Good Stock Strange Blood, Dawn Lundy Martin
"What is more frightening than a black face confronting your gaze from the display case ?"
from -The holding place- by Dawn Lundy Martin
What is the opposite of devastation? Fruit?
-Dawn Lundy Martin, from 'The Laceration'
Erasure Poem 2
Hi guys! Another erasure poem here! This one is from Disciplines by Dawn Lundy Martin
If there is prayer, there is a mother kneeling, hands folded to a private sign. We recognize it. If there is a mother kneeling, hands a tent, she is praying or she is crying or crying and praying at the same time. Although it is recognized, the signals of it, it is private and no one knows, perhaps not even…
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Things read in April
Articles and Essays:
The Challenge of Change
The Nuclear Family Was A Mistake
The Songs That Got Us Through the Year
Criminal justice algorithms: Being race-neutral doesn't mean race-blind
The Other's Other: Against Identity Poetry
During Ramadan, Israel Seems to Relish Attacking Palestinians
Amtrack is streaming an empty railroad on Twitch to beef with freight rail companies
The Inspiring Story of the Trans Actress Behind Your Favorite Pokémon's Voice
Japan's police see no evil
Who's There? Every Story is A Ghost Story
Attending to Technology
The magical miniature worlds of terrariums
Socialists Need to Take Back the Term "Emotional Labor"
In "The Green Knight," Chivalry Was Always Dead
I'm Deaf and I Have 'Perfect Speech.' Here's Why it's Actually A Nightmare
Found Images: On the nostalgia for image scarcity
The American Origins of the Not-So-Traditional Celtic Knot Tattoo
How Do You Mourn A 250-Year-Old Giant?
The Library Ends Late Fees, and the Treasures Roll In
Blue corn and melons: meet the seed keepers reviving ancient, resilient crops
Causes of Depression: Beyond Chemical Imbalances and Genetics
How Japan Built Cities Where You Could Send Your Toddler on an Errand
Reactive Abuse: What it is and Why Abusers Rely on it
The Reality of Reactive Abuse
Commonplace Books Are Like Diaries Without the Risk of Annoying Yourself
The Concept Creep of 'Emotional Labor'
The Meaning and Origin of 'April is the Cruellest Month'
Iowa City: Early April by Robert Hass
Elegy for the Four Chambers of my Brother's Heart by Steven Espada Dawson
The Boy Who Sells Sweet Oranges by Alicia Cadilla
When the Guest Speaker Told Us by Jennifer Saunders
April by Alicia Ostriker
April by Jean Valentine
A Little Closer to the Edge by Ocean Vuong
Our Wandering by Dawn Lundy Martin
Stricken by Jan Beatty
When I Think of Tamir Rice While Driving by Reginald Dwayne Betts
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kelon
The Seas by Samantha Hunt
The Snowpiercer by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette
“—I want to change: I want to stop fear’s subtle / guidance of my life—”
— Frank Bidart, from Half-light: Collected Poems; “California Plush”
“But terror is a runaway train. Is deer head left on side of road, those gentle deer eyes staring softly at nothing.”
— from Black stars fill up black sky- by Dawn Lundy Martin
“but just know. and act accordingly. know this and act accordingly: you are not empty this time.”
— from Dub: Finding Ceremony by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
“And talking about dark! You think dark is just one color, but it ain’t. There’re five or six kinds of black. Some silky, some woolly. Some just empty. Some like fingers. And it don’t stay still, it moves and changes from one kind of black to another. Saying something is pitch black is like saying something is green. What kind of green? Green like my bottles? Green like a grasshopper? Green like a cucumber, lettuce, or green like the sky is just before it breaks loose to storm? Well, night black is the same way. May as well be a rainbow.”
— Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
“So come to the pond, or the river of your imagination, or the harbor of your longing, and put your lips to the world. And live your life.”
— Mary Oliver
Check out this virtual launch event for what looks like an amazing book!
Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought
Friday, February 26, at 7:30pm EST
from Charis Books’ website:
“Charis welcomes Briona Simone Jones for a launch of Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought with Spelman College's Holly Smith and Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and contributors Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Bettina Love, and Cheryl Clarke. A groundbreaking collection tracing the history of intellectual thought by Black Lesbian writers, in the tradition of The New Press's perennial seller Words of Fire. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.
African American lesbian writers and theorists have made extraordinary contributions to feminist theory, activism, and writing. Mouths of Rain, the companion anthology to Beverly Guy-Sheftall's classic Words of Fire, traces the long history of intellectual thought produced by Black Lesbian writers, spanning the nineteenth century through the twenty-first century.
Using "Black Lesbian" as a capacious signifier, Mouths of Rain includes writing by Black women who have shared intimate and loving relationships with other women, as well as Black women who see bonding as mutual, Black women who have self-identified as lesbian, Black women who have written about Black Lesbians, and Black women who theorize about and see the word lesbian as a political descriptor that disrupts and critiques capitalism, heterosexism, and heteropatriarchy. Taking its title from a poem by Audre Lorde, Mouths of Rain addresses pervasive issues such as misogynoir and anti-blackness while also attending to love, romance, "coming out," and the erotic.”
The contributor list looks amazing:
Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith, Bettina Love, Dionne Brand, Cheryl Clarke, Cathy J. Cohen, Angelina Weld Grimke, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Audre Lorde, Dawn Lundy Martin, Pauli Murray, Michelle Parkerson, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Alice Walker, Jewelle Gomez.
You can preorder the book from a feminist bookstore here, and again register for the launch event here!
Charlotte, I've wanted to get into poetry for a while but haven't really known where or how to start, mostly because I have this kind of maybe weird tendency to rush through poems like I'm gulping down water. Curious how one actually like, reads and enjoys a poem; would love to hear your thoughts on reading and reception. Also I'm looking for lush, angry, queer, weird poems filled with longing, and would love to hear any suggestions or recs you might have!
ooh this has been really interesting to think about!! have been rolling it around in my brain for a while.
so, first off, a disclaimer: i don’t necessarily think i am a great or even a very good reader of poetry a lot of the time, and that’s fine -- if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing badly, etc. i am easily distracted and i tire out quickly and my magpie brain will focus on like, the language of a poem to the detraction of all else, and unless i’m being paid to write about a book or a poem or something then i don’t think reading in a way that feels wrong or inadequate is a problem on its own. sometimes i just enjoy quickly skimming for the language, and that’s good, that’s fine.
BUT for wanting to read to get more pleasure from poetry: i tend to say to read it like this the first time if that comes naturally to you, as it often does to me. skim, read it through without paying attention to the narrative or syntactical structure, but instead just looking for anything that makes your brain sparkle -- for me it’s going to usually be imagery and/or sound-patterning. see if there’s anything that makes you curious enough to dig in, any lines or sentiments that you like on their own. the surface-level or immediate pleasures with poetry are great and often what makes it worth digging down into the other stuff.
then, if you want to dig into a poem, it’s time to re-read! this time i’d recommend reading with closer attention to the most straightforward level of narrative or meaning: what is the poem most obviously saying? i am not someone who subvocalises, and sometimes my instinctively fast reading speed makes it hard for me to actually do this if the poem is at all playing around with language. in that case, it helps to read out loud, and to only move on from one sentence or stanza (or whatever unit of meaning the poem is using) once i have figured out what it means on a semantic level. depending on the length of the poem, once you’ve figured out as much of it as you can or care to, i’d recommend another quick read through to try and consolidate all of that in your mind.
then -- well, then you’ve kind of got the basics and the stuff that you’re interested in, and it can be fun to look back at the bits you liked in the first place to see what they mean to the rest of the poem, what they mean in terms of what the poem is saying. it could be that a rhyme or a repeated use of assonance emphasises something... you might find that two words are being linked by internal rhyme that don’t seem to have much to say to one another otherwise. is there any meaning there, in that connection? does it change what the poem says? how does the poem and what it does make you feel?
and depending on the poem you then want to just read again looking for anything else significant. is there a part of the poem you dislike? if you reread looking out for that, can you work out what’s going on there and why you dislike that aspect of it?
this will only work with certain types of poem, admittedly. i like a lot of poetry that is more innovative and abstract, where i have no clue what a poem is saying or doing, but i like the language and the feeling of the syntax inside my brain. so i’ll reread those a few times but don’t really have a semantic framework to get into them. it’s more about the language.
and then there’s visual poetry which doesn’t make use of words but of like -- shapes or the relation of shapes to space, and then it’s just about, idk. how i decide to try and “read” those relations and shapes, which i have no real roadmap for. i often just find myself staring at it like i would visual art, or trying to somehow reenact the shapes with my body as i “read” (like when i read a visual poem earlier today that is just a sequence of bells ringing in different directions -- to keep track of it i followed the bell’s movement with my head, tilting it right and then left).
does that make sense? i truly think that we don’t need to understand poetry to enjoy it; that there’s no right way to read or enjoy poetry, and that if we find we’re reading a poem that doesn’t interest us or make us happy, you can just stop. although if a poem makes a reader uncomfortable it can be a good idea to follow this kind of reading pattern to try and work out why! i hope this makes sense -- i’m afraid my answer is essentially just “reread the poems a lot”, but it’s good to go in knowing what to pay attention to each time, even if it’s just “this time i pay attention to what i like” and “this time i pay attention to what i dislike”. my brain needs structure like that because otherwise it is too flighty and sticky and will just roll around one phrase it likes in there for hours.
in terms of poetry recommendations, this is oddly tricky because there’s such an unexpected gulf between UK and US poetry -- i read more UK poetry and while there’s been a big explosion in the amount of interesting & vital queer poetry being published here over the past decade or so, a lot of it is relatively hard to get hold of unless you’re constantly keeping track of all of the new presses publishing pamphlets. so this is going to swing more US-focused but i will see if there’s any UK stuff i can think of too.
so first off, a cheat: i would recommend getting hold of these two big anthologies of trans poetry and having a look through to see if any of the writers grab your attention. hopefully academic libraries will have these or will get them on request? i say, hopefully. there is we want it all: an anthology of radical trans poetics, which came out recently (and i don’t have a copy yet). and then there’s troubling the line: trans and genderqueer poetry and poetics, from 2013. not as politically radical i’m guessing, but still could be worth looking through to see which writers you connect with.
i am drawing a blank on other anthologies right now, but in terms of exploring UK poetry, you can access issues of the zine zarf online here and i recommend it. not all queer but the editor is and there’s a great collection of stuff in there. i also recommend getting hold of their pamphlets as PDFs here, try alison rumfitt and gloria dawson.
second off, these are some poets i think you might like, i will link to some sample poems. mostly contemporary but not all:
dawn lundy martin
jack spicer (PDF)
miriam bird greenberg
samuel the nagid
agha shahid ali
i am sure there are many many others i am forgetting but! i hope this is helpful!!!
Hi, I love your blog! Do you have any recommendations for poetry books?
Are you looking for lesbian poetry in general? I can also recommend a number:
Natalie Diaz, Dionne Brand, Stacey Waite, Adrienne Rich, Chrystos, Beth Brant, Dorothy Allison, Deborah A. Miranda, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Sappho trans. Rayor, Cheryl Clarke, Audre Lorde, Pat Parker, Leah Horlick, Tamai Kobayashi, Gillian Hanscombe, Irena Klepfisz, Olga Broumas, Karen Brodine, Staceyann Chin, Doris Davenport, Janice Gould, Nikky Finney, Gabriela Mistral, Judy Grahn, Sor Juana, Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, Connie Fife, Dawn Lundy Martin.
Hope this is helpful.
Good Stock Strange Blood, Dawn Lundy Martin
hello ! i’m taylor (she/her) and i’m looking for some more plots ! below is a big list of faceclaims i want to play and ships i’d love to do so if you have any interest please like this post or message me ! i’ll write on here or discord but please be 18+ !
wanted fcs !
justin h min
deborah ann woll
sarah michelle gellar
mary elizabeth winstead
wanted ships (fcs and canon ships) !
gugu mbatha raw x mackenzie davis
adam brody x samara weaving
charlie hunnam x maggie siff
anya chalotra x henry cavill
henry golding x blake lively
madchen amick x skeet ulrich
blake lively x any woman
diego luna x felicity jones
anything where i can play opp kiowa gordon
bucky barnes x steve rogers
bucky barnes x natasha romanoff
maria rambeau x carol danvers
jason todd x roy harper
harley quinn x pamela isley
terra x beast boy
daisy johnson x robbie reyes
remus lupin x sirius black
remus lupin x nymphadora tonks
andromeda tonks x ted tonks
hades x persephone
layla x warren (sky high)
jackie x hyde (that 70s show)
leon kennedy x ada wong (resident evil)
bella x edward / rosalie x emmett / alice x jasper
stiles x lydia / allison x scott / malia x kira
selene x michael (underworld)
fliss x conrad (man of medan)
mike x emily or jess (until dawn)
sean x emma (degrassi)
nate x elena (uncharted)
chloe x nadine (uncharted)
karen page x frank castle
ellie williams x dina (the last of us)
spike x buffy (btvs/ignoring that season)
FLP POETRY BOOK OF THE DAY: The Rattle Egg by Terri Witek
TO ORDER GO TO: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/the-rattle-egg-by-terri-witek/ RESERVE YOUR COPY TODAY
Terri Witek is the author of 6 books of poems, most recently The Rape Kit (2018), winner of the Slope Editions Prize judged by Dawn Lundy Martin. She has collaborated with visual artists throughout her career; her work with Brazilian visual artist Cyriaco Lopes (cyriacolopes.com) includes gallery and museum shows, performances and site-specific projects: the duo are represented by The Liminal in Valencia, Spain. Other collaborators include new media artist Matt Roberts, poet Amaranth Borsuk and textile artist Paula Damm. Witek holds the Sullivan Chair in Creative Writing at Stetson University and with Lopes team-teaches Poetry in the Expanded Field in Stetson’s MFA of the Americas. terriwitek.com
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR The Rattle Egg by Terri Witek
“Is the egg obvious? Witek’s visual text candles language in this volume of discovery, overjoyed and overwhelmed by the maps that link body and vocabulary through egg and ova. Behind this text is a poet with two mother tongues, playing between Portuguese and English with skill and beauty—yoking words. These poems know that hatchlings imprint on their caretaker, but the tether is mutual. Just as the ovum, and the fetus it later becomes, leaves behind its trace in the body as dna not the parent’s own. We are thus connected to our little eggs much like the thread with a needle on each end in Witek’s text: pierced and sutured in perpetual equipoise. With beauty and humor, bravery and brio, this book illuminates hidden connections. Bravo!”
In The Rattle Egg, Terri Witek addresses the egg of Clarice Lispector’s story “The Egg and the Chicken” as a gender/genre of primal oddity. As a “terrain of foundational impressions, “the geometry of eggness” is both intimate and comically vast: the suspended egg, the performative egg, the baby rattle. What of the consumable egg-in-a-carton, cushioned in a cardboard grid, or the egghead with her sheets of graph paper seeking formulas for brokenness? With multiple visual and verbal recombinations, Witek wonders if the egg writes back. Herein the delight! What does it mean to be responsible and tender to the absurd worlds outside you and also in you, “the smeared gold apostrophe”?
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You want cookies. You want to lose yourself in confection.
from -I could tell you how to fall- by Dawn Lundy Martin
about how poetry holds that strangeness:
Of course, it’s one thing to have a theory of strangeness and quite another thing to enact that theory, given that one has to live in the world. But poetry is, in many ways, the form of creativity most up to the task. A poem is a place where strangeness thrives, where we can see what happens in the place adjacent. This is perhaps obvious in the work of writers whose craft is a kind of experiment that, in the words of Dawn Lundy Martin, finds “when language refuses to tip over into speech—recognizable or other—when it is non–reproductive of what has already been produced for us.”  But even at its most confessional, its most speech–like, poetry requires us to take very seriously the strangeness of the life of the interior, the ways in which we all wildly exceed (and recede from) the narrow protocols of legibly human life.( Feeling Strange, Cameron-Awkward-Rich)
1. In Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (2013), page 138.)
my note: everything about my preference and predilection always makes sense in light of strangeness. i’m queer to the brain. choosing to see the goodies and what goodness can flush from the axis of the strange. it’s what the alien eyes can see anew, how it risks alienation regardless, to repair, to jolt a sense out of how we know sense.
thanks poetics for letting me couch and curled inside you.
Witch Hindu, Shivanee Ramlochan
Interview with Dawn Lundy Martin, LA Review Of Books
Succession Power Rankings, Hunter Harris
Succession Power Rankings, Gothamist
The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers, Bhanu Kapil
What is the opposite of devastation? Fruit?
— Dawn Lundy Martin, “The Laceration”
Book Review - Good Stock Strange Blood by Dawn Lundy Martin
Book Review – Good Stock Strange Blood by Dawn Lundy Martin
I try writing down quotes from every book of poetry I read. It’s a way for me to more thoroughly absorb what I’m reading, as well as look back on the book to see what stood out when I read it. I also believe this practice allows me to challenge the ways I look at literature, stretches my ability to be both critical and receptive of what I read. Some books I write down very few quotes. I am not…
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