Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Writing Year in Review

Wow, this year ended with the Big Bang of Book Fairs: my Miami Book Fair  presentation/reading experience was eye-opening and even fun on some levels.  But it was a banner year in many other aspects as well:  first of all my chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament came out in March, (very appropriately for Women's History month); I also had a record of 20 acceptances (for me!--I know this number may be laughable to some people but I wield a slow pen!)  and 15 publications, not including the 20 poems published in the actual chapbook, 5 interviews or articles featuring my poetry, 2 book giveaways, 1 book auction,  1 review of my chapbook in the Quarterday Review and 1 judging experience!

Along with the publications came precious feedback from readers and fellow poets, who were very generous in their comments and it was very encouraging to realize that I am not delusional but actually making some progress in my poetry.

I was fortunate to begin this year by publishing one of my favorite poems "Nothing in the Dark" and ended with the publication of another:  " "Emily Brontë Addresses Her Creation" -- as well as the acceptance of some hard-to-place longer poems in the perfect venue which I hope will go forward.

Next year begins auspiciously, (I hope!), with 1 writing workshop acceptance (with poet Campbell McGrath).  They have so many activities planned--readings, receptions, sunset sailings--that I'm wondering when exactly we are supposed to get any writing done!  But it all sounds like fun.

What do I want to accomplish next year?  I think my main preoccupation is to learn to self-direct my writing so I'm not so dependent on outside stimulus.  Since my tutorial with Andrea ended, I think I'm suffering from the equivalent of the post-M.F.A. limbo that many students find themselves in.  Our tutorial lasted about the same length of time as an M.F.A. and I think accomplished the same, more or less.  Now I have to learn to do it on my own.

Another highlight of the coming year:

Portland-based Poetry Press Week will be debuting in Miami and they have invited me to be a judge, so that will be a new and fascinating experience!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Sparrow's Trill - Minerva Rising's special issue on Race in America

I'm very honored that Minerva's Rising's special issue on race in America:  Sparrow's Trill will include my poem "In the flesh."  Poetry editor Emily Shearer's revision suggestions improved this poem quite a bit and I'm happy it will appear in such an important issue.  From their page:

"After the racially charged act of hate that killed nine people in a Charleston church in June, Minerva Rising no longer wanted to be silent. We wanted to start a dialogue for social change--a dialogue based in love. We wanted to fuse the schisms and unite as one voice writing to heal the open wounds of the heart, writing to change the world we inhabit. That dialogue created this special edition."

 The title, Sparrow’s Trill, comes from the poem "Tapestry I (Mississippi, 2015)" by Jessica Lanay.
the thick
rope groans against a high
bough and it sounds
so much like
the end of a sparrow’s trill that
I look for birds

Subscribe to Minerva or purchase this issue here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lessons learned from my first Miami Book Fair poetry reading

I know not all venues are like the Miami Book Fair but I learned so much just from this first experience that I thought I'd share what I gained from it; I also want to remind myself what worked for me and what didn't for next time (if there is one!):
  • Hydrate your throat.  Bring a bottle of water--the hosts didn't provide one at the tables and the lights shining on us were HOT!  (This is Miami.)  Also, make sure you have shine-blotting paper on hand or wear lots of make-up because those lights make you look pale (and scared!).  Singers suggest warm honey and/or potato chips (something salty) to smooth the voice. 
  • Bring a clean copy. Bring two copies of your book--one to show, prop up on the table or have pictures taken with, the other to read from.
  • Facilitate page access. Read directly from your book but use some sticky tabs to mark your pages--I noticed several readers hunting around for pages while I was able to transition smoothly from one poem to the next by using color-coded sticky tabs with a keyword from the title on each one so I could see which poem was where. 
  • Consolidate your notes. All your notes should be stapled inside your book so as to not be noticeable--print them out on a separate sheet and then staple or tape it inside your book (cut down to size if necessary) at the same orientation so you don't have to hold your book sideways!  If you want to make a few remarks before each poem, write them at the top of the page on which the poem begins.
  • Avoid fumbling. Do NOT use loose sheets with your poems printed in large print unless you have rock solid nerves because your hands may tremble.  Some people suggested this and it sounded like a good idea at the time, but I'm glad I decided to read directly from the book.  Most of the other writers did, also.  On that note, make sure you use the book during all your practice runs.  Make sure the page turns occur at a natural pausing time in the poems that run over more than one page.
  • Manage your time. Know exactly how long it will take you to read each poem; that way you can mix and match them and know how long you will be reading.  Your watch can fail you and the reading venue may not have visible clocks.  Do NOT read over your time limit and keep in mind that things rarely begin at the exact time, so you have to subtract that time from your reading accordingly.
  • Communicate enjoyment. Remember to smile and act like you are enjoying yourself (if your acting skills are up to it!)
  • Connect. Bring business cards or their equivalent to hand out to the other poets you connect with or fans.
  • Be grateful.  Thank everyone involved in the reading and/or preparing the venue and learn the volunteers' names so next time you can greet them by name! (I hope I remembered to thank the room host in my case.  He was really nice; not only did he pinch-hit when our presenter didn't show up but he also put us at ease and asked the first question during the Q & A. Unfortunately, I did not remember to get his name!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 Miami Book Fair International presentation

I read from Shining from a Different Firmament at the Miami Book Fair International last weekend!  It was a great experience but that smile on my face is the pure happiness of relief after it was over!  It was the first time I'd read my poetry in public and doing so at the largest book festival in the U.S. probably wasn't the brightest idea in the world!  But I'm glad to say I survived, met and heard some great poets read (Julie Marie Wade, Kay Ryan, Juan Felipe Herrera, among others) and even glimpsed some celebrities up close!  (John Leguizamo and Rosie Perez were talking about their memoirs in the same building and I saw them as they were escorted to the authors' lounge.) 

After the talk, the weather had cleared and we came out into a beautiful evening as the book fair volunteers began wrapping things up.  I grabbed some mementos, including the sign from my autographing table!  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pay Attention Journal acceptances; FIU News; #100!!

Pay Attention Journal just accepted two of the longer (read: hard-to-place) pieces in my chapbook:  "Her Last Cotillion" (about Doc Holliday's cousin) and "Richard the Lionheart's Mummified Heart Examined."
 Pay Attention is an annual, print literary journal founded to print verse that makes for dynamic reading performances.
The mission on the journal, in particular, is to collect and promote high quality poetry that may be performed on the high school and college forensics circuits and taught in classrooms that feature the oral interpretation of poetry.

I was in Forensics in high school and I also had difficulty finding material I was comfortable with, so I ended up writing my own and performing in the "Original" category.  I'm happy to know my work may be performed by others!

I never would have found Pay Attention without using Duotrope, which I can't recommend enough!
Duotrope helps you find the perfect fit for your poetry or fiction.

From the Editor:
To tell the truth, these two poems
epitomize what I’m hoping to collect in the journal. I love the
interesting voices you’ve created and the precise images you’ve filled
these poems with. It’s very clear that you knew what I was looking for
in forensics-worthy pieces.

I will probably read one of these pieces at my Miami Book Fair International poetry reading, which was advertised in this FIU News story yesterday!  Many thanks to Ashley Garcia for the great article (and publicity!)  I wasn't joking about wanting an empty room to read to, though!  As my reading takes place at the same time as Rosie Perez and John Leguizamo's talks, not to mention Brian Weiss' of Many Masters, Many Lives fame, I doubt I have much to worry about!

(P. S. This is my 100th post!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Minerva Rising Literary Journal publication

Minerva Rising Literary Journal's new issue "Wide Open" is now available for purchase and includes my poem "Emily Brontë Addresses Her Creation."  This poem is my current favorite!

Miami Book Fair International appearance

The Miami Book Fair International has announced its final schedule and and I am listed as one of the featured authors!  My presentation of my poetry chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament, will be on Sunday, November 22nd, at 5:30 pm, along with two other local poets/writers.  Now, it's time to begin panicking!  It will be in the Centre Gallery, Bldg 1, 3rd floor, Room 1365.

I'm very excited one of my favorite poets, Kay Ryan, former U.S. Poet Laureate, will be speaking earlier that day!

My poems "Renascence" and "Caernarfon Retreat" are now available on When Women Waken's Wildlife issue:


Caernarfon Retreat

Click on the titles to read the poems and read the whole issue of poetry by women from all over the world!

Banned Books Week begins today!

To celebrate Banned Books Week, I've created two different displays in the library; one is especially for Banned YA Lit Authors, since YA Lit is the focus of this year's BBW.

This is the one for adult banned books:

Friday, September 04, 2015

"Homeland" and "Crows" in The Light Ephrastic along with Laura Smith's artwork

"Heartless" appeared on Words Dance Publishing's site in February with a photo by Tyler Rayburn

One of my own favorites--inspired by the eponymous Twilight Zone episode and more distantly by Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

Old blogs, new blogs, old poems, new poems

I just realized my link to an old poem is gone from my old website, so I'm adding the image here so I don't lose it.  "Respiratory Tech at the Vietnam Memorial, 1989" began my poetry for publication efforts by winning the grand prize in Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Poetry competition (out of almost 4300 entries).  I was very pleased with the presentation--at that time and even now, they don't always publish the winning poem, but they paired mine with a perfect image that really captured the emotion.

Even though it took me two more years to venture into publishing, I now have more than 50 poems published in a variety of journals and websites, from children's magazines to refereed academic journals to mainstream poetry journals, both print and online.  I am slow but steady, or at least I have been the past few years!

Respiratory Tech at the Vietnam Memorial, 1989

he sees the names carved on the slick black wall
the names appear in death order
he sees the letters that make up the names of the dead
but he cannot read them
he sees the light reflecting on the black wall that bears the names of the dead
he sees his face reflected on the shiny black wall
he sees the names of the dead written on his face
but he cannot read them
the black wall turns white and he sees the faces of the near-dead on their white beds
he sees the black pictures of the black lungs of the near-dead
he sees the blue lips of the black-lunged men as they rasp for breath
their lips shape the names of the dead written on the black wall
but he cannot read them
he walks and walks beside the long wall the color of old blood
he sees the names blur into shapes that writhe like the lips of dying men
he sees the first name and the last name but he knows that is a lie
the names go and on
the pain
the pain
will never die.

(originally published in Writer's Digest, August 2007)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Heading to the Key West Literary Seminar Writers' Workshop in January!

I was accepted into Campbell McGrath's writing workshop: "Hearing Voices: Crafting the Poetic Voice"; they only accept 12 persons per workshop, so I'm very excited to have made the cut, based on a writing sample of five poems!
This workshop topic is extremely interesting to me, as I write mostly persona poems, and I've been experimenting with different voices.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Ghazal Page is back! (and contains three of my ghazals!)

I'm very thrilled to be part of the comeback of The Ghazal Page! This inaugural issue of the revived Ghazal Page is chock-full of an amazing variety of this fascinating and fun poetry form, collected by the new editor, Holly Jensen, who kindly included my poems "Hypatia's Revenge", "The Ghazal Ghazal (or How to Write a Ghazal), (which she uses as an example below) and "Ghazal Upon Hearing of a Mutual Friend's Death" in this new issue!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

When Women Waken Wildlife issue goes live!

I have two poems in the new Wildlife issue of When Women Waken: a journal of Poetry, Prose and Images

Renascence and Caernarfon Retreat

When Women Waken is a wonderful journal with gorgeous artwork and writing by women all over the world who support each other's creative endeavors.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Quarterday Review to publish my latest ghazal and review my chapbook!

I'm happy to have a new ghazal, "Thirteen Days and Nights" upcoming in the new journal The Quarterday Review: Poetry of Mythic Journeys. This is an ekphrastic ghazal inspired by the painting “The Amazon Queen Thalestris in the Camp of Alexander the Great” by Johann Georg Platzer, with thanks to Adrienne Mayor’s article on the subject in History Today 1/15. Her article and Platzer's painting really brought the encounter to life for me.

Quarterday's editor also kindly agreed to review my chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament!

My latest poem in Minerva Rising's upcoming Open issue.

Minerva Rising Literary Journal will publish my poem "Emily Brontë Addresses Her Creation" in their upcoming Open themed issue. This is a persona poem from the pov of Emily addressing her most famous and infamous creation. I'm so happy this poem found a home promptly because it's my current favorite!

I have yet to see the perfect Heathcliff personified on-screen--I'm still waiting!

Librarything giveaway concurrent with Goodreads....

In celebration of my birth month, I'm giving away signed copies of my poetry chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament via Librarything as well! So far 4 people have requested copies via LT and 68 and counting via Goodreads! These are early days, as the giveaways run for a month. For those of you not familiar with Librarything, it's a great way to catalog and organize your own books, discover new books and share your libraries and book reviews with your friends. There are groups for every type of reader imaginable. You can sign up for giveaways (a review is usually requested by the author or publisher giving away the book) or post your own! Ebooks as well!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway begins May 18th!

I'm giving away five copies of my chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament, via Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shining from a Different Firmament by Beatriz Fitzgerald Fernandez

Shining from a Different Firmament

by Beatriz Fitzgerald Fernandez

Giveaway ends June 18, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Authors for Nepal

I am participating in the Authors for Nepal  initiative to raise funds for the Nepal earthquake.  I found out about it on facebook.  Authors donate services or signed books or even a character name as incentive to donors.  The books or services are being auctioned off on ebay and the author will then deliver the item or service directly to the donor.  I am donating signed copies of my chapbook, here: Shining from a Different Firmament--hopefully there will be some poetry lovers out there; I noticed most books were YA.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Feature on Somos en escrito: the Latino Literary Online Magazine!

Muchas gracias to Armando Rendón for featuring my work on the latest issue of Somos en escrito!  It includes three of the poems from my new chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament:  Nefertiti's Secret, The Picture of Constance Wilde and Red Light.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The new Ghazal Page will publish four of my ghazals!

Holly Jensen has re-launched The Ghazal Page and accepted FOUR of my ghazals; three for the summer issue and one for winter.  I am very happy to be included in this journal that originally debuted in 1999 under the editorship of Gene Doty and features poets from all over the world.  The ghazal has become my signature form poem--definitely my favorite and most comfortable poetry form! 

Holly is still reading for the Summer issue until May 15th and also invites poets "to send us ghazals inspired by our Challenge topic: FLORA." by August 15th.

Friday, April 03, 2015

30 Days of Poetry Love Q&A with Lidy Wilks

Lidy Wilks, fellow Scribber, who blogs at had the brilliant and fun idea to interview a different poet every day of the month for National Poetry Month.  She was kind enough to make me her April 14th interviewee and publish a poem from my chapbook:  Red Light.

Check out her website every day this month!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Just squeaked one in for March! "Ode to your Code" to the rescue!

O'Miami and WLRN of South Florida are starting off their National Poetry Month celebrations with a fun tumblr poetry challenge:  write an ode to your zip code consisting of as many words in each line as indicated by your zip code:  mine is 33185.  I wrote this:

published on their Ode to Your Zip Code tumblr on March 26th:

Ode to Your Zip Code archive

Miami Herald reporter Kathleene Devaney also interviewed me and discussed my poem in an article just published on the 29th:

And so it begins!

Another nice surprise today, I finally received my poetry chapbook from the publishers--

Blurbs for my book, kindly provided by Andrea Hollander and Julie Marie Wade, FIU Creative Writing professor:

The poems in Beatriz Fernandez's Shining from a Different Firmament do just that. They shine light on women history has slighted, mistreated, or forgotten altogether. They give us "Hypatia's Revenge," "Nefertiti's Secret," and "The Picture of Constance Wilde." They also consider Dante's passion for Beatrice and examine Richard the Lionheart's mummified heart. This collection is pithy and surprising, rich with persona poems rendered as ghazals, epistles, and ekphrastic musings. Julianna Baggott's Lizzie Borden in Love: Poems in Women’s Voices has found a worthy companion in Beatriz Fernandez's stirring debut. Like the women she embodies, Fernandez writes with the vision of one who "chart[s] the oceans of the night."
--Julie Marie Wade, author of Without, Postage Due, and When I Was Straight.

Amid this era of poetry that runs the gamut from solipsism to impenetrability, how refreshing to find a poet of intelligence who writes with clarity about those whose lives, whether actual or fictional, deserve more notice. Reminiscent of Robert Browning in his ability to vividly inhabit voices other than his own, Beatriz Fitzgerald Fernandez is a welcome master of both open and closed forms, as she brings together history, compassion, and music to each poem in this fine first collection.
—Andrea Hollander, author of Landscape with Female Figure: New & Selected Poems, 1982 – 2012

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 Off to a Good Start!

Words Dance Publishing will feature two of my poems on their site in the next two months:  "Late Night Shift" (inspired by a late night visit to a Waffle House many years ago) will appear Jan 29th and "Heartless" (based on a memory of Raggedy Ann dolls and books) on Feb 24th.  This means I can coast until March, right?