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.
- 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)
“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.
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
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:
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.
If you’ve enjoyed the post, press “like” and “share” buttons — thank you.
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 same—albeit 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.
If you’ve enjoyed the post, press the “like” and “share” buttons — thank you.
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.
- “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 gender—straight, white males—seems “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.
If you enjoyed the post, press “like” and “share” buttons — thank you.
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)
“Everyone, including aspiring poets, including even those stuck in the MFA system, would be better off if the contest system were abolished, and publishers once again took responsibility for promoting individual strong aesthetics, rather than outsourcing the decision at every stage, and supporting safe conformist meeting-room-style outcomes.”
“Numerous contest finals and wins validated my work. Indeed, I ultimately found my agent and publisher through contests.” — Kristin Bartley Lenz
So, how do you feel about contests? Share in the comments.
- In case you feel like entering a free poetry contest, try the rhupunt challenge for a chance to get published in Writer’s Digest.
If you like this post, press the “like” and “share” buttons — thank you.
Image credit: Paul Cézanne. Young Man and Skull (Jeune homme à la tête de mort), 1896–1898. Oil on canvas, Overall: 51 3/16 x 38 3/8 in. (130 x 97.5 cm). BF929. Public Domain.
In the Mind’s Eye
Sometimes we see
Things that will be —
Sometimes we find
It warm and kind
Sometimes our mind
Fills with sorrow
So some sweet day
In June or May
Bathed in sunrays
How you and I
Share burnt good-byes
Beneath the skies
The first WD Poetic Form Challenge of 2018 is underway. Try your hand at rhupunt!
- Emily Dickinson is nobody’s business but my own. I will not share her with anyone. I would no more tell you about my relationship with her poems than I would tell you about a love affair. If she is yours, I hope you feel the same way.” — from Mary Ruefle’s essay “My Emily Dickinson” quoted in The Paris Review
- “Some are surprised that the rigorous analytical approach PG learned to apply to poetry has served him quite well in analyzing contracts and other legal documents.” — from the Passive Guy’s post on The Passive Voice blog
How do you read poetry? Do you as a reader note, for instance, prosody — the patterns of rhythm and sound? In your opinion, should poetry be analyzed? Simply enjoyed? Both? Do share in the comments.
- Just one more thing (as Columbo would say): head over to Indies Unlimited to vote for your favorite flash fiction entry (will it be mine?). Hurry: the voting closes at 5 pm Pacific time today. Thank you.
- For some strange technical reason when I post the link to the voting page, it doesn’t open properly: it shows the results, and doesn’t give you an option to vote. So, if you really really want to vote for your favorite entry, please go to Indies Unlimited, open the post ‘Which “Ocean of Sand” Flash Fiction Story Gets Your Vote?’, and vote from there. This should work. Thank you.
And if you enjoyed this post, press those “like” and “share” buttons. Thank you again.
Image credit: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Reading (La Lecture), c. 1891. Oil on canvas, Overall: 18 1/8 x 22 1/16 in. (46 x 56 cm). BF107. Public Domain.
What’s your take on submission fees? Do you keep track of what you spend on submissions? Are you planning to pay-to-play in 2018? Share in the comments.
In case you’re leaning toward fee-free options, Erica Verrillo regularly posts lists of free contests, as well as lists of paying markets, for all genres.
Image credit: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Child Reading (Enfant lisant), early 1890s. Oil on canvas, Overall: 12 13/16 x 16 1/4 in. (32.6 x 41.3 cm). BF51. Public Domain.