Thursday, January 28, 2010

Postcard Poem 6

Photo by Steven Bullhoes

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Year in Poetry: February

Why is it so hard to find a poetry book recommended on a blog? I follow poet's blogs, but I really had to look around. Note to self: reccommend more poetry books on my blog!

Thanks to Diane Lockward's post about an Ars Poetica anthology (which I am too cheap to buy at 24$) I found a Copper Canyon Ars Poetica anthology for 4$ which I will read in February. Thanks to Sandra Beasley's blog post on Jehanne Dubrow's From the Fever-World, (which I found for an affordable 5$) I'll be doubling up on February's 12x12 poetry challenge.

Yes!! I feel sparkly all over with my poetry bargain reading list!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Calendar Poetry: Valentine's

I'm a little concerned to post this, thinking my husband may put two and two together about his Valentine surprise. But I don't think he reads my blog.

I found the motherload of vintage valentines, and some of them are just too awesome. Heart on barbeque spit? Amazing.

These scans aren't good enough to use as clip art, but they are fantastic inspiration.

A Year in Poetry: January, Check!

So I've finished American Primitive by Mary Oliver, a book published (in one of its editions) the year of my birth!

What makes me sad is that the first thing I landed on when I was looking for the cover art for this post was another blog saying they didn't really care for these poems or for nature poetry (maybe) in general.

While the line breaks are short and certainly seem to reflect a more "vintage" aesthetic, this the book of poetry that I luckily avoided during my MFA program. Because Mary Oliver's voice, what she seeks to do in poetry and what she accomplishes, where she looks for truth, are so similar to one of the strains of my own writing that if I had found this book then I might never have found my own voice. My first, egotistical, thought when I finished this book was "she reminds me of me!"

Mary Oliver's poems are infused with a bodily sensuousness, a preocupation with the bodily and the natural. She looks unflinchingly at the blood and guts of a pastoral world that is traditional sentimentalized. There is loveliness, heartache, strength, cruelty, and the basic inescapable truth that we are animals.

Maybe it's the "Back to Nature" throwback in me, but I think that everything about our modern, and then contemporary lives is designed to make us forget this. (I say "back to nature," although I would NEVER live in a yurt, but when I was a teen I was obsessed with, and memorized how, to homestead.) I mean, everything is sanitized, or fetishized, and it's totally perverse to me. People use "animal" as an insult. But for all that humans need to feed their minds and souls, it's the worst kind of foolishness to think we can ignore or dam up the needs of our animal bodies and be our healthiest selves. An animal is content in the form it was created--it knows no other. And there is a joy in that, and in Mary Oliver's poetry, of accepting as part of our humaness our physical natures. We are not angels--lucky us!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Postcard Poem 4

Photo by Phillip Rassell

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Peggy Shumaker Surprise!

I'm a member of a women's poetry listserv called Wompo, which is sometimes amazing, sometimes really not. One of the plus's is that some really cool people, and some kind of famous people are on it.

A few months ago Peggy Shumaker posted something to the list and noted that she would be going to her favorite bookstore in Phoenix. I saw Peggy read at Desert Nights, Rising Stars while I was an MFA student at ASU, I had bought her book and pretty much thought she was awesome. Two days before her post, I'd been cleaning out my garage and found a Changing Hands book club coupon. I'd already mailed off a couple other ones I found to my friend who had since moved, so I had stuck it on my fridge to think about who was still in Arizona to send it to. It seemed like quite a coincidence so I emailed Peggy and asked if she wanted it. She said sure and I thought, hey that's cool, and that would be the end of a cool story.

In the mail today I found a package from Peggy with two of her books, Just Breathe Normally and Gnawed Bones and a little note! I know it's only January, but this made my 2010 so far. I can't wait to read my new books!!

Poetry in the mail is the best surprise ever. If you have a poet friend, just buy her something off the bargain books at Amazon or your local store, or a journal back issue and send it to her without telling her first. You don't have to be a famous poet to make someone's day!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Postcard Poem 3

Photo by Sue Pierson

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Postcard Poem: January

Maybe once a month is enough for a multi-media poem! I got other stuff going on, isn't that the poet's lament? Luckily that other stuff is getting more submissions for MisFit: A Journal of Long and Short Poems!!

Photo by G Schouten de Jel

A Year of Poetry: January, Starting With Mary Oliver

It comes as no coincidence to me, at this time of New Year's Resolutions, that I would find something to reinspire my poetry give-away project.

Thanks to Dana Guthrie Martin at My Gorgeous Somewhere I'm going to read at least one of my collections a month this year and challenge myself to give them away when done.

The first month's challenge? To read a book published the year you were born. I thought this would be a major challenge, but after a few pages of searching on Amazon, I discovered the last book I bought, Mary Oliver's American Primitive, was published the year I was born! Other years too, but this counts for me.

Maybe as I read these books, I'll be able to figure out how to fix my one-trick poem ending, which is making my book manuscript sad.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Are poets too polite?

Not in real life, about their work. I've only very rarely seen public posts or discussions of issues that poets have had with shabby treatment from presses. And yet, after venting on Facebook about my own situation, where a chapbook of mine was printed without permission online, I discovered there were other stories like mine out there of unprofessionalism and bad behavior.

I've suggested, on a Read Write Poem discussion forum, that we have Feedback for presses and journals with contests, like Ebay. People would rate their experience in terms of professionalism, promptness, did they recieve the merchandise (subscriptions, winning manuscript copies) that were advertised for the entry fee? Were there administrative errors, or did the whole thing go smoothly, even very well?

Why not be able to check out the press before you send your work? And no vindictive sour grapes, Ebay has moderation for irreconcileable negative feedback to make sure it's legit.