To do, poetically–or just some human sleep


  1. I know people love fall, a feeling I get a glimpse of during sabbaticals, but for me it’s the season of deadlines, flurry, trying to carry too many turning leaves at once then dropping them.
  2. For instance, today is the three-month anniversary of my new book, Poetry’s Possible Worlds, yay! I meant to get a newsletter ready, but did I even start? No! I guess I might as well wait, because a downside of selling out the first print run of a small press book is that Amazon has stopped listing it for purchase, even backorder. There’s one copy at AbeBooks, though, and you can buy it on backorder at Bookstore.org. It should be back in print shortly. It’s just that printing delays are…endemic.
  3. On a related note, how am I doing at publicizing upcoming events? Badly! Soonest comes a reading mostly from The State She’s In in Charlottesville VA at The Vault. It’s multi-poet, I’ll be reading for 10 minutes on the early side, and pay-as-you-will, starting at 7 pm. Info here.
  4. The next, a Poetry’s Possible Worlds event with the amazing Jan Beatty and Angela Narciso Torres, is HYBRID! So you can attend even if you’re not a New Englander! Deets: Grolier’s Bookstore, Wednesday August 31, 7 pm, in Cambridge, MA with Jan Beatty and Angela Narciso Torres, moderated by January Gill O’Neil. Sign-up for in-person here. Sign up for Zoom here.
  5. Other readings and presentations are sprinkled through the oh-hell-I’m-dropping-these-leaves season. I just updated my Events page to show them. One chore actually done! In case any of them works for you, note that I’ll be in Radford and Charlottesville VA; Raleigh and Wilmington NC; New Haven CT (for the ALSCW conference); and Conway, Arkansas (CD Wright Festival). The event I proposed–although not the other two I was listed in–was accepted for the AWP, so I guess I’ll be in Seattle again. So many travel plans to make… I had hoped to make things happen in nearby cities, too, especially Baltimore and D.C., but I just don’t have time to persist in querying.
  6. Yikes. I’m also Department Head (seven-hour chair’s retreat Friday, oy); about to teach two writing-intensive classes; and trying to finish an article on creative criticism, a version of which has to also become an ALSCW paper for a seminar on “confession” run by Gregory Pardlo, to be submitted in early September. Also also, I have a body with limits and a life. My personal and professional to-do lists grow like the reddening Virginia creeper in my garden, to which I am intensely allergic and so are a lot of other people, so I can’t seem to hire someone to dig it out. To do.
  7. On the subject of spending money, my son begins his senior year at Haverford shortly, so our house is about to become much quieter. We had to buy a car, which I advise against, if you can help it, in this inflationary, troubled-supply-chain moment. New cars, at least economical, fuel-efficient ones, are not to be had for love or money. We scored a slightly used one after much research and a billion dollars.
  8. On the bright side, I also bought a long-wanted new sofa to replace the stained, cat-shredded one. It’s a lovely shade of blue, and velvet, a fabric that cats, they claim, are less interested in using as scratching posts.
  9. I’d like to read more poems on my new sofa, #sealeychallenge and all, but it’s been hard, given all the creative criticism I need to catch up on and the state of my in-box. The last I finished is Jenn Givhan’s Belly to the Brutal, which I highly recommend. I think it’s gonna win some prizes, at least if the judges can handle its emotionally intense explorations of motherhood, sexual assault, fatness, and tarot cards.
  10. Tired yet? I feel surprisingly optimistic about it all, with my waking mind, but trying to sleep has been very very bad. Frost’s “After Apple-Picking” has been in my head: “One can see what will trouble/ This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.” I love Keats on autumn, too, but “Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness”? Lol.

5 responses to “To do, poetically–or just some human sleep”

  1. Yes, this time of year those to-do lists tend to become forgot-to-do lists, and deadlines means sudden priority changes…at least, in my case. Ugh!

    BTW, you are too hard on yourself–you’re doing an excellent job of promoting your book!

    And finally, as to being department Head–well, sending thoughts and prayers, as the saying goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From the outside of it I share your conflicted feelings on Poetry’s Possible Worlds additional print run wait. Let us know when the print supply is refreshed. I’ve personally had a more scattered summer with less energy and ability to focus on decisions. but many years ago I noticed that my creative activity had a seasonal cycle with autumn* being a peak, so I’m wishing for you what I’m hoping for myself: Septober Energy.

    *My guess back then was that the creative cycle was an echo of my old student year beginning, but I never had to formally teach much less herd academic cats and clean out their litter boxes. (grin)

    Liked by 1 person

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