Sunday, October 3, 2010

Having fun with my juvenilia

As I am working on the new poetry book, I'm having to go through some of my earliest poems--- my juvenilia (though I was already old enough to be tried as an adult when I wrote them).

We all like to think we are making progress in our writing, and so sometimes we are embarrassed enough by some of our early work that we are tempted to through it out. But resist that temptation. Because for one thing, old writing can help you measure your progress. And sometimes you will be surprised by something that you wrote years ago that turns out to be good enough to keep, or at least be worth the effort to re-write.

Total Word Count Guesstimate
I don't know how many words the poetry book is going to run. It's actually more a matter of the number of pages. Currently I am at page 38 which is nearly halfway to the minimum.

A Guessing Game
These are two of the poems of the new book. One was written in my first year of writing poetry (un)seriously. The other was written this year. Guess which one is which.  Note also that the titles of these two poems are in the running for being the book title, so if you like one or another say so.

running about on hens' legs
for baba yaga
trouble, trouble vicks and tea
break the corners of tv
hide the harp and bend the lid
do you know what marko did?
too late
too late
simmer pansies vixen tee
build the carpet on the sea

ninth horseman

my heart's
frying in a cast iron skillet

the refrigerator watches sullenly
as the world melts

Friday, October 1, 2010

Editing an expanded poetry volume

My poetry chapbook on has done amazingly well--- it sold 1 copy, to my mother--- and so I'm doing a complete re-write and expansion into a full book which can be sold on If I work really hard on it, maybe I can sell another copy to my mother.

The chapbook was called 'surly petunia' after the name of one of the poems. I figure the new book should have a different name, even though it's going to have all the poems from 'surly petunia' plus whatever other ones that I've written that don't now annoy me. I'm also NOT including the one which is an acrostic featuring the 'F' word, which was an even dumber idea than you'd think. Acrostics are HARD!

I've also changed my pen name from N. I. Annakindt to nissa_ami_kato, because I really like my new internet name. You can even sing it! You know that song 'Mr. Roboto'? The part that goes 'domo arigato, Mr. Roboto', you can sing 'nissa_ami_kato, Mr. Roboto'. At least, you can if you are as weird as me.

The possible titles for the new volume include 'jungle spiders', 'wired floor sculptures' and 'alien invasions & the love of lawn furniture'. and, well, any other poem titles from the poems in the book. I'm also willing to entertain suggestions from readers so long as those suggestions are NOT 'what a piece of sh---' (because I've already thought of that one myself, but decided against it since my mom might not buy it if there is a Bad Word in the title.

I also wouldn't mind some input on the poem I'm adding to the book right now, which goes like this:

paper dragons

blue & yellow folded paper dragons
sail away in an indigo Tintenfaß
dragons dangerous yet delicate
for they cannot breathe fire
and live

Well, I'm pretty much satisfied with this poem (which I wrote over 10 years ago). Yes, I'm way too easily satisfied. But the question I have is whether I should include a footnote to the poem explaining the word 

Would explaining that the word is German for inkwell, or at least mentioning that the letter'ß' is pronounced like 'ss', be helpful, or would it spoil the whole thing? I mean, when it comes to my poetry, I kind of think trying to understand what it means is beside the point.

If you have an opinion on this, let me know. Or else you can always go over to Dan Lacey's blog and view his latest pictures of Obama naked on a unicorn. Because you can just never have too many pictures of Obama naked on a unicorn. (Don't worry, they don't show Obama's naughty bits.) Dan Lacey also likes to paint people, including saints, with pancakes on their heads.

Square 8: I am Joe's Functioning Label

Many years ago there was a magazine called Readers' Digest. It once ran a series of articles about Joe--- or, more accurately, about parts of Joe. There was 'I am Joe's Heart', 'I am Joe's Kidney', 'I am Joe's Alcohol-Damaged Liver', 'I am Joe's Left Testicle'.....  Actually I might have made up the last one.

Bev, over at the blog Square 8, has done a take-off on this series called 'I am Joe's Functioning Label'. It describes how an autistic person's 'high functioning' label affects how he is perceived.

'Autism Spectrum Disorder' describes a number of neurological conditions which might include a person with 'low-functioning' autism who perhaps does not communicate with others and bangs his head against the wall even when President Obama is NOT making a speech, and also a person with 'high-functioning' autism and/or Asperger Syndrome who can (sometimes) 'pass' as a neurotypical ('normal') person.

The functioning label can be somewhat arbitrary--- for example, Asperger Syndrome is considered 'high-functioning', yet 80% of people with Asperger Syndrome are unemployed. And a person who seems to be 'low-functioning' may understand quite well what people are saying about him when they talk about how disabled/defective he is.

Anyway, I thought that was a great piece of writing and thought I would share it.