Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Valued commodities.

Trying to catch up on my writing blogs today, and I've seen a number of discussions about literary journals--what journals you read or think are good, and how many of them are struggling to stay viable in this difficult economic climate. I suspect many of my opinions about this or that journal is a number of years old. I even have a stack of unread journals (next to my stacks and stacks of unread books) that I picked up at the last AWP Conference I attended, yet I haven't gotten to them. I most often make time to read for a few minutes every night before I go to bed, but that's still slow going.

Of course, to say something like "I wish I could ____, but I don't have time" is a cop out. You have time for the things you make time for. If you make things like writing, reading books, exercising, cooking healthy meals, spending time with your family, etc., priorities in your life, you will make time for them. Still, I have six more weeks before my wedding, where every few days I seem to break down because of all of the projects I have made myself responsible for.

Yet I would definitely subscribe to more journals if in that subscription was the hour or two it took to read the journal. I have bought some amazing-looking books this summer and have had time to read almost none of them. It must be my fantasy that if I buy the book, I will somehow make the time to read it, and therefore have a few minutes of quiet to sit and relax. If I subscribe to some journals, does that mean I will force myself to make time to read them?

Here are the journals I am thinking about subscribing to:
Field Magazine. $16/year for 2 issues. Field always seems to be one of those journals that I pick up occasionally but really enjoy something in it.
32 Poems. $14/year for 2 issues. Sure, a hipster mag, but there's great thinking material.
Fence Magazine. $17/year for 2 issues. Their content always seems fresh and new, but sometimes I think it's a little uneven, too.
The Paris Review. $40/year for 4 issues. Is anyone allowed to like PR anymore? I know they just went through a big kerfuffle where they rejected a bunch of work they had previously accepted. And really, what if what I liked about PR was the previous editor?
Prairie Schooner. $28.00/year for 4 issues. Consistently good, though never that experimental.

So that's $115 if I wanted to subscribe to all of them for a year. Or just $47 if I only did the 3 cheapest ones. I think it's good to pay money to support the things you find beautiful or interesting. If no one forks over any money, the beautiful and/or interesting things cannot sustain themselves and then no one can enjoy them. But I still think these magazines should consider including an hour or two of time with each issue so that they won't just sit on the shelf. If you were sending time through the mail, would you fold it up and stick it in an envelope? Would it be wrapped up in a ball like string? Stoppered in a bottle like perfume?

What literary journals do you subscribe to? Which ones do you not subscribe to but think you should? Among poetry, money, and time, which is your most valued commodity?

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm not the bread and the knife. Not even close.

My fiance and I picked up our wedding bands last night. Despite a month of hassle from Jared "the Galleria of Jewelry", who managed to screw up David's ring three times, it did feel really good to have the rings in our hands at last. So much of wedding planning is about the party--the food, the colors, the music, etc. It's nice to have a reminder that the whole point of the wedding is the actual marriage, the promises we make to each other and what the rings symbolize. While thinking of the wedding as an event makes me nervous, I can't wait to be married.

Two of Jared's three screw-ups were related to the inscription, which is from a line from a poem by e.e. cummings that we are having read at the ceremony. Yup, one was a capitalization error (and the first time they left the first word off entirely). My wedding band was ordered from Rogers & Hollands, and while they stumbled a little over the capitalization, the engravers contacted the store to clarify it, and the band was done correctly the first time.

It's important to me to have a poem read at the ceremony, something beautiful and artful. Love poetry is tough because the sentimentality usually makes me uncomfortable. But every time I read this poem, I feel a little flutter, because it is so beautiful and simple, and it expresses a sentiment that I want our marriage always to embody. Can you guess which e.e. cummings poem I chose to have read?

I got to thinking about this because this morning a Facebook friend posted a Youtube video of a 3-year-old reciting the poem "Litany" by Billy Collins. I can't watch videos at work, but I'm sure the kid in the video is both cute and hilarious. I did Google "Litany," though, and read it.

Generally, I find Colllins' work clever but empty, and this poem is no exception. It is a poem which mocks an overused trope in love poetry, and while I am no fan of either overused tropes or love poetry, there is something about it that makes me uncomfortable. Does language Collins mocks edge too close to what I love about the cummings poem we picked for our wedding ceremony? There are few if any rules that cannot be broken in poetry--the reason many people repeat something badly is because a few people did it extremely well. Should I be grateful to Collins for pointing out how more recent poems have cheapened the language cummings used in 1958? I doubt he was the first to use that turn of phrase, but a lot of mid-twentieth century poets used language that no one could get away with today. Or do I just wish that Collins' poem was simply... better?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Confession Tuesday

I realized this morning I had a $2.00 off coupon that I forgot to use. Of course, that is exactly what Jewel hopes I will do, which is better than putting an item on sale, because then they never have to pay out for their promotion. What this illustrates to me is that I have too many things I'm trying to keep track of, and I'm overpaying for things because of it.

I have insomnia caused by anxiety due to wedding projects. The more my fiance puts off things he says he is going to do, the deeper my wedding-insomnia-anxiety becomes. If he will not do these things (i.e., call his friend for his wife's name, etc.), I will have to do them. If he will not help pick church music, I will have to do it by myself. At least then it will be done.

I have had a headache for 4 days.

I really need a day off work where I can get some of these things done that are killing me.