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Mimsy and Outgrabe

a record of panic, parenting, teaching, and art making

  • Writer's pictureSarah Gutowski

The Best Laid Plans are Just the Plans I Make and Then Flagrantly Ignore

Remember when I said I was going to start blogging again and then there was radio-silence and crickets for two months? Hahahahahahahahaha ... yeah.

It wasn't for any terrible reason -- it was just because I've kept busy doing various things and blogging fell kind of low on the priority list.

The primary task I've been concentrating on this summer has been mundane but time-consuming -- I'm slowly repairing and repainting and reorganizing our home after 14 years of five people and 2+ dogs living hard and really taking it out in the worst way on the walls and furnishings. It's slow going, especially considering my swollen joints and also my special talent for distraction, yet it's... going.

But when I haven't been spackling or taping or painting I've been working on my manuscript collaboration with M.S. and it's ALMOST FINISHED. I hope I'm not jinxing us by typing that out, but we have about two-three poems and cyanotype pairings to finalize, and then we'll have something that's "complete" if not finished (meaning it may need editing and some revisions on my end, and maybe some re-scanning of artwork on M.S.'s end). But we've MADE A THING and it's very exciting considering that we never thought we'd make ANYTHING when the pandemic began.

In fact, we exhibited the poems and the cyanotypes at the 10th Annual New York City Poetry Festival on Governor's Island at the end of July. We printed poems and art on laminated canvas (since we needed some protection against possible wind and rain). The Thursday before the festival, we traveled to Governor's Island and tested our materials to experiment with our exhibit ideas -- and it was a good thing we did -- because when we arrived on Saturday, we discovered the set up wasn't what we'd planned for originally and we had to quickly come up with something new. None of that would have been possible if we hadn't already tried out several ideas earlier in the week.

So on Saturday morning, before the festival officially began, we strung the canvas prints on plastic clothesline between 10x10 tent poles in two rows. Below are some photos from the exhibit:

So now that the exhibit is over we're trying to complete the MS before the new semester begins -- which no one wants to think about, right? On to the next subject . . .

This month is the month of the annual Sealey Challenge, which is an attempt to read 31 chapbooks and books over the course of August. I will probably NOT read 31 books in 31 days, simply because that's not really how I come to poetry -- mass consumption at a rapid-fire pace -- but I decided to pick 31 collections of poems that I'll read and share via social media and, well, here they are in no particular order:

(True to my word, I'm on the third book and we're on day 8 of August)

1. My Father’s Bargain by Jessica Cuello (Finishing Line Press)

2. Sleepless Nights by Maggie Bloomfield (Finishing Line Press)

3. Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose by J. Hope Stein (Poet Republik Ltd.)

4. Says the Forest to the Girl by Sally Rosen Kindred (Porkbelly Press) READ

5. The Deeply Flawed Human by Nicole Callihan (Deadly Chaps) READ

6. The Ghost Wife by Esther Lin (Poetry Society of America)

7. Hold Me Tight by Jason Schneiderman (Red Hen Press)

8. Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens by Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil

9. Spinning the Vast Fantastic by Britton Shurley (Bull City Press)

10. Oxyana by William Brewer (Poetry Society of America)

11. A Missing Suspiria de Profundis by Matt Schumacher (Greying Ghost)

12. Nonstop Godhead by Analicia Sotelo (Poetry Society of America)

13. Call Me When You Want to Talk About the Tombstones by Cynthia Marie Hoffman (Persea Books)

14. Odes to Lithium by Shira Erlichman (Alice James Books)

15. Louder Birds by Angela Voras-Hills (Pleiades Press) READING

16. Salt is for Curing by Sonya Vatomsky (Sator Press)

17. Go Because I Love You by Jared Harel (Diode Editions)

18. In Between by Mita Mahato (Pleiades Press)

19. The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and FeebleMinded by Molly McCully Brown (Persea Books)

20. Viable by Chloe Yelena Miller (Lilly Poetry Review)

21. Dispatch by Cameron Awkward-Rich (Persea Books)

22. Prometeo by C. Dale Young (Four Way Books)

23. I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood by Tiana Clark (University of Pittsburgh Press)

24. Embodied: An Intersectional Feminist Comics Poetry Anthology, Ed. by Wendy and Tyler Chin-Tanner (A Wave Blue World)

25. Was Body by Billie R. Tadros (Indolent Books)

26. Maps of Injury by Chera Hammons (Sundress Publications) READ

27. Pricking by Jessica Cuello (Tiger Bark Press)

28. Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred (Diode Editions)

29. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (University of Pittsburgh Press)

30. The Spoons in the Grass by Amelia Martens (Sarabande Books)

31. Lindy Lee: Songs on Mill Hill by Kimberly J. Simms (Finishing Line Press)

Also, if you haven't noticed, I've migrated my blog. Old posts will remain archived on Blogger for now, but going forward I'm going to use the blogging feature through my website provider, since Blogger/Feedburner is no longer supporting subscriptions. (Not that I had very many blog subscribers, but I've migrated the subscribers who DO exist to my website mailing list, and now at least if anyone new wants to receive these rambling missives ... well, they can.

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