September 11, 2015

A Report from the Maelstrom

I've been sleeping incredibly odd hours (today's wake up time: 3 AM) and nursing a sick kitty. I'm both ready for fall and deeply terrified by the onset of fall. But I would be remiss if I didn't check in to share this apology, which AWP Executive Director David Fenza extended to professor and writer Laura Mullen. 

An apology is an appropriate, appreciated gesture. An apology is not a a fix-all. There is a lot of work to be done, as has been evidenced by the continuing storm of discussion around the (American) poetry world.

These are some of the most powerful things I have read in the past few weeks….

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo - "Kate Gale, Red Hen, and What Poetry and Community Mean to Me"

Linda Rodriguez - "Why Taking Issue with Racist, Homophobic, Ableist Stereotypes Does Not Equal Being a Member of ISIS and Other Home Truths"

Brian Spears - "Yellowface in Poetry"

David Mura - "On the Controversy Over A White Poet Submitting as 'Yi-Fen Chou' and Being Chosen By Sherman Alexie for the Best American Poetry Anthology"

Molly Brodak - "How (Not) to Apologize"

I've seen some fatigue in social media, especially in the past week: complaints that poets are spending too much energy on slings and arrows, not enough time on poems. But I don't see why one has to crowd out the other. There are wonderful things going on in the poetry world every day. Chen Chen's chapbook is out. Emilia Phillips published this beautiful, hard poem, "Scar.Tafisha A. Edwards published this beautiful, hard poem, "The Double Blind." Joy Harjo just won the Wallace Stevens Award. Iliana Rocha's Karankawa, the manuscript Joy chose for the 2014 Donald Hall Prize, is out. The new issue of Poetry Northwest is out, and it's a humdinger.

I'm not fatigued. Well, I am, but that's because I'm drinking Red Bull and gazing lovingly at a cat with a flesh wound who seems determined to sleep on the top edge of the couch despite the risk of falling off, and I still have hours of work to do. But in terms of poetry, I refuse to feel anything other than energized and grateful for all the bravery, all the words, all the tussle, and even the moments of necessary discord, as long as they can signify that growth is taking place. And that's on us--to make that change happen, rather than letting it all collapse into blather. 

More soon.


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-blessed holy socks, the non-perishable-zealot said...

Gotta whole lotta palatable poetry, girl...
if you'll just reeed our blogs
like a reed blowing in the wind,
yet, it stands rooted in the Word.

I giveth unto thee,
my just and worthy liege,
a wild, odor-free, exaggerated ride;
yet, intoxicatingly illustrious:

Why else does a moth fly FROM the night
than to a bold, attractive candle Light??
Don’t let His extravagant Brilliance be extinguished.
You’re creative, yes?
Then, fly-away with U.S. to the antidote…

Whether you obtain moralityB4mortality to wiseabove
or just glean tantalizing specimens for thy next best seller,
you shall find in our blogs a lotta (subliminal) moxie
which has taken this sinfull mortal yeeeeers to compile!
I lay it ALL out for you, dear, with All-Star-Oxygems:

Wouldn’t ya love an endless eternity
of aplomBombs falling on thy indelible cranium?
An XtraXcitinXpose with no zooillogical-expiration-date?
An IQ much higher than K2?
An anti-establishment, savvy victory +
avant-guarde-humility =
withe extraordinarily explosion of maelstrom mellowdramatic??
Here’s what the exquisite, prolific GODy sed
(with a most-excellent-detector of bull§ht):

“Faith, hope, and love,
the greatest of these is love –
jump into faith…
and you’ll VitSee with love”
Doesn’t matter if you don’t believe (what I write);
God believes in you.

Meet me Upstairs, girl, where the Son never goes down
from a super-passionate, lucrative iconoclasm where you’ll find
of deluxe-HTTP [<- pi] opportunities for excitement BTW.
Do it. Do the deed, dude. Sign into the Big-Zaftig-House.

PS “It is impossible that anyone should NOT receive all that they have believed and hoped to obtain; it gives Me great pleasure when they hope great things from Me and I will always give them more than they expect”
-our Lord Jesus to Saint Gertrude

…think about it, girl…
1-outta-1 perishes in 88ish years;
1-outta-1 shall be Divinely Judged;
1-outta-1 goes in either direction then,
depending how WE sinfull mortals
have lived, is where WE go for eternity:
Seventh-Heaven -or- the Abyss o'Misery.
Yes, dear, life’s extremely tough now;
yet, life’s extremely short now:
then, WE have the length and breadth of eternity
to consider where our decisions have placed U.S.
And Satan’s working overtime to steal your indestructible soul.
Don’t let that sly, smooth, sinfull Liar.
I choose Heaven.