On not writing poetry

A great deal of effort is invested in the act of not writing poetry. You write a line, and another one, and a third, slower one and you are alarmed by the sour unmusicality of the stanza, and the overall lack of skill. So you strike them all out, get up, and take a walk down the street. After five minutes you reach the local bakery that has closed three times in the past year but appear to still serve customers. The person at the counter wears a paisley skirt and a look of defeat. I start writing a poem in my head as I am waiting for my loaf of rye bread. This is a bad sign so I leave without my bread, running down the street, and back up the stairs to my apartment. I do the dishes, breaking one out of every five plates into exactly twelve pieces. I sit down and stare at the wall, carefully not writing poetry. The act of not writing poetry, when you have no talent for it, costs a great deal of effort.

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The Box : a brief essay on suicide and depression

This is a brief essay about three to four years in my life that I have managed to put behind me, but will carry around with me at all times. I am haunted by a death I didn’t achieve and a future that slipped away in the meantime.

I live with a black Box of terror.

The full text is at ric journalThe Box : a brief essay on suicide and depression

Help? Blog Poetry?

So I applied for a conference with a kinda-sorta improvised topic about poetry published on tumblr, Instagram and on the so-called blogosphere, drawing on Bourdieu, Adorno, Mark Fisher etc. Unexpectedly, I was accepted. Before I decide whether to go or not, I would like to reach out to the internet hive mind and ask for research help. While I do know the theory pretty well, the underlying topic is internet poetry, poetry on blogs, etc., of which I have no clue at all. As my Mazer review shows, I am maybe on the more conservative end of poetry as a reader (maybe?). As I said I improvised my topic, not expecting to have to actually write the paper too. It was a hurried/bad abstract, so I am mystified. However, the conference is close to my parents’ house, and I write pretty fast, generally, and so I don’t want to dismiss the conference outright. So, humbly, I ask you: what are, in your opinion, the most relevant examples? Are there any? Well, I do know they exist, I see them occasionally, and there’s a lovely article in Plume (which incidentally is a really great place for poetry critcism, as you can tell by the way they regularly reject my dogged submissions) by Joshua Corey on “The Golden Age of Poetry Blogging” – but that’s it. If you don’t know but know someone who might, please share?

So what’s your poetry about?

I was sitting at a booth at a book fair a few weeks ago, waiting for my reading slot to open up and a woman sidled up to me, looked at my pile of books, then at me, then thrust a finger at my face: what’s this then? What’s your poetry about? I don’t fucking know. Look, lady, I just wrote it. I can’t even tell you if it’s good, but i do know it’s a thing i do and I have competence at this thing. What’s this then? well it’s a lot of words, for one thing. Words I noted down, words I collected, some words I got from a dictionary, some words I got because I misread my handwriting and I liked the misread word better than the one I wrote. What’s this then? Well, I don’t know. My body is in there and the horror and squeamishness I have with it, the heavy bear that walks with me. In it there’s me as a man, me as a woman, me as a word, maybe there’s not me at all. My grandmother was supposed to be in there but maybe this book has tiny holes in it and things that I put in slipped out. I don’t think i can tell you what this poetry is about. Is it about the terror of losing my mother tongue, or about the time I almost died or the other time I almost died or that other time. Maybe there’s love in it, I don’t know, I read it aloud and it doesn’t look like any love I know. So what’s your poetry about? Is it about drugs or alcohol or loneliness, surely it’s about loneliness, because how can it not be, on the other hand look at all the words and they are right here with me and with you too, just look at the book, you can have it, for free, if you want, Miss, take it with you it needs a reader and a better one than me. Someone who knows what to answer when asked So, what’s this poetry about?

Plots of stories I’ve written or rewritten in the past year: a poem

A church burns, someone dies.
Sentient poop takes over, no lies.
A man with a prehensile tail
In love with a whale
becomes a refugee and then cries.

A flower blooms, a woman is sad.
A trip to Macedonia, a woman is mad.
A science fiction story
about poets and glory
someone dies, someone cries, and someone is glad.

I also have some drafts about suicide,
those stories never turn out quite right.
They live on
unlovèd spawn
on this laptop, offline. Good night.

(I am not sorry)