Last year I tried not to write about Coronavirus, it crept into a lot of the work and in the end I fell into the school of thought that part of the job of a poet is to comment on our experiences and the times and 2020 was certainly packed with events that found way to many pens for those of us who could still write.
As far as submissions go, I haven’t actively been working on that as I have been busy with writer/editor/reader head on for a while and have seen many collections pass my way. I did have a couple of other poems published in another anthology too, Geography is Irrelevant but most of my C0’19 poems cling on in notebooks!
I am excited to be performing again at the Walt Whitman Birthplace this evening, (I featured there in Oct. 2020).
WWBA is delighted to host a live poetry reading to celebratethe release of “Corona: An Anthology of Poems” editedby Gayl Teller, the Nassau County Poet Laureate for 2009-11 and the 2016 Walt Whitman Birthplace Poet of the Year. This luminous collaboration of 98 poets, including many poets laureate from the US and abroad, evinces a kaleidoscope of perspectives and experiences during our historic and traumatic time of pandemic and racial strife. Celebrate Poetry Month with us on Zoom during a live reading with a diverse group of poets sharing their reflections on the quarantine, social distancing, masks, and other aspects of the global pandemic.
Prompt – this one comes to us from Stephanie Malley, who challenges us to write a poem based on the title of one of the chapters from Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. The book’s table of contents can be viewed using Amazon’s “Look inside” feature. If none of the 60 rather wonderful chapter titles here inspire you, perhaps a chapter title from a favorite book would do?
I read PrimaDonna, the end imagery is strong and better the comment after the poem shows the power of participating in NaPoWriMo.
… she waltzes with the trees.
She rises, falls and drapes her shawl
To filagree the sea.
I read Silver – Walter de la Mare.
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
I read some Eileen Myles poems and watched the featured reading.
Since her start reading poetry at famed New York City music club CBGB’s in 1974, Myles has authored over 20 volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, and stage productions. She has been described as poetry’s rock star, “a lesbian culture hero”, and by Holland Cotter in The New York Times, “a cult figure to a generation of post-punk females forming their own literary avant-garde.” Her literature has been reviewed and lauded by numerous publications, including The Brooklyn Rail, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and Artforum.
Eileen Myles’ notable and influential writings can be found in the publications “Not Me” (Semiotext(e), 1991), “Chelsea Girls” (Black Sparrow, 1994), “Inferno” (OR Books, 2010), and most recently “Snowflake/different streets” (Wave Books, 2012). Her essay “Street Retreat” was part of the Semiotext(e) installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and her essay “Twice,” written for the catalogue of the 2014 Liverpool Biennial, will be the afterword in I Must Be Living Twice/new and selected poems 1975-2013, out from Ecco/HarperCollins in fall 2015.
I enjoyed this touching, humorous and honest reading. I discovered they read in Ireland in January, wish I had known.
My introduction to ‘poetry’s rock star’ was a pleasure. Their introductions were as wondrous as their work. At the time of filming they had just finished a memoir about a dog – Afterglow (A Dog Memoir). Anarchy demonstrated at their hatred for the requested pedestal was an amusing start. I could have pulled lines from the whole reading, but you should watch for yourselves. I liked many parts of the last chapter they read Just Before and Just After:
/Astral dog memoir/purchasing your book at a library sale/ never go anywhere near a performer after the show, not even a week after the show/… not against the kindle// I like a card/ ancient smell of the library//
I had a look around Stephanie Malley’s website and read some of the poems before going off to follow the link to the chapter headings from Susan G. Wooldridge’sPoemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words.
Now, with a choice of over 60 titles I thought the next hour would be me and my indecisiveness having a battle of wills, but I read the very 1st chapter heading and that was me done!
Plus the poem cooking in my head* was going to be added to my amusing cannon (I partially blame my morning with Eileen Myles).
*You can not rely on the oven temperature or mix of ingredients, poems are a law unto themselves and will often turn out how they want to!
By the time I finished today’s poem I also had an idea about what I would like to do with it too, a NaPo BONUS! And I even managed to shoehorn the term ‘poemcrazy‘ in there too! It is one of the longest poems I have penned for NaPo this year, but it did contain some short lines. Definitely one I will go back to.
Here’s an extract:
Unaccustomed to hecklers, other than the odd dog bark,
the poets were wrong-footed for a moment,
I am happy to say my poem pretty much behaved itself and came out along the lines of what I intended – which was just an idea that flashed quickly into my head when I chose the title (and I know we are supposed to discard our first and often unoriginal ideas) but I went with mine. I did gather some Old English insults which are wonderful in themselves and so the Outlaw character very much grew during the writing process, I can visualise him clearly!