|Only two more places available...|
Friday, July 3, 2015
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
I'm very thankful to have a new poem "Not Monet's Giverny" up at Sweet: A Literary Confection. Some poems cost us more than the sum of their parts. We needed to live through the experience in order to make art of it in some future decade.
I've no idea if this is a "good" poem or not. I've no ability to see it clearly, not yet. But I do know that the experience that the poem grew out of, twenty-nine years ago is just as vivid to me as what I see out the window right now. Twenty-nine years is a long time and no time at all. But you knew this already.
A huge thanks go to Katherine Reigel, editor of Sweet: A Literary Confection. Happy, too, to be in the same issue with Brenda Miller and Lee Gulyas.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
|An exceptional first book by Kirun Kapur|
In Visiting Indira Gandhi's Palmist the reader understands the importance of (re)invention. In Kirun Kapur's debut collection, family stories of emigration and war shake hands with Chips Ahoy and the afterlife. There is much to admire in this heady mix of three generations moving across the page. A sense of (dis)location helps to create Kapur's surreal voice that this reader finds very appealing.
I want to look at two poems that will provide a sort of sliding scale for this book; poems that vary stylistically both in form and register. "My Father's Hopscotch" moves back and forth from literal geography: "Five rooftops---wide and flat ...Five rivers in the Punjab" to the hopscotch of global politics and pending war which comes together in the final stanza:
The infantry is restless. Rumors in the street.
Some rumbling, a mutiny: the East is lost,
turn back, return to Greece. Roof to roof,
he leaps, he presses across the map.
Clearly Elizabeth Bishop's "The Map" and "Geography III" are also pressing on this poem --- in a very good way. The poem is filled with internal rhyme "street / mutiny / Greece" and there's an iambic ghost throughout much of the poem. I admit that the poems looking back on the speaker's father are among my favorite. The intermingling of history and family, father and daughter is a personal preference. Having admitted that, I almost want to take it back because what I love about these poems is how well they're written. No sentimentality; no easy escapes.
The poem "Nobody Nation" is written in flash points of an extended compass: west, east, north, south, and pacific. The notes at the back of the collection offer that Kapur's poem was inspired by Derek Walcott's famous line, "I'm nobody or I'm a nation" in his amazing poem, Schooner Flight. In Kapur's five sections we watch as a child learns the ugly indignities of racism along an Arizona highway, in a history book, and while working for a wealthy couple. Yet, in the last section the father is sworn in as (we assume) a US citizen. And he has the last word: I keep the good lines for myself.
From the independence of a nation as India breaks away from Great Britain, to the growth of an educated family living in exile, this book offers me (and I suspect many American citizens) a new window into the world. These are complex poems that I've returned to several times over the last few months. Poems that I believe will stay with me for a long time to come.
Kirun Kapur is a multi-talented poet able to write well in many different forms. This will benefit her (and us as readers) as she continues her career. This is a poet we are sure to hear more from. The poems are necessary --- smart and funny. And very clearly poems for these times.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
|Sweet Peas from the House of Sky's garden|
Some of the things we talk about include:
Kelli Russell Agodon as Harriet the Spy
Poetry as a lover
United States Peace Corps
Poets on the Coast
House of Sky (how to build a writing studio)
The Improbable Places Poetry + 1 Tour
My third grade teacher, Miss Schiavo
My eighth grade teacher, Mr. Katz
Thank you to Katie for being such a great interviewer. Such a pleasure to talk with you.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
|Open the door to your creative life|
Once upon a time, two women had an idea. What if they could create the perfect writing retreat? Of course there would be chocolate and good things to eat; there would also be a profound respect for each and every participant who chose to join us. We'd give gifts to everyone and include a one-on-one session so that each woman had time alone to ask her questions. And somehow, we did it. Through prairie fires and lightening storms, through lots of laughter and growth, we have manifested the retreat weekend we'd dreamed of creating. There is even now an additional day for those who want a longer experience.
This year we are making public something that we've done privately from time to time: we're offering one woman a full scholarship (worth around $400) to join us. Over the years we've seen what a weekend of creative work and community can do for a woman's spirit / sense of self. We'd love to offer this opportunity to you. Here are the details: send three poems along with a paragraph of "Why Poets on the Coast? Why Now? to us by July 3rd. Here are all the details at our website. If your writing needs a kickstart or the promise of a weekend of poetry sounds delightful, why not write us?
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Best-selling West Seattle author Lyanda Lynn Haupt reads Wednesday at next WordsWest
May 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm | In West Seattle books, West Seattle news | No Comments
The monthly WordsWest Literary Series has already highlighted many talented local writers – but this month’s edition really has something they can crow about: A rare West Seattle appearance by best-selling author Lyanda Lynn Haupt. She and poet Allen Braden are reading this Wednesday (May 20th) at C &; P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) in the next WordsWest event, as announced:
WEST SEATTLE— From backyard bestiaries to the farms of White Swan, nature slays us. From the intelligence of crows to the many chambers of a cow’s heart, we learn to look again at the commonplace life that surrounds us. For the May 20th, 2015 edition of WordsWest Literary Series, Washington poet Allen Braden and West Seattle naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt, will join us for a night of natural highs. This month WordsWest is again very grateful for a grant from Poets & Writers that allows us to pay our writers for their time and talent.
Allen Braden is the author of A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood (University of Georgia) and Elegy in the Passive Voice (University of Alaska/Fairbanks). His poems have been anthologized in The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Poetry: An Introduction, Best New Poets and Spreading the Word: Editors on Poetry. He teaches at Tacoma Community College.
Lyanda Lynn Haupt is a naturalist, eco-philosopher, and speaker whose writing is at the forefront of the movement to connect people with nature in their everyday lives. Her most recent book is The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild (Little, Brown 2013). Her previous books include Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Little, Brown 2009), awarded the 2010 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award; Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds (Sasquatch 2001), winner of the 2002 Washington State Book Award; and Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks (Little, Brown 2006).
Every third Wednesday, 7pm, at C & P Coffee Company, WordsWest hosts literary events that range from readings by published local and national authors, to craft discussions and guided writing explorations for every experience level. Each month a community member from a local, independent business shares his or her favorite poem as part of the Favorite Poem Project. On May 20th, we welcome Eric Jordan of The Office Junction.
WordsWest is curated by West Seattle writers Katy E. Ellis, Susan Rich, and Harold Taw.
Join us on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/WordsWestLiterary
For more information, please contact email@example.com or visit http://WordsWestLiterary.com.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
|Terrance Hayes - Poet, Painter, and Provocateur - My Hero|
"Don't get set in one form."
(be formless, be shapeless, like water.)
* * *
Robert Bly wrote in his poem, Morning Pablo Neruda:
"Water is practical / it doesn't care about us / .../ no one lays flowers on the grave of water."
* * *
(okay -- everything is in quotes now -- or an approximation of such.)
Your poetics is evident in the process; let your poetics be water.
Hayes has been called a Liquid Modernist --- quotes Polish sociologist --- author of
by Zigmunt Bauman
A liquid "man" flows through life, changes jobs, marriages, gender.
"A tourist in our own life."
A lecture is not just an archive -- -rather it's a realization, a series of small revelations.
Like a poem -- a lecture is made out of mood, pluck, and chance.
Listener, reach for the beautiful. Don't worry about genre.
"Poetics of the Self."
There are three spheres of influence Hayes describes:
1. The Adjacent Possible --- creativity triggered by close bonds (Robert Lowell comes in here --- and his appropriation of his ex-wife's letters -- Elizabeth Hardwick.
(3 mates on a small raft --- Plath, Sexton, and Lowell).
2. Platform Innovations Model
(like acquaintances on a ferry or at a conference. )
3. Liquid Network
(group that is loosely aligned with a shared aesthetic. MFA programs and those who teach in them, for example. All agree on giving grades, value publication, etc. )
* * *
Some of the stories and places that Haye's own liquid poetics come from -
Robert Lowell -- ready and willing to change tactics at short notice.
Ethridge Knight -- Pittsburgh -- was married to Sonia Sanchez.
Hayes did his MFA at Pittsburgh but also went to a community workshop every third Saturday. Contained some old school Black Nationalism --- other members were Rob Penny and Dang Demented Wordsmith.
Amiri Baraka - (formerly Leroy Jones)
Wallace Stevens -- "One Must Have a Mind of Winter"
"Snow For Wallace Stevens" in Lighthead.
* * *
"Feeling Means More Than Meaning" -- T.H.
Great moment: Johnny Walker Blue -- the mythic, magical, elixir.
$300 a bottle.
* * *
Here is an insight: the poem is a kind of house; a bungalow, a macmansion, a cottage. Enter the front door and enter into language. If we find a sofa in the kitchen, how delightful.
Voice is born in the blood.
You can't get away from it.
Put on all the masks you want.
* * *
Does art create the self?
Does art affirm the self?
* * *
This is sounding more and more like a poem --- a liquid poem.