I’m looking through some old blog posts to capture where my head was at last year when it came to my writing and am happy to see that I’m still the same puzzled but thoroughly optimistic marginal writer I was last year.
Marginal not in the “Oh woe is me! When will the world recognize me!!” type tragic figure but marginal in the “Hey, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by writing poems that challenge myself.” So maybe I am not the same writer cuz last year I was not happy with being marginal. I can distinctly remember a time in the midst of 2008 where I was hella pissed off about being on the sidelines and the perception that my writing and my opinions were being overlooked in favor of more recognized writers. Yeah, it was a little bit of a pity party and I was the Promoter, DJ, MC, Doorman and the Crowd.
The good news is that said Pity Party resulted in me making some strong power moves and getting more attention the best way I can: Writing more, revising more, publishing my own chap and reading in more public spaces.
I fell a little short in the last department but look to rectify that in 2009 and try to hustle for some more local gigs that will keep my performance poetry skills sharp and aid in my editing process.
Speaking of goals, a private one I made for myself was to regularly write more article length book reviews and send them out to various journals for publication. I completely dropped the ball on this and instead settled for shorter reviews on my Good Reads page. I’ll consider this a good start in the right direction but not where I want to be next year in terms of serious literary review.
A goal that I did stick to from last year is the release of a new chapbook in 2008. Funny thing is that last year at this time I was working on a chapbook project with poems from my last KSW Workshop with Truong Tran but put that project on hold because of National Poetry Month and ended up writing a new set of poems that became Palimpsest. I’m still revising that chapbook and hope to get it done before April since I plan on attacking NaPoWriMo again and developing more poems for my manuscript.
With all that said I want to give 2008 a major shout out as a year where I became even more serious about my writing, learned the difference between revision and editing (Thank you, Robert Vasquez), learned that being marginal is not a bad thing at all, and went back to being the guy who is willing to take a few risks.
An extra shout out to anyone who published me, asked me to submit work, left a comment on the blog, bought one of my chapbooks, swapped some good media for one of my chaps, and/or reads the blog on a regular basis. For reals, thanks much.
Some highlights from 2008:
• Co-featuring with Barb at the Sacramento Poetry Center
• OCHO #15
• The publication release party for In the Grove #16
• Hosting and reading for Achiote Press
• Reading at the Eastlake Sessions
• Returning to the BX and reading at Spanic Attack’s sudaca bronx jam in front of family, friends and colleagues
• Hangin in NYC with my family and best friend
• Being chosen as a finalist for this year’s Andrés Montoya Prize
• Introducing Edwin Torres at SPT
• Ozone Park
• Meeting, hanging out with, and reading alongside Jimmy Santiago Baca
• Reading at Books and Bookshelves with Camille Dungy and DeWayne Dickerson
Rest In Power: raulrsalinas, Reginald Lockett, Alfred Arteaga, Studs Turkel, Mahmoud Darwish, John Leonard and all the voices that left us to early.