Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Next Big Thing: I Go Viral

"The Next Big Thing" has been going around for a few weeks now like a flu you hope to get. Part chain letter, part credo, authors are asked to respond to ten questions AND to tag five more writers to do the same.  I was tagged by poet and fiction writer Rachel Dacus (click Here for her Q/A).

Here I go:
What is the title of your book?
It's not a book, it's a chapbook:  I Feel Good.

Where did the idea for the book come from?
Grammar, as in the direct-address comma.

What genre is your book?
 E-chapbook of poems, swashingbuckling epic, romance novel with a frisson of manifesto, a hint of saffron.

If your book were made into a movie, what actors would you choose to play the part of your characters?
Penélope Cruz as Jezebel.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
You can't win, so try.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It came in winds, not drafts.

Who or what inspired the writing of your book?
The philosophy of Sun Ra; the musical stylings of Swedenborg; the grandeur and compassion of Emma Goldman.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Poem #1 is "You, Jezebel" (note direct-address comma). In its own way, this poem questions the habitual and age-old vilification of Jezebel, Ahab's wife who was greatly misrepresented by history, which, it turns out, is written by historians who are hired by the victors. Such as the victory was. Get a clue, history. No one wins for long, or in the long run. Jezebel, for instance, was not unspiritual nor a-religious. She continued to worship goddesses and gods of her parents, and that served as insult and vexing provocation to Mr. Deuteronomy.

Who published or will publish your book?
It will be published in the next few months by Beard of Bees, Eric Elshtain, editor.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday:
I'll link when links are given to me (unless they post on Facebook, which is also good), but the writers are Melissa Studdard, Mary Meriam (more, forthcoming).

Monday, February 18, 2013

James Wright's "Northern Pike" {an exalting poem}

Easy enough to find this poem online, other sites, elsewhere.  Every and each placement brings it to us anew and so I post.

Northern Pike

All right. Try this,
Then. Every body
I know and care for,
And every body
Else is going
To die in a loneliness
I can't imagine and a pain
I don't know. We had
To go on living. We
Untangled the net, we slit
The body of this fish
Open from the hinge of the tail
To a place beneath the chin
I wish I could sing of.
I would just as soon we let
The living go on living.
An old poet whom we believe in
Said the same thing, and so
We paused among the dark cattails and prayed
For the muskrats,
For the ripples below their tails,
For the little movements that we knew the crawdads were making
                       under water,
For the right-hand wrist of my cousin who is a policeman.
We prayed for the game warden's blindness.
We prayed for the road home.
We ate the fish.
There must be something very beautiful in my body,
I am so happy.
James Wright (click for bio, courtesy of the Poetry Society of America)
Image from West Virginia University, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, List of Fish Species 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Anne Shaw's "Drag King Manifesto" {a pirate of a poem}

Drag King Manifesto

That woman is an engine, I refuse. To generate. To be chambered. To combust.

Let her who would acquire don the masculine article. The necktie and the wingtip and the the.
The leather chair, its kingdom. As swishy shadow tidies in the wake.

I too unhitch my notice. I touch what I will touch. I wear roulette-wheel cufflinks
and filch the jack of diamonds from the deck.

I'll show you how to razor: Take off your gown of ghosts. Untie your solaces, unzip your name.

Let her who would be pirate begin in piracy. The double-breasted suit. The clip.
And Adam's apple pendant in the throat.

Let her who would go veiled take up her wrench, her drill. Up her sleeve the jackal
of hearts, the jack of jills.

Let her in frilled distress begin. To study the mallet, the screw.

And therefore tinker. Therefore crux. How treason wears the pants.

Let her who would go naked smith her tool.

by Anne Shaw, author of Undertow and Shatter and Thrust (Persea)

image from the wonderful Liana's Paper Doll Blog

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ching-In Chen's "Gruel, Tea: a riddle" {a fierce poem}

Agnes Martin's hand

Very happy to post Ching-In Chen's "Gruel, Tea: a riddle." I met her a few months ago. Was so impressed. Yet I'm messing up her poem. The 2 stanzas should be parallel or do I mean opposite each other.  I tried.  This is part of a larger piece.

Gruel, Tea: a riddle

A room full of fathers birth
maggots which boil
into a sticky bag of
soup. Some sons
learned to suckle
too tightly, their
incandescent greed
dropping into the pot.
Others memorized
the recipe of how to
survive without

Will follow you for 1000
miles without breaking sweat,
desires neither to be fed or
clothed, fears neither guns nor
soldiers, can kiss the bruising
sun or coax a lullaby from the
dying mother.

Wars have been lit in its name.

by Chin-In Chen, from The Heart's Traffic. Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press.

Info on image of Agnes Martin's hand here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Susan Firer's "On the Island of the Elder Poets" {a witty poem}

by Agnes Martin

On the Island of the Elder Poets

In Memory of Kenneth Koch

"Why live in the provinces
when you could be in the capital?"

"Don't tell people you like Sexton—
it makes you look bad!"

"No atmosphere, please."

"If you don't sleep with me,
I will kill myself."

"Kiss me after my reading."

"Will you do my wash?"

by Susan Firer, author of the collections, My Life With the Czar and Other Poems, The Laugh We Make When We Fall, The Lives Of The Saints And Everything, Underground Communion Rail.

art by Agnes Martin. 1965 drawing. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Judith Harway's "Middle Ages" {a beautiful poem}

Agnes Martin

Middle Ages

Eventually, we have to face the truth:
time passes, and flesh passes,
and the things we passed for
fall away like rags.
Someone brags or someone sings
and suddenly the artist is a hack,
the soul a sham, the word
(which, in the end, is all we have)
reveals its lie. We learn
the avalanche that buries us
is ours, the cells of sloughed off skins,
the dust we're destined for
because (or so we're told)
it's our beginning. Eventually,
our words begin to crumble
underneath the weight
of worlds we build, believing
in no other. I am writing this
because I love you still,
because the girl you loved lies
like a baby fallen in the well,
and when they bring her up—
or if, perhaps—we have to face
the truth of what survives.

poem: Judith Harway, author of All That is Left (2009) and The Memory Box (2002).

art:  Agnes Martin, Starlight, 1963. Watercolor and ink on paper, 8 x 8 in. Private Collection