New poem who dis?

I don't think I'm alone in saying that poets are often the most in love with their current work. At least that's the case with my poetry. I love my new poems so much that I leave them in the safety of file folders on my computer and do not even contemplate reading them at events or even sending them out until I have an urgent reason to do so. It's like my elementary school sticker collection. I wanted to protect the stickers, to keep them safe by not letting anyone--including myself--see them, let alone peel them from the harbor of their pages. 
Is this poem-hoarding? Perhaps. But yesterday was a brutal winter day, and once I finally made it to campus I had time to do a few revisions, and then I decided to read all new poems at the Lakewood Library event that evening. The day was so busy that I did not have time to fret about whether I'd miss a word, inadvertently "revise" something on the fly, or flub the cadence of a line. And somehow, when I was up at…


Every year I forget how frantic spring semester can be. We're nearing the end of week two, and my calendar is filling up with meetings and thesis defenses. I'm excited about the thesis defenses, in particular, since we are part of a consortium and defenses mean that I am able to leave town for a day and hang out with different book-length works of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and even playwriting (I do it all).

This week I did some serious copyediting of university policy for one of my committees, and it made me think back to my red pencil and copyediting symbols of yesteryear. I may have had a hint of nostalgia, but promptly drew a red pencil line through it.

Working from home when home is work.

I'm not one for mulling over regrets, but often I wish that I could work happily with background noise. I envy friends who can listen to music while replying to emails (without typing the lyrics into said email, as I would do). Cafes are such energizing places, but I can barely concentrate. I grew up in a very quiet house, and work best in absolute silence. Right now as I type this, I am very aware of the clock ticking in the next room, for example, but at least it's consistent.
Today is rare for me: an entire day to work, hopefully quietly, at home. Zero kid schlepping, no cleaning, minimal laundry, only very slight cooking. I started working at 7:00 am and plan to work straight through until 5:00, with a brief lunch break and some moving around. As I do this, I'm recalling and practicing some strategies that have helped in the past, and I would like to share them with you.
1. Pick out an outfit that feels as much like pajamas as possible (without also feeling depressing…

Return of the page.

If you know me you know that I believe in paper. I annotate student and friend poems longhand. I emblazon papers with notes in green and orange and pink and light blue. I use a paper planner in addition to all my calendar and list apps. I devote a significant amount of my life to editing a book series where paper books are also art. So then why is it so much trouble to write lines for poems down longhand in a notebook? How come I'm not like so many poets who keep journals? Should I be blaming the twitter for this? Blaming myself? 
Over the summer I decided that the first step in getting back to paper was investing in a nice notebook. Green is my favorite color, and I value paper that feels good under a pen, so this one looked right. It also couldn't be too fancy, or else I'd be afraid to use it. It couldn't be too big, or I would come up with excuses for leaving it behind. Ideally, it would have that wholesome book smell when opened. I also hoped to return to my early…

Now let me clear my throat.

Dang, this new year feels new. Like a chill through the sinuses, or a wind that you feel in every seam of your jacket. It's cold and unshakable, but undeniably crisp.

I've accepted the challenge of blogging regularly here at The Word Cage again. I often have much to say, but save it for my students or the twitter.

What a whirlwind of a 2017. The University of Akron Press went to the National Book Awards to cheer on Leslie Harrison's The Book of Endings. Black Lawrence Press accepted my first collection of prose poems, Partial Genius, for publication in 2019. I read many stunning books and worked with brilliant student writers. I finally got around to organizing some parts of my life. I started sending poems out again after an unintentional hiatus.

Rather than setting resolutions, today I'll share two revelations that I've had in the past year, as a writer and a human. Maybe you'll find them helpful, too.

#1: It's okay to stop "customer servicing"…

That's a wrap, fall 2017 edition.

The universe is telling me to go back to sleep today. This doesn't happen often, and I can't do it. But there's something about all the edges being softer for once, or things feeling way less urgent, or the sound of a dog snoring in a chair becoming the exact metronome needed to gather the nerve to drink a little more coffee. Right now my hair looks like it belongs on a witch doll, and maybe the witch doll is me. I'm totally cool with that.

Every semester I'm like wow, what a semester filled with surprises, but this year has changed the calibration on the wow scale, because I certainly was not expecting to cancel a week of class and jet to NYC and celebrate at the National Book Awards. But everything came together as I hoped it would, and though at present my to-do list looks like a gigantic novelty to-do list to be bestowed upon some unlucky sweepstakes winner, I'm going to make it through, even if this particular Sunday is cough and yawn and witch hair and s…