Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Lauren Gordon

Originally posted on Sugared Water:

Today’s Q&A is with Lauren Gordon, a contributor of poetry to the inaugural issue of Sugared Water.

Lauren Gordon is the Pushcart Prize nominated author of Meaningful Fingers (Finishing Line Press) and Keen (horse less press). Her work has appeared with Sugar House Review, burntdistrict, Coldfront Magazine, Rain Taxi, Smoking Glue Gun and Poetry Crush. She lives outside of Milwaukee.

a little taste of “I’m Building a New Spinefrom SW#001:

out of Himalayan salt;
luminescent pink vertebrae
an unfathomed history.

In this life, I will move with meaning,
move with ferrite light,
I am an Alaskan sky,

SW: What are you currently reading?
LGChange Machine by Bruce Covey and What is a Domicile by Joanna Penn Cooper.   Glowing recommendations all around—very lovely and well-crafted poetry. I’m also reading 123 Magic because my toddler has reached the very special…

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July Updates

hi friends.  some updates.

My chapbook “Meaningful Fingers” with Finishing Line Press is a few weeks behind schedule at the printer’s apparently, but should be shipped soon.  Extract(s) did a really nice excerpt and you can read a few poems here.

Luna Luna Magazine ran a few poems from my forthcoming chapbook “Keen” with Horse Less Press (out this fall) and you can read them here.

I am also really excited to announce that Yellow Flag Press will be publishing my weird series of Ars Poetica as a chapbook sometime in the future.  One of the poems from that series was just nominated today for a Best of the Net award and you can read that poem here.

I’m really getting the hang of this linking thing.

Another poem of mine was nominated for a Best of the Net award by Up the Staircase Quarterly, and you can read that here.   They have a new issue coming out pretty soon, too.

Did I cover everything?!  Radius Lit has started publishing fiction and it’s really great.  You can send submissions or check out the journal here.

What else can we click on?  Oh I know, I’m hosting two workshop types of classes at University of Wisconsin-Waukesha next fall.  One is for writing short version memoir and another is for putting together chapbook manuscripts.  If you’re in the area and interested, it’s through the Continuing Education program and I think it will be fun.  You can read all about it here.

Last announcement.  I will be in New York for a reading at Unnameable Books on August 2 at 1:15 pm as part of the Boog City reading series so if you’re in the area, stop by and say hi.

These updates brought to you via caffeine and pure resolve; the only two things stronger than a toddler’s whine.

Excerpt: Lauren Gordon

Lauren:

Three poems from my forthcoming chapbook are featured today on Extract(s). I’m so happy to share these!

Originally posted on Extract(s):

From Meaningful Fingers

 Gordon_Lauren_CovYou Can’t Eat the Grief
when grief is eating you because you are hollowed like you have been drinking Drano, but you find yourself in a checkout lane with a bag boy who looks lupine in his beard and those plugs that stretch ear lobes until they are twin strips of silly putty. If grief was a sound it would be the peacock’s lament shattering the morning fog, heard for miles; you, too, would roost high and hard, molting your shimmering fan until you were truly hermetic, bald and screaming, but your grief is the eye on a tail feather; spectacular and unseeing. You can’t eat the grief because it doesn’t taste like soy and you’re not sure if you’re getting enough soy or if Jesus ate soy or if the baby’s formula is based on soy because that’s what grief does: it drives a railroad…

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June Updates

I have a poem publication out today with Smoking Glue Gun and you can read it here.

They’re such a fun journal and this issue is pretty phenomenal.  The poem that is up is from my [unpublished] chapbook “On My Heart, My Legs, My Liver” that sort of charts the dissolution of a relationship under a trope of alcoholism.  So you know, totally not biographical at all.

Right now I am working a full length manuscript and I hope it will be done and ready to go by the end of June.  It’s hard work and my brain is tired.  Lots of critical thinking and brutal honesty and combined, those things can be really hard to contend with every day.

Some nice news to share – my manuscript “Little House, Little Song” received an Honorable Mention from Coconut Books in their recent contest.  Somewhere out there is the right press for this book full of weird Little House on the Prairie poems…  keeping hope alive.

What else can I tell you?  I’m battling a chipmunk infestation and with the help of cleverly applied mesh netting, I think I might be winning.  I find myself having insane conversations with a small person one hundred times a day.  It is almost summer and I’m not sure how that happened, because it feels like Spring just started.  I read once that there is some way to trick your brain into thinking that time is passing by slowly.  I have this water bottle that makes strange sucking noises hours after I have taken a sip.

 

A few May publications

A few of my poems are being featured today with Escape Into Life and they are paired with some really incredible artwork. It’s so amazing how it changes the conversation of the poetry (or vice versa for that matter). You can check it here: Escape Into Life

One of my poems from last year’s NaPoWriMo is published this month with mojo and again, if you’re in the mood to look at some fantastic artwork and read some incredible things (and why wouldn’t you be?) you can see it here: mojo

Remember when I said I was on poetry vacation? It turns out I’m a liar and apparently poetry never sleeps!

Publishing Updates from April

Some of my short, Ars Poetica poems are featured this month at Right Hand Pointing.

A handful of my Little House poems are in the new Menacing Hedge issue and you can read those online.  They also received some recognition from Words Dance, which was really cool.

A book review I wrote published last week with Rain Taxi and this book is still available to purchase through the press, I think.  This was such a neat book – it was an anthology of poetry about bourbon and you can buy it here.

 

I’m officially on poetry vacation.  I have submissions from October that I am still waiting on, so I decided to not send out any submissions this month.  And possibly next month.  I got three rejections yesterday almost simultaneously – it was pretty funny, actually.  You know it’s bad when you’re happy about the rejections because it’s the most action your inbox has seen in months.  So, onward.

Picture post card charms

20140331-125146.jpg

It looks like the postcards are finally getting out there (picture courtesy of sister in-law). I know it’s a little old fashioned and a little wasteful, but there is something about a good ole mailer that I really enjoy. I think it reminds me of working at a Tower Records 100 years ago: I loved getting pamphlets and promotional postcards in the mail for music and books.

It’s really satisfying to see the cover art, too. I’m proud of that drawing and I’m proud of the poems in this little collection.

Now, had I known the back of the card would feature my unsmiling bio pic, I might have used a smiling photo.

Maybe.

Well, tomorrow is the first day of NaPoWriMo, so good luck and see you on the other side…

My Writing Process Blog Tour

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Karen Dietrich, the author of Girl Factory, tagged me on her blog to answer a few questions about writing, so I thought it would be a good time to talk process before I jump into NaPoWriMo.

Each week writers and poets are answering a few questions about writing process on their blogs and then they tag other writers to do the same thing a week later.

Also! This is a really good time to link to Finishing Line Press, where my chapbook “Meaningful Fingers” just went on sale this week! These are pre-sales; the chapbook doesn’t actually go to press until July, but every pre-sale informs the number of the press run so, if you have the money and want to help a sister out, I would be really grateful. A lot of the poems in this chapbook were birthed in last year’s NaPoWriMo. Goes to show, you never know what will lead where.

Without further ado (ie: plugging):

1. What are you working on?

Right now I am working on getting together media kits for the release of my chapbook, and trying to book readings and radio spots. Yup, all that for a chapbook. Another chapbook comes out later this Fall with Horse Less Press, so I am working on the marketing pieces for both books at the same time.

I have a few manuscripts out right now that I am trying to find homes for – ranging in length and topic and style. One is a chapbook of poems about the difficulty of relationships and addiction (in a nutshell, so you know, some light reading) that I am trying to publish individual poems from right now and ditto on another chapbook that is mostly a grouping of divorce poems.

Another manuscript is a chapbook of a long series poem that is an Ars Poetica and some of those poems will be featured in the May issue of Right Hand Pointing. They picked me and two other female poets to be featured in an issue. This ms is a tricky one to find the right publishing home for, because it’s really different.

And there is my beast of burden: a full length ms that is a hypertextual reimagining of Little House on the Prairie. Yup. You read that correctly. A few of these pieces will be published soon with Menacing Hedge, an awesome journal.

So… it’s been a very molasses-like process. Everything in publishing seems to move in slow motion. Somewhere in the background there, I am working on another full length manuscript of poetry to have ready to send out early next year.

I’m writing a poem a week for a workshop group I am in and I’m getting ready to write a poem a day in April, because I am insane. I am still writing for the series at Radius Lit on parenthood and poetry and occasionally I contribute other nonfiction to Rattle & Pen. I also just finished up some book reviews for Poetry Crush.

The better question to ask would be: how the fuck do I find time to do this?

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t know that it does. Certainly I write through my own filter and a lot of my work is informed by other works. I don’t want to back myself into a corner by claiming a niche or style since I feel that how and what I write constantly evolves. Even my voice isn’t static. Although, there is a mild theme at play here of riffing on books from my childhood, like the Nancy Drew poems out later this year and the Little House poems.

3. Why do you write what you do?

Poetry is what I studied exclusively in my graduate program, so it is what I know and enjoy. Why poetry? Why not? There is a different freedom with form in poetry than there is with the nonfiction writing I do. It brings me pleasure (and sometimes displeasure) to create and craft and edit.

Why do I write the particular kind of poetry that I write… I don’t know how to answer this. Compulsion? Familiarity? Experimentation? Comfort? Discomfort? Healing? Processing? All of the above? Probably.  I’m always trying to make sense of the world around me.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

4. What is your writing process?

I write every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes – either online, in a journal, or a notebook. When I’m writing a poem, I’m usually thinking about it and concentrating on concrete images and then I wait for the muse to show up. But whether or not the muse is there, I’m still always writing. I’m a compulsive list maker and highly organized and good at organizing my time, which is not always easy with a small child hanging around. Sometimes the writing flows naturally and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m very deadline-driven, so having goals in place helps me write towards something. I also do a lot of reading and that always informs how and what I’m writing.

So there you go.

I asked writers of fiction and nonfiction and poetry to answer the same questions on their blogs and these are talented writers whose work I find inspiring, fresh, and important.

annbio

Annmarie O’Connell resides on the South Side of Chicago. Her work has appeared in Slipstream, Verse Daily, Curbside Splendor and Whiskey Island Magazine. Her chapbook Her Last Cup of Light was recently published by Aldrich Press. You can read her blog at all at once the heart breaks.

shannon

Shannon Brugh received her B.A. in English Literature from Washington University and her Masters in Teaching from Seattle University.  In addition to her contributions to Rattle & Pen, you can read her personal blog, Becoming Squishy.  Shannon still resides in Seattle with her husband and two young sons, and is working on her first book.

ginny

Virginia Robinson received her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of California at Davis.  Carrier, her first collection of poetry, was published by Swan Scythe Press in 2005.  She has given many readings, most notably at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. For the past nine years, she has taught literature and composition and was selected as an workshop instructor for the (In)Visible Memoirs Project in 2012. In addition to her contributions to Rattle & Pen, she also writes for her blog, Minnow Peck, from her home in Chapel Hill, which she shares with her husband and their two daughters.

kirsten

Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum is the author of two books of short fiction—This Life She’s Chosen and Swimming With Strangers (both published by Chronicle Books). Her short stories and essays have been published widely in journals, and she has been the recipient of a PEN/O. Henry Prize and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the MacDowell Colony. Kirsten is the founder and curator of the blog Rattle & Pen, where she sometimes also posts her own short essays on writing and motherhood. She has taught widely across the U.S., but now lives and teaches in Seattle.