Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Ah, June!  And with Wednesday evening it was time again for the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at Bears Place (cf. May 2, et al.).  The musical guests were the VLF (drummer John Valdez, bass Park Law, and guitarist and sometime voice Jason Fickel) Trio, sharing the stage with poetry by Tim Heerdink, author of RED FLAG AND OTHER POEMS plus another collection, THE HUMAN REMAINS, and first novel LAST LIGHTS OF A DYING SUN due in the near future; creative nonfiction (and sometimes mixed with a little fiction too) from Juliana Crespo with work in or forthcoming in a number of literary journals; and more poetry from local Bears Place server Brian Boucher, with a novella, “Wahoo,” serialized in THE RYDER Magazine plus poetry book ARROGANT ENLIGHTENMENT AND A CRY FOR PURPOSE on Instagram.  Then we, the walk-ons came with, in fifth place out of seven, new fille à la caissette Yvonne making her debut in a brief, 1830s-set New Orleanian tale of blood and absinthe, “The Darkness, Forgotten.”

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Or, as one might say, the last “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” of the current season, the series going on summer hiatus for June through August.  Presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington in collusion with The Monroe County Convention Center, there were two featured poets this wonderfully warm end-of-May afternoon:  the first, Nancy Chen Long, author of LIGHT INTO BODIES along with a chapbook CLOUDS AS INKBLOTS FOR THE WAR PRONE, both of which were available at the reading, read six poems from her latest project, WIDER THAN THE SKY, about memory and the actions of the brain; this then followed by Writers Guild regular Eric Rensberger reading from the most recent “sequence” — a chronological grouping of fifty to sixty poems — from his ongoing internet collection ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS.  Then after the snack break a larger than usual group of seven poets offered their work, of which I was sixth with three summer (or at least with summer mentioned in them) poems, “Dust to Dust” about a fire in a cemetery, “Summer Cancellations” concerning seasonal ways to die, and the vampirically-tinged “The Esthete,” the last of which also appears in my own VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).

So after a busy, busy May 1, last night also featured the third “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at its new time and venue, at local tavern Bears Place (cf. April 4, March 6).  And it was a stormy night as well, but dinner and poetry helped keep as many as 17 participants dry, including musical interludes by the Kyle Quass Quartet (their final performance accompanied by one of the poets as well).

The featured readers — all poets this time — were multi-published Hiromi Yoshida, a semi-finalist for the 2018 Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize and a winner of Indiana University Writers Conference Awards as well as an active member of the Beat Generation and Daily Haiku Facebook Groups; Indianapolis poet Jason Ammerman with three collections, ALL GROWN UP, MICROPHONE OR BUST, and BATTLE SCARRED, a spoken word album REVIVAL, and more of each in the works; and David L. O’Nan with two poetry and short story books, THE FAMOUS POETRY OUTLAWS ARE PAINTING WALLS AND WHISPERS and ALL OUR FEARS AND TUNNELS, as well as a new poetry and art book project, THE FAVORS OF THE MIND POETRY & ART DIGEST, in the works for later this spring.  These were followed by four walk-on “Open Mic” readers of which I led off with the third in my New Orleans “Casket Girl” series* in which we meet Marie, who has qualms about becoming a vampire, until she is calmed by hearing the tale of an adventure original vampiress Aimée had once had when visiting Rome.

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*For those interested, the original “Casket Girls” first appeared in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION on April 10 2014. A reprinted version (with better renditioning of accented vowels) from ARIEL CHART, February 2 2018, may be read by pressing here.

The third Sunday this April is Easter Sunday so the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Third Sunday Write” (see March 17, et al.) had to be scheduled a week early this time.  And while the warm-up exercises could be a bit prosey — a list of things known and that one might like to know, answers to the question “What feeds you?” (which could be poetic), and a descriptive rendering of a favorite place, the final event took on a more poetic flavor.  Poems from three poetry books were read with instructions to note down lines or phrases that seemed to particularly stand out; then write your work incorporating some of these phrases.  Mine, a poem called “Magma,” discussed energy in its various forms, potential, kinetic, but also mental — in imagination — and will it matter?  The ending, another “borrowed” line:  “The gods are never caught.”

Not much will come of this one for me, probably, in terms of work that could lead to a story, but it was fun.  And the end, fun too, was to comment not so much on others’ readings of what they composed, but to also pick out lines and phrases that stood out — an exercise in imagination but also an appreciation of things that can spark it.

A rather dim “starring” actually since I was not one of the featured readers at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s March “Last Sunday Poetry Reading and Open Mic” (cf. February 24, et al.) at the Monroe County Convention Center.  Of those that were, leading off was Alex Chambers who read five poems from his upcoming collection BINDINGS, to be released this summer by by Pickpocket Books, followed by LuAnne Holladay with “a number of pretty short poems” on such subjects as memories, dreams, birds, and prayer.  Then after the break I was second of just three readers this time with a pair of love poems to honor a coming spring (almost here by the end of last week, but shattered by a rainy, cold Saturday with a dusting of snow by Sunday morning; a sunnier but still cold Sunday afternoon), “Love Consummated” and, with a touch of the Frankenstein in it, “Can Monsters Not Love?”

February’s Bloomington Writers Guild “Last Sunday Poetry Reading and Open Mic” (cf. January 27, et al.), co-sponsored by the Monroe County Convention Center, saw a rather small turnout this time, perhaps in part due to a rare sunny, bright day, even if windy and still chilly.  The announced readers were Writers Guild newcomer Joe Betz with five poems from a working manuscript plus one just drafted, followed by Tony Brewer, past Guild chairman and “old hand,” with a selection of poems and an explanation of the title of his upcoming book HOMUNCULUS.  After the break I was second among four open mike readers with “The White Worm: On the Death of Virginia Poe, by Consumption,” the second of my two poems from the ONCE UPON A MIDNIGHT (Unnameable Press, 1995) Edgar Allan Poe based anthology, as a follow up to “The Resurrection Man” from last month.

Then another short note, the “other” Kickstarter we’ve been following for Gehenna and Hinnom Books (see February 16, 1) will be ending this Saturday, March 2.  Those interested in helping a good cause — as well, perhaps, in some tasty rewards — are invited to press here.

On a pleasant near-summer’s night, the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. May 12, et al.) started off comparatively noisily with a trumpet performance by local musician Kyle Quass, followed by two poets and one fiction writer.  The fiction was by Tom Bitters with a quiet romantic tale of himself, his wife, and a local benefit performance by John Mellencamp; with Nashville Indiana full-time poet Andrew Hubbard next with four or five self-described “cross[es] between character studies and short-short stories”; and, after a musical interlude by Kyle Quass again, a group of more conventional poems by local writer Antonia Matthew.  These were followed by seven open mike readers of which I was fourth — square in the middle — with a fairy tale variant originally published in RAPUNZEL’S DAUGHTERS (Pink Narcissus Press, 2011) called “The Glass Shoe,” or, translated to modern political terms, alternative facts meet Cinderella.

Let us take a quick trip down memory lane to April 25 and my coverage of the Polish mermaid film THE LURE, a Goth-rock variant of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.”  Then, back to today, what should I run across courtesy of DIRGEMAG.COM but “Dark Mermaids Take Everything Men Fear and Use It Against Them” by Brenda S G Walter, including her take on “The Little Mermaid” as well as THE LURE and two other films.  In this case the “lure” (sorry) is primarily via the Andersen tale — no dwelling on mermaids’ alter lives in the siren trade, for instance, but then the payoff is still the same.  These are hungry fish-ladies.  And, music or not, the piece is interesting (and a little Freudian) and can be read by pressing here.

Then, for the writing life, Saturday after my writers critique group eviscerated my TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH essays (cf. May 18 just below, et al., and no, they didn’t really — I did post all three essays to the group in lieu of a story this month, for which comments, while mixed as to which one might be a given critiquer’s favorite, were generally encouraging), I continued to local restaurant-bar The Crazy Horse for a celebration and signing for Bloomington Writers Guild member and poet Nancy Chen Long’s just published book, LIGHT INTO BODIES.  To lazily quote from the invitation:  This event is a thanks-giving.  As a way of honoring, Nancy has invited Cynthia Bretheim and Beth Lodge-Rigal, two women that she credits for getting her back into poetry back in 2006, to read.  Members of Five Women Poets, a local writing group that Nancy belongs to, will also read.  In addition, two friends whose artistic-ness inspire her — Matt Allen on jazz guitar and Stephen Simms on bass — have been invited to share their music.  It also was fun, and with good snacks too, and a special feeling of kinship for me on the eve, as it were, of my own book’s release which, if not an absolute first as such, is my first novel.
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More on Nancy’s book, officially published on May 10, can be found by pressing here; more on my TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH by pressing its picture in the center column.

Serendipity strikes again with this one blundered on by pure chance, plus a bit of the carney game known as Facebook.  And not only that, I’ll confess to amusedly tattling on Number 6 myself in terms of the soap opera quality of his once upon a time private life (“Hi there, Claire Clairmont!”).  But yes, these guys could be dangerous too — or just bad to be near.  Or, to quote Matthew Keyte’s “10 Poets Who Were Completely Mad, Bad, And Dangerous to Lord_Byron_coloured_drawingKnow” on LISTVERSE.COM:  Poets are sensitive, ethereal creatures, ineffectual dreamers obsessed with metaphors and finding the right rhythms and rhymes.  They’re generally harmless, right?  Not always.  On this list, there are killers, crooks, plotters, rakes, a blackmailer, several revolutionaries, heartbreakers, duelists, drunkards, an opium fiend, a serious oddball, and even one fascist.  To borrow the words of Lady Caroline Lamb, who played mistress to one of them, these men were mad, bad, and dangerous to know.  So you never know, eh?

But, whether lover of poetry or actual poet, the list is fun.  To see it yourself (and you know you want to) press here.

Add flash to your writing.  Be not like all others but dare to venture beyond the beaten path.  Well, some have done this — one might recall even I had a story in Bizarro Pulp Press’s BIZARRO bizarro-bizarroBIZARRO (see  January 30 2014, December 27 2013, et al.).  But that’s just the tip of the much-clichéd iceberg, as witnessed by Nathaniel Woo in “10 Bizarre Literary Movements and Genres,” published on LISTVERSE and for which see here.

(And should you be tempted, or, hey maybe I can sell a book too, for more information on BIZARRO BIZARRO one may press here.)




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