Photo: Government buildings reflected in another government building across the Spree in Berlin. Taken by me. Summer, 2018
In the midst of my usual panic when there are a few weeks between acceptances, I was happy to learn that my poem, “Government Buildings in Berlin, 2018,” was accepted by Editor Michael Prihoda at After the Pause, “an experimental online literary journal, based in Indianapolis, IN (with strong ties to other parts of the Midwest), and published quarterly,” according to its home page. I am exceptionally grateful for this acceptance both because of my recent dearth of acceptances, and because I am fond of this poem.
It was written on the trip my husband and I took for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and in the shadow of the occupation of the White House by Donald Trump, or as I am now calling him, the moldy yam. It was heartening to be in a functioning democracy that had arisen from a horrible dictatorship. I was struck by the government buildings built since the War. They seemed to have a playful quality, while also assertively literalizing transparency and reflection in government.
So that’s what the poem is about, and Editor Prihoda deemed it appropriately experimental for After the Pause. I don’t really understand the term “experimental.” It seems to just mean a little out of the ordinary in some way or other. If something is really out of the ordinary, it’s “avant-garde,” even though avant-garde is, if anything, more experimental. Clear as mud.
Regardless, my somewhat experimental poem has been around the block a few times, and I am glad it has found a home. It will be out in December.