Reading at APSU / Zone 3 with Nancy Eimers

I traveled to Clarksville, TN, this month for the launch of my book. Clarksville is home to Austin Peay State University & Zone 3 Press, and every other year they hold a first book contest in poetry and fly in the winner AND the judge for a reading and meeting with a creative writing class. Nancy Eimers, author of Oz (Carnegie Mellon 2011), Grammar to Waking (Carnegie Mellon 2006), No Moon (Purdue 1997), and Destroying Angel (Wesleyan 1991), was the judge, and let me say, a fabulous reader and all-around amazing person. I have never felt so welcome – by Ms. Eimers, but also by the incredible staff and faculty and students of APSU and Zone 3. A special shout-out to Susan Wallace, Andrea Spofford, and Barry Kitterman – I know I saw the tiniest sliver of their responsibilities at APSU and Zone 3, and yet I was impressed by their dedication to students and literature and their own writing.

The book contest and many of the creative writing activities are thanks to Tennessee’s funding and dedication to its Centers of Excellence; the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts is housed at APSU. It’s funding and foresight like this that keeps literature and creative endeavors moving forward.

Here are a couple of photos from the event – one of me and Ms. Eimers; one of me signing books & greeting. Both are grainy (low light, my brother’s phone). But that’s a very happy me in both photos.

Frost in the Low Areas

After more than a year of anticipation (on my part), my book Frost in the Low Areas is now available for pre-order, with shipping happening around the middle of October. You can get it from Zone 3 Press, the publisher, and shipping is FREE.

Please, when you can, support small presses by ordering from the press or through Small Press Distribution. When you order from Amazon, the press gets a measly and evil 20-some percent of the cost back – not enough to sustain a small press. 

Here’s the link to Zone 3 Press, out of Austin Peay State University in Tennessee: https://epay.apsu.edu/C20023_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=163

Frost won the First Book Award from Zone 3 Press. 

Picking cover art for Frost in the Low Areas

One of the tasks I’ve been given by Zone 3 Press is to come up with some cover art ideas. I’ve read other people’s blogs and interviews on cover art for their first books of poetry, and so many people seem to have had some art already picked out, sometimes by a friend who’s an artist. I do have friends that are artists and have considered this, but I haven’t landed on anything specific. So I’ve been cruising the Internet. The name of the manuscript is Frost in the Low Areas, bringing to mind… well… cold stuff. Here are some links to fabulous images of cold stuff, or getting-to-be-but-not-yet cold stuff.

Photography by Dan Brown 

I especially like the last two images by Dan Brown on the page – the one in blue, and the one that looks like a palm tree or pressed fern.

And here are a bunch of images by photographer Lars van de Goor of the Netherlands.

Image 1   Image 2   Image 3   Image 4   Image 5
Image 6   Image 7

Nice photos. I especially like the images with people in them, though I worry that most of those are too wintry and monochrome.

Here’s one that caught my eye early on, by photographer Robert Fulton of the UK. It’s the first image on the page.

Robert Fulton’s photo

I found the fractals by Matt Walford interesting. My favorite is the blue one – that image doesn’t seem to load directly, so you’ll need to click on the thumbnail at the bottom of the page.

Fractal

…and that’s it so far. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have some Zone 3 books on my nightstand right now, and they’re gorgeous – and the covers seem so perfect. Here are links to a couple of Zone 3 books that I own.

John Pursley’s If You Have Ghosts 
Amanda Auchter’s The Glass Crib 

Nice covers, eh?

New poem in Used Furniture Review, & more

New poem out in Used Furniture Review. My friends on Facebook have been having fun passing it around because, well, it’s so trashy. Truly trashy. Here’s the link:

“Disposal”

What did you think I meant by “trashy”? 

Other news: I just got a letter from the Hudson Valley Writer’s Project (Slapering Hol Press) that my chapbook manuscript “A Whole Set of Words Not To Use Around Children” was a finalist for their contest. Nice! This week, at least, I don’t mind being the bridesmaid. 

Zone 3 First Book Award (alternate title: I won! I won! I won!)

It’s been a sleepless week. On Monday (six days ago as I write this) I got a call from Blas Falconer at Zone 3 Press out of Austin Peay State University, letting me know I won the First Book Award in Poetry for my manuscript Frost in the Low Areas. So I jumped up and down for a while, sent a thumbs up to my hubby in the next room, tried to shush my two small kids (who were not impressed by my recent good luck), spoke incoherently on the phone to Blas, and wondered if this could be an elaborate hoax. Well, I hope not, ’cause I’ve been telling everyone and I’ll feel silly if I have to take it back.

Zone 3 has been marvelous – so kind and reassuring. The final judge, Nancy Eimers, sent me an incredible note and suggested I not make too many changes to the manuscript before it goes into book form. That’s pretty amazing, considering her name will always be on it.

I’ll have a book. A book! I’ll get to hold that little sucker in my hands.

Here’s the press release.

Publication is set for fall 2013. Now to think of some cover art…

Follow-up to "Rumors of Her Death…"

The poem that Boxcar Poetry Review published and will be included in the 2011 Best of the Net Anthology has a companion piece:

After the “Rumors” Poem, I Drive Very Carefully

Because wouldn’t it be a kick in the ass to die
the day after I wrote the last one? Someone
at my funeral, no doubt a poet, would sparkle
with the irony. “She must have known,”
he’d say at the podium. “She was saying
goodbye.” What I was saying, honestly,
was Thanks, kids, for letting me mine your
fragile, tiny psyches. I spend the day peering
skyward for falling pianos, off-course planes,
friendly fire, the usual calamities. Keep tabs
on the town ambulance. Check twice
in the crosswalks. Chew food with care.
Slow down the body, breath and heart,
the rate of cell die-off, the usual skin sloughing,
I don’t even have to pee until the afternoon.
Twice I cross train tracks, think this
could be it. Clutch the rail in the shower.

And then think: what if it is my last day?
I could say yes to the charities and blood drives. 
Burn my reading list, my tepid writing idea.
Cook dinner for my family, something nice. Play
the kid-chasing game, join them on the trampoline.
And if I live into the evening, knowing it’s my last,
what a glorious sunset, unless it is cloudy,
when I will say what glorious clouds.