Many thanks to all the folks at Eleven Eleven for nominating one of my poems for a Pushcart Prize. This is some of the best news I’ve heard in a long time since it really came completely unexpected. I’m also in good company. So, yeah, I’m feeling good.
The reading at Abobe Books last night has definitely breathed new life into my poetics. I’ve revised older work, shared new work, read work from other poets and came back to the bedrock of my work–sharing my story with new audiences.
First off, Daphne Gottlieb shared some amazing new work where she embodied the voice of carnival workers, a clear extension of her poetic manifesto of finding the voice of society’s “others.” Instead of staying in the safe space of revisiting voices she has personified before, Gottlieb brought the audience into a world many have visited (the land of carny and festival lore) but few have actually taken the time to explore. Gottlieb let us explore that world with poetry that channeled persona and emotion in clear and direct tones while still elevating the music of common speech.
Charlie Jane Anders came through fresh from the chaos of Wonder Con and went right into a new story filled with time travel, cancer babies, sumo robots, rocket-propelled grenades and an assassination attempt on one of the US’s most beloved Presidents. Yeah, seriously, and you know what–she pulled it all off with crisp dialogue, kinetic language and a reading style that made the audience believe every word was truth than the Bible. With her focus on reporting for IO9 and curating some of SF’s best literary venues, you shouldn’t miss a chance to her Miss Charlie Jane when she reads her work.
As for me, I was psyched to find out earlier in the week that I would be getting twenty minutes to read, a big leap from the seven or ten minutes I’ve been getting lately. Not that I’m complaining, any chance to read is a good chance to work on your orality but twenty minutes gives me a chance to share a couple of arcs of work, recite poems from other writers, and sneak some banter in which is exactly what I did. My reading wasn’t perfect, my voice choked on a few spots and I swore a little too much in my banter but overall, I had a good time and my recitation skills continue to improve with better articulation, varied pacing and more persona. I still need to work on my keeping my breathing under control and staying true to the clock (I came in just under the mark).
Many thanks to the editors at Eleven Eleven for including two of my poems, “Urban Relación” and “The Story of How Pigeon Came to Live in City,” in their latest issue.
This is the latest in what has been a wealth of great poetry news lately and it’s all coming in just in time as I have a few classes of poetry to teach and some talks to give in the very near future, and it would suck to be doing any of that important work without feeling 100% in love with poetry. A statement I think I’m almost ready to say but instead I will say this: Yes, I am 100% in love with the possibilities of poetry.