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.

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.

“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!

“Be Well for Life” Up at ubu.

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 was gratifying to see my poem, “Be Well for Life” (which I wrote about here), up in the second issue of ubu. today. Many thanks to Editor Lori A Minor. I must also note that once again, I am flattered to find myself in the company of redoubtable poet Shloka Shankar, who has a powerful poem in the same issue.

In her email alerting people to the publication of Issue 2, Minor writes, “In curating work for ubu., I’m not looking for absurdity for the sake of absurdity; I want to showcase literature that makes me question everything as I know it.” It is good to know she found my poem fit this paradigm, and satisfying to destabilize someone’s world in just eight words.

So go on over, see how I did it, and check out Shloka Shankar’s observations on the inherent muddiness of humankind. If you want, come back and tell me what you think.

Two Poems Accepted by Mollyhouse

I was very happy to be greeted, first thing in the morning and so close to a holiday, by an acceptance of two poems to Mollyhouse. Many thanks to Editor Raymond Luczak. I am even more thankful than usual because these poems are avant-garde responses to the authoritarianism of the toxic yam’s regime, and so not welcome at just any journal.

Luckily, Mollyhouse is not just any journal, as I suspected from its name. As I learned doing research for my dissertation on Oscar Wilde, Joe Orton, and Tom Stoppard, a mollyhouse was a meeting place for gay men. (Actually, I seem to remember my sources alluding explicitly to gay brothels.) In accord with its name, Mollyhouse does not accept submissions “by white hearing able-bodied heterosexual cisgender men.”

Taking a hint from this, I included the two poems that have found favor in my submission: “Koans from the Late Anthropocene” is about the insoluble conundrums posed by authoritarian fostering of personal disempowerment, cowardice and bullying, environmental degradation, and abusive violence; and “100% Pure” is a can poem about white supremacy and the persecution of immigrants and asylum seekers at our Southern border. (That persecution was, of course, not unique to the yam’s administration, but he did greatly worsen it, most notoriously through increased separation of children and even infants from their parents.)

I’m so glad these will now have a voice in the world.

Two Can Poems Up at Cacti Fur, and a Lupin Review

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

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.

And now, A Review:

“Government Buildings in Berlin, 2018,” Is Out at After the Pause

Photo: Government buildings reflected in another government building across the Spree in Berlin. Taken by me. Summer, 2018.

I was delighted to learn today that my poem, “Government Buildings in Berlin, 2018,” which I wrote about here, is up in the latest issue of After the Pause. I’m grateful to Editor Michael Prihoda for publishing the piece, and hopeful that our country, like Germany after Nazism and Communism, can turn around and start going in a more progressive direction now. Although I did not compose them as a set, I’ve always felt that this poem and Dreaming to Updated Mountain Songs went together–both ekphrastic, both centered in a place, both anti-totalitarian, both looking to imagination in a time of incipient tyranny. So I was intrigued to see that Zebulon Huset, the editor of Coastal Shelf, which published “Dreaming . . . ,” has a piece in this issue of After the Pause. I look forward to reading his work and all of the experimental work in this issue of After the Pause. Perhaps it will further my understanding of “experimental,” which still seems to me a nebulous, though inviting, descriptor.

“Government Buildings in Berlin, 2018,” Accepted by After the Pause

Photo: Government buildings reflected in another government building across the Spree in Berlin. Taken by me. Summer, 2018

In the midst of my usual panic when there are a few weeks between acceptances, I was happy to learn that my poem, “Government Buildings in Berlin, 2018,” was accepted by Editor Michael Prihoda at After the Pause, “an experimental online literary journal, based in Indianapolis, IN (with strong ties to other parts of the Midwest), and published quarterly,” according to its home page. I am exceptionally grateful for this acceptance both because of my recent dearth of acceptances, and because I am fond of this poem.

It was written on the trip my husband and I took for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and in the shadow of the occupation of the White House by Donald Trump, or as I am now calling him, the moldy yam. It was heartening to be in a functioning democracy that had arisen from a horrible dictatorship. I was struck by the government buildings built since the War. They seemed to have a playful quality, while also assertively literalizing transparency and reflection in government.

So that’s what the poem is about, and Editor Prihoda deemed it appropriately experimental for After the Pause. I don’t really understand the term “experimental.” It seems to just mean a little out of the ordinary in some way or other. If something is really out of the ordinary, it’s “avant-garde,” even though avant-garde is, if anything, more experimental. Clear as mud.

Regardless, my somewhat experimental poem has been around the block a few times, and I am glad it has found a home. It will be out in December.