April was a tough month as the spring semester comes to a close. As a visiting assistant professor of English at William Paterson University, I’ve been teaching four classes a semester, plus taking two classes to complete my MA in History. I sent out no work in April.
But just for fun, here are my April statistics:
Poetry: No submissions, no acceptances, four rejections (BOATT, The Pinch, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Poetry East).
Creative nonfiction: No subs, one acceptance (Jewish Literary Journal), two rejections (Minerva Rising, Hippocampus). Online today, the accepted story, “The Hands That Bind Us,” is based on my genealogical search for the grandmother I never knew, and the search strengthened my relationship with my father. I originally wrote this as a sample chapter of a genealogical memoir. Now I’m inspired to work on another chapter as a standalone piece.
Short fiction: No subs, no acceptances, one rejection (Jewish Women’s Literary Annual). I sent this same story that’s now been rejected 17 times to a critique service. I can see now where the story doesn’t work. I have revision to do—yet another summer project.
Other activities: The National Poetry Month event in my hometown at the Kearny Public Library where I read with library director Josh Humphrey, drew 25 people of all backgrounds and ages. Even the mayor came! We think it’s the start of a creative writing community and we’re delighted. I also snagged two speaking gigs based on my last book on the town, Legendary Locals of Kearny (December 2015).
I didn’t get around to developing an AWP proposal, but I have won three awards from the university related to my MA in History. I am now working on a paper to be delivered on children’s Holocaust literature at the annual Children’s Literature Association conference and gearing up for my fellowship month at the American Jewish Archives.
Anticipating May 2016
I wanted to send out poems I wrote inspired by Maria Mazziotti Gillan‘s Writing Poetry to Save Your Life, but it just didn’t happen this month. Not sure it will happen in May as the semester comes to a close. I need to focus on finishing my MA in History thesis. I am leading the Highlights Foundation workshop, Writing Jewish-themed Children’s Books, in May and taking a workshop there on Novels in Verse.
But even with all the rejections, I can say I’m writing more poetry than before, and I think my craft is strengthening. I have great hopes for a new ghazal, “Dancing the Red Carpet,” and another new poem entitled, “Chicken Fat.”