Once again it has been a while.
Mostly I’m here right now to plug this:
It’s a tiny little thing I’m starting. You should check it out and submit something.
I’ve also been writing for National Poetry Month here:
About ten days ago, I put this poll up on the blog here. While not a great number of responses, I am pleased with the number of people who took the minute or so to offer their opinions on the state of contemporary literary magazines.
One of the things I wrote in that original post was
We know that there are more literary magazines than there are readers, but not as many as there are writers,
and this is a problem. Another problem writers come across is that there is little payment available out there for accepted works. That is a discussion outside of this one.
The new issue of Pea River Journal comes out soon, with two poems by yours truly!
Now that you’ve read the initial post, walk along this exploration with me. The beginning of this journey is about the act of close attention. As just about any poet will tell you, close attention is one of the primary aspects of writing poetry. Another way to say this is that poems do not unveil themselves without your hard work of paying attention to the world around you.
But what does this have to do with revision?
Good question, you! Where ecstatic creation in the face of the results of close attention (a good example is found among the Beat Poets) may result in much earnest poetry–and even very good poetry–the act of revision asks for close attention to the poem, the poet, and the subject of the poem. Revision forces the poet to decide, to act, to reflect, to unveil, and to question.
Hi Beautiful Readers! As writers, literary hangers-on, and readers, we all know that the esteemed literary magazine is the pillar, the bulwark, of the literary scene. We know that there are more literary magazines than there are readers, but not as many as there are writers. We know that literary magazines have problems and solutions in this day and age of digital accessibility.
I want to run a quick poll about your ideas of the current Lit Mag landscape. I have my own opinions, and I will be posting on that when this poll is over in a week.
Thanks for participating!
In that post, I mentioned that Pattiann Rogers expands Stevens’ ideas in her essay “Cosmology and the Soul’s Habitation”; however, although her ideas line up and extend Stevens’, she does not specifically mention his name. Perhaps Stevens’ theory has become so ingrained as to be an accepted part of the modern condition of humanity; in Rogers’ words, a piece of our contemporary cosmology.
Many of the readers who end up at this blog do so by searching Google with the phrase “idealism in poetry” or something similar. While I think the overall contents of the blog offer my thoughts on the topic, I am sure that many of these searchers are looking for research for their undergraduate or high school papers. This post will offer some reflection on the concept in general, but I would like to also point them toward the recently updated “plagiarism note” in the right column. Your teacher/professor will recognize a voice other than yours, and drop text into Google to figure out where it came from. Then you will fail the paper, if not the course. Be forewarned.
Every poet claims that poetry is political – or at least that the act of writing poetry is a political act – no matter what the poem’s contents are. Jane Hirschfield, Richard Hugo, David Orr, Susan Stewart, and Stephen Dunn are just a few of the poets investigated this semester who wrote or intimated this idea. The statement that poetry is political requires a certain understanding of the “political,” meaning an exercise and projection of the voice in the face of the vast ease of being silent. This idea, that saying what needs to be said – whether about a white spider on a sprig of Queen Anne’s Lace, or about the unequal gender treatment in our current society – is a political act opens more than just poetry to political statement, but all fields of art. As a result, the question of which writing is political, and which is not, becomes very important. To hazard one possible boundary, writing which does not offer some access to Truth, or which deliberately obscures Truth (or truth), falls on the far side of the political; these kinds of writing result in either apathetic consumerism, or worse, outright propaganda. Much popular music falls into these categories. The reader (that’s you) may object that even apathetic consumerism or outright propaganda fall somewhere on the political spectrum, and the author (me) may agree. In that case, let us use “political” – in terms of writing and poetry at least – for the positive – seeking awareness and Truth – end of the spectrum, while the previous terms (apathetic and propagandist) can apply to the other, obstructive end. Continue reading “June Jordan and the Political”