Years later I’m standing before a roomful of young writers in
a high school in Texas. I’ve asked them to locate an image
in a poem we’d just read—their heads at this moment
are bowed to the page. After some back & forth about the
grass & a styrofoam cup, a girl raises her hand & asks,
Does it matter? I smile—it is as if the universe balanced
on those three words & we’ve landed in the unanswerable. I
have to admit that no, it doesn’t, not really, matter, if rain
is an image or rain is an idea or rain is a sound in our heads.
But, I whisper, leaning in close, to get through the next
forty-seven minutes we might have to pretend it does.
So I am reading tomorrow night for Earshot. The Earshot reading series was the first NYC reading series I read at when I was a pre-MFA-er (a long time ago!) and the reading took place at a bar on Ludlow Street. I was SO nervous! At one point someone broke a glass while I was reading and I tried to make a joke about it but I ended up coming off like a complete b. Hopefully tomorrow’s reading will go a little better. Come say hi.
Also, a new POP by Christine Neacole Kanownik, which I sort of recruited from her after I read an excerpt in poemmail (a weekly poem sharing email that I am looped into). I think the essay is great. You can read it here.
So I just finished reading Moby Dick (I know!) and have been trying to catch up with The Believer. One of my favorite columns is the Greil Marcus “Real Life Rock Top Ten” and I got a pretty good one from him this time. Tacocat!
Since we’ve last talked not only has there been one new POP, but rather there has been two. Anne Boyer talks Bo Diddley here and Carina Finn talks the wild heart here. If you haven’t done so already give them a read.
Also, as always, lots of SOWs, featuring a short residency from Futurepoem with contributions by Alan Gilbert, Merry Fortune, Jill Magi, and Francesca DeMusz. Following that we had a piece by Vanessa Falco. SOW is going to celebrate its three-year anniversary soon. Where oh where does the time go?
A few weeks ago I went to St. Louis, MO where I was invited to read at Fort Gondo with Lucy Ives. I had a great trip and am humbled by how attentive and kind the audience was. Also by how amazing the art gallery was. Such a cool space. Big thanks to Jessica Baran for inviting me to read and Paul Legault for hanging out with me while I was there. Here’s a picture of me in action.
Speaking of readings, I am reading for Earshot here in New York on June 26. More details on that to follow soon.
Today a review that I wrote for Julia Cohen’s Collateral Light was published over at sink review. You can read it here. Julia’s book was also published by Brooklyn Arts Press. A fine press indeed!
I think that’s it for now…
Well, it’s April and we are experiencing a bit of a reprieve weather-wise, finally. If all goes well I’ll get to go on a short bike ride after work, the first ride of the season.
But let me tell you about some stuff first:
2. New Songs of the Week by Dawn Sueoka, Sandra Simonds, Jennifer L. Knox, and Becca Klaver, all part of the Bloof Books residency. You should stop by the Bloof website sometime this month as many Bloof authors are writing a poem-a-day for National Poetry month. Also a SOW by R.M. O’Brien about the new Girl Talk/Freeway video “Tolerated” just went up today.
3. You should also check out (and buy!) the new ep by Ryan Anselmi called Lookout Road, out on Hundred Pockets Records. I’m of course partial, since he is the bf after all, but I promise that you will enjoy it. The ep is a homage of sorts to his home state of Kansas and is comprised of all original tunes. So proud. Now if only we could have a release party for the record…
4. Paige Taggart’s first full-length collection of poems called Want for Lion is out now from Trembling Pillow Press. Also so proud and so excited that this book exists! Go get this book!
5. Sean Rowe came to our apartment last week and played an incredibly imitate show for us in our tiny backyard.
Finally getting back on schedule since returning from AWP in Seattle last week. I had a really great time. I got to hear Mary Ruefle read (she was wonderful). I got to go on a lovely hike that overlooked the Pugent Sound. And most importantly, I got to take a break from life in NYC.
Another awesome thing that happened last week is that a poem of mine was featured as the poem of the day for the Academy of American Poets. You can read the poem here. Big thanks to Alex Dimitrov!
Coldfront recently relaunched with it’s really sharp new design. I didn’t realize that the site really needed a redesign until I saw the new one. Isn’t that the way of it. What a difference!
You can check out the latest POP by DJ Dolack here. Also, new SOWs, this time a residency by Bloof Books, featuring pieces so far by Amanda Montei, Elisabeth Workman, and Hailey Higdon. It is pretty awesome that this residency about lined up with AWP since I was able to meet a lot of Bloofies in Seattle. I feel really luckily that my chapbook Sympathetic Nervous System found a home with Bloof.
Also, this Thursday, I am reading at WORD Bookstore in Jersey City. It’s pretty amazing that Jersey City even has an independent bookstore (let alone a WORD) and I am really happy to be reading with some other local authors. You can check out the Facebook invite here. The reading starts at 7.30pm. Maybe see you there?
Okay, first thing’s first – I’m reading this Sunday as part of the Boog City Festival. I’m reading at about 4pm, but there is a whole afternoon of readings scheduled. Here’s the line up:
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 12:00 P.M.
600 Vanderbilt Ave.
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
12:00 p.m. Zoe Z (music)
12:30 p.m. Jamie Townsend
12:40 p.m. Edmund Berrigan
12:50 p.m. Amelia Bentley
1:05 p.m. Jessica Fiorini
1:15 p.m. Ali Power
1:30 p.m. Anselm Berrigan
1:40 p.m. Joshua Garcia (music)
2:10 p.m. Betsy Fagin
2:20 p.m. Ethan Fugate
2:35 p.m. Susana Gardner
2:50 p.m. Eric Seader, “We Will Mend: Youth Violence and the
Healing Power of Music”
3:00 p.m. Magus Magnus, drone: poetic monologue for monotone
3:15 p.m. Pattie McCarthy
3:30 p.m. Ben Roylance
3:45 p.m. Jenn McCreary
4:00 p.m. Jackie Clark
4:10 p.m. d.a. levy lives: celebrating renegade presses series
—Philadelphia’s Fact-Simile Editions
Julia Bloch, Elizabeth Guthrie, Stan Mir, Brian Teare, and
Kevin Varrone. Music: Ollie oxen / Allysa Oliver
While I am always a little tepid about AWP I am actually really looking forward to it this year since it is in Seattle. I’ve never been to Seattle and love a good excuse to take a trip. Plus New York has been such a drag with all the snow, and work has been such a drag with all its work, so it will be good to get out of town for a while. I’m reading twice while I’m there. Once on Thursday, February 27 for Brooklyn Arts and again on Saturday, March 1 for Bloof.
But before AWP I get to go see Angel Olsen. Her new record comes out on Tuesday and I’ve been listening to it non-stop on NPR First Listen all week.
Happy New Year, etc.
First time here in 2014. Another year, more/new resolutions. A hope for us all to feel/be better, whatever that means for us in real life.
In other news, I am reading this Friday as part of Triple Canopy‘s marathon reading of Gertrude Stein’s novel The Making of Americans. I will be reading from the novel at around 8.15pm for 15 minutes. You can check out the complete line up here and the Facebook invite here. Come say hi. I have no idea what to expect (err, having never read the novel…) but I’m looking forward to it!
Also, a new Poets off Poetry essay is up for your enjoyment by Katherine Factor. You can check it out here.
And, as ever, more Song of the Weeks from the folks at Flowers & Cream Press: Ben Estes, Elaine Kahn, Thurston Moore (!!!), and John Coletti, and a piece just this week by Gabriel Kruis. Stay tuned for residencies from FuturePoem and Bloof in the near future.
2014 has seemed to re-ignite my love of Nina Nastasia. I wish she would come play a show in New York.
Negligent as ever with my updates, two Poets off Poetry have come and gone without me saying a word. In November, Andy Mister’s “Furniture Music, or a Kind of Boredom,” and just last week JeFF Stumpo’s “16th Century France by Way of Chicago: Howlin’ Wolf, the Blues, and Villanelles.” Every once in a while (in my sunnier times) I am struck by how lucky I am to be able to curate POP and format these essays and look for YouTube videos, and in general just read and learn about music, etc. I guess this is one of my more “sunnier” times. I just feel grateful for this little community of people who want to write essays about music for me. It’s pretty awesome. Also, if you haven’t checked out Andy Mister’s book Liner Notes you should. It’s the perfect combination of melancholy and perseverance.
Songs of the Week! Still going strong for 2+ years. Since I last wrote there were pieces by Matthew Henriksen, Carrie Olivia Adams, and A. Minetta Gould, finishing up the Black Ocean residency. Then pieces by John Ebersole and Cement Pond LLC. And beginning just this week the Flowers & Cream residency starting with Anne Boyer. Looking forward to this residency. Like I said, I am feeling pretty grateful that people are interested in these little projects of mine. They feel so second nature at this point that it’s good to slow down every once in a while and take them in.
Another Yoga Sleuth piece went up last week. You can check it out here. Not to belabor the point, but this is another thing that I feel grateful for. Doing yoga on a regular basis really does make me feel mentally and emotionally better. It’s neat that I am able to write about my experiences for Yoga City. 20 year old Jackie would marvel at all of these things. I need to keep that in mind more often.
One of my new favorite musicians is Sera Cahoone. I love it when I bump into music that perfectly encapsulates where you happen to be in you life right now.
So much gratitude in my person for Lynn Melnick who wrote this lovely micro-review of Aphoria. It means so much to me that my poems communicated what I wanted them to, that they were able to say what they meant, and that someone thought enough of them to say so. Lately I have been feeling like I am not very good at saying what I mean. It is a great comfort to know that at least my poems do.
Also, Lynn is a wonderful poet. If you don’t have her book If I Should Say I Have Hope (a title that is to die for) you should probably get it.
And in lieu of actual peace…
See how the fish go back and forth endlessly in their tank, from one side to the other and back and back again, along a line they forget. Boredom is a failure of the imagination to perceive reality, which is exciting. For instance, if you get very close to a tiny bug scampering across a stone wall, this is very exciting; you won’t be bored. The clouds are always changing shape—a cow, a bicycle wheel, and that one looks like a fork…it’s very exciting.
Or it’s a failure of reality to make room for the imagination: that may indeed be a stone wall, but it is made of trillions of imperceptible atoms only visible to the inner eye, which splinters everything into the parts of which all might, of which all must, be made.
Imagination is the failure of boredom to accept reality, which is matter-of-fact and available in the simplest sense of that word, meaning it is right here before you, go and touch it or don’t, it won’t change anything and you are being kept out anyway, locked in an imaginary bubble that only an imaginary needle can pop.
It is no surprise that you’re bored, given the above, and the above is no surprise, given that you are you, not that you are so different from anyone else.
Leaves are falling outside. There is no reason to count them—a number won’t aide or impede their falling, nor will it change your life.