Saturday, November 21, 2009

"11:30," a poem, was accepted by decomP.

My flash fiction series is ready to go with the first two pieces, except I don't have a's about a barren couple who teach at an all-girls boarding school. I'm thinking "The Idealists."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ask the Author: CL Bledsoe
[Roxane Gay / November 17th, 2009 / Interviews ]
Writer and editor CL Bledsoe, whose poetry appears in the November issue, gets into matters of craft with J. Bradley.

1. How important are titles in setting the appropriate context in your work?

Titles are extremely important. Titles set the tone for a piece of writing. They point the reader in the right direction without giving too much away. A poor title can obfuscate meaning in unintentional ways, or give too much away. A strong title adds to the impact of a piece of writing. As an editor, if I see a piece that’s untitled, odds are, I’m going to pass–if the writer can’t be bothered to come up with a title, s/he probably hasn’t written a very strong piece. Obvious exceptions include Simon Perchik, who never titles his work, and who we’ve published several times.

2. When you write a poem, do you read it aloud as you create it to craft the rhythm or do you let it sit in silence?

I kind of read them aloud in my head. I read over most of my poems many, many times, and will go back to them several times for a couple days just to re-read them and tweak the rhythm by altering the word choice or line breaks or whatever before I put it down. This is after I’ve actually “finished” the poem, so I’m not really changing meaning, just rhythm.

3. PANK gets you drunk enough at a Karaoke bar to sing a Billy Idol song. Which one would it be and why?

I would sing “I’m Sailing” by Bad Brains instead because come on.

4. I see you write fiction and poetry. Which is easier for you to create? Does fiction and poetry ever blur since you juggle both like knives and kittens?

For me, writing poetry is briefer and more intense, like a quickie. Writing fiction takes more of a time commitment. I don’t have the time, right now, to write as much fiction as I’d like. It’s a shame. I was recently solicited by a journal for some ficton, and I just don’t have very much, right now, that hasn’t been published, and I don’t have the opportunity to write more. I’m working a job where 12-14 hour days are common. I’m lucky to write a poem or two a week.

I always know what a particular piece is, though I’ve had poems published as fiction, fiction published as poetry, and once, I was given a non-fiction award for a flash piece that was clearly fictional. All of this was due to editorial decision; I had nothing to do with it.

5. What are your five favorite poems of all times?

“A Blessing,” by James Wright, “Lovesong for J. Alfred Prufrock,” by TS Eliot, “Me and Her Outside,” by Steven Jessie Bernstein, “somewhere i have never traveled, gladly,” by e.e. cummings, “Aubade,” by Philip Larkin. This isn’t true, of course; these are just the first five that come to mind.

6. Which literary movement do you feel isn’t appreciated enough?

Whichever one I belong to. For several years, I’ve been a fan of the New York School, though I vacilate between that and New Formalism. I dabble in post-language, but I’m firmly grounded in experiential-derived poetry. But all of these are appreciated, except maybe New Formalism. You can tell I’m behind the times.

7. “Differences Between My True face and the Stolen Faces I Encounter Outside” is a great example of an effective list poem. What’s the weirdest list poem you’ve ever written?

Thank you. The weirdest list poem I’ve written would be this one.

I can’t, in good conscience, recommend the list form because it’s very difficult to not put the reader to sleep with a list poem, and yet I’ve written several. ”Types of Fish I Don’t Like” was actually the title poem of my first chapbook, until the publisher refused to publish the poem, so I cut it and changed the title to _____(WANT/NEED).

8. If you could reunite one band, which one would it be and why?

I would reunite my old band, Shizknit, because I never got to rule the world.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I just had an essay picked up. "This Trick I'm Learning," which is about agoraphbia, was accepted by The Dead Mule. I'm kind of blown away whenever one of my essays is picked up--it's so rare.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mud Luscious Press is putting out a mini-chap of mine called "Texas." Here's the link:
"Bachelor Club," a poem from my forthcoming collection RICELAND, was accepted by New Mexico Poetry Review. Nice to have some work in a journal I haven't appeared in before.
So a student club (Teens Agains Drugs and Alcohol) sponsored an activity in which students would write Christmas cards to young people who are in rehab, basically. She was telling us about this at dinner. A couple of the kids thought they were writing to our troops and wrote things like, "Thanks for what you're doing for our country!" Also, she very clearly explained that they couldn't use a lot of red or blue because these are gang colors. Of course, a couple kids drew big red ornaments and blue bows and things on their cards. I think she has a career as a teacher ahead of her, now that she understands what it's like to tell kids very clearly exactly what to do or not do and then have those same kids completely space on it and do exactly what they're not supposed to do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So I sent some poems to a journal, and the fiction editor wrote me back and asked if I had any fiction. I didn't, but I sent a couple stories anyway. She didn't like them. So I wrote a new one and sent it to her, and she liked it so much she asked if it was part of a series or if I could expand it. So I sent another sort of similar one. She liked that too and asked if I'd like to do a series. So I'm going to do a series. I have no idea what about or how long, but I'll figure that out in the next couple days. Pretty cool.

Also, the wifey and I've been watching the Canadian comedy "Slings and Arrows." Good stuff.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Another Riceland poem, "The Bank," was picked up by Toasted Cheese.

I actually had a chance to write some fiction today. Wrote a nice little flash piece. Ghoti will probably be going up tomorrow.
48. Spin, a mini-chap by Zachary C. Bush. I reviewed this for Ghoti. Good stuff.

49. Put Your Head in My Lap, a fiction chapbook by Claudia Smith. I also reviewed this for Ghoti. Also good stuff.

50. Call Me Misfit, a chapbook by Joanne Lowery. Reviewed for Ghoti.

51. when I come here, a chapbook by ryan eckes. Reviewed for Ghoti.

52. 100 Papers, a collection of prose poems and flash fiction by Liesl Jobson. Reviewed for Ghoti.

53. At the Threshold of Alchemy, poems by John Amen. Reviewed for Ghoti.

When I was in college, I would pile books I'd read on the floor in between my bed and my dresser. My goal was to reach the top of the dresses every month with new books. I tended to make it. Looks like I'm not going to make 100 books by the end of the year, but I did make 50.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Another RICELAND poem, "Chairs," was accepted by Verse Wisconsin for a special issue.

The same poem led another journal to solicit some fiction from me. Unfortunately, I don't have much worth mentioning to send. Lot of work to do this week. 2 exams left to write, Ghoti is late, I'm on duty this weekend, and I have to proctor an SAT exam Saturday. Not a lot of time. Maybe next week, I'll be able to write...