Thursday, March 30, 2006


I returned from the conference in Dallas yesterday to be greeted with two pieces of bad news regarding my poetry. First, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) did not accept me for a one-week residency to work on my first book of poems in June or September. I was very disappointed and a little surprised. My two references felt that I would definitely get in. The VCCA letter said that the summer period is their most competitive because of the academic calendar. The letter suggested that I consider being put on a waiting list in case there are cancellations and/or reapplying for a different time of year. I told my wife that I probably had the misfortune of applying to the VCCA when someone like Rita Dove decided to attend the VCCA. It took me a lot of time to get all of the applications pieces together and make three copies of everything. Then there is the $25 application fee. I also had to line up two poetry experts to write recommendation letters to the VCCA. I’m a little pissed about all of the wasted time and effort. I’m not sure if I want to try the waiting list. I feel a little insulted about the notion of being on a waiting list. The VCCA was part of a recent feature article on artist colonies in Poets & Writers, so I expect it will be more competitive to get into in the future. The other piece of bad news was that The Florida Review rejected me. Normally the rejection would not sting, but with the VCCA disappointment it did sting.

Sometimes I feel that I have more than my share of bad news when it comes to my poems. I sometimes wonder if I will ever have much success/recognition at it despite all of my efforts. I wonder if I am destined to have bad luck when it comes to poetry. At least I feel better about the latest bad news than I did yesterday. By the end of the week I’ll be over it. The only things I have control over are trying to write and revise better poems and then send them out into the world.

Sometimes I think the motif of my life is disappointment. This applies beyond poetry.

Dallas was okay, but I am glad to be home. It is not as fun to fly to a conference when you have just gotten back from Italy earlier in the month. I learned a few things at the conference about how to put the hospital benchmarking data into Access and create more customizable reports than what is currently offered in the Action O-I software. After the initial time investment in setting up the database, it should make my life a little easier.


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