Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On poetry and my life

Earlier this year, rather out of the blue, I entered a literary competition. It was very last minute; the Lambda Literary Awards were close and (as with too many years in the past) there was very little entered by or about bisexuals. With this all-too-common result in mind, Sheela Lambert of Bi-Net USA proposed a Bisexual Book Award, to be given annually to bi authors or to authors writing on bi topics or about bi characters. I sent my book, Fireflies at Absolute Zero, to her in New York and was asked if I could come out to NYC as a finalist for the competition and to read at Bi-Lines VI.

I had originally planned to drive out to New York for the Wellspring festival in late May, but in March I was hit with a severe dizziness that made it impossible for me to drive. I had some isolated incidents in January and February (including during my drives down to and back from PantheaCon), and this caused me to have to cancel my trip out east. This, however, gave me an opportunity to go to New York City and to read at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe - a very famous venue and one of the places where the slam poetry scene got its start. I was glad for the opportunity, as I'd never visited NYC before, and I had friends in the city I wanted to see.

On June 2nd, I won the Bisexual Book Awards prize for poetry for Fireflies at Absolute Zero, taking the stage and reading a few of my poems along with many other writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I was delighted to be given the award.

My life since then continues to be affected by the dizziness. I was forced to sell my car a couple of weeks ago and am in the process of trying to sell my condo and move, at least temporarily, to Seattle. My ultimate destination is Italy, if I'm granted a visa. My brother lives there. My most compelling reasons for going (aside from the fact that it's Italy, and the food and the country itself are fantastic) are that European cities are, as a rule, much more walkable than American cities, and that public transit there is orders of magnitude better. These are both things that I need if I'm going to live without a car.

As this has been taking up most of my time and energy of late, writing has fallen by the wayside, but despite this I have an essay coming out in Lupa's anthology Engaging the Spirit World, on animism in Gaelic traditions. The essay was accepted a couple of years ago, but Lupa's taking a graduate degree put her writing and anthologizing on hold until that was taken care of.

This morning, a further publication opportunity arrived in my email. I was contacted by Jerome Rothenberg, who will likely be best known by my readers as the editor of the poetry anthology Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. He's asked to publish my translation of the Cauldron of Poesy poem. I would be delighted to be published in one of his anthologies, and we are going to talk details when he responds to my answering email.

To be asked at all is pretty amazing. That I should receive this kind of notice from the mainstream poetry world is very exciting. Even with so much of my life on hold right now, and in complete chaos, I find that my writing life continues. I expect that once things are more or less settled again, I will be able to take up writing the Brigid book again; right now not only are things too chaotic, but it has been several months since I've been able to focus well enough to do research and serious nonfiction writing. My focus is getting better as I get used to living with the dizziness, but I'm still not in a place where I can do that work again as yet.

So thank you, Jerome, for asking to include a little of my work in your upcoming anthology.

I'll keep you all posted on the details of this anthology as I get them. It is apparently due for publication next year.