Posts Tagged ‘Illumen’

. . .  because poems work on rhythms and sounds, the same as music, even without having tunes to accompany them. One hint, though, when reading poetry, try reading it out loud. Or at least (if, say, there are people around you and you don’t like being stared at) pronounce the words under your breath, the way you’re taught not to read in school. Because the point of poetry is not just what it says, but the way it says it.

So there’s rap music, too. And poetry slams. And, when I was much younger, poets sometimes read poems with jazz in the background. A muted piano, stand-up bass, a drummer for accents with cymbals and brush, an alto sax, maybe, while the poet recited the words over it, not as lyrics, but for their own sake, the musicians having the job to make sure their own sounds worked with them.

So there! (said I) to answer the rhetorical question, if you like music why should you like poetry too?  Of course I go on with it a little, and even throw in an example or two, and that was the essay, “It Begins With the Sound,” that we might recall was one of those featured in this Fall’s issue of ILLUMEN (see November 5, October 8), along with another by fellow poet and poetry essayist Marbloodspades_logoge Simon.  But Ms. Simon is also editor of the “Blood and Spades:  Poets of the Dark” column in the HWA NEWSLETTER and, as it happens, asked for reprint rights for the January 2017 issue (cf. November 12) to spread the good word to the horror writers.  And so, today, for pre-New Years Eve readers, the January NEWSLETTER has just come out.

Of course there’s a catch.  To read it there you have to be a member of the Horror Writers Association yourself.  It is, incidentally, at least the third poetry essay I’ve had published in “Blood and Spades” (I think actually the fourth, the first being one on Edgar Allan Poe many, many years back, but pretty well lost in the dust of history) and quotes in part from one by me in June 2010, “Edgar Allan, Allen Ginsberg, and All that Jazz,” which is noted in the current issue too.  (Then, for completists, there is one yet more recent, “Vamps:  The Beginning,” that appeared in January 2012.  Both this and  the 2010 one, incidentally, can also be read by clicking POETRY (ESSAYS) in the PAGES column on the far right.)

However, for those who aren’t members of HWA, “It Begins With the Sound” can also still be read in its ILLUMEN version, which can be purchased by pressing here.

The Autumn issue of ILLUMEN, received with Friday’s street mail, brings a new policy along with essays by poet and artist Marge Simon and by me.  As Editor Tyree Campbell explains, the focus remains on poetry, obviously.  But beginning with this current issue, in addition to poems, art, and articles, I’ll present writings addressed to readers, inviting them into — or further into — the joys and sorrows of reading poetry.  I firmly believe that one reason folks avoid poetry, or at best illumen-25-tyree-campbell-200x300tolerate it, is that they don’t understand it, or are afraid they won’t understand it . . . a fear of being found out by their peers. . . .  A failed understanding, he goes on to suggest, that he feels may be nurtured by the way poetry is introduced to schoolchildren, as early as the third or fourth grade.

And so, now there will be a series of essays written by poets themselves to, as he continues, “demystify” poetry, some addressed to more experienced readers, some intended to reach a younger audience.  These essays will present the case for poetry; that answer The Question:  Why should I read poetry?

I was one poet Tyree reached out to for a possible essay (see October 8, August 31), Marge Simon — who also is a previous editor of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s STAR*LINE — another, and so we are both featured in this issue.  Tyree bats first, ending his editorial with a short reflection on reading and language, then Marge with “Illuminating Poetry:  Why Bother” on how we may “know” poetry more than we thought, with examples from her own work on how it can speak to certain classes of readers, children, lovers, lovers betrayed, or mothers and sons.  Then, finally, my essay “It Begins With the Sound” recommends reading poetry aloud, reveling in the sound of the words and how they can amplify the meaning, and ends with two poems of mine, “Metal Vamp” with dancing and jazz (plus a review from STAR*LINE by Daniel C. Smith) and “La Méduse” (also, to give a quick plug, the foreword to my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS) with its series of s-sounds to, hopefully, echo the serpents that compose its subject’s hair.

At the end of August I posted a piece with the partial title “The Death of Poetry?” (cf. August 31) on the relative lack of interest in reading poetry these days as compared with centuries past.  In it I included a quasi-announcement, that is, one to be followed up on if only a certain condition was met, to wit:  “And yesterday I finished and submitted an essay, somewhat on request, to answer the question of why new generations don’t seem to appreciate poetry even as much as we do now.  What can we do to tempt them to read it and, hopefully, thus immersed discover for themselves its joys.  What do we as readers and writers find that attracts us?  (More on this later, the essay that is, if it is accepted — if not, you didn’t hear about it here either.)”

And so, a piece of good news e-arrived Saturday evening.  The above-mentioned essay, “It Begins With the Sound,” has been accepted by ILLUMEN for their newly instituted “Why Should I Read Poetry Project,” an attempt to reach out to younger, and possibly not so young, possible future readers of speculative verse.  To quote today’s email from Tyree Campbell, “Yes, absolutely this goes in ILLUMEN.  I think I still have room for it in the Autumn 2016.  If not, then the Winter 2016-17.”

More to be reported here as it becomes known.




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