Querying at the DFWCon Gong Show and Living to Tell the Tale

It was the last hour of the conference. All weekend, writers and agents and editors and industry professionals of all kinds had been networking, learning, teaching, finding polite and impersonal rejection, or feeling gratified that their ideas had merit. And now, all the people who were left had situated themselves in the ballroom for The Gong Show. Continue reading “Querying at the DFWCon Gong Show and Living to Tell the Tale”

Bringing into the Fold: A Review of Marie Marshall’s Poetry Collection NAKED IN THE SEA

When I was in high school, one of my classmates and I found ourselves mildly obsessed with the poetry of Sara Teasdale. We found a copy of her collected works in the school library and took turns checking it out, over and over again, until it never spent any time in the stacks anymore. We loved that book.

Even if I wouldn’t necessarily gravitate toward her verse now, Teasdale sparked something important in me: she helped me get past my hatred of poetry.

In my high school English classes, we mostly read poems from that no-woman’s-time between Emily Continue reading “Bringing into the Fold: A Review of Marie Marshall’s Poetry Collection NAKED IN THE SEA”

Book Spine Poetry Contest Update

Hello!  There are so many great entries for the Book Spine Poetry Contest!  Thank you so much to everyone who participated.  I’ve just gotten back into town from a conference, the incredibly fun DFWCon, an annual writers’ conference put on by the DFW Writers’ Workshop, and I have a bit of catching up to do.  Look for more on the contest results by the end of this week.

Sleepy cheers.

Book Spine Poetry Contest — DEADLINE

Hey there.  So today’s the last day of April.  How did it sneak up on us so quickly?  Well, if you’re in education, the answer is easy:  we’ve hit that point in the school year when no one can get any traction because everything is so hectic and stressful.  Ah well.

Because I’m in this position, too — and because I didn’t announce this contest until April 6th — I’m extending the deadline for this contest till the end of this coming weekend.  We’ve had several wonderful entries so far — and thanks to all who’ve submitted! — but I’m getting ready for a writers’ conference this weekend and buried in grading.  Like I tell my students when they want an extension, “Sure, take an extra day, because I wasn’t going to be grading this paper tonight anyway.”

New deadline is this Sunday night, May 5th.  Winner gets a t-shirt.  Submit as many entries as you like.  There is no age requirement to enter.  Click here for the full details.

Have a good week!

Reminder: National Poetry Month Contest, One Week Left

I tried to make a funny connection between the title of today’s post and the Barenaked Ladies’ breakout hit “One Week,” but I decided instead not to force it and to see whether you could come up with one.  Can you?  Can you??  If so, please post it in the comments section here.

Otherwise, here is your reminder that this year’s National Poetry Month contest ends one week from today.  Not sure what this contest is?  Click here for more details!  It’s super fun.  We’ve had relatively few entries so far, too, so your chances are winning are better than usual.

Have a good last week of April!

April Poetry Contest: Something REALLY Short…

It’s April again, and that means NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!!  YAY!!!

This year for my April poetry contest, I’m going with something a bit different.  (Well, different for me, but apparently commonplace everywhere else, as a simple Internet search will suggest.)  Have you ever heard about Book Spine Poetry?  Well, that’s the focus of this contest.  Read this Slate article here by David Rosenberg for more information and some stellar examples by Nina Katchadourian.

You have until April 30th, 2013, to compose a short poem or story comprised entirely of the words on the spines of books.  Each composition must be the contest entrant’s own original work.  To enter the contest, email a picture of your entry to me at forest.of.diamonds@gmail.com with the subject line “BOOK SPINE POETRY CONTEST ENTRY.”  (Please do NOT leave your entry here in the comments section, although if you foresee having difficulty emailing your entry to me, you may explain why here in the comments section, and we’ll work it out.)  There is no limit to how many times you may enter, as long as you do so before the end of this month.

For a multitude of glorious examples which I won’t picture here because of copyright issues, check out these images of book spine poetry from Google search.

All entries will be featured here on Sappho’s Torque.  The winner will be selected by a volunteer panel of writers and will receive a t-shirt with a hilarious Emily Dickinson joke on it.

Thank you for playing, and good luck!


Please note:  The deadline for this contest has been extended to Sunday night, May 5th, 2013.  Good luck!

2012 Wrap-Up for My Blog

I never intended to read or — heaven forfend — write a blog.  Ever.  In fact, about seven years ago, when people were still doing Live Journal and I found it to be — how shall I put this graciously? Not to my tastes in terms of etiquette or maturity — an acquaintance of mine Continue reading “2012 Wrap-Up for My Blog”

My Creative Writing Students’ Poetry Blog

My high school Creative Writing class is focusing on poetry this year, and they’ve got a blog.  Pop on by if you’re interested and check out some of their work.  They’ve just started posting to it this week, so there are only a couple of poems up so far, but the kids are open to constructive feedback from other writers and readers, should you feel so inclined.  🙂

Here’s the link.

Thanks for stopping by!  🙂

What’s Going On…

Sorry the blog has been silent lately. I’m working on several things for it even now but just haven’t felt quite ready to put any of it up there. In the works are pieces about my grandmother and about vampires (utterly unrelated), some book reviews, and a new contest. But I’ve also had my summer revision deadline for my novel Forest of Diamonds suddenly cut in half and have been feeling the time-crunch quite keenly. The good news? I’m making my way through the manuscript and making it even better. The bad news? Sometimes, I have to freakin’ sleep.

In the meantime, please enjoy this delightful comment I received on one of my posts today. I think you’ll agree is has all the hallmarks of a faithful and devoted reader. You know, one who really got it, one who really understood whatever point it was I was trying to make.

“I’m impressed, I need to say. Actually rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough persons are talking intelligently about. I’m very joyful that I stumbled throughout this in my search for something relating to this.”


Good stuff. I bet this person’s thank you notes don’t include what the gift was, either.

Sweet dreams.

National Poetry Month (That Would Be April)

I know you’re eagerly awaiting the news of who won the March Poetry Contest, but the entries are all really good, and I’m not going to be announcing the winner till this weekend.  Sorry!  But I do have some other exciting news.

Tomorrow night — Thursday, April 5th — Brazos Bookstore will be kicking off their National Poetry Month festivities with a reception honoring and reading by several local Houston poets.  The store will be featuring these authors’ books the whole month.

Guess what?  I’m one of them.  Wheee!

Come on out Thursday evening at 7:00 for the reading, and stay to buy some books and get them signed by their authors.  The book I’ll have available is Barefoot on Marble:  Twenty Poems, 1995-2001.  I’m not sure yet what all I’ll be reading, but I suspect my selections will be from all three books (the two already published and the one I’m still working on).

Here’s the store’s website for more information:  http://www.brazosbookstore.com/

I hope to see you there!