will save us all....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Election Day

I'm fairly sure no one reads this...but I thought I'd put it out in as many places as possible.


I'm not teaching on Tuesday, but if I were, I'd cancel my class. This is too important.

PS--I'm sitting on what might be some great news in regards to post-mfa, but can't quite say anything about it until it becomes a bit more real. Stay tuned.