The Turn Back To Fiction

With my novel, Conquering Venus, back out at two publishers (three if you count the one in London that's had it for nearly a year with no response. I'm talking to you, Legend Press!), I turned my attention to the 208 pages I've written on the second novel. I hadn't looked at those pages in a year or more and was delighted to find that more than half of them are viable. I need a little poetry break, so the next collection is going back in the drawer for a few months while I bring novel number two up to speed. I'm actually excited about diving back into it. 

Of course, I won't be turning totally away from poetry. I have readings coming up, individual poems that need revising and a short list of journals I plan to submit to in the coming weeks. But going back to work on the collection just doesn't fill me with unicorns and rainbows at the moment. I glanced at it over the New Year's holiday weekend (before illness descended upon me) and it needs significant work and, frankly, I just ain't in the mood. And's not like I'm the J.K. Rowling of poetry. Or Mary Oliver for that matter. No one is going to be waiting in line at midnight wearing a wizard cape to get their hands on my next collection of poems, so there's no rush. 

Some heartbreaking news in Atlanta today: the incredible staff of The Literary Center at the Margaret Mitchell House was laid off. As a matter of fact, the entire workforce at the house was let go save for one staffer and a couple of part-timers. The Atlanta History Center, which owns and operates the house, cut 74 employees because of the economy. My friends Julie Bookman and Melanie Eisenhart did incredible work at The Literary Center, including Poetry Out Loud, which is apparently in limbo now. Just before the holidays, Julie and Melanie had asked me to emcee the state finals of Poetry Out Loud later this spring. It's a huge loss to the literary community in Atlanta, and it's unclear if the AHC will continue The Literary Center in any shape or fashion. Here's the article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


So I got my cape dry-cleaned for nothing? Damn!

Don't sell yourself short. Lots of people would wait in line at midnight for your poetry!
Collin Kelley said…
Very kind of you to say, AFC. I don't see it as selling myself short, but being realistic. This IS poetry we're talking about here. The niche of the niche of the niche...
christine said…
I'd be there! Wearing my pajamas, doling out hot rum punch.

It's cool that you work on a novel, put it away, get out the poems, then shift gears again. I guess it must stretch your mind in all sorts of directions. Makes you smarter.

So sad about the Margaret Mitchell staff. Really sad. Too bad some rich dude couldn't come through, like the Arthur Blank. Oh, wait, he
bought the Falcons. Ted Turner maybe? Baseball. Where's the love for the arts?
one small button said…
~~sadly taking off wizard cape and trudging home slowly along the darkened streets, head low and spirits flagging~~
Anonymous said…
Didn't you tell me that Conquering Venus is the first book in a trilogy? Does that mean the book you're working on now is part two? You'll be JK Rowling before you know it.

Booo to the Lit Centre closing. I still plan to check out the MM House whenever I finally fly into town on my rainbow unicorn...
jessica said…
This is just terrible... the Literary Center at the MMH is SO important to our literary scene. Death by 1,000 cuts, so to speak.

jaxx said…
that is a damn shame about the literary center and, sadly, likely only the first of many more arts-related cuts to come.

but collin, *i* would stand on line at midnight in a wizard hat to get a copy of your next collection! don't misunderestimate yourself.
Collin Kelley said…
Okay, I'll be holding you all to your word that you'll be in a cape at midnight. :)

Gav, yes, Conquering Venus is the first of a trilogy. I'd like to have just a tiny slice of Ms. Rowling's fortune and luck. I'd also like Oprah to pick me for the book club. Get on that for me, will ya?
Emily A. Benton said…
happy fiction writing! I'm hoping to jump back into some short stories in a month or so, too.

Sad to see the nonprofits getting hit by the economy. Our country needs the arts more than ever now - for support, for release - and I hope this trend doesn't continue (although I'm not too optimistic).

Also, I won't be flying but I may ride down on my unicorn come early February so let me know if you have any readings scheduled then! Can't believe how long it's been since I've visited Atlanta anyway...almost 10 years.
greg rappleye said…
Sounds exciting. A novel is next up for me, too.

Good luck!
Lisa Allender said…
Collin--if you're serious--did you know Oprah ASKS her readers/viewers to SUBMIT titles of books they've read? She does it every summer.......I've submitted books of poetry by both Cecilia Woloch, and YOU, in the past...but so far, she has never chosen a book of poetry as a "Book Club" pick, though it is well-known that she loves, and often reads poetry.
Perhaps whenever a novel of yours gets published, we can send that info on to Ms. Book Club herself!

Popular Posts