Normally, I share a list of poems and short stories as part of my Culture Consumption post for the month. However, since I let two months go by before posting, I gathered up a long list of great reads to share. Below you’ll find the title and a few lines from the work to tempt you into reading.
Over the weekend, my mom and I did a sleepover with the babies (i.e. my niece and nephew), who we read to and played with and climbed all over me like a jungle gym. It was a delight, as always.
Other than that, it’s been all poetry all the time due to all the National Poetry Month things I’ve got going on.
What Iâ€™m Reading
Poetry, poetry, and more poetry. Most notably, I read bits of Paper House by Jessie Carty (Folded Word) andÂ Terra Incognita by Jennifer Martin (Dancing Girl Press).
I’m still sort of readingÂ Gateway by Frederik Pohl, but only in bits and fragments, since so much of my focus is on poetry this month.
What Iâ€™mÂ Poeming
Pretty much ALL of my words will be in poetry form this month, due to the poem a day challenge that I’m participating in. So far the poems are coming well, falling into place exactly on the day they’re due, and I’m feeling wonderfully inspired and excited about how the series is going.
I’ve been posting these poems on a separate blog and you can view them here (although they will be taken down at the end of
the monthÂ May):
- Harley Quinn â€“ Our Lady of Creative Destruction
- Barbie â€“ Our Lady of Molded Beauty
- Ursula â€“ Our Lady of Unrepentant Self Possession
- Sidney Prescott â€“ Our Lady of Survival
Goal for the Week:
- Keep on writing a poem a day.
The Big Poetry Giveaway is in full swing. Go comment to win a book by some amazing poets.
Ursula K. Le Guin on Racism, Anarchy, and Hearing Her Characters Speak.
And, since pop culture is something I’m thinking a lot about while writing all these poems, here’sÂ Kevin Pickard’s exploration of how pop culture is addressed in fiction.
It’s been an intense week with most of my free time spent desperately finishing off my in-progress essay, which has been taking fare more time than I would have liked. So, it was so lovely to receive three lovely announcements in the midst of all this hard work.
So, here are the bits and baubles.
* * *
I’m thrilled to announce that the editors at NonBinary Review for have nominated my poem “Eve and Pandora” for the Sundress Best of the Net awards. I am so honored, especially because this particular poem has had a long history for me. It was one of the first poem that I completed and felt proud of, as well as one of the first poems that received harsh criticism that made me questions myself as a writer. It took time to trust my original vision of the poem again, which has now been published and nominated. I can’t really describe the full extent of how that makes me feel.
“Eve and Pandora” can be found in the #4 Bulfinchâ€™s Mythology issue of NonBinary Review, which is available for free on the Lithomobilius app (available only on the iPad and iPhone for the moment, but will eventually be made available to other devices).
* * *
In other joyful news, Laura Madeline Wisemen interviewed me for her chapbook series. It was a fun experience and I got to talk about fairy tales and folklore, working from poetry prompts, and the self-published chapbook.
* * *
As with my previous list, here five poems (with a few teaser first lines) I’ve read and enjoyed in honor of National Poetry Month.
1. Local Monsters, by Laura Madeline Wiseman, published by Nonbinary Review
“I see them sometimes, monstersâ€”monsters running down
the upstairs hall, monsters stepping into shadows of the
darker room, monsters peeking around corners, their
colorful eyes blinking….”
2. After a Mid-December Wedding, by Helen Losse, published by Then and If
“Snow glitters on the edge of the pond
in a scene that could be but isnâ€™t
from a Victorian Christmas Card.
Soft light falls from an early moon.
Recorded carols play
from a lean-to crÃ¨che,
where the Holy Family shivers….”
3. Two Poems by Daniel Reinhold, published in H_NGM_N
“What if I carried the moon in my back pocket?
Could I dance in my sleep?
Swallow your soul whole?”
4. Moving by Sara Backer, published in Pedestal Magazine
“We confront accumulation. No room
is exempt from the purge; no cupboard
can be left for later….”
5. Art History Kirun Kapur, published in Jam Tarts Magazine
“Iâ€™d even smoke the angels,
thatâ€™s what he liked to say,
* * *
And a quick reminder, Iâ€™m hosting a Poetry Giveaway on my blog, which any poetry lovers here are welcome to take part in.
So far, only one person has commented, so your chances of winning are rather good.
if he tried,
I would crumble
like the iridescent shell
of a beetle.
Val Dering Rojas’ TEN consists of ten long poems alongside ten mini-poems that explores the inner working of body and soul through the out workings of color and texture. The ten mini poems act as a form of chapter headings in between each of the longer pieces, providing a framework for the chapbook. Read together, all in one go, these mini-poems provide a poem of their own, which unveils a personal journey, from a place of a place of disconnecting from emotional wounding to a sense of inner calm, a spiritual awareness. As interjections, the mini-poems share thematic progression with the longer pieces.
In “An Instance of Affliction,” a medicine cabinet is contemplated, an “axis of obsolete / streets, old razors roads.” The medicine cabinet, the objects within, and the reflection in the mirror fade behind an deeper reflection. The material world itself becomes metaphor for personal experience.
“How To Leave” expresses the unpacking and dismantling of the meaning love with “its utopian tongue”, expressing both how love fails us and also all the things (objects and feelings) that must be left behind. “Love can’t be found / in these humble jars of honey, / in these everyday teaspoons.” At the same time, there is what remains in the leaving: “You are packing yourself up in bags, // stuffing yourself in boxes.” What do we have in the ending of a relationship, but ourselves? The objects (clothing, books, toiletries, towels, bedding), which gets stuffed into bags and boxes, become representative of the self. And yet, the poem, shows how the things we tell ourselves in leaving (“I hate love” or that “love / doesn’t know any truth at all”) are either lies or, at the least, half truths, because feeling, love, emotion lingers.
The progression of the poems eventually lead the reader to realize that the self is enough. In “While Alone at Topanga Thrift,” the narrator explores the feeling of space while discovering objects in a thrift store: “It occurs to me / that most things are made / to be filled; even now, / these old red dough-bowls / brim with sun.” As with the rest of the poems, it’s easy to relate the outer objects to the inner realm. The imagery of a tiny teacup or a ginger jar becomes moving and beautiful metaphor.
I can’t let you
see me cry,
but if you’d like,
I’ll tell you a sad story.
I’ve returned to these poems several times in the course of reading them, each time discovering something new â€” a turn of phrase to fall in love with, a deeper meaning to latch onto. Each poem is shown to be lovelier and more evocative each time I read it. All told, a lovely. wonderful collection and I hope to be able to read a full length book from Val in the near future.
Note: A review copy of TEN was provided by the author, whom i consider a friend. Take this review with as much of a grain of salt to taste.