Monday, September 6, 2010


Last night was the program launch, where all the poets and non-fictioners and fictioners and professors get together, have a few drinks laced with vodka, leave ice rings on the tablecloth, eat celery and meatballs on sticks and talk about the year to come.

For us, of course, there was a little tremor of excitement in that this is it. Our final hurrah. Tomorrow afternoon, strange dreams notwithstanding, I will turn in the very first draft of my manuscript, and in April, I will turn in a draft I'd hope wouldn't be far from publishable.

The chapbook continues to receive good news, as if this early-September everyone's cogs are shifting. This time, an editor emailed me and asked if I'd be willing to tweak some poems in order to help it become a better contender for the prize. Indeed--I think any poet would be willing to consider those changes. The nature of the poet's relationship to his or her own work is strange--we can be defensive about specific word choice, we can be such stumbly puppy-types who would sacrifice our lambs entirely in the face of publication. One must tread carefully; one must also feel grateful that any editor would be willing to take the time to dust off a manuscript, to help it become a stronger book.

Tomorrow is the first day of classes; today I spent some time leaning over the warm photocopier, watching my syllabus slip through the machine, staple, staple, staple, staple... the poetry packet for the next class, little binder clips, straight and organized in my expanding folder. My thesis isn't quite so well lined up, but I have a four-hour gap between teaching and studenting, and though I have errands, I know how the time will fill. Collations and binder clips.

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