Monthly Archives for June 2016

Ben Pease

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New Podcast from Rachel Zucker

A series of intimate and captivating interviews by Rachel Zucker with poets and artists about quotidian objects, experiences or obsessions, Commonplace conversations explore the recipes, advice, lists, anecdotes, quotes, politics, phobias, spiritual practices, and other non-Literary forms of knowledge that are vital to an artist’s life and work. One feels, when listening to Commonplace, the pleasure of eavesdropping on the kind of unexpected, intriguing connections that only happen when interesting people sit together in a small room and talk about their real concerns and ordinary lives.

 

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Emily Eastman – “The First Time” (WOWPS 2016)

“My assumed reputation bubbling off me like the summer heat”- Emily Eastman

 

 

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Julia Tillinghast

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Ruben Quesada

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Steve Castro

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Simone John

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Renia White

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Jon-Michael Frank

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Jacob Nantz

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Kimberly Ann Southwick

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NEW POET SPOTLIGHT: Erich Schnekenburger

Erich Schnekenburger is a student from Windsor, On, Canada who’s relatively new to sharing his own pieces. Art of all forms has inspired him throughout his life, including poetry. He aspire’s to have that same effect one day.

Spare Box

Lately I’ve been choosing the ocean over sand

I rearranged the patterns and the waves because

Nothing I fathomed of this world existed

All has proven non-existent regardless

However, nothingness found purpose in the blank room I kept these waves

And the significant tantrums that the clouds would configure over them

We found the edge, satisfaction was evil and happiness lived in our dreams

Don’t we resemble this?

God’s fight, falling, burning in the face of the river

Lifting, it was suddenly filled with scattered memories

Recalling, we watch tears from the earth’s eye become

This lovely evening view

This must be clear sin, tiles where ever-changing temperatures lie

Enough pieces unmatched to manifest beauty

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IN BUTTON POETRY: Alex Dang & Dante Douglas – “The Shotgun Cabinet” (CUPSI 2016)

“Be the counter strike to the first punch. Don’t be a knife at a gunfight, be the spent casings” Alex Dang & Dante Douglas

 

 

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IN THEWORLDPOST: Britons Turn To Poetry To Express Their Feelings On Brexit

“After the United Kingdom voted on Thursday to leave the EU, many of its citizens are now turning to poetry to deal with the uncertain aftermath.”

“Brainwashed by the far right, a victim to your fears
How did you mark your ballot with your fingers in your ears?” – Paul O’Hagan 

Article by: Lee Moran

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IN PHILLY.COM: Edison High’s poets use gut-wrenching verse as an antidote to adversity.

“They will tell me the most terrifying things in the most nonchalant way,” said Freda Anderson, the poetry team’s co-coach.

“I want the kids to use poetry — I want them to have this notebook and have it as a tool, as a cathartic process,”

“They are like my kids. I don’t feel right doing it halfway.”- Coach Sydney Coffin

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IN SPILLWORDS: In My Garden by Seorin Kae

 

In the tiniest room
in the tiniest corner
where the weakest of creatures dwell
may there be a shadow-
a simple sign of tranquility,
a simple sign of hope- Seorin Kae

 

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At silentbroadcast: Sueyeun Juliette Lee’s Grasslands, No Wild

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IN THE LONDON MAGAZINE: An interview with Ian McMillian

“After writing lots of other kinds of things for a few years, lyrics, librettos and non-fiction, suddenly I had a rush of writing poems”- Ian McMillian

In this interview with Ian McMillan, The London Magazine’s Editor, Steven O’Brien, and Production Manager, Rachel Chanter, discuss Ian McMillan’s most recent collection of selected poems, To Fold the Evening Star.

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IN BUTTON POETRY: Sara Brickman – “Feminist Dudes” (WOWPS 2016)

Feminist dude has a lot to say about the plight of women. Until you get him drunk, and then he has alot to say about boobs- Sara Brickman 

 

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IN BUTTON POETRY: Christopher Michael – “16th Street Baptist Church Speaks”

“I was erected as a edifice to the All-Mighty, a place of worship,a rally point for justice fighters and a war room for commanders of the cause”- Christopher Micheal

 

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Luther Hughes

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A RESPONSE TO ORLANDO: THE BRILLANTINA PROJECT

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Rasheed Copeland

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Martín Espada

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Lo Kwa Mei-en

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Don Share

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IN BUTTON POETRY: Mercedez Holtry – “We’re Here to Stay” (WoWPS 2016)

Mercedez Holtry addresses Donald Trump and his Wall with a poem at Women of The World Poetry Slam.

 

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IN THE GUARDIAN: Poetry can heal – it helped me through depression

 

“in this illness I could write nothing except poetry. I never normally write at night, but I could write only in darkness.”- Jay Griffiths

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IN BBC: Sarah Crossan champions poetry as verse novel wins Carnegie Medal

“No poet writes words so that they remain cold on the page to be scanned from left to right in black and white and then examined for GCSE.”

“Poetry belongs to everyone, it doesn’t necessarily belong in the classroom or university nor in the bookshop ghetto next to 18th century literary criticism.”- Sara Crossan

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William Logan

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IN DAILY MAIL: Angry Yale students petition to ‘decolonize’ the school’s English department

‘A year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity,’- Anonymous Petition

 

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IN FLAVORWIRE: The Definitive List of Must-Read Poetry Books from 2016 (So Far)

starting a monthly column that will feature short reviews of new poetry collections, although, as in this case, not all of those collections will have been released during the month in question. Here we’re playing catch-up. Many of these books were released earlier this year. Still, the reader will be none the worse for considering each of them in their entirety.” — Shane Barnes and Jonathon Sturgeon

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Snack Bar #1: Charleston

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IN PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE: Celebrating 20 years of black poetry and Cave Canem on Father’s Day

“I want to inhabit your joy. … People are less inclined to do some of the awful things that they do and are more generous and are grounded in their humanity when they have joy,”- Duriel E. Harris

Beginning at 6 p.m. this Sunday, Mr. Hayes, Ms. Solomon and many others will mark the 20th anniversary of Cave Canem Foundation with a series of readings by black poets at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty.

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WRITE NOW: Roy G. Guzmán- RESTORED MURAL FOR ORLANDO

Roy G. Guzmán was born in Honduras and raised in Miami, FL. He is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Minnesota, and his work has appeared or will appear in Assaracus, Juked, The Adroit Journal, Breakwater Review, Word Riot, Reservoir, Connotation Press, and Notre Dame Review. Roy is the poetry editor for Sundog Lit and the recipient of a Pushcart prize nomination and a Gesell Award honorable mention in fiction. This summer he is serving as the Scribe for Human Rights at the University of Minnesota, focusing on issues affecting migrant farm workers. Reach out to him: roygguzman.com; Twitter: @dreamingauze.

 

 

RESTORED MURAL FOR ORLANDO

Seconds before the shooter sprays bullets on my brothers & sisters’
bodies / the DJ stops the record from spinning / & I am interested

in that brief dazzle of pink light / how it spreads on iron-pressed
shirts until they turn purple / how a gun is a heart that has forgotten

to sing. The rapture in a stranger’s eyes / a candid take on resurrection.
You visit Orlando to fantasize about the childhood you didn’t have /

even though I grew up in Florida the trip was a luxury because I grew
up poor & when I finally could afford it I took my parents to Universal

Studios / this is the first time I ever saw my mother get on a rollercoaster
because she’s always been ashamed of her weight & we ended up

buying a timeshare by mistake / not really by mistake / but by my illusion
that my parents worked themselves sick in the U.S. so they needed

vacations / & the debt collectors still call us after all these years to remind
us of the Great Recession where my mother lost her job & my father

had to go into early retirement. Our mothers gave us names
so we would know what goes at the head of a tombstone / bare précis /

& our duty is to feel the isolation that any alignment of letters can trigger
when they’re carved out of grief / since most of us were born or bloomed

out of sorrow like swans always bent on pond water or unpaid bills /
as though we are fishing for clues about our graves / or where we’ll stop

to mislay our moisture on others’ necks. & just the night before I went
out for Drag Night at Lush with four other poets / one reason to escape

my schedule & relive my adolescence / I am afraid of attending places
that celebrate our bodies because that’s also where our bodies

have been cancelled / when you’re brown & gay you’re always dying
twice / I got to see thirteen performances by amateurs / a few special guests /

one queen who happened to make a stop in Minneapolis / she’s a national
sensation / & the MC sang a raspy but virtuosic version of “When You’re

Good to Mama” & the boys & girls & fems lined up with their dollar bills /
which the queens scarfed down with their perfect bosoms & their teeth

& I turned to Danez & said the whole performance reminded me
of receiving communion as a child / how for me a church is a roof

that’s always collapsing / though I might have been talking about
lovers paying their condolences / so often we forget that what kills us now

once believed in our survival / that a pistol & a rifle pulled apart
can be the shape of your arms as you pull a lover closer / that when his

teeth are black it means you picked the right bottle of Sauvignon /
that in our video games one can ride a bullet toward eternity.

***

My partner is asked to sing at the vigil in Loring Park. His choir
has commissioned an hour-long piece inspired by David Levithan’s

Two Boys Kissing / in which a pair of teenagers participate in a kissing
marathon to set a new Guinness World Record. A Greek chorus of souls /

who won’t be vanquished by the epidemic / find comfort narrating the tragic
but true events. How can I sing for an entire hour about that much grief

without breaking down during the performance? my partner asks me
as I scroll through the news. On the phone / my mother says the shooter’s

hatred sprung from watching two men kiss in Bayside Marketplace in
the heart of Miami / & I am imagining how my mother might never approve

of me pressing my lips against another man’s without that man being
my father or a mistranslation of him / because even our fathers have prayed

at least once for us to be gone / No eres mi hijo maricón. In Bayside
I held an old lover’s hand before I moved away to college / the moon upon

the water like a wound that wouldn’t heal / & he dumped me soon after /
said he couldn’t bear the pain of me parting / which when you’re older

you rank as necessary pain that trained you when to open up & shut
like a house with only hurricanes moving through it / or hasty promises.

Orlando like an orange / now green with mold / but still edible for some.
The evening of the shootings / after dinner with friends who grieve

by not dying / I come home to touch my partner’s sweltering body /
a humid June evening without AC in Minnesota / far from the carnage

but still close to feel it / & we produce baby noises / an uhn for witness /
an uhn for hope / as we give shape to the carefree child of vulnerability

that runs between us every evening / safe but somehow lost / until my lover
falls asleep & I stay awake out of need & continue to whisper their names

as they are added to the list / like faces from a river of baptism. I forgive
the earth for not turning its neck further / for not allowing those pink lights

to keep flashing / for the cackles to remain intact no matter how boisterous.
In those seconds when their skin has never beamed so bright / so self-

assured / the bartender is shaking a piña colada / goose bumps flower
on someone’s arms / the streets are humming from delight / a pair of lovers

walks in / another eagerly awaits the last call of the evening. It would seem
the record wants to keep spinning while we wipe their blood from the floor.

For them we learn to touch again. For them we walk home / & we are safe.

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IN PBS NEWSHOUR: Seeking solace in poetry after a mass shooting

“I don’t think anyone is ever going to get over it here, it’s part of our history now.”- Marjory Wentworth

“For me, it feels like the time for small talk is over. If we don’t change after this, then what is going to change us?” -Marcus Amaker 

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IN WASHINGTONPOST: A new Adrienne Rich collection and other best poetry this month

‘As Claudia Rankine notes in her introduction, the book provides “a chronicle of over a half century of what it means to risk the self in order to give the self.” That willingness can be seen throughout her work,’

Article By: Elizabeth Lund

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In The Nation: Ange Mlinko on How Poems Think

“The difference is that his book demands attention to technique across the ages and, crucially, across languages. And it argues that technique is no mere end in itself, but a vehicle for the particular kind of philosophizing—thinking—that great poems specialize in.”

 

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Katie Condon

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Matthew L. Thompson

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Peter Mishler

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Anna Meister

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Mahogany L. Browne

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IN PBS: Ross Gay ‘How gardening makes this poet more observant”

“which is why a couple springs ago
when first putting in my two bare root plum trees
out back I took the jar which has become
my father’s house,
and lonely for him and hoping to coax him back
for my mother as much as me,
poured some of him in the planting holes
and he dove in glad for the robust air,”- Ross Gay

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IN POETRY FOUNDATION: “THERAPY” by Sandra Simonds

“All master narratives of the mind in a rowboat and the rowboat as beautiful as the swamp
  glowing the dungeon-state lily pads, unfolding like riddles of water, the Plasticine
     heads of amphibians, speckled skin of religious fervor, and the razor-blade weeds.”- Sandra Simonds

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