I am pleased and thankful that Editors Shi Yang Su and Jia Ning Ran have accepted two poems, “Where the Machine Can’t Go” and “Mother and Child,” for the second issue of their new poetry journal, Poetic Sun. From the little I have read in Issue 1, the editors favor dramatic language and emotional story-telling. The poems they accepted share that aesthetic.
“Where the Machine Can’t Go” is a piece of imaginative ekphrasis inspired by a trip to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Many of van Gogh’s self-portraits were on display there, though not the one above, which I selected for the expression in the face. There was also a lot of information about van Gogh’s sad life, including a letter to his brother Theo contrasting painted portraits with photographs. The title of my poem derives from this letter, which led me to reflect on how much humanity there is in these portraits and the ways in which van Gogh seems to be trying to get at that humanity, which I take to be the place “where the machine can’t go” in van Gogh’s view of painting.
The second poem the editors of Poetic Sun accepted, “Mother and Child,” is based on a portrait of a mother cat and her kitten by Robert Sijka, who specializes in portraits of Maine Coon cats. Call me a crazy cat lady if you must, but I think these portraits are striking, so I wrote this poem. I do have doubts about the language being a little more over-the-top than I would like, but I couldn’t think of a better way to express what I was saying, and I think the poem says some things about the bond between mothers and children and the difficulties of being a single mom that are interesting. So I look forward to both these poems appearing sometime soon.
In the meantime, here is A Review.
I am pleased that the editors of the new magazine, Angel Rust, have accepted my can poem, “BEST,” for their first issue. I have written about my can poems so many times that they have their own category on the blog, so you can just hit that for more information. Basically, I select text from top to bottom, front to back, of a can. The words coalesce around a theme. To give myself a slightly broader vocabulary, I sometimes put parts of two words together to make another.
I find that composing these pushes me to think outside the box because words I would not have thought of get worked into the poem and help it say something I did not expect. The corporate and commercial language also tends to produce an activist slant, because, divorced from its original context, this language highlights systemic depersonalization and inhumanity in our society, although at times it can also get positively lyrical. I hope to find enough new can text to produce four more poems, and then I plan to stop, though you never know.
“BEST” fits the can-poem theme of corporate depersonalization since its subject is an anonymous, perhaps collective, speaker’s demand for subservient mediocrity. According to their About page, Angel Rust “is a place for under-represented voices to be messy, to speak their truth no matter how shocking, and to die on a hill no one else cares about.” As such, it seems a fitting place for “BEST,” and I look forward to seeing the kind of company my poem will keep there.
And now, a review. This is the end of the Oscars reviews. Before my son and partner called a halt to them, I had already seen this movie and thought it was very good, so I strongly encouraged him to see it and do a review with me. I’m still his mother–what choice did he have? So after we finished seeing It’s a Sin, we saw Crip Camp. Here’s our review.
After a worrisome dry spell, Right Hand Pointing announced on Facebook that they didn’t have enough acceptances for their next issue and requested submissions. Since they so recently accepted “Luminous,” I thought I should send something, and I happened to have a good poem called “While You’re Away,” written when my husband had to take two trips in a row
I walked into the living room/dining room/music studio (not visible in the picture, but to the left of the table), and found those two chairs turned as if invisible people were turned away from me and talking. I see that in the picture they don’t look exactly like this. The actual reason they are turned is that I read with my coffee in the mornings and rest my legs on the chair to the left. But that day they were positioned more as if two people were sitting talking together, so a poem was born. I’m grateful to Editor Wisely and staff, who promptly accepted it.
I enjoy the quirky work in Right Hand Pointing, and I have also been enjoying the haiku and senryu in First Frost, another product of Right Hand Pointing‘s parent press, Ambidextrous Bloodhound Productions. If you like brief, evocative reflections, this is the poetry for you. I don’t often attempt this sort of thing, but admire those who do it well.
I look forward to seeing “While You’re Away” out in July. In the meantime, here’s a review: