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Erica Doyle
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BRACE YOURSELVES AWP IS COMING Luckily for you, Lillian Bertram, a wonderful poet and someone who genuinely cares about you, has created this website: You can add your two cents or get some advice here. Lillian's also an amazing photographer and poet, and her first book, But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise won the Benjamin Saltman Award, and was published by Red Hen in 2012. You should get it at AWP, on account of poems like "Account of the Apparitions": --the end of billion dollar days came. It was like old times again, those old times everyone knew had... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
I guest-taught a creative writing workshop at the College of Staten Island last night. I was early and went to the cafeteria for a bottle of water and got to see what looked like lots of really big high schoolers hanging out in there and let my eyes get used to their slower movements, deeper voices and more adult clothes. I love to imagine my high school students in college. I am sad when I see the evidence of the lack of committment to our public education system, though. I was in the bookstore, and I distinctly heard a young... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Trayvon Martin died this day a year ago. Thousands across the nation expressed their horror and grief, many through poetry. It is remarkable, in fact, just how many poems surface if you search "Trayvon Martin poems" on the internet. Below is one, by poet JP Howard. She is also an attorney, a co-founder of the Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Series, a Cave Cavem Fellow, and a mother to a black, teenaged boy. Once, I heard Molly Peacock talk about why she wrote in form. She said while writing about terrible things that there was safety at the end of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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This May 16-19, 2013, the Yari Yari conference will take place in Accra, Ghana. Yari Yari is a conference that gathers women writers from all corners of the African diaspora, and was created by the Organization of Women Writers of Africa, founded by Jayne Cortez and Ama Ata Aidoo. "Yari" means the future and each year the conference chooses a different word to modify this word; in the past it was "Pamberi," meaning "Forward" in Shona. This year it is "Ntoaso" which means "understanding and agreement" in Akan. This year's conference is bittersweet, due the passing this January of the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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On this, the last day of my blogging here, I close at the open (hats off for recognizing my paraphrase): You have enabled yourself to prove of incalculable aid to many, many women—not just today’s women, but women down the ages. You have always been a most important, most significant person, Audre. I am, have been, and always will be proud of you. – Gwendolyn Brooks to Audre Lorde (Audre Lorde Papers, Spelman College Archives) Eating my hybrid breakfast of mangu with Finney, I open Lorde’s The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance and throw the pages like the Ifa, the I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Tamiko Beyer is one of those poets I like to stalk. And she is highly stalkable, appearing here and there, now in an anthology I’m judging, now at a conference, now participating in, organizing, or attending a reading, now in a link from a link of a link. The plethora of journals in which she has appeared defy easy categorization. Prolific and spread hydra-like about the poetasphere she floats, and I like to surf about, casting my net for her latest adventures, preferably while listening to Susana Baca. Is it terribly vain to say that I first began to google... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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I spent much of my early years in a neo-colonial, proto-feminist interior world, managing my various traumas by pretending I was a plucky, white British girl in a secret garden or boarding school lorded over by an evil school mistress or mean housekeeper, or, alternatively, an Elf, because who, really, wanted to be a Hobbit? This is all, apparently, quite normal. John Caughey is an ethnographer whose seminal work, Imaginary Social Worlds, explains how the imaginary, internal experiences in which we spend most of our lives, both asleep and awake, enable us to negotiate culture and construct identities either in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Today I will share with you the sky, because I can. In case you haven't noticed, I've got what someone in one of the many random books I've read called "lighthouse" focus. I am constantly scanning back and forth. Some people have a laser focus. That is not me. I do have a laser focused appetite, however. Once I ate only tortellini and ham for a month. The sky has been doing some amazing things lately. I can't think about these rain clouds without thinking about the drought that Kimberly Alidio has been talking about in Texas, as well as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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"I don’t know if I’m yet awake, as you say," writes Dawn. "Awakened to what? Awakened, perhaps, to distrust? Maybe I’m anxious from pumping my system with chemicals and caffeine (Red Bull). Maybe, I’m predisposed toward distrust because when I was 12 or 13, adult men speaking with accents I couldn’t understand would try to coax me into their cars while I tried to make it safely home from the bus stop in late afternoon. I could tell you other stories, darker stories, of being a girl but this would be irresponsible for the skeptic—to feign a faith in transparency... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
My friends are my "estate." Forgive me then the avarice to hoard them. --Emily Dickinson I met Ronaldo in 1998 at a monastery in upstate New York. Everyone still smoked then, and we spent hours under a huge tree outside swirling in a decadent vortex. I admired his fortitude as he played tennis in the heat and ran up and down to the Hudson River and back, past the fields of fireflies. I lived in DC then, and we sent each other letters, when one still did that sort of thing, and cards, and his were inevitably filled with wild... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
When I was a very small writer, I lived in a big house on a small street in Washington, DC. My grandmother came to that house one of the last times I saw her alive, as did my father as he was dying, so that house became a house of ancestor visits. To that house also came the poet Chrystos (Menominee), to my incredible delight, thanks to my housemate who had befriended her at a conference. For me, it was like being in the presence of light, someone whose poems I loved, whose voice I so respected, whose song I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Aug 13, 2011