On Formal Poetry & Skin Color

In Vaudeville: Two Acrobat-Jugglers

  • Do you write formal poetry?

You might want to start putting together your submission to Measure Review.

Guided by the editorial vision of Ashley Anna McHugh, Measure Review, an online magazine of formal poetry, will advance the legacy of Measure.

So, if you happen to write a sonnet or two, don’t be in a hurry to publish them on your blog — save them until January, 2019. It’ll be here before you know it.

  • What do you write about?

Love? Life? The universe? You might be doing it all wrong. Check your skin color.

If it’s white, you should–according to Ms. Angela Pelster-Wiebe–write about white supremacy. Why? Because “those who benefit from racism (that’s you) should be on the front lines fighting it.”

Ms. Pelster-Wiebe is apparently a successful author, “a white woman writing about the toxic inheritance of white supremacy.”  Hmm..who’s benefiting from racism now?

You might want to follow in Ms. Pelster-Wiebe’s footsteps and start apologizing in writing for being born white — it’s not unlikely that you’ll achieve publication and success.

The alternative is to have respect for yourself and others, and very likely remain unpublished and unknown. (There’s always self-publishing, though.)

“…authors of all types could simply write what they would like to write because they have not contributed to white supremacy and are in no way responsible for the previous bad actions of white people to which they did not contribute.”

Now go write a love poem.

Image: Charles Demuth. In Vaudeville: Two Acrobat-Jugglers, 1916. Watercolor and graphite on wove paper, Overall: 11 3/16 x 8 in. (28.4 x 20.3 cm). BF602. Public Domain.

 

 

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Poetry: Write It & Get Paid, Read It & Get Enchanted, Analyze It (Or Not)

"A Montrouge"–Rosa La Rouge

  • You cannot make money writing poetry, can you?

Erica Verrillo has compiled a list of “twenty noteworthy publications that pay in the professional range for poetry. Most of these also accept fiction and creative nonfiction, and many are more than happy to nominate accepted poems for prizes.”

  • What’s the point of reading a poem?

The point of reading a poem is not to try to “solve” it. Still, that quantifiable process of demystification is precisely what teachers are encouraged to teach students, often in lieu of curating a powerful experience through literature.’ (Andrew Simmons, The Atlantic, 2014)

Here’s more on how to read poetry: “curious wonder” vs. “critical judgement.”

Image: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. “A Montrouge”–Rosa La Rouge, 1886–1887. Oil on canvas, Overall: 28 3/8 x 19 1/8 in. (72.1 x 48.6 cm). BF263. Public Domain.

On Poeming Online & Submitting Published Work

Vase of Flowers (Vase de fleurs )

  • Are you looking for a friendly and supportive online community of poets?

Poetic Bloomings is “the best garden for verse”. Established in 2011, the site now reunites Marie Elena Good and Walter J Wojtanik “to help nurture and inspire the poetic spirit”.

Marie Elena and Walt are posting prompts every Sunday. Here’s the latest one.

  • Looking for a contest that accepts published poems?

Submit your work (published and unpublished) to Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest by September 30, 2018.

TOM HOWARD PRIZE: $1,500 for a poem in any style or genre
MARGARET REID PRIZE: $1,500 for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Vase of Flowers (Vase de fleurs ), c. 1889. Oil on canvas, Overall: 16 1/4 x 13 in. (41.3 x 33 cm). BF156. Public Domain.

 

 

Do You Like Beer? Start Writing Poetry

The Bathing Hour, Chester, Nova ScotiaHappy July to you!

  • Got a poetry chapbook, or a book-length poetry manuscript?

Consider entering these free contests:

Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, an annual (16th) prize awarded to the author of the winning book-length manuscript. Participating poets must reside in the Mid-Atlantic states (DE, MD, VA, PA, NJ, NY, WVA, NC and District of Columbia). The winner receives $500, two cases of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Beer, manuscript publication by Broadkill River Press, and 10 copies of the book (in lieu of royalties). Deadline: August 15, 2018.

The Broken River Prize, an annual poetry chapbook (20–40 pages) contest from Platypus Press. Open internationally. The winner receives $250/£200 and publication. Submit your manuscripts by August 31, 2018.

  • Need inspiration?

Try writing to weekly prompts from The Sunday Whirl. Play with words. It’s fun.

Share the post, like it — thank you.

Image: William James Glackens. The Bathing Hour, Chester, Nova Scotia, 1910. Oil on canvas, Overall: 26 x 32 in. (66 x 81.3 cm). BF149. Public Domain.

On June Poets & Friends We’ve Never Met

Landscape (Paysage)

Happy Birthday to my friend Janet whose poetry and photography never cease to amaze and delight. If you haven’t discovered Another Porch yet, stop by it today. And every day. Many happy returns!

  • Yesterday another special friend of mine had his birthday.

On June 6 Russia celebrated the 219th birthday of her greatest poet Alexander Pushkin (June 6, 1799–February 10, 1837). Here are just ten of all the countless reasons why Pushkin is great.

To me the incredible thing about Pushkin is that no matter what might come your way, whether you experience joy, sadness, or anything in between — turn to him, and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

His lines just pop up in my head, and I think, yes, that’s exactly what I needed to hear right now. Learning poetry by heart as part of the school curriculum sure has benefits. So does growing older.

Have you got the best friend you’ve never met? A favorite poet you “talk” to?

Enjoyed the post? Share it, like it — thank you.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Landscape (Paysage), 1916. Oil on canvas, Overall: 18 11/16 x 22 1/16 in. (47.5 x 56 cm). BF818. Public Domain.

 

On Poetry Submissions & erbacce-press

Apples (Pommes)

  • When it comes to submitting poetry, five is a common number.

Sometimes the limit is three poems. Most journals will not read more than five poems per submission.

It is also common, if not standard, when formatting your submission to “type only one poem per page, even if your poem is very short.”

If the editors don’t mind seeing more than one poem on the same page, they’ll specify it in the guidelines.

  • However, sometimes they don’t.

When erbacce-press states they want five pages of poetry, they don’t want to see one short poem on a page. They want five completely filled pages, which is great, especially if you write short poems — it’s your chance to submit more of them. But…

Here’s how I found out about their preferences:

Alan Corkish (Dr. Alan Corkish MA MSc, poet, writer, publisher and reviewer who (together with Dr. Andrew Taylor MA) is the editor and owner of the erbacce poetry journal and of erbacce-press)
12:44 PM
to me
“Some advice to YOU; try actually READING what is said and stop being so arrogant as to presume guidelines apply to everyone else but don’t apply to you; to date we have 5000+ entries this year and not ONE has been so stupid as to presume 20 lines = 5 PAGES!”

  • “PLEASE do enter! There really is no catch; it’s entirely FREE!” erbacce-press site reads. Indeed, if Dr. Alan Corkish finds your IQ test results tolerable, you’ll probably be okay. So, if you consider yourself smart enough, go ahead and enter. As for me, I’ll pass.

My two cents: don’t get beguiled by the “no catch & entirely FREE!” slogans.

Research before you submit. Read the previous issues. Look up editors on social media, and see what they post. If it feels like a good fit — submit. If not — move on. Plenty of other opportunities out there.

Enjoyed the post? Share it, like it, don’t be shy.

 

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Apples (Pommes), 1914. Oil on canvas, Overall: 7 1/16 x 12 3/8 in. (18 x 31.5 cm). BF55. Public Domain.

 

 

“Just listen, let it wash over you…”: Jeremy Irons on Narrating the Poems of T.S. Eliot

On hearing Jeremy Irons recite her late husband’s poetry, Valerie Eliot called the actor “today’s voice of Eliot.”

Jeremy Irons who recently narrated an audio book  “The Poems of T.S Eliot” talks to Stephanie Bastek of The American Scholar about the project.

  • How is driving a Lamborghini similar to understanding poetry?
  • What’s the reason Jeremy Irons listened to T.S. Eliot reading his own poetry?
  • How do you achieve a recording that’s got tremendous energy to it?

Find out. Don’t miss, it’s a delight. 

And if you are into reading poetry, rather than listening to it, here’s a different perspective on reading poetry out loud.

Finally, do you want to win a $25,800 fellowship?

  • Are you between 21 and 31 years of age?
  • Are you a US citizen, or do you reside in the US?
  • Do you write poetry?

Try your luck at Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. Submissions are accepted until April 30, 2018. Hurry.

Enjoyed the post? Share it, like it. Thank you.

image credit: T. S. Eliot in 1923, by Lady Ottoline Morrell, public domain

 

On April Poem-A-Day Challenge & Free Speech for All, Including Poets

Poetic Asides Blog by Robert Lee Brewer

Got any plans for April?

2018  April Poem-A-Day (PAD) Challenge will be here before you know it.

Check out the guidelines,  and note the interaction that took place in the comments. Here’s an excerpt from it:

Kateland
March 6, 2018 at 12:47 pm
“Well, there are very wide interpretations of “hateful” nowadays. …
Perhaps a set of rules on what themes are considered “hateful” or “intolerable”…

Robert Lee Brewer Post author
March 7, 2018 at 12:50 pm
“I believe in diversity as far as the form and content of poems–expressing a wide range of opinions. As long as it is done respectfully.

I know for a fact that we have poets from around the world, of various faiths, of various political parties and slants, genders, ages, etc.”

Now, if you’re new to the challenge, Poetic Asides is not a political forum — it’s a poetry blog. However, it’s very refreshing to see its commitment to remain a place of free expression. We should not be afraid to voice our opinions.

Write poetry, be respectful while exercising free speech, don’t be a troll — that’s what PA is about. So, flex your poetry muscles!

Have you participated in PAD challenges? Are you in for the poem-a-day this April? Share in the comments.

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The Voice of Silence vs. Performance Art, or Is Poetry Meant to Be Read Out Loud?

In Vaudeville: Acrobatic Male Dancer with Top Hat

Here’s what Philip Larkin said in his 1982 interview with The Paris Review (“Art of Poetry” series):

  • “Hearing a poem, as opposed to reading it on the page, means you miss so much—the shape, the punctuation, the italics, even knowing how far you are from the end. Reading it on the page means you can go your own pace, taking it in properly; hearing it means you’re dragged along at the speaker’s own rate, missing things, not taking it in, confusing “there” and “their” and things like that. And the speaker may interpose his own personality between you and the poem, for better or worse. For that matter, so may the audience. I don’t like hearing things in public, even music. In fact, I think poetry readings grew up on a false analogy with music: the text is the “score” that doesn’t “come to life” until it’s “performed.” It’s false because people can read words, whereas they can’t read music. When you write a poem, you put everything into it that’s needed: the reader should “hear” it just as clearly as if you were in the room saying it to him. And of course this fashion for poetry readings has led to a kind of poetry that you can understand first go: easy rhythms, easy emotions, easy syntax. I don’t think it stands up on the page.” 

Earlier this month Jim Moonan echoed Larkin on Eratosphere:

  • “…to my ears, poetry is the voice of silence speaking to me. To break the silence by hearing a poem recited out loud – especially if I’m not familiar with it beforehand – is inevitably underwhelming to my senses. At worst, it drowns out my own interior voice. It’s a fine line. On the one hand, the assonance and rhythms and rhymes of a piece of poetry are supremely important. And all auditory. On the other hand, the catch for me is that I have to discover those sounds inside my own head by reading it, sometimes out loud, most times silently, always repeatedly, sometimes stopping to dwell, then starting over… A sonnet can take me an hour to read from beginning to end.”

He drew the samealbeit not harsh analogy between performing music and reading poetry out loud, prompted by a poem that was written to reflect the characteristic style of Morton Feldman, composer:

  • “It is a poem I would love to hear read aloud in a way that echoes the music. Performance art. Is it fair to compare a poetry reading to a live performance of music?”

Here’s more on Poets as Performers and the art of performing a poem.

What say you? Do you enjoy hearing poetry read out loud, or do you prefer hearing it in your own head? Do you think SLAM poetry “stands up on the page”? Do you attend poetry readings?

Share in the comments.

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Image: Charles Demuth. In Vaudeville: Acrobatic Male Dancer with Top Hat, 1920. Watercolor, graphite, and charcoal on wove paper, Overall: 13 x 8 in. (33 x 20.3 cm). BF1199. Public Domain.

 

Instapoetry & Literary Criticism; or You’re Free to Express Your Opinion, unless You Aren’t

 

  • “PG doesn’t claim to be an expert on all 21st century poets and writers, but doubts any have written anything like the following excerpts…” — David Vandagriff (aka PG) states his personal point of view, then proceeds with this quote from The Solitary Reaper, 1807 by Wordsworth:

I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

It’s fair to assume PG is not Rupi Kaur’s fan. What if he decided to criticize her Instapoetry? He wouldn’t be ostracized because of his poetic preferences, would he?..

  • “Most often, it seems, when the poet in question is a young woman of color, critics will be particularly intent on proving by a+b why her brand of poetry is blandly generic, consumerist in nature, trite and predictable. This is also often the opportunity for critics to dish out their definitions of what characterizes “good” or “bad” poetry—and those definitions are often shaped by voices from past centuries. Those voices most often happen to be older, if not dead, straight white males, and the critics justify their choice by highlighting the supposed impermanence and universality of their criticism. … Hailing Wordsworth as the end-all in terms of how we must consider poetry implies we’re erasing so much context—political, social, economic, cultural—from the equation. (How could you possibly use Harold Bloom to talk about gender, outside of a narrow, hypermasculine view?) ” — argues A.K. Afferez.

She condemns the practice of placing moral labels “good/bad” on texts. By analogy, placing a label “bad” on human beings, and marginalizing them because of their sexuality, race, and genderstraight, white malesseems “at best misguided”, doesn’t it?

Do you question “the profound instability, the slipperiness of any (italics mine) written text”? Do you always feel free to voice your opinion?

Share in the comments.

  • The notorious “toxic masculinity” may have a profound effect on a female writer:

“I had a really good father, and two really good grandfathers, and three really good brothers—far more men in my life than women, in fact. Probably that’s why I don’t think of male characters as being all that foreign to me. The biggest stretch I’ve had to make is reminding myself that men need to shave in the morning.” — Anne Tyler.

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Image: Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Catherine Pham and her 13-month-old son Aiden after rescuing them from their home surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)