Three days ago I sent my poetry anthology, Then He Held Out His Hand, a side project I've been working on for months to this year's Robert Kroetsch Award For Innovative Poetry. The grand prize is $500 and the manuscript getting published by Invisible Publishing's Snare Imprint. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Yes, yes it does, which is why I'm hoping the contest's contemporary, Canadian poet judge, Karen Solie is reading my manuscript and loving it. If you're reading this Karen Solie I'm honoured that you're even bothering to consider my poetry for publication so thanks regardless of the result! So what is Then He Held Out His Hand? It's a collection of my poetry, from 2009-2014 which reflects on love, desire, and friendship, while simultaneously critiquing and celebrating the chaos of urban living. Fun fact about the title: it comes from a constantly repeated stage direction in Samuel Beckett's Act Without Words: "he looked at his hands." This stage direction was a crucial source of inspiration for a poem about an artist that the speaker is both attracted to on an emotional level, and unable to understand. I came up with the manuscript's title once I chose to include that poem. The title is directly quoted in the final stanza. Another fun fact: some of the poems go as far back as high school and with some revisions and rewrites they were in good shape. What if I don't win the contest? Good question. Well, the next step is to send it to other indie publishers and if that doesn't work I'll self-publish, which I hear isn't as problematic of an adventure as I thought it was. I've been talking to people I've met through a writer's group I've been part of for about two or three months now and have met a variety of writer's who have found excellent ways to make the self-publishing route work so I've got a whole community of people to talk to about self-publishing now. Speaking of indie publishers I had my first introduction to a great indie press, Meat Locker Editions via an open mic I attended last weekend at the Central, a bar in Toronto's Mirvish Village. It was a very intimate venue because it was a tiny room where to sit anywhere everybody had to sit so close together, and the mic was a step away from the audience. They're a great not-for profit arts organization all about giving under represented voices a voice. I knew I was at the most indie event ever when an entire poetry performance was done live via skype, and the mic had to be put on the speakers cause the sound quality sucked, which was also one of the best moments of the open mic cause of its spontaneity. My first impression was the fact that it has a very Canzine vibe to it. I had no one to talk to in the first couple of minutes and everybody was so nice that I felt at home and at ease. Plus: great organization overall, that supports under represented art, a cause very dear to my heart. I strongly encourage you to check out their website cause they're all about really awesome things! Got two new gigs that require my attention over the next couple of days so keeping busy which is great. If you haven't already, especially if you're a potential paying client or editor I strongly encourage you to read my mission statement, who am I, and how can I help you sections. I'm also very easily reachable via my contact me page's contact form because it goes straight to my inbox and I respond to email extremely quickly, so if you have any comments or questions, or are interested in hiring me to write or blog for you go ahead and reach out to me via my contact page.