Good mail today: the May 26th issue of the Provincetown Banner (okay, so it's not exactly timely news by the time they mail it to me, but I enjoy reading it all the same), the new issue of Poets & Writers, and my contributor's copies of the new issue of Rattle. Fellow blogger Christine Hamm is also in this issue. Seems like I can't pick up a journal anymore without spotting at least one blogger. Either bloggers are better poets (or publish more, which may not be related to "better"), or else the percentage of bloggers within the population of journal-submitting poets is higher than I give it credit for. Or maybe I'm just picking up all the right journals.
Anyway, it's been quite a while since I got contributor's copies of something, and it's always fun, even though it never fails that seeing a poem in print makes me want to revise it (and seeing my bio in print makes me want to hide in a hole and never come back out). Haven't had a chance to sit down and read the issue yet, but it looks good.
My poetry group met tonight. We were only four; one is laid up with a bad knee (awaiting knee replacement in a couple of weeks), one was not feeling well tonight, and one was out of town. And of the four who showed, only three of us had poems. But they were all poems that were worth spending a bit more time on, so it worked out. We also talked about Tonia's experience at the IU Writers' Conference (she was in Ruth Ellen Kocher's workshop), about the readings that most of us attended that week, and about Patricia's experience at a recent poetry/art festival, the name of which I can't recall offhand, but Robert Bly was the "big name" poet there. It was a very enjoyable and interesting discussion all around, and I think I realized that when I get frustrated with a writing group, it's very often because nobody is bringing in anything writing-related from outside the group. If members of the group (I was going to say "a significant percentage of members" but I don't want to pin it down even quite that much) have no outlet for their writing other than the group, and don't think or talk about writing with people other than within the group, it can start feeling very insular and repetitive. Groups are energized when people bring in poems by other people they like & want to talk about, when people bring in critical work relevant to the concerns of the writers within the group, when people take classes and workshops and go to readings and bring what they've learned back to the group. When enough of that doesn't happen, I find that I feel frustrated and like the group isn't giving me what I want.
It's nice to be able to put a finger on what's been frustrating me.
In other news, apparently there is currently a tsunami warning for the entire west coast. Should this actually turn out to be anything, this post will look really stupid in just a few hours: "Oh by the way thousands of people are swept out to sea; now let's talk about underwear some more." But I have a hunch whoever puts out these warnings is just being over-cautious and there will be at worst a bit of an extra high tide. I hope so, anyway. You west coasterners, I hope you're still here by the time you read this, high and dry. With dry undies, too.
Some of the local young performance-ish poets are apparently organizing a guerrilla reading of sorts in the middle of the local mall. This makes me grin.
I know I had something else I wanted to post about. Something poetry-related, even. I had it in my mind when I sat down on the couch and opened up the laptop, but it ran away. If it comes sniffing back around my ankles I'll let you know.