I was singing this song as I prepared the latest collection of poems2go.
When you read Chris Lamay-West’s “Emily Listens Critically to Diana Ross” you’ll know why. No, Diana didn’t make this song famous, The Pointer Sisters did, but still, I was singing it because I am excited about these poems. They’re fun, and smart.
And not only is West tuned in, but so is Rosebud Ben-Oni whose submission included all poems with titles from lines of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. It was convenient, of course, that Sarah and I were reviewing submissions and making our selections the eve of the solar eclipse. I was humming “every now & then i get a little bit lonely” for days.
I love singing for all the same reasons I love poetry because I feel engrossed, engaged, and connected to something outside my worrying head. It encompasses both the physical and emotional resonances I crave. I can’t sing particularly well, and probably write poetry only slightly better, but they make me feel happy, especially when they’re fun and smart, as these poems are.
Sarah and I were particularly impressed with the range of forms we read including formal, experimental, free, and prose. We have some of each for you in this quarterly collection. Alan Michael Parker shares from his collection of sonnets, Nate Pritts engages us with white space, says:
I leave my hands behind
There are other hands
At work inside me
Mary Ann Honaker gives us a prose poem, Siham Karami shares a pantoum,
and we have Kevin McLellan’s address “Dear Canaries,”
Thank you for sending the sparrow
to remind me of space
and to encourage light
To round this collection out is the observant “Olber’s Paradox” by Grace Curtis, and the entrenching poem on motherhood (one of my favorite poetry subjects) ‘We’ve Not Long Come In” by Sasha West.
You will come away from these poems looking more closely at the night sky, an ordinary Wednesday, automatic doors, and you will, most hopefully, be singing.
Next time you’re surfing at Nauset Beach or swimming on the bay side at Skaket Beach in Orleans, MA, you can find a cooled corner to relax in at Snow’s Library. The library has dedicated a quiet, sunlit room, complete with a wingback chair, to poetry. It is lined with poetry books of all kinds, with special features on local poets, and poet of the month. It also now carries our beloved poems2go.
I recently discovered Carl Phillips’ book Rock Harbor, and while I don’t know if its indeed named after Orleans’ own Rock Harbor, I was thrilled to read:
I love a storm,
and said so, by I have always
loved better the wreckage after,
I did not mean instead of, but
Orleans is my heaven on earth. It’s where I live with my husband, and where we swim, surf, run, clam, paddle board, fish, you name it. And it’s where I get much of my inspiration for poetry. I’m thrilled to now have even more poetry books to explore, and for p2g to have a cozy spot to share its poems with.
This month is the two-year anniversary of Poems2go’s first publication! Founded in 2015 with the generous support of the Witter Bynner Foundation, we have watched this little publication grow exponentially, from one city to now nine states! We’re so grateful to hear from shop owners and baristas across the country, about how people are engaging with this project. Way back in graduate school (shout out Lesley University!), we would often talk about the ways we wished poetry was a more influential art in public culture, and it’s truly a gift to connect poetry with everyday spaces such as the cafes, bookstores, and libraries.
As we celebrate such joys, we are also balancing this growth with the need to prioritize our goals in becoming a first-class experimental poetry project. Some of these goals include increasing unsolicited, quality submissions and first-time publications by talented poets, as well as targeting our online market. In order to focus on these goals, Poems2go is making a strategic move from monthly publication to quarterly publication. This transition will allow us, as editors, to focus more time and energy on the integrity of the creative work we publish.
We’d love your help in spreading the word about Poems2go, whether through post-sharing, retweets, or simply sharing a p2g poem with a friend. At heart, that’s what this project is about: reaching poetry’s arm around the world, finding new homes for poems that expand our human empathy, creativity, and knowledge. We’re excited about this transition, and we hope you will join us in celebrating two years of Poems2go!
Our beloved Sarah Lain is living in the big city now, soaking up its culture and landscape and loving it. She took to the streets and found p2g a new home in the warm and welcoming Cafe 53 of Chicago’s Hyde Park! Thanks so much to the staff of Cafe 53 for inviting poetry into your cool indie space!!
Jose Alcantara understands our world’s need to do as violets do, be as they are, in their thrust into the world. This month’s featured poems speak to the motion of joy within stilled moments, that primal sense/ of treading water in bed Tanya Grae writes of in “Waterline,” and a way of taking/ Into myself the single light shining at the center… in “Out of These Wounds, the Moon Will Rise“by Jay Hopler.
We have two poems by Kasey Jueds, and she considers To be made/of absence/like this: in “Window and Field” and “The Bat” reminds us of Blake’s angels, how they leaned/
toward each other, and balanced/ by touching only the tips of their wings?
Poetry allows us to question and ponder the responses we have to our world, helps remind us of our internal sense of being, our need for quiet, and the freedom to move within that space,
like the one just after rain begins, when rain
isn’t rain, but the smell
of dust lifted, something silent and clean.
(from “The Bat”)
As poets we try to hear the murmurs of truths beneath the noise of untruths, and so we observe, we listen, we respond, again and again because we must.
This month’s collection is featuring five exceptionally strong voices including Terrance Hayes‘ sonnet (a sonnet in a series of fourteen), for technology, one of his past and future assassins, Iraq veteran Carlo André’s trying to understand the enormity of war, heather hughes‘ respect and concern for the role of science (is it for sale?), Joseph Massey’s wishful
thought I found a way
to stop thinking—
and Carl Phillips asking How far is instinct from a thing/like belief?
At what point is believing so close/ to knowing, that any difference between the two isn’t worth the fuss,/ finally?
These voices make up some of the many reasons why poetry exists.
We’re pleased here at poems2go to share and promote this resounding chorale. Stronger together.
Christine and Sarah
Every few months I get to visit this cool town encircled by glorious mountains. My husband Michael is on the Olympic USAT board committee and while he’s at meetings, I get to work on my poetry, sitting here at The Wild Goose Meeting House, one of p2g’s supporters. They came on board back in February, and looks like the poems like their new home. They have a special spot on the piano, next to a wild goose painting. Since there’s live music every Friday and Saturday, these poems are rocking. There were only a handful left from the last batch I mailed out.
I refilled our p2g feeder with more poems, and breakfasted on a delicious wild boar sausage and egg quesadilla, and their house chai…yum!
One of our contributors, (and a Lesley posse mate) Bonita Lee Penn, has found homes for p2g in two new venues: Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, PA, and City Books in Pittsburgh (Allegheny West/Northside.)
Since 1929, the Penguin Bookshop has been a fixture in the bucolic town of Sewickley, Pennsylvania. With 6 different owners and 3 different locations over the last 85-plus years, the Penguin has remained a vital community institution thanks to the continued loyalty of its customers and the passion of its booksellers. Located just 20 minutes outside of both Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh International Airport, it remains one of the local and regional community’s greatest treasures.
City Books carries new & used, collectible & rare, and English & foreign language books for diverse audiences. They are a small, friendly shop with an emphasis on both old-world charm and modern customer service.