So it looks like the price of stamps is going up in January but the exact date hasn't been announced yet. If I send out poems now, chances are pretty good I won't hear anything back until at least January. What would y'all do (or what do y'all plan to do) -- just go ahead and put the new postage amount on the SASE and then if it happens not to go up you've just wasted a couple of cents? Put the current amount on the SASE and then if it does go up your SASE comes back to you postage-due? Or just only send to places that take submissions via email for a while?
It's the little things.
Tomorrow after work I have my first "tutoring session" with my friend who wants to get herself back to poetry. I've decided that the first thing we need to look at and talk about is the line. Not the line break, but the line itself (a perspective that, once I found it, really changed how I thought about my own work). I want to bring in a few examples of poems that use lines well -- one with short lines, one with long lines, and maybe one that uses medium-ish lines but uses them particularly well. I wish I'd thought of asking for examples here earlier -- it's now 10:30 pm and I have to get everything put together before I go to bed, since I work until 5 and we're meeting at 6. Fooey. I'm thinking maybe "The Red Wheelbarrow" for short lines, pull out something by D.A. Powell for long lines, and in a couple minutes I'll go dig through my books and find something else to bring in. Maybe a sonnet, hmmmm. We'll probably do a little on-the-spot writing exercise too -- maybe I can dig up one that's somehow related to thinking about the line.
My other plan is to get her to broaden her reading a bit, ease her into reading a wider range of contemporary stuff. I'm going to loan her a book every time we meet (we're meeting every other week) -- I think I'll start her off with Ilya Kaminsky. I have yet to find anyone who's read Dancing in Odessa and not liked it, and it should give us plenty to talk about next time. Plus I can direct her to the audio files of him reading a few of the poems over at From the Fishouse and that's always fun.
Tell you what -- if anyone has suggestions for poems that make excellent use of lines/line breaks and are available online, pass them on to me and maybe I'll get a chance to print them out at work tomorrow. I'll take other suggestions too, available online or not, but if I can't grab them online I probably won't be able to use them in tomorrow's session. But we can probably continue talking about the line a little bit into the next session too.
Next time I think we may talk about prescribed forms -- I'll find a few examples of the sonnet, the sestina, the villanelle, the ghazal, and a couple of others, and make her write a couple of those just for grins. Because everyone should be forced to write a horrible sonnet at least once in their lives. I'm also going to swipe something Cathy Bowman did in the class I took from her a couple of years ago -- she talked about how poems move across & down the page, which led to talking about short vs. long lines and short vs. long poems. (And which led to the assignment of "write a short poem" -- for which I wrote my poem "Door" that has become the little poem that could.) I might start into that tomorrow, depending on how the time goes. Man, I feel woefully unprepared for tomorrow's session.
But I'm sure it will be fun.