Bullshit Lit Anthology Is Out

Photo credit: Ravijung, Cow Dung Cakes, Nepal. 3 May 2017. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0.

A few days ago Editor-in-Chief Veronica Bennett, of Bullshit Lit Mag + Press, emailed to inform me that Bullshit Anthology 01 is now out and available in print and pdf forms. She gave me a pdf copy, but I have now ordered a print copy and am beginning to read it. Based on the examples I have seen so far, I believe the b.s. selected by Editor Bennett, much like the energy-packed cakes above, has much more to offer than its excremental designation might suggest. Most often, the works creatively push the envelope on topics like the nature of poetry and the limits of poetic language.

I’m proud that my “Sonnet from Romeo & Rosaline,” which I wrote about here, is included in the anthology, and I look forward to my print copy.

“Radbod Decides” Accepted by 100subtexts

I can’t remember where I first learned the famous story about Radbod, a lord or king of the Frisians who ruled from 680 to his death in 719. For those of you unacquainted with it, I will try not to spoil it for you here. You can easily find it online (N. B.: “Radbod” is variously spelled), or read my piece when it comes out.

Suffice to say, I found his story compelling. I didn’t feel I had an angle from which to approach writing about it, however, until I saw the above embroidery in Utrecht a few years ago. Radbod looks so awkward and vacillating, not least because he seems to be trying to hide his nakedness. This seemed all wrong. I don’t know much about the Frisians, but I learned something about Anglo-Saxon language and culture in grad school, and the Frisian language and culture are similar. Both populations were tough because they had to be.

Sure enough, when researching Radbod before telling his legendary story in a more fitting way, I found that he was able to mount significant resistance against the stronger Franks off and on over almost 40 years. I don’t think he was a weak or awkward person–that’s just Church propaganda.

I enjoyed writing a brief retelling of the incident recorded in the embroidery above (and a fair number of other artworks), but found it was a hard sell, possibly because editors tend to want contemporary pieces told in a contemporary voice, or perhaps because the story is irreverent. It was hard even to find a market that was likely to consider it seriously.

So I am especially grateful to Editor John Hopper, who not only said he loved the piece, but also that he loved Radbod. It made me feel warm and fuzzy inside to have someone else see Radbod the way I do and appreciate him.

100subtexts is a new magazine that “is always looking for the experimental, quirky, off-key.” They are currently open for submissions to Issue 2, the one I’ll be in. I’m excited to see what else catches Editor Hopper’s fancy.

Post showing writers already accepted for Issue 2 of 100subtexts.

Poem Accepted to New Generation Beats Anthology

After seeing several of my open mic friends get accepted to the 2022 New Generation Beats Anthology, I was relieved and grateful to get the news yesterday that Editor Deborah Tosun Kilday also liked my submission, “I Always Knew It Would Be This Way; I just didn’t expect it to be so soon,” enough to put it, too, in the anthology.

I have never exactly considered myself a new generation Beat poet. I like Allen Ginsberg‘s Howl but could never make my way through Kerouac‘s On the Road. Also, my dad took a dim view of countercultural aesthetics, and I was brought up feeling that they ushered in the decline of his career. Still, my poem about being a poll watcher, which helped garner my recognition as a featured poet in the erbacce-prize contest, harked back to the spontaneous anger and despair of “Howl,” and I had a feeling there might be more where that came from.

At the time my open mic friend, Generalissimo Bryan Franco, shared the call for submissions to the anthology with me, I was upset by the Supreme Kangaroo Court’s decisions in Dobbs and West Virginia v. EPA, as well as by gun violence, the bullying of teachers and students by school boards and other fascist busybodies, the prospect of climate apocalypse, and Democrats’ chances in the midterms. I still am upset by these things, but the Kansas referendum gave me hope. Also, we finally found someone to start fixing up our house–thereby launching operations MOHGA (Make Our House Great Again) and EFA (Escape From Alabama)–which has cheered me a bit. Anyway, I was upset back then, with no such happy prospects in sight, when, shortly after I glanced at the call, a poem came to me.

I had often thought of what might happen in climate apocalypse. Diseases, of course, but also many tried and true resorts of desperate people–especially the consolations of fundamentalisms and violence (often combined). As I contemplated our post-1/6 reality, I thought how odd it was that a version of my apocalyptic vision was unfolding right now, within my living memory of an early- to mid-sixties nuclear family lifestyle (complete with mental instability, but that didn’t count as long as no one talked about it). I had always pictured brutish attacks proliferating at a later stage in the downfall of civilization. Neither had I realized that people in power would be so oblivious to their own welfare that they would calmly take steps certain to hasten and worsen the apocalypse. Those people remind me of (and probably in some cases descended from) the businessmen on the train from Manhattan to Westchester who used to try to pick me up when I was a teenager on my way home from my violin lessons.

So a poem that harked back to the culture the Beats rebelled against while also trying to shake up contemporary culture from a feminist standpoint was born. I felt it was in the Beat spirit, but perhaps it was not on the nose enough to be suitable for the anthology. Luckily, Editor Kilday thought it was. I can’t wait for the anthology to come out so I can read the other poems, especially my friends’, and share mine.

Last Can Poem Accepted

Photo credit: Bruce Bisping, Old Style Cash Register and Canned Goods in a Butcher Shop in New Ulm, Minnesota. October, 1974. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

It’s the end of an era. Editor Jaime Alejandro has accepted my last can poem of the set for Coalition Works Journal, a production of the Coalition for Digital Narratives. The journal is looking for “the everyday weird, the strange in the mundane, work that pursues hope in the absurd.” They also want poems responding to their prompts, which are available on their site here and also on Twitter via #coalitionprompts. My poem, “Camp Yes!,” does not really respond to any of the prompts, and it is not exactly hopeful. Like many of the can poems it takes an oppositional point of view to the corporate-speak on which it draws. But in doing so, the poem becomes an amusing absurdist satire of the combination of forced positivity and oppression that seem to characterize system-sponsored self-help and organizational retreats. There is joy in this, and I’m grateful to the editor for his appreciation of it.

“Reflection” Up in t’ART Summer Showcase

Mark Solms’ The Hidden Spring, A Journey to the Source of Consciousness. Taken by me.

Many thanks to Editor Amelia Brown and the rest of the t’ART team, for posting my poem, “Reflection,” inspired by Mark Solms‘ The Hidden Spring, A Journey to the Source of Consciousness, in t’ART‘s online Summer Showcase (scroll down to read “Reflection”). I wrote about the poem and its relation to Solms’ work here.

I’m pleased to be in the Showcase, especially because it is mostly poetry. It was also interesting to see that one of the other poets was Lorna Smart. Not because I am acquainted with her work, because I’m not, but because “Lorna” is not that common a name, especially in the US, so being in proximity to another Lorna always seems exciting. In this case, however, it is also faintly insulting. Perhaps I should change my last name to “Smarter.”

Seriously, I am looking forward to checking out the showcase, and I hope you will do so as well. Cheers.