Acknowledgment: The End

One of this year’s unexpected X-mas gifts was a rejection letter from (Will Remain Anonymous) Press’ poetry chapbook contest. A part of me is cool with this. I know the game and it boils down to the fact that there will be winners and losers and this time around I was not one of the winners. Kurits Blow summed it quiet succinctly: And these are the breaks.

Another part of me is kinds mad that I went through the time, trouble and environmental waste of putting together a SASE. Hey, if all you are going to do is send out a form letter, wouldn’t it be greener to give folks the option of an e-mail response?

Another part of me is smiling at the evolution of the Bronx Projects kid into a full fledged Nor-Cal Tree Dapper. Dap: a man hug. Shoulder dap: a true man hug. Tree Dap: not a full hug but a sign of eco- respect. Word.

And there is the part of me that is wondering why I spend energy, not to mention cash, on these contests. The answer came to me as I was reading through Wind In a Box and even before the poems hit I see this line— Sincere thanks … for first acknowledging the poems (and previous versions of the poems) in this book.

You know, I’ve seen and used the word acknowledgment a few times but never really looked at it dead up solo. Acknowledge. Recognize. See. Accept. Validate. That’s what it all comes back to. Hitting open mics, hustling for features, slamming, submitting, applying for fellowships, querying, blogging. All so that folks can acknowledge me as a writer.

Well, Im’a flip it a bit and acknowledge folks who read this blog on a regular basis and the folks who leave comment for recognizing this process of not just becoming a writer but also trying to contribute something unique to American letters. Even if it’s only to a small audience, it’s a start and the launch pad for bigger projects. So thanks again y’all and here is to a better New Years.


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  1. Good luck with your reading tomorrow in Sacramento. I have two good memories of the Sacramento Poetry Center. The first involved hearing Gary Snyder, oh, back in 1999 or so perfrom a good sized portion of Rivers and Mountains Without End, accompanied by local musicians with whom he had been specifically rehearsing for several months. It was memorable for the way text and music complemented each other truly. The second was a a group reading the Sacramento Poetry Center hosted for the inaugural volume of Momotombo Press: Mark My Words, featuring the five emerging poets in the volume, including Maria Melendez.

    Thanks for contributing to OCHO #15. Looking forward to seeing your work in print there.

  2. Thanks for the good wishes. Barb and I plan to leave a strong poetic mark on the SPC tonight.

    Can’t wait to see that copy of OCHO.

    All the best in the New Year!

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