Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Donald Hall Standard - Review of July through December 2008

I’ve written about the Donald Hall standard before here and here and here. It’s my semi-annual ritual of benchmarking my work as a writer against the standard of my idol/mentor, Donald Hall.

Hall writes in Life Work about publishing one piece per week in general. So that is what I have been trying to do for the past few years.

I’ve done an extraordinary amount of work in the past six months, but not all of it appears in this assessment, though much of it does. A few observations about my writing in the past six months:

  1. I am writing fewer reviews. Part of this is just that I am writing so many other things reviews are not prioritized as much. Another part of it is that I do that type of writing for school and so am less keen to do it in my general writing.

  2. I drafted a lot of poems in this six months, but many I am still revising and tweaking.

  3. I’ve submitted a lot of work, but I’m pickier these days about where I submit. I do want to be published in more “prestigious” journals. I have a target list of places where I want to be published and am working within that rubric. Consequently, I’ve gotten a lot of rejections.

  4. I’m writing more essays and scholarly things. I love this, but it does take away from the bread and butter things I assess in this review. That is, these are longer things on a longer time table and will take a while to get counted, though eventually they will all be counted as a part of this work.

So here’s the report on what I have done from July through December 2008:

1 poem in print journals (“My Father’s Mimeograph” in MiPOesias - sort of a hybrid between print and online, but I’m calling it print here.)
3 poems in an online journal (“Durio Zibethinus,” “Meeting the Dictator,” and “Altun Ha” at Babel Fruit:
1 column - for CIVILesbianIZATION
7 reviews
1 article - the introduction to the special issue of Sinister Wisdom that I edited on Lesbian Theories, Lesbian Controversies
1 conference paper presentations

I also wrote two scholarly papers and launched the Lesbian Poetry Archive. (More about that will be forthcoming.)

So the goal is to have 26 items published (an average of one a week which is what Hall said he was doing in his book) and I had 14 items published this six month cycle. I think it’s the first time that I’ve not made it with the number. I fear that I may have some more cycles like this, though I’ve written and submitted a lot over the break that may help me squeak by for the next six months. It’s challenging being in school, but more so to learn the balance between my creative work and my academic work. I think it is something that will evolve as time goes on.

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