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Sunday, January 3, 2010

POET OF THE WEEK: JESSIE CARTY



No one deserves to be the first POET OF THE WEEK on my 2010 blog more than Jessie Carty. Jessie is a young poet determined to follow the call of her passion for poetry. She will unashamedly share that passion with you, including her ambition to reach readers and other poets through as many avenues as possible She reads widely, she works hard to revise her poems, she submits work, and she remains open to as many guides and guidelines around her as possible. She is a faithful blog visitor, leaving supportive and appreciative comments, for which I am grateful. Jessie is the sort of young poet who will continue to grow, whose work will expand as her spirit expands through reading and, I hope, staring out her windows and letting her imagination weave its webs. "You have to be stubborn to make it as a poet" Maxine Kumin told me years ago when I was struggling to find a publisher for my first book. I'm pretty Sure than Jessie is stubborn enough to "make it."
It's a pleasure to introduce her as Poet of the Week.


Jessie's poems and non-fiction have appeared in publications such as The Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Journal andThe Northville Review. Her first chapbook, At the A & P Meridiem, was released by Pudding House Publications in 2009. Her first e-chapbook/2nd print chapbook, The Wait of Atom, was released by Folded Word Press in November 2009. Her first full length collection Paper House will be released by Folded Word Press in March 2010. Jessie works as a freelance editor, writer, and writing coach/teacher. She is also the editor of Shape of a Box, YouTube's first literary magazine. Jessie received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She is a member of AWP, Charlotte Writer’s Club, NCWN, NC Poetry Society and will serve on the new board for the Poetry Council of NC. You can find her around the web but most often at her blog http://jessiecarty.wordpress.com.



From Jessie's first chapbook “At the A & P Meridiem” (Pudding House, 2009)


6pm


Outside the pan, then inside its lip,

the rhythm of the dish rag

invokes a spell of domesticity

as the grease clumps

down the silver walls of the sink

and into the growl of the garbage disposal,

all hungry like a spirit animal.

I set the oven to preheat at 450

while I chop up a fruit salad.

Out the sliding glass door,

I toss rings of oranges

puckered like over tanned skin

into a brown compost pile.

Improvising, I prepare

a pot pie of mixed, frozen

vegetables and sliced chicken.

Here is a dash of salt, a turn

of the pepper mill, a finger

making a furrow across the top.

I taste the raw beginning.

I set a timer for 45 minutes.

As I wipe down the counter

and scrub up the sink, I stop

once in a while to flick

the light inside the stove—

abra-cadab-ra.






From – The Wait of Atom, her 2nd chapbook, Folded Word Press 2009

(first appeared in Wild Goose Poetry Review)


The Wait of Atom


It wasn’t that he wouldn’t wait for her

or not even that he didn’t want

to wait for her, he just couldn’t

stand still. She couldn’t stand it,

the way his eyes became nearly crossed,

how he jangled the change in his pocket.

She’d complained before.


To keep his face from registering

annoyance, he began mentally listing

the noble gases by weight: lowest to highest,

using his hands in his pockets to count each one.

He could do this without moving his lips.

His face relaxed even though she was still

transferring her personal items

from a brown purse to a black one.


She had explained, on more than one occasion,

how her purse had to match her shoes. How

his belt should match his shoes and he’d learned

to keep his eyes focused on a point

just over her shoulder while he let his brain

scan the periodic table of elements.







Her upcoming full length book Paper House will be out March 2010 from Folded Word Press.

Paper House



Fold a sheet of striped

notebook paper in half.

Draw the shape of a house.

Trim the edges to form a roof.

Where you want windows,

cut a flap.

Place pieces of furniture

or people to peer at

when you peep

through the paper windows.

On the first floor, in the kitchen,

Mom raises

her stick arms. She can almost

touch the ceiling.

She’s closest to the door.

Above her is a bedroom


a girl looks out a window.

She’s next to a desk

with her arms out straight

as if she was trying


3rd grade calisthenics. To the girls’

right is another room


with a bed, a lamp. Downstairs,

next to the kitchen,


Dad lies on the couch wearing boxers.

Black and white can’t show


his cigarette dripping red-tipped ash

onto the carpet, forming a hole.



From a project in progress. Ology. First appeared in Blue Fifth Review


Far and Wee

I

Breathing on trees was my hobby. I’d sit on the browned pine needles, leaning my head against the bark and I’d suck in as much air as I could through my nose then I’d let it go with my chin pointed up to the branches. I’d pretend I was blowing up a balloon as I willed my carbon to keep the trees growing up and out.

II

I was never good at making balloons. Impatience perhaps? The first long breathes are almost futile. The balloon just spurts the air back at you, but if you keep pushing past that the plastic will eventually give and expand from the center rounding out.

III

Mom was the best at tying the ends of the balloons but my brother would do in a pinch. Like when we were waiting in the car once and to o entertain us, my brother blew up a balloon for each of us. My sister was in the front seat, bouncing her balloon back and forth against the windshield but I had taken a dare from my brother. I put the balloon under my shirt to pretend I was pregnant. I was rubbing my new rotund belly, saying, “Feel it kick!” When it popped, shrinking against the skin of my stomach it pulled the flesh up and in.





From an untitled project in progress but first appeared in The Dead Mule


Marrow


When the contractor began flattening the fields I had sold,

he turned over a small cache of bones.

From my back porch I saw him remove his hat, pull

his browning hand across his forehead.

He tossed the bones into the woods and leveled the spot,

prepping it for concrete.

In the dark of early evening I scooped up the bones. They were light

like bread and cold from the wet earth.

I warmed them in the oven of my palms, wondering if once

they were worn down by hours leaning into an axe,

or perhaps from grinding against a mortar to resize corn. They

could have been the foundation of skin, hope and tendon;

they could have belonged to the builders of pillars, of stone

circles, of sacrificial mounds, of children.

As I laid them down, I saw a body loose and those bones poking

through the skin like the skin was shale;

as the meat of the body moved down the shaft of the bone

like a candle melting on stone.




12 comments:

Jessie Carty said...

i'm dancing around and blushing at the same time :) Thank you so much Kay! This is truly an honor to be included on your site!!!

Maureen said...

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

- Maureen

Scott Owens said...

Kay, you rock, and Jessie, you do, too. You're both awesome poets and people.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

A great way to begin the new year/decade!

jpenstroke said...

Really enjoy reading your poems - now I can't get the image of the ring toss of those puckered oranges - the light flicking on and off - such great match in the energy of the domesticity in this one.

Jessie Carty said...

thanks jpenstroke! that is very kind of you :) that is from the final poem in my first chapbook and i've always been quite fond of it.

Valerie Nieman said...

So pleased to see Jessie honored - I have been lucky to work with her in an online Queens Poet critiquing group. Also so happy for Pat! Go Queenies!

Jessie Carty said...

Thanks Val! I have loved working with you and Susan this time around :)

The Queenies are doing well. Hurray again for Pat!

DeadMule said...

I just saw this - busy week - and am so glad you featured Jessie Carty. Jessie is a good poet and even better person. Her friendliness, hard work, and positive attitude make her a great advocate for poetry. Helen Losse

Jessie Carty said...

Thanks Helen! That is high praise coming from you :)

Terri Kirby Erickson said...

Great work, Jessie! So glad to see you being featured... Terri

Jessie Carty said...

Thanks Terri! Have fun reading at Poetry Hickory tonight ;)