2% Milk Roundtable Up on YouTube

2% Milk logo on tee I got at the launch party. Taken by me. 4 June 2022.

Here is the link to the 2% Milk roundtable discussion that I mentioned in earlier posts. Editors Nic Rago and Lily Reed (mostly Editor-in-Chief Nic) follow up with the artists on their views about their creative processes, their art, and the interaction between the arts and their social and cultural contexts. As on the website, the graphics in the roundtable video are trippy, which I mostly enjoyed. I’m both happy to have been a part of this well-thought-out, interesting, and experimental project, and a little sad that it’s over. The amount of time and energy the editors have put in is truly impressive.

So check it out. And if you have created anything especially intriguing and a little wild, 2% Milk is open for submissions here: submission@uddertimes.com.

Word Music Featured in Mslexia

Marta Stankevica, Woman_Writing_a_Letter.gif. Derived from Gerard ter Borch – Woman Writing a Letter – 797 – Mauritshuis.jpg. 2020. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 4.0.

It is quite exciting to see my blog, where I often feel as if I were talking to myself, featured in a magazine with 11,000 subscribers, most of whom are women writers. “Blogability,” featuring Word Music in the latest issue of Mslexia, consists of a short description of how I came to write this and what I do here, and an excerpt from the blog. I chose a bit describing my can poems, because it fit well in their 300-word format. Thanks to Production Editor Maxine Davies and the whole editorial team at Mslexia for choosing to feature Word Music.

Mslexia is online and in print. You can learn about it, read some of it, subscribe for access to the whole magazine, and sign up for additional writing-related experiences here. Mslexia has many resources and opportunities for writers, including many opportunities to submit to the magazine.

Mslexia also pays for all writing, I was especially grateful for the boost to my online finances from the “Blogability” publication because my account had become quite low, owing to my getting behind on rotting up violin and viola lesson fees. Now I can buy Tom Daley’s latest chapbook, Far Cry, without waiting for my snail-mail check to get to him.

Looking forward to it.

2% Milk Up at Last

2% Milk logo on tee I got at the launch party. Taken by me. 4 June 2022.

After a fantastic visit to San Francisco, during which my husband and I attended the launch party for 2% Milk, the issue has launched. It looks spectacular, and I’m not just talking about my poetry. Find out what all the fuss is about here

In case you’re still not convinced, check out the trailer for the project:

The trailer was shown at the launch party, where we also enjoyed the superb fare and beer of Pizza Hacker, the company of indefatigable editors Nic, Reed, and Lily, and conversation with fellow contributor Bob Ernst, as well as various other attendees. I also read my poems there, and a selection from The Jesus Wars—all welcomed by the friendly audience.

As I have said before, 2% Milk is full of cool artists in a variety of media. The editors thoughtfully sent their files to all contributors ahead of time, and I have checked most of them out. I feel confident in saying that the issue contains not just something for everyone, but something you really needed, even if you didn’t know it.

And in case you are more philosophically inclined, on June 8th, the editors will put out a round-table discussion with contributors regarding their work, and art in general, in its sociopolitical context. Don’t worry. I’ll remind you about it.

Launch Party & Reading in San Francisco

Instagram post from 2% Milk inviting people to their launch party. They asked me to share this.

Even though I can only dimly remember the last time I went to a “really cool PARTY,” I was excited to get this invitation in my email. First of all, as I intimated in the “update” at the end of this post, my fellow artists are impressive. Here is a video by Ha Vay to illustrate. Second, the concept behind 2% Milk is to combine an eclectic but edgy and experimental collection of artworks in various media with discussions about art and the artist in society. These were conducted live with the San Francisco-area artists, and will be presented with bits from interviews with the rest of us edited in. There will be an interval when just the artworks will be up on the site, and then the discussions will be added, generating a new conceptual angle on the art.

This is my understanding of the project from what Nic, of the editing trio of “Nic + Lilly + Reed” has shared with me. The site is due to go live on June 1st, and I look forward to seeing how everything is integrated. In the meantime, I am grateful to be included in such a sophisticated and well-thought-out presentation.

These positive feelings, together with the opportunities to read, sell my books, and support my fellow artists, made me decide to go to the party. If you are going to be in the area, please stop by and say hello.

P.S. Now that the academic year is all but over, my son has made our reviews accessible again. So search the “reviews” category, and enjoy.

Wolfpack Invitation and 2% Milk Update

Doug Smith, Gibbon wolf pack standing on snow. 1 March 2007. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

I was grateful and excited to receive an invitation from Editor David L O’Nan, of Fevers of the Mind, to become a monthly contributor. A wolf is central to the logo for the site, so he is calling us collectively, “Wolfpack Contributors.”

While I am flattered, at first one piece of writing a month seemed a tall order. Some months I don’t produce any suitable pieces, and much as I appreciate Editor O’Nan, I might not want to send him every suitable piece I do produce.

Fortunately, this anxiety intersected with the impossibility of unsubscribing from the undead yam’s emailing list. Occasionally, the spirit moves me to complete this tuber’s questionnaires so I can vent my spleen by ticking “No” when he asks me if I think he was a great president, etc. Towards the end, in the “other” category, I advise him to confess to his many crimes and go to prison for the good of the country.

As a result, I got on his mailing list and cannot unsubscribe. “You can’t get off it?” my husband asks incredulously. “Isn’t that illegal?”

My husband can be naive. (I had to explain to him why the Tea Baggers changed their name.) As if manipulating the “unsubscribe” option on his emailings would bother a grifting, multiply alleged serial rapist turned twice-impeached wannabe dictator whose biggest achievement in office was kidnapping children and putting them in camps, or undermining our democracy, or maybe weakening NATO and emboldening Putin, or mismanaging the pandemic–oh heck. So many achievements to choose from!

We can now add one more to the list: he has become my muse. Fresh off my can poem series, I was wondering if something similar might be in my poetic future, and I was drawn to the yam’s unique rhetorical ad style. The grandiose statements, combined with a smarmy hectoring, present rich opportunities. Suffice to say, I have plenty of material now, which I look forward to sharing.

Meanwhile, at 2% Milk . . .

Curators Nic, Lilly, and Reed have sent us the art they plan to post. I took a peek at work by musical artist Ha Vay, and I am amazed and bewildered. At my advanced age, after being a confirmed nerd my entire life, have I been asked to play with the cool kids?! Stay tuned.

Two Poems Out in MOLLYHOUSE, and Cohen Anthology Update

I am pleased that my poems, “Koans for the Late Anthropocene” and “100% Pure,” are now out in MOLLYHOUSE, Issue 4 (pp. 38-40). Again, thanks to Editor Raymond Luczak.

I wrote about these poems here. The first koan in “Koans . . . ” imagines the consequences had Don Quixote encountered real giants (hence the photo, above). His struggle would still have been viewed as quixotic. I see this koan as evoking the view of activism in the 1980s versus now. In the 1980s, we were gaslit into thinking it was quixotic to struggle against neoliberalism because we weren’t giving this useful and productive worldview a chance. Now that its failure is spectacularly evident, we are told it is quixotic to struggle because corporations are just too big and too powerful–but no informed, sane person is contending they are not monsters anymore, so that is–something? The rest of the “koans” allude to the environmental and political consequences of neoliberalism. “100% Pure,” a can poem, is an ironic invitation to the immigrants at our southern border to enjoy all we have to offer them.

So far, I have read the first couple of poems in the issue. They contain a stimulating blend of concrete imagery and implicit social commentary. Check it out!

In Other News . . .

Before I Turn Into Gold, the anthology of poems inspired by Leonard Cohen that I wrote about in my last post, is now out in paperback and Kindle editions. You can read more about it here. Thanks again to Editor David O’Nan for including my poem.

“Light & Crispy FACTS” Accepted by 2% Milk

mroach, Fox News in Boston. 19 Sept. 2006. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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.

“Amy” Accepted at 2% Milk

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

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.

Otherwise Engaged Is Here

Otherwise Engaged against a background of Christmas Eve music I was supposed to play. Taken by me.

Amidst the busy time of preparing for Christmas, made even busier because i broke my left wrist* and am effectively one-armed for six to eight weeks, this lovely journal arrived. It contains my poems, “SLOW” and “Tappan Square,” which I wrote about here. It also contains many other pieces and is a delightful thing to dip into at odd moments or pore over at leisure.

So if you missed someone on your holiday gift list or are looking for a varied volume of poetry and prose for your own delectation, check it out here.

Hope you are having a happy holiday season.

*Fell on the ice during a magnificent trip to the Grand Canyon. Small fracture in left wrist, but irksome for a left-handed violinist.

“Tappan Square” and “SLOW” Out in Otherwise Engaged

Photo credit: Daderot, Tappan Square, Oberlin. Ohio, US. July 2008. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

Usually, I post when poems are accepted. But in this case, I failed to notice the acceptance amid the sea of requests for financial assistance that crowd my inbox daily. So it was a surprise when I received an email informing me that my poems, “Tappan Square” and “SLOW,” were already out in Otherwise Engaged Literary and Art Journal Volume 8. My thanks and apologies to Editor Marzia Dessi. I look forward to reading the journal.

“SLOW” is a can poem on the theme of carpe diem. I don’t think it says anything earthshakingly new, but I’m not sure anyone else has pulled comparable wisdom out of instructions for heating soup.

“Tappan Square” is about a real square at the center of the town where I grew up. If you just went to the back of the picture, a bit right of center, and made a left, it’s a five-minute walk to my old house. The square is also where I had my college graduation. I was moved to write the poem after I learned that Moses Fleetwood Walker played baseball there in 1881 before going on to become one of the first Black players to play openly as a Black man in major league baseball, before the major leagues were officially segregated.

Although I recognize that Oberlin is far from perfect in terms of diversity and equality, I still feel proud of the college’s legacy as the arguably the first college to admit Black and female students and the town’s as a station on the Underground Railroad. It was also an enriching place to grow up and attend college, and that’s really what the poem is about.

I don’t yet know how the other pieces in the journal are, but I have a pdf, and when I receive my hard copy, I will post a brief review. In the meantime, as I say to annoy those fighting the War on Christmas, Happy holidays!