Twisting New England Tradition

Guest post by Martha Carlson-Bradley

Because I’ve been writing a collection of poems inspired by the New England Primer, I’ve gained a renewed appreciation for the way Emily Dickinson both built upon her New England heritage — and subverted it. And although Isaac Watts will never be my favorite poet, I’ve gained a new appreciation for his work also. Listen to the very Dickinson-like slant rhymes in the last two stanzas of “God Our Shepherd,” Watts’s common meter version of Psalm 23:

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may thy house be mine abode,
And all my work be praise!

There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger or a guest,
But like a child at home.

Here God is a slant rhyme with abode; come with home — all comforting associations. Listen for a rhyme almost identical to Watts’s come/home at the end of Dickinson’s “Tis not that Dying hurts us so”:

’Tis not that Dying hurts us so –
’Tis Living hurts us more –
But Dying – is a different way –
A kind behind the Door –

The Southern Custom – of the Bird–
That ere the Frosts are due –
Accepts a better latitude –
We – are the Birds – that stay.

The Shiverers round Farmer’s doors –
For whose reluctant Crumb –
We stipulate – till pitying Snows
Persuade our Feathers Home

We can only imagine how Watts might have responded to this poem. The “provider” in Dickinson’s poem — the one “we” must depend on for survival — is less generous than Watts’s God. We stipulate for his help: Dickinson gives us the idea of Puritan “covenant” without much comfort. In the end, what is more gentle and persuasive are the snows that take us, in this context, out of the world of the living.

Dickinson’s attention to music goes far beyond end rhymes. One fine example of her skill is “Apparently with no surprise”:

Apparently with no surprise
To any happy Flower
The Frost beheads it at it’s play –
In accidental power –
The blonde Assassin passes on –
The Sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another Day
For an Approving God –

The amount of internal music in such a short poem is astounding. Virtually every line has sounds that echo within it and often with other lines: the p sound in the first line’s Apparently and surprise, for example, recurs in all but the next-to-last line; the h and f sounds of the second line repeat in the third (Frost and behead so much less innocuous than the happy Flower); the m in unmoved appears again in measure in the next line. In one of my very favorite lines of poetry, the blonde/on rhyme surrounds, encapsulates, the short a and s sounds of Assassin passes. The final slant rhyme comes down especially hard, I think, on God. And even before that, the first, capitalized syllable of Apparently recurs in and emphasizes Approving before God’s name. What remains is the power of Watts’s God without human certainty of his absolute benevolence.

What a close reading like this gives us is not the tools to sound like Dickinson but the opportunity to educate our ears and our intuitions. We come away with a deeper and broader sense of what poetry can do—and how we can use and, yes, subvert “tradition” to expess our own individual voices.

Sources

Dickinson, Emily. The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. by R. W. Franklin. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Watts, Isaac. The Psalms of David, Translated in the Language of the New Testament. Ed. Robert Goodacre. London, Francis Westley: 1821. Accessible at http://books.google.com.

This essay was originally posted on Martha’s blog.

Biography

Martha Carlson-Bradley, a native of Massachusetts, is the author of four collections of poetry: If I Take You Here (Adastra, 2011), Season We Can’t Resist (June 2007, WordTech Editions), Beast at the Hearth (Adastra, 2005), and Nest Full of Cries (Adastra, 2000). A fifth collection, Sea Called Fruitfulness, will be released in 2013 by WordTech Editions.

Who Wrote It, and Why Does That Matter?

Guest post by Rhina P. Espaillat  

This is—let me admit it right away—an argument with myself that I’ve decided to make public because I suspect many others in my situation are having the same solitary quarrel over a cultural phenomenon many decades old now.

Why do we need anthologies, readings and websites devoted to exposing to public awareness the work of specific segments of this country’s large, diversified population? Why not simply highlight the best writing—or painting or music—by whoever produced it? Shouldn’t the arts be appreciated for what they are, rather than who produced them? After all, if the arts at their best aspire to speak to everyone, why should it matter who produced what, where, under what circumstances and against what odds? Isn’t one of the humanizing virtues of art its capacity to do precisely that, by capturing the universal in the individual’s search for meaning, in a world in which all the important experiences of life—birth, death, joy and suffering–are the public property of the human race?

I’ve had intelligent friends object to the publication of collections of poetry by women, for instance, or by immigrant authors from this or that culture writing in English, or by members of any racial or religious group at all that may be perceived as a social whole, whatever their individual qualities, by those from whom they differ in some way that seems to matter. They complain—with a measure of truth—that such groupings of art work, literary or otherwise, whatever their intention, constitute a form of segregation.

And I’m tempted to agree. As a lifelong believer in the unity of our species, I too sometimes chafe over the publication of books that offer readers not just good poems, but good poems by such-and-such a portion of the population, because I live for the day when the differences—national origin, religion, life circumstances, sexual orientation—will be perceived as real, like left- or right-handedness, red hair or baldness, but no more significant as an identifier than any one of those. When—if ever—we reach that level of casual acceptance of difference, a book or website devoted to resurrecting the writings of forgotten slaves from the pre-Civil War South, or identifying “Anonymous” as, more often than not, a woman or a member of some minority, will seem totally unnecessary, and as silly as a collection of poems by redheads!

But no, in the end I don’t agree, and here’s why: nobody doubts that redheads are capable of writing—or painting or composing—as well as anyone else, but there are still many who question whether those who differ in other ways from themselves, or from the surrounding majority, are capable of doing so. We don’t like to admit it, but it remains true, and not necessarily only among the least educated. Pretending to believe that the playing field is finally level doesn’t make it so. In fact, efforts to “wipe the slate clean” in order to start anew doesn’t work when the slate in question is human memory: it simply compounds the injustice of the reality.

And that’s why I accept—and applaud, if grudgingly—the books, exhibitions, and performances whose aim is to highlight the achievements of those artists in any genre whose group identity has exposed them to old, unfortunate, ingrained prejudices, the inattention such attitudes breed, and finally the obscurity with which time seals unacknowledged work. Some of the books on my shelves—In Other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States; the now-classic American Negro Poetry; A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women; Sarah’s Daughters Sing: A Sampler of Poems by Jewish Women; Poems of the American West; Grace Notes: Poems from the Pages of First Things; Looking for Home: Women Writing About Exile and countless others have made me aware of authors I might otherwise have missed, and enriched me with writing that has altered my view of the world and its people.

Someday—at least, I hope so!—all of those collections will come to seem quaint literary relics of an age so divided by accidents of birth and other irrelevancies that it found them necessary. How I long for that day, and for the social, political and intellectual changes it must usher in.

But we’re not there yet. Meanwhile, how grateful I am for all those books—those stop-gaps, signposts on the way to justice—for the partial remedy they represent, the talents they reprieve from undeserved oblivion, and the attempts they are making to coax us toward mutual acknowledgment of one another’s achievements.

 Biography

Rhina P. Espaillat has published poems, essays, shortstories and translations in numerous magazines and over fifty anthologies, in both English and her native Spanish, as well as three chapbooks and eight full-length books, including three in bilingual format. Her most recent are a poetry collection in English, Her Place in These Designs (Truman State University Press, Kirksville, 2008), and a bilingual collection of her short stories, El olor de la memoria/The Scent of Memory (Ediciones CEDIBIL, Santo Domingo, D. R., 2007).

 

 

 

Vague and in Vogue: On Teaching Poetry to Teenagers

A Guest Post by Ben Berman

We want to see ourselves in our heroes – this is why Japanese comic artists draw their protagonists without a great deal of detail.  Those big round eyes and small squiggly noses allow readers to see their own faces in their heroes’ features.  Villains, on the other hand, are often drawn with photographic precision – specificity, the artists believe, invokes a sense of otherness – and otherness, in turn, invokes a sense of danger (see Arizona Senate Bill 1070).

And yet, some of my high school students recently accused me of not being specific enough.  Or, as one wrote in a course evaluation – sometimes, some of his answers can be kind of vague.  But vague is what I save for my wife when she wants to know how I like her meatloaf. Vague is what I drop on my parents when they start asking about more grandchildren. No, I prefer to believe that I’m leading my students to Keats’ dream of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.

Because the truth is I’m not interested in vagueness; it’s her more sophisticated and mysterious cousin, ambiguity, that I’m attracted to.  And if we want our students to write compelling stories and poems then we must help them realize that certainty, though seductive, is also often reductive.  Of course, in order to do this, we must also figure out a way to reward students for grappling with complexity and nuance over constructing pieces with clear beginnings, middles and ends.

Not that I have anything against clarity, but when I think back to my favorite teachers, I didn’t love them for what they taught me – I loved how they unsettled what I thought I knew. Some of them ridiculed me publicly. All of them were unreasonable.  And they prepared me to wrestle with matters that resisted an easy pin – which, ultimately, is what keeps me writing.

The challenge, as always, is getting students to buy in, which can be hard when most kids don’t think of creative writing as a way of life but as a class that meets for fifty minutes four times a week. And  I’ve come to appreciate – after a number of missteps – how important it is to remember that many teenagers are at a point in their lives when they require a certain delicacy when navigating contradictions.  After all, where Walt Whitman saw multitudes, Holden Caulfield saw phonies.

Still, I’d like to believe that when my students complain about my vagueness, they’re not necessarily referring to my habit of saying one thing then immediately entertaining its opposite but are alluding to my handwriting – those tiny green ripples of smudge – each comment as open for interpretation as a Rorschach test.  Does this say great point, a student asks, or grow pot?  Such are the marks that a teacher can leave on young lives.

Biography

Ben Berman teaches creative writing classes at Brookline High School and with Grub Street Writers. He has received fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Somerville Arts Council and honors from the New England Poetry Club. His first book of poems, Strange Borderlands, is coming out soon.

MassPoetry blog — January 2012

Each month, in addition to topics each blogger wants to discuss, we are selecting one essay or remark for bloggers to respond to if they wish. This month some bloggers are reacting to “The Mystery of Vachel Lindsay” by T.R.Hummer in a recent issue of Slate. You may want to read, too.  We’ve marked these blogs with a blue arrow. 

Blogs that are date specific — that is, they refer to upcoming events — are marked with a red arrow.

Notes on Contributors

 

Jamaica Pond Poets: Poetic Convergence

Sunday, February 26, 2pm

Forest Hills Cemetery and the Forest Hills Educational Trust continue Poetic Convergence, a new poetry series in Forsyth Chapel.

Jamaica Pond Poets is a collaborative poetry workshop that meets every Saturday morning in Jamaica Plain, to creatively comment on each other’s work. Members of Jamaica Pond Poets have all been published in literary magazines, and several have won awards for their work. More…

 

Valentine Word, Love & Heartbreak Reading in Greenfield

Paul Richmond

I want to talk about format, the many different formats to poetry readings. Some are just a featured reader, sometimes one and sometimes two. Others have featured readers and also have an open mic where people can come to read. Some have the open mic before the features, in the hope to keep people around and others have the features first. An event in Greenfield is a little different and is how many are run here. A call goes out to all the writers in the area, announcing the day and the event. Those who call in, email, etc. and say they would like to read are put on a list. Their names are taken off the list and put on small cards. On the day of the event when a writer shows up at the event they find their name and the card goes into a hat. The cards of those that sign up at the door go into a second hat. More…

 

Chapter And Verse Literary Reading Series

Jamaica Pond Poets

Friday, February 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm, Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain Centre. Featured Poets MARY BONINA , KEN TANGVIK, and GARY WHITED. More…

 

The House of Seven Gables: Bringing Cultural Awareness Across Borders of Time and Place

Rhina P. Espaillat

I’d like to mention another cultural organization whose aims go beyond the stewardship and preservation of a national landmark to include service to the community: The House of the Seven Gables, one of the historical and literary jewels of Salem. Having been there years ago, I remembered it as a repository of wonderful artifacts that help to render the early history of New England palpable to those lucky enough to have a tour of the place. It’s full of items that illuminate the way people lived in 18th and 19th century Salem: how they cooked, served and entertained; what they wore and read; all the daily minutiae of real life, including some priceless gossip. More…

 

SOUTH OF BOSTON POETRY TRAIL  VOL 2 NO   16
February  2012

Jack Scully

Find about upcoming poetry readings in your area, and opportunities to submit your poetry! More…

 

 

Spoken word — from child’s play to a permanent place in the mind

Jacquelyn Malone

Remember that childishly perverse jingle from elementary school: “I see London, I see France, I see so-and-so’s underpants”? That frivolous little chime started ringing in my head recently, perhaps because of two movements in our society. First is the campaign to stop bullying in the schools. I must admit that as a child I loved that chant and got a first grader’s excited giggle at being able to parrot it aloud with other children. I don’t think I meant anything malicious – though the poor victim might have thought otherwise. It was the pure joy a spontaneous recitation. More…

 

Judging a Book by Its Blurb

Michelle Gillett

Last year, several friends asked if I would write a blurb for their forthcoming books. Nothing delights me more than knowing a friend has succeeded in getting a book of poems published.  I enjoy sitting down and rereading poems I am often familiar with, have often critiqued and discussed. Now here they are—parts of a whole and the whole creates a different and richer meaning, one I must translate into clear, concise language. I must capture the essence of the collection and convince a potential buyer of the book to purchase and read it.  It is a challenge and a pleasure. More…

 

POETRY: THE ART OF WORDS/MIKE AMADO MEMORIAL SERIES

Jack Scully

The Plymouth Center for the Arts 11 North St, Plymouth, February 12, 2012. Poetry Features Charles Coe and Mignon Ariel King. Music Feature Nathan J. Notesworth. More…

 

Football

Carla Panciera

Ah, January.  Wind chill and dark nights, black ice and white outs, arctic air masses and snow days, ice melt and road salt.  What a season for evocative language– and as if all these aren’t poetry enough, consider this, gem of all January gems for those of us who love football:  postseason.  It’s a rich time of the year indeed, full of nose tackles and nickel backs, wide-outs and slot receivers, signal callers, pash rushers and those pesky wild cards.  It’s deep backs and H-backs, it’s cover 2’s and man, slant routes and bombs, long squibs and hang time, end-arounds and keepers, i-formations and safeties coming on a blitz.  The end zone, the red zone, the deep threat, the tuck rule.  It’s blindsides, bootlegs, bump and runs. It’s dime packages, double teams and safeties roaming free.  Shotguns, pump fakes, quick counts, stiff arms, sweeps, draws, and the option. More…

 

Discussions of African American Poetry

Lisa Olstein

One of the things I love most about poetry (find enlivening, necessary, joyous) is the way it creates habitats for associative movements of mind. Poems are exquisitely capable of progressing in ways underprivileged by our culture’s dominant (normative) modes of logic and narrative, ways that much more truly reflect how we think and feel as we sort, at lightning speed, through the various kinds of input—sensory/perceptual, emotional, intellectual—and multiple time zones—the present’s circumstances, the past’s memories (implicit and explicit), the future’s ideations—that make up the reality of any given moment.  More . . .

 

Calliope—poetry craft workshops in collaboration with West Falmouth Library

Alice Kociemba

Calliope – Poetry Readings at West Falmouth Library is celebrating its fourth anniversary this January. Our series has grown by leaps and bounds and we are grateful to all the wonderful featured poets and open mike readers who have read thus far. This year, Calliope’s theme is “From First Draft to Feature” and is supporting the development of poetic craft through a series of three workshops. Plans are also in the works for a series on The Performance of Poetry, especially aimed for featured and open mike readers to develop their own, and effective style of relating to the audience. More . . .

 

Commentary on Hummer Essay

Rhina Espaillat

Hummer’s essay on Vachel Lindsay is very interesting.  These poems of his are a revelation of sorts, so different in tone–but not in manner–from the ones that everybody of my generation knows. He feels like a precursor of rap, because of his snappy meters and repetitions and swift flow; there’s something almost “smart-alecky” about his lines, oddly out of synch with the moral earnestness and naive good intentions that make him feel dated. Even the way he seems to turn against jazz and the saxophone in these poems, in favor of the romanticized Irish harp, suggests a kind of narrowness, an inability to love opposites, to hold two things in focus at the same time. But isn’t that particular faculty for creative ambivalence exactly what poetry is good at? More…

 

Human Error Publishing January Vachel Lindsay

Paul Richmond

The mystery of Vachel Lindsay
One of the most visible poets in America
Consider the father of the Beats
Nearly forgotten
I didn’t recognize the name
Vachel Lindsay   More . . .

 

POETRY: THE ART OF WORDS/MIKE AMADO MEMORIAL SERIES

Jack Scully

A line up of a Plymouth Center reading series. More . . .

 

MassPoetry blog — December 2011

MassPoetry blog — November 2011

Blog, February 3 — Jamaica Poets

Notes on Contributors

CHAPTER AND VERSE LITERARY READING SERIES

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain Centre (See parking note below)

 

Featuring:

MARY BONINA’S newest poetry collection is Clear Eye Tea (Cervena Barva Press). She is the author of two chapbooks, Living Proof and Lunch in Chinatown, poems inspired by the experience of teaching recent immigrants the English language in their workplaces. Her poetry has been featured in Salamander, Hanging Loose, English Journal, Gulf Stream, and other journals and anthologies. She has received an Honorable Mention for her memoir, My Father’s Eyes, from the University of New Orleans, and she was a finalist in the Teacher’s Voice competition.

 

KEN TANGVIK’S collection of urban short fiction titled Don’t Mess with Tanya: Stories Emerging from Boston’s Barrios was published in 2011 by Aberdeen Bay Publishers. Many of the stories in this book are based on experiences he had in working with young adults in Boston. Ken Tangvik is a professor at Roxbury Community College and is a specialist in multicultural fiction. He is also the co-founder of the Hyde Square Task Force, a Jamaica Plain-based award-winning nonprofit that engages at-risk teens in the arts, college prep, and community organizing.

 

GARY WHITED is a poet, philosopher, and psychotherapist. He grew up on the plains of eastern Montana, and a strong sense of place pervades his poetry, whether that place is the prairie, the city, or the inner spaces we inhabit. His poems have appeared in Salamander, Bellowing Ark, Red Owl Magazine, and Diamond Dust. He received an International  Merit Award from the Atlanta Review, and an Editor’s Prize from Plainsongs. Gary Whited has been a featured reader at many venues in eastern Massachusetts, and he is a member of the Jamaica Pond Poets.  

 

COME JOIN US FOR POETRY, FICTION, and REFRESHMENTS (of course!)

Chapter and Verse takes place in the historic Loring-Greenough House at 12 South Street in Jamaica Plain Centre, just across from the Monument.

Suggested donation $5.00 or whatever you can afford. (We mean this. We would rather have you than your money.) Free refreshments are served.


Parking Information:
The Loring-Greenough House has a parking lot, but  several spaces are reserved for ZIP Cars. Please respect these spaces, and also please try not to park on the grass. There is ample unrestricted street parking and a large, free public parking lot off Centre Street, between Burroughs and Thomas Streets, just a block from the Loring-Greenough House.

There is also a parking lot off the right side of Burroughs Street, behind the stores on Centre Street.

 

For information check our website at http://jamaicapondpoets.com or email dorothy.derifield@gmail.com or call 617-325-8388.

 

Blog, January 29 — Jack Scully

Notes on Contributors

SOUTH OF BOSTON POETRY TRAIL

VOL 2 NO   16
February  2012

 
READINGS
 
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 1, @6:30PM
POETS PATHWAY
COFFEE MILANO
58 CENTER ST MIDDLEBORO
FEATURE TAMMI NICK/OPEN-MIC MORE INFO: GAERLLWYD@AOL.COM
 
 
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4, @ 1PM
VISUAL INVERSE/ PAIRING POETRY AND ART
16 ORIGINAL PIECES OF ORIGINAL VISUAL ART MATCH WITH 16 ORIGINAL POEMS
PLYMOUTH CENTER FOR THE ARTS
11 NORTH ST PLYMOUTH
PUBLIC READING OF POEMS/ REFRESHMENTS/ MORE INFO:JOHNSCULLY36@YAHOO.COM
 
 
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 8 @7:30PM
DREAMSPEAK ARTISTS
CRAZY’S EDDIES AMERICAN BAR & GRILL
8 TOWN WHARF PLYMOUTH
2nd ANNUAL WORDS OF LOVE CONTEST /MUSIC, OPEN-MIC FOR MORE INFO: WWW.LOUISACLERICI.COMCAST.NET
 
 
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 9 @7PM
DUXBURY FREE LIBRARY POETRY CIRCLE
SETTER ROOM
77 ALDEN ST DUXBURY
SHARE YOUR POETRY MORE INFO:RHICKEY@OCLN.ORG
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 12 @12 NOON
POERTRY: THE ART OF WORDS/MIKE AMADO MEMORIAL SERIES
PLYMOUTH CENTER FOR THE ARTS
11 NORTH ST PLYMOUTH
FEATURES: CHARLES COE AND MIGNON ARIEL KING/OPEN-MIC    MORE INFO: WWW.PTAOW.COM
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 15, @6:30PM
POETRY IN THE VILLAGE
BLANDING LIBRARY
124 BAY STATE RD REHOBOTH, MA
 FEATURE: TIM REED/OPEN-MIC     MORE INFO: NIMBOUCHER@COMCAST.NET


THURSDAY FEBRUARY 16, 7PM
THE POETRY SESSION AT O’SHEA’S
O’SHEA’S OLDE INNE
348 MAIN ST [RT28] WEST DENNIS, MA
FEATURE: OPEN-MIC MORE INFO:  ALARMPUP@VERIZON.NET

SATURDAY FEBRUARY18, @2PM
 GREATER BROCKTON SOCIETY FOR POETRY AND THE ARTS
BROCTON LIBRARY
304 MAIN ST BROCKTON, MA
FEATURES: CD COLLINS AND CHAD PARENTEAU/ OPEN-MIC/POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP 12NOON TO 2PM         MORE INFO: WWW.GBSPA.HOMESTEAD.COM
 
 
 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 22, 6:30 PM
 POETRY AT THE MAIN ST CAFÉ
122 MAIN ST. NORTH EASTON, MA
FEATURE CHARLIE PERRY / OPEN-MIC MORE INFO: POETMAN20@VERIZON.NET
 
 
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23, @6:30PM
“THE MIXI N’ MUSIC”
SOMETHIN’S BREWING CAFÉ
CORNER OF RT 105 AND RT 18
LAKEVILLE
MUSIC FEATURE: KIM SNYDER/STORYTELLING AND POETRY
OPEN-MIC/DONATION $2/MORE INFO: WWW.FACEHILL@COMCAST.NET
 

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23, @ 7PM
 POET’S CORNER OPEN MIC
THE CULTURAL CENTER OF CAPE COD
307 OLD MAIN ST. S. YARMOUTH
 FEATURE: JUDITH PARTELOW/OPEN-MIC MORE INFO HTTP://HOME.COMCAST.NET/~BMHELLMAN   
 
 
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 26, @3PM
 CALLIOPE
WEST FALMOUTH LIBRARY
575 WEST FALMOUTH HIGHWAY [RT 28A] FALMOUTH
FEATURES: NANCY BRADY CUNNINGHAM, ROBIN SMITH-JOHNSON AND DAVID SURETTE/ DONATION $5 MORE INFO calliopoetryreadings@verizon.com
 
 
 
 

SUBMISSIONS

Valerie Lawson & Michael Brown, Editors
*Off the Coast*
PO Box 14
Robbinston, ME 04671
poetrylane2@gmail.com
www.off-the-coast.com
Our next deadline is March 1 for a special “Green” theme Spring issue.
For this issue, we will be collaborating with Unity College in Unity,
Maine, which has built its curriculum on the environment and
environmental law.
Editorial decisions are not made until after the deadline. Poets &
artists will be notified by mid-April on the status of their
submission.
Muddy River Poetry Review Guidelines
Reading dates for Muddy River Poetry Review are December 1 to March 1 for spring issue and June 1 to September 1 for fall issue.   Poems received on other dates will be deleted.
1. Submit 1-3 poems.  NO PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED POEMS.
2.No attachments. Please paste poems into body of email. Include a short poetry (and/or other) bio.
3. Prefer free verse.
4. Do not want “mushy” or religious poems.
5. Do not want porno, sexist, racist or biased poetry relating to politics or ethnicity.
6. Simultaneous submissions okay, but please let me know which ones AND notify me if any are accepted somewhere else.
7. Future (other) publication should credit Muddy River Poetry Review.
6. Response time will be as close to 30 days as possible.
7. If you do not hear in 45 days, feel free to inquire.
8. Payment will be publication in MRPR.
9. Poems only accepted during open reading dates. Poems received on other dates will be deleted.
10. Submit all poems to mrpr@comcast.net only.
All rights revert to author upon publication.

 

Submissions

Midway Journal accepts submissions of aesthetically ambitious work that occupies the realms between both the traditional and experimental.
We accept submissions between January and June annually, only. Submissions can be mailed via USPS or e-mailed.
All manuscripts mailed USPS should be submitted with SASE and should be mailed to:
(Genre) Editors
Midway Journal
PO Box 14499
St. Paul, MN 55114
Electronic submissions should be sent to the appropriate electronic mailing address listed below. Manuscript Submission: (genre) should appear in the subject line of the e-mail. Submissions should be sent as .doc or .docx file attachments and should not be sent in the body of the e-mail.
Call for Submissions
You Must Remember This:
Poems about Aging and Memory
RULES FOR SUBMISSION:
• Poets may submit up to three (3) original, unpublished poems concerning some aspect of
Aging.
• Poems should be single-spaced and typed in Times New Roman 12 pt font (or a reasonable
equivalent).
• Poems longer than 3 pages will not be considered.
• Poets may submit by mail or by e-mail. All poems must include the poet’s name, address,
and e-mail address. When submitting by e-mail, attachments should be in RTF format.
When submitting by mail, enclose 2 copies of each poem and include name, address, and
e-mail address on each. Contributors without e-mail must enclose a SASE for
acknowledgement of acceptance.
• Poets should also submit a brief (75-word) biographical statement, which could mention
recent publications, awards, contacts, or perhaps an early memory concerning aging.
• Submissions should be made by e-mail to poetsintheattic@gmail.com or by mail to
Gordon Lang
170 Browns Ridge Road
Ossipee, NH 03864
• Poems selected for publication will be edited cooperatively by the editors and the author.
• There is no fee for submission. Poems will not be returned. Poets published will receive a
single author’s copy in payment.
• The selection and editing of poems for inclusion will be an ongoing process. However, all
submissions must be postmarked or e-mailed by June 30, 2012.
• All poems published will be protected by the copyright of the publication; however, rights
revert to the author upon publication.

 

 

Bits and Pieces.

Good friend Irene Koronas of Cambridge, poet and visual artist has started a blog site www.artamust.blogspot.com, check it out.
Plymouth poet and visual artist Jane Edsel has a new book of poetry “Some Plum of Poems” to be published in the next month.
Rich Berg informs me that the Yanafide Foundation, “Healing Through Creative Expression” will be holding a poetry reading and open-mic at the Brockton Public Library on March 3, more in next month’s newsletter.
Check out what is going on with the 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival at masspoetry.org .
Hope to see you at Visual Inverse Pairing Poetry and Art opening reception at the Plymouth Center for the Arts on Saturday February 4 beginning at 1pm. If you cannot make the opening the show will run through February 19.

Blog, January 27 — Jacquelyn Malone

Notes on Contributors

Spoken word — from child’s play to a permanent place in the mind

 

Remember that childishly perverse jingle from elementary school: “I see London, I see France, I see so-and-so’s underpants”? That frivolous little chime started ringing in my head recently, perhaps because of two movements in our society. First is the campaign to stop bullying in the schools. I must admit that as a child I loved that chant and got a first grader’s excited giggle at being able to parrot it aloud with other children. I don’t think I meant anything malicious – though the poor victim might have thought otherwise. It was the pure joy a spontaneous recitation.

 

Which brings me to the second societal movement, the advent of spoken word poetry. I also have to admit that I wasn’t really keen on spoken word poetry when I first read poems that were written in a spoken word context. They were – I thought – lame.  But then many of the poems in such first-rate literary magazines as Poetry can seem lame occasionally. And as I’ve seen and read about high school kids getting ecstatic about poetry through the spoken word, I’m suddenly taken back to my own high school years when I participated in the National Forensic League competitions, and I realize how foolish my skepticism was. Most often I did the debate or persuasive speaking contests, but occasionally I would participate in oral interpretation, which was recitation of poetry. I loved those contests. They were without the tension in a contest like debate where you never knew what argument your opponent might throw at you. Oral interpretation was more like a frolic, freeing the body and the tongue to concentrate on meaning and to take the audience along with you.

 

When I think further back, what made me first love poetry was my mother reading it aloud to me when I was four and five — the way I read Where the Wild Things Are  to my own children. Sometime in high school she’d had an English class where students studied poetry for a whole semester. When she died that textbook was one of the mementoes she left that I most cherish. The book, published in 1926 by Allyn and Bacon, is filled with pre-modernist poems. I remember long passages from some I never read in school, like Field’s Little Boy Blue, or Holmes’s The Chambered Nautilus. Of course she read poems like The Raven, The Wreck of the Hesperus, The Barefoot Boy, Miniver Cheevy and dozens of others, all of which my mind sleepily remembers after half a century. I’ll never forget how excited I was when I moved to Boston and found out the Blacksmith House in Cambridge was the actual site of Longfellow’s The Village Blacksmith. There on that busy Cambridge street was once a spreading chestnut tree and a forge.

 

I can still quote many poems by heart that my mother read, though I never memorized them in class.

 

And that brings me back to “I see London . . . ,” which is like music. When you are a child and it gets inside your skull, you can be easily given over to it. Just so with poems – the verbalization of them gets into some automatic portion of your brain and they become permanent.

 

So Hurray! For the Spoken Word movement – whether it is students writing their own poems and reciting them or students reciting the great classics of the past. The effect of the movement is the reinvigoration of poetry in the popular culture of America.

 

Blog, January 25 — Michelle Gillett

Notes on Contributors

Judging a Book by Its Blurb

Last year, several friends asked if I would write a blurb for their forthcoming books. Nothing delights me more than knowing a friend has succeeded in getting a book of poems published.  I enjoy sitting down and rereading poems I am often familiar with, have often critiqued and discussed. Now here they are—parts of a whole and the whole creates a different and richer meaning, one I must translate into clear, concise language. I must capture the essence of the collection and convince a potential buyer of the book to purchase and read it.  It is a challenge and a pleasure.

 

But when I won The Ledge 2010 Chapbook Competition last year and was in the final stages of getting my manuscript ready for publication, I declined when the editor asked if I wanted blurbs on the back. I confess some of my decision came from chronic fear of being a wallflower—what if I ask and get turned down?  But more of it came from wanting the book to be what it was without adornment. I didn’t want a glamorous headshot of me (some of these, I have noticed are taken of the poet twenty years ago) nor any blurbs attesting to my originality and skill, my intellect and surprising imagery, how alive I am to nature, or how mature and thought-provoking my poems are. Of course, all that is true, but I wanted the poems to speak for themselves.

 

I am not against blurbs. I am a compulsive back cover reader; it’s like being a voyeur—who is friends with whom, are there any celebrity endorsements here? But truthfully, I gain more from looking at a poem or two and making my own mental blurb about them. If they speak to me, capture my attention, make me think, I am likely to buy the book. There’s a good chance that the cover and title will lure me to make a purchase more than any blurb ever will.

 

My book looks a little naked without any blurbs on the back—like the first time you put on your bathing suit when summer comes—even if your body is in great shape, you still have that winter pallor. And someone picking it up and turning it over and seeing nothing but my bio on the back might think I have no friends willing to give testimonials to my greatness. It’s true that book without blurbs might appear a little suspect to some. But the book is a slender volume, and blurbs and photos would weigh it down. It has a beautiful cover, so “why gild the lily,” as my mother liked to say.

Blog, January 21 — Jack Scully

Notes on Contributors

VISUAL INVERSE
Pairing Poetry and Art

Opening Reception and Poetry Reading
Saturday February 4, 2012 @1PM
Plymouth Center for the Arts
11 North St Plymouth, MA

The original poems of Mike Amado, Louisa Clerici, Regie Gibson, Elizabeth Hanson, Chuck Harper, Lawrence Kessenich, Irene Koronas, Thomas Libby, Gloria Mindock, Tomas O’Leary, Miriam O’Neal, Rene Schwiesow, Bert Stern, Susan Cook Thanas, Sheila Twyman and Miriam Walsh.

Paired with the original visual art of

Barbara Barker, Jill Voelker, Gretchen Moran, Bill Brissette, Ben Pohl, Greg Kullberg, Edwina Caci, Kathleen Mullkins Mogayzel, Richard Mulcahy, Kathy Ferrara, Terry Kole, Ivy Frances, Linda Vopat, D Peter Collins and Pat Bianco.

Show runs through Feb 19            Free admission & refreshment

This program is sponsored in part by a grant from the Plymouth Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state Agency.

Blog, January 23 — Jack Scully

Notes on Contributors

POETRY: THE ART OF WORDS/MIKE AMADO MEMORIAL SERIES

The Plymouth Center for the Arts 11 North St, Plymouth, February 12, 2012

Poetry Features

Charles Coe is the winner of an Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and now serves as grants program officer at the council. His work has appeared in numerous literary reviews and magazines. A volume of his poetry, Picnic on the Moon, has been published by Leapfrog Press. Charles also appears on two spoken-word CDs: Get Ready for Boston, a collection of stories and songs about Boston neighborhoods, and on One Side of the River, an anthology of Cambridge and Somerville poets. His poems have been set to music by composers Julia Carey, Beth Denisch and Robert Moran. In addition to poetry, Charles writes feature articles and book reviews that have appeared in publications such as Harvard Magazine, The Boston Phoenix, and The Boston Globe. Charles is also co-chair of the Boston Chapter of the National Writers Union–a labor union for freelance writers.

Mignon Ariel King is a womanist writer who has spent her entire life in Greater Boston, Massachusetts. An alumna of the Graduate Program in English at Simmons College, she is a sometime college instructor, a freelance manuscript consultant, and an online journal editor. She is currently working on three writing projects: the third book of an autobiographical poetry trilogy based on her third-generation New England roots; a loose poetic synopsis of Moby-Dick; and her second novella–which is based in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Music Feature
Nathan J. Notesworth, piano sounds from Hoagy Carmichael, Chopin, Yann Tiersen, and more.

Doors open 11:30AM, music feature 12 noon, poetry feature 12:45pm, open-mic 2pm. Free admission and refreshments.

 

March 11- Holly Guran & Michelle Radseszewski
April 15- Michael Brown & Valerie Lawson

Visit us on-line www.ptaow.com

“This program is supported in part by a grant from the Plymouth Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency”

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