Sunday, May 01, 2005

Chapbook armed and ready

Phew. Just finalized a 30-page chapbook ms. for a contest. (The guidelines specify 25-40 pages, so 30 sounds good to me.) I think in the process I identified something new to write about. The ms. has 2 sections, one on home and the body and one with poems about animals (not that animals don't show up quite a bit in the first section...), and I started thinking about the connection between the two. I stole a couple lines from Mark Doty as an epigraph for the second section: "and on the street a few men knew what I wished: / that my plain clothes hid hooves and haunches." (from "Now You're an Animal") And I think that I wish my relationship with "home and the body" (two concepts I tend to conflate in the first-section poems) were as uncomplicated as an animal's relationship with its body. Okay, that's a big oversimplification, but if Mister Norton Anthology is reading this, clip'n'save just in case I ever get famous, because there's your first footnote. ;)

(And yes, I've totally misappropriated the Doty lines in a way -- what he meant by them is kind of different from what I'm working with -- doh! -- but I think they add kind of a cool dimension to the animality [is that a word?] of the poems in my second section. So.)

The epigraph for the first section is a couple lines from an Indigo Girls song. Sometimes I am such a lesbian.

I wish chapbook contests would be a little more uniform in their requirements, because this other one that I'd like to enter has a 15-20 page specification. I think that means if I want to enter, I'm going to have to start from scratch and do an entirely different manuscript. I guess I could take one section from this ms. and add a couple extra poems, though. Well, that's for later. I've barely done any reading this weekend, and haven't even touched my journal in days and days, so I think the rest of this evening -- what precious little there is left of it -- will have to be devoted to reading & writing.

Which is not, after all, such a bad note on which to end the weekend.

6 comments:

Charles said...

I desperately want to be using pop songs as epigraphs for my poems/chapbooks/ms sections, but I can't seem to break through just yet. Which Indigo Girls quote did you use?

Anne said...

I was born with a hole in my heart / the size of my landlocked travels (from "She's Saving Me" -- not one of their best-known songs).

I've been told it is sometimes wickedly hard to get copyright clearance to use even a line or two from a pop song in a published work, though I don't know this from experience.

Emily Lloyd said...

Oh, Charlie stole my question. What a shame if it's hard to get copyright clearance for so much as an epigraph...ideally, I'd hope those quoted would feel "honored"...well, at least intrigued.

Given what you've said about content and lay-out, Anne, this chap sounds fantastic. All very best of luck (I'm wishing myself luck here, too, because I really want to buy it). And, okay, since you went with a "landlocked" quote, I'm guessing you went with a Landlocked title? Which one did you pick (only answer if you want to, of course)? [grin]

Anne said...

I am hoping that because it's the Indigo Girls and they are friends of an old library-school pal of mine (who I haven't stayed in touch with, but...) that should it come down to copyright clearance, they'll be nice. We shall see! It's not like I would be making big bucks off of their words or anything. Heh. I'd gladly give them a percentage but it would hardly be worth their time to bother cashing the check. ;)

The title ended up being Landlocked Luck (say that ten times fast). I'll send it out to a few contests, then a year down the road I'll decide it sucks and do a better one...

jenni said...

that Doty quote sounds purrrrfect! that's really weird about the copyright thingy...hmmm...good snippet though. so which contest are you sending it to? Up to 40 pages? Damn that's pretty long!

Anne said...

Jenni, oddly enough I'm feeling a little superstitious about saying where I've sent stuff out! I know, it's silly. Believe me, if I win it will be trumpeted from the rooftops. :) And yes, they specified 25 to 40 pages -- heck, if I had 40 pages of manuscript, I'd just add one more section and call it a whole book!