Today Feels Like the First Proper Day of Fall

It’s Monday, and both my daughters are back in school for full days—Becky is a sophomore at RVRHS and Lorna will graduate from 8th grade at Hainesport Middle School next June. It’s sunny, but I turned the air con off last night and this afternoon a cool breeze is wafting through my open windows. Peace at last!

I think back to all the blog postings I mentally composed on the run over the summer, fully intending to type them up the first opportunity that arose. There was the rapturous account of my two-week residency at VCCA, where I wrote fifteen or so new poems around the topic of Alzheimer’s and memory loss, and began translating selected poems by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore. There was the wryly funny “Ten Things I Learned at the Jersey Shore this Summer,” which would have been a bullet-pointed list including such gems as “Do not enter a contest to see how long you can submerge your hand in a jug of ice, especially while inebriated.” (The twinges have only just now worn off!) Finally, there was the exhausted few paragraphs I might have managed after teaching two weeks creative writing in the K-5 Multi-arts Summer Camp at the West Windsor Art Center.

The opportunities did not arise, or rather, the time was stolen in a pre-emptive strike by impromptu barbecues and poker games, by shopping for two teenage birthdays and trips to must-see movies, or by long walks with Sammy in the sun. Ultimately, who wants to waste summer by blogging about it?

But here we are, and now that I have obliquely managed to provide you with the highlights of my summer, perhaps it’s appropriate to segue into my upcoming fall plans, professionally and personally.

In a couple of weeks I’m heading to Berry College, GA to present a panel on the Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline at the Southern Women Writers Conference. On October 6th I’m once again judging and presenting the winners of the Children’s Poetry Contest at the Collingswood Book Festival, and a week later I’ll be Editor speed-dating for the Schuylkill Valley Journal at the annual Push to Publish conference. I’ve also agreed to be the interim Production Editor for the next issue of the SVJ, gulp! Finally, I’m reading at Carmine St. Metrics in NYC on November 4th, so do join me if you’re in town.

By that reading, I may conceivably have copies of Selected Poems of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore to sign. I ended up translating 18 of her poems, plus an essay on her by Paul Verlaine from Les Poètes Maudites, as part of my research for the Timeline essay, so I thought a Barefoot Muse Press chapbook was in order.

Speaking of chapbooks, High Voltage Lines by Tiel Aisha Ansari did very well, being featured by E-verse, Verse Daily and The Nervous Breakdown. The launch of Quincy R. Lehr’s Shadows & Gifts, scheduled for November 15th, looks likely to be even more high profile.

Quincy and I are also just wrapping up the copy for Raintown Review Volume 11, Issue 1, so that should be out by—well—let’s say before the winter!

Also on the topic of publications, Kin Poetry Journal published “The Tone of the Neighborhood” in mid-July; Adanna published “Weltschmerz” in their “How Women Grieve” issue at the end of July, and both US1 and Waccamaw have accepted poems for publication in their next issues.

I’m back at the Richard Stockton College of NJ Tuesdays and Thursdays this fall, teaching Rhetoric & Composition to a new batch of fresh-faced young adults, and my classes for older adults will begin again on Friday afternoons at the West Windsor Art Center starting Friday 28th.

So, busy, busy, busy as usual, but before things get crazy, let me leave you with another bullet point from the shore: “When the forecast includes torrential rain and violent thunderstorms, it may not be the ideal time to rent a four-person Surrey for the Ocean City boardwalk unless you actively enjoy being soaked to the skin and in danger of electrocution.” Seriously, at least I learned something this summer!.


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