So I got my Nevada Arts Council Grant application off the other day. This year, we file electronically and mailed in the signature form. This year's work sample consisted of nine poems and ten pages. I asked for advice from a wide range of people as to which batch of poems were my strongest (I always create two entirely unique batches of sample work) and the general consensus was I should send in the ones I felt best about. The thing is I like all of my poems once they pass a certain threshold. I can't help it. If I finish a poem, there is an 85% chance I am going to like the poem and will never be able to really see the flaws because I see it as every other poem's equal---whether it be truly worthy or deeply flawed. I am an idiot when it comes to that sort of thing. I have long believed the guiding hand of an editor is my best bet and it has always been my misfortune to have never worked with a hands-on editor.
Even with all of the anxiety of choosing the right poems it was a relatively easy process to send in my poems this year. All we had to do was convert each poem into a .pdf and upload it to the Nevada Arts Council site, where most of our information already was after registering last year. No multiple copies, no paper-clips, and certainly a speedy process. Not living in the Reno/Sparks or Las Vegas/Henderson area will cut down my chances of being selected. Strangely enough, everyone else in the entire state not named Brian Turner (Here, Bullet and Phantom Noises) will have a difficult time getting a grant in literary arts this year. Brian moved here last year and this is the first year he is eligible to apply under the residency requirements. That's okay. If I am not going to be selected, I'd much rather go through the process knowing his work is being recognized. That's right. You heard it from me: If Brian Turner happened to apply for the Nevada Arts Council Grant, you can bet he's going to receive it. He's quite simply the best poet living in the state of Nevada, and I can say that in all honesty and in true admiration for both him as an acquaintance and a poet.
So why do I apply every year? I apply every year because I am always becoming a better poet. Now I am being serious here. Not everyone becomes a better poet, but I have been getting better as the years go by. I am learning more and more, and once you get to a certain level, it's about what thrills the panelists most. Some day it will be my poetry. The money, if I ever am selected, will be nice, but not nearly as much as being recognized by my peers on that level.
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I have been asked by the graduating class of 2012 to deliver the Faculty Commencement Address, and I accepted, which means I will be shifting my creative energies towards that goal for the next few weeks. For those of you who are familiar with what happened here a year ago, you know I have a little bit of maneuvering to do. Navigating loss adds a few twists and turns. I will certainly let you all know how things are going. I plan to try and get a first draft started this weekend, in-between some of my other scheduled activities. I will talk to you all quite soon, I am sure. I feel the need to be chatty, which has the potential to either be fun or frightening.