It’s finally here! The poetry residency/workshop which Tupelo Press is offering at Mass MoCA starts within 24 hours. My regular readers have put up with my freaking out over signing up in the first place and stressing over choosing poems to bring – I’m sparing you all posting the links – but I’m pleased to report that I have calmed down significantly.
I was feeling insecure because I have just begun publishing my work and don’t have a lot of academic background in poetry. I was afraid I’d be in over my head, especially if everyone else is an MFA.
Fortunately, I’ve had lots of help in getting some perspective. My local poet friends have been very supportive and great about offering advice.
I was also lucky to have two good publishing experiences in the last two weeks. First, Eunoia Review accepted one of my poems for publication.
Second, my poem “Lessons from Mahler” was published this week as part of Silver Birch Press’s current series. While I am always thrilled when one of my poems is published, this poem is special on several counts. I was pleased that I used some of the skills I have been working on for this poem. I first began to write from prompts a couple of years ago when I started participating with the Binghamton Poetry Project. It is very different from the way I usually work and I have been trying to improve at writing from prompts. When I first read this very specific prompt from Silver Birch, I thought there was no way I would be able to write a poem to fulfill it, but, as I mulled the prompt, an idea came to me.
I wound up writing a haibun, which is a form that I learned about during the summer session of Binghamton Poetry Project. I also was able to workshop it with my Bunn Hill Poet friends and with Heather, who directs both Binghamton Poetry Project and Sappho’s Circle and then hone it into a poem with which I was really pleased.
When Silver Birch Press accepted it, they sent me a nice compliment in their note to me. I wasn’t sure when exactly my poem would appear, but I was so happy it came out on Monday. The editor found a copy of the recording of the Mahler songs and linked it to the poem, which was so touching to me. I have been happily plastering Facebook, Top of JC’s Mind, and some email inboxes with the link to this poem because I want people to read it and to listen to the recording.
It also makes me feel like I belong in the community of poets. While there are always some newer poets like me represented in Silver Birch Press and other places in which my work has been published, most of the poets have chapbooks or collections to their credit. Being among them gives me hope that I might be able to publish a chapbook in the next few years.
It’s good for poets to dream…