Anger, Art, & Atalanta

February 2016 was productive for me poetry-wise. Two of the poems I wrote that month have already been published, but the other one I’d also started then languished for an entire year before I managed to finish it.

February 2017 felt very different from February the year before. The world had, if not changed, become unmasked at its ugliest places. I was tired and impotent and just low-key angry all the time. I told my friends I’d never been so full of rage, and all the words now were brittle and dry, fire and ruin.

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Over a few days, I’d finished (a rough draft) of that unruly poem, surprising myself with how quickly it came together when I’d written and deleted so many stanzas before. It dawned on me I hadn’t been able to do it before because I hadn’t been angry enough. People think writing is about bleeding on the page, and it kind of is – but not all emotions translate the way you expect. Anger has always been draining to me; it’s not something that inspires my creativity. Or maybe I just never knew how to channel it until now.

Today, I’m so happy and proud to share THE FOOTRACE with you in its completed form.

It is one of the most difficult poems I’ve written, the one I’ve done the most revisions on, and it’s maybe my best so far. You can also hear me read the poem on the Strange Horizon’s poetry podcast.

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The Reclamation

I know I haven’t been here in a while, but it has been hectic in April. Is it really the cruelest month? I don’t know, but it was busy and it was a little cruel with the punch in the feels Avengers: Infinity War gave me this past weekend. You’ll find no spoilers here.

But today, on the last day of National Poetry Month, I’m so happy I can share a new poem with you. I wrote it literally within the last week or so after a trying personal experience. It’s probably one of the most unedited things I’ve written, and it certainly is in terms of poems that have been picked for publication.

MY TEARS ARE NOT FOR YOU is a part of L’ÉPHÉMÈRE Review’s special anthology in celebration of National Poetry Month.

The anthology came out in 4 parts over the course of April and had the broad but evocative overall theme of BEYOND THE SHALLOWS. My poem appears in Part Four- The Reclamation.

This publication was a surprise because I had only happened upon this anthology a few days before the close of the submission window. I read through the other parts and loved the themes for each section, and luckily, I’d been writing a lot this month because of Camp NaNoWriMo. Even so, “My tears…” was a very new poem, and I submitted it without any expectation it would be accepted. Well, it was and I’m giddy that you get to read it immediately.

With a lot of my poems recently, I’ve been grappling with my messier emotions, as well as my thoughts about identity, heritage, and myth. I’m honored to be part of the Reclamation section of the anthology as I’ve been making it a priority to reclaim my time and my self. Writing this poem gave me some catharsis. I hope reading it gives you some, too.

Supplement:
(Music) First Burn | April Hamildrop
(Music) Burn | Hamilton OBC Album

 


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Awards Eligibility 2017

Hello 2018! It’s the start of a new year, which means it’s also time for awards nominations for some areas of short fiction. For me, that usually means the SFPA’s Rhysling Award. I had 2 poems published in 2017 that are eligible – so here they are again for your consideration.

1) NIGHT SWIM in Liminality, Issue #12 – Summer 2017

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The poem is linked above, but I wrote a little bit about the inspiration for it here: By the Water

2) ESTATE SALE in Polu Texni, November 2017

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The poem is linked above, but I wrote a little bit about the inspiration for it here: The Memory of Objects

As always, thanks for reading and thanks for sticking around!

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The Memory of Objects

It’s a strange thing when you think about what gets left behind when we’re gone. The things we’ve collected, the spaces we’ve occupied – what happens when we are absence and dust?

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Last year, I checked out some estate sales both in search of unique pieces and for fun, but I often left with a peculiar kind of melancholy. I found myself thinking about the people who had owned these items and what kind of significance those things held, if any. I thought about what the remains of what my own life might look like when broken down to the physical things I’d amassed and kept through the years.

When the summer ended and fall came with its changes, it felt like a season of grieving and a season of reflection.

Today, I’m pleased to have Estate Sale out in Polu Texni.

It’s a meditation on my feelings from that summer to fall. It’s about coming to terms and letting go. If you’re going through a tough moment or feeling a bit existential, I hope this poem helps you through it. Physical things aren’t the only things we hold on to.

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Supplement:
(Music) Traveling Song | Ryn Weaver

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By the Water

In the dark, two summers ago, my friends and I stood in my backyard staring up at the night sky. We were trying to catch a glimpse of the Perseids meteor shower, despite the light pollution. It was a new moon, clear out, and the shower was having a peak year. So we thought we might see something.

I honestly can’t remember if we did see anything – maybe one or two streaks of light – but an inkling of a poem had become caught in the orbit of my subconscious. A month later, I started writing.

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Portrait of me by the amazing Kate Trish

NIGHT SWIM is a poem in which I tried to capture a certain experience of my favorite season- lazy heat and silken water, a dark expansive sky, a sense of both possibility and stillness, contentedness.

So I’m pleased to have NIGHT SWIM appear in Liminality’s Issue 12 – Summer 2017.

I hope you enjoy it, and that you’ll take a dip with me.

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Some poem aesthetics.

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The standalone photos (and 1 in the collage) are mine from my winter/spring trip to Iceland.* I swam in the Blue Lagoon in the late afternoon, but earlier in the trip, I did take a night swim at the Secret Lagoon. It was the most magical night of my life, floating in the hot water, watching the aurora borealis literally dance and change colors in long ribbons unfurling overhead. Of course, the only camera I had at the time was my phone.


*Most of the photos in collage not mine -some free use, some Pinterest.
**Special thx to Sarah Goldberg for pushing me on my imagery & diction.

Supplement:
(Music) Meet Me by the Water | Rachel Yamagata
(Music) Details in the Fabric | Jason Mraz
(Music) Stay Low | Ryn Weaver

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