On 2018 and my year in poetry
These end-of-year personal inventories are something I really look forward to once December arrives. Some years feel so incredibly long because of everything that manages to happen in world news in a twelve-month period, so it becomes really easy to forget about the things I accomplished just a few months earlier—especially when my work life is so busy that it feels like I barely manage to lift my head up enough to work on any of my personal goals. These inventories give me back a much-needed sense of perspective that I can so easily lose sight of. So, here are all of the poetry accomplishments I managed this year:
- I had poems published in print journals Passages North and The Cincinnati Review. My first visual poems were also published online in Dream Pop Press and Duende.
- My second chapbook was published by Porkbelly Press in April: Blackbird Whitetail Redhand. Each copy is hand-stitched with a beautiful letterpress cover.
- In September, I read from this new chapbook alongside fellow poet Kimberly Quiogue Andrews at the Rose O'Neill Literary House.
- In November, I gave a poetry publishing talk with James Allen Hall at the Kent County Public Library.
- I actually managed to earn a little money from poetry this year too! I got paid for a magazine publication, for giving a public talk about poetry, and I sold quite a few signed copies of both of my chapbooks. All in all, it ended up being a few hundred bucks that I didn't have before.
- After a 9-month hiatus following the completion of my first full-length manuscript, I finally broke through and wrote four new poems, three of which I really, really like.
- In August, Kimiko Hahn chose my full-length manuscript Catechesis: a postpastoral for the 2018 Agha Shahid Ali Prize at The University of Utah Press! It is scheduled for publication in spring 2019.
This final item is obviously the biggest thing to happen to me this year (or any year up until now!). To say that I never expected this would be an understatement. Since then, my book has gotten a gorgeous cover, an ISBN, a foreword from the magnanimous Kimiko Hahn, and blurbs from three incredible poets: Matthea Harvey, Sara Eliza Johnson, and Joyelle McSweeney. Here's that cover, which I am absolutely in love with:
The cover designer at The University of Utah Press took elements from two of my visual poems and then recombined them in this new and captivating way. I love the color too. By this time next year, my book will be a real object I can hold in my hands. But it is available for preorder directly from the publisher right now!
This has been a HUGE year for me. There are so many good things from this past year that I am so very grateful for. There was also a lot of stress and struggle in my work and personal lives, but I'm grateful for that too. My writing goals for 2019 are: to successfully launch Catechesis into the world, to plan some readings for after the book is out, and to write as many new poems as I can.
Wishing you all a happy end-of-2018 and a happy new year. Thank you, friends!