Saturday, December 31, 2011

I use this blog to talk about my poetry rather than to display it, for the most part, but these days I'm writing a lot, and putting most of it here; I'm also cleaning the place up a bit, removing the dead links, etc. A while ago when I presented the site to some haiku buffs they pointed out the copyright issues with linking to anonymous (to me) pictures of spring, fall, etc., and as a photographer I certainly have the ability to put my own photos in a prominent place, link to them, and have a simpler, cleaner system; I just haven't done it.

But e pluribus now has over 600 haiku, and in addition, has both a printed book (which caught about 550 of them) and an online version. What I will call e pluribus haiku, 2011 may not be the last, but it's the first actual publication. I spent the holiday season giving it away to family members. One said, it's lighter than the stories. Indeed it is. It's even humorous in parts. But I'm increasingly aware of how rough it is, not refined, even embarrassing. The trap, presumably, that you fall into with slaving adherence to 5-7-5. The advantage being, with 550 poems, it has a certain cohesiveness as a body. I finally became impatient with years of imperfection and decided, essentially, to run with what I had. And e pluribus is the result. By the way, a blatant cover/promo will appear on top of this post and virtually everywhere else I can put it, soon. That's what I'm doing this holiday, promo.

But the feeling of being a published poet (albeit by myself) is hard to shake; I wasn't really going for that image, am even a bit embarrassed by it. I don't tell people this at parties; I'd rather push the stories which of course leads me, in my own mind, to the ongoing failure to finish a novel. I am finishing, printing and promoting two books of stories concurrently, but in public life I'd much rather talk about them than being a poet. Why? Not sure. I should be proud of it.

I write slavishly; the poems go well with childcare which leaves me just about seventeen syllables in my head at any given moment. Also my exercise routine, which features a new stationary bicycle, half an hour a night, with radio, gives me room to manage, reshape, come up with haiku. I've put up about thirty or more this month, I'm cranking them out, having fun, and really concentrating on the place as a site; this last has just barely begun. I'd worried, previously, a lot about alabama, it being the first one anyone sees, yet to me one of the ones most likely to draw pure stereotype and limpid condescension. What to do? One possible response is to put the cover first, glorious, taking up much of the screen, and then the intro, so you have to tolerate quite a bit before you get to alabama, and then it's only if you're scrolling down, and not attracted by clicking on your favorite state at the left. I'm going to spend some time on the design of the site itself, and see what I can come up with.

While I'm at it, speaking here as a poet, I'm still interested in Actualism in general, and it's becoming increasingly clear to me that I'm a voice in the wilderness here, if there's anyone else doing actualism, anywhere, it sure isn't appearing on Google. Not that I'm doing Actualism. No, although I try to make my haiku actualist (actualism being drowned out by minimalism, one could say), that's as close as I get. No, I'm more interested just in making sure it doesn't go by the wayside, as a movement, as a thing that happened and was, geographically and coincidentally, concurrent with my time in my favorite place, Iowa City. I wrote a story about poets for a book about the Hamburg Inn; I'm not sure if it will be published, and if so, how it will be received, but this is virtually all I've done on the topic all year, and we're closing in on the end of 2011; I don't have much to show for it. At one point I had a strong desire to find a certain poem that is in the Actualist Anthology, but I'd lent it to a friend; though I found him and he agreed to return it, I haven't pulled off the exchange yet. Such is life in a small town. I should just order another, but it's a matter of principle, but what kind of principle is that? My friend who runs the press Spirit is languishing in lack of orders, probably; I should be helping him out. Do I detect a New Year's resolution?

Back to the haiku; if you're of a mind, download or borrow the Kindle version; if you need paper, write me and I'll oblige you one way or the other. Keep your eyes on this site; it's an unfolding miracle.

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