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Gerardo Mena's Blog

May 22nd, 2012

So I was walking around Barnes and Noble the other day and found a copy of Best New Poets 2011 in the poetry section. I read through it, even though I've done it a hundred times by now, and found my poem. And then it hit me, "Holy cow! My words are in Barnes and Noble!!!!" Granted, it's not "my book" or anything, but I still picked up a book and found my name in it. It was a weird feeling of accomplishment.

March 22nd, 2012

Wow.  Just found out that I was a finalist for the "2011 Best of the Net" award, and that I received second place in the "Gemini Magazine Poetry Competition."  So blessed.

March 19th, 2012

Holy cow it's been a while since I posted.  My apologies.  I'm neck deep in grading 9th grade essays as I'm currently doing my high school student teaching semester.  I'm still involved in the poetry scene, having just done a reading at Orr Street Studios for their Hearing Voices series, which was a BLAST!  That was the warmest (and largest) reception I've received for a reading.  What a great time with great people.
 
Also, I just received news in the last few days that I'm a finalist for the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize for my war poetry manuscript, had a poem accepted by Louisiana Review, and had a poem accepted by Cream City Review.  Wow, after several months of silence, to have such a flurry of success is a great feeling. 
 
Now....those essays aren't going to grade themselves.  Back to the grind. 
 
 
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

Dec. 5th, 2011

A Pushcart Nomination!!!!!  Holy cow...what an honor.  My first one.  Many thanks to Jennifer Bowles and all the other cool cats at the Medulla Review for believing in my work enough for the nom.  You guys are so awesome.

November 21st, 2011

Great news!  Last week I received an acceptance from the Raleigh Review!  I had a great time recording my poem for their online site.

Then, today... I received an e-mail saying that I was accepted into Prairie Schooner's Digital Online project for a multi-media project I created a while back.  I love the fact that they're creating an online page dedicated to multi-media poetry, which is possibly the future (and maybe savior?) of poetry.  While holding a book of print poetry is nice, if you want to capture the attention of today's youth, or those with attention-span problems (like myself), multi-media is definitely the way to go.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 5th, 2011

A couple of interesting updates:

1.)  One of my poems was accepted by Permafrost, a magazine in Alaska, so it looks like my poem will be freezing its hind-end off.  I'm very happy to be a part of the Permafrost family, they seem like really nice people, and obviously they love literature, so they're definitely "my kind of people."

2.)  I was invited to read at the Mid-Missouri Author's Gala today.  I'm really excited to be a part of this cool event and to help promote Missouri writers and literature.  I'll be handing out free CD's of my acoustic music + a few tracks of my poetry.  It's going to be a good time.

3.)  So, lastly, the other day I received an e-mail from an old high school buddy that's in the Navy, and he was tasked to assemble a color guard for a veteran reading event at Union Station in Kansas City.  He went on to say he met with the event coordinators, and then made them read "So I Was a Coffin" and now they want me to be a part of the event.

So, this all goes to show that I am worthless without all the support of my friends and family.  And, in response, here's a video of what I do when I'm not writing:

You need Flash Player in order to view this.
Three-Year-Old Wrestler in Training
My son said he wanted to start wrestling, so we've been practicing a few moves for fun.

September 18th, 2011

My poem in Barely South Review went up this morning.  It's up on the Publications page and looks really nice.  Plus, I'm surrounded by some very talented poets, so...lots of thanks to the great editors from Old Dominion University that run that cool journal. 
 
The other thing I wanted to mention on here is that I had a great time at the U.S. Bank Scholarship Banquet the other night.  I was so inspired by the other recipients who have done so much for Columbia, MO.  It's refreshing to see young adults spend so much of their time trying to better their community. 
 
That's all folks!

September 13th, 2011

I got to be involved in a nice news piece for the 10th anniversary of September 11th, (http://www.komu.com/news/remembering-9-11-the-military-in-mid-missouri/) for KOMU News that aired this past weekend.  It was definitely nice to be considered and to contribute for a great cause and remembrance.  Also, the amazingly kind editors at Winningwriters.com nominated a poem for a "Best of the Net 2011" award.  The contest results won't come out for quite a few months, but always nice to be thought of and nominated. 

August 5th, 2011

I was just notified that D.A. Powell chose my poem "So I Was a Coffin" to be included in this year's "Best New Poets 2011" anthology series due out sometime this fall.  I wasn't really expecting this because I entered myself into the "Open" category and I didn't think that I was going to be taken seriously.  Quite a blessing, especially after so many months of silence and rejections from journals.  Nature of the "biz" I guess.  I hope I can use this achievement to motivate more and more people to keep writing and reading.  Not much else to report in other news...a lot of contest results should be posting in the next few months, so maybe my luck streak will continue and I'll get this war poetry book off the ground. 
 
Tenacity trumps talent and all that jazz.

July 27th, 2011

I recently had a poem accepted by Spillway Magazine for their Winter issue later this year.  I'm really pumped about that.  Other than that, I'm writing writing writing, and revising my butt off trying to get a few projects off the ground. 

July 13th, 2011

June 24th, 2011

I was waiting around for an appointment the other day (one of those "we'll be there anywhere from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. types) when I started scribbling down a few ideas about how to help other college veterans become successful early on in their college careers.  I decided to put it to piece it together, revise it 3 or 4 times, and submit it as a guest blog to the Veterans Association website, where it was immediately accepted and they had very nice words to say about it.  It felt really great; not just having something posted, but using my words and new experiences to help other post-military college vets start achieving success.  Several other organizations have already re-posted it to their websites, and hopefully we'll see some positive results with more veterans becoming leaders in their local communities in the next year or so.

June 22nd, 2011

Not much to report in terms of acceptances, but I did receive a very kind and personal rejection from one of the largest and most popular poetry magazines around.  They said they loved two of my poems that almost made it into their journal.  It was kind of refreshing since all I've been receiving the last few months are formal rejections. 
 
On another note, I just finished hammering out a 14 pg. first draft chapter for my memoir about the first time I went unconscious during Recon training.  It needs some heavy revision, but it'll get there.  Writing it brought back some painful, yet fond memories.  Good times, friends; good times.

June 15th, 2011

Hmmmm....I got a little sidetracked from the memoir the past few months.  I started writing a 2nd book of poetry.  It's really "out there" and kind of cool/unique, got around 34 pgs. of poems or so, and now I'll let that sit while I try to publish those poems and I'm heading back to the memoir.  I did some revising today of the first 30 pgs. of the book and I'm starting to feel really good about it.  It's kind of a cool experience to see these pages go from rough draft to something publishable and print-worthy.  This is the longest project I've ever attempted and at times I have problems focusing on this 24/7, but it's been a great experience so far.  I have a loooooonnnnnggggg ways to go, but I'm sure it will be worth it at the end.
 

June 9th, 2011

Couple cool updates:
1.)  The Missourian, a local newspaper, did a cool student-veteran issue for this year's Memorial Day: http://www.voxmagazine.com/media/multimedia/2011/veterans/mena.html
 
It was my first "real" photo shoot involving professional lighting and backdrops and the likes , and my first time recording audio for other people, which I had to do twice because of technical difficulties, which was interesting because I had to delve into these sensitive issues surrounding Iraq, several times.  But it was a great experience for a great cause.
 
2.)  I had a non-fiction essay accepted for publication next year at Chautaqua, a lit journal out of North Carolina.  This is a huge milestone in my career, because now I'm not just "pigeon-holed" as a poet, I feel like I'm a real writer, and that this memoir project is really possible.  I just have to keep my nose to the grindstone and keep plugging along. 
 
Thanks to everyone for all their support.  I appreciate it so much.  Hope to see you all at the "finish line" someday with a book in hand :)