Wow. Here’s a couple of intense events I will be participating in this month:
- February 20: Literary Death Match! Thanks to Parthenon West Review editor Chad Sweeney, who’s somehow convinced me to represent them there. Details here. Please come out for this, to offer lots and lots of encouragement and moral support (and/or to buy me whiskey).
- February 23: Zapatismo! Thanks to Rupert Estanislao, who I believe will also be participating in this series of events, which are in celebration of the release of The Fire and the Word, A History of the Zapatista Movement, by Gloria Muñoz Ramírez, to be published by City Lights Books. We’ll be reading in Oakland, somewhere on International Blvd. Details are forthcoming. But for now, I’ll say that I’m so interested in this organization’s inclusion of Filipino poets.
And finally, additional thoughts on Nate Mackey’s reading last week. Actually this is about the Q&A, in which he discussed the career-long writing of serial poems. He talked about how he just had more to say. And isn’t that it right there, just continuing to write because we have more to say. This having more to say is what seems to have made Mackey’s career, such that the serial poem (and novel) continue to be written, to gain momentum, to reach farther out, as he told us that for him, to be successful in poetry is to continue to write, to be able to keep writing.
Conversely, I’d recently revisited The Anchored Angel, Selected Writings by José Garcia Villa, and in the section which follows the poems, there’s an interview which Nick Carbó conducted with Villa, in which Nick asked why Villa stopped writing poetry. Villa responded that he didn’t want to repeat himself, and I realize now how mixed my feelings are about repeating oneself, when the alternative is to silence oneself. Certainly, Villa’s tone throughout the interview was an embittered one, in which he criticized (or trash talked) Wallace Stevens for his abstract “nonsense.” As well, Villa’s bitterness was also due to losing out (to Stevens) on some major American literary award or fellowship due to his non-American citizenship, which he interpreted as a general erroneous sentiment that only “Americans” write poetry. We see then, where Doveglion comes from, the imaginary being, the nationless or homeless poet, e.e.cummings’ “noone(who is everyone).” The poet who is at home in his homelessness. But a silenced poet nonetheless.
So this brings me back to Nate Mackey, writing the career-long (even lifelong) series, and thriving and shining in the process.
Wrapping it up over here, I think about my own fears of continuing to write the same one poem. Though I am coming to understand how continuing to write the series is not the same thing as continually writing the one poem, but rather, an opportunity to grow, hone, sprawl, and build.