27 Dec 2012
See, that was even hard to type. I backspaced over “Colored Person.” Here in the US, that particular phrase carries some bad scobies. “Person of Color” means exactly the same thing, right? Wrong. But don’t ask me why. As a writer, I try to be sensitive to the nuances of vocabulary, but I can’t always explain them. Even, or especially, when it’s an issue that...
10 Dec 2012
2012 Goal 1: Get a second collection of poetry published.
2012 Goal 2: Be more productive.
In retrospect, these goals were really poorly phrased. Goal 1 was far too dependent on factors outside my control: any honest poet will tell you that luck and who you know are at least as important in getting published as talent and effort. Goal 2 is just… vague.
I see I phrased Goal 1 as...
22 Nov 2012
A traveller walked along a desert track
surrounded by bare earth and bitter wells.
Her water gone, there was no turning back.
Mirages shimmered, deadly shining spells.
Past rocky hills where Manticora dwells
she toiled upward, downward, bent with care
over dead plains of dust and barren fells
and when she looked ahead– no path was there.
Then sank she to the ground in dark despair
2 Nov 2012
Below is a self-interview I wrote for a site called Nervous Breakdown.
Your day job is as a data analyst. How do you reconcile the analytical mindset with the poetic mindset?
I haven’t found them to be in conflict. I often approach poems inspirationally to begin with, but the editing and revision process is very analytical, and the rigor and clarity of thought that I’ve developed in my work...
16 Oct 2012
The market conditions of poetry are different from those of prose. The important differences:
1. The typical unit of publication is much smaller. Most poets will get a poem published here and there, in a journal or anthology, far more often than they will see a book or chapbook published. I’ve had over 100 such publications, but only 1 ½ books so far, and many widely published poets of my...
12 Oct 2012
These are a couple of tools every writer should have in their toolbox. (Well, maybe not every writer. I don’t see them used a lot in instructional manuals.) My first encounter with the distinction between these two figures of speech was in the back pages of The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: a classic of children’s literature that remains unfaded by time. This particular edition was meant...
14 Sep 2012
Or, in deference to other members, “humour.”
Irrelevancy: I grew up in Tanzania, a former British colony, and acquired a fair number of British spellings. I’ve shed most of them since moving back to the US, but the editor/publisher of my first book identified a few: notably, I tended to spell words like “traveler” with a double L. And I still use “theatre,” because...
13 Sep 2012
Project 1. Getting published. For most writers, this project will end in one of a few ways. 1. You die. 2. You quit writing. 3. You keep writing, but abandon all hopes of ever being published.
For a very few writers, 4. You achieve such status that you can get published whenever you want with minimal effort. E.g. JK Rowling, Steven King.
I’m not planning on any of 1-3 any time soon, and realistically...