I think that childhood is one of the relatively few times in our lives when poetry surrounds us, and so it makes sense that that’s when I started writing my own. At that point, I was pretty obsessed with rhyme, and it came much more easily than it does now, probably because so much of what I was reading and singing and memorizing was rhymed. The first poem I remember writing was a very long piece about Christmas, which I then typed up, decorated with holiday-themed clip art and printed out to give as gifts in fourth grade — my very first broadside. I spoke with my fourth grade teacher not so long ago, and she told me she still has it framed in her house. She probably has the only extant copy.

"2. Janet Jackson – Alright

Crank it. Totally appropriate for either barreling along the freeway unimpeded with the windows down or seat-dancing in an effort to forget your troubles while crawling through rush hour apocalypse. Off Rhythm Nation 1814, undoubtedly the most socially conscious new jack swing album ever recorded, a fact that you can use for cover should anyone question you playing this (at least that’s what I always do…)”

Wes Hazard: So You’re Picking Up Tracy K. Smith From the Airport

othernotebooksareavailable
In the end I am uplifted, profoundly so, by the bleakest, despairing work. It’s a great unburdening to read work of this sort. I do not want to be asked to pretend that everything is all right, that people are fundamentally happy, that life is perfectly fine, and that it is remotely ok that we are going to die, and soon, only to disappear into oblivion. I feel a kind of ridiculous joy when writing reveals the world, the way it feels to be in the world. That’s what hope is, a refusal to look away.
Ben Marcus (via mttbll)
"1. Poetics
Have you ever seen those magnetic poetry kits, the kind people have on their refrigerators? Poetics, which is by far the most creativity-oriented app on this list, takes that idea and translates it to the digital world. Like a curator of your very own scrapbook, the app allows you to super-impose little white blocks of text over your saved images. It also allows you to share the images on social media, as well as save them back to your phone, which is nice for poets who want to post their writing online, but prefer that it is subtle, here conflated with their visual art.”

Cary Stough: Our Friends Electric: Poetry of the Digital World

"1. Poetics

Have you ever seen those magnetic poetry kits, the kind people have on their refrigerators? Poetics, which is by far the most creativity-oriented app on this list, takes that idea and translates it to the digital world. Like a curator of your very own scrapbook, the app allows you to super-impose little white blocks of text over your saved images. It also allows you to share the images on social media, as well as save them back to your phone, which is nice for poets who want to post their writing online, but prefer that it is subtle, here conflated with their visual art.”

Cary Stough: Our Friends Electric: Poetry of the Digital World

She speaks a gringa Spanish
like mine but without the trill in the r’s
a bit too much throat around the vowels,
a soft tongue no anchoring against teeth,
her sounds too open, too big
for the sinews of Spanish.
This makes sense
five years younger than me, born in exile
raised on a prairie where snow fell
right on the ground, flat and thick
making that first winter
a world of white.
Surrounded by strange monsters made of steel
dragons hungry for black sludge,
she played in those Oklahoma fields
a skinny fleck of girl, in a second-hand pink parka,
scarlet hat and gloves, a burst of color against the cold.
Lanky, fast, she twirled her body into motion,
a bird of paradise dancing against
the stark flatness of the plains.
Unlike me, she laughed, shouted, lived
in a wilderness of ice,
unaware of other snow in the mountains,
tall peaks, cutting into the sky,
reminders that something is
beautiful in a thin southern country
where the color of blood ruled
the rivers, the streets, the night,
where boots marched in the rhythm
of sadness and steel alongside tanks.
Two thousand miles away she lived
unaware of cement graves in stadiums,
the purple and black of bodies
disappeared after electricity,
the General’s timid smile radiating
death in that other country.
In the Oklahoma panhandle,
she did not remember the sirens, the curfews,
the fear reeking from the corners of buildings
she had no memories burnt into muscles,
no sounds, no echoes or language of sadness
she grew up in a world of frozen water
with the brightness of snow, with nothing to forget
she lost Spanish.

Our poem of the week is M. Soledad Caballero’s “Losing Spanish

penamerican
penamerican:

"I tend to basically exaggerate in life, and in writing, it’s fine to exaggerate. I really enjoy overstating for the purpose of getting a laugh. It’s very flattering, that laugh, and at the same time it gives pleasure to the audience and accomplishes more than writing very serious things. For another thing, writing is easier than digging ditches. Well, actually that’s an exaggeration. It isn’t." 
— Theodor Seuss Geisel (1976) 

penamerican:

"I tend to basically exaggerate in life, and in writing, it’s fine to exaggerate. I really enjoy overstating for the purpose of getting a laugh. It’s very flattering, that laugh, and at the same time it gives pleasure to the audience and accomplishes more than writing very serious things. For another thing, writing is easier than digging ditches. Well, actually that’s an exaggeration. It isn’t."

— Theodor Seuss Geisel (1976)