I’m just a girl who can’t say no

Even with my hermetic practices and no-sending-stuff-out rules I get invited to do all sorts of things and I never can do them, either because of time or money (it’s expensive to travel!) or simply because I haven’t written any poetry in months and months. If I had more time to spend on poetry, I would make the take-home chaps and then refocus my energy on my own work. I don’t have the resources for all the stuff I’m supposed to be doing. Augh! I think I’m going to have to start saying No to everything for awhile.

Things I will definitely do: Take-Home, 4SQ, the Anthology, derek’s foundpo, Adam and Matt’s thing, Kevin’s thing.

I have a new policy on poetry readings. I won’t be doing any poetry readings outside a 3 hrs’ driving radius of wherever I am. I can’t afford it. I can’t be a publisher and still have time to write poems and have money to fund reading adventures. I don’t have money. I don’t have time. I don’t have any poetry! Augh!

That said, if you are anywhere near Baltimore this weekend, this looks promising:

The i.e. series welcomes-

Tom Orange, Sandra Miller & Ben Doyle
March 3rd – 7 pm- at

Dionysus Restaurant & Lounge
8 E. Preston Street
Baltimore, MD


About Jessica Smith

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12 Responses to I’m just a girl who can’t say no

  1. Amish Trivedi says:

    I’ll make you a deal: if it’s within three hours of me, I’ll go and read your poems for you! 🙂

  2. Jessica Smith says:

    dude, that would be awesome! and much more in keeping with my aesthetic position about readings.

  3. Hot Whiskey Press says:

    Jen and I have this same problem, trying to balance being publishers and poets.

    I just get tired of going to the post office. We had an intern for a while, but she just helped us sew books, never did the heave to the post office to wait in line for 20 minutes…

    This is why we need robots. Robots will send out our books. Robots will go do readings for us. We’ll just design the projects and write the poetry.

    Problem solved!

  4. DUSIE says:

    oohhhh wow!

    have a toast for me please! jealous!

  5. DUSIE says:

    oh and i’m all on the robot idea!!!

    will they be able to play with children?

  6. Jessica Smith says:

    thanks for the commiseration, guys 🙂

    the p.o. is one gross part of it. i started going at night and using the machine. when you have large runs of books that all ship for the same price you can just buy the stamps and leave them for your poor postal worker. but yeah. shipping is a pain.

    i guess it’s good that we’re publishers, though, because the stuff we’re publishing isn’t getting published elsewhere. it’s important to have publishers in our age group publishing less established poets… publishing our peers. it’s just a shame that it takes so much time and money and frustration and depletes resources needed for writing one’s own poetry.

  7. RW says:

    I can only imagine it DOES take a huge amount of time and money for the work that Outside Voices is doing. But you ARE changing things; for the better.

    About a month ago I was in the Tuscaloosa Public Library and decided I’d request they buy a copy of O.F.C. – so I went to some little old lady and filled out a form. She took a look at it and said she’d file it with whoever is in charge. I asked if they accomodated all requests and she said “Most, dear.” Then she asked what kind of book O.F.C. is, and I said “poetry.” To which she replied, “Oh, then we’ll probably buy it. We almost always buy poetry and children’s books when customers request them.” Then I said that the book was by an Alabama author and she said, “Oh, then we’ll certainly buy it.”

    And last week, on Friday, I got a call from the library that the copy I requested had come in. I went down to check it out and was so pleased – it seemed cool that they’d done the usual library stuff to the actual book itself: stick bar codes and Tuscaloosa Public Library stickers and anti-theft devices all over it.

    And again, the library emplyee was cool and interested; another older woman who asked me what the book was about, and I said it was poetry and showed her the author photo on the back. The cool old librarian said, “Oh, she’s such a young girl, and she lives in Birmingham?” I said yes, and that it was a great book and she said she’d have to check it out herself after I returned it.

    I love the idea of Tuscaloosans getting interested in Plastic poetry. Oh, and it’s “811.6 Smi” – probably the best thing the county of Tuscaloosa has spent money on lately!

  8. Jessica Smith says:

    oh, ray, that makes me so happy!

  9. François says:

    If you need a reader on the Gulf Coast, I’ll just wear a wig and pretend to be you. Ray Hsu and I actually considered doing it when we were together in St. Louis. We ended up just signing each other’s names instead.

  10. Jessica Smith says:

    thanks! i think this is a good idea and that anyone who doesn’t want to travel to read should sign up for a stand-in… so if you weren’t in the mood to travel from SF to DC, for instance, F, I could read for you.

    help dampen the “cult of personality” and/or “Author-ized Reading” effect of poetry readings. hehe.

  11. shanna says:

    i highly recommend endicia–you’ll never have to go to the post office again. it’s not free, but neither is the gas spent in driving back and forth (or subway fare, etc.). you can print postage from home and drop in any box. if you have lots of big boxes, you can just drop them at the post office and skip the line, because they’re already metered and stamped.

    bonus: it also tracks packages, keeps a record of printed labels, has an address book, etc.

  12. Ernesto says:

    ” I don’t have money. I don’t have time. I don’t have any poetry! Augh!”

    Ditto! 🙂

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