31 May 2012

online find 5/31: an interview with poet austin alexis

Austin Alexis is a poet I came across when hunting for some new poetry reading on Amazon. After reading his second chapbook, For Lincoln & Other Poems, I knew I was a fan. I got in touch with Austin sometime in April about interviewing him for the Our Lost Jungle blog, and was delighted when I heard back from him and, later, received his responses.

In lieu of a headshot, enjoy this video of Austin reading some of his poems at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City on New Year's Day 2008:

30 May 2012

"so what's the plan?" : my writing schedule

During last night's #MNINB Twitter Chats, the focus was on finding and making the time to write. One of the questions asked if folks used a writing calendar or schedule to keep up with their writing and writing habits.

29 May 2012

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: the H.E.L.P. Circle "poetry mix book"

ATTENTION ALL POETS!

The H.E.L.P. Circle, an organization "helping humanity by healing with equality, love, and peace," is seeking 100 poets  and 2 artists for a "poetry mix book" that will raise funds for two charities. Read details below:

The H.E.L.P. Circle: "Healing w/ Equality
Love 'N' Peace" (image: The H.E.L.P. Circle)

The H.E.L.P. Circle will be a sponsor for a "poetry mix book" which will be ready and sold before the holidays, approximately end of October...

All proceeds after costs will be donated to a notable charity/cause, Donation split between "RFF Youth Club" out of Detroit, Michigan which is an organization that teaches children how to act and sing, and Flobots.org's "Art to Action" which also, performs the same duties as the first mentioned organization except based out of Denver, Colorado.

We are looking for 100 poets and 2 artists for illustration to fill a 200 page book. Deadline is July 25th, 2012 and please be sure to submit less than 500 single space words or 250 double space and must be an original poem and copyright is left to the author, along with a brief summary about the author.

Please message The HELP Circle for more details thank you... and forward this to any poets or artists who may be interested... facebook.com/thehelpcircle ,Twitter@thehelpcircle or email submission to admin@thehelpcircle.org .

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opportunities for writers 5/29

Before we get into this week's opportunities, I want to remind you all to join in tonight’s #MNINB Twitter Chats. The first starts at 6pm ET (that’s 3pm PT); the second starts at 9pm ET (6pm PT)! The topic for both is “Take (Back) Your Time: Reclaiming Our Write-Time” and will focus on our struggle as writers to find and/or make the time to write. Come to one … come to both! Follow along and join in on Twitter using the #MNINB hashtag. Or, if Twitter is too hard to follow (which, lately, I can definitely relate to!), join in on TweetChat.com! I look forward to chatting with you!

contests: collections

28 May 2012

craft tip Monday 5/28: reimagining the self in poetry

The poetic "I": reimagining the self in poetry
Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a number of looks at the use of “I” in poetry. First, we looked at the “I” as the self in poetry. Last week, we looked at the “I” as other, or the use of “I” as a persona in poetry.

This week, we are shifting to a new sphere of the “I” in poetry: the reimagined self.

27 May 2012

join the #poetparty!

Hi, all! Don't forget to join the #poetparty today on Twitter at 9pm EST!

Don't forget to join the #poetparty!


*****

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25 May 2012

fri-write friday 5/25: "when there's nothing left"

when there's nothing left

How do I keep these words from sounding as hollow
as barrels? There are no apple trees here bearing fruit
from which to pluck the sweet succulents I long to dance
my tongue in new directions. The same longing I keep

clenched in my toes, my uncles share in sweat
down at the fish fry, bringing bags of salts and seasonings
rich with legacy and story—clutched in their caramel hands,
as rich as the secrets those brown paper lunch bags keep.

I could watch them shake and knead the slippery hides
of sea life into tenderness, the crackle of grease and flame
crisping them into dinner sweet as candy. The magic of fish
melting on your tongue—oh that I could press that sacred word

into your palm and wrap your fingers over it. That you would know
what sacred is, how sacred does, that all that time spent on our knees
could be breaded and served flaking like the peanut butter brittle
we shared on summer afternoons before there were such secrets to be kept.


In Sedona, a statue in honor of the old apple orchards
(which, actually, has nothing to do with this poem but apples)

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Check out these previous Fri-Write Friday posts on Our Lost Jungle:

24 May 2012

online finds 5/24: writer's relief

Writer's Relief: a "relieving" resource for writers!
It was no more than three years ago that I first came across the Writer's Relief website. I was a graduate student in a Creative Writing program, always on the lookout for submission tips and publishing leads. When I came across Writer's Relief, I knew I had found a keeper!

about writer's relief

According to their "About Us" page, Writer's Relief (established in 1994) was started "to help creative writers make well-targeted, professional submissions to literary agents and editors."

23 May 2012

don't worry, i'm happy: rejection art!

I just got another rejection notice. It was probably the nicest one I've ever gotten. Which got me thinking ... while today's post was supposed to be about overcoming self-doubt ... the reality is, even with this most recent rejection notification ... I'm in a place of strong certainty in my role as a writer. I have  no doubts, not today.

I am  a writer.

I am  a poet.

Even when the world says no ... I am saying yes to that.

So rather than going on and on about it ... Let's just do some rejection art instead.



Rejection art: Finding joy in the midst of a "no".


The truth of this post is: while I'm very sure in who I am as a writer right now, rejection can still be hard. My way of coping with it is these little pieces of rejection art, which serve as reminders that there's always a little ray of sunshine ... even when you're trying to find that ray in a "no" situation. You can find a "yes" in the midst of a "no." Even when, no, someone doesn't want to publish you, yes, you are still a writer. Even when, no, things don't go your way, yes, eventually they will. Even when, no, there seems to be nowhere to go but further down on your road of writerdom ... yes, even if you seem to have reached the bottom, eventually there will be nowhere to go but UP!

Your Turn: How do you keep yourself up when your writerly self is feeling down? What do you do when self-doubt starts to creep in?


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22 May 2012

#mninb chat transcript 05-22-12 (2 of 2)

Check out the transcript of the second half of tonight's #MNINB chat on Twitter. There were two chats tonight, both on the topic of "Facing Fears Ferociously: Writing Fears, Self-Doubts, and Overcoming Both". This half of the chat focused on our biggest fears as writers, overcoming writer's block, how we view and understand "self-doubt" as writers, and more! You can read the chronological transcript below! Enjoy!



Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts on any of the discussed topics in the comments below!

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Check out these related posts on Our Lost Jungle:

#mninb chat transcript 05-22-12 (1 of 2)

Check out the transcript of the first half of tonight's #MNINB chat on Twitter! There are two chats tonight, both on the topic of "Facing Fears Ferociously: Writing Fears, Self-Doubts, and Overcoming Both". This part of the chat focused on our biggest writing fears, self-doubt as writers, and dealing with writer's block. You can read the chronological transcript below! Enjoy!




Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts on any of the discussed topics in the comments below!

Miss the chat? Don't worry ... there's another one scheduled for tonight at 9pm EDT (6pm PT): same topic, new questions! Be sure to sign in to Twitter and follow and use the #MNINB hashtag to follow and participate in the conversation! Or join in by using TweetChat!

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Check out these related posts on Our Lost Jungle:

#mninb twitter chat 5/22

Join the #MNINB chat on Twitter!
The #MNINB Twitter Chats are starting soon! Follow the "MNINB" hashtag on Twitter to join in on the conversation. The first chat runs from 6-7pm ET (3-4 PT); the second starts at 9pm ET (6pm PT) and ends at around 10pm.

Not quite Twitter literate? Check out Matt Mansfield's Guide to Twitter Chats!
Conversations on Twitter make you cross-eyed? Follow the chat on TweetChat instead!

*****

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Check out these related posts on Our Lost Jungle:

opportunities for writers 5/22

Before I launch into this week’s opportunities, I’d like to point you all toward a very fun interview by De Miller Jackson of yours truly. I was so honored De initiated this interview with me; her questions were a lot of fun to answer, and the level of care and consideration she put into representing my poetic-self left me truly humbled. You can check out the interview (which includes thoughts on poetry, and zombies!) here: Whimsygizmo’s Blog --- Khara House Interview

anthologies
The focus for this week’s opportunities for writers is anthologies looking for submissions! A lot of folks I know---including myself---are feverishly looking for places to submit, but the focus tends to be on literary journals, magazines, and other similar presses. Anthologies offer a great opportunity to engage the poetic community by joining voices with other writers writing to the same theme. Each of these anthologies are looking for your work, and submitting is free. Enjoy!

Start prepping your pencils for these great opportunities for writers
(Image: "pencils" by Borbas Krisztian)
 
damselfly press

damselfly press is a “gathering of women’s voices” that seeks to “promote exceptional writing by women.” The upcoming July 2012 issue will be completely devoted to MFA graduates and students. However, female authors “of all experiences” are encouraged to consider damselfly as the perfect place to have their voices heard. The online submission deadline is June 15, 2012 for the July issue. Full submission guidelines can be found at their website, damselflypress.net.

THEMA

THEMA literary journal works to create “a conversation over how different writers would respond to a single quirky theme”---this is both the origin of the press and its continued mission. Upcoming themes include “A week and a day” (July), “Eyeglasses are needed” (November), and “The left handed club” (March 2013). All submissions must relate directly to the theme, and the theme must be “an integral part of the plot, not necessarily the central theme but not merely incidental.” Make sure you include the target theme you’re submitting to in your cover letter! This is a snail mail submission publication, so make sure you prep your submissions early! Full submission guidelines are available at themaliterarysocety.com.

5x5

5x5 is a print literary magazine that strives to share literature with “excellent strength and perfect clarity.” The editors urge submitters to “make sure that the work you are submitting fits the theme of the issue.” 5x5 describes itself as a concise literary magazine, which means submissions should be short: shorter poems, 500 words or less in fiction and nonfiction, and so forth. The current upcoming theme is “Outside”, with a deadline of August 1, 2012 for submissions. To learn more about the submission process, visit 5x5 online at 5x5litmag.org.

Happy Writing!

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21 May 2012

craft tip monday 5/21: crafting the poetic character-"i"

The poetic "I": exploring the world through persona poems
Last week, we looked at the use of "I" as the self in poetry; that is, using the "I" to investigate our own selves, our histories, our experiences, and who we really are. This week, I want to shift
the focus to the development of a “character-I” … that is, the “I” as other, or the “I” as a persona in poetry. 

the other “I"

A persona in poetry is essentially crafting a character for the “I” of a poem. If we were talking theatrically, a persona is literally a character played by an actor; the actor adopts the persona of a play’s character, and makes that character his or her own. In poetry, when we write persona poetry, we’re basically

20 May 2012

#poetparty reminder!

Don't forget to join the #poetparty on Twitter!

Good afternoon, poets! Don't forget to join the Poet Party on Twitter, next Sunday (5/27) at 9pm EST! The Poet Party is hosted by 32 Poems, a print journal founded in 2003 by Deborah Ager and John Poch. The party is an interactive conversation guided by @32poems and @CollinKelley. It's a ton of fun, and very inspirational!

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18 May 2012

fri-write friday 5/18: "defining it"

"Defining it": a poem for poetry!
This is a poem I wrote in response to a prompt I gave my poetry students this semester. The prompt simply asked them to write what poetry means to them. I'm a strong believer in never asking my students to write something I wouldn't write myself, so I had to do the same work of coming up with my own definition of what poetry means to me. As I packed up my school papers in the process of moving back east for the summer, I came across the poem again. I share it, now, with you.


Defining it

Poetry is what crashes my dawn.
Poetry is the first breath of air I feel
rushing my lungs, telling me I'm still
alive. Poetry is mystery. Poetry s the unreachable.
Poetry is bone-shattering and tongue-splitting.

Poetry is holding my breath 'til I think I'll die
without one more gasp for air.
Poetry is God breath.
Poetry is rising beyond
what I am to what I could be.


Your Turn: What does poetry mean to you? Even if you're not a poet, what does your writing mean to you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!


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Check out these previous Fri-Write Friday posts on Our Lost Jungle:

17 May 2012

online find 5/17: an interview with poet kelli stevens kane

One of the exciting new features I’ve been working on for this blog is interviews with poets whose work I admire. This week, I am honored to have the opportunity to share the words of poet Kelli Stevens Kane. When I contacted Kelli, about the possibility of interviewing her for the blog, I was surprised by her quick and kind response indicating her interest in participating. This thoughtfulness is reflected in her answers to the interview questions! Enjoy!

Kelli Stevens Kane
Kelli Stevens Kane is a poet, playwright and oral historian. Kane's literary works--a poetry manuscript, Hallelujah Science; a play, I Never Laughed So Much at a Funeral; and an oral history manuscript, Big George's Wylie Avenue--represent four generations in her family, all rooted in Pittsburgh's Hill District. Kane is a 2011-2012 August Wilson Center Fellow, a 2011 Cave Canem Fellow, a 2011 Flight School Fellow, and the recipient of a 2011 Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Grant.  Kane reads nationally, including recent performances at the Cornelia Street Cafe and Bowery Poetry Club in New York City, The Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, and TEDxWomen Pittsburgh.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working daily on new poems that explore the body and movement.

I'm also about to do some public performances.  “Big George’s Wylie Avenue: Wisdom of The Hill,” is a series about “Big George,” my grandmother,  who used to go to funeral homes in Pittsburgh’s Historic Hill District whether or not she knew the deceased.  The series will include audience discussion and is funded by The Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund, an initiative of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.

I’m also about to do a show at the August Wilson Center that's the culmination of my Fellowship there. It will be my first show on a theater stage, alone, with lighting and sound.  A huge leap!

Your poems have appeared in many fantastic journals. What is your submission process like?

16 May 2012

i love my blog: keeping the "♥" in each post

During last night's #MNINB Twitter Chat, one of the questions posed was whether bloggers sometimes publish a post just for the sake of having written that day. I think the general consensus was: 

This is a bad   idea!

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