‘The Shipbuilder’s Wife’ is up in Apiary’s Digital Edition!

I’m thrilled to announce on here (even if a little late!) that my poem ‘The Shipbuilder’s Wife’ is up on Apiary Magazine’s Digital Edition. Apiary is Philly’s rapidly growing literary magazine and community, and I love what they’re doing in our city. 

I wrote this poem back in graduate school, when I was taking a course on prosody with Timothy Donnelly. Every week, we had to write a poem in a different form. I think there may have been a pretty awful ode to chocolate, written one desperate hour before class. But this sonnet turned out nicely enough that when I recently read back through my thesis, I decided to send it out. Lucky for me, Apiary liked it, too. And you?

It’s ‘Call Your Dad’ Day!

In case you haven’t called your dad yet today, read these poems. They will make you feel sad, and then you’ll… call your dad.

‘A Little Tooth’ by Thomas Lux
Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone…

‘Those Winter Sundays’ by Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold…

‘Sentimental Moment or Why Did the Baguette Cross the Road?’ by Robert Hershon
Don’t fill up on bread
I say absent-mindedly
The servings here are huge…

You can’t have it all, but…

Summer’s holding out hard core. It’s April, but I still walked to hip-hop class tonight with my down coat zipped to the chin. Then I read this poem by Barbara Ras, and was reminded of what it’s like in those warm months when there’s more than enough of everything. And whether it’s warm or not right now, the daffodils are out and proud, and my lime tree is starting to bud:

‘… you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva…’

– from ‘You Can’t Have It All’


Accidental Haikus

The New York Times created a tumblr of what they’re calling ‘serendipitous poetry,‘ aka haikus pulled from their articles.

Here’s two of my favorites (though really, they’re all good, and updated all the time):

From ‘Say No to the Dress’:
I could see Rachel’s
face tighten and then assume
a layer of ease.

From ‘Catsimatidis, Owner of Gristedes, Announces Mayoral Run’:
“After you eat the
third pie of pizza, you get
more reasonable.”

Hemon Interview

I loved Guernica’s interview with Aleksandar Hemon, whose ways of approaching writing are comfortingly similar to my own:

‘I realized that I could not give a simple answer. Everything was fucking complicated. I realized that, responding to anything anyone would ask me, my position is always, “It’s a little more complicated than you think.” In that sense I am psychologically disinclined to simplify anything about me or anyone else. My ex-wife once told me—and she was scolding me—“You only like complicated people.” And I told her then that everyone is complicated, but for some reason—convenience or laziness, political pressure, ideological pressure, identity pressure—people like to simplify themselves.’

Sing with more terror!!!

I found this magical mini-collection of 3rd – 6th grade poetry. As a college-level writing teacher, I often think about how we learn to write as we think we should write, and not what naturally comes from a desire to communicate what’s most central and honest about ourselves.

Also, the ways in which our individual ways of interpreting the world get squashed and pressed into something socially acceptable and recognizable and therefore boring.

But these poems are not! And therefore form a compelling argument for unraveling the ways in which we learn to express ourselves.

This elementary school gem, from Hannah Gamble’s post on poetryfoundation.org:

“The life of my heart is crimson.”

And another:

[Writing about life as a movie:]
“The choir enters, and the director screams
‘Sing with more terror!!!'”

Search Engineering Poems

I found this new thing on reddit – ‘googlepoems‘ – which are poems created by the suggestions that pop up when you start to type a search term into google.

They felt familiar, in a way. Years ago, my friend Natalie discovered the magic of running poems through google translate. It was much more entertaining when google translate was less accurate, but it’s still fun.

Here’s a small section of the second part of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:’

The Sun now rose upon the right
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

And the good south wind still blew behind
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners’ hollo!

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay
That made the breeze to blow!

Now here’s that text translated through Haitian Creole – Catalan – German – Icelandic – Italian – Polish – Swedish – Dutch – and finally back to English:

As the sun rose on the right:
It came from the sea,
Hidden in the fog, and went
He fell into the sea.

Merry blew back
But no sweet bird
This is not a day to eat or play
Steig reached sailors!

I have something infernal
And she works AI:
In the case of claims, killed the bird
The airflow.
Oh misery! they said they could kill the bird
Burned wind!

Missing AWP

I teach a class on Thursday nights, which meant that by the time I could make it up to AWP this weekend, most of the conference would have already been over. So I’m home, wishing I were visiting with my writing friends and mentors in a city that actually has snow.

Instead, a blog tribute to a handful of them, since I’m in on a Friday night and reading their poems:

Bridget Talone – ‘Once, in your hair, there was a hand. It was the best barrette. Knuckled. A wealth of sandwich swords & no one in stabbing range.’

Erica Wright – ‘Sharks, you say, and they don’t blink in their fish tanks. No need to cover carnage when prey presses its face to the glass.’

Matthew Pennock – ‘We’re all waiting for something, Charlie Brown. The Great Pumpkin visits only the sincerest of patches, and we have not a shred of hypocrisy here.’

Timothy Donnelly – ‘The clouds part revealing the advocates of clouds, believers in people, ideas and things, the workers of the united fields of clouds, supporters of the wars to keep clouds safe, the devotees of heartfelt phrase and belief you can change with water over time.’

David Yezzi – ‘The water off these rocks is green and cold. The sandless coast takes the tide in its mouth, as a wolf brings down a deer or lifts its child.’

Betsy Bonner – ‘Samos lay me down to sleep, thirty brown-stained fish in a yawning cove. Weary of waves, urchins and cigarette butts, the abandoned lighthouse couldn’t care less if we stay or go.’

Ricardo Maldonado – ‘On these ends, stout orioles corroded: skeletal tarps in a cardboard nocturama. Troupes congress and pound southward.’

Alexandra Wilder – ‘When we say aloud the word that destroys, that’s when you slow your old run-and-slump, hitch high your skirt like a bad apple in the hand.’

I have ignored – and therefore butchered – all the line breaks here, so you’ll just have to click through to get to what the poets actually intended.