A Spider Summer

A black-and-yellow garden spider set up shop outside my bedroom window last month. While she might look scary, she’s in fact harmless to humans. I’ve enjoyed watching her weave her web in the morning. It’s also quite a show to see her kill and wrap up a bee or cricket when it flies into her nest. And the process of watching her eat her prey is fascinating.

I’ve taken quite a few videos of her this summer. If you’re not arachnophobic, check them out! And even if you are, just watch. You might discover there’s nothing to be afraid of.

 

Welcome to the world, chapbook!

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Yes! It’s true! I have a new chapbook!

Five Oaks Press has just released We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, I was still struggling to get a failing project into the world. I didn’t imagine this book would happen. But I was also in the midst of a second round of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project, and something was happening. I was writing a lot of cathartic poems. About my past. About my failed marriage.

I had spent a long time trying to get over it. Get over everything. And now it seemed I finally was.

Not all of the 30/30 poems made it into this chapbook. Most were culled; many didn’t fit thematically. But I added a few older poems and wrote a few new ones as well. By July, I had a manuscript. And after lots of revision and lots of rejection, I found out that Five Oaks Press had named it a finalist and was offering me a contract.

Going from manuscript to publication in less than a year feels like a miracle. I’m very lucky that things all came together. I’m in love with this book, and the relationship I have with Five Oaks.

April might be National Poetry Month, but May is an auspicious one for me, at least with my own work.

You can purchase the book on Amazon. Or, to order a signed copy, send $15 via PayPal to literaryaustin@gmail.com. The price includes shipping, and I’ll be happy to inscribe it however you want!

Revision Redux

In March 2015, I ran a two-week online writing workshop focused on revision. I had such a great time coaching poets on how to streamline their poetry, and I’ve been looking for opportunities to run it again. I’m happy to announce I have some extra time for workshops this summer, so I’ll be running the Online Revision Mission Workshop not once, but twice! I’m offering a session in June and a session in July. (Who knows? If I get enough interest, I might run it in August, too!)

Check out the details below:

Revision Mission Online Workshop (Sessions available in June or July)
Session 1: June 16th – June 26th
Session 2: July 11th – July 25th
Cost: $15 before May 1st; $25 between May 1st and the registration deadline
Registration Deadline: June 13th for session 1; July 9th for session 2
Description: It’s almost summertime! Forget all that talk of bikini bodies, and let’s focus on slimming down those poems! Join me for a repeat of this two-week online workshop that will get you revising those neglected poems in no time! With this workshop, you’ll get daily revision prompts. I’ll also send tips on how and when to let go of poems that aren’t coming together, and decluttering your hard drive or writing desk. In addition, you’ll get a one-on-one critique of two poems. Join me in making your poems sharp and lean! To sign up, please use the online registration form

I’m also hoping to host some in-person workshops this summer. Stay tuned for more information!

My Big Poetry Giveaway

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As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts this month, I’m thrilled to be hosting the Big Poetry Giveaway this year! Thanks again to Kelli Russell Agodon for letting me take over.

Yesterday’s post was all about the guidelines for participants. Today’s post is to tell you about the books I’m giving away this year.

But first, a little about me. I know I’ll see some familiar faces at the blog in the coming weeks, but Big Poetry Giveaway always brings me new friends, so I find it helpful to introduce myself.

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Credit: Tova Charles Photography

In my poetry life, I’m the author of two chapbooks. The first, We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013. The second, Come Into the World Like That, is forthcoming from Five Oaks Press. I also serve as co-editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar and occasionally teach poetry workshops around Texas and online.

By day, I teach business and technical communications and ESL at Austin Community College. When I’m not teaching, I’m a student, pursuing an MFA through the University of Texas at El Paso.

Beyond teaching and writing, I love practicing yoga, baking bread, and walking my dog. I’m one of those perpetually busy people. It’s just so hard to say no to things!

Now that I’ve introduced myself, here are the books I plan to give away:

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One of my favorite things about having a chapbook is being able to send it to people as part of Big Poetry Giveaway! This is my first published book, and I’m happy to send a signed copy to whoever wins!

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The second book I plan to give away is Jean Valentine’s new collection, Shirt in Heaven. Valentine is one of my all-time favorite poets, and this book does not disappoint. I look forward to being able to send this wonderful book to a winner!

To enter my giveaway, please comment with your name and email address by 11:59 p.m. Central on April 30th. I look forward to hearing from you and sending out some great poetry!

Big Poetry Giveaway 2016: Guidelines

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Just six days left until April. Which means my birthday, National Poetry Month, AIPF, Poetry at Round Top, and of course, Big Poetry Giveaway! This is the seventh Big Poetry Giveaway, and I’m thrilled to be taking over hosting duties.

If you’re new to BPG, you may be wondering how to participate. It’s pretty simple:
Anyone with a blog can give away two books of poetry.
You can enter any or all of the giveaways.

Big Poetry Giveaway has officially started, and will run through April 30th, 2016. If you want to participate, you must do the following by Tuesday, April 5th:

  1. Create a blog post that includes the header image at the top of this page (so we know who’s participating that announces the books you are giving away. You may want to talk a little about yourself as well.
  2. Be sure that comments are enabled on your post, or people won’t be able to enter!
  3. In your BPG post, please include a link to this entry, so that newcomers can easily find the guidelines and do a giveaway of their own.
  4. Once your post is live, leave a comment here with: 1) The title of your blog; 2) Your name; 3) The direct link to your post.

I will update the running list of participants every few days, and will close to new entries at 11:59 p.m. Central time on Tuesday, April 5th.

During the week of May 1st, select two participants as winners. I recommend using this handy random number generator.

Please note that by participating in Big Poetry Giveaway, you are agreeing to send two books anywhere in the world. You pay for postage. The winner does not.

FAQ
1. Can I give away my own poetry? Yes! But please make sure that the other book was written by someone else. We’re sharing authors we love.

2. What if I don’t have a book of my own? No worries! Just give out two collections you love by other people.

3. I don’t have a lot of spare cash. Are used books acceptable? Gently used books in good condition are fine.

4. How will I know who’s participating? I will keep a running list of participating blogs/sites here.

5. Can I give away more than two books? Absolutely!

6. Can I enter the drawings if I’m not giving any books away? Yes! Drawings are open to anyone.

7. How do I participate if I don’t have a blog? You can still enter other people’s entries, but you can’t do a giveaway.

8. Do chapbooks count as books? Yes!

9. What if I don’t want to pay for postage? Remember that during this giveaway, you must be willing to send a book anywhere in the world. If you’re unwilling to cover the cost of postage, please do not participate.

10. How do I enter the drawings? Each blogger will have their own requirements for how to enter. Follow the rules on each post.

I’m honored to be continuing the Big Poetry Giveaway tradition. Have fun!

Get Ready for Big Poetry Giveaway 2016!

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Kelli Russell Agodon came up with the idea of the Big Poetry Giveaway as an opportunity for people to connect and share their love of poetry. The aim is simple: every participating blogger gives away two books of poetry during National Poetry Month. (And you must be willing to send them anywhere in the world, at your own expense.) One can be your own work, but the second should be someone else’s. This is our chance to bring a new audience to the poets we love to read.

After six great years with Kelli at the helm, I’m taking over hosting duties for Big Poetry Giveaway, and I’m thrilled. I’ll officially launch Big Poetry Giveaway on March 25th. On that day, I’ll put up a post with full guidelines for participation. So if you want to join this year, start thinking about the books you’d like to give away! And please help spread the word through your own blog and through other social media. I want to make sure everyone knows where to find the Giveaway this year!