Channeling My Twitter Obsession Into Poetry

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I love Twitter. Some might say I’m a little obsessed with it.

One drawback of this is that I frequently find myself sucked into drama on Twitter surrounding some social or political issue. I love the access to people and ideas from all over the world, but it can also get overwhelming. At times I’ve had to step away completely to recenter myself. Plus, as with any social media platform, time tends to evaporate when one gets dragged into these dramas, so it’s necessary to put on the brakes in order to get anything of substance accomplished.

That’s not to say that I think Twitter is petty or inconsequential. I believe that Twitter, and to a lesser extent Facebook, are radically altering how social and political problems are understood and addressed in this country, because these platforms facilitate such timely and broad communication.

One day not very long ago, I was scrolling through conflicting political opinions on Twitter and I was struck with the idea of making a poem out of them. And so, in the ephemeral spirit of Twitter, I’ve created a quick and dirty site called Hashtag Snapshots where I’ve begun to post found poems that I typically whip up in one day based on a single hashtag that has captured my interest and won’t release my brain until I give it its due.

Yesterday I felt compelled to address the #Kaepernick controversy. I welcome your thoughts and reactions. If you’re interested in my methodology for creating the poems, it’s here.

The project is on Twitter (of course): @HashtagSnapshot

Reflection (a poem)

In response to today’s National Adoption Month prompt from Lost Daughters, I’d like to share a poem I wrote years ago after my first child was born. This poem was originally published at Poets on Adoption in 2011.

Reflection

You
with your mother’s wide eyes,
olive skin and old-world customs,
with cousins akin to sisters

You
with your father’s gravelly voice,
his cleft branded on your chin,
his surname on your back

You cannot conceive what I saw
when I studied my boy
lying bundled like a burrito
innocently twisting in the plastic hospital bassinet

I gazed into a mirror
and saw my gray eyes for the first time
and saw my milky skin for the first time
and saw my Slavic nose for the first time
and saw my earnest expression for the first time

For the first time I saw
my mother and my father
my tribe
my birthright

For the first time
I saw my self

What’s Going On–September 2014

RoS_Cover_2014How did it get to be September? Moving to a new state sucks so much energy out of you, you lose track of the months. I’m happy to say that my family and I are finally beginning to feel settled in our new home. It’s time to turn my attention back to my creative goals.

In the midst of all the craziness, I managed to edit and publish a poetry anthology on behalf of the Georgia Poetry Society. Don’t ask me how I did it. It’s all a blur. But I’m very proud of how it turned out and thrilled to share the cover here–the first cover I’ve designed myself. I’m very grateful to artist Karen Burnette Garner for submitting to GPS’s first cover contest. Her gorgeous painting is a song.

In other news, I’ve contributed an epistolary piece to an upcoming anthology titled Dear Wonderful You: Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth. This is a unique project that will enable young adult readers to correspond directly with the authors after the book is published. I’m looking forward to interacting with these young adoptees and foster children in a mentoring role. More information about this project will be coming in the next few months.

Now that my kids are back in school, I’m settling into a writing routine once again. The memoir I’ve had floating around for several years has finally bubbled to the top of the to-do list. Anyone who’s ever thought about writing a book probably knows this dance I’ve been doing–advancing toward the manuscript and then pushing away from it, over and over again. This is a dance that can absorb a life if you let it. I’m at last determined to finish the thing, once and for all. My goal is to have a complete draft by the end of the year, and I’ve been progressing well over the past several weeks. Hold me to this, everyone!

I have other goals in mind as well. But that’s talk for another day…

 

 

 

What’s Going On–May 2014

Living LoudI’ve been away from the blog for a while, busy navigating an enormous life change that includes relocating from Atlanta to the Tampa Bay area. Things aren’t yet settled, but life marches on despite my need for rest!

The next Big Thing on my calendar is a trip to Washington, D.C., on June 1, where I’ll read along with several of my Lost Daughters sisters in support of our anthology, Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption from a Place of Empowerment and Peacewhich I’m happy to report is now available in print as well as e-book format. The event, billed as Living Loud: Unabashed Identity Exploration, will take place at the K Street location of Busboys and Poets from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Let us know you’ll be there with an RSVP to our Facebook event page.

A poem of mine was recently published in what turns out to be the final issue of Conte: A Journal of Narrative WritingI wrote this one as part of my Master’s thesis, and I’m glad it’s found just the right space in the world.

I’m thrilled to share my pick of Best Literary E-zine for the 2014 Southern Literary Festival. The Treatment: Writing Medicine and Illness submitted by Hendrix College was a pleasure to explore, from the first click to the final word. Please check out the exceptional work of these creative nonfiction students.Many thanks to Gloria Bennett for inviting me to serve as a judge.

My final literary endeavor in Georgia will be completing the manuscript for the 2014 edition of The Reach of Song, Georgia Poetry Society’s annual anthology. Final edits are in the works in preparation for the book’s release in July. Pre-orders are now being accpeted; download an order form here.

Leaving Georgia will be bittersweet, but at the same time, I’m looking forward to exploring new literary territory in Tampa Bay!

 

 

What’s Going On–February 2014

Things here have been exciting and hectic! Two weeks ago, an anthology I co-edited was published on Amazon in e-book format. Published by CQT Media and Publishing/Land of Gazillion Adoptees, Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption From a Place of Empowerment and Peace features essays and poems by the adopted women contributors of the Lost Daughters blog, edited by Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, Julie Stromberg, Jennifer Anastasi, and myself. Two pieces of mine are included–a poem from my master’s thesis and an essay I wrote specifically for the anthology.

This was a passion project from beginning to end; our proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to an adoptee-centric charity, which we’ll announce soon. My co-editors and I are very grateful to everyone who purchased the e-book during the first few days following its release, helping it make the Amazon best sellers list in the Adoption category! The book will be out shortly in paperback as well, and we’re hopeful that a reading will take place in the D.C. area in June. More on that as soon I have the details.

Also last month, I was thrilled to have one of my poems accepted by Conte, an online journal of narrative writing. The poem, along with a recording of me reading it, will appear in their next issue, which is due to be published in late February/early March.

I am honored also to have been asked to serve as judge of the Literary E-Zine category for the Southern Literary Festival, which will be held at the University of Mississippi in March. I’ve already chosen the winning entry; I’ll post a link here after the festival concludes to share the awesomeness.

March, come quickly, please!