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Laura Orem
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The Best American Poetry Blog is pleased to announce that Resurrection Biology, the first full-length collection by featured blogger Laura Orem, is now available for preorder from Finishing Line Press. Some words about the collection: "Maybe if we look deep enough we will see ourselves looking deep at ourselves," Laura Orem writes in Resurrection Biology, and in perfect reply this collection of poetry looks deeply (widely and passionately, too) at both the beauty and terror of living with and battling illness. Weaving together the past and present, politics and music and medicine, Orem's poetry is at once narrative and lyric, formal and explosive, playful and grave. Hers is a vulnerable, brave poetic, and this book is required reading for anyone with a memory, a body and obstacles to overcome.: Jessica Piazza, author of Interrobang and co-author (with Heather Aimee O'Neill) of Obliterations Laura Orem’s Resurrection Biology is a close-up glimpse of the world, the one in which we now live and the past, which inhabits us: from the arctic to Gaza; from a woman’s ravaged body to a nameless boy shot and left to die in the snow; from a famous castrato to a feathered man; from the dog, unfed on the porch, to the mammoth still sleeping in icy Neolithic dreams. Look hard at this world. As Orem says,"You can stand it. Stand it some more." Anne Caston, author of Prodigal, Judah's Lion, and Flying Out with the Wounded Order your copy today! Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2016 at The Best American Poetry
I've been very interested in the debate about the Donald Trump statues. Some find them offensive as fat-shaming, transphobic, or simply in bad taste. Others find them hilariously apt. I collected these 2-D caricatures from history because I wanted to pin down what it is about the DT statues that causes such a strong reaction, as opposed to other unflattering caricatures of him that are all over the media. Is it because it's a 3D statue, lifesize and lifelike, therefore commanding our attention in a way print does not? Is it because there are five of them? Is it because he's naked and his genitalia have also been caricatured? Certainly one could argue that some of these cartoons are in bad taste, exaggerating physical characteristics (Bush and Obama's ears; turning the jowly king of France into a fat piece of fruit; the obese, bug-eyed King Edward), but are we as offended by these? And does our feeling of being offended lessen when the subject is evil, such as Hermann Goering? (Also, does the fact that the Goering collages are considered masterpieces of Dadaist art change our feelings about the images?) Many of the cartoons of Trump portray him as overweight, distorted, and grotesque; the watercolor naked portrait of him that circulated on the internet did not elicit such a strong negative response in anti-Trump folks. (It did, however, result in the artist being punched in the face by a Trump supporter.) I'm not trying to criticize anyone - I'm just really curious at how and why we respond to this kind of political commentary in the ways we do. "Trial of Napoleon Bonaparte," George Cruikshank 1813 "King Louis Phillipe," Charles Philipon 1831 "Kaiser Wilhelm I of Prussia" 1871 "Napoleon III and Kaiser Wilhelm I," 1871 "King Edward VII of Great Britain," 1905 "Hermann Goering," Hannah Hoch 1930s "Herman Goering," John Heartfield 1933 "Shah of Iran," Wiaz 1977 "Ronald Reagan," Paul Conrad 1987 "George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac," 2000s "Dick Cheney," 2006 "Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama" 1913 Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2016 at The Best American Poetry
As the founder and director of Women's Voices Mentorship Program for Writers, I'd like to ask your help. Our program is a way for women writers of all expressions to find advanced writing instruction and mentorship outside the MFA. I'm honored to be working with an extraordinary group of writers who are also experienced and committed teachers. One of those is poet Jessica Piazza, author of Interrobang (Red Hen Press 2013) and co-author with Heather Aimee O'Neill of Obliterations (RHP 2016). Jess is raising money to fund program scholarships for women writers of under-served populations. Jess explains: "We all know that creative writing isn't the most lucrative field in the world, but true writers are still driven by passion and talent to bring their voices to the world. We write after work, between diaper changes, between shifts. We take loans for MFA programs that we know might be impossible to pay back. We do our best to make it work and to share our unique vision.... ...unless we can't. So many writers--especially women from under-represented populations--aren't able to afford quality, empathetic, graduate level creative writing mentorship and education. Ironically, these are the very writers whose voices our industry most needs: women of color, single mothers, lgbtq writers, women of small financial means. These are the stories that need to be heard and the poems that need to be written, honed and published. But in the literary industry, who you know and where you've gone counts; most people who publish widely have done university masters programs or PhDs in writing. But the artists who would write the stories we so need to hear often can't afford to spend the money, time or energy on graduate writing programs, or they feel ostracized because higher education historically treats women in these positions (and their stories and poems and memoirs) with less dignity, vision and respect than other students. The Women's Voices Mentorship Program (WVMP) was created specifically to address these problems. Mentors work one on one with writers to nourish, guide and hone their work, treating each student to a level of indivudal guidance and education many MFA programs can't match. We make targeted writing goals and plans with each student, give them readings and assignments, edit and work through each piece of writing, truly building toward a full body of work and publication with every session and every meeting. As a mentor, published poet, university professor and literary citizen, I'm proud to help women achieve their writing goals. But even though our program costs far less than the price of a master's education in writing (with far more individual attention), I recognize that not all women can afford even our program's rates. So I decided to raise money to provide scholarships to three or four women writers this summer. I believe that as a mentor in the WVMP I can offer these poets and fiction writers something that they might not otherwise ever have: graduate level creative writing education that's focused specifically... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2016 at The Best American Poetry
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Jun 6, 2016