Cover of Kaveh Akbar's most recent book of poetry, "Calling a Wolf a Wolf."

So I’ve done a lot of reading in the time I’ve been away from here. Also, hi, I guess. I’m back, I hope. There have been both a lot of things and also very few things defining my life right now. 

En bref I made it through October, which isn’t always a sure thing. I was so intense and so careful that when the calendar rolled over to November and I was alive (and not really thinking about hurting myself) that I ascended into hypomania. Case in point: I brought in the three stray neighbourhood cats. I had no plan for them in place. I just knew it was going to go well below zero Celsius and I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself had I left them outside. Two have been adopted into good homes. One I’m still trying to find forever-people for—I’ve been calling her Salem (and two weeks ago I spent $370 at the vet on, because she needed the medical attention and I couldn’t watch her be uncomfortable any longer.

And then I went really manic.

And became wildly obsessed about finding a PhD program. This lasted through the middle two weeks of November. The problem with mania is that it means a huge amount of productivity with no down-time… which doesn’t sound like a bad thing, does it? But it’s addictive. You get hooked to working at such a pace—especially if your quality doesn’t falter, or, if you’re like me, even swings higher than normal—which means that when the crash comes, not only are you exhausted from weeks of fewer than three hours’ sleep nightly, you also get the bonus of hating yourself from dropping out of what feels like personal excellence. You go from feeling on top of your whole life to feeling like a lump of dog shit on a stranger’s ratty left shoe. It’s not a great place to be. Trust me.

But then we had the first years (plus me) reading at the Greensboro Project Space, and several strangers all said kind things. And then The Definitely Ex Maybe Boyfriend came calling like a tomcat, and now he’s The Definitely Boyfriend Formerly Known As Maybe Ex. So that’s been a whole new layer of delight and complication. I’m going to accidentally drop this link to a poem he wrote plus a voice recording and I need everyone to be polite and pretend they didn’t see it.

Banner from Emma Bolden's website. Medical sketch of labelled nerves branching with Emma's name in the foreground

And in the first week of December, I got to listen to Emma Bolden and Karen Meadows read at Scuppernong on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I’d actually made friends with Emma just hours earlier over Twitter without knowing who she was… and then made more friends during the reading, and then after the reading went out of tacos with everyone. It was a momentary up-swoop. It was really nice.

I’ve included the cover of Kaveh’s book because after Emma’s reading I finally admitted to myself that I’d been trying to read it for months. Over the weekend before this one, when all the snow came and I stayed for four days with The Definitely Boyfriend, I read it through three times. And each time it punched my gut again and again. I would like to take this introductory moment to declare that Kaveh Akbar invents and beautifully uses kennings so kennings are valid and everybody should leave me alone about all my kennings. Merci et bon soir.  It was so nice to be snowed in with F, though. It was so nice to be with another poet. 

This post is a little long and very rambling. What I’ve been meaning to say is: I’m mostly back. I am still reading voraciously and writing til my hand cramps. Yesterday I applied to UNCG’s English PhD and two days ago I was accepted as an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets and the day before that I entered into Adroit Journal’s Gregory Djanikian Scholars contest. Monday of this week past, I met Fred Chappell who told me to send him poems. It’s 00:09 in the morning on a new Monday. Goodnight friends. Keep writing. You’ll see me soon.

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