Incident Reports

My second chapbook, Incident Reports, was released today. The best place that you can buy it is on the Hyacinth Girl Press website. Incident Reports cover-1-smallThis chapbook is about a possible apocalypse. The word apocalypse is used all the time these days. It can involve zombies, killer plagues, global warming, or any number of other things. I am more interested in the Greek origin of the word, which means uncovering, a revelation of truth, a tearing of the veil, from one time to another. Under this definition the renaissance would be a time of Apocalypse. My poems are about a very different, theoretical,  societal shift.

Please consider purchasing it here: http://hyacinthgirlpress.com/yearfour/incidentreports.html

Posted in Publishing, Seven Golden Lampstands | Leave a comment

A Quick Note on Long Marathons

I have been traveling and very busy. However today I removed the poetry marathon poems. It was so strange to remove the effort of so much work. Although really all I am doing is making something that was public in a very limited way, private again, as most poetic efforts are.

It was a wonderful experience this time, but I have not yet even had the time to review the poems I wrote. Although perhaps that is for the best. The editing process is always the most difficult for me.

If you have any interest in Marathon-ing this August and hearing updates please email me at cthomson@gm.slc.edu.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spontaneous Poetry Marathon

Slide3

So I have decided to do a Poetry Marathon tomorrow. If you want to read about all the time I spent preparing for the last one you can follow this link. If you want to know how much time I spent preparing for this I will tell you now – all thirty minutes it took me to write this post.

But it goes without saying that deciding to do any kind of Marathon last minute is a little crazy, particularly one that involves 24 hours and 24 poems (1 poem per hour – no rushing).

I have had a lot of work lately and a lot of stress. I currently have a sore throat. This is not the ideal timing at all, at least in terms of the practical. But a lot of ideas have been percolating in me lately. I have had this urge, this surprising urge, to do the marathon again, because it gets at ideas and thoughts that are not unearthed under normal circumstances. The poems I wrote two summers ago now, are some of my strongest strangest poems. Many have been published since then, over half in fact.

Also, if I do not do the Poetry Marathon tomorrow, I will not have enough time to even attempt a Marathon again until the 13th of July. I do not want to have to wait that long.

Now Jacob & I are planning a proper Poetry Marathon in August, but I am ready to do  this now. In part that is so that if others need my help in August, I can be a volunteer rather than a participant.

So if you want to follow my progress through this Marathon you can check for updates on this blog. Each hour I will upload a new post and a new poem, starting at 5 am (wince) tomorrow morning, PST. Each poem with be at least 22 lines long to begin with, although I can edit them down before posting them.

The poems will stay up on the website for a week before I remove them all at once in order to edit, revise, and eventually (hopefully) submit them.

Also, let this be a small piece of inspiration towards possibly committing to the August Poetry Marathon.

Posted in Poetry Marathon | Leave a comment

Incident Reports from the Vanishing

My second chapbook, Incident Reports from the Vanishing is forthcoming sometime this summer. I do not exactly know when as there has been some art delays, but there has also been some elements of the work progressing ahead of schedule. I want to be as realistic as possible about expectations and preparations but I am also properly excited.

My publisher is Hyacinth Girl Press which is a wonderful Pittsburgh based press edited by Margaret Bashaar.  They have published many of my favorite chapbooks in recent years including Zoonosis by Kelly Boyker and First Wife by Laura Madeline Wiseman.

This chapbook Incident Reports from the Vanishing is entirely made up of poems about a possible apocalypse. If you are at all curious about the tone or content of the chapbook you can read the title poem in Reprint Magazine.

The chapbook is a part of my much longer 75% complete manuscript tentatively titled Counted Among the Dead (although for a long time it was called Seven Golden Lampstands). It is strange because when my first chapbook Victims of Ted Bundy: Washington State (which you can buy here) came out, I was also 75% complete with that manuscript at the time. But the Victims chapbook was accepted before any of the poems in it were published. Thankfully the turn around time on Victims was slow enough that by the time it came out a number of the poems had found homes in literary journals.

This time well over half of the poems were published before the chapbook came into being and found a home. Which was a very different process. Also some of these poems I have been working on a long time, one of them I even wrote over a decade ago, when I was still an undergraduate majoring in history and classics. All of the Victims poems were written in the same year.

This chapbook is very important to me because I believe that the poems it contains are ideally intended to be read together, in the order they are placed in these chapbooks. While all of these poems do hopefully stand on there own, I have always thought of them as one part of bigger picture. I have always thought of the apocalypse poems I wrote as an anthology. Each one written by a different person at a different time, to reflect how they felt about the changes occurring around them.

I should be posting more on the site as the chapbook approaches publication and I will be announcing readings and such, so stay tuned.

 

Posted in Seven Golden Lampstands | Leave a comment

Fall News Update

I have written three entries to this blog in the last couple of months, none of which I have posted. The editors in my head have been working over time lately. When my husband first met me, he thought I was aloof and overly formal. Perhaps that’s how I still am, but not to him, just to new people and the internet. So I am forcing myself to include personal information in this post as well as poet centric thoughts.

I was nominated for a Pushcart for the first time. I don’t know anyone who works at the press that nominated me, which made it extra exciting. I had written a poem as part of a 24 hour marathon of poems, and the editors of A Narrow Fellow had chosen to nominate it.

Within five minutes of being nominated, I received news that overshadowed it. Now the Pushcart news and the bad news I received afterwards are linked in my head in a very permanent ways.

I have been writing a great deal this fall. Instead of going to the gym at 11 every day  (I am that person), I have been climbing up the hill several times. The hill I am referring to is a clear cut. The house we are living in right now is 1/3rd of the way up the clearcut and I can climb for about a mile above the house.

It is a nice steep road carved up the hill, there are views the whole way up, and a wonderful view from the top of the property. I have found that hiking this path a couple times a day has aided my poetry more than zoning out on an elliptical.

I have had a number of recent publications, including the Crimean Tartar anthology Metric Conversions, and the literary journal Bellow.

Kathleen Flenniken the Washington State Poet Laureate re-published Fond Farewell on her Washington State poetry blog Far Field. Two poems Preoccuption, San Andreas were published by Compose in October and an essay about Preocculation is forthcoming. Our Sincerest Condolences was published by Alliterati in September.

I am still teaching at Seattle Pacific University. I am teaching composition this quarter and next. However it has been fun to teach because the theme I have chosen for the class this time was The New Yorker. This spring I will be teaching an introductory creative writing course which will be a nice change of pace.

A lot of the essays I used to write for this site, about submitting and such, I am now being paid to write elsewhere. So it has been strange for me to get into the swing about writing other things on this blog again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poetry, Popularity, and Image

Ever since I realized poetry was a niche market, I have wanted to make it less of one.  Of course I cannot change that on my own, but if I can do anything to make poetry a little more accessible and appealing I will.

When I was in graduate school many of my fellow poets told me that they wrote for other poets, that their work was meant for people who knew all the terms that go along with poetry, for readers that recognize that the third stanza contains a reference to a beat poet that died last year.

My writing is not like that most of the time, although I have my moments. Most of my poetry is straight forward, it has a narrative line, strong images, and clear ideas. Still it is the kind of work that doesn’t seem out of place in journals or at readings.

In the past few years things have started to change. Poets have started to talk more and more about making poetry accessible, not always by changing the poems themselves but by altering the context in which people encounter poetry.

I think a lot of people have one or two poems that they love or cherish, even if they do not consider themselves poetry readers.  So even though they say they don’t like poems they treasure the ones they know, the ones they value. Those poems hold an opportunity, an invitation really, to explore other poems.

One of the ideas I have been experimenting with lately is putting words to visuals. There are a lot of author’s quotes out there that are presented as such, but not a lot of poems. So I am linking to the ones I find. I am also creating image-poems of some of favorite lines, which is harder then it looks if you want to remain faithful to line breaks.

Because our current culture is so visual I believe that by makings words parts of images it is easier to get people to read a poem. Part of my goal is to mix beloved school established pop culture embedded poems with the work of new or less established writers. So that people will come for the words they know, and leave with new ones.

If you want to visit my little visual poem experiment site you can do so here: http://poemandimage.tumblr.com/

Feel free to email me or leave a comment with a suggested poem or line to add an image to.  I have attached a couple of example images below.

Slide1

Slide09

Slide10

 

Posted in Favorite Poems, Writing | Leave a comment

Blog Hop: Jennifer Faylor

Jennifer Faylor is a very gifted poet. She wrote the most memorable poem about supermarkets, that I have ever read. Her poetry is thoughtful and mysterious.

She has her first chapbook coming out and I am very excited about this. She talks about it here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog Hop: Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick read at Sarah Lawrence College before I met her, and her poems, strange and yet sensical, impressed me. We did a few workshops together in Graduate school where she managed to consistently impress me with her words and deeds. We have been part of the same writing group for almost five years now, a wonderful fact. So you should definitely read her post about her next big thing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing

I want to thank the lovely and very talented Jennifer Bullis for ‘tagging’ me into this blog hop, and negotiating me into talking about “The Next Big Thing” I’m working on in my writing. At the time I thought I would be talking about the Victims of Ted Bundy manuscript, but sometime between the middle of January and now, I managed to finish a working manuscript for my chapbook and find a publisher, which is all very exciting.

Below I will respond to a standard set of interview questions about my writing projects.

1. What is the title of your book? Is it a working title?

My chapbook is titled Incident Reports: The Vanishing. I do not think I will change the title, but it will be released by Hyacinth Girl Press in early 2014 which gives me plenty of time for decisions and indecision’s.  It was previously called Seven Golden Lampstands, which is a phrase found in the book of Revelations.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from? 

In 2007, when I was living alone in Seattle, I started to write a poem every day. I have never been the kind of poet that is capable of writing about their own life in any depth, so instead I wrote about an impossible life, one without a moon or birds, one dependent on nature. I did not think of these poems as Apocalypse poems at the time, but when I arrived at Sarah Lawrence the following year to attend grad school, I found myself writing more and more of them. I also started to investigate the origin of the word Apocalypse. I discovered that it did not necessarily refer to the end of the world, but rather ‘a tearing of the veil’, an irreversible change from one way of life to another. In my poems the world changes, but it does not necessarily end, life keeps on going, it is just a different kind of life, one without cars and computers. One where some people accept these facts and others refuse.

3. Who and/or what inspired you to write your book?

I was raised in a busy city. You could always see people around – out your window, down the street, sitting on benches. I became so used to seeing people in the city, that when they were not there (read more about this here) the world seemed like an entirely different place. So you could say I started thinking about the Apocalypse from a very young age, but for me it always seemed like it must be a gradual event. Most apocalyptic movies disappoint me because everyone is running from fire, or earthquakes, or aliens, for me the apocalypse is an inherently gradual thing.

The tone, theme, and narrative structure of my book was inspired by any number of things. Seeing photographs of my father’s family living a rural life in the 70’s, in northern British Columbia, set the visual tone for the second half of the book. The novel World War Z by Max Brooks which takes such a detailed oriented approach to destruction and survival, and tells these stories as an ‘oral history.’ The Book of Revelations, The World With Out Us, and Julia Scheeres heartbreaking book on Jonestown, A Thousand Lives, also affected the tone of the chapbook.This list could go on and one, but you can read more about it here and here.

4. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I have been writing these poems since early 2007 so that would make it about six years. By this point I have more than a chapbook worth of these poems, but less than a fully formed and edited manuscript.

5. What genre does your book fall under?

Magic realism, I believe, although I never had much faith in genres. Also the poems are from many diverse perspectives so I have always considered it to be a fictional poetry anthology collected from the time after society disintegrated. It is not a story told from one perspective, but from many.

6. What books would you compare yours to in your chosen genre?

I find it hard to compare books under the best of circumstances.  You could draw some parallels to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Hundred Years of Solitude, perhaps, because both have an uneasy relationship with time and identity. I certainly have been very inspired by W.H. Auden and his perspective on nature and evil. Of course, I don’t write in rhyme.

7. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Birds leave, people vanish, houses self destruct, yet people remain and have to figure out what to do next, with an engorged sun, and untrustworthy walls.

8. Do you have a publisher, or will you self-publish your book or seek representation?

The awesome Margaret Bashaar who runs Hyacinth Girl Press, which is based in Pennsylvania, is going to publish my book. I am very excited.

10. What else about your book might pique readers’ interest?

There are more numbers in my book then I know what to do with, but no math skills are required.

9. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie or to read your work for a recording?

This questions intimidates me so much that I will just ignore it. Although I will say that if I was ever in charge of casting any movie, about anything, Mireille Enos would be in it.

And now, I’m very pleased to tell you about the two (wonderful) writers I’m “tagging” to respond the interview questions next:

Jennifer Faylor is a poet from New York City. She is also a chocolatier and proud owner of two goldfish: Edison and Marguerite. She received her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and her work has appeared online and in print in places such as Bat City Review, Redivider and Opium Magazine. Her first chapbook “The Case of the Missing Lover”, a choose your own adventure style book, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in Spring of 2013.

She blogs at jenniferfaylor.blogspot.com and will post on March 25.

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2010. She recently completed her first full-length manuscript of essays and poetry and has a chapbook in print and one forthcoming with Mouthfeel Press. She is the resident poet for Port Yonder Press’ online magazine Beyondaries and her work has been featured or is upcoming in Four Way Review, Night Train, Versal, Sugar House Review, among others. She writes in the deserts of West Texas.

She blogs at shannonhardwickpoetry.wordpress.com/ and will post on the 13th of March.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Assorted News

I have not updated my blog since last year, a much larger break then usual. However it has been an eventful year so far. I have had more dental work then I care to recount.

More importantly I am teaching again, a composition class, at Seattle Pacific University. The student population of the school is very different then Berkeley, where I taught in New York. Most of my students currently live on campus and Berkeley did not even have dorms. Next quarter I am going to be teaching an advanced fiction writing class for juniors and seniors which should be fun. I often feel like fiction and poetry are two children, both insisting on my attention and deeply unhappy when I ignore one in favor of the other, even for an hour so.

Because fiction is about to demand a large chunk of my writerly time and attention again, I am going to appease the poet in me by going to Hedgebrook for a week in March between quarters. Hedgebrook is a non profit female only writers retreat on Whidby Island. When I am there I will attend a week long workshop with Carolyn Forché, which is an incredible opportunity. There will only be five of us in the workshop. We will get to stay in our own cabins with our own wood burning stoves which sounds very nice. I plan to get a great deal of writing done.

In other poetry related news my second chapbook, Incident Reports: The Vanishing, was just accepted for publication in 2014 . I don’t know if I am able to say the name of the publisher yet, so I will withhold that information for now, I will say that I am very excited about it.

The last point is somewhat unrelated to writing, but Jacob and I have decided to give up TV shows and movies for Lent. Neither of us are Catholic, but I really like participating in aspects of Lent. Jacob actually came up with the idea,  because he really likes a challenge and he thought we would benefit from a little less TV in our lives. It has given us a lot more time to do things like read, write, and pastel, which is nice.

Next week I will be participating in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, because I was tagged by the wonderful Jennifer Bullis and by then I should be able to share lots of details about my upcoming chapbook.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment