I received word from my publisher, Maria Maloney at Mouthfeel Press, that my chapbook Fronteras is scheduled for publication next month! I am thrilled; this has been a banner year for my writing, so closing 2011 with a new book is also the perfect way to kick off another great year. (See my post Summer Writing News for more information about my writing achievements this year). I must thank ire’ene lara silva for suggesting that I send a manuscript to Mouthfeel, and Maria for her patience while I put it together and revised many of the poems.
While the bulk of the writing is done, there is work for me to do before the book comes out. I am thinking about the cover art, asking other writers for promotional blurbs, wondering how and where I will set up readings to promote the book, and of course, feeling joyful and ecstatic about the news.
One of the great things about working with an independent publisher like Mouthfeel Press is that I get to participate in the process a bit more than I would with a mainstream publisher. I’ll be sure to write more about it as things progress, so watch for news here and on the My Publications page. I learned a lot about publishing from my first experience with an independent publisher, particularly about how dedicated the individuals who run these small presses are to producing quality books and introducing those books to new audiences. Thank you, Karen Braucher, for the work you did with my first chapbook, and thank you, Maria. Each of you has done fantastic work for poetry; the poetry community would not be the same without small presses like yours.
I’m fresh from participating in my first virtual reading, which was also organized by Maria for the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum. I really enjoyed being able to share the stage with readers from other parts of Texas as well as two other states; such gatherings are more difficult to arrange in person. Several of us had to arrange for childcare, and one reader arrived late because she was stuck at work, but these arrangements are easier to organize than finding childcare for several days, paying for travel and hotel rooms, and requesting time off work in order to meet in person. I “met” my publisher Maria and two of the poets I will present with at the AWP Conference next year in Chicago, or perhaps I should say my avatar met their avatars! While we will still need to officially meet each other when we arrive in Chicago, I will now be able to recognize their voices.
I’m still adjusting to life inworld; since I don’t play video games or spend time in other on-line communities, this was a new experience for me. The best part was hearing the poets read and having a conversation as a group afterwards; the audio quality was excellent and it felt just like having in a room full of poets in my home office. The hardest part for me was moving around and adjusting the view. I’m not good at walking through the on-line environment, and I often make my avatar bump into things. The second time I was inworld, I got caught in quicksand! The inworld view you see on the computer screen can be adjusted by zooming in or out and changing your angle, but I found it awkward because I couldn’t always look someone in the face when my avatar was speaking to them, or adjust the view so I could see everyone from the computer screen. Maybe I’ll get better at manipulating the view with time.
Maria invited all of us to participate in future events and to design our own events and workshops, so I’ll probably plan something for next summer. Let me know if you have ideas or would like to participate in some kind of free inworld poetry workshop.
If you are in Houston, I hope you will attend my next reading, scheduled for Saturday, November 5 at 2 p.m. in Discovery Green Park beside the HPL Express library, next to the Lake House Café. This is my second reading for Public Poetry, recently voted Best Reading Series 2011. You can RSVP for this event at the top of the right sidebar on this blog. I’ll be sure to look for you at the reading if I know you will attend. Remember to bring the whole family to enjoy the many play areas at the park. You can read more information about the other featured poets on the brochure below.