Monday, April 14, 2014

My Email List

Those who personally know me know I love poetry and how it plays a vital role in whatever community it finds--or communities that have it. I try to find new venues for letting others in Topeka know about what is coming up. Also, I love being a part of poetry workshops, as either participant or facilitator. Add to that my own quest to use my chapbook as a means of social awareness and discussion. So I created an email list. Thank you for signing up if you choose to do so!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Reading Amy King in Topeka, Kansas

I am alternating between my Amy King project and my other project. I started the Amy King poems a year ago, where I would write a shadow poem to an Amy King poem from I Want to Make You Safe. I also incorporate overheard things. The gist: to survive Topeka, a poet takes up projects and poems.

I wrote my second today, and hope to go back to revisit what I wrote a year ago.

I have a copy I write in. I also try to match up location and context to Amy's poems.

Here is an example I wrote today as my mythology class watched the film Snow White and the Huntsman. I happened upon Amy's poem "A Bruise That Stains the Teeth," which references women in mythology. I included not only shadow writing, but things happening in the film.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hate Park, Part Three

The William Stafford Celebration was yesterday, and one of my conversations caused me to pause. Julie from KHC mentioned how I mentioned in my facebook posts that Gage Park was a current project of mine, and how it was a wonderful place. Of course, my research surrounds the social awareness and struggles of marginalized people, so it is easy to forget my experience of the Park.

That is important--to be honest, to capture the authenticity of my own experiences playing in the playground, going to the zoo (back then). Really, it is a fun park, and we continue to take our children there. It is one of the rare Topeka places, in that a lot of people think of Gage Park when they think of things to do in Topeka.

Maybe these considerations, of taking away the lens through which a writer approaches her or his work, creates the best art, the work of representation.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hate Park, part two

The more I collect texts, I can classify them as: positive, negative, fact_neutral,  and bewilderment. I would like to add poetic, but we will see.

Really, taking chunks, then figuring out which alternating orders to sort them in,  might be the best way.

Plus, to keep them in sections: Seth Kimble, the 1995 stings, Fred, Fred passing on, etc. This feels the best approach.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hate Park

Fred Phelps passed away a week ago, as I was compiling different texts and images revolving around Gage Park. Of course, his presence in Topeka is different than it could be anywhere else, as people around the world saw him as that other. In fact, as he was in hospice, the facebook messages posted by Topekans went furious, ranging from threats to picket his funeral, to pleas to just leave it all alone--that he was a speck in the true LGBT work being done.

I have to say, he loved the attention he received, and he drew in my fascination with how people are drawn to cults, how abuse in families becomes a norm. I worked with one of the members at McDonald's back in the early 90's--when he had been picketing for about a year then. I learned a lot from her.

These things are what I want to examine in my project. Gage Park is the center of so much social change. Constance Sawyer wrote about being black in the 1950's, visiting the pool, and being arrested for being black. The police lied to her, saying Mrs. Gage requested the pool be all-white, but there wasn't a pool at the time.

Anyway, I am still researching the details, including the strange incident around Seth Kimble, a meteorologist who worked for WIBW and was caught in Gage Park with another man. He was arrested, fired, and then murdered by his wife. None of this can be found on the internet, as it did happen circa 1979-81.

My strategy will be to concentrate on LGBT things, including the Million Fag March, which I will be attending this year to complete my project.

Also, appropriation of different texts and voices. I want to use images to serve as maps--maps of the park, maps of speakers.

Topeka has always seemed like a crux of American things, where all of the social debates find a center in the center.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kate Durbin's E! Entertainment

I am so excited for Kate Durbin's E! Entertainment to come out. I'm also thrilled with how I can incorporate it into my Freshman Composition class as a pro-feminist conceptual poetry book without needing to say it is so.

A place to order:

A podcast:

An interview:

My lesson plan will involve reading George F Will's "Reality Television: Oxymoron" and Mark Greif's "The Reality of Reality Television." Then we will read E! Entertainment, listen to podcasts, read interviews with Kate Durbin, etc. We will watch an episode of a show in class, as students transcribe their own scene. We will brainstorm reality television shows, then each student will transcribe three poems. Finally, an essay will make connections between the readings and the students' own work.

If you have any ideas, please send them my way!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tips for success in selling copies of one's book, redeux

My editor asked me to share my suggestions for selling books. What I came up with still feels self-centered to me. Therefore, here is my new advice:

Don't sell copies of your book. Give them away. When someone wants to buy a copy, allow them to. Give away five times the number of copies you sell. Forget about it all. Trade books with others.

Be glad you were published! You are part of a larger community now.