Friday, February 15, 2008

Light pollution & bloghopping


I came across a poem with this phrase recently, and found myself ruminating not on the poem but on the ambiguity. Can't people coining new green terms come up with better phrases? I can't stop thinking about a light acid rain, or polluted rain showers, when I hear the term light pollution.

For an eloquent explanation of light pollution, read Simmons Buntin's essay. Simmons edits the delightful zine Terrain, which I have to love for combining green consciousness with poetry and essays. Though I can't love its subhead: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments. So unpoetic. I'm married to an architect, so I've heard the term "built environment" plenty. It never improves upon acquaintance.

But Terrain is a great read. If you've gone green and are writing poetry, consider taking a look and sending something.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Letters & Contests In General

I got a postcard from New Letters advertising a very appealing looking contest. Minimal entry fee ($15) that gets you a year's subscription, up to six poems entered, with $10 for additional entries. I think what appealed is that it's a postcard with all the information in one place, and also that you can submit online. Nice combination, marketing via snailmail but allowing online entries.

My friend David Alpaugh has just written an eloquent jeremiad about poetry contests, however. His reasoning, that contests have contributed to the giant glut of mediocre poetry in the world, leaves me feeling like a chump for even wanting to enter a contest. Perhaps even for wanting to write a poem today!

I won't be surprised if you can soon read his article in Poets & Writers (Jan/Feb. 2003), as they published his other piece, "The Professionalization of Poetry." A born gadfly, he's sure to stir things up in the contest world. And make you think before you send out that next manuscript.

Monday, February 11, 2008

NEA anyone?

I'm applying for an NEA Fellowship in Poetry. I figure I've put in enough hours now trying to make this culture more vibrant and sensitive that I think the government should begin paying me. I'm not asking for an hourly rate -- more like a large honorarium, as the grant wouldn't begin to compensate me for all the business I've probably missed by spending my mornings on poetry.

In case you are thinking of applying, they're now making it all but impossible not to apply online. Here's the page to get started. Good luck!

Among the recent winners in poetry, the only big names I recognized are Jane Hirshfield, B.H. Fairchild and Alice Fulton. Out of 45 grants, that leaves lots of opportunities. NEA offers Literature Fellowships in Poetry once every three years.

This article about an emerging poet winning an NEA Lit-Fellowship is heartening. Scroll down past the article on dots, though that's interesting too.

Are you emerging? I'm emerging too! Let's have tea and compare our NEA apps.