I am thrilled to discover that the editors of Angel Rust have nominated my poem, “BEST,” for Best of the Net! I wrote about the poem here. This is especially gratifying because it can be hard to even place avant-garde poems, and as I have mentioned, I was once abused by an editor for daring to submit a couple.
Also gratifying is the inclusion of work by my friend and colleague, Shloka Shankar, in Angel Rust‘s list of nominees. Her nominated poem, Recital, is characteristically dreamy, beautiful, and fraught with lurking violence, so go read it.
And now, Why there will be no more reviews for a while:
My son moved away to take his dream job teaching high school social studies. He is the driver of the reviews project, and by far the more knowledgeable about media (and history). We are hopeful we may have some time to do a review here and there when he comes back, but it is hard to organize when we are both busy and far apart.
I miss him and our projects. Luckily, my daughter is keeping me busy with wedding plans!
I have now written twenty-two poems based on the text from cans. As I said in my last post on this subject, I hope to write twenty-five. Also in my last post, you can read about my perspective on this work, as well as what I think of the two now up at Cacti Fur.
Again, many thanks to Editor Jim Thompson for his ongoing appreciation of my work. I invite you to go over and check out my poems, as well as the many others he has posted, which tend to feature strong narrative voices and a wry disappointment with life.
I am happy to see my poem, “BEST,” remixed from text on a can of Bush’s best chili beans, up at Angel Rust Magazine. Once again, many thanks to the editors. For more information about my can poems, hit the “Can Poems” category below this post. I discussed the poem here.
I am looking forward to reading more of the work in the first issue of Angel Rust, the more so because I notice that my poem is in the fine company of works by fellow poet, visual artist, and editor of Sonic Boom, Shloka Shankar. I always enjoy her work, which is at once varied and focused on bodying forth the speaker’s inner life by mixing fragments of expressed emotion with images that blur the line between the outside world and the speaker’s inner state. Her mosaics are often composed from remixed text and often mix in visual imagery as well.
So I encourage you to hit the links, read the poetry and other offerings, and let me know what you think.
In the meantime, here is another Review of For All Mankind:
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.
I have written 21 poems whose texts are remixed from the text on cans. You can easily find earlier posts about them by clicking on the “Can Poems” category below. I haven’t said much about them lately because the text on most cans is limited, so it is now hard for me to find a can that has fresh vocabulary. I do hope to finish 25 of them eventually, mostly because that is a nice round number.
The quality of the can poems varies, depending on what the text on the cans suggests to me. I am grateful to Editor Jim Thompson for accepting two of them for Cacti Fur. The first, “Earth Fare,” is perhaps somewhat prosaic, but I like that it examines what we owe the earth. The second, “Apple Net,” retells the stories of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel from a feminist perspective. I am quite pleased with it, even though it is a bit cryptic.
I am grateful to Editor Thompson for giving these works a home. This is the third time I have published in Cacti Fur, mainly because Editor Thompson has hit me up for poems a couple of times, and I know he likes my work, so I send when I can. I like the journal, which features eclectic, not overly esoteric poems, is free to submit to, and responds quickly. I would send more often, but the journal wasn’t open for submissions the last couple of times I had tried before this.
Since it’s been a while, I’ll look forward to seeing what Cacti Fur has been up to lately, and I hope you will check it out as well.
In the meantime, as a reward for your having read so far, here is a Doctor Who review:
Graphic I created for my can poem, “Can #10: spindrift Sparkling Water”
I am happy to report that two more can poems and a “Trending Facebook Feed Senryu” are seeing the light today in M58. Many thanks to Editor Andrew Taylor, another voice pushing the poetry envelope.
This batch includes my least favorite can poem, #10, and my current favorite, lucky #13. For #10, I felt there was barely enough material there, and I feel certain some readers will come away feeling it says nothing much. Still, I think it does enough to qualify for membership in what I hope will become a chapbook of twenty-five. #13, on the other hand, has action, rich and inventive imagery, and story. Thank you, Progresso Bread Crumbs, Italian Style.
The third poem literally popped up in my Trending Facebook Feed, back when Facebook had that. I couldn’t pass up its rich, though loose and open-ended, associations.
I’m grateful to Editor Volodymyr Bilyk for including five of my can poems in Issue #13 of Brave New Word. It is especially gratifying to read in his introductory “Editor’s Note” that he believes the work in this issue is “good. Really good.” I look forward to reading the whole issue.
In the brief interim between my acceptance and this publication, I have been perusing some other issues, and have already gotten some education in avant-garde poetry, learning about mail art and the Art Strike, and generally enjoying the eclectic offerings.
I encourage everyone to check out Editor Bilyk’s unique curatorial vision, pushing the boundaries of all that poetry can be.
Photo credit: EPA. OLD STYLE CASH REGISTER AND CANNED GOODS. . . . Wikimedia Commons. PD.
In the fastest turnaround I have ever experienced, Volodymyr Bilyk, Editor of Brave New Word Magazine, has accepted five of my can poems in one fell swoop. These are a representative bunch: a sardonic swipe at the South, a mystical poem about birth (with some irony since, as a poem about canned tuna, it’s also about eating life), a poem about an imagined Parisian fling gone wrong, a depressing poem about old age, and a sketch of a fictional wealthy character, or perhaps the actual wealthy as a class.
Editor Bilyk says these will all be up on Brave New Word soon, and judging by the speed of his response, I believe him. I look forward to showing them off in public, and in the meantime will enjoy familiarizing myself with as many of the experimental techniques on display at Brave New Word as I can wrap my mind around.
Photo credit: EPA. OLD STYLE CASH REGISTER AND CANNED GOODS IN A BUTCHER SHOP IN NEW ULM, MINNESOTA. THE TOWN IS A COUNTY SEAT TRADING CENTER OF 13,000 IN A FARMING AREA OF SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA. IT WAS FOUNDED IN 1854 BY A GERMAN IMMIGRANT LAND COMPANY THAT ENCOURAGED ITS KINSMEN TO EMIGRATE FROM EUROPE. POPULATION STABILIZED AT 8 TO 9,000 DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THIS CENTURY, THEN GREW SLOWLY AS MANUFACTURING FIRMS ARRIVED. THE TOWN’S BUSINESS DISTRICT WAS REVITALIZED DURING THE LATE 1960’S. Wikimedia Commons. PD.
I’m pleased to see my poems, “Can #6: Pet Pride Shredded Chicken & Salmon in Gravy” and “Can #11: Clabber Girl Double Acting Baking Powder,” out in Clockwise Cat. “Can #6” was first published in ShufPoetry and republished as part of “Erosion” in Malevolent Soap (now defunct). “Can #11” is one of my favorite can poems and says a few important things about how women are treated/constructed in America.
In the interim between when these can poems were accepted and now, I have been familiarizing myself with the previous issue. Editor Alison Ross collects energetic, cutting-edge pieces that have something critical (in every sense) to say, and say it in a challenging (in every sense) way. It is bracing and sometimes a little scary.
In addition, Ross is paying tribute–briefly in the current issue, fully in the next–to the late Felino Soriano, whose life was cut short at 44. I am not familiar with Soriano or most of his poetry, but, having now read a little of his work, I can say I deeply respect his quest for inventive poetic idioms for our time, and particularly his allegiance to the bond between poetry and music, which is ever-present in my own mind as I write poetry and too often lacking since the days when recitation was still part of every school child’s cultural education. I also know that he generously assisted other poets, including Heath Brougher, who in turn generously recognized my own work and published it in Luminous Echoes (which I discussed here, among other posts).
I am grateful to be in the same company with other poets who are pushing the poetic envelope and paying tribute to those who did so. I look forward to inspiration, encouragement, and a little intimidation from this issue of Clockwise Cat, and I encourage everyone to plunge in with me.
Graphic I created for my poem, Can #10: spindrift Sparkling Water
I’m very happy to report that my poems, “Can #10: spindrift Sparkling Water,” “Can #13: Progresso Bread Crumbs, Italian Style,” and “Trending Facebook Feed Senryu,” have been accepted by M58. I’m grateful to Editor Andrew Taylor for accepting these, and for his work publishing avant-garde poetry in diverse forms.
I do not love work that is experimental to the point of being utterly random and obscurant, but I do like adventure, surprise, and being asked to bring an active imagination to texts. Unfortunately, I have found journals dedicated or even open to such poetry to be few and far between, and as I mentioned, I was essentially trolled by an editor for presuming to submit such material.
So again, especially grateful to Andrew Taylor, and looking forward to reading more of what M58 has to offer.