Saturday, May 9, 2015

Turned Tender

Image of the Day:  The whole world turned tender and greening.


I have a poem here at the gorgeous DMQ Review. That artwork!
Happy to share poetry space with Sarah J. Sloat and her two gorgeous poems




I am still slowly clambering out of this past winter's wreckage. 






Revision
Laura Van Prooyen
        
Understand, this is a story. You are gone
and I am home. The viburnum is in bloom.



A convertible speeds past with the top down.
Wait. Back up. The neighbor invites me



for a ride on his bike. I think yes. I say no.
Our daughters hear me and laugh. In this story,



we have no daughters. You are a stranger
and I am the girl. This is the beginning.



You refill, again and again, my drink. We walk
for hours past row houses. We don't know



where we are. This is the part where I should be scared.
I'm not. This is the part where you tell me



I'm beautiful, and I believe you. Where you press
my thigh to your hip. I wipe the rain



from your lenses like a mother, then
you resist me. You didn't count on the rain.



Or the girl who falls, so quickly, for the stranger
every time. Understand, the plot



doesn't matter. Only the peak. In this story, you
are gone a long time. I get a kitten.



It grows. I don't know viburnum from a child's
pale palm. I refill, again and again, my drink.



This is the beginning. I take off your glasses and lift
my skirt. I don't know you, but tell you: resist.




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Descriptions of the Endless

Image of the Day:  How you can somehow internally feel the snow melting slowly, hear the birds singing new spring songs, and bask as the sun burnishes snow banks.


What I'm reading:  Women, The New York School, and Other True Abstractions by Maggie Nelson.  Nelson, who wrote Bluets which was so incredible.  This book is just as incredible:  Her study on the painter Joan Mitchell, who said, "I want to paint the feeling of a space," and also, "painting never ends, it is the only thing in the world which is both continuous and still" (20 and 22 respectively). 


What I'm writing:  in my journal, descriptions of the endless snow and its endless changing. 


How I'm feeling:  sore throat, stuffy head, snot-filled nose. 


What I'm waiting for:  next week, on Spring Break!!!


What I'm gonna do on said Spring Break:  create my own writing residency....


What bird I recently saw:  Bufflehead merganser.


What poem to read:




Poetry
       
Child of a lighthouse keeper and a firewatch,
conceived in a wordless encounter
at a rest stop—


1 part flywheel, 8 parts resraint—

luminous with near-disaster,

says, Don't try to mirror this

 world of nothing-is-as-it-seems.

Set down no word. Says, by means

 of a searching pause


 I mistake for an intimate nod,


 Step inside the caution tape.





Naomi Mulvihill



Saturday, February 7, 2015

To Land In

Image of the Day:  Small snowflakes sifting down, each one looking hesitant to land in such a snowscape.


Sometimes I am really surprised when a journal accepts one poem out of all the other ones I send in a submission packet that I think will fit, based on my reading and research. 
For example, I have a poem in the recent issue of Harpur Palate.  This was the first time I had ever sent to them.  They accepted my poem "Her Pregnancy Dreams."  And I thought to myself, what resonated about that poem for the editors? Why choose that one? I mean, I like that poem, but you never know. I just got my contributor's copy yesterday in the mail, and after reading through it, I can understand.
Somehow a theme must have started to coalesce from all the submissions they received, and from the first poems that they wanted to accept.  Themes of motherhood, dreams, and water images.  I'm sure from an editor's point of view, that must seem so cool, as if that particular issue was meant to be.  And of course I'm always happy/relieved/surprised that my way of thinking about things--or in this case--dreaming about things, is in fact not so weird.  That other people think about them too. So in this particular case, for this particular poem, I am enormously lucky.  Some journals announce a theme and that's always fun to submit to, but some journals let it happen serendipitously. It's a lot of fun to be involved when that happens. 
And so I need to remember to try and tell myself to just submit the poems I have.  Cause who knows?


The Other Side of the Argument
But she prefers the morning glory,
How slowly its bloom unfurls,
How its curl of vine
Catches the flaw in masonry
First, then the crosshatch
Of kite string we hung
From the porch
As a makeshift trellis,
How it needs only a foothold
To fill half the day with blue.


Eric Pankey



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wanna Buy A Book? Of course you do....

Hey All!
My new chapbook The Ornithologist Poems is now available from dancing girl press!
As always, Kristy Bowen does such a fabulous job!!!  I'm very excited--can you tell by my use of exclamation marks?


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Part 1


Some of my favorite lines and beyond:

 

The world had been sad since Tuesday.”   A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings:  A Tale for Children  Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

and I eat men like air  Sylvia Plath

 

“I could hear everyone’s heart” What we Talk about When We Talk about Love Raymond Carver

 

They flee from me that one time did me seek  Sir Thomas Wyatt  Also the line "How like you this?

 



 

The grave’s a fine and private place  Andrew Marvell  and then what Diane Ackerman does with the lines in her poem “A Fine, A Private Place”

 

i found them there

rubbing against the leaves

so that the nubs of their

wings were flush under their skin     report from the angel of eden   Lucille Clifton

 


 


my heart broke loose on the wind  “Poetry” Neruda

 



and the child draws another inscrutable house   “Sestina” Elizabeth Bishop
 (pretty bold of her, don’t you think, to title this just Sestina?)




"And this... is your opinion of me!"   Darcy from Pride and Prejudice  Jane Austen















Thursday, January 1, 2015

An Obvious Thing

Happy 2015!

Yesterday I was busy organizing my computer folders and realized I'm horrible at keeping track of some things (like how many poems I've actually published in a year).  I'm trying to keep track of my published poems for grants and stuff.  So after reviewing my system, I decided to open a folder of poetry stuff just for 2015.  Keeping my poems, my submissions, my acceptances and rejections all in one place.  We'll see if that helps.  You'd think that kind of organization would be an obvious thing, but....

I also was facebooking and came across this wonderful commencement speech a MacArthur Genius Fellow had given.  Teresita Fern├índez has this wonderful list of things artists should remember so I'm sharing them here because I think they're spot on:


  1. Art requires time — there’s a reason it’s called a studio practice.
  2. Learn to write well and get into the habit of systematically applying for every grant you can find. If you don’t get it, keep applying. I lived from grant money for four years when I first graduated.
  3. Nobody reads artist’s statements. Learn to tell an interesting story about your work that people can relate to on a personal level.
  4. Not every project will survive. Purge regularly, destroying is intimately connected to creating. This will save you time.
  5. Edit privately. As much as I believe in stumbling, I also think nobody else needs to watch you do it.
  6. When people say your work is good do two things. First, don’t believe them. Second, ask them, “Why”? If they can convince you of why they think your work is good, accept the compliment. If they can’t convince you (and most people can’t) dismiss it as superficial and recognize that most bad consensus is made by people simply repeating that they “like” something.
  7. Don’t ever feel like you have to give anything up in order to be an artist. I had babies and made art and traveled and still have a million things I’d like to do.
  8. You don’t need a lot of friends or curators or patrons or a huge following, just a few that really believe in you.
  9. Remind yourself to be gracious to everyone, whether they can help you or not. It will draw people to you over and over again and help build trust in professional relationships.
  10. And lastly, when other things in life get tough, when you’re going through family troubles, when you’re heartbroken, when you’re frustrated with money problems, focus on your work. It has saved me through every single difficult thing I have ever had to do, like a scaffolding that goes far beyond any traditional notions of a career.

I personally think #3 and 4 are especially important.  Well, #5 too but I think that goes for a lot of things--although I'm not as private as I think I am.  Or would like to be.  (Update:  Here is a link to the complete speech:  http://www.penultimosdias.com/2013/05/15/on-amnesia-broken-pottery-and-the-inside-of-a-form/

Anyway, I hope your writing and my writing are better than ever this year.  


Orange, Enormous 
        
to be a lunatic, fellowing the moon
shining, binding in quartz cracks

broken? no bracken,
leaves grown flown and blacking

I'll mumble I'll bramble
up slide down rise flattering scree

cluttering tattering full to fall
all the way to tamarack stands

crayons of larch trees please me
as they dip they tip they drip rain

sips, a psalm on my tongue
my roots laced to ground, found

the soil slinks to sap — I've tapped
I'm home come wholed

held healed in a halo of moon sight
lit I leap, lip, leaf into singing





Monday, December 29, 2014

A Sea Full

Image of the Day:  The cold Earth steady and still beneath my feet.




I've been on a cruise ship for the past week.  I walked up a waterfall with fast streaming water flowing downward, holding the hands of complete strangers helping me not fall onto slippery rocks.
I've seen goats running around the Jamaica green jungle.  A very controlled and well-trained dolphin kissed me on the cheek and let me kiss it.  A very thick-lipped and sunburnt-skinned Australian captain let me jump into a sea full of large wild sting-rays while a woman screamed.  They streamed through the water like huge, black capes, their width the length of me.  I did not stay long in that water, even though it was gorgeous tourmalined in color.  My skin got so burned there were little raised bumps all over my chest.  The ocean was a constant motion, small waves combining with themselves to form bigger waves that rolled and rolled.  Small nearly see-through flying fish rode above the waves far longer than I thought possible.  And at 2:30 in the  morning, the ship would cavitate and my whole body felt like it was threaded through some giant hook, streaming underneath the water.  It was nice to go away and it is nice to be back. 


I have a poem here in the whimsical Arsenic Lobster Poetry Review.  I'm sharing poetry space with some of my favorite poets, all incredibly talented, such as D.M. Aderibigbe, Karen J Weyant, Jill Khoury and others. 


I finished reading State of Wonder which was quite fitting for a cruise.  Lots of surprises.  Today I'm just blah, doing loads of laundry and wandering aimlessly around the house. 




Siberian Spring

      Tomsk, Siberia



A moment for a painting: crisp, clean
snow sparking over hill and hollow,
barest green halo hovering above branches.
Taiga: the word smells fresh, unstained.
Gone are the long nights—woman, bottle, knife,
each good company in her own way—
swept clear by green noise.


Up front the driver tightens a wire in the engine.
Satisfying, these small victories:
the engine's rev, the road's drag,
the marking of another spring—
as if it were an easy thing.
As if any of it were easy.
Just ask the river ice, keening now
over the carcass of her rank,
disemboweled self.


Katherine E. Young