PLAYING CATCH UP: Let's go back to the immediate past for a moment... I am thrilled that we had such a big turnout at Poetry at Portfolio Center last Friday for Ginger Murchison and Jennifer Wheelock. They were both fantastic. Two different styles, yet their work complimented each other and seemed to both hinge on family and domestic issues. I don't think they had planned that, but it was a great mesh. I was also digging Terry Jane England, a newcomer to Atlanta, who I'd never heard read. She blew us all away. Hope to see her out and about at other venues soon. And I liked Lee Passarella's baseball poem. Good stuff! Afterwards, a group of us gathered at Mick's for a dinner that went late. Beth Gylys told us about dancing with Raymond Carver at a party once. She hasn't even written a poem about it...we told her to get on it pronto! Rupert Fike recounted a student mistaking him for David Bottoms, which cracked everyone up. Many thanks, as always, to Tania Rochelle for making PaPC go smoothly. Next month we have Lady Hardin, a great spoken word artist, and in July we have the fabulous Laurel Snyder. Mark your calendars!

On Saturday, I spent the day in Smyrna for the Georgia Writers Spring Festival. Attendance was way down from the last couple of years. I think they were expecting 100, but I doubt there was more than 50 people. Luckily, those who came were truly interested in writing of all kinds and learning more about craft and getting their own work ready for publication. I gave a reading from Slow To Burn with poet Beau Cutts. Talk about diversity! Beau writes these long, narrative, nature-inspired poems about his travels, while I'm writing about old sex partners, acid flashbacks and cross-dressing as Wonder Woman when I was seven. Poets & Writers provided funding for the reading (hooray -- a paying gig!), so hats off to them. I sold a few books, had some good exchange with the folks in my workshop and saw old friends. Can't complain too much about that.

On Sunday, it was rainy and cool and I didn't want to leave the house, so I didn't. However, in deciding to sleep until noon and then relocate to the couch for more napping and watching Brief Encounter (if you've never seen this brilliant 1946 film with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson having an affair of the mind at an English train station tea shop...add it to your list immediately!), I totally forgot my friend Malory's birthday. I was supposed to take her out to dinner and I just absolutely went down some rabbit hole. I sent her an email on Monday and she took forever to answer, but when she did, it was to indicate her disappointment and hurt. I've never missed Mal's birthday in the nearly 18 years I've known her, so I was disappointed in myself. The book promotion has been kicking my ass -- which is no excuse -- but it's totally drained my brain. I'm taking Mal out Friday for dinner and then to Border's for her to pick out gifts. I owe it to her.

I've been working on a new poem, revising old ones and starting to think about submitting new work to some journals. Cherryl Floyd-Miller has a brilliant post at her blog about sequencing a manuscript and how you have to "kill your darlings" when it comes to putting together a collection. Cherryl and I have been discussing this for sometime, so I was glad to see her great post. It's made me rethink my next collection. I can already see myself this summer sitting on the floor with pages stacked everywhere as I figure it out. I know one thing -- the working title is history. I've already started making a list of possibilities.


jenni said…
I'm terrible with remembering birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I still don't know Jack's birth date, though I think it's Nov 8th.

Anywho, glad to hear the festival went great--very funny about you and the nature poet being in such contrast, but in a way that's good because it gives the reading some tension.

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