THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
POEMELEON: A Journal of Poetry
(suck it up and dance, oil on canvas by walter lab )
POEMELEON: A Journal of Poetry emanates from California not North Carolina, but its current Humor issue has a healthy dose of NC poets: Roy Jacobstein, Tim Earley, Malaika King Albrecht, and Alex Grant, for example This is one of the finest looking e-zines I've found, and I would encourage my readers to submit work before the upcoming deadline.
Today I'm featuring two of those NC poets, though I hope you will go read all of the poets, North Carolinian and otherwise, at the Poemeleon site. Enjoy! Submit some work! Help bring NC closer to CA! Or vice versa!
MALAIKA KING ALBRECHT
There is a bias toward serious poetry and against humorous poetry. However, there is a long tradition of humor in poetry. One need only read Chaucer or Shakespeare to remember that long history. Humor in poetry is more than simple amusement though that has its place, as well. I don’t view serious and humorous as mutually exclusive either.
For me, humor is a way of seeing and perceiving the world. The creative process involves all of me, and it is inevitable that there would be humor in many of my poems. In my family, humor’s little sister sarcasm was a family sport best practiced at the dinner table. And Denise Duhamel would’ve been invited back again for saying, “The more sacred the slain cow, the tastier the feast.”
My Bid is a Contract
The air tastes of burning plastic. I don’t understand why the devil may care or why god doesn’t. Maybe our prayers are pennies in god’s mouth.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” god’s mom said, so now he’s silent, but you can buy his family and friends on eBay along with haunted photos and the stars’ chewed bubble gum.
I don’t want the Pope tart or the Mother Theresa nun bun. I’m ready to pay to win. What’s worth more: the Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich or the Jesus potato chip?
________________________________________________________________________________________________ Malaika King Albrecht’s poems have been or are forthcoming in many literary magazines and anthologies, such as Kakalak: an Anthology of Carolina Poets, Pebble Lake Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Shampoo, New Orleans Review, and The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor. She has taught creative writing to sexual abuse/assault survivors and to addicts and alcoholics in therapy groups and also is a volunteer poet in local schools. She has also been featured on our ncarts.org site (go to the archive) and is co-editor of Red-Headed Stepchild.
Humor in poetry…
Is often a contentious subject – I’ve even heard it referred to as “yukking it up”. Adherents of that particular school of thought contend that humor has no place in poetry and serves only to dumb it down or devalue poetry’s intrinsic merit. I personally feel that humor most definitely has a place and value in poetry – but it can be bit of a balancing act to effectively pull off, and definitely shouldn’t be overdone. I’d say that maybe only 1 in 6 of my poems contains some element of humor – though that probably puts me squarely toward the “funny” end of the spectrum.
My feeling is that humor can allow things to be said that might sound trite or downright po-faced if said completely seriously(two adjectives that, for me, spell death to the average poem or reader.) Three of the better poets writing today(Tony Hoagland, Billy Collins and Dean Young) emply humor very effectively, and I think that contemporary poetry is the better for it.
Poetry is, in the end, a serious business – but sometimes we run the risk of taking ourselves a little bit too seriously. God forbid that the serious and the funny should ever be mutually exclusive.
Beginning Poet Critique
Dear poet – a few notes on your poem “Tammy of Troy.” The sky can be bruised, heedless, leaden, etc. – but I’m having trouble with “pump-action.” A word on poignancy – rusting swing-sets, faded photographs and the like are pretty failsafe – I’m not convinced your expired restraining order plays quite so well. The nipple reference is usually a can’t-miss, but might work harder here without actually mentioning the grease-gun. Sapphic nods are generally fine, though “hot lesbo action” may be a wee bit explicit for our readership – just a thought. Classical references can be effective(Greek is best,) though I don’t recall Menelaus ever holding up a liquor-store, and I believe Archimedes invented the planetarium, but I don’t think the Veg-o-matic was one of his. While it’s commonly accepted that hemorrhoids were indeed a problem at that time, I felt that dedicating three stanzas to the topic was perhaps overkill. On your shift from classical to modern – deftly handled, though I felt you could lose the time-machine and still pull it off. Good luck placing this elsewhere.
(Finalist, 2005 James Hearst Poetry Prize – first published in North American Review and in The White Book (http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/chapbooks.php))
Describe the smell when rain hits the pavement after a long dry spell. Discuss the importance of the following factors: the rain, the nose, the builder of the road, propensity for language.
Imagine that the universe is small enough to fit between the covers of a book. Invent a character who convinces everyone of the boundless nature of the cosmos. You may not use the omniscient form.
Explain the color blue (all shades). In less than three hundred words, propose a new way of looking at a raindrop. Cite a minimum of three practical applications.
Establish a credible connection between the following: the curve of a woman’s breast, a 1957 Cadillac Imperial, monotheism. Result must be enjoyable to the average reader, and be small enough to hold in one hand.
True or False? You must change your life.
First published in Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets and in The White Book (http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/chapbooks.php)
Describe the sound when a penny drops into a wishing-well. Consider the relevance of the following factors: acoustics, knowledge of wells, odds of fulfillment, presence of stars. To be written from the coin’s point of view.
Imagine gravity traded as a commodity. From a bird’s perspective, make a case for public ownership, apportioned by weight. Set on an uninhabited island.
Explain the attraction of the moon. In no more than thirty-two lines, suggest a new name for the number zero. Combine the responses in a 12-line pantoum.
Establish a seamless association between the following: an executioner’s birthday party, fractal geometry, attention deficit disorder. Result must be tacitly non-judgmental, and be suitable for a sixth-grade audience.
Bonus question – substantiate your findings.
First published in Phi Kappa Phi Forum and in Chains & Mirrors (http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/OtherPubs.php)
Alex Grant’s book Chains & Mirrors(NCWN/Harperprints) won the 2006 Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize and the 2007 Oscar Arnold Young Award (Best North Carolina poetry collection; click here to view a video of the awards ceremony reading.) His new collection, The White Book, has just been released by Main St. Rag Publishing. He received Kakalak’s 2006 Poetry Prize and WMSU’s 2004 Pavel Srut Poetry Fellowship, and has been a recent runner-up or finalist for Discovery/The Nation, The Pablo Neruda Prize, the Arts & Letters Poetry Prize, and The Dorset, Brittingham, Felix Pollak, Tupelo Open and Lena-Miles Wever Todd book Prizes, among others. His poems have appeared or are upcoming in numerous national journals and anthologies, including Meridian's Best New Poets 2007, the Missouri Review and Smartish Pace. Alex Grant was also recently interviewed by Frank Stasio for the program "The State of Things". (To listen to the podcast click here.) A native Scot, he lives in Chapel Hill, NC, with his wife Tristi, his dangling participles and his Celtic fondness for excess.Visit him on the web at http://www.redroom.com/author/alex-grant.
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.