Saturday, December 01, 2007

You Know....

I was about to take down yesterday's post. It sounds angry and frustrated to my ear. But then I thought about it and realized, albeit the tongue-in-cheek quality of it in some places - it's quite accurate a response to some of the e-mails that I received regarding the paucity of my recent publications or lack thereof.

However, I keep a record of my submissions as a folder in my Outlook. After tallying up the number of submissions versus acceptances for 2007 - this is what I have come up with:

Magazine Subs: 7 -

Chapbook Subs: 2 - MIPO Chapbook contest which Christine Hamm deservedly won & Kitchen Press (There are several still pending from late 2006 )

Acceptances: 2 - Nod Magazine 6th Issue & fourW eighteen Anthology

Nominated: For the Best on the Web by Edward Byrne from Valparaiso Poetry Review

These are admittedly some rather pathetic figures and a far cry from the number of publications that my poetry has enjoyed since 2003 when I had 21 publications. But all variables do not remain equal.

We are close to a year's end that has had some severe personal consequences. January of 2007 my wife and I were involved in a legal battle regarding our family business. Thankfully we won and our permit to run said business was not revoked. February 9th 2007, my father was struck down and killed as he was crossing a busy Montreal intersection. The driver that hit him was making a legal u-turn. He had just celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary. My mother, who suffered a stroke in 2003 was deemed mentally and physically unable to minister to her daily needs. A long and heated battle with my sisters to not have her removed from the residence which my father and I had put her in ensued after his death. My wife's ongoing battle with thyroid cancer reared its ugly head - when during a routine ultrasound a lump was found in her neck. Thank God it turned out to be nothing. She's going back for a full body scan in January 2008.

As you know if you are a regular reader here I do not as a rule write about my daily personal life or predicaments. This isn't a diary. And these are not excuses as to why I have not been submitting more or publishing or devoting more time to my poetry and to this blog. If my poetry has suffered and languished - well then so be it! Perhaps I should not be saying this here and in these circles - but there are more things under heaven and earth ....than poetry.


jeannine said...

Life does get in the way. Your year sounds pretty tough, so just take care of yourself, and here's wishing for a better 2008!
(Someone just told me yesterday that the Chinese horoscope for next year means a lot less strife for most astrological signs. Don't know if I believe it, but that sure sounds good!)

Peter said...

Wow. What a year. An annus horriblus if there ever as one. Hope "08 is better.

Nick said...

2008 has got to be better - hopefully for all! Thanks for commiserating.

Collin said...

Things will get better. When you're in limbo waiting for word on pubs and contests, it always seems like things have ground to a halt. 2008 will be good for you. I feel it.

Nick said...

Thanks, Collin. An early New Year's resolution is certainly to get my poetry out and about. But I need to do some serious editing of some of the poems that I've sittin' on. I'm glad to see that your poetry is starting to receive some of the recognition that it deserves. Good for you!

vegetablej said...

So, so sorry to hear about your Dad. And so infuriating, the circumstances.

You know,it's all right to take time to take care of your family and live your life. That's what it's all about anyway.

Maybe you could take the time you spend submitting to self-publish a chapbook? I'd buy a couple.(NOT a criticism, just a suggestion.)

Gambatte (Keep your chin up) and hug your family. In my opinion,(though I haven't read it all) your best poetry is about your family. :)

Anonymous said...

Playing the cards life deals with as much dignity and compassion as we can muster seems to me a far more important pursuit than the making of any art. That said, I have found art to give me greater capacity for the former. But publishing? I'm not convinced it makes any of us better people.

Hang in there. 2008 is coming.

Nick said...

Thanks, vj. I was devastated by my dad's death. But due to what else has been happening in my life, I have not allowed myself to mourn his loss. It is a situation that needs to be rectified. Perhaps this new year will accord us all some closure.


I'm not sure that it's really about publishing either. Although we are led to believe that the proviso "Publish or Perish" is accurate. To assume ad hoc that someone's poetry is not palatable or marketable simply because it isn't published is ludicrous. Reading some of the poetry in the Paris Review, I kept thinking (perhaps wrongfully so) that I've read better poetry than this & some of it wasn't even published.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Nick. Publication does not actually improve the poem at all. Or the poet, necessarily. It only furthers the so-called "career" (if one can be said to have a career when such activities often result in virtually no money -- perhaps "vocation" is a better term).

Nick said...

And the Po Biz is sort of like a "sect". ;-)

Diane Lockward said...

I've had these fallow periods too, when I'm not writing and/or editors aren't taking. It will pass. One thing that helps generate new work is for me to move away from my usual location, ie, to leave home at home. And Time. Think of the dry period not as a dry period but as a time of gathering for the new work that lies ahead. Also, I want to tell you that reading the work you posted about your mother prompted me to write a poem about my mother's body as it was turning on her. That was a gift. Thanks!

Nick said...


I really am privileged to have a great online community of poets who generally have been supportive of my work. That's really important to me. I'm also glad that the poetry that I posted about my mother provided you with the impetus to write a poem of your own. I'd sure like to read it. Thanks for stopping by. Much appreciated.


Ivy said...

Nick! I've just received my copy of fourW 18 and we're on facing pages! That's pretty cool. :-)

Nick said...

Haven't received my copy yet but that is very cool! :-)

Brian Campbell said...

Getting work ready for possible publication makes us better poets, I think. But actually publishing?

Gerard Manley Hopkins never published a poem in his life.

He left his manuscripts, though, with a future poet laureate. Reminder: must find a future poet laureate to be my executor. Would that be Nick Bruno?

This is a belated message of condolence. I'm sorry to hear that news about your father. Hopefully getting through the difficulties you've faced this year will bring fresh energy to your work in the near future.



Nick said...


Thank you for your heart-felt wishes and the best to you and yours in the new year. ... You know I'm still looking for a real-time workshop. The QWF does not seem to be running any this time around. Any ideas on that front?

I'm not sure that I could or would want to go the Gerard Manley Hopkins' route. But no question as to his poetic abilities. And you won't get me to define my poetic style either - unless there is a new school emerging and it's called "Unassuming". :-)