I was supposed to post this on the 14th, but I am a scumbag.
I was invited to participate in a virtual blog tour by my friend and fellow poet and editor extraordinaire, Kendall A. Bell:
Kendall A. Bell’s poetry has been widely published in print and online, most recently in First Literary Review-East and Drown In My Own Fears. He was nominated for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net collection in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He is the author of fifteen chapbooks. His most recent chapbook is “Be Mine”. He is the founder and co-editor of the online journal Chantarelle’s Notebook and the publisher/editor of Maverick Duck Press. His website is www.kendallabell.com and his chapbooks are available through www.maverickduckpress.com. He lives in Riverside, New Jersey.
I met Kendall after submitting some of my poems to Chantarelle’s Notebook, the online poetry journal he edits with his wife Christinia, who is also amazing. A month or so later, he asked me to be their featured poet for the month of February. I believe that was back in…2008?
Flash-forward a bit farther in time, and we connected on Facebook and proceeded to have a merry time making fun of bad poetry, sexist pigs, political buffoons and all general forms of millennial douchiness.
He will tell you right off that he feels that his poetry is subpar, but I don’t think he really believes that…and even if he does, well, he is wrong. His poems are simple (not simplistic…don’t get the two confused), beautiful, concise, accessible…and they punch me in the heart, which a lot of the poetry being written today…or at least the poems that are published in popular journals today…just do not do.
Last week, lines from one of his poems were tweeted by Poets House. That, to me, is kind of the equivalent of being poetry royalty. So, his self-doubt can suck my left tit. He is awesome, and you should all know him and his work.
The second part of this blog tour requires me to answer four questions about my work. So, without further ado…here are my answers in all of their awkward, convoluted glory for you to peruse at your leisure:
1.What am I currently working on?
I just put out a call for submissions for an anthology of contemporary West Virginia poetry. I love my home state, and I feel that it often gets a bad rap and is unfairly stereotyped. I have been lucky enough to connect with some amazing poets and writers over the past several years, and I know for a fact that the Mountain State is home to some incredibly talented people. I want to share their work with the world.
On a more personal level, I’m working on a series of poems about the Hatfield and McCoy feud. I’m a big history buff, and I love mixing history and art. I’m even planning a weekend trip to the Tug Fork region of West Virginia and Kentucky in the fall. I’m pretty excited about the whole thing.
2.How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a hard one to answer. Maybe the best answer is that I wrote these poems…not someone else. I’ve been told that my work differs from the work of “traditional” women poets. I don’t really know what that means. I guess, depending upon who you ask, that could be a good thing or a bad thing.
I cuss a lot, I drink sometimes, and I have sex. And I write about it. Didn’t Bukowski do that, too?
I fail at answering this question.
3.Why do I write/create what I do?
I have a tendency to replay significant memories over and over in my head, like a loop of film…or a haunting. Sometimes those moments are heart-breaking or beautiful or a combination of the two. Most of the time, I write to get these things out of my head. I feel a lot saner when I write and share poems. The reactions I get to my work let me know that I am not alone in my experiences, that my feelings are valid and not as crazy as I had thought. Also, I’ll admit that I get a thrill when someone tells me that a poem moved them deeply or gave them goosebumps. That’s not the main reason that I do what I do, but it’s a pretty good perk.
4. How does your writing/creating process work?
I don’t have a routine or anything. I’m not very disciplined, to be perfectly honest. There are times when I will go weeks or months without writing anything. I like to fill that downtime up with new hobbies or trips to places I’ve never been before. I think there comes a point when you’ve emptied yourself so much that the words just don’t come anymore, so you have to fill yourself back up with new experiences or you’ll just keep writing the same things over and over.
Sometimes I meet an interesting person or I read something that gets me thinking. The wheels start turning, and before I know it, I’m awake in the middle of the night and scribbling in a notebook. Most of the time, though, lines of poems come to me when I’m in the shower…or cooking. That happens a lot. Usually, it’s the last lines that hit me first and I build around that.
I try to present myself as a person who values order, but really…I’m a mess. Order and structure is what makes for good editing. Chaos cuts the rough poem-y diamond out of the rock. Editing makes it shine.
Then we make commitments and it all goes to shit.
Not really. :)
I was supposed to choose 3 other artists to participate with me in the blog tour, but unfortunately the artists I contacted either a) didn’t respond or b) don’t have a traditional blog. But, hey, I’m not going to complain about it, because arty people are flighty and chaotic and yet often still manage to be amazing, wonderful people.
After all, my blog post was late. I am a scumbag. But I like to think that I am a lovable scumbag.