Exciting news this morning, friends: My poem, “What Passes for Silence,” just won 2nd Place in the Wyoming Writers, Inc. Writing Contest! I’m positively giddy. This is a new poem for me, and I am very honored for it to be selected. Huge thanks to David Pichaske, poetry contest judge; Tom Spence, contest chair; and the Wyoming Writers, Inc. Board of Directors for hosting this contest and choosing my poem. I will have the opportunity to share my work at the annual conference this June, held in Dubois, WY, and I hope to be able to attend. 🙂
In the four years since I last updated the website, the following things have happened:
- I completed my residency at Acadia National Park! It was a tremendous experience, the impact of which is still affecting my writing. I am eternally grateful to the wonderful people at Acadia for their support and generosity.
- I moved cross-county to Cheyenne, Wyoming. (I’d always wanted to live in the West, and Cheyenne does not disappoint.)
- I’ve climbed TWO 14ers in the Rockies, thankyouverymuch. 14ers are what Coloradans call 14,000+ ft mountains, some of the tallest in the entire country: You’re way above the tree-line at that elevation; oxygen is thinner, and you’re basically hiking uphill and/or climbing over boulders for 5-8 hours straight, then killing your knees for the 2,000-4,000 ft drop on the way down. Hikers and climbers in the region collect them like trading cards: “Hey, I just did Elbert. Have you tried Evans Peak yet?” For the record, the two mountains I summitted are Mt. Bierstadt (14,065 ft) and Quandary Peak (14,265 ft), and I plan to knock out a few more in the coming months.
- I have a new dog, Maverick, a black lab-mix I rescued from the local shelter. He’s ridiculously smart, kinda stinky, and just wants to be loved up all the time. Also, he snores. I adore him.
Mt Bierstadt– Yeah, I climbed that.
In publishing news, I’m delighted to announce that Artful Dodge, the incredible, internationally-renowned journal out of The College of Wooster, will be publishing my long poem, “Service Flag,” in their next issue, due out this spring/summer! 🙂 Special thanks go out to Daniel Bourne and all the editors for their feedback, support, and selection of my poem. I’ll announce when the issue is available for purchase.
Other updates, writing-wise: I AM writing, which is, unto itself, an important update. There have been long periods over the past four years when I wasn’t able to put pen to page or word to Word doc– but in the past year, I’ve taken back my creativity and language and pushed forward. Thanks in large part to my wonderful friend, Amanda Widup, another writer, I’ve started spending significant time each week composing new material, revising, and submitting work. It’s both liberating and terrifying– and feels so good.
There are some fantastic organizations for writers and artists here in Wyoming and the Northern Colorado region, including Wyoming Writers, Inc., the Wyoming Arts Council, WyoPoets. and several Facebook groups for local writers (Cheyenne Writes! and Cheyenne Writers Community, to name two). I highly suggest you check them out, especially if you’re living in or passing through the region.
That’s it for me at the moment– I promise I won’t let another four years pass before updating the website again. 🙂
I love it when talent is recognized. I love it when good things happen to good people. And I love it when I get to shout from the rooftops that I’m friends with one of those amazing, gifted souls. 😀
My best friend, the incredible Jocelyn Heath, just found out that her poem “Orbital” was selected for the 2014 Allison Joseph Poetry Award in Crab Orchard Review!
AHHHHHHHHH! <the sound of stadiums cheering>
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the journal, Crab Orchard Review is considered one of the most highly rated literary journals in the US. It is hard to get published in its pages. The editors are highly selective –shoot, downright demanding– about the quality and strength of work they accept, even for general submissions.
I should note, Ms. Heath has already had work accepted in COR (Her poem “Plaza in Late Spring” will be available for your reading pleasure in one of the forthcoming 2014 issues).
The winners of the Allison Joseph Poetry Award have gone on to publish significant, critically-acclaimed poetry collections, and that’s only to be expected, because these writers are good. It’s really no surprise Jocelyn is now included amongst their ranks.
Congrats, my dear friend, on your success! It is very well deserved.
[By the way, all current Jocelyn Heath fan mail can be sent to my email address. This arrangement, though, is only temporary: Once these COR issues release, I swear she’ll need to hire someone to run her fan club, because it’ll certainly be a full-time job.]
I got some thrilling news this week: I was just named 2014 Artist-in-Residence at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine! I am beyond thrilled about this, as well as deeply, deeply honored to be chosen. 😀
Artist residencies are vital places where writers, painters, musicians, and other fine art-focused folks can escape the real world and carve out time and space to create. You know how it is: Between work + family + a continual thrum of chores and obligations + daily dastardly distractions (ie the time-suck of online movie streaming and social media), it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find hours and energy for your creative muse. Artist residencies offer a solution: While in attendance, you ignore your regular responsibilities and devote yourself to your craft. Residencies are extremely competitive, but if selected, HUGELY valuable and amazing.
My artist residency at Acadia will take place this October and November. Acadia is giving me a fully-furnished apartment right at the park (thus the “in-residence” portion of the title); I’ll spend a little over four weeks exploring the area’s gorgeous terrain and, most importantly, writingwritingwriting. During my stay, I’ll also volunteer an hour or so each week working with 5th and 6th graders, helping at Acadia’s Halloween Festival, and/or giving a public poetry reading. All in all, it will be a highly productive month. I cannot wait!
My wholehearted and immense thanks goes out to the fine people at SERC Institute and Acadia National Park for selecting me for this incredible opportunity!
Friends, you will hear lots more from me in the coming months about artist residencies and Acadia and my official residency writing plan, but for the moment I’ll leave you with this undeniable truth:
I CANNOT STOP GRINNING. 😀
Awesome! The newest issue of The Monongahela Review, featuring a poem by yours truly, is now available online. You can check it out at http://monreview.com/, or click here to go directly to the PDF issue.
It’s a brilliant journal and a fantastic issue, and I’m very honored to be included with such talented writers. Read away, dear friends!
Side note: My poem is the first work in the issue, which I find particularly exciting. It’s a first. 😛
Christmas cards and Santa from my students!
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your loved ones! I wish all of you warmth, good food, and love this season. I know many in the Midwest are without heat or electricity right now, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything is fixed very soon, and that you remain safe and comfortable in the meantime.
In other news, my latest poetry review is now available at Prick of the Spindle! Between cooking, opening presents, and watching an assortment of holiday movies on TV, you should check out my thoughts on Julie Gard’s beautiful chapbook, Russia in 17 Objects, at this link.
Blessings and joy to all of you! Catch you in 2014. 🙂
My poem “Five Hundred Crows” is the featured verse today over at Andy Knowlton‘s A Poem A Day blog. Sweet! Thanks, Andy!
Enjoy, all! 😀
Poem by Jen Dempsey
Design by Andy Knowlton