Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Poems published in Smithers (B.C.), Hackney (London) and Balmain (Australia)

I'm not a poet, but I play one on Twitter. At least I follow a lot of publications on Twitter and sometimes follow prompts to submit poems. Mostly, you miss. Sometimes, you hit. I just landed three poems in a row in three different exotic places.

My poem "What you get is what you see" is in the book The Enpipe Line: 70,00+ kilometres of poetry written in resistance to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines proposal published by Creekstone Press (Smithers BC Canada).

I'm enough of a Simpsons fan to really like the idea of being able to say I am "big in Smithers".

Actually, I am really little in Smithers, or at least in this book, with just one poem that runs 18 lines (haven't measured the metres) of our poetic pipeline. The 18 was deliberate -- the poem is written in the 7/11 form innovated by the St. Louis Quincy Troupe, which I tweaked a little. Troupe does lines alternating 7 and 11 syllables, and I added trying to do it in two stanzas with 7 and 11 (=18) lines.

The Enpipe Line was the brainchild of Christine Leclerc, a Vancouver-based author and activist, and she edited the book as part of an editorial collective that culled these 175 pages out of the 70,000+ kilometres of poetry they published online. I'd like to meet her one day and ask why they picked my poem, one of many I sent that were all added to the online pipeline. I'd guess because it's totally not about the tar sands or politics, and so provides a quirky interlude.

I also have the poem "Seekonk" in a issue #5 of nifty little inc. magazine published out of Hackney, London.

Issue #5 of inc. is also known as The Postcard Issue, and there's a brilliant concept behind that. The editors Anya Pearson and Will Coldwell asked for short poems, with the idea of laying them out as postcards with partner illustrators working to each poem. Each poem gets art the size of a postcard to run on the opposite of the page, and facing the poem is the address line used for credits and a postage stamp also made by the companion artist. The Postcard Issue of inc. is just one of the coolest literary artifacts I've seen.

My poem is not one of the better pieces, but I love the crude art that MSTR Gringo did to my crude little poem.

Seekonk, if you don't know, is a hard little town in Massachusetts on the Rhode Island line. I come from Granite City, Illinois, where the hard white people are called "hoosiers". I went to Boston University on a Navy ROTC scholarship which is how I learned about "Massholes". All this came back to me when visiting the Providence, Rhode Island area as a travel writer; hence the poem.

"Seekonk" also is cast in Troupe's 7/11 form, though it has 14 lines, like a sonnet, because I couldn't get the poem to work in 7, 11 or 18 lines. Forms are made to be tampered with.

And here just the other day I got in the mail the July-August 2012 of Quadrant, an Australian magazine of ideas published out of Balmain,a suburb of Sydney in New South Wales.

I gather its politics trends toward the quadrants on the right of the spectrum, but the literary editor, the great poet Les Murray, is a friend and correspondent. When I send him the next letter, I throw some poems in the envelope and some see print in Australia.

This time, Les took "Sorrow of God," a serious poem I am very proud of. Like everything I am doing these days, it's cast in Troupe's 7/11 form, though I count 10 and not 11 lines, which makes me wonder how hard I tried to find an 11th line for this thing.

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