Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Dear Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes,

With apologies for not having time for a real blog, the text of a letter sent to each of the Senators follows.

Dear Senator,

Thank you for the great job you've been doing for Maryland. My one concern for our lovely State is that, with all this growth, Maryland's natural spaces will recede into memory. However, Maryland is not the state currently at risk. I am one voter who is adamantly opposed to oil drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. It is my fervent hope that you will oppose any and all bills, amendments, or budget items that would allow such a travesty to one of our nation's last remaining wild spaces.

I truly believe that we share our world with all living things, that divinity can be perceived in them, and that to endanger more and more of our natural environment will, in the end, endanger the entire human race.

Please instead support measures to enforce fuel economy. If all cars were at least partially electric, the external costs (pollution, gas prices, etc.) would be cut in half for all new car purchases. By reducing our dependence on oil, we will not only protect nature, we will deflate the income of countries supporting terrorism.


We can further reduce our dependence on consumable fuels by using solar, wind, and water power. Although I acknowledge that the start-up costs would be high, someone needs to be a leading voice in helping to create the infrastructure for renewable energy sources.

I hope it is your voice.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Christina R. Grantham



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Hysterical Rejection!

You may recall last December, I mentioned the Rejection Collection website, an online clearing house of humorous and painful rejection slips.

I'm thinking of adding one. A month or so ago, I sent Promise to our Terrier to a trade magazine for animal shelters. Following is their response.


Dear Christina,

Thanks so much for your poem. It was a delight to read.


Unfortunately, we've never published poetry before. If all the poetry we got was as good as yours, we might consider publishing it -- but sadly, much of it is just terrible. And I think that if we were to print your piece, we'd open a floodgate of more poetry, which would then place us in the position of looking at pieces from a literary-merit standpoint rather than the bigger issue of how helpful/relevant the piece will be for the sheltering/rescue community. Our magazine is essentially a news/how to piece for animal shelters and animal control agencies.

Proving once again not to waste your time submitting poems to non-literary magazines....

But if Ted Kooser and Billy Collins are right (and I agree that they are), we need poetry that appeals to the masses, but we also need to get the poetry in front of their eyes. Hence Kooser's American Life in Poetry project. One result of the project is getting the poems into journals that may not normally publish poetry, even as filler.

The question is, seriously, how can poetry successfully merge with the mass conciousness if poems are relegated only to lit mags more respected than read?

I think it's really ironic. Apparently, my work's too good to publish in the general publications.



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Acrophonology and You

My sister just pointed me to the coolest site. Learn the meaning behind your name here.

I thought the answers for my name were interesting. Of course, as personality tests go, nothing beats a Myers Briggs. Or Linda Goodman's Lovesigns....



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She's Published!

No, not me. But a friend I met at Bread Loaf just had her first book published.

Doreen Baingana is a graduate of the MFA program at University of Maryland, College Park. (That's the same program I completed.) Doreen's from Uganda, where the stories in her book are set. I'm really looking forward to hearing her read at her book party this weekend -- she has the most fabulous voice and inflection -- what we used to call an "accent" before PCness came along. Doreen's won several prizes, including the Caine Prize 2004, and a Washington Independent Writer's Prize for Short Fiction (she's pictured). Her book was published by the AWP Award Series in Short Fiction. She writes news stories for Voice of America radio, and is currently the Jiménez-Porter Writer-in-Residence at UMCP.

She's a stylish, intelligent, and friendly intellectual in person; I can't wait to read more of her fiction. So join me and check out Tropical Fish: Stories Out Of Entebbe, for something really different and fresh.



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U.S. Poet Laureate Wins Big Prizes

Ted Kooser, former insurance salesman and accessible poet extraordinaire has not only just won the 2005 Pulitzer for his book Delights and Shadows, he's also been awarded a second term as U.S. Poet Laureate.

Undoubtedly one of the most "activist" Poets Laureate, he is writing a new poetry column for syndication. Newspapers around the country can publish "American Life in Poetry" free. It's also available online.

Cool.

Here's an excellent article on how he writes poems.



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