Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Extra! Extra!

I have spent the past twenty minutes trying to start writing my poem for the day and all that's coming out is weird sentences about running people over with cars. I don't know where that's coming from.

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

Poetry Reading @ moto-i

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).

Featuring poets

Molly Sutton Kiefer
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins
Meryl DePasquale
Colleen McCarthy
Colleen Coyne
Gypsy Sauerwein

Sweet poster to come soon!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Best Sick Day Ever!

Look what came in the mail today!

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.

What's In A Poet's Bag?

I'm home sick today & somebody asked me to do this, so here it is. This should tell you a lot about me, actually.

- Planner

- Journal

- Papers from work, stained with coffee

- Envelope I never got around to sending

- Bunch of envelopes??

- Clear nail polish

- Checkbook

- Wallet, falling apart

- Some Moleskine notebooks (one with a penny on it)

- Deodorant

- Chapstick

- Motion sickness pills

- Lipgloss, used once

- Vaseline?

- 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)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How About This Rejection!:

Some nice lines in there, Elizabeth. “[ ___________ ]”

We have finally decided to pass this time.

That is my rejection letter in its entirety, minus the quote (brackets here) from my poem. My name was plastered all over my submission. I guess people really can't believe that there's a girl named Brett. Even when you sign your name that way. Or tell them your name is Brett. Maybe my name requires the disclaimer "I do not go by my middle name, though it is part of my name."


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Short Review: Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi

Today I finished reading Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi. It's been a while since I read a book I didn't want to put down, or that I wanted to spend my entire lunch break reading at work. After seeing her at work in one of my favorite shows, Arrested Development, I knew I wanted to read this book, and after a long time on the wait list at the library, it arrived a few days ago.

Some minor typographical and grammatical issues aside (there were not many), this book was simple, heartbreaking, and refreshing. I didn't feel like I was reading a book about eating disorders. I was reading a well-crafted memoir that simultaneously revealed the self and moved beyond the self.

I won't say much else about it. I do recommend that you read it.

A Beautiful Dream

I had a dream so good I cried because it was visually beautiful and also because it was hilarious. It featured many people.

We were at my Mom's work, and her students had to take a test by watching a tape of a TV show that Steve Leeper produced. I was in it with Heath Pearson and Andy Freehauf and Steven Bergdall. It was called "Exciting Fun Pals." Steven was riding a tiny blue tricycle and slapping cans of yams in the supermarket, saying "Yams mans!" And the rest of us just played like we were really excited and we kept calling everyone "Pal!"

Then John Lithgow was in the TV show, eating bees. He began talking in French about how badly it hurt to eat bees, and the students were made to translate what he had to say.

The best part of the show was a short documentary about a man who had a disease where one half of his mustache was really long and the other half was really short. To raise awareness of this heartbreaking disease, a group of our male friends decided to cut their mustaches to look like the diseased man.

Later in the dream we realized it was the fourth of July, and most everyone was sad because somebody had died, but I was ready to go see the fireworks. Will and I rowed out in a boat to the river behind my Uncle Mark and Aunt Sue's house, and before the fireworks even started, the whole sky was gleaming pink and purple against the deep blue of the water. We could see so much of the sky. I've never had such a visually beautiful dream before. I asked Will how the sky got to be so beautiful and he didn't know. I had to sit down and cry because it was so beautiful. "Are you weeping?" Will asked me. "Yes. It is so beautiful." And it was. I cried a little about it even when I woke.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thank God!

Thank God Bejeweled Blitz will still be in operation if the government shuts down, because my job sure won't be.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Art of Being Rejected

Today I ran .6 miles. I could have played five games of Bejeweled Blitz in that time. I am not very good at running.

It seems like the only thing I have the endurance for is getting rejection after rejection (with some respite, lately). I have been practicing the art of being rejected since I was eighteen, or probably before that, if you count not making sports teams (see first paragraph re: running). Sure, it takes a really good poet to make it in POETRY, or to make it in the Paris Review. But I also think it takes a really good poet to get told no by POETRY and the Paris Review and hundreds of other magazines and keep writing and submitting anyway. Unless, of course, the reason for being told no so often is that the work terrible tripe. Then it takes a really terrible poet with a lot of stamina.

I think it also takes a really good poet to receive a mountain of rejections and take them with grace. As much as we'd like to think writers as a race are a great tribe of people, it's not all that uncommon for a rejected writer to reject his rejection. I mean it. I've heard some pretty hilarious stuff. My writer friend Roxane (one N, co-editor of PANK) has even considered making a book about rejected rejections. I know I would buy it. Who doesn't feel great about herself when seeing another person acting like a total crapshow?

All this to say, I'm feeling pretty happy with where I am right now in my writing career/life. So far I haven't responded to any rejections (that I can remember), and it seems to be working out for me, this keeping my mouth shut thing. Getting rejected also builds character, like manual labor and being forced to hang out with acquaintances from high school.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Good Weekend At Home (Not At Bernie's)

Today I finished my 100th poem of the year. How about that.

Also, last night after my acceptance at NAP, I got another acceptance from elimae. I'm super excited to be included in their May issue. In all, a great weekend for me!

Here is a picture of an excited businessman, who is almost as excited as I am. (Will guesses that his stocks have just gone up. I hope all businessmen react this way when stocks do things.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happy to Announce

Three of my poems have been picked up by this sweet little mag. It should go live sometime in June or July.

NAP is relatively new, but their stuff so far has been stellar. (One of their contributors from the current issue has been published at POETRY.)

At any rate, they're looking for solid female authors to submit stuff. I guess it's been a man factory as far as submissions go. But if you're a man & have something worthy, I'd give it a shot anyway.

i get to live with this

On Writing to Authors You Love

I'll probably be posting every day in April as a means of coping with my procrastination. Writing a poem every day is a hard job. Or as Derrick Brown says in a Brett-Elizabeth-Jenkins approved comma splice-type thing, "Poetry is a tough racket, the bastard child of the arts."

On an unrelated note, if I were a rapper, my rap name would be Comma Splice.

I currently have 18 outstanding submissions. Which is to say, my submissions are both outstanding (awesome!) and outstanding (waiting to be read).

Another noteworthy news item, but first a back story. In February my husband & I went to a Coffee House Press event in Minneapolis to meet some of the staff & drink sake (okay, mostly to drink sake), though we did meet some interesting people. Most of the people there were associated with Coffee House Press in some way or other, and they were awed by the fact that we had come based on an article Will read on the Huffington Post. A few clicks in cyber space and we found they had an event that week, so we went. While there, we won a drawing for 7 of their poetry books & one of their fiction books.

After reading the fiction book, Netsuke, by Rikki Ducornet, Will wrote & sent her a letter saying he liked the book. Today he received a letter back in the mail, addressed upside-down, handwriting almost as indecipherable as Will's own, with a nice little drawing on the page. The letter is now resting on our refrigerator door.

It reminds me of the time in high school that my friend Amanda wrote to Chuck Palahniuk, and he sent her back a whole box of goodies including, if I remember correctly, a hand-beaded necklace that said "Amanda + Chucky P."

My point? Write enthusiastic letters to authors you admire or whose books you enjoy. It doesn't happen often, and they will be delighted to get your letter. And you might even get something neat in return.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Here's This

I heard my neighbor singing a pirate song this morning at 7:30.

So, there's that.