Friday, September 07, 2018

Deadlines and Assignments Are My Friends

Melinda Palacio

Bringing the Bird Forgiveness Tour to the E.P. Foster Library's Topping Room

       When my editor, Andrea Watson, heard me read in Phoenix four years ago, she said she wanted to publish my next book. I was happy to begin work on a new poetry book. At first, I thought the book would a short chapbook, but she pushed me to produce a ful-length book. Now, I'm enjoying taking my new book, Bird Forgiveness, on the road. My latest stop was the E.P. Foster Library's Topping Room in Ventura, run by Ventura County Poet Laureate, Phil Taggart. 

            Phil runs a tight ship at the Topping Room. The group is a welcoming bunch who meet every Thursday at 7:30 pm for poetry. Each week features a poet, followed by an open mic. Phil sets up a microphone and video recording system, it's all very professional. He, along with Marsha de la O, also put out a poetry journal, Askew. In addition to being lovely people who serve their community, by teaching, hosting events, putting out a poetry journal and running two different ongoing series in Ventura and Oxnard, they are both excellent poets. Phil has the open mic readers trained to read one short poem. 

        Many open mics lack the discipline that Phil brings to the scene, and the bar is set pretty high at this venue. I was fortunate to be the featured reader to a audience who listened attentively, bought books, and gave generously during the passing of the hat for the featured poet. La Bloga friend, liz gonzález, will feature at the E.P. Foster's Topping Room next month on October 11. If you're anywhere near, don't miss the opportunity to hear liz and to meet a wonderful group of dedicated poets. The Amtrak stops in Ventura and it would make a great day trip from Union Station in Los Angeles for an adventurous person. As someone who has read both in their open mic and as a featured reader, I highly recommend getting to know this group if you are a serious poet and are on the lookout for places to read from your new book.  

            When Ana Castillo contacts you and asks if you have an unpublished piece for a journal she is guest editing, the answer is always yes. And the action is to get to writing that piece. I'm honored to be included in Fifth Wednesday Journal's special Fall Issue on Mexican immigration. 

            Last on my To Do list is a university press has asked to see the novel I've been working on for the past several years. The editor has given me a deadline later this month to turn in the manuscript. I've been frantically rewriting and revising. One of my revision techniques has been to read the manuscript aloud, starting from page one. Hearing the words makes such a big difference. How I wish I had done this sooner. For me, writing a novel is all about revision. Learning the story you want to tell is only the beginning. 


Francisco Aragón said...

Nice post. Sounds like a lovely reading series.

Chris Wiltz said...

Melinda, great Bloga and I love your video reading--a real treat for me.

3: A Taos Press said...

I always enjoy your Blogas!

Thelma T. Reyna said...

Hi, Melinda. Congrats on your new book and all this nifty information about this Ventura venue. I think I'll follow through on contacting them and considering something for the journal. I always enjoy reading your blog posts. Continued successes to you, Melinda!