In the fastest turnaround I have ever experienced, Volodymyr Bilyk, Editor of Brave New Word Magazine, has accepted five of my can poems in one fell swoop. These are a representative bunch: a sardonic swipe at the South, a mystical poem about birth (with some irony since, as a poem about canned tuna, it’s also about eating life), a poem about an imagined Parisian fling gone wrong, a depressing poem about old age, and a sketch of a fictional wealthy character, or perhaps the actual wealthy as a class.
Editor Bilyk says these will all be up on Brave New Word soon, and judging by the speed of his response, I believe him. I look forward to showing them off in public, and in the meantime will enjoy familiarizing myself with as many of the experimental techniques on display at Brave New Word as I can wrap my mind around.
Photo credit: EPA. OLD STYLE CASH REGISTER AND CANNED GOODS IN A BUTCHER SHOP IN NEW ULM, MINNESOTA. THE TOWN IS A COUNTY SEAT TRADING CENTER OF 13,000 IN A FARMING AREA OF SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA. IT WAS FOUNDED IN 1854 BY A GERMAN IMMIGRANT LAND COMPANY THAT ENCOURAGED ITS KINSMEN TO EMIGRATE FROM EUROPE. POPULATION STABILIZED AT 8 TO 9,000 DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THIS CENTURY, THEN GREW SLOWLY AS MANUFACTURING FIRMS ARRIVED. THE TOWN’S BUSINESS DISTRICT WAS REVITALIZED DURING THE LATE 1960’S. Wikimedia Commons. PD.
The house I grew up in, taken by me.
I am excited to report that The Scarlet Leaf Review has published my creative nonfiction, From Candy to Courage: Four Life Lessons on People and Politics, which is about how I grew up to be engaged with the political process. I have a sentimental attachment to this piece, which evokes the intensely intellectual milieu of Oberlin in the late 60s through the 70s. Although my family was dysfunctional, I was in many ways highly privileged. I believe this piece shows how that privilege led me to become an informed contributor to our times, and I’m grateful to The Scarlet Leaf Review for publishing it.
So check it out! And in the meantime, enjoy this 1952 recording of my father’s second symphony, featuring the Oberlin Orchestra, which I recently discovered online:
I’m pleased to see my poems, “Can #6: Pet Pride Shredded Chicken & Salmon in Gravy” and “Can #11: Clabber Girl Double Acting Baking Powder,” out in Clockwise Cat. “Can #6” was first published in ShufPoetry and republished as part of “Erosion” in Malevolent Soap (now defunct). “Can #11” is one of my favorite can poems and says a few important things about how women are treated/constructed in America.
In the interim between when these can poems were accepted and now, I have been familiarizing myself with the previous issue. Editor Alison Ross collects energetic, cutting-edge pieces that have something critical (in every sense) to say, and say it in a challenging (in every sense) way. It is bracing and sometimes a little scary.
In addition, Ross is paying tribute–briefly in the current issue, fully in the next–to the late Felino Soriano, whose life was cut short at 44. I am not familiar with Soriano or most of his poetry, but, having now read a little of his work, I can say I deeply respect his quest for inventive poetic idioms for our time, and particularly his allegiance to the bond between poetry and music, which is ever-present in my own mind as I write poetry and too often lacking since the days when recitation was still part of every school child’s cultural education. I also know that he generously assisted other poets, including Heath Brougher, who in turn generously recognized my own work and published it in Luminous Echoes (which I discussed here, among other posts).
I am grateful to be in the same company with other poets who are pushing the poetic envelope and paying tribute to those who did so. I look forward to inspiration, encouragement, and a little intimidation from this issue of Clockwise Cat, and I encourage everyone to plunge in with me.
Photo credit: Giftgarden Black Cat Wall Clock Home Decoration for Pets Gifts. 27 Feb. 2017, Flickr Commons. PD.