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

Writing

March 11, 2019

Writing can help to capture the lives of others now lost(although I don’t feel I have any kind of duty as a writer, the joy of art is in its lack of constraint) but writing, all art really, is a form of rescue.

Kate Atkinson
Question & Answer session for 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Poems arise. I can’t say I’m going to write a poem now. I always have four or five on the go, a phrase or a sentence with richness. Unlike with a novel, or a biography, where the story carries me along, in a poem you must be more passive. Anna Akhmatova talked about waiting for the Muse to come, but for me it’s not so grand. The poem just rises. I catch a few words and write them down in a little notebook when I travel, and on the computer, at home, but in the end I always write poems by hand. I can do it anywhere, in trains, or travelling.

How do I know a poem is alive and good? It’s like jazz – you always know.

Elaine Feinstein
Interview by Vivian Eden for Haaretz

enough white space

February 26, 2019

I know what I want is impossible. If I can make my language flat enough, exact enough, if I can rinse each sentence clean enough, like washing a stone over and over again in river water, if I can find the right perch or crevice from which to record everything, if I can give myself enough white space, maybe I could do it. I could tell you this story while walking out of this story. I could — it all could — just disappear.

Maggie Nelson
The Red Parts

a place filled with secrets

February 19, 2019

My poetic life started before I was even born, I believe, but really I’ve been a working poet for about a decade. As a child, I’d notice things the other children didn’t; I saw the world as a place filled with secrets, in-between colours, textures, whispers, and hidden spaces. I could make a world out of the smallest moment. I still do. Being a poet feels like having two bodies — one in this world, and one in some other. Does this sound like you?

Lisa Marie Basile
If You Want To Become a poet

dreaming minds

February 8, 2019

I imagine poets stitching the world together. Long silver threads of text. Lines prompting reading, dreaming minds not to see everything by itself and separate, but to see the seams often unseen in the dark expanses across space and time. This is, perhaps, a kind of sorcery. A power not to wield, but to hold. To practice holding.

Ellie A. Rogers
Movements
Ecotone: Reimagining Place (Fall/winter 2017)