The Novel and the Poetry Group

I finally got my novel THE HOUSE AT HOPE’S END off to my agent on Tuesday and got back to reading mss. for my June workshop here. I wrote a few poems while revising the novel, but now I’m back to poetry in a big way. Wrote two poems since I sent off HOUSE. With a former student from my workshop, Wilderness Sarchild, who just has a poetry book out, OLD WOMEN TALKING, we started a poetry group that meets once a month. We each bring two poems. I have been enjoying it a great deal. I hadn’t had anyone to share poems with and get feedback for at least three years. There are six of us. We’re capping it at seven so everyone gets enough time.

Some very intriguing work has come in for my workshop. I’m pleased with the quality of the submissions. I’ve begun accepting poets. Sometimes works comes in which I can recognize the talent but feel I can’t help that poet write the kind of poetry they want to produce. I believe in being honest about that. Some submissions are just not up to the quality where the workshop will be of benefit. They give me no problem. Why waste a person’s time and money if you feel they won’t get what the workshop is designed to give? I don’t know what percentage of poets who take the workshop go on the publish books, but the percentage is closer to two thirds than to half. I had three of my former students bring books out just last week. 95% of participants are publishing in zines or anthologies.

Eye doctor yesterday, dentist Thursday, osteopath the following Tuesday. I used to see doctors maybe twice a year. I’ve always had to spend lots of time at the dentist, since I didn’t see one till I was seventeen and went on my own, and since sugar was how my mother made things tasty or almost. My knees have improved a lot and seldom bother me now, but my back has been painful of late. I hope to conquer that…. As you age, it’s always something.

Tonight friends Dan and Paul are giving a party, so no cooking today. We’re still eating from the garden, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, leeks, Swiss chard. I’ve also begun using a few of the many vegetables I froze – spinach, beans so far. We finally got the screens off this week. We still have about seven outdoor tasks before the gardens and beds are done still spring – we haven’t put lawn furniture away or emptied and stored big fragile pots or mulched the tree peonies or rhubarb. All that’s for this weekend, since at the end of next week, really cold weather is due.

Schwartzie had to go to the vet for his one year booster shots this week. He fought not to go into the carrier and cried all the way there, but he’s a gentle cat and permitted Duni the vet all kinds of indignities without complaint. When we carried him out to the car, Mingus howled. When we got back, his girlfriend Willow was pressed against the door and when she saw him, began washing him Mouthfuls of long black fur. The cats are a family with each other and with us.







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