I can’t even begin to tell you how great it felt to FINALLY get back out into the city today! It was pretty frigid outside, but the sun was out and it was just incredible to be outside. I gave myself a ton of time to get to Poets House in case I was moving at a snail’s pace, but I actually made great time.
I spent a lot of time today purging the display of new journals in the front of the library, which was a task I was definitely eager to take on. I went through each journal and took out multiples, leaving the most current issue. I was able to glance at the newest of the most popular journals and a lot of the less popular ones…like this tiny one that I think was called Trash that was the size of my palm. There were journals in the form of newspapers, like Bookforum, and still others that were just photocopied 8.5X11 printer paper stapled together—something I probably could have done myself! Not only was it interesting to see the wide range of physical forms of journals, I also found that journals can go far beyond the format of a collection of poems that seem to work out of a similar aesthetic. There were journals with political articles, journals dedicated only to interviews, journals on the subject of poetic research, journals full of book reviews…journals galore! One of my favorite discoveries is Ploughshares, a magazine edited by a different writer every issue. It’s not that this issue contains only poems by one writer—that would be a book (durrr). These are just like any other journal, but the editor making the final decisions on what’s included changes every time, and that’s whose name appears on the spine of the journal. After weeding out the older journals, I took them back to the archive at the back of the library and shelved them. I shelved the issue of Ploughshares recently edited by Tony Hoagland, and I spotted those edited by Mark Doty, Sherman Alexie, and Ted Hughes, to name a few. I’m looking forward to having some time to read them.
Basically, I love any task that requires spending any amount of time in the library. It’s a relatively small library, so it’s not unrealistic to think that one could come to know it intimately without his or her brain exploding…and I think I’m on my way! I had heard of many of the journals, and those were, understandably, the beautifully bound ones that boasted bajillions of issues in the back of the library. Journals like Poetry, The Georgia Review, and The Antioch Review. I found the cache of The Allegheny Review, the undergraduate journal I submitted to earlier this year. Though I’m a little peeved that it appears they didn’t accept my poems without sending me any letter of rejection (if you’re not going to take my poems, at least let me know so I’m not wondering!), I am definitely submitting to that again next year…I had no idea it’s so legit! Seeing all those journals made me realize I need to get my butt in gear and SUBMIT like crazy.
Other updates: I’ve finally decided what I want to do for my Individualized Project for this program…I’m going to write and put together a chapbook. It’s kind of a bold move, but would you expect anything less? A chapbook is like a very tiny, sometimes homemade-looking book. I’m thinking maybe fifteen-ish poems. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I want it to be made up of the best poems I can possibly put in this chapbook, not just the few that I could scramble to finish in time for the final deadline. I’ll probably get the pages printed, but I’ll put them together myself. I’m thinking I want to make around fifty. Stay tuned, because I will probably give some away through this site in the future. I’m so excited about this project, but my mind is all over the map at this stage. I’ll keep you guys updated.