“Palimpsest” in March issue of Snakeskin

Nice poetry news for this grey Monday: my poem “Palimpsest” is in the March issue of Snakeskin.

Read it here!

I wrote “Palimpsest” in August 2013, during a poem-a-day week (which I enjoy doing occasionally, especially with my friend Kat). I do love comparing textual/manuscript things to emotions and such intangible things.

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Poetry sale: ‘The Alchemist’s Lover’

I’m amused by the fact that my most recent publications both have ‘lover’ in the title. In other words: ‘The Alchemist’s Lover’ will be published in the next issue (‘Alchemies’) of CSHS. Yay!

I’m currently applying for a PhD, and since my data consists of some medieval English alchemical texts, of course I had to submit alchemy-inspired poetry to the ‘Alchemies’ issue. I’m really glad this poem in particular has found a home. The issue will be up very soon – I’ll post a link when it’s available!

(Now back to tweaking my research proposal. Editing is fun but challenging – in academic as well as creative writing.)

Stimuli

Today I wrote a poem for the first time since mid-September. It was inspired by the manuscripts & codicology course that I’m on right now: two days of getting back into the groove of manuscript studies. I’m so glad I was allowed leave from work. History is a precious thing and being around medieval stuff makes me feel awed and curious. I really need to get into academia – studying manuscripts just makes me so happy.

Also, when my brain gets new stimuli instead of being bogged down in too little sleep and the same old routines, words start stirring again. I hate it when I’m too busy/stressed out to write poetry, so this tiny eight-line poem feels like a promise that I won’t be too high-strung and sleep-deprived forever.

Speaking of sleep-deprived, I think I need to get to bed. It’s always so damn late. Have I mentioned I hate being a night owl in an early-bird world?

Knights and snails

I had a glass of white wine with my dinner (mushroom burger, very tasty), and I feel ridiculously fuzzy now. I’m going to post nonetheless, dammit, because I’ve been meaning to ever since I came across this link in my RSS reader:

Knight v Snail, from the British Library medieval manuscripts blog. I think this quote from the post sums it all up:

one of our post-medieval colleagues noticed a painting of a knight engaging in combat with a snail. […] This struck him as odd, which struck the medievalists in the group as odd; surely everyone has seen this sort of thing before, right?

That, my friends, is medieval marginal art for ya. Knights versus snails is only a part of the awesomely weird shit going on in the borders of Serious Medieval Works. (See Got Medieval’s post on knights and snails, and check out his marginalia category for some amazing entertainment.)

Anyway, what does all this manuscript geekery have to do with writing? Currently, this: one of the stories I’m currently working on is inspired by medieval knight-v-snail marginalia. So, of course I had to link the BL blog post, since I think everyone should be educated on this intriguing phenomenon.

Sadly, I’ve been too busy and stressed out to work on the snail story for the past week or so – but this weekend will bring with it some free time for editing. Huzzah! I’d also like to get some poems submitted.

(I need to get back into the writing loop properly, but a chronic lack of sleep is gnawing at my energy resources rather too persistently to let writing happen. Thus, I will now finish off this blog post and go to bed early.)

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PS: If you haven’t donated to the Strange Horizons fund drive, there’s still five days to go! Help SH get another year of awesome stuff.

SH really is one of the most diverse I’ve come across – for instance, the current issue is an Indian/diaspora SF special! I haven’t had the chance to read the issue yet, but it looks really interesting.

Poetry sale: Interfictions

I’m extremely happy to announce that my piece ‘Orthography: A Personal History’ will be published in Interfictions.

It’s really exciting to be part of a new, intriguing publication like Interfictions. And I’m so pleased my piece found a home! I call it a poetry sale, although really – true to the spirit of Interfictions – ‘Orthography: A Personal History’ is a mixture of things. It consists of poetic prose and verse “lectures”. It deals with palaeography, orthography, multilingualism, language history, and (surprise!) my personal history.

It’s the most personal piece I’ve submitted so far, delving into my childhood history through writing and my relationship with my two languages, Finnish and English. Fictionalised, of course, but still: me, my deepest self. It’s scary and exhilarating to think that other people will read such a thing.

‘The Understanding’ out in Plunge Magazine

My poem ‘The Understanding’ is online in the second issue of Plunge Magazine, a zine publishing “quality genre literature, poetry, and essays about queer women” (as declared on their About page).

Read ‘The Understanding’ here! It’s what I call a “secondary-world manuscript edition”. This one’s a translation/edition of a Middle Argental chassiolet, written by a woman for a woman, evidence of the Silopphic love experience in Middle Argental times.

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In case it hasn’t become obvious already, I like history. And manuscripts.

I wrote my MA thesis about three Middle English poems with the subject of servanthood, and have been excited about manuscript studies and palaeography since I did a course on the topic in 2009. I want to pursue a PhD on something medieval and manuscript-related. Suffice it to say, I think manuscripts and editing them are awesome things! And sometimes quite often actually, this love comes out in my creative writing too.

I’m interested in the mysterious spaces left in a text by erasures, water damage, spilt ink, nibbling mice, cat paws, and all the other damage that can leave its marks in a manuscript. The possibilities for conjecture and guesswork intrigue me – and whereas for scholarly purposes it’s frustrating to handle a manuscript with lots of missing bits, when it comes to creative writing, those empty spaces are inspiring.