Sitting Still In Traffic: A Blog Post About Writing, Not Driving (Mostly)

Goals. I have them:

Friday is the deadline for a chapbook contest. I will be submitting a new and very small collection of found poetry and cento, as well as my usual rambling free verse. My first collection was autobiographical, this second will speak on social issues, particularly crime. I am fascinated by the crimes we humans commit against one another.

If I actually manage to pull off compiling this tiny chapbook by the 15th, I hope to then rework Ramshackle Houses and send it off by the 31st. About twenty pages need to be trimmed away (the majority of which will be the creative nonfiction pieces originally included). By then I hope to be gainfully employed and back to writing mostly on weekends and during the occasional insomnia attack. Just like old times.

The past week’s activities have been all about getting hired. I had forgotten just how sweaty interviews can be. And I had forgotten just how simultaneously exhilarating and frustrating rush hour on the expressway can be. In the brief periods between sweaty interviews and stressing out during “performance” exams, I have been reading Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present (Ed. David Lehman), and I have fallen irrevocably in love with Charles Simic. (I want The World Doesn’t End for my birthday, FYI.)

My love for Margaret Atwood has been strengthened and soared to new heights. (This happens every time I am introduced to another of her poems, no matter the form.) And Fanny Howe? Where has she been all my life?

So, I have a new obsession. The prose poem. That highly disdained bastard child of the prosaic and the lyrical that even poets tend to hate. If you are a hater, I do not judge. I only ask that you read the Introduction of this book before resolving to be a lifelong hater.

Oh my God. I’ve got to finish a chapbook in five days. Toodles.

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