by Joanna Lee
I pass my days floating
low in the clear waters of
late summer’s heedless oblivion,
skin warmed by a sun whose
heartbeat is never quite strong
enough to burn the winter
out of my soul. Caged by salt-
streaked bones lies a conscience
both weak and heavy, waiting
while my eyes scan ever
the horizon, searching
for a truth they won’t recognize:
I was not meant
I published my first book through a local (no longer existent) publisher in 2009 (the somersaults I did as I fell, iColor, Richmond, http://itwasneveraboutbalance.com --sorry for the blatant plug, but a girl's gotta eat...), and I'm currently finishing up a second that I'm very excited about. It's a chapbook of around 40 pages, and it has a lot of local flavor and history. "Local" meaning here in Richmond, Virginia, specifically downtown, near the (James) River. I love living here. I have a first floor loft that used to be an old store, and the plate glass windows front the whole of the apartment, so I sit at my desk and watch the city passing by. I don't think poets do too well without windows.
I'm also big on getting poetry out into the community here. I organize and promote a couple of different reading events a month, bringing poets together to share and showcase their stuff, and I recently started a small critique group that meets every other week. It can feel like networking/promoting is my entire life at times, and I'm an introvert at heart, so I'm not quite sure how I came to be here. I do think it's important, though. I want to make it cool again, to bring the sexiness back into poetry. I imagine a world where readings are date-night destinations and poets stand on equal footing with rockstars.
Tell me about your blog, about the name and what it means to you? When did you start blogging?
by Joanna Lee
what color is your soul
when shadow ceases to exist?
who are you
locked in at night
behind the darkness
of your eyes?
are you even human?
every dignity gone,
all your dreams naked,
scratching at a bolted window.
the last question
they will ask you is
“If we have to use restraints,
should we call your family?”
last primeval answering cry from
deep in the forge-fires of
your heart, knowing:
there’s no one
you would want to tell.
What draws you to express yourself through poetry?
When did you first write a poem? Do you remember it?
Is there a style of writing you prefer? Do you write only poetry?
Favorite poem you've written?
eyed moon hangs
low like overripe fruit,
menacing the hot
horizon with her glowy
beads on the skin
of rooftops, perspiring
night-dreams of a dirt-nailed
city bent on creating
itself. The river drowses uneasily.
like jungle, and sex.
There is good mud here, and this
is no time for sleeping indoors.
etch their names into wet
downtown cement, pile
old bricks into hillforts
from which they fling love
songs at one another
and think slyly of revolution.
shake the moondust
out of wind-blown hair
and run to catch
kiss the river
Favorite books? Authors?
Do you think that an interactions with strangers/ people you meet in the blogging world/ is a meaningful part of your creative vision?
For example, I'm currently part of an editorial work-in-progress project for a publisher/editor I met following a link on a fellow blog author's sidebar (http://booksblog.unboundcontent.com/).
I periodically do collaborations with a randomly paired visual artist, writing a response piece inspired by his or her artwork (http://www.getsparked.org/).
I've had people from the community riff off of my own stuff, and from time to time I find myself so moved by an image or line while I'm reading that I do likewise (dream squirrel/cosmic hamster, anyone? http://the-tenth-muse.com/2010/09/16/mornings-after/ --click on the image to see the link to the original inspiration). It's all about building a web of creativity, forging new connections.
If you could live in a book, which one would that be?
I think it'd have been pretty neat to go to school at Hogwarts. :)
by Joanna Lee
i slept last night in our bed alone
cramped tight against sweat-
smothered pillows and wrapped up
in winding-cloth sheets
wilted like the flowers you left
on the kitchen table a lifetime ago,
lily petals sagging and baby’s
breath crumbling to ruin
amidst a jumble of empty glasses and
yesterday’s neglected news;
this morning even the coffee smells
* * * * *
What benefits do you think there are from participating in a communities like Jingle poetry and Thursday Rally?
Any advice for people involved with poetry even not professionally, what do you think is important for them to appreciate and follow?
* * * * *
Thank you Joanna for your time and wise words and experience you shared with us!