I’m thrilled to have a poem of mine, “Amanda Bubble Recalls a Beautiful River Flowing Through Her Past (after William Stafford),” published this week at Heron Tree, an online journal collected in annual print volumes. My thanks to editors Chris Campolo, Sandy Longhorn, and Rebecca Resinski for choosing my poem, and for their work curating Heron Tree, which I’ve been enjoying as a subscriber for over a year now. Please have a look around the archives here, here, and here!
Please join us for…
POETRY in EDMONDS
David D. Horowitz
Thurs., Apr. 16th, 6:30 p.m.
111 Fifth Ave. S., Edmonds, Washington
E-mail: David, email@example.com
Jennifer Bullis: Impossible Lessons (MoonPath, 2013)
Dennis Caswell: Phlogiston (Floating Bridge, 2012)
David D. Horowitz: Cathedral and Highrise (Rose Alley, 2015)
Erika Michael: art historian, poet, taught at OSU and UPS
Bethany Reid: Sparrow (Big Pencil, 2012)
This reading is free and open to the public.
Hello! I get to join two amazing lineups of poets for April readings in the Seattle area. I plan to read some bird and horse poems, some Amanda Bubble poems, some mythological persona poems, and possibly a new prose poem about a goat named Derrick. Please come if you can!
April 6, I’ll be part of a Floating Bridge Press reading at the Fremont Library featuring Dennis Caswell and Michael Schmeltzer. Their manuscripts were among the finalists for last year’s Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, and somehow my manuscript, Amanda Bubble Is Nearly on Fire, was also one of them. Dennis Caswell’s 2012 collection Phlogiston was published by Floating Bridge, and Michael Schmeltzer’s poetry manuscripts have had near brushes with winning a number of highly competitive awards. I’ve had the pleasure of reading with Michael twice this past year, and this month, I’ll get to read twice with Dennis!
…because on April 16, when I read at Edmonds Book Shop, the lineup again includes Dennis, along with Bethany Reid (one of my other favorite poets to read with and author of Sparrow, one of my favorite poetry books of 2012), Erika Michael, and David Horowitz, editor at Rose Alley Press and author of the brand-new collection Cathedral and Highrise. So much poetry to enjoy!
Here are the relevant particulars:
Monday, April 6: Floating Bridge Press reading at the Fremont Library, 731 N. 35th St., Seattle, 6:30 p.m. (here are directions and map)
Thursday, April 16: Poetry in Edmonds at Edmonds Book Shop, 111 5th Avenue South, Edmonds, WA, 6:30 p.m. (here are directions and map link)
Please help me to spread the word, and I hope to see you around during Poetry Month!
Reading Bellingham poet Susan Erickson’s poem titled “Confession of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, also known as Private Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, Union Army” in the current issue of The Museum of Americana: A Literary Review, I was curious to ask Susan about the whole series of persona poems she’s been working on. I’ve greatly enjoy her poems, several of which have been published in the last couple of years, written in the voices of Frida Kahlo, Emily Dickinson, and Georgia O’Keeffe. As someone also obsessed with persona poems, I asked Susan to describe her project and elaborate on her process. She generously allowed me to share her responses.
Susan, why do you write persona poems–what initially drew you to them?
Maybe for the same reason we like to dress up for Halloween to try on being someone else for a while. Or, perhaps because I am a bit of a snoop and am curious about the how and why of another person’s choices. I noticed I was writing poems about women and after taking a workshop on the persona poem I decided to adopt the form for writing about women.
Sarah Rosetta Wakeman sounds truly fascinating. (Read Susan’s poem about her here.) How did you first encounter her, and what drew you to write your “Confession…” poem in her voice?
The Sarah poem was written in response to a call for poems on the role of women in wars. I discovered that women were in the heat of battle long before they were allowed to join the armed forces. Sarah impersonated a man so she could become a Civil War soldier and wrote letters to her family about the experience. Because I would have lasted two days tops in such a role, I wanted to imagine how Sarah pulled it off for two long years.
How would you describe your book manuscript of persona poems in women’s voices?
There is an Emily Dickinson poem that reads, “If your Nerve, deny you–Go above your Nerve–” I think of this manuscript as telling the story of women who went above their nerve. I wanted to understand their contributions, pay homage to them and maybe dramatize how each of us can go “Above Nerve” (the working title of the manuscript).
How did you select the women to write about?
Some of them by happenstance. For example, I visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s home Taliesin in Wisconsin and learned about the murder of his mistress Mamah Borthwick Cheney in a fire at the home. So I wrote a pair of poems in the voices of Mamah and Kitty Wright, Frank’s wife, about their reactions when Frank and Mrs. Cheney abandoned their families and sailed to Europe. In another example, because we watch birds I was reading a biography of John James Audubon and became interested in how Lucy Audubon, John’s wife, held the family together while John pursued his ornithological obsessions.
At what point did you realize you had enough persona material for a sustained series, and even a whole book manuscript, in the voices of these women?
I more or less got hooked on writing these poems. In fact, I’m finding it hard to turn off the persona switch. Before long I had a body of work. The challenge is really to decide which poems are strongest and how to put together the women’s voices in a conversation that works for a collection.
In terms of technique, how did you go about creating each woman persona’s voice? Did you do this by borrowing language from texts they wrote, or did your immersion in the imagery of their writings suggest the “sounds” of their voices to you, perhaps? I’m interested in how you zeroed in on the features that make each speaker unique.
I sometimes get overwhelmed with the audacity of thinking I can act as a mouthpiece for another woman. Usually I research a woman’s life (sometimes reading multiple biographies) and work to get a feel for how each woman might react or respond. Most of the poems are based at least partly on actual events in their life–for example, I write about George O’Keeffe making pea soup, a dish she made from produce from her own garden. And, I have Marilyn Monroe imagining her life as menu items at Schrafft’s where she often ate in New York City. In reality, I’m certain Marilyn never made such a comparison. I do use quotes from the woman when they are especially provocative or surprising.
What other links can readers follow to find more of your persona poems online?
“Casa Azul” and “Frida Kahlo Prepares an Altar for Día de los Inocentes “ at 2River View
“Frida and Frankenstein” at Literal Latté
“Mamah Borthwick Cheney Goes Abroad” in Marathon Literary Review
“Before Her Round-the-World Flight Amelia Visits with a Psychic” at The Hamilton Stone Review
“Lucy Audubon Wearies of Coping with Poverty and Her Husband’s Rambling Ways, 1821″ and “In New Orleans, The Audubons Sit for Silhouette Cuttings, 1825″ at The Museum of Americana
Thank you, Susan, for these illuminating comments about your persona poems. I sincerely hope “Above Nerve” finds a publisher soon so that we can read the entire collection!
Historical novelist Stephanie Renee Dos Santos, who now lives most the year in Brazil, will be teaching the yoga segment of a workshop with bestselling novelist Barbara King this June in Fairhaven. Yoga and writing–what an excellent combo! Says Stephanie:
Magic and Verve in Your Writing & Yoga Workshop is a 3-day intensive in Fairhaven, WA, USA, co-led by bestselling author Barbara Kyle, and myself, Stephanie Renée dos Santos in historic downtown Fairhaven, along the Salish Sea of Bellingham Bay.
For three days of writing and yoga, June 20-22, 2015, a workshop for all levels of writers and all levels of yoga, from the new to the experienced. Come immerse yourself in your project — and in yoga — while in the support of a group of other passionate writers.
– 3 full days of workshopping your writing, writing instruction, exercises, group exchange, lectures, and take-home handouts.
-3 days of morning yoga, along with afternoon sessions. All materials for practice provided.
Please go to Stephanie’s site for more details and to register. An early bird discount is in effect through March!
Hi, everyone, and Happy New Year to you!
Two very lovely poetry things happened to me this week. First, my poem “She Replies to the Alumni Coordinator of the Conservative Christian College Where She Took a Summer Art Class in 1997″ was published in Tahoma Literary Review. Magic! I’m grateful to have had my poem selected by Poetry Editor Kelly Davio, and presented alongside some of my favorite Washington-State poets, including Martha Silano, Nance Van Winckel, Jeannine Hall Gailey, and Michael Schmeltzer. A vibrant painting by Seattle artist Camille Patha graces the cover. Click here to read the issue online or order a print version.
Also, my poem “Amanda Bubble Worries About the Food Chain” was published in the new literary journal Wherewithal. Issue 1 debuted in November, and my poem is featured in this week’s Poet Spotlight. My thanks to Wherewithal editors Denise Weuve, Daniel Romo, Danielle Mitchell, and Melissa Prunty Kemp!
I get to be in a reading with Bethany Reid, Rick Clark, J. Glenn Evans, Douglas Schuder,
and David Horowitz. Please come! Here are the details:
Telephone: David D. Horowitz, 206-633-2725
E-mail: David, firstname.lastname@example.org