Guest blogger Joanie DiMartino writes about her NaPoWriMo results six months later. Here’s a link to her blog from April 2012.
So “The Bed Bug Diaries” manuscript continues, line by line, word by word, syllable by syllable, forming into its own shapely art. I’m feeling confident enough to send individual poems scurrying out into the world—at least one has already found a home, others are still hiding under the mattresses of editorial consideration at different journals.
With a themed collection, it’s always a question of whether or not the editor appreciates, or understands, what it is the poet is trying to accomplish; at times that’s difficult when one is sending out only 3-5 poems at a time. Still, I persevere, as most editors are open and savvy, willing to entertain the aesthetics—if not the topic!—of a solidly-written poem. The editor of the press interested in this chapbook manuscript, Samantha Milowsky at Amethyst Arsenic Press, is looking forward to seeing the direction the work as a whole is taking, once her autumn obligations settle down.
As for the poems themselves, I have about 16 drafted so far, in several levels of completion, from first draft to polished piece, that I try to work on for at least an hour in the mornings before work, daily. The best poems surprise even the poet, and over the summer I developed the skeletal draft for what I’m sure will become the foundational poem for the collection.
I have found that the idea of National Poetry Writing Month in April allows poets to embrace the seasonal cycle, to begin something new in the spring, or maybe even take a fresh look at a long-standing project. By autumn one can then take stock of how far the project, the manuscript, the individual poem, has progressed. We can harvest our own achievements, and also batten down for the intense inward focus the winter months allow.
I look forward to planting the seeds of a new creative project next April, after unleashing a chapbook collection of bed bug poems to crawl into the cozy chairs and laps of readers all over the world!
Joanie DiMartino is the author of Strange Girls (Little Red Tree Publishing, 2010), which was nominated for the Connecticut Book Award in poetry, and a chapbook, Licking the Spoon (Finishing Line Press, 2007). Her work has been featured in collaborative exhibits with visual artists in both Kentucky and Connecticut. She has worked in the history museum field for over fifteen years, and her work often pairs history with a feminist perspective. Along with performing poetry, she hosts Soup & Sonnets, a monthly literary salon for women and also reviews books and leads workshops. The Bed Bug Diaries is forthcoming from Amethyst Arsenic Press.