More Can Poems to Appear in Clockwise Cat

clockwisecatIt has been some time since I have had anything to report, but I am happy to say that a reprint of my Can poem #6, the one about pride, in the shape of an American flag, and a new poem, “Can #11: Clabber Girl Double Acting Baking Powder,” will be out in the fall at Clockwise Cat, a politically progressive and aesthetically experimental venue. 

I am especially happy that Clockwise Cat‘s editor, Alison Ross, saw merit in these works because I had, before submitting to her, an extremely unpleasant experience with James K Beach, editor of Woodcoin, who, in four separate emails, called my can poems “derivative commercialism” and plagiarism, impugned my credentials, and ended by suggesting that I should be grateful for his “honesty.”

I mention this to warn anyone who may be considering submitting to Woodcoin. Had I not, by now, had some success, even a little serious success, with my writing, I might have been devastated by Beach’s responses.

To his credit, Beach did make me think about copyright more thoroughly. Although my can poems are not plagiarism because they use fragments of material in a transformative context, I realized that some of my media use was dubious, so I took the questionable ones off this site and resolved to be more careful in the future. I do thank Beach for that. 

But in contrast with him, Clockwise Cat editor Alison Ross was interested enough in my submission  to ask for more, which led me to write yet another poem (Can #11–take that, Beach) and acquire another publication credit. I am grateful to her and look forward to getting to know Clockwise Cat and eventually appearing there. 

 

Photo credit: Giftgarden Black Cat Wall Clock Home Decoration for Pets Gifts. 27 Feb. 2017, Flickr Commons. PD. 

Big Break from Spectacle Magazine!

For some time I have been close to the next level of success in my writing. Finalist in this or that, shortlisted for this and that, a positive review in New Pages, a little money here and there. But I had yet to publish in a journal recognized as one of the “top,” or win (or even be nominated for) a substantial prize, or sell anything to a publisher for a substantial sum. I wasn’t bitter–I am sincerely happy that there are so many talented people out there, and I am enjoying writing so much that I will continue regardless (you have been warned). But I was beginning to wonder.

Turns out all those clichés about persistence and it only takes one person are true. Also the “kill your darlings” thing. The editors of a new speculative fiction magazine, Spectacle, liked my story, “Gutman to the Rescue,” and are paying me the substantial sum of $500 to publish it in an upcoming issue!

As usual, this story had been making the rounds, slowly spiraling down from better paying to less well paying to free, for some time. Fortunately, editors at one low-paying journal told me I needed to axe large portions of the piece in order to streamline the pacing. Although those editors eventually rejected the streamlined version, I am indebted to them because the story went on to find favor at Spectacle. 

Of course, I feel grateful and validated. But this tale is also a reminder of how random the whole process is. So much depends on luck and chance, and the story could just as easily have met a less prestigious fate. I am reminded that I am writing because it is what I have always wanted to do and because I have things to say and an active imagination. Everything else, welcome and unwelcome, is secondary. 

 

  

 

Malevolent Soap Has Arrived!

Some time ago, I posted that my poem, “Out in the Code,” had been accepted by Malevolent Soap. This turned out to be not exactly true. Owing to not checking what might have been attached to the document in earlier submissions, I had submitted four poems: “Out in the Code,” “My parents’ books will be the death of me,” and two can poems, the Pet Pride cat food and the Starkist Tuna ones. Unexpectedly, mamo, the kind editor of Malevolent Soap, perceived a single brilliant, or at least acceptable, poem in this random combination. And fortunately he was gracious enough to work with me as I combined previously printed material with “Out in the Code” to produce a new poem, “Erosion.” 

So, if you want to read “My parents’ books . . . ,” go here. If you want to read about my can poems being printed in shufPoetry, go here, or if you just want to read the poems themselves, go here and scroll down, looking for the American flag. If you want to read “Out in the Code,” “My parents’ books . . . ,” and the two can poems, all combined as “Erosion,” I am assured that you will be able to purchase copies of Malevolent Soap, issue 1, soon. I’ll post a link when they put it up.

In the meantime, I shall be enjoying my fat advance copy, which contains intriguing work by fellow poets from all over the world.

Lolita Proofs Are Here

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The proofs of the article on Lolita that I wrote about here have arrived! This is good because it means the essay and the collection will soon be out, The Palgrave Handbook of Affect Studies and Textual CriticismOn the other hand, it is scary because of pronouncements like, “After you have finalized your proof, no further changes can be made.”

And there are problems. I am already leery because I know editing is a lost and disregarded art these days. It doesn’t help that they claimed a perfectly good sentence of mine about Humbert and Lolita journeying (so there’s your subject and verb) was incomplete, while missing at least five things that were wrong. And when I cited other parts of the collection I left question marks instead of page numbers because I was working from the document of the manuscript, not the set-up book. They left the question marks, in at least one case, which means I have to check all the cases and ask one of the editors (good thing he’s my husband) to give me page numbers from the proof of the manuscript. And one more thing: why can’t Word work out how to turn quotation marks and apostrophes the right way? This is fiendishly difficult to catch.

OK, end of rant. If you need me, I’ll be here, in front of my computer, for some time.

Photo credit: Alex Bakharev (assumed), Samizadat copies of en:Vladimir Nabokov’s works Colection [sic] of en:Nabokov House, 14 April 2006, Wikimedia Commons, PD.

“The Land of Rainbow Greetings” Already Up on With Candlelight

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Those editors at With Candlelight are fast. My story is already up, and I’ve already been paid.

The story is about a man who writes icky poetry for greeting cards. He meets a woman who claims his greeting cards changed her life, but things aren’t always as rosy as they seem to be at first. The man has a crisis about the meaning of his life and work.

I especially had fun inventing different greeting card poems for this story. Also, the woman can hardly finish a sentence–hence her recourse to prefabricated poems–so her dialogue was fun to write.

As usual, I found some typos in the printed product. It is very difficult to get all these out. I hope you will check out and enjoy the story here anyway.

Photo credit: 13bernta, Rainbow. June 2010. Flickr Commons. https://flic.kr/p/bXs3Uh. CC BY-NC 2.0.

Lolita Essay Accepted

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I have not posted for a while because I have been involved in writing an article on Lolita for a handbook on affect and literature commissioned by Palgrave. Today I got word the article, “Affect and Fascism in Lolita,” was accepted. I am still doing a few odds and ends of research (there’s time to add a note here or there), but basically it is done.

I am excited. First, the handbook project will be the first time, as far as I know, that many different branches of inquiry into affect and literature will be brought together, including affect theory, cognitive science, psychology, phenomenology, and philosophy. Second, I believe I have noticed things about Nabokov’s novel that no one else has, things I look forward to sharing once the handbook is published. Third, I learned a ton about Nabokov, Lolita, affect theory, psychology, and cognitive science.

And finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel now. I am looking forward to getting back to creative writing! 

Photo credit: Alex Bakharev (assumed), Samizadat copies of en:Vladimir Nabokov’s works Colection [sic] of en:Nabokov House, 14 April 2006, Wikimedia Commons, PD.

Prose Poem Up in Cactifur

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My prose poem, “My parents’ books will be the death of me,” is up in Cactifur here. While I am thrilled to see it there, and honored to be in good poetic company, I got a little fancy with this one, and the editors did not entirely get it–I take full responsibility for this. The poem is framed by this: “ll:” and this: “:ll.” These are meant to be musical repeat signs. I really intend for the whole poem on the page to appear as it appears below the title, but if this does not fit their format, that’s OK. The problem is, this, “LL:,” as it appears in the title, makes no sense at all, which is why, without attaching any blame to the editors, I do want to explain how it came to be there. I hate to annoy editors, but I plan to contact them directly, and apologetically, as well.

In light of this contretemps, I of course asked myself, “Do you really need those confusing repeat signs?” and the answer, for now, is, “Yes, yes I do.” The poem is based on a recurring dream, and both its recurring-ness and my recurring sense of distress while in the dream are fittingly represented by the repeat signs.

In answer to a question posed in the poem, no, I do not need The History of the Italian Madrigal in three volumes, yet I believe it is still on a shelf somewhere in my house. The decanter is here as well. 

Update: Jim Thompson, the editor of Cactifur, has fixed the title. So everything is OK now. With the poem, anyway.

 

Photo credit: Untitled (bookshelf). Original uploader, Ђорђе Д. Божовић at English Wikibooks. 22 Dec. 2005. CCA-SA 3.0.