SLOW TO BURN: That's the new name for the chapbook formerly known as What Remains. After talking with my editor at MetroMania Press, friends, fellow poets and a comment or two from bloggers, everyone was unanimous that the name should change so as not to confuse reader's with Stuart Greenhouse's award-winning chapbook of the same name. Slow To Burn was actually the original title, but I liked the sound of "what remains" so I went with that instead. Slow To Burn is the title of a poem in the book, not to mention a fabulous album by Vanessa Daou that is sadly out of print. Daou has this jazzy, slinky quality about her music and she bravely turned a set of Erica Jong's poems into one of the best albums of the 90s, Zipless. I thought I would be more upset about having to change the title, but I'm actually okay with it. I went back and re-read the manuscript today and Slow To Burn should have been the title all along.

In other news, I was invited by the Georgia Council for the Arts to be a Master Class Teacher for Poetry Out Loud, a program sponsored by the NEA. The wonderful poet Mike Dockins is coordinating the Georgia effort. Here's the short and sweet on Poetry Out Loud:

Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, this program encourages high school students to memorize and perform great poems. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre into the English class. This exciting new program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Thousands of high school students across the nation will participate in Poetry Out Loud this year. The competition begins at the classroom level, with winners advancing to school-wide, then city-wide, then regional, and ultimately to the National Finals in May 2006, where $50,000 dollars in scholarships and school prizes will be awarded.

As one of the teachers, I will be going into schools during February and March and giving talks and demonstrations on how to recite a poem, as well as answering questions (like how a poem works figuratively, thematically, rhythmically, etc.) and helping the students get ready for the national competition. I think this is a brilliant way to bring the art of poetry and spoken word to kids, not to mention opening their minds about the art. It's an honor to be asked to work with this program.

The new issue of HomeGround arrived from the UK and features several of my poems, as well as those from John Carder Bush. It's a beautiful issue, featuring reviews on Kate Bush's new album, Aerial, and poetry inspired by Kate and her music. While HG remains devoted to Kate, it has evolved over the last 20 odd years to become a quasi-literary magazine as well, featuring beautiful poetry, stories and art work. Krys Fitzgerald-Morris does a brilliant job putting this magazine together, and she's a great writer herself. Hats off to the HG team for this issue. As a side note, Kate was nominated for two Brit Awards (the equivalent of the Grammy's) for best female artist and best album of 2005. Fingers crossed! Here's one of the poems from HG:

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 (New Orleans)

Let tall grass grow where your heart used to beat.
Wind and water is other world, immaterial
in alabaster mansions, souls just out of reach.
Heat never dries the ground here, just bones.
We reconstitute at night as saints and haints,
loosed from our bags of flesh and out over the ramparts.
Storms come and go, along with disease,
they lined us along the levees in fever years.
City of despairing angels, this storm will pass,
give us your sons and daughters, keep your guns
and watches, we all lay back in darkness.
We laugh at dirt and damp, trying to reach up
and claim its prize.


nolapoet said…
Missed you at Oyewole's talk last night... but you definitely would not have missed being there. See the blog for details.

Good on you for the Poetry Out Loud gig (a program courtesy of the unfairly-maligned New Formalists, incidentally!!!!). I'd like to know when the GCA is going to make the individual artist grant apps *for writers* easier to find and do....they have a horribly user-unfriendly website screaming out for redesign.

When is the next Poetry Atlanta meeting (not reading)?

Susan Culver said…
Hi Collin,

Looking forward to seeing work from your new chapbook. Big congrats on the Master Class Teacher position. What a fabulous and fun thing to do.

-Susan (Lily Editor)
Nick said…
Well done, Collin! Congrats on the teaching position.

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