As other second–generation immigrant writers, Chin-In Chen addresses the American experience from a position of both belonging and not-belonging, which is clearly evident in her collection The Heart’s Traffic. The collection crosses embodies boundary-crossing beyond the typical use of plot (though that is present as well), and results in a comingled impression of life from the perspective of an immigrant and her family. As with many poetry collections, the evidence of the collection’s conceptual identity (in this case, border-crossing and existing in multiple realities concurrently) presents initially with the cover of the book. However, the reader will notice quickly that Chen’s collection follows through with these concepts in nearly every poem. Continue reading “Reflection on Ching-In Chen’s The Heart’s Traffic”
So many submissions come in to the literary magazine I help staff – a relatively new literary magazine – that examining the framework of a “successful submission” becomes a lesson in self-reflection. From my experience working on various literary journals, the submissions that find a way through the editorial process have similar characteristics, even though the journal, the editors, and the submissions may be vastly different. For the most part, this framework can relate across different literary journals with different scopes as well. At the broadest level, I see the framework resting upon awareness. Continue reading “What Makes for a Successful Literary Submission?”
It’s a Sisyphean task, taking the responsibility to convey all the movement and humanity that Cynthia Marie Hoffman attempts in Sightseer. There are so many things one must choose to leave out, and it is the left out which compels in her collection. How many collections worth of material was she able to mine from these excursions, to bring back to us in the new history side of the world? And will she find herself written into a corner if she keeps exploiting them, or like a responsible miner, shut the mineshaft down? Despite all of what was left out, the keen gaze Hoffman exerts on her chosen subjects, many of them religious artifacts, asks the reader to step past the gate and down to the below surface as in the poem “On the Western Coast of Anglesey, the Tourists” (59-60) while at the same time requesting the assertion of gaze at those two women on the beach in their hiking boots.
Indigo Moor’s collection, for an eighty-page group, feels as though he has written several separate collections. All four sections read easily on their own, almost as if a chapbook, and this makes me question the poet’s decision to present them as a cohesive unit, as opposed to collected chapbooks. For example, the section “Daybreak” focuses on long (two to three page), slender poems with some creative indentation, and what must be a variety of ekphrasis, although the dedications and other ephemera do not always provide clarity to this. “Midday,” on the other hand, offers a series of ekphrastic poems in response to one painting, and which offer an equal split between controlled couplets and more free-formed poems as in “Daybreak.” The final section in Moor’s collection, “Dusk,” contains a series of longer poems which border on stream-of-consciousness, though they are more controlled than that. From this wide perspective, as a reader, I am left confused as to the reasoning of these seemingly arbitrary delineations.
Disclaimer: I don’t normally post poems here, because I feel that they have a much better chance at legitimacy if they live a long revision life and see the light of publication in a real venue, not my own blog… However, because of the nature of this poem and my slight intoxication, I have decided to request feedback over the internets, which are known for their fair and balanced opinions.
Written tonight, this draft is rant-y, and liberal. I post because I want feedback, but I’m not entirely sure about the politics…
**edit: if it seems cut-off, it is. This is the first third (about) of the poem**
See for yourself after the jump.
I’ve been busy enjoying spring break and getting some things ready to send out for publication. Of course, my mind does not stop moving during this time out period, and I’ve been thinking of what comes next for the writing.
Just a quick note that while I did not quite hit the humorous mark (although there were some humorous lines), I did manage to extend my subject matter. And I do feel as if I was able to bring my tone down to a more conversational level, which is something I have been [not pursuing] lately.
The assignment: Draft a poem outside your normal tone.
So far, I have come up with three drafts. I usually write on the more serious, exploratory side, so I’ve been trying to imbue a sense of humor, or dark humor in response to this assignment. I would love to be able to write poems like Tony Hoagland or Dean Young or Billy Collins: filled with a striking insight and humorous tone. So I’m attempting to write one.
While difficult, I have found that a real deadline reinforced by people I know helps me to at least submit something. I will not say it is not my best work, but of the three poems I submitted today, none have really been through the workshop. Continue reading “On Submitting Poems”
So far, one good poem for the semester. A blank-page re-write of a blank-page re-write of an ekphrastic poem. Wanted it to have more than one thing going on, and it’s appropriately complex, with many layers. But there’s a problem.