Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Made-up Words

Yesterday we had a tornado warning so my son and I got to spend some quality time on the stairs to our basement.  That was fun.  Thank heavens for small hand-held electronics so we could pass the time watching exactly where it was and how much longer we actually had to be on the stairs, cause really, that wasn't the funnest (my favorite made up word) place to be.  One of our cats knocked off the screen door to the porch hurtling toward a chipmunk and as I was eating my breakfast this morning, a big ole spider was exploring my hand.  I'm pretty sure I had felt him jump up on my ankle, take a bite, and move up my pants.  Now I feel all buggy.

Jeannine is writing some very interesting stuff on her blog.  She says, "I hate to say this, but very few of the young men (literally, maybe only one or two) I’ve worked with have struggled with any of the above, regardless of the quality of their writing. Therefore, those guys have several books and a tenure-track teaching job now. Just think of that, ladies, and let it motivate you to not stand in the way of your own writing. Send it out, be proud, take the time to work on it and make it the best it can be but then for God’s sake send it out and when it gets published then promote it without feeling ashamed."  I have really been feeling the promotion shame lately.  That feeling of why on earth would anybody be interested in reading these poems and why should I point anyone in their direction?  Not to mention how, if I thought anyone WAS reading my poems, that they would think I'm a horrible person.  As if they would think, how can she write those things, what does her family think of her???  In other words, shame.  And the poems I am writing now?...I'm all like, these are so unimportant.  I should be writing about the big political stuff.  But that's not what I write or how I write.  And I have to just let that kind of wasteful thinking go. 

And on a different note, Susan Rich has a beautiful note on the gift of poetry editors.  We should definitely praise them and thank them, because, as she so correctly states:  1. Poetry Editors are almost always poets themselves. They take time away from their own work to promote other writers and allow new work entry into the world.2. No one gets rich or becomes famous as a poetry editor. They do work for free or little money.  We poets are so lucky to have such generous editors.  My editors over at Red Bird Chapbook were working hard this weekend to correct the proofs of my, and I'm sure other poets', chapbook. 

And so I would like to point you in the direction of three poems I have in the latest Rufous City Review and to thank those editors for taking a lot of time and energy and creating a beautiful journal full of art.  And I'm gonna try really hard not to go bang my head against some invisible stupid wall of shame.  Wish me luck.


Always covering myself
in clothes or cloaks of words
which only dogs hear: in truth
                    I was nude and didn't know
which parts to cover or if
I could finally uncover it all.
And what a relief to move
my hands, formally, from
my breasts, testes and labia,
to show myself, for what I am—
a worm or perhaps just a cell
which may birth and split from itself
                    and I wish you could see
all my secret hairs
revealed like words
or the meanings of words
which always seem concrete
in dreams but never when I awake
                    and quickly cover.

Ryan Van Winkle

American Poetry Review
July / August 2013

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