Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

Philip K. Dick
How To Build A Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later
The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings

steadily write novels

February 20, 2020

From the age of nine or ten, I was passionately certain I would be a writer when I grew up.

Now I’m forty-two, and my first book has just come out.

If I could talk to ten-year-old me about this, she would be appalled. What have I been doing for the last thirty-two years? Shouldn’t I have had a novel out by twenty? That was always the plan. I was going to get my career started early, get popular, get rich, buy a house in the country, fill it with dogs (I was ten. Dogs were still better than boys.), and steadily write novels while simultaneously answering letters from my adoring fans. It was my destiny to be a writer. I had a knack for writing stories, and I loved doing it, so how could I not succeed? As I progressed through my teens, I started picking up those writing and publishing guides no one buys any more because all the information is online now. There was no Internet during my teens. We got our first computer when I was thirteen, and it wasn’t connected to anything but the wall. I learned about the publication process the way I learned about everything else: by going to the library.

Boomers tend to heap scorn on Millennials for being entitled enough to assume they deserve to achieve their dreams. Everyone forgets about Generation X. We were told from the beginning that our dreams were ridiculous and unachievable. We should try, of course, but we shouldn’t expect anything to come of it. So my expectations about my writing were always kind of split in two. I was sure I was a good writer; I was sure I was a terrible writer. I knew I would succeed; I knew I would fail. I sent out a manuscript in my early twenties and was kindly rejected by a small publisher, and even though I knew this was something every writer went through and I should just suck it up and try again, I somehow stopped sending stuff out after that. It was the writing I enjoyed, not the attempt to figure out a publisher’s guidelines from the brief and inaccurate entry in some publishing guide or other and the agonising wait for the rejection to come in the mail. I churned out novels and put them away on shelves. I told myself I was “practising.”

Kari Maaren
Debuting at Forty-Two or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Writing Process

She wrote her words

October 29, 2019

She wrote that her fingers became so many sable brushes on his skin, a subtle interlacing of sensations, creating even greater desire. She wrote that her hands were the tools of a sculptress, engraving tenderness in the clay of his body. She wrote that his mouth, like the poet’s pen, tenderly grazed the vellum of her skin in rhymes of intense pleasure. She wrote her words like torrid and obscene passage from a never-ending novel – sensual, voluptuous, furious. She wrote the words and they became…her lover.

assaulted by poetry

September 10, 2019

The task of being a poet is not completed at a fixed schedule. No one is a poet from eight to twelve and from two to six. Whoever is a poet is one always, and continually assaulted by poetry.

Jorge Luis Borges
Blindness
Trans. Eliot Weinberger

when you fuck a poem

August 31, 2019

her ink is wrapped around
your limbs like
tattoos of who is
written into you

stains stuck to the page
then transferred to your skin
stanzas scattered
across the floor
lines divided

creating sounds no linguist
has ever heard

your screams will be
songs with no shape

let her taste you solid
as a consonant
let her make you soft
as a vowel

with your mouth wide open
swallow every syllable

drip like coffee
when the morning’s long
and the writing won’t stop

spill a little
then soak
until you are two pages
pressed together

pin her by the corners and
recline between her lines

when she moans it will sound like
“you’re my title now”

Gowri Koneswaran

Light and Clay

July 21, 2019

“Will the dust praise thee?”—Psalm 30:9

The page was a place
before morality
before Gilgamesh
before the second prophet
of revealed law

The page was a hybrid
of value and valuelessness
a hybrid of community
and selfishness
a foster child of devotion

The page was experience
in semantic terms
a folie a deux
a terminal location

Cowboys and princes
offered their lives
the cult of the dead
worshipped there too
lacking in value
it saw only faces

The page was a room,
a picnic, a heaven
the utopia of words
in a region of want

The page was a bride groom,
a bride and a lover,
the child of the union
of religion and anarchy

“I will reflect it,” the page
said on Sunday
“I will absorb it,”
the page meant to add

Between death and rebirth
the page stood waiting
words came to call
speechless at best

Maxine Chernoff

caution: this poet only speaks in junipers, and seaweed.
only drinks sunlight brewed coffee –
warning: this poet is still searching for a word
to soften the currents in her palms
crawls in to orchards to breathe like the flowers
dancing high on the trees.
this poet breaks open fruits to learn sweetness
is being reckless holy
misdialling Lucifer
to ask for his lost glory.
this poet is creating god from dirt
& feeding sugar to the birds.
creates tenderness out of discarded clothings
and eden out of whispers.
this poets fills her belly with vile creatures
& laughs when they wriggle.
this poet is building castles out of broken temples
is carrying heaven in the darkness of her skin.
this poet is no poet is god made girl
no – this poet is girl made god.

Patricia Camille Anthony

Well of course I’ve tried lavender. And pulling my memory out, ribbonlike and dripping. And shrieking into my pillow. And writing the poems. And making more friends. And baking warm brown cookies. And therapy. And intimacy. And pictures of rainbows. And all of the movies about lovers and the terrible things they do to each other. And watching the ones in other languages. And leaving the subtitles off. And listening to the language. And forgetting my name.  And feeling the dirt on my skin.  And screaming in the shower.  And changing my shampoo. And living alone. And cutting my hair. And buying a turtle. And petting the cat. And travelling. And writing more poems. And touching a different body. And digging a grave. And digging a grave. Of course, I’ve tried it. Of course I have.

yasmin belkhyr
September is a weary month

something we once knew

March 28, 2019

It was language I loved, not meaning. I liked poetry better when I wasn’t sure what it meant. Eliot has said that the meaning of the poem is provided to keep the mind busy while the poem gets on with its work — like the bone thrown to the dog by the robber so he can get on with his work…Is beauty a reminder of something we once knew, with poetry one of its vehicles? Does it give us a brief vision of that ‘rarely glimpsed bright face behind / the apparency of things’? Here, I suppose,  we ought to try the impossible task of defining poetry. No one definition will do. But I must admit to a liking for the words of Thomas Fuller, who said: ‘Poetry is a dangerous honey. I advise thee only to taste it with the Tip of thy finger and not to live upon it.  If thou do’st, it will disorder thy Head and give thee dangerous Vertigos.

P.K. Page
The Filled Pen: Selected Non-Fiction

That such impact is possible with so little is one of poetry’s biggest draws. All one needs for materials are a pen and pencil — or even a notes application on an iPhone. All one needs as a method of dispersal is a mouth, or a Twitter account with a few followers and a key retweet. All one needs for validation and a place with the new young establishment is to land a few poems in a key journal or to have a chapbook pressed by one of the many publishers who have come to make up the ever-growing web of small presses that are chiefly responsible for today’s poetry renaissance, especially for queer poetry.

Shane Barnes
Why queer poetry still maters