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!

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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!

Goodbye, 2015

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Out at Fort McKavett in October

Greetings from rural Illinois! I’m out here enjoying winter break, organizing poetry files, and writing haibun. Next week, I’ll be back to the warm weather, kicking off 2016 with a road trip through Mexico.

I’ve been too busy to blog this semester. I’ve even neglected my poor email newsletter. But I thought I’d pop in for a little year in review.

2015 wasn’t without difficulty, but it was much better than 2014. I’ve had numerous friends tell me your 30s are your best decade, and this year, that’s proved to be true.

This year, I successfully co-edited the 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar with Wade Martin, and helped host readings for the calendar around Texas. (I also had my license plate stolen at the reading in Houston, which was not fun.) I’m grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of Dos Gatos press and help continue the tradition of this great publication. Wade and I are already reading for 2017 (the deadline is January 15th!) so send along your poems!

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At the Blue Willow Bookshop reading for TPC

I also got to be a featured reader at the Austin International Poetry Festival, and met Nikki Giovanni on my birthday! 31 goes down in the record books as the best birthday ever.

I was fortunate enough to get more teaching work at ACC, allowing me to make education the focus of my career.

I got to attend a friend’s book launch in Chicago. I finished a new chapbook manuscript. I got to teach more poetry workshops.

Last but not least, I began an MFA program this fall. The first semester is over and done, and I’m so happy to be there. I’m looking forward to school starting again soon!

May the last day of 2015 be a happy one. Here’s to 2016!

A New Dawn, A New Day

It’s been an amazing summer. I can’t believe how busy I’ve been, or how fast it went. I started a haiku study group on Facebook. I learned how to make corn tortillas from scratch, and how to deep-fry avocados. I published a very angry and very NSFW poem at Thank You For Swallowing. I featured at poetry open mics in both San Antonio and Waco. I hosted a party for the first time since I was married. I started working on a new chapbook almost by accident. I started learning the Wudang staff form. I joined the Adult Education department at ACC. I quit my office job. I amassed over 30 hours of professional development credit. I got to see the Mountain Goats at the Moody Theater. I joined a wine club. I spent a lot of time poolside with a margarita and at least one of my best friends.

I’ve been very busy, and also very happy.

This morning begins a whole new chapter to my poetry and my career. The fall semester begins tomorrow, and I’m teaching five classes in two different departments. Yes, five classes is a lot, and I didn’t quite plan for this many. It happened largely by accident, due to staffing vacancies, and quite a bit of it ended up getting solidified at the last minute. But even though it’s going to be a lot of work, I’m thrilled. Making your living as an adjunct is tough, and it’s nice to know that this semester, I’m going to be doing well financially. Plus, while I’ve taken on a big workload, I’m finally at the point where teaching is all I do for a living. I’m not making end’s meet with an office job or other work. I get to be a writing teacher, pure and simple. It’s taken a lot of work to get here, and I’m grateful that the effort has finally paid off.

Fall textbooks!

This morning, I also begin my MFA through the University of Texas at El Paso. I’m grateful that technology has evolved to the point where it’s viable for me to study with the amazing faculty at UTEP and still live in Austin. I’m taking two classes this semester: Advanced Poetry Workshop and Writing and Social Action. I’m definitely nervous about returning to the graduate classroom after being away for so long. But I can’t wait. I’m so excited to see how this experience shapes my career.

Summer is my favorite season (yes, even in Texas), but I think I’m going to have a great autumn.