writing

New poetry publication!

poetry south cover

Okay, so my poetry publication isn’t that new, but I’m excited to announce I have a poem in the 2018 issue of Poetry South! The issue came out at the end of last year, and I’m so happy to have work in it.

I’ve noticed something funny. Because I feel confident about my prose, I sometimes become frustrated that I don’t get more or better publications. But because I’m still insecure about my poetry writing ability, each poetry acceptance feels like a shock. A pleasant shock, but still a shock.

poetry south poem

I am beginning to write more poetry. The experience feels odd. Poetry was my favorite form of creative writing in middle school, high school, and college. Somewhere along the way I realized the poetry I was writing was “bad,” and then for years I associated poetry (or at least mine) with adolescence and immaturity.

I’m returning to poetry because I enjoy it as a creative outlet. There’s a feeling I can’t quite pinpoint that I have when I write poetry that I do not have when I write prose. BUT, a nasty editorial voice saying “what you’re writing is no good” keeps popping into mind as I write poetry, much more often and much more loudly than when I write prose.

That voice is just going to have to deal with it. I’m still gonna write poems. :)

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writing

First published poem

jay vera summer alien mouthAlien Mouth published my poem “Schiller Woods Head” last October. PLEASE READ THE POEM BEFORE READING THIS POST.

All of my publications are exciting, but this is especially exciting because poetry isn’t my primary genre, and I feel less confident in my poetry than my prose. But, the acceptance wasn’t an accident, and I’ve had a second poetry acceptance since then. Yay!

I wrote this poem while taking the one poetry class I took as a (fiction) MFA student. As part of a class exercise in which we had to pick a place on the map and write about it, I imagined myself walking in the Schiller Woods forest preserve in Illinois and wrote based on that. I zoomed in via Google maps, then closed my eyes. I’ve never actually been to the Schiller Woods forest preserve, but I hope to one day. The map labeled an entrance “Schiller Woods Head,” and I liked the idea that only some readers would figure that out. I think most would take “head” literally, as a human head, so the title has a double meaning.

My purpose was to focus on colors and images and to play with that it’s-okay-if-people-don’t-know-exactly-what-you’re-talking-about-as-long-as-you-convey-a-feeling aspect of poetry that isn’t really there in (non-experimental) fiction and creative nonfiction. There is a literal translation to the poem, however. As someone who has migraine and fibromyalgia, I have very sensitive eyes and can be extremely photosensitive to the point where on a sunny day without sunglasses I can hardly make things out and there are just blobs of color everywhere. I imagined myself entering Schiller Woods on one of those extremely sunny days, being unable to make out everything around me but still enjoying the beauty of it, and I thought that made a nice metaphor for how I’m going through life, sort of stunned and overwhelmed but also in awe of the vastness and never-ending feeling of it.

PS, I think “real” poets don’t explain their poems, or something? But whatever, I do, and I’m a real poet now, so deal with it. :)

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