Thursday, May 14, 2009

What Is To Be Done?

"No serious poetry can be described as self-expression."
--Robin Blaser

You know how, in football, they have a "two-minute drill"? Two minutes left in the half or the game, and they snap off a series of plays without a huddle, maximizing yards in the time that's left? (I think that's what it means, anyway. It's been decades since I watched a football game.)

So here's the deal: I'm in a six-week drill.

Six weeks from now, my fourth NEH Summer Seminar, "Say Something Wonderful: Teaching the Pleasures of Poetry" kicks off at DePaul. Six weeks from now the final, copyedited manuscript of New Approaches to Popular Romance Fiction heads off to MacFarland. Six weeks from now this unfortunate--but productive--academic year will be gone, daddy, gone.

What do I need to write & do by then, or to get there?
  1. Wrap up logistics for the NEH seminar. Books, readings, housing, stipends, festivities, etc.
  2. Do reading for the NEH seminar--not just the assigned stuff, but a general refresher course, to shift back into poetry-teaching mode.
  3. Choose the poets / texts for my Modern Poetry survey next fall. Something new, but not too new. Sick of the huge sweeping survey, but if I only did, say, 6 or 8 poets, who would they be? (British, Irish, American, as I please.)
  4. Prep and teach another four weeks of classes. Ahem. Which means something like four more novels. (I miss teaching poems. Four more poems I could handle.)
  5. Revise the introduction to the New Approaches book.
  6. Revise my own essay for the New Approaches book.
  7. Edit four more essays, maybe five, for NA.
  8. Write and distribute the Call for Papers for JPRS, the Journal of Popular Romance Studies.
  9. Assorted work for IASPR, the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance.
  10. Do more fundraising and planning for the Brisbane Conference (AKA "Popular Romance Studies: an International Conference")
  11. Decide on the topic for my own Brisbane paper. Can write it in July? While teaching NEH seminar? Hmmm...
  12. Take care of final logistics for Brisbane: hotels, publicity, contact with local authors and writers' groups, etc.
  13. Revise my monograph proposal on romance fiction (including Byatt? Many decisions to be made for this, still.)
  14. Learn (on trumpet) the music I'll be performing with my son's junior high school band.
  15. Learn (on guitar) the parts for five more Alte Rockers songs. (Have I told y'all about the Alte Rockers? Remind me to do so, if not.)
What do I not need to do in the next six weeks?
  1. Finish the Crusie book introduction, and get that moving again. (That's first off the bat AFTER Brisbane, when I'm chuffed and ready for action.)
  2. Decide on future long-term projects (books, peer-reviewed articles, etc.). Many sound promising right now, but there's no need to choose among them until I get past the short-term hurdles.
  3. Buy or learn any other musical instrument.
  4. Give myself grief over anything. Eh-nee-thing. Including whether or not I'm blogging, here or anywhere else.
There's probably more, but that's enough for now. More as it comes to me.

And, since I'm going to Australia, how about a signoff song from Yothu Yindi?

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