Firstly, a note from our sponsor that's written by me and goes as follows: I use Grammarly's plagiarism checker because sometimes it's the robotic, objective eye of an internet web-based program that can be the best friend to your writing, and sometimes it takes that kind of robotic and objective eye to tell you what others can't (i.e. your work "has flaws" or plainly "sucks" -- though Grammarly won't literally say your work sucks; that you will need to infer (I myself have gotten quite good at inferring such things)).
Honestly, I've used Grammarly on a trial basis, pasted in some stories I wanted to have someone look at, and I was really pleased with the results. I consider it a good thing and encourage your considering it as well.
Now moving on:
I think 2013 was a good year for writing and reading.
Tenth of December arrived and was what I hoped it would be, even being nominated for a National Book Award. You can see more of what I read and what I thought of it here. That's a link to TNBBC blog, a blog I become acquainted with in 2013 and highly recommend you read. Lori Hettler runs it and runs very well, if I may say so.
I didn't finish as many books as I set out to read (I read 24 of a planned 40, according to Goodreads). I did start quite a few, thoug, for whatever that's worth. In the place of books (i.e. poetry and short story collections and novels), I have discovered the joys of a great many literary magazines, and here, to name some: Whiskey Island, Unstuck, Caketrain, Salt Hill Journal, Mid-American Review, Sleepingfish, The Lifted Brow and Black Warrior Review. All are places I'd love to see my own work published, but even if it never finds a home at any of these journals / reviews / magazines, I'll at least have the pleasure of reading them. That's plenty. I encourage you to check them all out.
I've decided in 2014 I'm going to read 50 books. To do so, I'll have to finally finish all the books I started in 2013, which I believe I can do. What's more I want to, I want to be a more proactive reader of novels and that sort of thing.
A book I'm excited for this coming year is Bark: Stories by Lorrie Moore (it'll be out in February). I hope I don't have to explain why, but ok, I will. Because it's Lorrie Moore. Looooooorie Moore. She's great? Ever read her? Like her? Yes! Don't like her? What's the matter with you? Stop it. Self-Help is awesome. She is one of the great short story writers of our time, dammit.
Anyway, I think you should also be aware one of the great poets of our time, James Tate, has a few poems in the latest issue of NOÖ Weekly. What are you waiting for?