Sunday Rally Dispatch brought to you this week by Jamie Dedes (Musing by Moonlight).
ON THIS DAY in 1950 Marc Jampole, an American poet, public relations executive, and former television news reporter, was born. His poems are published in major poetry magazines including Oxford Press, and he has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize four times. Bellday Books published his first book of poetry, Music From Words, in 2007, Inc. You’ll find a delightful interview of Marc Jamople HERE.
Staff Meeting Minutes
by Marc Jamople
Conference room, blah blah blanket walls dissolve
and flow, a plunge in frigid water, blah blah
beat of branches warms your tingling frozen flesh,
incorporated world between two walls of ice,
ha ha horses’ heads on shivering human bodies,
da da disco rats merengue up the glacial switchback
seeking middens of your la la life to come,
discarded menus, transparent inhibitions,
a new caprice in permafrost: motes become beams,
rice becomes worms, wine becomes blood—ka ka
close your eyes, the paper angel wrestling you
is only you the times you win, another esker fantasy—
a higher I-don’t-want-a wah wah want-to-be
until you reach that place that makes you smile:
walls become windows, glossy panes in bah bah bay:
The other side is summer, bathing ladies on parade,
like naked women always, beautiful and full of love
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I VISITED ANNA MONTOMERY’S SITE (Chromapoesy, Apophenia and Creativity in Poetry) last week and was quite taken with her poetry. A tidbit of research revealed that poetry is just one creative interest. Anna is a painter and digital photographer, a composer and vocalist. She lives with her husband in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. I hope you will find her interview here engaging.
JAMIE: It looks like you have been blogging for just a few months. Yet you already have a fair amount of work posted. Tell us a bit about your writing schedule and habits.
ANNA: I endeavor to write everyday. The first draft is allowed to be just that, free flowing and sometimes meandering. Usually, I’ll leave rewriting for another day. It’s best to let the work breathe and simmer. Sometimes I’ll continue ruminate on a piece in my head, not writing a first draft, until its ready to be born. Those poems tend to show-up fully formed and only require minimal editing.
I love specificity in language and discovering new to me words. It’s the scientist in me. What I look for in my work is impact, effectiveness, and appropriate form. In each poem I attempt to imbue meaning, emotion, intellectual play, and integrity through form, diction, melody, and complexity. A piece is effective if it conveys layers of meaning, allows the reader room to continue and expand the dialogue, grips the reader in some way, and creates an intimacy of feeling. I am well aware I cannot accomplish this with every poem and especially with every reader, but I hope that the readers who do engage find a rich experience. It is miraculous in this manic world that people are still taking the time to devour poetry. My purpose is to reward them for their time.
JAMIE: What fires your creativity?
ANNA: A spiritual practice is the source of my creativity. For me, the connection to the divine is primary and fuels the process through infinite renewal. While as a limited human being I may return to things again and again, the spiritual path with is spiraling structure brings me to new vistas. I paint, compose music, sing, work in new media, take photographs, write, create new recipes, and engage art, music, literature, and cinema. All these sources of inspiration and modes of expression are interconnected, create internal dialogue, and sculpt or refine one another. The resulting insight is a concatenation of all these forms, which is then distilled into a poem.
I may be working on a piece of fiction and realize that its narrative drive will aid me in solving a problem I’m encountering in a choral composition. Lately my nonrepresentational painting has led me to experiment in creating postmodern poetry. My painting pieces work because they don't break all the rules at once. Also, while they may not represent things or people, they are not meaningless blather either. They are an attempt to communicate through a new language, one with logic, rules, purpose but unfamiliar and still ripe with exotic possibilities.
They are paintings that speak of things that overused concepts or simple relationships obfuscate and therefore require new forms. Beauty still shows up. The ecology of the work provides structure, and meaning paradoxically is still conveyed. In investigating nonrepresentational poetry I found I still wanted to retain elements of beauty, emphasize sounds, structure the relationship of words to one another while confusing a bit the concept of phrases, and give an overall impression of meaning that would be complex enough to experience but not summarize. In this way one form of artistic expressions helps me push boundaries in another.
JAMIE: Your poems are quite structured and complex? It's clear you give a lot of thought to what you write. Who are your favorite poets and when did you start writing poetry?
ANNA: My favorite poets at the moment are Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Mary Oliver, Eavan Boland, Jorie Graham, Sylvia Plath, John Ashbery, Pablo Neruda, Alicia Ostriker, Mark Strand, Yves Bonnefoy, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Wright, Agha Shahid Ali, Natasha Tretheway, Robert Haas, and Sappho. I’m young in my poetic education so there’s still so much to learn and new sources of inspiration to uncover. Each poet brings me a broader understanding of the scope and efficacy of poetry but more importantly opens another passageway into life. Ultimately, if I want to improve my poetry, I must become more fully alive.
I started writing poetry as a child for the same reasons many people write. My experience of life was intense I wanted to understand the interconnections and undergirding philosophies of life. The relationship between the micro and macrocosm, the connection between the past, present, and future, and to garner or create meaning from encounters. I wanted to understand the words of Meister Eckhart "When the soul wishes to experience something, she throws an image of the experience out before her and enters into her own image." To me art making has always been about this projecting, imagining and entering.
JAMIE: What motivated the start of a blog? What do you get out of blogging?
ANNA: The motivation to start a blog was fueled by a desire for feedback and interaction with readers. Living in an isolated rural area in the mountains makes it very difficult to connect with other writers and readers. The international community accessible online appeared as a desirable alternative to isolation. It has been wonderful to connect to people all over the world in only three weeks. No other medium could do that. Blogging is the future of publication. I'm excited to be getting acquainted with the blogosphere. I have gotten so much in these few weeks. In the past I might get one or two opinions on my work and certainly be fortunate if more than two or three people even read it. On the blog hundreds of people have visited. I've received some sixty to seventy comments from other writers. The interaction is heartening, fascinating, and immeasurably helpful. I'm besotted and will continue to blog!
JAMIE: When did you start linking with our Jingle Poetry community and what are you getting out of the connection?
ANNA: I started linking about three weeks ago. It's marvelous that you reach out to new poets. After years as a nonprofit arts-organization executive director pounding the pavement trying to build community Jingle Poetry brings me into the fold of a vibrant community within a few days. I was awestruck! There are no words for the gratitude I feel. Reading and commenting on the other fine poets is so rewarding. What a blessing to have an active and wonderful community of poets.
JAMIE: Tell us a bit about your blogging/writing goals for the next year.
ANNA: I am working on a book length epic poem called Mere Beasts, which I want to finish and edit. Also, I look forward to writing lots of poetry inspired by all the blogging poets I've met in the past few weeks. As a small independent publisher my company, Chromatopia, LLC, will publish a book of poetry in response to the call for submissions you'll find here: http://chromatopias.com/publishing/.
JAMIE: I enjoyed the portion of Mere Beasts, which I read earlier this week. Tell us more about it.
ANNA: I started writing this piece ten years ago. It is almost finished. The excerpts posted were in response to a poetry prompt on mythology. The two main characters in the epic are Ophelia and Lavinia, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Titus Andronicus. (There’s still debate around whether or not Shakespeare wrote the latter play.) In my poem Ophelia and Lavinia are sisters: they are functioning in the piece as archetypes, fictional characters, spiritual beings, and psychologically ‘real’ people. The initial incarnation of the piece was a screenplay, but I was really limited by dialogue and the language. I wanted to use poetic language, to speak to the conscious and unconscious simultaneously, and realized that the best form was through myth and the epic.
The sisters, through tragedy, are on a journey to connect with their higher selves, with one another, and find a home in the world. The world they inhabit in the beginning is restrictive and small. It is a world of sexism, racism, fear, destruction, and psychological oppression. Ophelia’s struggles revolve around the death of her husband, her desire for another man, her work trying to determine mathematical solutions to global problems, and the resulting madness creeping into her consciousness. Lavinia, while on a humanitarian trip to Africa looses her hand, the most important part of her ability to express herself as a painter. Her rape by a guide in the desert adds an additional loss of self as she fights not to become isolated and dead to the world. Throughout she is struggling to redefine her work and what role she can play in alleviating the suffering of others.
While the sisters are on a heroic quest their path takes them less toward a final battle and more towards a transformation of the self and the world through their enlightenment. Other mythic characters include Hagia or Saint Sophia (heavenly wisdom) and her daughters Elpida (hope), Pisti (faith), and Agape (love). I use these characters to guide the sisters through their journey and to function as a chorus, mirroring some of the questions we all have around faith, suffering, and God.
The poem is not a feminist manifesto or an argument for the sacred feminine. It operates as a metaphor, one accessible to the characters I’ve created and the reader can substitute their experience of the divine in place of any of my specific language. Ultimately the goal is healing. I think there’s a lot of room for healing in stories that explore and celebrate the female psyche. These women are not victims, as they are portrayed in the plays, but rewritten as survivors. I think we all, male or female, seek this empowerment in life.
Thanks, Anna. Much appreciate. Good luck with all your endeavors …
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ALEZA AND HOWARD FREEMAN (Big Doodle Head) announce the publication of their first children’s book, The Candy Story at the Edge of the Galaxy. “It's hard to believe that what started as a bunch of doodles and scribbles on random scraps of paper is now the first book from Big Doodle Head. As our way of thanking our fellow kids at heart, please enjoy a copy of Candy Store at the Edge of the Galaxy at 20% off. We hope our book sparks the imagination of all who read it or, at the very least, sparks a smile.”
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LEO HOSTS HAIKU HEIGHTS AND SAYS “The meme Haiku Heights, which happens weekly starting Saturday night 10:10pm (GMT + 5h:30m), turns one-year-old on July 23. To celebrate its first birthday, the prompt for the week running up to July 30 will be a free prompt. Poets sharing a haiku that week may choose a theme of their own. All haiku poets are welcome to share and read.
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CHILDREN’S WRITER POETRY CONTEST: The contest is for a single poem, collection of poems, or verse story for children of any age, to 300 words. Entries may be serious or humorous, and take any poetic form. Winners will be selected based on quality of verse—including rhythm, meter, word choice, wordplay, imagery, and the use of other poetic devices (rhyme, alliteration, assonance, or others). Above all, the winning entries will have appeal for young readers.
DEADLINE: Entries must be received by October 31, 2011.
Current subscribers to Children’s Writer enter free. All others pay an entry fee of $15, which includes an 8-month subscription.
Winners will be announced in the March 2012 issue. Prizes: $500 for first place plus publication inChildren’s Writer, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places.
Now warm up your computer and write a $500-winning poem or verse story!
The contest rules are important. Please read them carefully.
Thanks to Victoria Ceretto-Slotto for this one.
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JINGLE POETRY, POETRY POTLUCK
STARTS TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. CENTRAL
EVERYONE IS INVITED…
INLINKZ WILL STAY OPEN FOR 72 HOURS.
This week is my last week for developing and writing Sunday Rally Dispatch.
Thank you! :-)