Poems2go editors Christine and Sarah had an opportunity to present Kevin McLellan with questions we had as poets, and as editors, regarding his p2g featured poem “Dear Canaries” and his views on contemporary poetry.
Go to our new Interviews tab on the main menu of our website to read his answers, and learn more about one of today’s stellar poets.
More of Kevin’s poetry, click here for his website.
While you’re at it, you’ll enjoy our new streamlined submission form.
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!