The Hermit Poet

October 23, 2006

Hindsight and Foreshadow

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 12:28 pm

Whether it’s a matter of being too busy or too lazy (or some combination of both), I’ve been absent from my blog too long.  I apologize to those who have been checking frequently to see if I’ve posted anything new.

What’s been going on?

Featured Readings

  1. I read at the downtown Vancouver Chapters bookstore to a small but enthusiastic crowd.  Despite low numbers, I did sell a few chapbooks and was overjoyed to see one of my good poet friends who I first met in Los Angeles.  She had moved back to Canada a number of years ago, but we have stayed in touch with the occasional email.  I actually owe her a great deal — she was one of the first poets I met there and helped introduce me to the world of open mic poetry in Los Angeles.
  2. I read as one of the featured poets for the Word on the Street Festival in the Poets’ Corner.  Great turnout and some wonderful poets.  I was quite happy to be a part of that event.  I also ran into a few poets I had corresponded with earlier and was able to make their acquaintance in person.
  3. I also was a featured poet at the first fundraising event for VACA (Vancouver Artists Collective Association).  It was a great line up of singer-songwriters and bands.  I was one of two poets there and was well-received.  I sold a couple of chapbooks there and ate some fantastic appetizers provided by the Century House restaurant.  The space was painted in a rich burgundy and had a great sound.  I wouldn’t mind reading there again.
  4. Tonight I’ll be reading for the North Vancouver Teacher Librarian Association as part of their International School Library Day.  This one’s a paid gig — a nice change.  More on this after I get back.


  1. San Francisco.  I went to San Fran at the end of September for the final settlement negotiations for a legal matter related to my old career as a computer programmer.  The negotiations went wonderfully well.  We were blessed with a very skilled and articulate mediator who understood the respective sides and worked for a just and appropriate settlement.  While I can’t say much about the process, I can say that we were very satisfied with the outcome.  I did have time in the evenings to walk around the city and was quite taken by it all.  Some day I’d like to return and live there.
  2. Penticton. Around the Canadian Thanksgiving break, I spent about a week with my parents to help out around the house.  It was good to be around them — I’ve been away from Canada for so long that it feels strange to have the luxury of time to spend.  My father has many childhood friends in the area who are very musically inclined and it was a treat to hear some of them sing and perform.

Acceptances / Rejections / Contests / Awards

No real news on acceptances.  I have a number of things out right now, but not as much as usual.  I should put more in the mail soon.
The last few weeks have brought in a new batch of rejections, although it has slowed somewhat since my move to Canada.  Most recently Lyric and Quarterly West have said no.
My poem “Kundiman” was an Honourable Mention in the Summer Dream Contest for Pandora’s Collective.

I’ve sent out updated copies of The Lost Country of Sight (book manuscript #1) to various book contests.  I have some more to target this week.  I’m also working on a longer sequence of poems (or maybe it’s a long poem?) to submit to the CBC Literary Awards.  This sequence will be a part of Letters to the Unknown Wife (book manuscript #3).  Progress on Babbage’s Dream (book manuscript #2) is slow, but I hope to refocus in November and get back on target.
What’s Ahead?

  1. I’m finishing up work on my preparations for the courses I’ll be offering, including a presentation on How to Publish Poetry in the US Market.
  2. I’m gathering information to put together a presentation on Alternatives to the Iowa Workshop Model.  This topic seems to be of interest to the local creative writing instructors and programs — and certainly is of interest to myself.
  3. No AWP in 2007.  Can’t make it to Atlanta because I’ll be teaching on the Thursday evening that week.  The year after though will be a big one for Boxcar Poetry Review.  I plan on being there and having a table.  Hopefully my review and interview editors will be able to make it as well.
  4. PhD applications and GRE tests.  I’m definitely applying for PhD programs for 2007.  Unfortunately my GRE scores have already expired, so I’ll be retaking them in the next few weeks.  I’ll be taking the GRE Literature at the beginning of December as well.  While I’m confident about the GRE, I’m more than a bit nervous about the GRE Literature — it’s notoriously tough and difficult to prepare for.  If I had an undergraduate degree in English or Comp Lit, I might feel a bit more confident — but my Computer Science degree offers no such consolation.  So I’ve got a fair bit of reading and review to do before then.

More to come.

Leave a Reply