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new poems in Contrary

I have two new poems in the latest issue of Contrary–Fern at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and With Kit, Age 7, Outside the Hospital

Both poems are about my daughter Kit, who passed away at 6 months old after struggling with CHD and spending most of her life in the CICU. The first poem, “Fern,” is about that waiting room experience for parents of sick children–hoping against hope.

The second poem is after William Stafford’s poem “With Kit, Age 7, At the Beach“, a poem I happened upon in homeschooling my children. I was fairly obsessed with the poem for a month or so, because it moved me deeply–first of all to be surprised to see my daughter’s name in a poem (Kit isn’t the most common of names), then to relate to that feeling at the end–that “as far as was needed” that a parent would go and strive for a child. My Kit didn’t make it to 7 months, let alone 7 years, but I had that same feeling for her–that I would do whatever it takes, that I would try as long and as hard as I could. And I did.

choosing 2 or 3 focus activities

While there are many things (many) I’d like to take on, I think that realistically I can only keep up with 2 or 3 things Well at a time. For example, this fall my adjunct schedule is pretty full, and I’m homeschooling, and want to continue my poetry writing, so that pretty much fills up my time with what I can do well.

What this means for me is that I can’t also volunteer to start reading poetry submissions for a journal, or start up a book club for homeschoolers, or join a committee. It also means giving some things up to make those things a priority.

My things I’m giving up this fall:

`1. TV and (most) social media. My husband and I are going to finish up watching Lost, then give media complete rest for the semester.

2. Submitting poems/manuscripts. I did a lot of submitting poems/manuscripts this fall, so I’m going to give this a rest over the fall too (except a few book proposals I’ve already written and are waiting on an open submission period).

3. New writing projects. Other than my daily poetry habits, I’m not going to start anything new and exciting (like a novel) this fall.

There are also a myriad of other things that I’ll be doing but perhaps with less intensity than I could be (sorry co-op class!)(and exercise!)(and book-reading!). Not that I’ll completely give them up, I’m just not going to start some intense new thing that I get all excited about–the principle here is to focus on a few things that I want to do Really Truly Well and to maybe keep other things up but not with so much intensity.

What are you focusing on this fall?