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Tina Kelley
Recent Activity
If I want to write a poem, it has to be on a topic that I find downright fascinating. Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Bless the red-eyed, buzzing creatures for puzzling us, and for making us check our inner watches, and pay attention. Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Find a press that you can develop a long-term relationship with. Those presses are harder to find than they should be. Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Some days the poetry goes fine, some days not so fine, but one recent day was a gold mine, thanks entirely to the internet. Though there are times I just turn off the wireless rather than be tempted to google every last bit of potentially relevant detail for a line, I am so glad I kept it running. I felt like I’d been out on a fabulous shopping trip, where the end result wasn’t expensive clothes that may or may not settle well into the wardrobe, but words. Free, new, potentially ever-so-useful words. I had one piece of inspiration, based on my favorite hobby. (I've found over the years that hobbies can make for very, very useful poem fodder.) I'd found a quote I’d gleaned over the weekend from a magazine, Knitting Traditions, about how young Latvian women filled their hope chests with hundreds of mittens, to give as gifts to their in-laws and to the groom’s family’s hearth, livestock, well, bushes, orchards, and yes, beehives. While searching for a list of steps needed to create yarn from fleece, I ran across the Fermented Suint Method of cleaning wool fresh off the sheep (soak it in rainwater for two weeks, rinse and repeat.) Suint, it turns out, is the “dried perspiration of sheep deposited in the wool and rich in potassium salts.” Look for it in an upcoming poem. I also found out what plants Latvians used to dye their fiber with, and the meanings of the motifs found in their knitted mittens. All without needing to put on street clothes to find a library. I dipped in to Facebook as a reward for my work, since I have no watercooler and no coworkers besides my dog. Sometimes Facebook is a greedy time sink, other times it displays poetic gems, links to poetry fodder, or even to found poems waiting to be read and line-breaked. A garbologist friend had posted a piece about a scientific study of the trash accumulating at the bottom of undersea canyons in the Pacific, and the photos from it were poignant, including a rockfish nesting in a discarded sneaker, and a “ghost crab pot” and other fishing implements that continue to trap and kill fish long after human hands drop them. I learned and learned. There is such a thing as “an emplaced whale-fall experiment,” wherein a whale carcass is buried at sea in a deep canyon, so scientists can observe what happens. What happens? 58 items of trash were observed nearby, during nine visits by the Remotely Operated Vehicles of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Near a natural whale-fall, at 2,893 meters, a funeral party of 29 objects, including plastic bags, plastic buckets, tools, and a 55-gallon drum, had gathered. I tried to fit that into my brain. There is a word – infaunal – for deep sea creatures living in the soft sea bottom. And a word for the measurement of water depth: bathymetry. (The bathymetry of love, let me count the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Actually, old boyfriend poems could serve the purpose of getting you used to those chintzy polite slips, barely an eighth of a page, that say thanks but your poems aren’t worth so much as a quarter sheet of rejection. Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
When I sit down to write poems, which isn't often enough, I like to prime the pump by reading poems that inspire me, that have playful rhythms that stick in my head like a songworm. Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
This was the sloping kitchen floor. Any water spilled from the sink would collect in the hall across the room. This was the cold closet, the pantry, where Mr. Van Sickle, a 19th century owner and short man, fell into the pickle barrel during a party and drowned. Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
If I were Mother Theresa’s image -- and I am not – I think I really would inhabit that Dorito. Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
May this year bring you all blessings. If you have to change your passwords, may it be for a new love, not the death of an old one. May you answer a resounding "yes" when asked if you’d like to switch childhoods with your kids, and be parented by your wise, kind self. Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
Am I that white that my all-time favorite rock star has no appeal for black Jerseyans? Is there something wrong with me for loving something that doesn’t seem to be loved universally? Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
Reports of the death of the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival were blessedly premature. Newark has stepped in to host the event. Hooray! Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2009 at The Best American Poetry