Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I updated the side links for my publications and other cool junk, because I'm important, and because I hadn't done it in many months. Now most of the links actually take you to my work. Not that you'd want to waste your life away reading my poems (CHA RIGHT).
The thing I like about Christmas is that everybody gives me treats, because I am so treatable.
Now I'm going to go chew gum until my brain turns into an ice cube.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Today is my one year anniversary. I don't have anything profound or sappy to say about it. Time doesn't feel any different now that we're married, just better. I don't want to say I can't remember what it's like to not be married; I do. And not being married was okay, too, for a while. And being married is the best.
In the past year, many things have been accomplished.
We purchased and, shortly after, ruined the game Phase Ten.
We broke into our neighbor's apartment on New Year's Eve to watch the ball drop on his TV. Because we don't have TV.
I yelled at Mexican Music Lady, our neighbor, for playing her Spanish polka too loud during the night.
We stole a couch from a neighbor who got evicted and left his couch. I assume he left it because it's a broken piece of crap.
My chapbook, Ether/Ore, was accepted for publication by NAP.
I got a series of parking tickets for leaving my car on the street overnight.
We pulled a few Hank Moody nights.
We played a lot of Settlers of Catan.
I got over 100 rejections.
Anyway, we did a bunch of other stuff, too, but most of it is as boring as most of the stuff I already told you about.
Here's to another calendar year, another year of writing, another year of reading, and another year of marriage. Wherever we end up.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
There's big news at the end of this post, so if you haven't heard already, keep reading!
Other news: I got my contributor copies of Neon in the mail this week, which are excellent and full of awesome words. You can check it out online or buy a copy yourself! It should be noted that Neon is a British publication, and you can tell because in my poem "The House Does Not Look Burnt" the word "color" has a U in it! I don't know how the Euro/Dollar stuff gets handled, but I would suggest just getting published by Neon, and then you get the copies for free and don't have to do math.
During the last week of July, I had five poems up at fwriction : review. You should check out everything they published in July, because they did a whole poetry month, which is pretty sweet.
In September, I'll have some things coming out in an array of magazines, including Metazen, Bluestem, Writer's Digest, and Specter. The poem I'll have in Writer's Digest is included due to the awesome fact of me winning a contest.
If you haven't checked out Specter yet, go ahead and click on that link right now. It's a great newbie mag that is kicking some butt, and not just because I blog for them.
This post is so full of links!!
Another little piece of news is that September 1 marks the anniversary of One Year, One Hundred Rejections, which I've talked about here and elsewhere. After September 1, I'll make sure to give you a grand total of rejections, maybe along with a little list of the acceptances I've gotten.
And now for the big news. My first chapbook, Ether/Ore, is going to be published in 2012 by NAP! I'm excited, and I ate ice cream today to celebrate. It's book time!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
It is always pleasing to me to go on the stats page for my blog and see the different Google searches that lead people here. It's also thrilling to see that one of my viewers is still using the Yahoo! search engine. I hope that he also still logs into ICQ to chat with his buds.
Some of my favorite search hits that lead people to my blog are "underwater basket weaving," and "angry Jenkins" or "Brett Jenkins angry" or any other combination of my name with the word "angry." Of course I get a lot of traffic from people looking up different kinds of rejections. But I think the most alarming of the hits so far has been "hired brett e. jenkins." Does somebody want to know who hired me? Or does somebody want to hire me? Is my employer looking up potential reasons to fire me? Who can say?
At any rate, keep putting strange things into Google. And also, if you want to hire me, I'm of course living in poverty while I work for AmeriCorps, so you are free to send me money for menial tasks, which can be writing related or otherwise. Nothing that the government is going to want records of, though.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I've been submitting to a lot of new magazines lately. I don't mean new to me, though they are that also; I mean baby magazines. The ones on Duotrope that say "fledgling." Ones that don't even have issues out yet.
What are your thoughts on submitting to new publications?
Anyway, all that aside, I've also been submitting to the tried-and-true mags, taking my lumps from the old favorites. Just this month I've added rejections to my pile from Caketrain, Wonderfort, The American Scholar, The Pedestal, and AGNI. It's a slow month, compared to June, when I got nearly twenty rejections. I suspect the editors are out doing the normal summer stuff, too.
Another thing I've been doing is sliding into the groove over at Stymie. I'm really loving this poetry editor gig. I do love reading for PANK, but the one great thing about Stymie is that I read only poetry as, duh, the poetry editor. Poetry is the thing I know about. I can read fiction and react to it, but the fact that I don't write fiction lends some ignorance to my opinions.
Apparently some people don't think my opinions are that valuable in the poetry arena, as just today I received my first rejected rejection, which the PANK editors know all too well. It wasn't an exceptional letter. Filled with the necessary expletives that one is prone to utter in her garage/living room/dorm room/kitchen pantry when she is rejected. The grammar was spot on. I just wanted something... more.
Some of my poems came out this month, too, so hooray for summer (Buffy Summers, ha). Check out two of my pieces in the latest issue of Emprise Review, and seven of my little nuggets at The Legendary. This coming week, check out fwriction : review, where I'll close out their poetry month. And of course, go forth and submit your own writing to these classy journals. And continue to take your rejection lumps without, you know, all the angry letter writing.
Monday, July 18, 2011
"Dear internet users in the year 2011:
My name is Dr. Daniel Roberts and I am a psychologist from the year 2048. I have sent you this email from the future (Gmail is quite advanced in our time) in hopes to prevent a pandemic which I believe has the potential to destroy our precious human society. Around the year 2025, my colleagues and I noticed a trend in many of our young patients: many of our youth were displaying symptoms of apathy, boredom, and anhedonia. At first we believed we had simply discovered a new mood disorder that had not yet been classified. As the disorder which came to be known as “Global Yawning” became an accepted diagnosis, we noticed the rate of incidence was rising rapidly--too rapidly to be explained by the increased rate of testing. As the graph below clearly indicates, Global Yawning's rate of incidence is increasing exponentially, (probably the beginning of a logistic growth pattern, a pattern we expect to see from pandemics).
Persons suffering from GY erroneously believe that the world around them is boring. Yawners typically avoid any emotional or intellectual stimulation, as such activities which cause them to become confused. For instance, if my history is correct, youth of your time enjoy listening to rock and hip-hop music, watching action and comedy movies, and reading fiction thrillers. All of these activities have died out in 2048. For example, in our time, Webster's Dictionary is the most bought and read book. The most recent box office success was unedited security footage from a parking garage. The TV guide channel (which, of course, only lists itself) is the only show left on television. Recent college graduates seek jobs only in data entry or mail sorting. Interestingly, the musician John Mayer is still quite popular. The cruel nature of this disorder renders patients unwilling or unable to conceive of any more exciting forms of stimulation. People in 2048 are not actually entertained by these activities; they simply believe, despite our pleadings, that nothing more exciting actually exists.
We believe that Global Yawning could result in a complete breakdown in human culture: no great works of literature or art and no triumphs of engineering or design (for instance, space travel is far too exciting for Yawners). Thankfully, I believe I have discovered a cure.
We currently believe that Global Yawning is a result of decades of boredom, caused by boring books, boring movies, boring jobs, and boring hobbies. I thought that if past generations had found more excitement in the world around them, the desensitization that leads to GY might have been stopped. My colleagues and I looked for the most exciting things that were happening in the year 2011 and I discovered Brett Elizabeth Jenkins' poetry, which we find to be extraordinarily stimulating and the perfect antidote to Global Yawning.
Therefore, I, Dr. Daniel Roberts, implore you to read the poetry of Bejjie (as she is known our time). The future of the human race depends upon it!"
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Thankfully, in December, I got married (yay!) and moved to Albert Lea. We live in a little one-bedroom apartment above a law office, one block away from a lake. There's one neighbor who brews and shares his own beer with us, and one Spanish-speaking neighbor who plays loud Mexican gospel and polka music. It's strange, and we love it here. Another unforeseen upside to moving to Albert Lea is that for the remainder of the school year, I had a twenty-five minute commute to work in the morning. It gave me a chance to funnel coffee into my system, listen to classical NPR, and calm down before I spent the entire day hanging out with three- and four-year-olds.
Commuting on I-90 in the winter could be treacherous, but it was also beautiful. I left the apartment at 7:00 every morning and got to watch the sun come up five times a week in January, February, and most of March. I did stop a few times to take pictures of the blood-fire sky, but my little camera could never do it. Incidentally, I started worrying about the sun. Every morning was a tiny, terrible reminder that we are hanging onto a rock that is floating in an enormous universe, kept warm by a gigantic fire burning itself up in the sky.
I didn't notice until March or April that I had unknowingly amassed twenty or thirty poems about the sun. Some of them are worrisome poems; a few of them are not.
Anyway, I thought I would explain why I am about to have four or five poems published about the sun. One of them came out recently in an issue of Right Hand Pointing. Another poem of mine will come out in the next few days in issue 20 of Emprise Review, so check that one out too, if you so desire.
I don't know if anyone else is freaked out when they think too long about the sun. Maybe I'm alone in this. But I'd like to think there are others. Maybe I can join a support group. Or develop agoraphobia.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
What started out as a joke over twitter turned into me being the Lit Blogger for Specter, essentially, as the editor puts it, "taking the news and current events in literature & firing out great content." No pressure. "Perez Hilton goes lit scholar," I joked in my first post. But really. Since then I've posted a few things: some writing tips from my files as a PANK reader, and a Venn diagram comparing me with Charles Bukowski. Who doesn't want to know how Hank and I match up? I think about it all the time.
By the way, if you have any Sports & Leisure-ish poetry, you should make sure to submit to Stymie, and we'll give it a good shake. That link there will take you to our online submission manager.
I also ordered the game The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary, which I used to play all the time in elementary school during computer lab. I can't imagine it will be too difficult to beat now that I'm 25, but who's to say? I started playing Freedom! again, after someone told me you can play it for free online, and I've been totally obsessed for two days now. I haven't won, yet. I don't know if it's possible, though I do remember doing it at least once in my formative years. Maybe eight-year-olds are just better at computer games than 25-year-olds.
So that's why the blog has been empty lately. Important stuff. Lit stuff, and elementary school game stuff. Waiting for rejections, and receiving rejections, and even getting a few acceptances.
I have to go play Freedom! now.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
In the email that accompanied this Strange Review, just like I love it, Jonny reviewed his own review, saying, I might have gotten a little carried away. Which is simultaneously true and not true. Stay tuned til the end, when he puts T.S. Eliot (and his huge nose) in his place.
"I first met Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Braun when she had a different name. If you think about that for a minute, it should blow your mind. YOUR MIND! This woman went by a different name. I was called Huel if that is any indication of how crazy that is. And to top it all off, we did not work at a sex club. This review could not have started any better!
I say these things because they are important and vital and need to be said. Like that one quote from that one movie that you loved as a child. Think of that quote. It was important, right? It made you who you are today. You would be someone different, like Ralph Macchio, were it not for that very important quote, right?
Here is something else that needs to be said: Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Braun has too many names. Also, she is brilliant at things you are not. She is brilliant at extracting whole landfills of emotional refuse from a single line or word or frase. Yeah, I spelled that with an "f." PAY ATTENTION!
Some people never get to that point. They strive and strurve and work and yolk until they can't feel their fingers because for some reason they've gone batty and have slammed them between two hard things. Like a hotplate and a giant inflatable hammer filled with pennies. Why would someone do that?!? To FEEL something, dammit. This is so obvious I don't even know why I have to say it. Just forget it.
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Braun or Braun Jenkins or what was your camp name again? Zipline? Quadrangle? Argyle? It doesn't matter now. What matters is words. And how you string them together, like spaghetti squash, which, let's face it, while very fun to look at, does not taste like real spaghetti. We all know that. But the idea of it is awesome. Please let's make this about ideas! And beautiful slogans of pain and regret and pencil bites and I love you and surprised by joy. I would borrow your words if I could, and let them flow from my mouth like gorgeous waves of glory and surrender. I would lay down my sword before the towering inferno that is Brett Elizabeth, and crown her with glory and honor and power forever and ever amen. And I don't mean that in a weird way.
Monday, July 4, 2011
When I was a senior in college, I was in a guys vs. girls competition with the history majors (I don't know how I got picked to do this) that was like Family Feud. The history professors polled the freshmen with questions about the nation, and we had to name the top four or five responses for each question. The questions were relatively simple questions like "Name an amendment" (which I understand is not a question), "Who was one of our founding fathers" and things of that nature. The girls won because we could think like freshmen. The number two answer for "Who was one of our founding fathers" was "Abraham Lincoln." I don't think this reflects poorly on my university in particular, but probably just on eighteen-year-olds everywhere.
That's my patriotic story for the day. But I also have some news unrelated to liberty and blowing things up, except in the metaphorical sense.
I got a poem accepted today by Bluestem Magazine that will be out sometime in September. It is, for your information, one of my many poems about lying on the floor and not wanting to get up. So you can look forward to that.
I also fell into a glamorous position blogging for the brand new Specter Magazine, which will launch its maiden issue this fall. You guys, go and submit awesome things there so that you can help make the internet a magical place.
Now go and eat beef (if you're into that), drink a brewski, and look at people shoot stuff off and blow stuff up!
Saturday, July 2, 2011
I know everyone knows that it's hot, because the Earth is rotating rapidly on its axis, and it's July, and that's what happens when we get closer to the sun. But it's worth mentioning anyway. I have included a diagram in case it's confusing at all.
Not only because it's July, but also due to an array of other factors, I have some poems up in a few magazines this month. One of my poems is is the current issue of Thunderclap! Magazine, along with an excellent lineup of other writers. You can buy it in print or as an e-book, so you should go get your dirty mitts on it right now.
Yesterday the new issue of decomP went live on the interwebz, in which you can find another one of my poems, along with the poems of several others, including J. Bradley, the PANK interviews editor and inventor of the best poem titles ever.
I'll have several other publications coming out during this summer, which I will make you aware of (dur).
The other bit of news I'm delighted to share is that I've been chosen as the new Poetry Editor of Stymie Magazine. They publish all things sports & games, so if you write sports & games lit, or if you like it, or if you know how to read, or if you like things that are good, you should go check it out. I'm looking forward to when I'll start saying "We publish" instead of "they publish." It'll come soon, I'm sure.
Friday, July 1, 2011
In this Strange Review, radio DJ Dirk Walker calls me out on the alleged myth of my illustrious mitten wearing. He even uses my full married name. I feel like I'm in trouble!
Exceptional Mitten Wearer
"This seemingly harmless phrase has been hanging out on the end of our Ms. Jenkins-Braun’s email signature for as long as I have known her. Thing of it is, I don’t think I’ve EVER seen her in a pair of mittens. In three years one would think they would see another person who claims to be exceptional at mitten-wearing actually IN a pair of mittens, but alas! No mittens. Ever. I don’t think I’ve even seen her wear a pair of gloves! This is incredibly troubling.
There are two schools of thought I’ve employed to explain the reason why Brett claims to wear mittens exceptionally, but without any empirical evidence:
1- Brett Jenkins-Braun has a long-hidden phobia of mittens.
Hey, who am I to judge? Everybody’s got their quirks and those of you reading this who know me know that I’m most definitely no exception (ask me about my childhood fear of domed ceilings sometime). Maybe by giving herself the credential of exceptional mitten wearer at the end of her email messages she’s helping herself to get over her fear. But, Brett, if you really are afraid of mittens, just ‘fess up! You’re among friends! We love you! I for one will try as hard as I can to help you overcome this phobia.
2- Brett-Jenkins Braun is highly trained in the art of discreet mitten-wearing. Personally, I think this is the most likely scenario. This woman isn’t playing around when she puts on mittens! No funky, kitschy ski resort patterns for Brett; we’re talking mittens that look like real hands and crafted by an order of Franciscan monks on the top of Mt. McKinley or something. Her mittens are so lifelike that nobody can actually tell she has them on!
The choice is yours what to believe, but either way I want to see some cold hard verification to back up Brett’s claim to exceptional mitten wearing. Either you cough up the evidence or I bring in a private investigator, Brett!"
Sunday, June 26, 2011
"Brett Jenkins is not fit to be your Prom Queen of interrogative words. She is nowhere close to being the Drag Queen of prepositional phrases. She is, however, a soon to be ex-wife of this reviewer.
When I read the words she has written in poetic forms, I wonder aloud to myself and anyone else at the bus stop: “What kind of sandwich did the author eat while writing? And...what kind of bread was it on? Instinctively, I always answer: a chicken salad sandwich with walnuts, cranberries, and relish on a nine grain baguette. I usually find that the beverage of choice would be an ice cold whisky sour in the left hand and a vodka tonic in the right hand. I then tend to discover I am not at a bus stop at all but rather in a furniture store, farting on all the fine leather chairs.
What I am trying to get across to you here is the following: Brett's poems are very quick to give the reader a few moments to reflect on their own existence in the company of strangers but there are not nearly enough crotch shots or upskirt moments for my taste. As a matter of fact, I am generally appalled at the lack of toothless grins featured in your magazine. For shame! When will America learn that we aren't all as beautiful as Brett is when she wears her best pant suit and frolics around at the rest home on Tuesday afternoons at 4pm. We could learn much from this former Saltan of Western Indiana."
Writer, Cherry Pie Enthusiast, Tuxedo T-Shirt Guy
Thursday, June 23, 2011
"Les Revues étranges, by Jean-Marc Pétard, is a nonpareil classic of French poetic criticism. First published in 1975, it initially went unnoticed by American critics, despite being adroitly translated into English by Herbert Wolters-Reader the subsequent year. By and large, this oversight was due to the massive attention directed at De la grammatologie and its translation, Of Grammatology, which was only then being published in the United States.
It was not until 2010, with the publication of a new translation by Ralph Butts and Simon Gass, that Les Revues étranges began to gain traction in American academic circles. The new translation contained an appendix by Pétard, adapted from an address he gave at Harvard University regarding the developments in Western poetry during the thirty-five years since he first wrote Les Revues étranges. Among the poets addressed therein, we find this assessment of Brett Elizabeth Jenkins:
Ce que m’interesse chez la poésie de Mlle Jenkins c’est les images. On y a des images d’une pureté qu’on ne trouve pas chez aucun poète contemporain, ni chez Bukowski, ni chez Graham. Les images qu’on découvre chez “Hello Moon” et “Message I Left Myself on the Phone” sont telles qu’on ne peut faire que les mettre avec les mieux de Charles Baudelaire. Sûrement, on ne trouve pas ailleurs leurs pareilles, cette clarté frénetique qui se délecte des choses immondes.
What interests me about Ms. Jenkins’s poetry is her images. She has such pure images in her poetry. You can’t find such pure images in the works of any other contemporary poet, neither in Bukowksi nor in Graham. The images you find in “Hello Moon” and “Message I Left to Myself on the Phone” are so great that you have to place them among Baudelaire’s best. Certainly, you don’t find their equal elsewhere; that clear frenzy that delights in disgusting things (trans. Butts & Gass).
It is a telling assessment, one that surely marks a poetic talent worth watching.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Today's Strange Review comes to us from Erik Evenson, who graduated with me from the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. If you don't get the joke here, it's probably because you don't know how to read so what are you doing at my blog and you have stupid hair.
"I've personally collaborated with Brett and I can tell you, his work is amazing. He displays a savage, carnal ability to portray the human male, his throbbing phallus gleaming brighter than all others. His poetry returns us to the brass-knuckle era of Dylan Thomas and William Carlos Williams. I could go on and on, but his name says it all: Brett Elizabeth Jenkins"
Along with today's Strange Review comes the news that three of my poems are up for perusal at Pressboardpress. Please go check them out, along with the other great poets & prosers that have been featured there this month!
Also, I'm not sure who's got Tumblrs these days, as I am quite new to it myself. There are so many different ways of staying in contact with people, it kind of stresses me out. Anyway, I'm not really clear about what Tumblr is for, but like all other social media outlets, I am addicted. I will say that yesterday when Will was trying to find my Tumblr page, he stumbled across this phenomenon. The poem in question was previously featured in The Medulla Review last year.
I guess if you want people to read your stuff, short poems are totally the way to go!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Today's news is brought to you in part by Pew Charitable Trusts (not really), and Bryan Zabala, who designed my excellent new business cards, which you can see the front of here. The back of the card designates me as a poet, so I guess there's no turning back now.
I've begun leaving them in different restaurants and homes around the southern and central Minnesota area, and soon we'll be traveling all across the nation, so who knows where you might be able to stumble across one of these babies.
Also, you know, if you see me or ask me for one, I'd be happy to oblige.
I guess being a poet isn't really a business, but if I had to make a poetry menu, it would go like this:
limerick ............................... $5
acrostic .............................. $10
ode ..................................... $10
sonnet ................................ $14
ghazal ................................ $20
vinanelle ............................ $20
sestina ............................... $39
epic ............................... $1,000
monostitch .......................... $1
couplet ................................ $2
tristitch ............................... $3
chef's choice ........................ $4
quatrain .............................. $4
quintain .............................. $5
catch of the day ................ $10
Monday, June 20, 2011
Strange Reviews are reviews of my work from people who know me and my work, as well as people who do not know me or my work. You can contact me if you'd like to write a post for Strange Reviews. Today's comes from Joseph Brooks, Indiana Resident and YouTube Aficionado.
"Brett Jenkins is many things: a triple-threat, a multi-hyphenate, and all that and more. But this is about poetry, and because she is my friend I have read her poetry and attended her readings. It was because I am her friend that I went to a reading, but it was because of the poems that I wanted to read more. Her poems are probably describable, but I'd rather say that they're indescribable, because then I don't have to compare them to other poets or poetry terms and forms or norms. When I choose material to read, I am not likely to choose poetry as a written form. But Brett's poetry does what I believe poetry is supposed to do: elicit emotions. Some poems are funny, others are sad, and it often isn't apparent which is which until the final line. Always interesting, I would recommend Brett's poems to non-poetry readers. It may surprise you. Plus, since most poems don't fill up the entire page, and Brett's are no exception, it makes you feel like you've read more than you really have."
Joseph Brooks, unemployed educator
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I was so very pleased to be able to go to the Walker Art Center for the Minneapolis leg of the Rag + Bone Poetry Tour. They cultivated a wonderful conversation about the American ideal of movement: self-reinvention, seeking the self, and reasons one leaves and is left. Jakob VanLammeren and Amy Lipman were accompanied by another Midwest poet, Katie Rauk. It was refreshing to get out of Albert Lea and experience poetry again.
Aside from traveling northward to see Rag + Bone in action, I have been busying myself with summer work: gardening, writing, and of course, getting rejected (see: last post).
I found a fantastic Smith-Corona typewriter at a local antique shop for twenty-five dollars and had to pick it up. I had an old electric typewriter a few years ago that got a lot of miles out of it. It was gifted to me by my good pal Brent Chamberlin of James and the Drifters. It later broke, and knowing nothing about how to repair typewriters or even how to find somebody who might know how to repair typewriters, I left it in a closet in my old apartment when I moved out.
Now I have this beauty to fiddle around with.
The red bookshelf it's sitting on in the picture was a same-day find at the Salvation Army. The side of the bookshelf says "Rambo" in black paint. I've never had a bookshelf with a name before.
Thankfully another summer activity I've been indulging myself with is watching my poetry go up in several online journals.
Last week a poem of mine went up on Everyday Genius, and not long after that, three of my poems kicked off an excellent issue of NAP magazine, which you can find here.
It's been a busy summer so far, and will only get better. In two weeks Will and I are going down to Florida, and at the beginning of August, we will begin our enormous road trip out East. Hopefully we will be able to get some more night boating in among the journeys. Maybe next time without the boat police pulling us over.
76. Anti-: May 7: Form letter
77. Threepenny Review: May 8: Form letter
78. POETRY: May 11: Form letter
79. DIAGRAM: May 12: Form letter
80. Crazyhorse: May 13: Form letter
81. The Los Angeles Review: May 19: Form letter
82. Hayden's Ferry Review: May 20: Form letter
83. New Ohio Review: May 23: Form letter (I had queried to ask about the status of my submission, as they had it for nearly 200 days. The editor responded and said one reader had enjoyed it and it had been passed through to the next round for consideration. Later that day I received this form letter.)
84. The New Yorker: May 25: Form letter
85. DIAGRAM: May 25: Form letter
86. The Atlantic Monthly: May 31: Form letter
87. Knockout Magazine: May 31: Form letter
88-89: A Capella Zoo: May 31 & June 1: Form letters (They require you to submit your poems individually, which helped when I had to withdraw one from consideration due to its acceptance elsewhere)
90. Rattle: June 5: Form letter
91. Kill Author: June 10: Personal letter
92. The Paris Review: June 10: Form letter
93. The New Republic: June 12: Form letter
94. Foundling Review: June 12: Personal letter (This time they referred to me as BEJ! A nickname basis for rejecting me. I like it.)
95. Gargoyle: June 13: Personal letter (With some suggestions for other magazines to submit to; awesome!)
96. Threepenny Review: June 13: Form letter
97. The Orange Room Review: June 14: Personal letter
98. Blackbird: June 14: Form letter
99. Anderbo: June 15: Form letter
100: The Antioch Review: June 15: Form letter
Here is it, guys!
I feel pretty good about the project. In the time it took me to get 100 rejections, I also got 12 acceptances. If you do a little middle school math, that's a ratio of 1 acceptance to every 8.33 (33 repeating!) rejections. I don't mind that at all.
Special mention goes to Yaddo and FAWC for both rejecting me also, and to every preschool kid who yelled NO! at me this year.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
This is, I think, why I am confident I will "make it" as a writer. I use the term "make it" loosely (if you see, I put quotations around it there, so that's how you know), as "making it" means different things to different people. I think if you've read my blog long enough, or know me personally, you know what it means to me.
In fourth grade I went to RC Waters Elementary school with my mom to try out different instruments so that I could be in band. I tooted the trumpet, I farted the tuba, I whinnied the clarinet and the oboe. I beat the crap out of some base drums, but I could not make a noise out of the flute.
"You're going to teach me how to play this," I said to Mrs. Witt, the band instructor.
And she did. And after that, I spent a good number of years sitting first chair in my high school's wind orchestra. And I garnered excellent marks in solo and ensemble competitions all around the state of Ohio. And I spent three high school summers playing for the All Ohio State Fair Band. And after that, I spent another few years sitting first chair in my college's concert band, pep band, and orchestra.
I changed my major to English after the first year of Music Performance, because I just didn't love it. I like music, but it's not what I wanted to do with my life.
This is going to seem weird, but because of how I'm built to function, I think the constant rejection that comes along with the life of a writer is a huge part of what keeps me submitting and writing. I love it. I love writing, and having written, but I also love being told no and then trying to change a mind or prove someone wrong.
I feel like Wayne Campbell saying "Oh yes, it will be mine."
And I'm totally okay with that.
Monday, June 6, 2011
I did get a lot of suggestions for things to accomplish this summer, and I have taken every idea (every one!) and compiled a list, replete with various odd tasks and things I have been meaning to do for a while anyway (read: number 25).
So here it is. I will take pictures of the tasks I accomplish, or post some other related gif or jpeg or whatever the kids are making their pictures into these days.
.... A. Funfetti cupcakes (extra fun)
.... B. Rice crispy treat castle
........ i. Moat
........ ii. drawbridge
2. Comic based on Moby Dick
3. Watch sportsball game
4. Picture @ People Of Walmart
.... A. Possibly self
.... B. Doesn't have to be self
5. Magic the Gathering??
6. Watch LOST
7. Photograph red stuff for a day
8. Write poems about everyone I see today
9. Make bread bears
10. Write & send one letter a day for a week
11. Battlestar Galactica (via Skype)
12. Dress up
.... A. Party
.... B. Fancy nap
13. Make a shelf
14. Indoor plants
15. Go yard sale-ing
16. Make a collage
17. Kids book
.... A. Ducks
.... B. Being a ghost
18. Make a YouTube video
19. Write a non-fiction essay
20. Go to the beach
21. Salvation Army salvage
22. Indoor art for the walls
23. Walk around the lake
24. Write a hip hop song (lyrics)
25. Clean out car
26. Road trip
28. Disc golf
30. Take a bath (no picture necessary)
Thursday, June 2, 2011
I want to know why nothing comes up when I google "Writing projects for crazy adults." Seems like there is really a market out there for something like that.
Maybe I'll have to start a new specialty blog.
Some pretty strange pictures come up if you google images of writing projects for crazy adults without the quotes there.
I googled this because I'm trying to come up with a to-do list for the summer, to keep myself occupied. I don't do well when I'm without a routine, or without something to dread on Monday. I have a few things so far, but not nearly enough to keep me busy the entire summer. This is where you come in!
Should I rewrite Hard Times as a sonnet? Should I make a collage of ducks? Invent a new form of poetry? Bake a file into a cake to help your buddy bust out of the big house?
This is for you to decide. Get your ideas to me soon, as my first project is "Complete list of things to do over the summer."
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
I am up for hire.
I will write whatever you need me to: lists, manifestos, jokes, song lyrics, break-up letters, kids books, directions to a made up place, campy dialogue for a satirical film, poems, post-it love notes, rants/raves, declarations, eulogies, essays, commencement addresses, one act plays, grant proposals, tankas, blurbs, blog posts, re-imagined bible verses, test questions, explanations of paintings you have not painted yet, acrostics, sermons, your course syllabus, screenplays, obituaries, speeches, you get the idea.
Can this be a job please.
P.S. I’m totally serious.
For one, we drove by a weird "flea market" in Waseca:
If you're looking for tattered copies of Baby-Sitters Club books (who's not?), porcelain cats, porcelain boots, porcelain tigers, packages of Depends Fitted Underwear, or pieces of dilapidated sewing machines, this place is your jam.
Sidebar: just waiting for Will to chastise me for using the word "jam" and not meaning something spreadable and, preferably, raspberry, that you can put on toasted bread products.
Aside from that, wandered around looking for (closed) bookstore, found my building...
...(don't know why I'm making that particular face), then withdrew from the dead college part of town to eat sushi and to find this little gem tucked away in the laughably small poetry section of Mankato's Barnes & Noble:
Now we're Memorializing stuff, this Monday, day of no school. There was a tiny two-or three-minute parade rambling down our street earlier today: a few nice cars, two floats, some marching guys in fatigues, and six drummers from Albert Lea High School. Happy Memorial Day!
Thanks also to Memorial Day for providing two acceptances in my inbox this morning! I'll have two poems coming out in Neon Magazine sometime in the future (not sure about dates yet), and one poem up at Everyday Genius sometime, I think, next month.
Now back to celebrating Memorial Day the best way I know how: sitting around on the couch and complaining that I don't have anything to do. And, of course, preparing for these purported tornadoes.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Head Start let out for the summer, so I won't be cleaning up any pee from now on, unless it's my own. As much as I complained about it while I was there, it was an experience, to be sure. I now know tons of things that only kids can teach you. For one, I know that being in a preschool classroom definitely isn't for me. I also learned how to quickly identify visible diseases, and how to cope with mono (sleep and be lazy).
There are a ton of little scraps of construction paper scattered around my desk and in boxes that are full of little things the kids said throughout the year that I thought were funny or interesting. For instance:
"There's that noise again! It sounds like EVERYTHING!"
"Fish like water better than air."
"U is for Uniporn!"
I am working on goals for the summer, mostly writing-related, but also moving-my-legs-more-related. I only have to get 14 more rejections before I make my quota for the year.
Will and I plan to write and illustrate a kids book about ducks, which will probably not be as cool as this kids book about going to sleep. My Uncle Mark emailed me a pdf of that book earlier today with the message, "I think you are completely capable of writing kids books when the poetry isn't kicking in..."
Of course I'll try my hand at garnering some more acceptance letters during the summer.
And during these vacation months, some of my writing will go live into the deep abyss of the interweb. Right now I have a poem up in the current issue of elimae. In August, you'll be able to find one of my poems at Right Hand Pointing. And in July, I'll have something up at decomP. AND I just got news that one of my poems will be published in next year's issue of RHINO poetry. But that's not for, you know, another eleven months. So don't bust out the streamers and confetti just yet.
If you have a kids book or poem idea you'd like to commission, my whole summer is wide open, and I'm already practicing complaining about how bored I am. Shoot me an email. We'll make something awesome happen.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Did you know dolphins lived that long? I didn't. My mind is blown.
Here's a picture of a dolphin kissing a dog.
Friday, May 6, 2011
So on September 1, 2010, I set out to achieve this goal. I kept writing poems to submit, and put in the long wait. Finally some rejections came pouring in. Few acceptances came, but they did come.
As of today, I am 75% done. Seventy-five rejections from sixty- or seventy-odd magazines. (Some mags rejected me more than once! Fancy that.)
So here's the roundup:
1. Third Coast: Sept. 9: Form letter
2. Sycamore Review: Sept. 10: Form letter
3. Crazyhorse: Sept. 12: Form letter ("manuscript... number 23072")
4. Mid-American Review: Sept 22: Form letter
5. Rattle: Sept 23: Form letter
6. The 2nd Hand: Oct. 10: Personal letter (a non-fiction submission with "lack of pronoun clarity")
7. Copper Nickel: Oct. 10: Form letter
8. Indiana Review: Oct. 28: Form letter
9. Bat City Review: Oct. 31 (SPOOKY REJECTION!): Form letter
10. Catalonian Review: Oct. 31 (ANOTHER SPOOKY REJECTION!): Personal letter (a "close call")
11. West Branch: Nov. 1: Form letter
12. West Wind Review: Nov. 4: Form letter
13. Failbetter: Nov. 4: Form letter
14. Smartish Pace: Nov. 18: Personal form letter: ("your submission was competitive (if it hadn't been you would have received this notice sooner) and was in the mix until the end.")
15. Fugue: Nov. 26: Form letter
16. AGNI: Dec. 6: Personal letter ("...lively and interesting...")
17. Beloit Poetry Journal: Dec. 13: Personal letter ("How to Die is the most successful. Glad to have seen your work again.")
18-20. GUD: Dec. 13: Form letters (they require you to submit individual poems as opposed to one document)
21. A Public Space: Dec. 16: Form letter
22. Memoir (and): Dec. 27: Form letter
23. Boxcar Poetry Review: Jan. 10: Form letter
24. POETRY: Jan. 14: Form letter (duh)
25. Crazyhorse: Jan. 16: Form letter (rejection #2 for the year: "manuscript... number 25054")
26. Hayden's Ferry Review: Jan. 18: Form letter
27. West Branch: Jan. 20: Form letter (#2 for the year)
28. Cream City Review: Jan. 20: Form letter
29. Ninth Letter: Jan. 26: Form letter
30. Black Warrior Review: Jan. 30: Form letter
31. Rattle: Jan. 30: Form letter (#2 for the year)
32. Third Coast: Jan. 31: Form letter (#2 for the year)
33. Beloit Poetry Journal: Feb. 10: Personal letter (with advice for edits on a poem which later was accepted with those edits)
34. Linebreak: Feb. 10: Form letter
35. Versal: Feb. 15: Form letter
36. Ninth Letter: Feb. 15: Form letter (#2 for the year)
37. West Branch: Feb. 23: Form letter (#3 for the year!)
38. Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art: Feb. 25: Form letter (masquerading as a personal letter "We really enjoyed this piece, but we didn't feel it was quite right...")
39. Redactions: Feb. 28: Form letter
40. New Orleans Review: Mar. 6: Form letter (happy birthday to me!!)
41. FIELD: Mar. 8: Form letter
42. Green Mountains Review: Mar. 12: Personal letter ("Our readers loved your stuff, as did our poetry editor...")
43. Puerto del Sol: Mar. 16: Form letter
44. The New Yorker: Mar. 25: Personal letter (I will say that it contained the word "admirable" though I won't say much else, lest I faint again)
45. Kenyon Review: Mar. 25: Form letter (after being out for a LONG time and having been on the editor's table, not that I'm bitter...)
46. Mid-American Review: Mar. 26: Form letter (#2 for the year)
47. Rattle: Mar. 26: Form letter (#3 for the year!)
48. New York Quarterly: Mar. 27: Form letter
49. Threepenny Review: Mar. 30: Form letter ("please accept our apologies for the automated message system.")
50. Alaska Quarterly: Mar. 30: Form letter (with a sloppily hand-written "RE: Your Poetry Submission" and "Many thanks" on the bottom)
51. Nashville Review: Mar. 31: Personal letter (a bland personal note about how they enjoyed my work, no doubt spurred on by the fact that they had had my submission for a long time and they felt bad)
52. AGNI: Mar. 31: Form letter (BURNED! A form letter after a personal one... ouch!)
53. Valparaiso Poetry Review: Mar. 31: Form letter
54. Foundling Review: Mar. 31: Personal letter ("some nice lines" also my fourth rejection on March 31st)
55. Catalonian Review: Apr. 1: Form letter (with my first name misspelled "Bret")
56. The Southeast Review: Apr. 3: Form letter
57. Ninth Letter: Apr. 10: Form letter (#3 for the year!)
58. Foundling Review: Apr. 12: Personal letter (with my name totally gotten wrong: "Some nice lines in there, Elizabeth. '[QUOTE FROM POEM]' We have finally decided to pass this time." What a strange rejection.)
59. The Missouri Review: Apr. 12: Personal letter ("warm, candid...")
60. Boulevard: Apr. 13: Form letter
61. Catalonian Review: Apr. 15: Different Form letter than before ("going to pass for the time being." So I should send the same batch to them again in five weeks. I think.)
62. A Public Space: Apr. 15: Form letter (#2)
63. Gulf Coast: Apr. 16: Form letter
64. Black Warrior Review: Apr. 18: Form letter
65. jubilat: Apr. 20: Form letter ("Dear Writer:")
66. DIAGRAM: Apr. 23: Form letter (one of my favorite form letters: "We get a lot of submissions and can only use a fraction of them, so please understand that this No most likely means "Not Quite the Right Fit," not "No Good." But in a few cases it does mean No Good or they wouldn't have said "most likely"!)
67. Boxcar Poetry Review: Apr. 25: Form letter (#2 for the year!)
68. Graywolf Press: Apr. 29: Form letter (on my manuscript submission)
69. Word Riot: Apr. 29: Form letter
70. Kill Author: Apr. 30: Form letter
71. Third Coast: Apr. 30: Form letter (#3 for the year!)
72. decomP: May 1: Form letter
73. ABJECTIVE: May 4: Form letter
74. West Wind Review: May 4: Form letter
75. Cincinnati Review: May 5: Form letter (also included in the envelope was a paper asking me to give them money for a contest I won't win)
So that's it so far. Lots of places rejected me, some two or three times! One day I got four rejections. But take heart! I have also received six or seven acceptances. I have already posted about most of those, so I don't need to tell you that again.
I got lazy and stopped putting in links to these journals, but they are all highly Googleable.
Monday, May 2, 2011
We finally are getting around to getting rid of the books we have doubles of, including our Norton Anthologies, and we have had arguments over whose marginal notes are better and for what reasons; most of my notes were argued for because they made jokes about the authors or had funny drawings on the upper righthand corner of the page, etc. Will's notes were generally found thoughtful and possibly helpful for understanding the text. You can see why such arguments occurred.
We're also not wasting any time in replacing the empty spaces in the bookshelf. Just yesterday I purchased Vita Nova by Louise Gluck and Lucifer at the Starlite by Kim Addonizio, both books which I am pretty excited to read. I read the first few poems of Vita Nova last night before I went to bed at 7:30. Which brings us to another development:
I have mono, and have had it for several weeks. It's nice to finally know why I have been a lazy sack of blood lately.
Sidenote: there's a dude outside walking down the sidewalk and he's wearing a skirt. Not like, a kilt either. It's definitely a hippie girl skirt, flowing, earthy, lady skirt.
Okay. Some other things:
Robert Lee Brewer, a blogger for Writer's Digest, held a contest for a poem in form. The poem had to have ten lines, with ten syllables in each line. I submitted my poem and it won first place. So that will be featured in Writer's Digest's September issue.
One of my poems got picked up by Thunderclap! Press today, and will be out in their sixth issue (possibly soon?). It's so weird to get so many acceptances right in a row like this.
ALSO! The May issue of elimae went up yesterday and you can find one of my poems there.
Anyway, the only other news is that I'm going to Applebees now and going to get looked at strange by the waitress again when I order a house salad with no bacon bits and a side of garlic mashed potatoes.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Since I last blogged, there have been some developments on the publication front. Today I got a glowing acceptance email from fwriction : review. My favorite part was when the editor said he felt "a bit blessed" to have encountered my work. Naturally, I fainted in my chair, and my minions came running with wine soaked sponges, wheat crackers, and enormous leaves to fan me. That said, fwriction : review is a great new magazine. You can read a fantastic story by Roxane Gay there. You can anticipate seeing my work there in July.
A relatively huge development is my acceptance to Beloit Poetry Journal. This is probably the best magazine I have ever had the privilege of being published in, and I'm totally over the moon with excitement. I have been preceded by some phenomenal poets here. From their website: "We have been fortunate to be the first or early publisher of such poets as Galway Kinnell, A.R. Ammons, Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds, Maxine Kumin, W.S. Merwin, James Dickey, Philip Larkin, Rosellen Brown, Charles Bukowski, Philip Booth, Adrienne Rich, Philip Levine..."
I also heard from a recent BPJ contributor and friend that the magazine published Susan Kinsolving early in her poetry career. I have had the pleasure of studying under SK at Bennington; I admire the hell out of her and am excited to pretend to be following in her footsteps.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Come out to moto-i (the first sake brewery restaurant outside of Japan!) on May 13th @ 8PM for some magical verse that will knock you on your bum (couches supplied).
Molly Sutton Kiefer
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins
Sweet poster to come soon!
Monday, April 11, 2011
Not only my two brand new shiny contributor copies of the spring issue of Potomac Review, but a long overdue contributor copy of G.U.D.!
Our coffee table will be so happy to hold them. Almost as happy as I am to show them off. I'm in the PR with Ted Kooser?? That feels weird.
- Papers from work, stained with coffee
- Envelope I never got around to sending
- Bunch of envelopes??
- Clear nail polish
- Wallet, falling apart
- Some Moleskine notebooks (one with a penny on it)
- Motion sickness pills
- Lipgloss, used once
- Many pens (of different colors)
- Really old sucker
- Two bottles of baby shampoo, given to me by co-worker
- Cold pills
- More pens
- Lighter Hayley got me in Ireland
- Binder clip
- Another Moleskine
- Spare keys
- Listerine strips- Sachet of tea (just in case)
- Pound of lint/trash (not pictured)