30 March 2012

The Writer On and Off the Page: Writing, a Public and Private Act

The end of February and the entire month of March have been filled with literary events.  I attended the Associated Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference in Chicago.  While there, I attended several readings and had an author signing with my press.

In March, I escaped Idaho for a bit on spring break and drove to Vancouver, B.C.  While there I heard my amazing friend Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore read from her new anthology Why are Faggots so Afraid of Faggots? (I find myself driving 8.5 hours to attend a reading this year!)

This month I also attended a thesis defense for a fellow MFA poet here at the University of Idaho, a talk by the immanent translator Willis Barnstone, and also had my own reading and chapbook release party with fellow poet Ciara Shuttleworth.

It has been a busy forty days.  Individually, these events invigorate my own writing and thinking about writing.  Collectively, it has been exhausting.  They have also made me consider the writer’s life both as a public and a private figure. 

In a discussion yesterday, a fellow poet said, “A writer is the kind of person who sits alone in a room to make sense of the world.”  The act of writing is solitary.  At its core, writing lonely.

So then what happens when a writer publishes his or her work?

Most often, in order to get the work “out there” a writer must make some kind of public appearance, whether that is online, at a bookstore, or in a coffee shop to read.  The reader, in order to promote their words, must become an extension of them in some sense. 

Your writing is an extension of your inner-world, but then you the writer must become an extension of your words in the public sphere.  Who is leap-frogging whom?

For many writers, this is a painful process.  I know that in my own experience, I dislike talking about my poems to others.  I also hate the cycle of self-promotion that occurs with the publication of a book.  That said, I am finding that having my chapbook come out is a great way to get a small taste for the hustle one must go through to promote a full-length book.

The poet Richard Siken is notorious for remaining circumspect about his own work.  He said in an interview, “You get the page.  I get the rest.”

What role does writing play in your life at the moment?  Have you experienced the divide between the writer as a public and private figure?  Do you have any advice moving from one sphere into the other?

11 March 2012

Here and Back Again: An Update on Where to Find Me!

I feel like a whirlwind.  No sooner had I left for Chicago and AWP then I was coming back again.  I raced around this week unpacking, teaching my Intermediate Poetry Writing Class Richard Siken's book Crush (or more honestly, I didn't teach it, we talked about the poems in depth) and then started packing again for spring break.  This weekend I find myself in Washington state for a week.

In a similar way, my work has been flying around all winter and I am excited to see my poems in print.  But like my dresser, all of the drawers are empty at the moment.  I have to do laundry and I have to write some new poems.  What a blessing!  Here is to a spring of new words.

For the record, here is where you can find my poems and even an essay :

 I have an essay about Walt Whitman and repealing Montana's sodomy law in the Fall 2011 issue of RFD (#147).  You can get a copy of it here.

My poem "I Can't Tell You Every Story" appeared in the Spring 2012 Knockout Literary Magazine. I was thrilled to have a poem of mine appear with the likes of Todd Boss!  You can find it here.

I have EIGHT  poems appear in the Winter 2012 Issue of Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Men's Poetry (Issue #5).  Not only did they take two of my strongest poems, "The Year of Bad Friends" and "Who Am I to Tell You This?", but a stanza of the latter made the back cover!  You can get your copy here.

Last, but not the least, my chapbook Slow Depth is finally available from Winged City Chapbooks.  Please stop by and check out there other great authors as well.Getting to meet much of the staff and the authors of New Sins Press was a highlight of the Chicago trip.  Copies are now for sale here.

If you would like to purchase a signed copy, you can shoot me an email at interlucent@gmail.com


Related Posts with Thumbnails