It’s been a long time I shouldn’t have left you/Without a strong rhyme to step to

“Dement, Jurne” Uploaded by Heart of Oak

Damn, I miss blogging. I know this isn’t the common sentiment and it’s more fashionable to compare the blog to Sisyphus’ boulder but I miss dropping my observations, sharing poems and tracking my current growth as a writer. On the flip side, I am enjoying this new material I’ve been working on and having my poems surprise me with a demand for new language and fresh scenarios stemming from my own experience and studies but branching out into some unexpected places.

It’s been a hectic April with some great highs including:
• Completing the 30/30 challenge! Yes, I was late and doubled-up on at least two days but the bottom line is there are thirty drafts to work on. (Twenty-nine, really, the first poem “Heaven Below” was in my head for almost a whole year before finally typing it out and hashing through it.) Anyways, now that I’ve completed the NaPoWriMo challenge, I don’t think I’ll do it again. If I can do it in April, I should be doing it all the time.
• Heaven Below. It feels good to have a new chapbook and move from the editing to the revision stage with this group of poems, some of which are two years old.
• Apply yourself. April saw me apply for two big time workshops. I was lucky to have a week off at the beginning of the month so I could get them both done without dropping the ball on the Poem-A-Day and the new chap.
• And the winner is… VONA! Yeah, party people, I have been accepted to Willie Perdomo’s Poetry Collection Workshop this summer for VONA’s 10th anniversary year. I can not wait to get my developing MS workshopped.
• Still waiting on the other mystery workshop. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
• ♪It takes two to make a thing go right/It takes two to make it outta sight♫ Barb and I featured for Eth-Noh-Tec and busted out some poetic dialogue that was off the chain. After we intro’ed ourselves, we just went right into the work in a call-and-response format where each poem “spoke” to the next poem. It ended with us doing a collab version of “About B-Boys” and “(t)here.” One of my happiest moments on stage, ever.
• Back to the Bx! Huge thanks to Tara Betts who brought her copy of Heaven Below to a writing workshop with a Pre-G.E.D. group at West Farms Library in the Bronx. Betts tells me they really dug the title poem and copies were made and passed out. People, this is a dream come true. My poems read and shared in a Bronx Library, read with folks from the neighborhoods I was raised in. Oh man, this is why I write and why I need to write more. Thanks, Tara.
• More Tara. Be on the lookout for Betts’ debut poetry collection coming out this year.
• What’s slam poetry? I spent my morning yesterday teaching 12th graders about slam. Well, that’s what the teacher asked me to do but it quickly went right into “Ok, there is slam and there is literature. Let’s talk about where they meet and talk about poetry.” I had my cliche moment where the teacher tells me kids who normally don’t write poems are producing some great work. Guess what? They did. And cliche be damned it felt good.

That’s the quick breakdown with more reading reports, I Speak of the City poems, and randomness coming back to the blog soon.

Every day is a miracle when you’re a poet. Every day. Word.

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  1. Congratulations on the VONA workshop acceptance. Please keep us posted on the evolution of your book manuscript.

  2. Thank you, Francisco.

    More posts on manuscript(s) progress and chapbook evolution comin’ soon.

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