Selvedge and Synthesis: My Current Threads

[Some edits below]

My current threads:

I’ve just submitted my selections to Didi Menendez for the Best of MiPOesias 2000 to 2010 anthology, from OCHO #16. Debbie Yee’s “Cinderella’s Last Will and Testament,” included in this issue, is already included in the anthology as it’s been selected for Best American Poetry 2009. That said, my selections for Best of MiPOesias are Dillon Westbrook’s long poem excerpt from “long life,” and Jaime Jacinto’s “World’s Fair.” I’d already previously nominated Jaime’s poem, “Manong’s Gift” for a Pushcart Prize; biased as I am, I believe very much that he is an exceptional poet.

Eileen Tabios has written on her blog this morning something I find myself really very much agreeing with: “…if you believe poetry is marginalized in today’s (U.S.) culture and want to know why poetry is marginalized, it’s NOT BECAUSE POETS ARE WRITING IRRELEVANTLY. It’s not because poets aren’t writing about what’s ‘important’ to write about like politics (what’s ‘important’ is subjective, yah?). It’s not because poets are writing ‘elliptically.’ It’s not because poets are writing ‘narcissistically.’ It’s not because poets are ‘writing to each other.’ It’s not because poets are flarf-in’. It’s not because they’re too ‘quiet’ or too ‘avant.’ It’s not because too many poets write ‘academically’ or got their MFAs. It’s not because poets aren’t doing their job — anyone who feels they can define a poet’s ‘job’ is generally just arrogant or looking for a way to grab attention for himself (yes, it’s usually a him). // If you believe poetry is marginalized (and that is an ‘if’), then poetry is marginalized today in large part because K-12 (Kindergarten to 12th grade) education has, in too many cases, eliminated the relevance of the arts….including any notion that a particular art form can be expanded beyond what is inherited by an artist.”

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Good News for Debbie Yee and OCHO 16


Very good news this morning from Debbie Yee, who is one of the awesome contributors to OCHO 16. Debbie’s poem, “Cinderella’s Last Will and Testament,” has been selected for Best American Poetry 2009. Well, I am absolutely thrilled for Debbie, and I am very proud of her. She is a very hardworking, energetic, and thoughtful poet and community arts supporter.

And this morning, I am also feeling pretty affirmed and encouraged as an editor. This is another one of those mornings, and there should be so many more of these, in which we know concretely the rewards for our work.

So congratulations again to Debbie Yee for this significant acknowledgment of her work, and who in the meantime will be teaching a postcard poetry workshop at KSW (P3 here). And many many thanks to Didi Menendez, whose work and publications continue to enlarge into new spaces.

And also: you can get your copy of OCHO 16 here. You can read Neela Banerjee’s review in Hyphen here.

Review of OCHO #16

Speaking of curating publication, many thanks to Neela Banerjee, managing editor of Hyphen magazine, for her quick and lovely review of OCHO #16, in which she likens the poetry journal to a mixed tape your best friend has made for you:

I’ve been reading OCHO #16 on the bus to and from work for the past week and, let me tell you, there is nothing more delicious than losing yourself in a really good poem during a short and sunny bus ride. Like a well-planned mix tape that your best friend made you in 8th grade, Reyes chooses from the Bay Area’s finest talents like the always luscious Jaime Jacinto, the fierce Truong Tran and the politically beautiful Mathew Shenoda. It was also my first chance to read Hyphen contributor Ching-in Chen’s work which hauntingly tells of the misadventures of a Chinese American girl named Xiaomei. Another real treat is the first three scenes of Jessica Hagedorn’s recently produced play Fe in the Desert.

Read the entire review here. Purchase your copy of OCHO here.

Some (quick) thoughts on curating publication

OCHO16.cover[Addendum: Speaking of curating publication, if you haven’t gotten your copy of OCHO, here is incentive to do so. Didi Menendez has lowered the prices on recent issues, including OCHO#16.

OCHO for ocho dollars, folks, and you get to read dope new work by Tara Betts, Brian Dean Bollman, Sasha Pimentel Chacón, Ching-In Chen, Linh Dinh, Sarah Gambito, Jessica Hagedorn, Jaime Jacinto, Nathaniel Mackey, Craig Santos Perez, Matthew Shenoda, Jennifer K. Sweeney, Truong Tran, Dillon Westbrook, and Debbie Yee.

So do get to it and support your indie publishers!]

Curating I suppose is another way of saying editing but also something else on top of editing? I am thinking about Silliman’s post on annuals, journals, and anthologies, and whether/how we can differentiate between them. His post caught my eye because of his lukewarm thoughts on Zoland Poetry, which is one of the annuals/anthologies in which some of my work is included. So I don’t mean to come to Zoland’s defense, as much as to say that I believe the intent of an “annual” is similar to the intent of an “anthology,” in providing something of a snapshot of literary scene or even a community.

Silliman brings up the now defunct New Directions Annual, and this reminds me that City Lights Books once had, along the same vein as the NDA, the City Lights Review, which I remember seeing in the bookstore back in the day. Dig this list of contributors for Ends and Beginnings: CLR #6, edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and published in 1994:

Robert Anbian, Amiri Baraka, Alberto Blanco, William S. Burroughs, Andrei Codrescu, Susan Etlinger, Dario Fo, Barry Gifford, J.T. Gillett, Allen Ginsberg, Howard Hart, Elaine Katzenberger, Phillip M. Klasky, Steve Kowit, James Laughlin, D.H. Lawrence, Subcomandante Marcos, Kaye McDonough, Daniel Moore, Norman Nawrocki, Mimmo Paladino, Julian Palley, Pier Paolo Pasolni, Nancy J. Peters, Mark Petrie, Pina Piccolo, Ezra Pound, Jeremy Reed, Arthur Rimbaud, Ed Sanders, Alberto Savinio, Andrew Schelling, Laura Stortoni, Mark Terrill, Ingeborg Teuffenbach, Allen Tobias, Nanos Valaoritis, Georgii Vlasenko, Ron Vroon, Anne Waldman.

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Bits of Poetry News

(1) OCHO #16: MiPOesias Magazine Print Companion is now available at Amazon. Have a look see here.

(2) Many thanks to Brenda Iijima of Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs who will be publishing my chapbook, Cherry. More info forthcoming.

(3) Many interesting folk have been visiting this here blog; this weekend has seen both Bill Knott and Juan Felipe Herrera commenting on recent posts. So interesting.

(4) Tomorrow evening is Literary Death Match! Will be sure to get all diva’ed fantastic for the affair.

(5) We saw Dagoberto Gilb this evening at Modern Times Books in the Mission. Alejandro Murguía was there with Raza Studies and/or Creative Writing classes from SFSU. More on all this later. Now, sleep.

OCHO 16 is now available!

OCHO 16: MiPOesias Magazine Print Companion

Guest Edited by Barbara Jane Reyes

Featuring: Tara Betts, Brian Dean Bollman, Ching-In Chen, Sasha Pimentel Chacón, Linh Dinh, Sarah Gambito, Jessica Hagedorn, Jaime Jacinto, Nathaniel Mackey, Craig Santos Perez, Matthew Shenoda, Jennifer K. Sweeney, Truong Tran, Dillon Westbrook, Debbie Yee

Cover Art: “Imperialism, 24″ by Juan Carlos Quintana.

Buy your copy here.