At last the Holidays are over, the kids have gone back to school, and I have been able to attend to the many deadlines that I have been attempting to ignore throughout the festivities (remarkably pleasant and relaxing, I will note in passing).
Perhaps the most important of these is the January 23rd deadline for my Artists in Education application. This is a program run by the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, which offers artists of various genres residencies in NJ schools to promote Arts education. I learned about the program from one of the many poetry related mailing lists to which I subscribe, and immediately thought that it would be a perfect way both to ease myself back into the workforce, and to further my own agenda of improving the way formal poetry is taught in this country.
Needless to say, the application package required is extensive, comprising a ten page artist’s Narrative, resume, ten pages of work and three references, all to be provided in octuplicate (if that is the correct word). I finished that today, and mailed it off.
Next up: the prose piece on form that the Schuykill Valley Journal had requested by mid-January. This was fun to write, actually, and may well turn into a two-parter. (There’s just SO MUCH to say about form!) I emailed that to the Editor and Poetry Editor yesterday.
The final proof of The Raintown Review arrived yesterday. Naturally, we are way past deadline on that–it was supposed to be out in December. So I spent yesterday afternoon proof reading. It was actually pretty clean, apart from errors in two poets’ names on the cover! Thankfully I caught those. If you are a contributor reading this, it should be hitting the presses in the next few days, and you can expect your copy in the next week or two.
Book contests with mid-January deadlines: I entered three. Of course the manuscript has been done for a while, so apart from checking through to see if any more of the poems had been accepted (they hadn’t) or if I had revised some (I had) or if there was any new work I wanted to switch in (there wasn’t, due to the scarcity of new work written in December) this just required the time, ink and paper to print and collate.
All of which leaves only one application which requires urgent attention: my Sewanee Writers’ Conference Scholarship Application. They don’t actually begin accepting applications until January 15th, which gives me some time. However, once again, the sheer volume of stuff that needs to be organized is intense. I decided to try for Sewanee this year instead of Bread Loaf (although Bread Loaf was awesome!) partly because Lorna’s birthday falls during Bread Loaf again and I would feel horribly guilty missing it for the second year running. Of course, Sewanee means I miss Becky’s birthday instead, but hey, it’s her turn! Besides, the Sewanee time frame suits Fee, my wonderful British “au pair.” I also have a sneaking suspicion Sewanee will prove more hospitable toward formalists: Andrew Hudgins, Brad Leithauser and Mary Jo Salter are all on faculty, and Charles Martin is coming to read.
So I have been busy, busy, busy. But my renewed concentration on poetry after my month playing Santa has had a beneficial effect on my actual poetic output. Having written two poems in the whole of December, only really one with publication potential, I have already written three in the first week of January, one of which I have some relatively high hopes for.
Speaking of high hopes, the Level 7 State Gymnastics Championship takes place on Saturday January 17th. Madame La Beck will of course be competing in the eleven-year-old age group, and I will make sure I post her results here. Not that it really matters in the general scheme of things. She has scored out of Level 7, clearly, and will be competing as a Level 8 (having already mastered most Level 8 skills) less than a month later. I think the plan is still to score her out of Level 8 early if possible and start her as a Level 9 in September.
Wish us both luck, in passing!