Not with a whimper but a bang!

Actually, that title sounds sexual–sorry. I MEAN to tell you how my year is ending, show off some cool student work, and wish you a happy solstitial impeachment frenzy.

My happy news–honored above by a photo of Ursula ecstatic about catnip–is receiving a Katherine Bakeless Nason Scholarship to Breadloaf Environmental Writers Conference this June. This is also the season I gear up for book publicity, and I’m SO glad to have ONE set of dates in stone now, as I query bookstores and reading series and the like. I’m thinking I’ll roadtrip to Vermont and book a few dates at mid-points along the journey, since both the poetry collection and the novel will be out by then. I’m also applying for additional conferences, residencies, etc., which is a ton of work. I’m really grateful that of the dozen or more applications I’ve already put out there, one came through. In the spirit of making visible my shadow c.v.: I’ve also received a cartload of rejections and non-answers (if you can imagine those ghostly silences filling up a cart, anyway). That’s just the way it goes, but it’s good to have one nice shiny “yes” to light up these long dark nights.

I’m also preparing, intellectually and socially, for the MLA conference in Seattle in January, where I’ll be speaking on a panel organized by Janine Utell called “The Space Between Creative Nonfiction and Literary Criticism:  Theorizing, Writing, Publishing Critical/Creative Hybrids.” Right up my alley, but I still have work to do on my remarks. I have a lovely date set up with Jeannine Hall Gailey for the day I arrive, and I’ll also be reading with her on Saturday the 11th at Open Books, but I’d love to see as many friends as possible, so please let me know if you’ll be there.

That’s on top of Shenandoah and tenure-file reading, holiday prep, and all the other little tasks I fell behind on during the term, so this week has been pretty intense. I hope to put up a blog around new year’s, though, about the year’s reading, and another about certain resolutions that are forming in my stubborn brain. In the meantime, some delights from last week’s grading.

In U.S. Poetry from 1900-1950, my fall upper-level seminar, the students became so excited about researching little magazines that I ended up giving my students an experimental option in lieu of a second conventional essay: they could create 8 pages of a little magazine from the period, including a cover, masthead, mission statement, table of contents, and a few “solicited” submissions (mostly real poems from the period, but they were allowed to make up one or two plausible imaginary modernists, too, and write poems in those personas). They also had to write reflective essays explaining their literary and design choices and providing a bibliography of models and other sources they consulted. You’ll notice that’s actually MORE work than a conventional essay, but perhaps more fun. I’m sneaky that way. Pictures below, plus a particularly cool videopoem from my creative writing workshop.

Moving Poem by Amanda Deans

14 Comments on “Not with a whimper but a bang!

  1. Congratulations, Lesley! And I am sorry I won’t be in MLA to see your panel. (My first year as a civilian … I am taking a break.)

    Happy holidays to you—

    Debra Rae Cohen Professor of English University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Check out Northshire Bookshops in Saratoga Springs, NY, and Manchester, VT, for readings, or the venerable Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I went and double-checked: in that video poem, she included a six second gap of more or less silence. How. Amazing. IS THAT???????

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow. I’m already envious of your “U.S. Poetry from 1900-1950” class as I was in school so long ago when the canon, and the attitudes to it, were different. And after all, the end of that era was “contemporary poetry” in my youth.

    And now those time-travel student “little magazines” are so wonderful as a concept and from what I can see of the execution. I’ve become so enamored of the pre-1924 era in 20th century poetry that I’d be hard pressed to choose a focus if I was to do just one. I’d probably want to do nine different ones or something. Love the 1919 Afro-American soldier one. From family connections I’d be tempted to do one based on the Southwestern Illinois/Davenport Iowa nexus of the Teens and early Twenties.

    Wishing you best of luck and satisfying work on your endeavors in 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Odds and Ends | Frank Hudson

  6. Pingback: Poetry Blog Digest 2019: Week 51 – Via Negativa

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