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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Plagued by Plagiarism

Okay, plagued is too strong a word as it's just a single case, and with the hard 'g' in plagued and the soft 'g' in plagiarism, the alliteration doesn't even work well enough to overcome this objection. But it's the best I can do today.

So yesterday I get a lovely email from a reader who had found my work in a journal and had looked me up online to read more of my poems. Which is an extremely pleasant thing to happen. And the comments from the reader are so encouraging. At the end of the email, he tells me that by the way, a poem of mine has been published under another name at a certain journal, and perhaps it's a pseudonym of mine, but just in case he thought he'd just let me know. He gives me the link.

I click on the link, and there's my poem, every word of it, credited to someone else. A year after it originally appeared under my name in a prominent journal (and after it appeared in an anthology and on Verse Daily, but before it came out in my book). So I write the journal to let them know and they very promptly write back to apologize and suggest a course of action to rectify the situation, one acceptable to me.

In the meantime, I start to worry about this same person using this poem or perhaps another of mine elsewhere. So I do an internet search for her. And here's what I find: she was an undergraduate at the time of the publication at the school that the journal hails from, and within months of publishing my poem under her name, she was in a traffic accident and died. This immediately causes me to feel conflicted--don't want to disparage the dead and all that, despite the fact that I am feeling quite violated. Well, let's just say I'm glad I contacted the journal previous to having this information. It's all just too depressing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Half-Price Poetry

Black Lawrence Press, an imprint of Dzanc Books, has a stable of poets I adore. I own quite a number of their books already and have never been disappointed by their poets, so when I heard they are having a 50% off sale on all poetry books for National Poetry Month, I hurried on over there and ordered myself 5 books. Wish I had known about this sale earlier in the month so that I might have had weeks to mull over which books I want the most (I want them all!), but I know I won't be disappointed with any I get. At least, I never have been yet.

Poetry on YouTube

The other day I posted that BOA Editions has their own YouTube channel. Now C&R Press has started a YouTube channel as well. There's only one video so far, featuring poet Travis Wayne Denton, but hopefully there will be more soon.

I hope to put a list together of poetry YouTube channels eventually, so if you know of any, please comment below.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Who Do You Write Like?

Here's a fun website that's being cited all over the place these days. It's called "I Write Like." You paste your original text in the text box and the site "analyzes" your style and tells you who you write like. I put in the last two poems I've finished, and the first was apparently in the style of Arthur C. Clarke (yes, the science fiction writer), and the second was a la James Joyce. (Ironically it was my poem about Mendeleev, the father of the period table, that was Joycean not science-y, while my poem about mothers-in-law was science fiction-y). Well, this analyzer a totally useless tool  (is that an oxymoron? if something is useless, can it even be considered a tool?) but still kind of fun.

Tonight I was too tired to write but I still stared at my notebook for awhile until an image which I have been thinking about for months suddenly matched itself up with a line. So I got a line and a half out of the evening, and paltry though that may be, I'm pretty happy about it because I tried to force this image into the last two poems I've written (the ones mentioned above) but could not make it work, so I took it out again and just kept it around to see what happens. You know how you're told as a writer not to save anything for the next project, but to use it all up in the current poem with the trust that there will be more images and more wonderful lines coming in the future? Well, I completely subscribe to that policy, but you still have to be sure that everything you put into the poem, no matter how perfect it is on its own, works to further the piece. If not, out it goes, and you hope that someday it will work somewhere.

And tonight it did.

Feel free to tell me who you write like too, if the spirit moves you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

eRead All About It!

I don't have an eReader. (Or is it e-reader?) Well, whatever it is, I don't have one. I still feel ambivalent about reading on a screen versus reading a physical book. This is true despite the fact that every single friend I have who has had the same reservations and gotten an eReader anyway has loved it. Without exception. Nobody has said to me, "Wish I hadn't spent the money on this." (But if that's your feeling, please chime in and say so in the comments section.)

Recently I found out that Amazon offers free Kindle apps for the Mac, the PC, the Blackberry, the Android, the iPhone, the iPad...probably for other devices as well. That's what I'll do first, I suppose, download a free app and see how I like reading on a screen. And then I'll decide.

But I'm so ambivalent that I haven't yet downloaded a free app either. I never did like change. Will let you know when I have done this first baby step.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Insomniac in Wisconsin

The Insomniac's Weather Report was reviewed by Athena Kildegaard at Verse Wisconsin! Thank you, Athena, for truly understanding my work! And thank you, Verse Wisconsin, for your support!!! Yay!!!

(If you don't have a copy, you can sign up for my Big Poetry Giveaway drawing!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flow Update

So it's been one week since I committed to trying to spend more time in flow by arranging my time into bigger, but fewer, blocks for activities, meaning I would do activities less often but with more intensity and for longer periods of time.

So how has this strategy worked for me? Well, to be honest, I haven't written a single poem this week. I've got a few lines jotted down and some amorphous ideas and stray words floating around, but let's just say it hasn't been my best poem-writing week ever.

To be fair, in the past week I started a new job with its accompanying learning curve, worked on projects for 2 clients from pre-existing jobs, edited a paper for my husband (a non-native English speaker), buried a beloved pet bird, had my kids home half days or entire days for a number of days, researched and wrote an 8-page academic paper for a class I'm taking, went cherry-blossom-viewing with my family, read several hundred pages of academic papers for another course, parented and did all the other household things I always do.

So it may not have been the ideal week to try a new regimen. On the other hand, I got a ton of stuff done! It just wasn't poetry. And maybe wouldn't have been on my old regimen either. I'll give it a few more weeks, but if poetry goes by the wayside for too long, I'll have to rethink this plan.

Anybody have any insights?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Call for Eastern Heathens

Asia Writes has a submissions call out for EASTERN HEATHENS, AN ANTHOLOGY OF FICTION INSPIRED BY ASIAN FOLKLORE. The deadline is April 25th, so that's coming right up.

Hat tip to novelist and short-storyist Suzanne Kamata, from whose Facebook page I learned of this call.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Channeling BOA

So I just ran across the BOA Editions Limited YouTube Channel. Who knew you could access readings by BOA poets such as Li-Young Lee, Keetje Kuipers, Craig Morgan Teicher, and Kazim Ali (among others) all in one place? For someone living in a region where poetry readings are few and far between (as I do), this is a find!

I'll bet there are other similar channels on YouTube. I'll let you know when I find them if you'll do the same for me!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ode to Tax Season

Poems about taxes, compiled at The New York Times Sunday Review blog.

Check it out (but only if your taxes have already been filed; otherwise, back to work for you!)

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Power of Flow

Earlier this week I was working on an assignment for a class I'm taking, and when I looked up at the clock, I saw that it has been over two hours since I had last looked. I had been in "flow"--the state of being so involved in what you are doing that you are aware of nothing else--and it was wonderful. And I realized that while flow is the most satisfying state for me to be in regardless of what I'm doing (and particularly when I'm writing), it had been a long time since I had slipped into that level of consciousness.

And why is that? Why do I get into flow so very infrequently? For one thing, it's because I have so many commitments to family, job and schooling that I am constantly telling myself  "I'll study this chapter for 20 minutes before I have to go pick up H. from his activity" or "I'll work on this poem for 40 minutes until I absolutely have to get dinner started," etc. I am so overscheduled that I can't wean myself from the clock, and awareness of the clock is the enemy of flow. To get into flow, you have to have enough time in a single stretch that time is not an issue, and I never have that anymore.

So what am I going to do about this? Well, I can't quit my job or my classes, or put my kids up for adoption. But what I can do is, instead of attempting to study every subject and work on poetry and refine lesson plans a little bit every day, try to do fewer things per day for longer periods. This is totally against my nature. I grew up practicing the piano every day without fail and believing that everything has to be done daily to be mastered. I have always studied for every class I've been taking every single day of the week. This strategy has always worked for me too.

But now I'm going to try to do activities for longer periods of time, but fewer times per week. I have to believe in flow 100% to do this; I have to believe that I will get more deeply into each project so that it will be more effective than doing it daily for shorter spurts of time. Do I believe this? In theory, I do; but since I've always been such a proponent of daily practice for everything of any value, I'm scared.

So I'll let you know how it goes.

Yay for Judy!

My talented friend and poet Judy Halebsky has a poem on Verse Daily today. Have a look at it, and if you like it (which you will!), be sure to sign up for my poetry book giveaway, as one of the books I'm offering features Judy's work.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Birthday Buddies

What do the cartoon cat Garfield and I have in common, besides the fact that our last names begin with the letter "G"? (Or is Garfield his first name?) Well, anyway, we both have the same birthday (and we both love lasagne). (But I'm I look it?)

If you want to know which fictional character shares your birthday, Flavorwire has compiled a list for every day of the year. Check it out. You might get lucky, like my grandmother, who opens her presents on the same day as Indiana Jones. Or maybe your birthday coincides with Captain Marvel's or Sherlock Holmes' or Dr. House's. Or Billy Pilgrim's or Kermit the Frog's. (Too bad most of these references seem to be from pop culture rather than literature, but maybe somebody will put together another more intellectual list, Billy Pilgrim notwithstanding...)

If you share a day with someone interesting, feel free to post below.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guest Blogger & Giveaway Host: Mari L'Esperance

I'm happy today to have a guest blogger, poet Mari L'Esperance. Mari joins us as part of the Big Poetry Giveaway. Welcome, Mari!

Big Poetry Giveaway 2012

Jessica has generously agreed to let me "borrow" her blog to announce my participation in the NaPoMo poetry giveaway. I'm giving away a copy of my book The Darkened Temple, which was awarded a Prairie Schooner Book Prize and published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2008. Along with my book, I'm giving away a brand-new, hardcover copy of Yusef Komunyakaa's The Chameleon Couch (2011 Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
The Darkened Temple by Mari L'Esperance
The Chameleon Couch: Poems

If you're interested, please let me know in the comments section and be sure to include your email address and/or blog URL. On May 1 I'll do a random drawing of all interested parties and notify the winner by email. Thanks so much and happy reading! —Mari L'Esperance (

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Submishmash Has a New Name

Submishmash, the one-stop submissions site, has a new name, Read about the change here. But don't panic. Your old Submishmash links will continue to work; you just now have more options.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Powell's for Poetry

Here's a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month. Powell's Books is offering 15% off all poetry titles for the month of April. So now's the time to buy those books you've been coveting.

Hat tip to Shara Lessley, at whose blog I discovered this fact when I was following up on bloggers involved in The Big Poetry Giveaway. My drawing is open all month for that event, as are many other bloggers'; you can find out who and where here. You might even learn about something incidental, like I learned about the sale at Powell's.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Be Friends With All Nations

All Nations Press has a deal for all its Facebook friends. As long as you remain their friend on Facebook, you can enter their non-fiction and their poetry chapbook competitions for a one-time donation of only $12, instead of the usual $20 per entry. That means you can submit again and again on the strength of your one-time $12 donation. Check it out.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Big Poetry Giveaway

Last year I participated in the Annual Big Poetry Giveaway as a recipient, and this year I'm happy to join in by offering two books to two lucky winners.

What is the Big Poetry Giveaway? It's a celebration of National Poetry Month, organized by poet Kelli Russell Agodon, in which bloggers hold drawings to give away 2 books of poetry (often one of their own and one of someone else's) to lucky winners. Go to Agodon's blog to find a list of other bloggers participating, or to sign up to participate as a giver of poetry yourself.

This year I am offering the following two books:

1) The Insomniac's Weather Report, by me.


2) Yuba Flows, an anthology from Hip Pocket Press including poetry by Kirsten Casey, Gary Cooke, Cheryl Dumesnil, Judy Halebsky, Iven Lourie, & Scott Young. I came to know about this anthology from the very talented poet Judy Halebsky, who is included in this edition.

To win, leave a comment below, with your name and a way to contact you should you win (can be an email address or a blog address or a website). I'll use a random number generator during the first week of May to determine winners. Stay posted for that.

Additionally, guest blogger Mari L'Esperance offers two books for the Big Poetry Giveaway at another post on this blog here.

Luther Lashes Out

"You are spiritual scarecrows and monk calves." Or so said Martin Luther. Also, "Your astute minds have been completely turned into stinking mushrooms." How about this gem? "You are like mouse-dropping in the pepper."

Want to get insulted by Martin Luther? There's a website for that. Check it out, when you're feeling uppity, or just too good about life in general.

Or for kicks. Guy had a way with words.

(And here's a Lutherism tailor-made for me: "Are you not making an elephant out of a fly? What wonder workers!")

Hat tip to Blue Montakhab for this link.