There are dangers for an artist in any academic environment. Academia rewards people who know their own minds and have developed an ironclad confidence in speaking them. That kind of assurance is death for an artist.
Tumble me down, and I will sit/ Upon my ruines (smiling yet :)
Clive James gets choked up while reading Keith Douglas’s “Canoe.”
I’ve been meaning to tell you:
I cannot comprehend your changing ways—
from balm to shovel, from padlock to light snow.
The moment I look back, I sour and see again
your lips shaping the words
I will follow you, each syllable tender as teeth.
Sleep is invisible and inconsistent. Aping death, sleep in fact prevents it; at the very least, sleep deprivation leads to premature demise (and before that, failures in mood, metabolism, cognitive function). All animals sleep, and it makes sense for none of them, evolutionarily, since it leaves the sleeper defenseless to predation. Sleep is common, public, a vulnerability we all share—even as sleep also brackets the sleeper in the most impenetrable of privacies. Nothing, everyone knows, is harder to communicate than one’s dream.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Trench Mouth by Danniel Schoonebeek & Worth is the Wrong Word by Lisa Ciccarello are now available to listen to, download, & get burned by over at BLACK CAKE RECORDS. They are scathing & healing in the most beautiful of ways. Go children, let them gnash at you.
“We envision a library full of blood,” reads the “About” section of the Black Cake Records website. “We want the very best blood, & we want it everywhere.” Intrigued? You should be. The project, begun in 2013, serves as “a forum for producing & disseminating audio archives of contemporary poets reading their work.”
Rebecca Gayle Howell
“I Don’t Know Why I Love You” by Stevie Wonder
"While I was writing Render /An Apocalypse, I listened to a lot of old Motown – The Supremes, The Jackson 5 — it’s that beat, that drive, that hammer. It doesn’t quit. Doesn’t let you quit. But this Stevie Wonder song is the one. The man rides the climax until he falls off. He’ll scream before he’ll pretend something’s over when it’s not.
Render is a Southern agrarian myth. The protagonist wakes up in a landscape he’s forgotten how to survive, and the poems act as his instruction manual. “How to Kill a Rooster.” “How to Kill a Hog.” “How to Be a Man.” Mostly what the protagonist has forgotten is tenderness, but the animals try to remind him of it, even as he slits their throats. Reviewers have called the poems “brutal,” “gruesome,” “religious.” Maybe so. Unrequited love often is.”
— From Nick Ripatrazone’s “Liner Notes: A Poetry Playlist"