In response to this call by David O’Nan, of Fevers of the Mind, I volunteered to participate in a reading, and received a quick acceptance. I am excited to visit Evansville, where I have never been, and plan to share some of my poetry related to social justice, one of the themes featured on Fevers of the Mind. David also asked me to play violin to accompany one of his readings, so even more fun.
If any of you are in the Evansville, Indiana, area, or will be around May 20th after 5 PM Central Time, please come by. It should be an entertaining evening, and I would like to meet you.
I am happy to see my two little untitled poems up at Litterateur, Redefining world. I wrote about these poems here. It is nice to see them whimsically set up in the colorful pages of the journal. My thanks to the editors.
I find this journal exceptionally interesting for a number of reasons. Its affiliation with poet and performer Jack Foley intrigues me. What, exactly, is his connection with and influence over the journal? Whatever it may be, I like that Litterateur incorporates the work, in English, of many foreign artists, and I find it interesting to see traditions and styles of anglophone poetry forming in other countries, including India, the home of Litterateur, its principal editors, and many of its writers. It seems to me India, especially, is working out ways to innovate poetry in English with its own fruitful poetic culture.
So head on over and check out Litterateur. As always. I invite you to let me know what you think.
Today I received a veritable bouquet in my inbox. First, Litterateur, Redefining World, wrote to say my poems were in the January issue, which is good to know, but they haven’t put the January issue online yet–I will update you when that happens. Then, Editor Sara Altman, of Whimsical Poet, wrote to send the link to the digital issue of that journal with “Why the Frogs Sing” in it, and to say that a paper issue will be available soon–again, I will update about that. Finally, the indefatigable David O’Nan, of Fevers of the Mind, wrote to accept my poem, “Second COVID Spring, with Azaleas.”
This last poem, sort of a sequel to my “Pandemic Spring, with Azaleas,” turns out to be somewhat prescient. I wrote it right after I was vaccinated for COVID, when it seemed we were all going to be all right. But I was somewhat leary of such hopes–partly because I’m distrustful of easy fixes by nature, and partly because it was already clear that not everyone was doing what they should to end transmission. Not only were MAGAts being MAGAts, but wealthy countries were not sending vaccines to poorer countries because big Pharma or politically unfeasible, or whatever the “reasons” were. Also, when I had the idea for the poem while rubbing my arm in the living room after the shot, I thought of again linking the azaleas’ reaction or lack thereof to the COVID situation, and I looked out our window-wall to the bank of azaleas there.
Now last time I wrote my poem, I was looking out the bedroom window. The azaleas, of various kinds, were backwards and sideways to the window, the sun was shining, and the whole thing looked like a joyous, crazy choir, completely out of step with lockdown. The azaleas in the beds outside the living room, by contrast, are planted so that the flowers face the house, and instead of variegated bushes, they are a massive phalanx of purple. I noticed they were closer than last year (they had grown), and they were framed by a gloomy atmosphere that day. They appeared to be looking in, if not trying to get in; or, if one saw the blooms as mouths, they seemed to be silently screaming something, perhaps at me.
So I wrote a dark poem about threatening azaleas and wariness in hopeful times. It should be out soon, and I will update you then.
For those concerned about my wrist, the doctor was surprised that it seems to be healed after only four weeks. Now I should practice again.
Just a quick note to say thank you again to Editor Nic Rago, this time for accepting my follow-up submission, “Light & Crispy FACTS” (derived from a carton of bread crumbs), for 2% Milk. I guess this poem is inspired by the phrase “alternative facts,” and by the many alternative-fact universes people seem to be living in right now. But once I put “FACTS” with “Light & Crispy,” I had to find more imagery to elaborate the implied metaphor. Luckily there was a recipe that alluded to the golden color of the bread crumbs and recommended putting the concoction “into a shallow dish” and serving it “with honey.” This all seemed to go along with the kind of “facts” people want to believe in–items cooked up from shallow motives and served in a manner calculated to make their consumers feel good, at least until they die in a climate-change related disaster or find themselves breathing their unvaxxed last on a ventilator. So another political poem was born. I look forward to seeing it up on the 2% Milk site in the fullness of time.
Today I received the exciting news that my can poem, “Amy,” has been accepted by the new journal, 2% Milk, which is so new its multimedia website is still under construction. Not only did Editor Nic Rago accept “Amy,” he also asked me to send along any other “food-related” poems I might be harboring, so I sent my 25th can poem, written a few weeks ago, “Light & Crispy FACTS.” As I mentioned in another post in the can poem category, I do not intend to write more, though if in the future a can’s text seems to be crying out to be remixed into poetry, I may not be able to resist.
The text of “Amy” is derived from text on a can of Amy’s Organic Soup. I used mainly the opening instructions and a long section where the makers describe their homey soup line and mention their daughter, Amy, whose name is on the label. From this I derived a poem in which a parent talks to her (probably) daughter’s lover and her daughter (Amy), trying to advise on a passion that is clearly beyond the parent’s control. While the parent’s imagining of her daughter’s love life seems to violate boundaries, this is in tension with her protective concern for her inexperienced child’s wellbeing. I think it is touching, and I am happy that Editor Rago and team saw something in it as well.
No more reviews right now, as my son has gone back to teach real, heavy facts–not the light & crispy variety–to his high school students. My apologies.