The Sealey Challenge 2020

The Sealey Challenge for 2020 is complete. 31 poetry books and chapbooks in 31 days. These are the books, in the order in which I read them. I listed them on Instagram and Twitter as I read them, but this is the the first and only photo of all of the books in one place. According to the statistics at Library Thing I have just over 270 poetry books and chapbooks in my library, and the 31 I read over the past month have put a significant dent in my TBR pile.

Traditionally the Sealey Challenge is held in August, so I have eight months to collect 30 more poetry books so I can go into the challenge with a new stack of unread material. Or maybe I will just hit a few used book stores and buy 30 back issues of Poetry magazine, since each issue is essentially a good-sized anthology of contemporary poetry.

I regrettably do not have any books by Nicole Sealey, the founder of The Sealey Challenge, but I hope to remedy that before the end of this year.

Here is the list of titles, in reading order, with links to the author’s information pages:

2020.10.01: Rogin-Roper, LeahTwo Truths and a Lie
2020.10.02: Danos, StephenMissing Slides
2020.10.03: Mandelstam, OsipVoronezh Notebooks
2020.10.04: Almeida, AlexisI Have Never Been Able to Sing
2020.10.05: Kaneko, W. ToddThis Is How the Bone Sings
2020.10.06 – Coolidge, Sarah (ed.) – Home: New Arabic Poetry
2020.10.07 – Cooper, WynChaos Is the New Calm
2020.10.08 – ortiz, mónica teresaautobiography of a semiromantic anarchist
2020.10.09 – Brace, KristinThe Farthest Dreaming Hill
2020.10.10 – de Alba, Cassandrahabitats
2020.10.11 – Le Guin, UrsulaWild Angels
2020.10.12 – Matthews, Airea D.Simulacra
2020.10.13 – Rogal, LisaFeed Me Weird Things
2020.10.14 – Amezcua, EloisaOn Not Screaming
2020.10.15 – Stafford, WilliamMy Name is William Tell
2020.10.16 – Stack, GarrettYeoman’s Work
2020.10.17 – Brandt, EmilySleeptalk or Not At All
2020.10.18 – Olszewska, DanielaAnswering Machine
2020.10.19 – Marinovich, FilipWolfman Librarian
2020.10.20 – Harris, JosephLogically Thinking
2020.10.21 – Harrison, JimCollected Ghazals
2020.10.22 – Bettis, ChristineBurnout Paradise
2020.10.23 – Gleason, RachelNew Kind of Rebellion
2020.10.24 – Khayyam, OmarThe Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
2020.10.25 – Cáceres, OmarDefense of the Idol
2020.10.26 – Chang, KristinPast Lives, Future Bodies
2020.10.27 – Goff, NicholeAluminum Necropolis
2020.10.28 – Gurton-Wachter, AnnaBlank Blank Blues
2020.10.29 – Burns, MeganSleepwalk With Me
2020.10.30 – Trier-Walker, Amy JoTrembling Ourselves Into Trees
2020.10.31 – Harrison, JimLetters to Yesenin

And now, time to put down the poetry books and pick up the pen for National Novel Writing Month, which starts in just under six hours.

The Warm Days of October

We are in the middle of a gorgeous mid-October heat wave, with temperatures in the upper 70s during the day, and abundant sunshine and a light breeze which makes the autumn trees shimmer like kaleidoscopes seen through a good dose of psilocybin.

Only one book arrived at the house this week – Recognize Fascism, an anthology of resistance-themed short pieces edited by Crystal M. Huff and published by the always-excellent World Weaver Press, from a recently-completed Kickstarter campaign. This is a follow-up to the 2018 anthology Resist Fascism, also edited by Huff. If you think you have noticed a theme in the books which I have collected over the past couple of years, well, you are not mistaken.

In reading news I have managed to keep up the book-a-day pace for the Sealey Challenge, and having this volume and density of poetry in my life is doing wonderful things for my state of mind.

In writing news, I have done almost none over the past week though I think I have figured a way through the snarl which kept me from completing the current scene in the book. I will hit it Monday morning and see if my idea will play out on paper.

In other exciting news, I was just notified that a short story I had submitted back in January of this year has just been accepted for publication! The issue in question will go live on January 1, 2021, and at that point I will announce the venue and post the link and all other sorts of fanfare and information.

In all the chaos, misery and uncertainty abundant in the world right now, this was a very welcome piece of news.

Challenging Poetry

The nights are definitely longer than the days now, and the days of October are so far mostly filled with clouds and rain. I would like to say that this means more time to read and write but unfortunately (or not) my schedule is not at all dependent on the whims and uncertainties of the weather.

Three new tomes to add to the collection this week. On the left is the newest from Michigan author Jim C. Hines, Tamora Carter: Goblin Queen, from Hines’ recent Kickstarter.

In the center is W. Todd Kaneko’s new poetry collection This is How the Bone Sings. I met Todd a couple of years ago at a Caffeinated Press event, and have been a fan of his poetry ever since.

On the right is the latest issue of Poetry Magazine, back from their summer hiatus.

In reading news, On October 1 I began The Sealey Challenge, wherein participants try to read a book or chapbook of poetry a day for a month. As luck would have it I have a great many unread poetry books and chapbooks, so coming up with a list was not a problem. I can set aside enough time in a day to read up to about 100 poems, though I may have to sacrifice some sleep in order to complete the requirement. I selected as many shorter works as I could, because I don’t want to just slam through the books without taking the time to appreciate and enjoy the works therein. I am posting updates to my progress on Instagram and Twitter, and will probably post collected updates here at the 10, 20, and 31 – book increments.

Nothing much to report in the writing department. I am stuck on a scene, and since I am only planning one scene ahead in the writing process, I need to see how this one turns out before I can lay out the details of the next one. I have given up on trying to force it, and instead in my free moments let my mind wander in that general direction and let my subconscious do the heavy lifting. Looks like NaNoWriMo will be a catch-up month for the novel, rather than a collection of new short stories. Of course it could also be both.

That’s all the literary news for now. Tune in next week for some new and exciting sameness.