Yes, I hold that male colonization of our imaginations—a calamity while ever we were unable to give shape to our difference—is, today, a strength. We know everything about the male symbol system; they, for the most part, know nothing about ours, above all about how it has been restructured by the blows the world has dealt us. What’s more, they are not even curious, indeed they recognize us only from within their system.
“Poetry aims for an economy of truth–loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcriptions of notions–beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
I am reading this Friday for Bloof Books as part of the Philalalia Book Fair. If you happen to be in or around Philly, come say hi.
Otherwise, things around here have been quiet. It’s that feeling of not knowing what is supposed to come next. It’s that feeling of needing to keep moving forward anyway.
Oh, but I have been reading Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitian Novels. I just started the fourth and final book in the series yesterday. I am sort of obsessed. In a way it reminds me of when I read Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, the way it felt like a fever as I moved through the book, transposing my existence with the text, uncertain which one was more real.
How isolated the woman’s mind is, how it is so hard to remember to pay attention to one another, to alleviate each others’ inherent loneliness. As I get older I am ever more grateful for the women in my life. I don’t know who I would be without them.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated here. I don’t know why. It feels like I’ve had nothing but time, just a giant empty nothingness of time. I guess that’s why I haven’t updated…but things have happened! I read at Popsickle at the end of June and again at the Poetry Festival on Governor’s Island in July, which is always a fun time.
I keep busy, publishing Songs of the Week, etc. Things happen. Time passes.
And yet, the summer doldrums.
Short notice here, but I am reading at Molasses Books tonight with Joshua Ware, Jeff Alessandrelli, Trey Moody, and Amy Lawless. Big thanks to Jeff for asking me to read. Information for the reading can be found here. The reading starts around 7.30pm. Then I have to hightail it out of there to make it in time for the Heartless Bastards show at Webster Hall. Busy night.
Also, this Saturday I am reading at Popsickle. Facebook invite here. I’m reading at around 5pm.
I think that’s it for now!
I don’t always find things on the internet anymore that really bowl me over. It’s hard to remain sensitive to all the content out there when I sit here day in and day out and (un)consciously absorb a great deal of it, both interesting and not. But I think the stop motion animated short Head Over Heels is worthy of a pause. It’s a beautiful and metaphorical depiction of a marriage and, to me, shows how we can still just go on living singularly even while co-habituating. And I think it makes the point that while it may be sometimes functional to do so that couples must find ways (and comprises) to continue making connections. Anyway, watch it here. So tender.
Also, I have a poem in the latest issue of Cross Review. You can read it here.
I am so excited to have contributed to this awesome project from the Satellite Collective called Telephone. Basically the project started with a quote, which inspired a piece of visual art, which inspired a poem, which inspired more visual art, which inspired more writing, and so on and so forth. You can see the whole thing here. The project also got a sweet write up this weekend in the New York Times! Pretty cool. Artists from all over the globe contributed to this project, sort of a big undertaking!
There is also a launch party for the project tonight at The Bowery Arts & Science Club. It’s being simulcasted in several countries, should be interesting…
Also, I am reading for the Cross Poetry Series at WORD Books in Jersey City on Sunday, May 3 at 5.30pm. You can find the FB invite here.
And sadly, I didn’t make it up to Buffalo this past weekend for the Buffalo Small Press Bookfair. Can’t do it all I suppose…
As always there are more Songs of the Week. Find them all here. We are right in the middle of an Octopus Books residency, with residencies forthcoming from Dikembe, Sixth Finch, and BOAAT!
I’ll leave you with some parting wisdom from Lou Reed, something I try to reassure myself of more often than not.
My new chapbook Sympathetic Nervous System is now available for pre-order from Bloof Books! Isn’t it gorgeous! I am really very honored to have my work published with Bloof, the beautiful design is like an extra bonus!
If you want to learn more about Shanna Compton, proprietor and poetess of Bloof Books you can check out this q&a that just went up on the Poetry Society of America website. In addition to the q&a there is a video of Shanna making the chapbook. I make a two minute appearance at the end of the video and if you listen carefully you can hear our new kitten playing in the background.
Next week is the CUNY Chapbook Festival, and Shanna and I and a bunch of others are on a panel called Nuts, Bolts & Beyond: How to Get Your Work into Print. It’s at 11am on April 2, so if you are one of those lucky people who somehow don’t need to work a 9-5, come! I am not one of those lucky people, but that’s what vacation days are for, right? Otherwise, of course, you can always just stop by the Chapbook Festival Bookfair to browse, post 9-5.
Then the week after that is AWP. I’ll be reading for Brooklyn Arts Press on Thursday, April 9 and Bloof Books on Saturday, April 11. If you happen to be in or around Minneapolis come by and say hi. Not like there aren’t a million other readings going on or anything…
Then, after that (a lot of activity all of a sudden, I know) I will be driving up to the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair on Saturday, April 18 to give a reading for Bloof. More deets on that closer to the date.
Oh, and Monday, April 20 there is a launch party for “Telephone: An International Arts Experiment,” a project that I contributed a poem to. The party is at Bowery Arts & Science Club (formerly the Bowery Poetry Club) and starts at 6.30pm.
As ever, Songs of the Week. I compiled a huge SOW playlist on Spotify recently so now you can listen to all the songs that contributors have written about.
A lot of activity after a hard winter – but I guess that’s always the way of it, right?
I guess I am celebrating this spring renewal by making wedding plans (Oh right – I am engaged now! Losing my edge for sure!) and by getting a kitten. Here he is in all his sweet and tiny glory.