From my ocean-view room in Malibu…

I have an ocean-view room at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, where I’ve spent the last day and a half working on poems and enjoying the ocean breeze. Sometimes real life is peaceful and full of poetry. More often it’s full of poop and toddler tantrums, but those are mixed in with toddler humor and snuggling. I’m thankful that I get to experience all of it.

I’m working on finishing up the first draft of a new poetry manuscript, tentatively titled All That Remains. When my colleagues at this faculty retreat ask what I’m working on over shared meals in the dining hall, I like to tell them that I’m rewriting the Bible. I wish I’d been raising my camera immediately to snap photos of the facial expressions I’ve gotten in response: most people smile or laugh, and everyone’s eyebrows rise up to full staff.

The longer explanation is that I started this poetry project because I needed an assignment. In 2012, with a new baby and a new full-time job, having just finished my dissertation, I thought that I’d better give myself a structured writing project that would keep me writing even when the world was against my actually writing anything. I was feeling particularly angry at the time toward people who take Bible verses out of context and use them as weapons against anyone who disagrees with them. I thought, “I can take biblical language out of context too!” and set out to satirize this practice. What started as angry satire quickly became playful and interesting:  anagrams for titles, word-bank-style found poetry. I’m enjoying the process and feel excited about the results so far.

As of this afternoon, I’m 12 poems away from finishing a complete draft of this manuscript! Now back to work…

Poets Take Over: The PCA/ACA Conference

55 poetry presenters on 16 panels over 3 days: 2014 Schedule

I was so busy organizing and attending the Poetry Studies & Creative Poetry sessions at the PCA/ACA Conference in Chicago mid-April that I never posted about it on here. It was fantastic! I fully intended to see more of the city and to take naps while I was on this conference trip, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the poetry panels. I was so impressed with the presentations: readings and performances of original poems, paper presentations, discussions about teaching and community involvement, and more. One of the extra special highlights was getting away from the conference hotel for an off-site poetry event: we saw Kate Gale and Nicelle Davis read at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, followed by a delicious dinner at The Nile Restaurant. I loved getting to know some new poet-friends and getting to visit with some already dear ones.

I look forward to helping poets further infiltrate the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association Conference in New Orleans next year…

Find me at AWP!

If you’ll be at the AWP conference in Seattle this week, you can find me here:

Thursday, 11:30-12:30 – Book signing with Nicelle Davis at Red Hen Press (tables 1802-1806). We will very likely be dressed as Jesus and Judas to get people to stop and talk to us about our books: Becoming Judas (Nicelle Davis) and The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman (Katie Manning).

Jesus

Thursday, 3-5 p.m. – Reading on the Glass Slipper (a glass-bottom boat) at South Lake Union with Lauren K. Alleyne, Nicelle Davis, Michelle Lin, and Alexis Vergalia. We’ll be the mid-run poetry entertainment for participants in the Run of the Ancient Mariner, but you could just come to sit and watch us if you want.

AWP-Run of the Ancient MarinerFriday, 9-10 a.m. – Book signing at Yellow Flag Press (table J21) to promote I Awake in My Womb.

Cover - I Awake in My Womb

Friday, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m. – Book signing at Fairy Tale Review (table K26) to promote The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman and I Awake in My Womb.

Cover - The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman

Friday, 3:00-4:15 p.m. – Panel – When Genres Collide: Teaching Prose Poetry and Flash Fiction with Forrest Roth, Tyrone Jaeger, and John Talbird. Room LL4, Western New England MFA Annex, Lower Level.

I’ll also be wandering the book fair, attending other panels and off-site events, and generally enjoying time with writer-friends in Seattle. I can’t wait!

P.S. You should also find my friend Nicelle Davis, whose post at The Bee’s Knees Blog inspired this one.

A Week in the Life

The past week has been full of wonderful poetry-related stuff…

On Tuesday, I finished drafting the first section of my biblical fragmentation project, tentatively titled All That Remains, and I realized that I’m doing a really strange sort of lectio divina. I’m looking forward to submitting some of these poems to literary journals in the coming week.

On Wednesday, I had my favorite haiku I’ve ever written accepted for publication in an anthology from Chuffed Buff Books.

On Thursday, my morning began with coffee, bagels, and good conversation with Nicelle Davis, one of my favorite poet-friends. Then I got to have lunch with Brett Foster and attend his poetry reading that night, which was wonderful. It’s always nice to meet another friendly poet. Also on this day, I had a poem accepted for publication in The Wallace Stevens Journal.

Today, I heard that The Emerald Issue of Fairy Tale Review is going to print, and it includes my poem “No Place Like,” in which an aged Dorothy is obsessed with painting everything green. I was pleased to get a shout-out in the press release, and I’m so excited to read this Oz-themed issue!

I could really use more weeks that are this full of productive writing, good news, and fellow poets!