Summer is here, and so is my son, the history teacher. Here’s our review of Severance.
Here is the link to the 2% Milk roundtable discussion that I mentioned in earlier posts. Editors Nic Rago and Lily Reed (mostly Editor-in-Chief Nic) follow up with the artists on their views about their creative processes, their art, and the interaction between the arts and their social and cultural contexts. As on the website, the graphics in the roundtable video are trippy, which I mostly enjoyed. I’m both happy to have been a part of this well-thought-out, interesting, and experimental project, and a little sad that it’s over. The amount of time and energy the editors have put in is truly impressive.
So check it out. And if you have created anything especially intriguing and a little wild, 2% Milk is open for submissions here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The creative nonfiction piece I wrote about here is now up at The Pine Cone Review. I’m fond of it, although it would have taken a truly spectacular piece to start to do Isabella justice. The Pine Cone team has paired “Magic” with an appropriate picture focusing on a dropped and broken ice cream cone. Many thanks to the editors.
Thanks to David L O’Nan, editor of Fevers of the Mind, for posting my review of Matt Duggan’s Everyone is Waiting for Tomorrow on the Fevers site. It is my Wolfpack contribution for June. I have written very few reviews. Generally, I feel that literary criticism, though an honorable pursuit and a crucial aspect of literature’s power to speak to people, does not give me the thrill of immediate connection I get from producing or directly experiencing literary discourse.
I wanted to put in the effort for Everyone is Waiting for Tomorrow, though, because it is good and should be read widely, and because I believed I would learn from the process of reviewing and achieve a deeper understanding of the work, and because, while I don’t know Matt well, I believe he is a kind person, and I deeply respect his talent—so I wanted to show support for his collection.
Everyone is Waiting for Tomorrow grew out of Matt’s experience in the pandemic, during which time his father grew ill and died. The collection also hits many of the notes of Matt’s earlier work–themes of decay, the corruptions of imperialism, capitalism, and bureaucratic institutions, the magic of travel, the beauty of nature, and our need of it–and the pieces in it contain the rich imagery and variety of inventive formal approaches readers of his work will have come to expect.
It seems to me, though, that the breadth and depth of subject matter combine with a sense of urgency and extreme emotion to give this collection an epic feel. You can read the review for the details, but Matt is telling an important story about where we are and where we are going, one we can all find ourselves in, and, perhaps, learn from. I’m proud to know him.
Speaking of wonderful artists . . .
It is quite exciting to see my blog, where I often feel as if I were talking to myself, featured in a magazine with 11,000 subscribers, most of whom are women writers. “Blogability,” featuring Word Music in the latest issue of Mslexia, consists of a short description of how I came to write this and what I do here, and an excerpt from the blog. I chose a bit describing my can poems, because it fit well in their 300-word format. Thanks to Production Editor Maxine Davies and the whole editorial team at Mslexia for choosing to feature Word Music.
Mslexia is online and in print. You can learn about it, read some of it, subscribe for access to the whole magazine, and sign up for additional writing-related experiences here. Mslexia has many resources and opportunities for writers, including many opportunities to submit to the magazine.
Mslexia also pays for all writing, I was especially grateful for the boost to my online finances from the “Blogability” publication because my account had become quite low, owing to my getting behind on rotting up violin and viola lesson fees. Now I can buy Tom Daley’s latest chapbook, Far Cry, without waiting for my snail-mail check to get to him.
Looking forward to it.
After a fantastic visit to San Francisco, during which my husband and I attended the launch party for 2% Milk, the issue has launched. It looks spectacular, and I’m not just talking about my poetry. Find out what all the fuss is about here
In case you’re still not convinced, check out the trailer for the project:
The trailer was shown at the launch party, where we also enjoyed the superb fare and beer of Pizza Hacker, the company of indefatigable editors Nic, Reed, and Lily, and conversation with fellow contributor Bob Ernst, as well as various other attendees. I also read my poems there, and a selection from The Jesus Wars—all welcomed by the friendly audience.
As I have said before, 2% Milk is full of cool artists in a variety of media. The editors thoughtfully sent their files to all contributors ahead of time, and I have checked most of them out. I feel confident in saying that the issue contains not just something for everyone, but something you really needed, even if you didn’t know it.
And in case you are more philosophically inclined, on June 8th, the editors will put out a round-table discussion with contributors regarding their work, and art in general, in its sociopolitical context. Don’t worry. I’ll remind you about it.
I had a nice time in Evansville, Indiana, reading with David L O’Nan (Editor of Fevers of the Mind) and friends. I also played Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on the violin under David’s reading of his poem, “A Hallelujah for a Midnight War.” Met nice people; heard good poetry and an excerpt from Shawna Kay Rodenberg’s memoir, Kin.
Maybe it was a long way to go for a reading, but I’m trying to reach out more. I do hope I will get tips and contacts that might help me market my poetry collection, but I also enjoy traveling to different parts of the country and meeting fellow artists. Now I am looking forward to the 2% Milk launch party in San Francisco (click on link for all the info).
But wait–there was more. When I returned and checked my desktop computer, I found I had been named a featured poet in the erbacce-prize poetry contest! My poetry will be featured in a future issue of the erbacce-journal, and they will be interviewing me. To be named one of the top nine poets out of almost 15,000 is too unreal to contemplate, but highly gratifying nonetheless. Again, thanks to all the judges.
I’m highly gratified to be long-listed again for the Erbacce Prize, or “erbacce-prize,” as the press writes it. “Erbacce,” the press tells us, is Italian for “weed”–hence the picture I selected for this post. Although many people made the long list, it is truly an honor to be selected out of almost 15,000 entrants from all over the world. Also, it is my second time making the long list out of two times I have entered, so there’s that. Thanks to all the judges and everyone who helps facilitate reading and judging all that poetry!
I’m also looking forward to the reading at Bluestocking Social in Evansville, Indiana this Friday evening and the launch party for 2% Milk at Pizza Hacker in San Francisco on Thursday the 26th.
Now, if I could just find the time to organize my novel and write some new poems in this “life filled with incident.”*
*Lady Bracknell disapprovingly describes Cecily’s life this way after hearing her medical history in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
Even though I can only dimly remember the last time I went to a “really cool PARTY,” I was excited to get this invitation in my email. First of all, as I intimated in the “update” at the end of this post, my fellow artists are impressive. Here is a video by Ha Vay to illustrate. Second, the concept behind 2% Milk is to combine an eclectic but edgy and experimental collection of artworks in various media with discussions about art and the artist in society. These were conducted live with the San Francisco-area artists, and will be presented with bits from interviews with the rest of us edited in. There will be an interval when just the artworks will be up on the site, and then the discussions will be added, generating a new conceptual angle on the art.
This is my understanding of the project from what Nic, of the editing trio of “Nic + Lilly + Reed” has shared with me. The site is due to go live on June 1st, and I look forward to seeing how everything is integrated. In the meantime, I am grateful to be included in such a sophisticated and well-thought-out presentation.
These positive feelings, together with the opportunities to read, sell my books, and support my fellow artists, made me decide to go to the party. If you are going to be in the area, please stop by and say hello.
P.S. Now that the academic year is all but over, my son has made our reviews accessible again. So search the “reviews” category, and enjoy.
One of my violin students is a magic child. She always wears magic clothes. Last lesson it was a retro kimono over athleisurewear. Sometimes it is a glittering unicorn t-shirt. Other times, lots of sequins. It’s not just her wardrobe, either. Sometimes she “is” an animal. Other times, she expresses astonishment over my (very rudimentary) piano playing, as if it were miraculous. Always, she gives the impression of living in her own world, a world where anything could happen, at any time. She also has a magical name: Isabella.
She is eight years old–a magical age. When I was eight, I remember visiting some friends of my mother’s in Rome. They were a couple–grown-ups, but young grown-ups. I called the man, whose name was George, “the Wizard” (not sure why–I had read some of The Hobbit by then), and I had a great time with him. He gave me a copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which I loved because my third-grade teacher, whom I had left behind at my regular school, had worked on a reservation and woke us all up to the sufferings of Native peoples. It was magic to be in Rome with cool adults, to be allowed to swing George’s hand and carry his umbrella, and to talk about books with him. I know eight is a magical age.
So of course I had to write about Isabella. I juxtaposed her magic with Ukraine’s surprising and seemingly miraculous defense against the Russian invasion, and the editors of The Pine Cone Review accepted my flash creative nonfiction for Issue 4. I look forward to seeing it there and to familiarizing myself with the publication. It is interesting because it is rooted in “brown” identity–the staff are from various formerly colonized nations–but open to a mix of perspectives, as long as they are creative voices. I feel this is a hopeful and positive approach in our divided world. It seems like the sort of magic we need.