Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crab Orchard Review: The Personal Lyric and Culture of Change



I probably wouldn't be blogging about what is, when you think about it, sort of a confusing call for submissions if it weren't for this color wheel. Doesn't it sort of look like the Wheel of Fortune, or that wheel on the Price is Right?

Anyway, I love the idea of taking a tack and sticking it in this wheel a couple times, making each color block it lands on a stanza, and the title of the poem an agent of change.

I think the key, as it always is when dealing with huge abstractions, is to find something small and personal.

Here's what each of these things would be for me the first time I stuck a tack in them:
Identity: waiting for my Georgia voter registration card two weeks before a presidential election
Work: watching the soda pumps from the back room of the theater concession stand
The Arts: ceramics summer camp where I learned how to play poker and a kid threatened me with an exacto knife
Tradition: baptism photos of my husband
Beliefs: the Augustus Caesar statue my husband got in Italy, sitting on our fireplace
Family: my little sister getting rolled out of the nursery in her terrarium
Change: my baby bump
Knowledge:I have an encyclopedia of trivia
Home: digging through the azalea hedge for a frisbee

Any of these sections of the wheel could be a pretty personal lyric fairly quickly if you just try to conjure up very specific episodes. If you have trouble keeping the agent of change in the title personal and concrete, list all the years you've been alive and stick a tack in the list. The episodes you picked will lie before or after this date and there's bound to be something that happened between the two.

I just did this and its sort of depressing to see how long the list of numbers is. I got 1999, my Sophmore year in high school, the year I went to Spain, a year before my cousin died. So depending on how morbid I wanted to be, there's my poem. Of course, if I didn't have anything important happen that year I could just see if any relatively obscure thing happened in the headlines. That could be even more interesting. W2K was pretty big, but maybe a Spice Girls tour stop in a small town would be good. I'm getting nostalgic already.

Thanks Crab Orchard Review for their beautiful publication and for offering a call to submissions vague enough to be interesting. To see the call go to:


http://www.siuc.edu/~crborchd/special.html

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