Nous aimons Reb Livingston. Far across the Atlantic, surrounded by chocolate croissants and high art, and yet she still found time to send us her monthly Crucial Rooster poetry column. We applaud her work ethic and her elan. That Reb, not only an amazing editor and poet, she's also a class act all the way. Merci, Reb.
Crucial Rooster: Poetry Column by Reb Livingston
Being in high demand, this poetry columnist thought it was time she approached the Happy Booker with a show-me-the-money speech. With so many readers clamoring for poetry and so few poets, it seemed the logical next step. If you want rare and sought after talent, its going to cost. Unfortunately, Ms. Booker is tougher than a Ponderosa steak served at closing time and scoffed at all of my reasonable requests. After weeks of intense negotiation and a few late night phone calls, we finally came to an agreement that was mutually acceptable. I could go to Paris and meet with the editor of The Page on my own dime and she'd print the column if it didnt have too many typos.
As I write this, I am indeed in a Paris cafe polishing off my tenth chocolate croissant (btw, what does oink d'oink, petit porc mean anyway?). A few days earlier I had dinner with Andrew Johnston, New Zealand poet, author of Birds of Europe and editor of The Page. He feels its important that the focus remain off of him, so I wont go into detail of him being a dreamboat.
The Page is a clearing house for all things poetry. Johnston pays attention to everything out there so you dont have to. Every day this site offers new links to articles on poetry, poems published online and some of the best poetry blogs and publications. The focus stays on the actual poems, not the backbiting politics that comes with the turf. Maybe you didnt realize there was politics and turf in poetry? Stick with The Page and you wont be bothered with such nonsense.
The Page is an invaluable resource for those looking to discover new poets especially non-American poets writing in English. One day a poem from the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore is featured, the next day one from Australian magazine Cordite and the day after a poem from Canadian general interest magazine The Walrus. Its always a pleasant surprise to find what shows up there and a great way to sample work from unknown (to you) authors. I check it daily.
If you like meeting new poets as much as I do, you also want to make sure you check out the latest issue of MiPoesias, The Strange Call guest edited by Gabriel Gudding (author of A Defense of Poetry) if you like poems about asses, this is a must read. This issue has some of the most riveting poems by 68 poets, interviews, translations, essays, you name it. A quick sampling of the contributors includes Ron Silliman, Karl Parker, Allyson Salazar, Heidi Lynn Staples, Christian Bök, Amy Gerstler, Josh Corey, Justin Lacour, Amy King, Kent Johnson, Jasper Bernes and so many more I could spend all day naming them. This is the part where I should also mention I have poem in and was interviewed for this issue.
Its a lot of reading, but I promise theres not a cruddy a poem in the bunch. If the poems strike you as a little odd, well, it is The Strange Call. Theres the poem Stupid Pink Wad by Lara Glenum that ends:
He was riding along / in that snake-/carriage / In his silk hat & / latex opera gloves / He was boring // deep into the darkest furs / He was dangling / six-hundred/hungers / He was creaming & creaming/ gentle revolver in / hand / That spasming angel! / That cocking fountain/ of light!
I mean, what could that possibly be about?
And what does mipoesias mean? When I asked founding editor, Didi Menendez, she responded MiPoesias is a typo. Once you press the "buy this domain name" it is your baby so I have lived for five years trying to explain my error as "poetic license" which technically when you think about it, has become just that.
The many benefits of being a poet.
MiPoesias will be celebrating its five year anniversary at a reading in Miami at Books and Books in November. Readers will include David Trinidad, Nick Carbo, Jenni Russell, Bruce Covey, Rita Maria Martinez and many others (and yes, that includes me too).
Didi was recently described as an industry by effing press editor Scott Pierce (if youve been reading these columns, you know who Im talking about see, youre in the know). Probably one of the most accurate descriptions if you consider that in addition to the online magazine, she runs miPOradio (a poetry podcast) with the help of Birdie Jaworski and is organizing Poetry~At~Sea. Thats right, its the Love Boat of poetry workshops, you, the salty mist blowing through your hair, David Lehman whispering sweet inspiration, Denise Duhamel getting funky. Sounds a lot more enticing than one of those lame singles cruises. Too bad I get sea sick and am nine chocolate croissants too fat for my swimsuit.
Here every poet interviewed is asked the same ten questions, such as What is the first poem you ever loved? Why? and Do you believe in a Role for the Poet? If so, how does it differ from the Role of the Citizen? and How would you explain what a poem is to my seven year old?
Why those 10 questions? Lance said because they're ones I think of while reading someone's work, plus, I think, they leave room for individual perspectives while maintaining a context for comparison. Which is true, few answers have overlapped and most have ranged from thought provoking to bizarre. Sometimes a poet cops to not reading much contemporary poetry and I freak and start yelling at my laptop. A new interview is posted twice a week. Some of my favorite interviews in the past have been Anthony Robinson, Aaron Belz, Geoffrey Gatza and Mark Yakich and there are a number of interviews with interesting poets coming down the pike, yep, including one with me.
See, I am a hot commodity and the Happy Booker should start sharing the wealth with the talent. How many Jimmy Choo shoes does one woman need? Dear reader, please write and urge Ms. Booker to allow me use of the Booker corporate jet or at the very least, give me a pass to the executive cafeteria. Now that Ive tasted Paris cuisine, I wont be able to go back to the swill they sling to the general employees.
Until next month!