BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
“It Doesn’t Feel Like a Time to Write,” a poem by Danez Smith at Buzzfeed:
"i got a fear of being black in public
& white folks are raised to fear of me.
niggagoraphobia has taken over the nation
& i’ve never been more afraid
of a white man’s temper.
in my dreams all the black folks
turn to ants & America is a toddler
stomping us out – she’s so damn scared
& we can’t get away."
Jericho Brown’s poem “Bullet Points” at Buzzfeed:
“I will not shoot myself
In the head, and I will not shoot myself
In the back, and I will not hang myself
With a trashbag, and if I do
I promise you, I will not do it
In a police car while handcuffed
Or in the jail cell of a town
I only know the name of
Because I have to drive through it
To get home.”
Christopher Soto as Brooklyn Poet of the Week starting 7/11/16 at Brooklyn Poets:
"It’s hard to find community sometimes, when you’re queer and brown and radical. In New York, I have found a lot of people who care about me. It feels very special to love and be loved."
See the best witchy style from New York's 5th annual WitchsFest at Broadly:
"The fifth annual WitchsFest, "a Pagan street faire" fundraiser for the New York City Wiccan Family Temple, took over Astor Place in the East Village on Saturday. Swarmed by a diverse and peaceful group of witches, the block party boasted free workshops, blessings, and rituals to ring in the summer season, as well as several small pop-up shops offering everything from healing crystals, incense, magic veils, tarot card readings, and goddess-themed coloring books."
Umm, yes. There's erotic astrology, thanks to The Hood Witch:
"Venus and Mars, the cosmic lovers of Roman mythology, rule seduction and sexual conquest, respectively. When these point of your birth chart are activated, whether by an event or another person, it can spark deep, magnetic attractions. These types of encounters happen more often than you might think -- you just have to look for them -- but luckily, you don’t have to wait for fate to step in."
Should you write toward trends? Elisa Gabbert explores this on Electric Literature:
"Given how long it takes to write a book, find a publisher, and then see it into production — generally a number of years, even just in the latter stages — it is not realistic to attempt to be “on trend” during the writing process. Trends move fast, and writing, editing, and publishing do not. For all you know, by the time your story collection and novel are finished and published, magical realism will be all the rage."
Sebastian Castillo on the private poetics of memories and lies on Electric Literature:
"I had my tarot cards read the other day. A friend read them for me. I don’t really believe in those kinds of things, but I was excited nonetheless. Believing in the future is embarrassing enough — I might as well listen to the cards. My last card, the card that’s supposed to tell you what’s to come in the next few months, was the five of swords. It doesn’t bode well. My friend told me that it usually means conflict and isolation — hurting people, pushing them away. It signifies difficult things from your past coming back to affect your future. If it sounds like it could mean anything, I think it’s because it does."
Wren Awry on food and writing on Entropy:
"When I’m writing, I’m usually drinking ice-water and crunching on the ice. I’m pretty addicted to ice—I must go through at least three trays a day. It’s probably my favorite snack, which is a little weird, since it’s just frozen water. I’ve accumulated a lot of mostly-useless knowledge about ice cubes over the years: how different cube shapes crunch, how long to leave them in the water for the best ice-chewing texture."
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (forthcoming 2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (forthcoming 2017, Agape Editions). She received her MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Some of her writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. She has lead workshops at Brooklyn Poets.