Saturday, July 26, 2014

The One in Contact

Image of the day:  Milky clouds creaming a blue bowl of a sky.


So this is sort of indicative of how my week has been going:  I'm driving my son to his music lesson from our house and I think I've timed it as usual but I'm ten minutes late because usually I'm in the center of town, which is ten minutes away, so of course the instructor has left by the time I get there--and when my husband gets home, who is the one in contact with the instructor, I want to send an apology via email, which he does--only to find out when he checks his email that the instructor had canceled.  Canceled earlier in the day.


My chapbook, Just Beneath Our House I Hide My Other Body, is in the First Ever Hyacinth Girl Press Thunderdome!  Margaret Bashaar, editor extraordinaire, is, instead of just putting up lists of semi-finalists, finalists, and the four winning chapbooks, making brackets instead, and out of hundreds of manuscripts, mine is one of 32 to battle it out.  So that's exciting and very entertaining. 


I think I told you that I was enrolled in what's called a MOOC course, which stands for a Massive Open Online Course, about How Poets Write.  It has been such a great course and I've loved watching the videos.  If you're interested, here's a link to one of the videos on you-tube.   It's about the pleasure of poetry.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6cdVX7RRsk  One of the things the videos have been stressing is ways of using constraints or rules to get you to write a poem in surprising ways. 


And one of the books they suggested reading was Srikanth Reddy's Voyager, which I just bought. He had a whole process about how he wrote this book, using the memoir of Kurt Waldheim, that he talks about here at this link.  It's quite fascinating. 


 


Minotaur
  by Peter Kline     


You wound a ball of twine around my eyes
then pinned the end between my fingers.



You gowned me in white tissue
like a hothouse nectarine.



The furtive door at last unbarred, I was
amazed at the garden's suggestion



throating from vining flower-walls
in breaths that quickened with mine.



How long I lingered beneath
sun awnings and a stone-and-mortar sky,



only you know. For when I found the throneroom
festooned with pelvis bones,



the twin-fingered god on whose nether lip I hung
a kiss, a crape-gartered barb,



was you--you the pursued, yours
the bull's head draped with fragrant lash-black hair.



 









Sunday, July 6, 2014

Inside Their Skin

Image of the Day:  Small green globes of unripe tomatoes, holding summer's juice inside their skin.


I'm enrolled in this free, online poetry workshop and they have these videos of poets talking about the craft of poetry, which is fabulous and reminds me of so much good poets and poetry I need to read and reread and today I was reminded of Robert Creeley.  You should read this poem about love and language here.


So in April, while I was trying to write a poem a day and failing, I did write a few Swedish Fairy tale poems.  I made these completely up but it was fun.  My father's side of the family is Swedish, and I got this book, Jolly Calle and other Swedish fairy tales, but I can't seem to get into them.  So I just made up my own.  Anyway, you can read one of them here, at Rose Red Review.  You should also check out the art work and other writers in there.  And then go write your own fairy tale, using your heritage. 


Yesterday my son and I went to a nearby town's fourth of July parade.  They had, of course, closed off the main street into town and the parade was all lined up as we walked into town past it.  Our own private preview.  It was a great parade but LOUD.  My son dancing and clapping and getting more excited about a packet of carrot seeds being thrown to him rather than all the candy. 


I hope you enjoyed your fourth. 


Mary Ruefle quoting Milosz:  "The purpose of poetry is to remind us / how difficult it is to remain just one person" (140).




3 am
       


Winter and I am awake again
in the darkness of a moonless night
no light to drive out the black animal
that creeps about my head
tonguing its way around hidden hurts
like an evil mother
licking to life the morbid thoughts
of 3 am.


 Nicki Griffin
 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Finding a New Place

Image of the Day:  Black fly on your bare back and you can't smack it and your flesh feels like a ripe pear being crushed.




It's hot today.  Hot today, hot yesterday.  And so I took my dog for a walk early-ish today, earlier for me and my son, earlier than yesterday.  And I was all worried about loading my son up with insect repellant, him and me, so I had him jump outta the car and sprayed and sprayed and then sprayed myself and then got the dog out and punched the car door locks, locking the car, turned around and went...oh noNo no no no. Yep.  Locked my keys, my cell phone, and my purse in the car.  And do you know where my extra car keys are?  That's right, in my purse, so that I have my keys wherever I have my purse.  So.  We still took the dog for a walk, albeit a short one, and then walked to the police station and got a nice ride home.  After a very very warm walk.  And then I turned that experience into a rough draft poem. It's gotta be good for something, right?


But it's still hot outside, and since it's hot outside, I have a nice cool poem to blow your way, here, at the gorgeous Cider Press Review.  And I'll be finding a new place for my extra keys, thank you very much.


Poetry Prompt:  Write about your teeth.  Or, write about biting into something.



































Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Selfie



My poem, "The Woman of Lascaux," in the recent issue of Sou'wester, a journal I've been trying to get into for, oh, four or five years.

Diane Lockward has some great links to new journals that are beautiful.  I went and found Waxwing, which is gorgeous and has fantastic poets in their issue.  Plus, Cedar Waxwings are my absolutely favorite bird, so I had to submit.  Wish me luck with all that.

I actually did write a fair amount of poems for this June Poem-A-Day month.  Having plenty of journal entries helped.  But the summer schedule is shifting and so I think I'm back to just writing in the journal, collecting things and hopefully later, I can work some poems out of them.

From Madness, Rack, and Honey:  "Poetry is NEVER encoded--it is NEVER a covert operation whose information is ciphered and must be deciphered--and yet it does incline toward self-concealment, insofar as it concentrates intently on what words conceal, or, to put it another way, on what language seeks to reveal.

It concentrates on the inside in an attempt to reverse the situation; to turn it inside out" (91).


There is a Stir, Always 
Catherine Graham
        
If I hold onto this body the snow will grow inside me
and the winter of my cells will flake
into tiny crystals like six-figured gods,
each arrow tip attempting to make the point of something
as tears flow.

There is a stir, always.

I rise to the cold
to take my place among the fragile stars,
and sleep.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kind of Karmic

Image of the Day:  Two white-throated sparrows chasing one another into the blooming Asian Dogwood tree, bouncing in the breeze.


There is a wire fallen down onto my mailbox today.  I called the town's electrical office and they tell me they think a truck--I'm assuming one of those semi-trucks--came through and ripped out a bunch of wires along this stretch of road.  The wire is a FIOS wire, and the company's been notified, but apparently don't seem to be in a hurry to fix it.  Hang it back up.  I don't think I'm getting my mail today. 


Got two rejections yesterday--one read, "Dear entrant"--entrant not even being capitalized.  You know it's not good when  the letter starts out that way.  But at least I can send some stuff back out now.  I figured if I complained about (see previous post) maybe I'd get some kind of karmic action out of it. 


Reading Mary Ruefle's Madness, Rack, and Honey.  Many bloggers have been commenting on the book--Molly Spenser, for one, and I had begun it but put it down somewhere and then, you know, other books get in the way and you've forgotten about it.  I am enjoying watching her think on the page--exploring her biases against the use of poetry and advertisements, for example, and coming to the realization she doesn't quite know how to feel about it.  One thing that made me smile that she wrote: "All we can say in defense of our insane tribulations is that they were an act of love--a supremely sentimental act--an act of causeless emotion--that made us commit embarrassing gestures" (51).  Poetry being an embarrassing gesture.  Maybe that's why it's so hard to teach, so hard to talk about in general. 


I'm trying to decide whether to try and write every day--write a poem, that is--or just keep writing in my journal for June.  I have this back and forth every month it seems:  the effort to write seems to me to be good practice, but that expectation is high and the fall, the fail, can be quite hard.  So I don't know. 




How to Go Extinct
       
Caroline Manring


A bird’s mouth is its gape.
As when
young beg.



No one let us go awry;
we just got some heavy focus on
& failed to write
home.



We found a pasture
& delivered ourselves
into it
unprepared. We found



things happen
before our hands
untwist



the wire.


 







Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Sudden Subtle

Image of the Day:  Driving with the windows down and the sudden subtle perfume of lilacs scenting the air. 


It's funny how the submission process happens.  Sometimes journals can have a return rate of just a few days--I've had acceptances within twenty-four hours and those are heady, I can tell you!--and sometimes you wonder what on earth is happening to your poems.  Now, realistically, I know that editors have lives, they are super-busy with those lives, and the poems might have to go through a committee process, etc.  But emotionally, for me, this round of submissions is taking forever!  I have four packets of poems that have been out for over 100 days or so, which doesn't sound like that much time.  And I hate when I get impatient. 


But I did get an acceptance yesterday which made my week!  I have written two poems about Maria Sibylla Merian,  that entymologist I've been interested in, and those were accepted by a new journal,
Tinderbox Poetry Review, that I'm thrilled to be in.  I haven't had the wherewithal to write any more about her or her gorgeous plates, but hopefully in June, all things poetry-wise will pick up. 


Wish me luck this weekend!




By the Front Door
by W. S. Merwin


Rain through the morning
and in the long pool a toad singing
happiness old as water




"By the Front Door" by W.S. Merwin from The Moon Before Morning. © Copper Canyon Press, 2014. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)