Monday, June 29, 2020

The Poetry Foundation

After The Poetry Foundation issued a tepid statement of support for Black Lives Matter, poets banded together and decided the organization needed change. It didn't really seem to care about Black people much before the protests. In fact, they never tried to make any moves of equality at all (besides publishing some people in the magazine). A petition was passed around, social media posts were made, and two people at the top of the foundation resigned (without designated replacements).

Almost everyone in positions of power at the foundation are white.

People who were great supporters of the foundation (or their prestigious magazine) just the week before came out against it. There are now calls for the magazine's editor to step down because of racist pieces published. I guess some people are starting to awaken.
I used to long to be in Poetry, one of the most well-known literary magazines in the world. Careers are launched on that rocket! It was one of the highest honors I could possibly receive in my life.

I haven't submitted to them in years.

They publish racist poems and imagery. They have accepted (and promoted) the work of a literal fascist. It happens more than people realize. I understand a publication letting someone problematic slip through, especially a swamped publication without resources. But, they have more than enough people to vet contributors... if they actually cared or thought it was a concern. (I don't want to get into a discussion about free speech and bigotry, not today.)

At one point, Poetry was to have a special trans issue (not everyone was thrilled about being relegated to a one-off publication). The guest editor they brought in went on a tirade of "horrible, worn-out" tropes in trans poetics. He was quite unkind and, to my knowledge, is not transgender. It hurt a lot of poets in the trans community and the issue was canned.
There are still a lot of people defending The Poetry Foundation and their magazine because good things have come out of it. They provide money to worthy programs. They have boosted careers of some incredible poets. But, few want the foundation to end, despite what some doomsdayers cry. People want change. They seek accountability in an off-the-rails world. They desire an equal field.

Equality that raises everyone to the same level? That's pure poetry.

Monday, June 15, 2020

A Decade of Blog Posts

If my records are correct, yesterday was the tenth anniversary for this blog. I thought about balloons and confetti. I pondered the logistics of a giveaway. I wanted to do something grand.

This blog isn't magnificent. I had rainbow dreams and sweet-tasting goals when I first put my words here. This space was going to help me accomplish huge things. No dice. I ended up so dispirited at times, I thought about quitting. Why keep giving energy to this?

Is this a wash of an endeavor, though? I didn't get famous, but I met a few nice people. I don't blog for a fancy periodical, but I have a place that's all mine with my name on it. There aren't millions of views, but I sometimes go over a hundred (and they aren't me refreshing every five seconds!). I managed to find a routine that works well, so I know I can refine unruly parameters into something that makes sense. Positive things don't always blast through your wall, Kool-Aid-Man style. Sometimes, they ruffle the curtain.

Here is to another decade of small positives (in the blogging realm, at least).
*~*  *~*  *~*

Small publishing updates:

Night Music Journal accepted two of my poems late last month.

Monday, June 1, 2020

I Believe...

I believe everyone on this planet is my equal until their actions show me otherwise.

I believe there are two main reasons people become cops, and only one of those reasons is good.

I believe there is systematic oppression of minorities.

I believe good and bad people wear every uniform and run the spectrum of skin tones.

I believe any country fully prepared and equipped to tear down an uprising but not able (or unwilling) to care for its citizens during a pandemic has fucked priorities and concerns.

I believe the multiple reports and videos where white people turn the peaceful protests into violence.  (I'm not saying no one else is looting/rioting, but the evidence points to a lot of escalation by white people.)

I believe our journalists and their video evidence of police brutality used against them just for doing their jobs.

I believe we are stronger together.

I believe a man handcuffed on the ground surrounded by police officers is no longer a flight risk or combat threat.

I believe every injustice is a crack in the dam that will one day drown us all.

I believe amazing acts of kindness and unity are occurring through the chaos, but entropy gets more views so we don't see much of those acts.

I believe, when the Bible talked about god crafting us in his image, that it meant our ability to create/help or destroy/hate (and not our number of legs).

I believe we choose who we want to become every day.

I believe love wins in the end, but we have to fight for the ending.

Monday, May 18, 2020

News: Instagram, Publications, and PET Scan

My PET scan showed no signs of cancer!  I'm still in remission (or whatever term).  There is relief, but guilt and other emotions are twisted around it.  Receiving the "all-clear" isn't always as straightforward and sunny as people in Hallmark movies portray.  You can read my post about it on another blog.
I'm on Instagram, but I can't decide if I like it or not.  I don't have a cellphone, figuring out file sizes and types (any image not a JPEG won't load) is a technological labyrinth, and there is no easy way to update an account on a desktop computer.  My workaround is a file transferred to my Kindle Fire, but it's not ideal.  Perhaps I need time.
On May 14th, I received an acceptance from Nebo for their speculative submissions call.  "A Cyborg Deconstructs Her Body" will appear in the Spring 2020 issue.

Sparks of Calliope published another poem of mine recently.  You can read "Frozen Heart" on their site.

Middle House Review released their third issue with my poem "Couple Phantoms".  The piece is what I call a column poem, but I don't know the official name.  It is meant to be read straight across, but each column should also make sense by itself.
Wisconsin is ending the "Safer at Home" ordinance... just in time for tourist season.  I have a lot of complicated thoughts on our world right now, but everyone is clogging the Internet like an abused toilet with their drivel, so I don't want to add my voice to it.  We'll just have to see how this plays out.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Audio Blog: "Misdirection"

After almost five years, I have a new audio blog!  Well, it's mostly just me reading a poem, but I might be starting a new audio series... perhaps.  We'll see.

Let me know what you think.  I realize I'm not very good at this, but I have approximately zero experience reading for an audience.

Mental Lorica: "Misdirection"
If any of you didn't see it, my poem "Grief Tickles like a Hammer" appeared in Sparks of Calliope last month.  You can read it here. 

I won't be blogging (probably) for a couple weeks as I'm going through a scan on Tuesday.  I know everyone has their own troubles right now, but please send me positive vibes... if possible.

Monday, April 27, 2020

2020 Mother's Day Jewelry

Note:  My mom won't see this post... no worries.

My mom specifically requested I make her jewelry for Mother's Day. Unfortunately, she gave no directions as to colors, materials, or even types.  All she added when pressed for information was:  "You know what I like".  Well, we'll see about that.

Two of my mom's favorite colors are pink and lavender.  This bracelet, like most I make, contains stretch cord.  The pink beads are stone.

These feather earrings are simple.  They are just eye pins with a jump ring to attach the charms and the clips to go on the ears.  I use clips instead of hooks or posts because they're easier for my mom to wear right now.
I'm actually not sure about this set.  I think the copper, faux pearls, and glass beads look "dressy".  However, I'm uncertain if she will like them.  Every bead used here came from an artist who is a friend of mine.

The winning gift (I hope)!  My mom had a pair of crystal angel earrings I made her a few years ago that she gave away to a sweet stranger.  She absolutely loved them and mentions them on occasion.  I found just enough supplies in the bottom of one of my boxes for another pair.
What do you think?  Which piece is your favorite?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Easter/Spring Cards 2020

Since we all seem to have more time on our hands this year, I'm trying to keep mine busy by crafting.  I hope all of you are staying healthy and inside.
 These two cards are my failures for the season.  Never let me draw rabbits free-hand.  The basket would've benefited from more weave.  But, they could've been worse.
 These are what I call "letter cards".  The lettering makes up the central image.  Most of these are made with stickers, but the one on the bottom right also combines them with construction paper to make them stand out more.
 Not everyone celebrates holidays in the spring.  This year, though, spring appearing should be a celebratory event by itself.
The egg-themed cards are my favorites.  If you have an oval stencil, you're pretty much good to go.

Do you send out cards for any springtime events?