September Update: Readings, Radio, and Reception Reports

Off by a few days, but here’s an update for the beginning of fall.  Summer slipped through my fingers, though, honestly, with travel and a few other considerations, I didn’t expect to get much done, aside from a few poems that I drafted.  That said, here’s a quick look at my September and a look ahead into October.


Last Saturday, I was delighted to take part in the 2019 Art & Words show, curated by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam.  The poem I submitted and the one I wrote in response to Alex Sharp’s I Rise are both part of a chapbook-length collection I’m working on which voices the crew aboard a generation ship.  The poems are an extended meditation on family–how we see our families of origin and the families we create–and to capture the complexity of those relationships, the poems are all cleave poems.  Which is great for the thematic aims, but they present some challenges when read aloud.  I appreciate that I had the chance to read one of the poems aloud, with assistance from Bonnie, who generously read one of the columns.  In future, I’ll play with the formatting to make readings–especially with two or three(!) readers–more fluid and organic.

I’ve scheduled a signing in my hometown of Tomball in late October, and if I’m able to do a reading while I’m there, I may try one of the new poems then.  I’ll post details soon.


This summer, I was able to take a road trip to see family, and, of course, I brought my Tecsun PL-380.  And, graceless as I am, I managed to snap the telescoping antenna in half while on the road.  Even with a broken antenna, the radio performed beautifully on FM–for the most part, I listened to Nebraska NET.

I’m happy to report that the antenna has been replaced with an OEM antenna, and from the bit of indoor listening I’ve done on shortwave bands, the radio seems more sensitive than before.  I’m hoping this will be the case when I’m able to get outside with the radio again.

Reception Reports

QSL card from Rádio Nacional da AmazôniaOne of the more interesting elements of shortwave listening I learned about while researching radio for the novel I’m drafting is the reception report.  Listeners would write to distant radio stations they heard, often reporting the time, frequency, signal strength, and their radio model to the station.  In return, the stations would acknowledge the reception report with a QSL card.  Earlier this year, I sent a reception report to Rádio Nacional da Amazônia, and in return, I received a QSL card with this striking image of the Amazon.

As I get further into the research and the draft, I plan writing posts here to explore questions shortwave radio raises, both those regarding living in a country that is increasingly cut off from the rest of the world as well as what shortwave from countries under various threats both internal and external.

And the Rest of the Year?

In October and November, I plan to finish up the poetry chapbook manuscript I started late last year as well as a draft of a novella that I’ve been working on for years.  I revised the first draft of the novella into “All the Songs the Little Birds Sing,” so I’m trying to see it as something that needed the process.  After that?  The plan is to get back to the novel draft–the one for which I’ve spent so much time researching amateur and shortwave/medium wave radio.  We’ll call it research, anyway.

I have more Q&As with speculative poets scheduled, mostly over at Luna Station Quarterly, but also elsewhere.  What prompted me to start the interview series was an interest in promoting poetry I admired, enjoyed, and learned from.  Most writers would probably write reviews, but my past attempts to do so resulted in theory-laden tangential messes.  So, I interviewed poets instead.  And in writing the questions for interviews, I think I’ve taught myself how to look at books in a way that would be useful for constructing reviews.  So in the coming months, I plan on putting that way of thinking into action.

And once it’s not 97 degrees in the evenings here in north Texas, and once the mosquitoes have died down, I’ll get outside with the radio again.