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On Book Edits & Busy-ness

Hello everyone! It’s been a hot second. I write this missive happily ensconced in the library, where you can find me more often than not. When I'm not there, I'm working in Rochester as an intern at BOA Editions, LTD. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, and when I'm not there, I'm teaching Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and if not THERE, then maybe you'll see me around during my graduate classes on Thursdays, where I've got my butt in a chair for a solid six hours being lectured on King Lear and then conventions of fiction. And if all else fails, you can surely find me on the floor of my apartment in the fetal position, chanting "It's only 13 more weeks until the end of the semester" into the carpet until I fall into blissful, uncomplicated sleep. Rinse and repeat.

It’s been a busy, busy, busy time. I came onboard as the new Co-Editor in Chief of Salt Hill Journal, and we’re gearing up to begin traversing our glorious slush pile for Issue 50, while Issue 49, our delightful kink & romance issue, becomes a real boy at the printers. It’s lovely and exciting to begin this next chapter. I started as a poetry and nonfiction reader my first semester, transitioning into nonfiction genre editor and poetry assistant editor my second year, and now I’m at the helm with a dear friend, thinking of ways to really celebrate our incredible contributors. Not to get too emotional, but it’s very gratifying, to see the work from the ground up, to see how a literary journal breathes and operates out in the world. (Side note, come see us at AWP! We’ll be there with bells on and would love to see you.)

In other news, my first poetry collection, Bad Animal, develops apace. I just finished round two of book edits, and I’ve been bouncing book promotion ideas off my wonderful publisher, who has been very kind and tolerant of my shenanigans. How about printing business cards with the book cover on them? I’ve started a master reviewer spreadsheet! I feel like a chicken with its head cut off, but in contrast to said chicken, I am having a wonderful time. It’s so interesting to see the collection gathering steam. This was a total shock to me, the book getting picked up, and so accepting the reality that this book will be out in the world come July and probably even before that has been wild in the extreme. The result of this is that I’ve become a nitpicker, combing through the manuscript for any punctuation out of place, I’ve become very protective of it. I should clarify that when I say protective, it’s more a mother-making-sure-their-child-made-it-to-the-bus-stop sort of protectiveness, not so much a possessiveness. I understand this book will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and for sure there are things people close to me will not like seeing the light of day, but also this book is the book I had to write. I hope people will understand that. And if they don’t, that’s not my problem. (I would like to think my therapist would be proud of me for coming to that assertion myself, and not during one of our sessions! No copay needed!)

On a more general housekeeping note, I’m going to start writing about the books I’m reading in these missives as well as general updates about the book process (cover reveal coming in the next few weeks!) I received my physical copy of Gabrielle Bates’ powerhouse debut poetry collection, Judas Goat, and having devoured the eGalley I was sent, I’ve been re-savoring it in small bites, a poem here, a poem there. Similarly, I’ve been making my slow way through Best New Poets 2022, living for the wonder of discovering poets I had no knowledge of beforehand. It’s such a lovely thing each year to celebrate the power of words and those who love writing them. In anticipation of the publication process for Bad Animal, I’ve been reading through Courtney Maum’s “Before and After the Book Deal” and Jeannine Hall Gailey’s “PR for Poets,” which is an excellent resource on the sticky thing known as putting oneself out there. For BOA, I’ve been reading books to feature for Black History Month: Renia White’s “Casual Conversation,” Geffrey Davis’ “Revising the Storm” and Janice N. Harrington’s “Even the Hollow My Body Made is Gone.” All three phenomenal and moving collections, all stunning. I think that’s about it? In terms of reading? Or at least in terms of poetry. Jury’s still out on other genres.

That’s it for now, folks. Happy Monday!


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