Trevor Noah, on The Daily Show, closed out National Poetry Month with an interview with Kevin Young. Young described the inspirations for his new book Brown.
From James Brown to John Brown to Linda Brown (and Brown v. Board of Education), Young explains how this collection draws on history and current events.
I can’t help but think of Michael Brown and all of the brutality that has historically accompanied the color brown. It also makes me think of the brutality of pink.
My friend has breast cancer and hates pink: the twisted satin tint, the toothache-sweet shade, even the rosé ribbons furling each sunrise. She loathes peonies, camellias, the blushing magnolia in her neighbor’s pristine yard.
My friend insists the cruel incongruity of cotton candy color saturation is mockery.
- Don’t just describe the pink morning sunrise; show us the precise shade. Then, tell us about the charcoal chrome shadows of the trees and the lavish lavender clouds punctuating the sky.
My Poetry students have Instagram. CRCPoets
image from: bradslepicka.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/do-cows-really-jump-over-the-moon/
I am over the moon that Munyori Literary Journal has featured several of my pieces.
From their website: Munyori Literary Journal is a Zimbabwean-American literary platform that features works from global writers and artists. The word ‘munyori’ is Shona for “writer” or “author.” Here we extend its meaning to represent all artists. We are ambitious; we dream to make a significant contribution to literature and the arts. We are writers too, and proudly call ourselves Vanyori, the plural form of the word, but the emphasis is on what each writer contributes, in that moment when the creation of art is a solitary process. It is at that moment when what you are–munyori–is highlighted.
- Submit. According to poets.org: Research is key to learning where to submit poems. Poets.org suggests spending some time finding literary journals and magazines that publish enjoyable work similar to the contributor’s craft. Publications seeking work are listed at: Poets & Writers or New Pages, or check out a copy of the annual Poet’s Market (Writer’s Digest Books).
because they don’t know the words.
- Turn today’s writing over to the universe. Visit: http://random-ize.com/ This site offers:
- a list randomizer (which might be good for making a poem)
- a list picker (in case you can’t name your baby or pick a number)
- random English words (such as finespun, sveltest, sternly and untanned)
- and as many random jokes as you can stand
Girls in Swimming Costume, by Sonia Delaunay – Orphic Cubism – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/21040323235207482/ (More on Orphism at: http://www.theartstory.org/movement-orphism.htm)
no one will complain about your massive ass, your wilting tits, the rolls of skin bulging under the pressure of your elastic costume.
Forget your meaty elbows.
Focus on the interaction of color and crowd. You’ll soon understand that geometric designs, even contrasting ones, can be as moving as sunlight in mid-winter. Like a tropical Lycra swimsuit, your shape is stunningly loud, gorgeously enormous.
Girl, who told you you ought to feel naked and awkward and ashamed for your display on the pool’s deck? And how dare they?
Inhale the perfume of heavy afternoon, the scents of chlorine and jasmine and cut grass promising a lazy summer.
Girl, you’re all that.
Strut the pool deck’s catwalk.
- Write an ekphrastic prose piece to start a story. According to the PoetryFoundation (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/ekphrasis): An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning. A notable example is “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” in which the poet John Keats speculates on the identity of the lovers who appear to dance and play music, simultaneously frozen in time and in perpetual motion:
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new. . . .
The question and answer session was conducted in Polish by an impossibly young priest.
The quiz was not for us; we were only tourists watching the show (and surreptitiously taking photos of the exchange). But we were still nervous.
- The last time you attended church was?
- The reason you are giving your donation to the church is?
- The eldest child is not present this evening; is she part of a parish in her college’s town?
We nearly cheered when we realized we had the answers.
Even we understood the contribution will support improvements to the windows in the church, even we could describe how cold the sanctuary is, how the inside, in winter, is nearly as cold as the outside, how, despite all of the kneeling and rising, parishioners need parkas and gloves.
Even we had noticed, from the jam-packed back of the holiday crowd the Sunday before, the skinny altar boys wore puffy jackets beneath their ample robes.
The family presented the clergy “man” with cash, cake, and delight for his visit.
In turn, he offered us a blessing in the form of something that reminded us of a Topps trading card for Jesus.
This week in Creative Writing, the students are developing a dossier for a character.
Like a rookie card, the dossier showcases the protagonist’s strengths, statistics, and trivia.
I was about to draft a list titled what I like best about Oaxaca, but, before I could start, a man hit my arm with his plastic patio chair and ran to fetch an expensive pair of sunglasses he’d left in the restroom.
See that would be a good title to accompany one of the German artist’s pieces.
How do I know this? When he returned, he leaned into my face to tell me the glasses were expensive and that he had paid more than four thousand pesos for them. I wanted to slap his stupid sunglasses out of his hands.
Instead, I said: ok, packed up my things, and left. I could feel the celebratory inventory of sounds and scents and stories simply vanish with the quick whap of the chair.
- I was thinking about what happened and how:
- 1. the incident was significantly palpable and audible
- 2. the onomatopoeia of the instant marked a change in me.
This made me look for pieces featuring onomatopoeia. Among the pieces, I found: “toon tune,” by Gustave Morin: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/51817/toon-tune
. It is an odd piece as the words are embedded in the collage of cartoons. This piece is a delightful play on words–and with words as well as colors and images. This made me think of Susan Howe and her collage pieces: http://www.raintaxi.com/write-through-this-the-poetry-of-susan-howe/. Make your own collage.
I tell the friendly woman at the laundry that a pair of some other woman’s underwear (or interior clothing) made it into my bag. She says sometimes they are small and hide in the dryer. I agree that they are indeed small.
She laughsand offers the trivia that it is rare for people to return in search of panties, but one sock almost always demands its pair. Neither do people seem to notice the lost washcloth.I
I am grateful for insider information such as this. Of course, I don’t know its immediate application to my life and travels, but I am grateful that I can engage in this sort of small talk with someone who’s smiling and interested in my interest in her domain.
I’m off to the tailor in the market to try out new words.
I can’t help but recall the warning of WS Merwin in his short prose poem “Language,” from: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/language
Certain words now in our knowledge we will not use again, and we will never forget them. We need them. Like the back of the picture. Like our marrow, and the color in our veins. We shine the lantern of our sleep on them, to make sure, and there they are, trembling already for the day of witness. They will be buried with us, and rise with the rest.
- Which words will you be buried with? Why?