up and dig. Smash
the phone. Home. Unwashed
hair smell. Coming of (r)age.
Midnight oil. Deathwish.
Daughter. Separate. Crumpled,
bloody, first draft mouth."
Porochista Khakpour wrote this very necessary piece on refugees at CNN:
"As a child, I accepted that we were different but I reminded myself that was the mission of America, "the land of immigrants," a haven for those who had lost their homelands. (It took me many years to grasp the reality of the real Natives here, past fuzzy textbook platitudes.) By the age of 4, I had decided on my future: to become a writer. I wanted to write books because reading and writing were all we had when we fled from Iran to Turkey through Europe, and eventually to the US. My first memories are all of air raids, sirens, long bus rides, the anguish of my parents, the revolving temporary homes (from Swiss convent to Skid Row motel) -- but also of books. Paper and pen and books my parents bought here and there for me were what replaced all the toys I had back home in Iran. We would be back, my parents assured me, but we never were. And I just got used to the paper and pen and books."
Entropy's guide to AWP is now here. They also did a round up of January's small press release here.
Candace Williams wrote this amazing essay at VIDA on where we go from here.
"Dissident artists who want to respond to hegemony are forced to consider questions about identity, power, and privilege that are often avoided:
- How does hegemony manifest itself in the art world?
- How do art institutions amplify hegemony?
- How do individual artists and works of art amplify hegemony?
- Which artists and institutions have a disproportionate share of power, audiences, and resources?
- Which artists are suppressed and erased?
- How can individuals and institutions with a disproportionate share of power give reparations to and become accomplices of folks under siege?"
Justin Lawrence Daugherty has a fiction piece up at Boink:
"She found her boyfriend’s doppelgänger in their bed. She undressed him; bit his ear the way the boyfriend liked. When he was inside her, he said, “This isn’t the same,” and she agreed. She tried to walk through the house unnoticed. She kept the house dark in the daytime. Neighbors stood on the lawn asking if anyone had seen her. They sent in a search party.The double was too depressed to tell them anything. He drank her whiskey and could not remember how to eat, had to relearn the inhalation of air."
Patricia Smith has a breathtaking poem up at Poetry Foundation:
"Everything about her makes the sound sorry.
The white man’s hands on her child, dangled eye, twanging chaos,
things that she leans on, the only doors that open to let her in.
Faced with days and days of no him, she lets Chicago — windy,
pretty in the ways of the North — console her with its boorish grays.
A hug, more mourners and platters of fat meat. Will she make it through?
Is this how the face slap of sorrow changes the shape of a
mother? All the boys she sees now are laughing, drenched in red.
Emmett, in dreams, sings I am gold. He tells how dry it is, the prairie."
Poets.org rounded up 12 poems to read for Black History Month. Safiya Sinclair on “won’t you celebrate with me” by Lucille Clifton:
"To be a black woman in America is to be the unsung casualty. To be a black woman alive in America and writing poetry is miraculous. Here I am, she says—despite a fight against my selfhood and survival at every turn, here I am—in radiant joy, in full bloom, in celebration of myself, and despite you, I’m still alive and alive and alive."
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (2016, ELJ Publications), & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions). They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM. Some of their writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, BUST, Pouch, and elsewhere. They also teach workshops at Brooklyn Poets.