Last month Robert very kindly responded to being "tagged" for a meme in which the blogger posts eight things about himself that readers probably don't know. (It was very kind because my mother is the one who tagged him. I said it was okay, even though she tagged me as well and I was going to tag Robert, but what the heck. She seemed a lot more concerned than I was about tagging the required number of people, and Robert was going to catch it from one of us no matter what.)
Even though I posted eight things at my personal blog, Salmagundi Express, I thought I'd do a special poetry-related one here. Hence, eight things you could have lived your entire life without knowing about me and not missed a thing. (I'm supposed to post the rules to this thing, but just go to Lillian's Cupboard if you're actually interested in pursuing this further yourself. I'm not tagging ANYONE else!)
1) I wanted to become a writer after I read Harriet the Spy in sixth grade; but I never dreamed of writing poetry until I was in high school and just kind of started doing it. (Considering how outdated the poetry was in our high school textbook compared to what was going on in the 70s literary scene, it was a couple more years before I purged the taint of sing-song rhyme and coy imagery from my work and delighted in discovering what poetry could really be--and do).
2) My first published poem appeared in Seven Hills Review, a literary magazine by and for high school students produced through the Young Friends of the Library in Cincinnati. It was October 1972; I was a senior in high school; and I was thrilled. (And yes, it was free verse.)
3) I attended the 1975 Bread Loaf Writer's Conference as a contributor in poetry and was assigned to Anthony Hecht. He was extremely kind and gracious about the very inadequate poetry he had to critique for me, sharing insights and wisdom I really wasn't entitled to.
4) My first poetry workshop experience was also at Bread Loaf, when Hecht presented two of my poems in his workshop sessions. It was brutal, but I learned a lot (and I got to hear him read my lines in that melodious voice before the mob descended with their cudgels and battle axes).
5) My first "adult" publication was two poems in a journal called Xanadu. Those acceptances came the winter after Bread Loaf, so I must have absorbed something useful from the workshop bloodletting.
6) I self-published my first chapbook, called Fake Slaps, in fall of 1978. It was a collection of circus-themed poetry based on my experiences as a Ringling Clown College student and some of the professional and volunteer clowning I'd done.
7) I had a poem accepted by Rolling Stone in 1985 (one of those tiny poems they used as filler between the album reviews). About two months after I received the acceptance letter and check ($15!!), I learned the magazine was going to stop publishing poetry, so my little gem never appeared in print.
8) On January 25, 2008, my nearly eight year involvement with Poet's Market will come to an end. It's a corporate decision, not mine. However, change isn't necessarily a bad thing. And I like to think you're never too old for new adventures. And yes, for the forseeable future, Poet's Market will continue.
(More later about who to contact regarding Poet's Market issues once I've ridden into the sunset.)