Friday, June 09, 2006

Not This Year

I've decided I will not race in the big mountain bike race I enter every year (see I was so stressed about trying to get everything done before my trip to Bermuda that I got sick. I haven't written in forever. I couldn't sleep - I'd wake up in the middle of the night and suffer anxiety attacks. I spent most of my days thinking about my training or on my bike. Too much! That race happens every year. This year, I'm giving it a miss. I haven't been on my bike in four days and it feels decadent! I finished my work, even weeded my garden. Wow.

Now, if only I could write something! Here's what I would do -

• Write a villanelle for the contest on The Waters
• Enter the Guardian workshop challenge - which looks like a three stanza poem with at least 5 senses used. One never knows what the workshop really wants, but I've learned from experience that taking the host poet literally is usually the best.

Oh well, if I can't do that I'm going to put poems together for submission. Can't believe how many are still out there without response - some from last fall! However, I shall persevere.

There's a contest at the Comstrock Review - Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award 2006. They have published my work before so maybe it makes sense to enter their contest. First prize is $1000 and it's only $3 per poem. Deadline July 1, 2006.

I fall in love with a new poet every week or so. One of the advantages of being a 'late in life' reader - so many people to discover! This week it's Billy Collins. His poetry speaks for me (and for millions of others I gather). Funny how one can feel intimately about a writer - his words are here, in my home. It's very hard to make them bodyless. I looked around on the web for information about the man, but there's not much. No mention of wife or kids or personal life. Odd actually. I've often noticed that many of the female poets carry this bag of 'personal life' around with them - 'she married poet so and so' or 'she lives with her husband and x kids in ... ' etc. while many of the male poets have bios that simply stop at the end of the credits.

Tomorrow I get my hair cut and attend a wedding. In between I may clean out my garage. Ah the glories of domestic relaxation!



Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

I see the judge of the contest is Thomas Lux. He was born and raised not far from here. I met him when he read at Smith College this spring. Good guy.

Annoying they don't accept e-mail submissions. Hey, wake up! It's the 21st Century!

12:00 PM  
Blogger Jude Goodwin said...

I agree! Especially as a non-American. So I have to go out and get international reply coupons and special US money orders - it's not a simple task here. On contest I entered recently not only accepted email entries, but it allowed me to pay using PayPal. Hooray! I could do it all right here at my desk.

I'd enter a lot more contests if this were more common. I've always liked contests, my competitive nature I guess


12:56 PM  
Blogger michi said...

i agree re the problem for international writers. it is next to impossible for me to enter most contests, and until recently it was very difficult to get hold of copies of american / canadian / even english zines! international money orders from here make everything so expensive that it is not worth it.

when i was looking for a chapbook publisher for my first chapbook (end of 2004), i was surprised to discover how many american publishers refused to work with overseas writers - i don't really see what the problem could be: email, paypal, like bob said, it is the 21st century!


5:36 AM  
Blogger Toni Clark said...

Jude, I was going to write to wish you luck in the race, but just saw your post here about skipping this year. So here are some thoughts on Collins. Maybe I'll post this at the Starfish Lounge at The Waters, too.

I was interested to see that you're interested in Billy Collins. As for his real life, he's a college English prof., lives in Westchester County, New York. His wife, Diane, is an architect. I don't know whether there's more family.

I have a love-hate attitude toward Collins. Although he was the US Poet Laureate for 2 years, he's fairly controversial. I would guess that many people (not average readers, but poets) feel the way I do -- that he's witty, talented, incredibly entertaining, and some of his poems are real gems, but that there's a certain lack of seriousness that makes one uneasy.

Not that one has to be serious all the time. And I guess I don't mean that he should be serious as opposed to humorous, but rather, serious as opposed to trivial.

I love many of his poems, but dislike some others. I love it that Collins has gotten so many Americans interested in poetry, or gotten them to read a few poems, anyway. I hate it that he must constantly be making fun of poets and poetry. I heard several discussions about Collins at this year's West Chester Poetry Conference. Some complained that he makes fun of formal verse (for example in his "Paradelle for Susan"). But hell, he makes fun of all poetry. I don't think he has it in for formalists! That's one thing that's always bothered me about him, though.

By the way, there was a session at West Chester on the paradelle! And it was hilarious.

I went to one of Collins's readings last year (in Vermont) and enjoyed it immensely -- as did my husband, who doesn't know much about poetry. He's fantastic with an audience.

There was an amusing review by David Orr (done in the style of, and rather a spoof of, Collins's poetry) in the New York Times in January. You can still access it here:
The piece sort of sums up the way I feel about Collins. I'll keep reading him, but am less enamored than I used to be.


3:29 PM  
Blogger Toni Clark said...

I don't think that link came through as a link. Just go to, go to the Books section, and search on "Billy Collins." The article in question is called "Charming Billy." - tc

3:30 PM  
Blogger lorguru said...

Hey Jude!
I think it is nice you figured out that what you needed most was a break from the race. I'm sure you made the right decision for you.
I hope you enjoy some relaxation to make up for the stress that was building. Good luck with the contest.

8:51 PM  

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