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Halie Theoharides
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Right now I'm reading Emily Dickinson's letters as part of a summer book club with Dara Wier and friends in the writing program, and we're thinking about the epistolary form. For poets this form is familiar... in writing as in letter-writing, we might conjure a real-and-imagined addressee— someone we respond to, someone elsewhere who we expect might open the envelope, someone to be made aware of what it is we have been doing, thinking, meaning in our own words. While writing to you, part of our imagination is also busy embellishing you— we are writing to our inner understanding of you... In addition, we are writing to and from a real-and-imagined inner understanding of the relations between us... And so the reality of relations within the epistolary form is variable; is reliant on the mind of the addresser.... (part of why love letters are so abundant, I think.) The addressee propels the poem absently. But sometimes there is more of an absence— here is an excerpt from an interview with Maggie Nelson in jubilat 24. I think when I wrote Bluets I was like, wow, I don't have any addressee, and I'm very alone here, so that book in some way puts to the test what speaking to a "you" may or may not be. — Maggie Nelson Read more from the interview conducted by Dara Wier. Subscribe to jubilat for a complete transcript. What cannot be put in a letter? jubilat 13's found content includes this list of items forbidden to be sent in the mail. "Entry Forbidden" [Selections from the International Mail Manual, "Country Conditions for Mailing," May 2005, U.S. Postal Service] by Deborah Golub [excerpt] Ecuador All maps showing the territory of Ecuador with incorrect boundaries. So-called "Panama" hats. Bits and mouthpieces made of copper. Germany Absinthe. Articles bearing political or religious notations on the address side. Melatonin. Playing cards, except in complete decks properly wrapped. Pulverized coca beans. Great Britain and Northern Ireland Horror comics and matrices. Guatemala Gardenia plants and seeds. Police whistles. Guyana Bees. Iceland Sausages. Toys made of lead. Read "Entry Forbidden" in its entirety. Subscribe to jubilat for this & more like this! — Compiled by Halie Theoharides, managing editor of jubilat. Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2015 at The Best American Poetry
jubilat's sensibility is often curious, quizzical, interested in guessing, as poets frequently do— and I’ve been thinking, recently, about what guessing does to one's imagination — not only the acceptance of ‘not-knowing’ for certain, but also, and here I think, more importantly, the surprise-canvas of thin air. In thinking about all the questions I am having to ask & answer recently, most of which have arrived in numerical form so as to accompany the end of the fiscal year, I’ve been glad to find a great wealth of wild guesses in the archives of jubilat. First is a terrific poem by Jono Tosch, called "Thomas Merton", published in jubilat 21 and accompanied by a video I love very much, here ... in which we are dealing with questions like Can a sandwich make another sandwich? and lines like I want to die in a nice delicatessen with all the lights off except for one, the light on the bread. ... Read the poem & watch the video. — Next is one of my favorite interviews in jubilat history— in December 2011, Matthea Harvey conducted a JOKE Q&A interview with then five-year-old Max Timchak in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The full interview is available in jubilat 22 and online here ... and is providing us with all the answers.... to questions like... Matthea: Why do shirts look so plain? Max: Because the people, they're hopeless. Matthea: Why is hair always grey? Max: Because they're pumas. Matthea: Why do alligators never wear sweatshirts? Max: Because they have rectangle bodies. ... Read the interview. — Finally, I leave you with a few lines from "Should I learn a new language?", a poem by Rachel B. Glaser, for when one might feel like rejecting the requests of reality. SHOULD I LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE by Rachel B. Glaser No! I'm getting married on a boat in five minutes I'm having a baby on the table I'm elaborately renewing my vows ... Read the poem & watch the video. FOR THIS & MORE: Subscribe to jubilat. Jono Tosch is a woodworker, artist, and poet who lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. He is the author of the chapbooks Under Sea (Chuckwagon Press) and Probably (Kendra Steiner Editions). You can find some of his non-poetry works on Etsy, shop name "orchardspoonworks." Rachel B. Glaser is the author of MOODS, Pee On Water, and Paulina & Fran (forthcoming 9/1/15). — Compiled by Halie Theoharides, managing editor of jubilat. Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2015 at The Best American Poetry
For this post, we're searching water. "Pool" by Sabrina Orah Mark from issue #23 Make a splash, says Brother. Set an example for all the merry children lining up behind you, says Brother. I turn around. These children do not look merry. They look very unmerry. * * * LYRIC by Kathleen Ossip from issue #26 I came from salt water in August I swim in salt water * * * Brain in a Vat by C.S. Ward from issue #22 C.S. Ward reads "Brain in a Vat" I heard that the Bermuda triangle has been hovering in Buffalo for the past 20 years, says the twilight man beside me * * * INTERVIEW with Brenda Shaughnessy from issue #8 A fathometer measures the depth of the water by sound: it throws a sound down to the ocean floor and measures depth by how long the echo takes to come back up. * * * FOR THIS & MORE: Subscribe to jubilat. Compiled by jubilat's managing editor, Halie Theoharides. Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2015 at The Best American Poetry
I had never heard of Amelia Rosselli until I began typesetting jubilat 27 but since then I have been wild about her poetry. Here is a picture of Amelia Rosselli that I made and here are a few things I learned. Amelia Rosselli was an Italian poet and translator. She was the daughter of an Italian anti-Fascist Resistance hero and an English political activist. She was born in 1930 and died in 1996. The poems of Rosselli's which Diana Thow translated and which appear in jubilat 27 are wild and leave me very alive and wondering! I can't wait to find out more about her and I am so glad that Diana Thow has brought these poems to jubilat & world. Here is how one of her poems begins: This garden that within my figured mind seems to want to open new small horizons for my joy after last night's storm, this garden is slightly white maybe green if I wish to color it and it waits for someone to step inside, its pacificity is unappealing. So many things to think about especially once you start to think about a "figured mind" containing a garden "slightly white / maybe green if I wish to color it"...That is a kind of visualization enacted in the poem that can bring things about, make things happen where no things were happening, set a place for a weird magic to inhabit and then to have mixed emotions about. Anyways, below here is that magnificent poem in entirety, traversing a kind of inner-being-speak into outer-territory-mapping— it "nearly screams" and then it flexes back upon its graceful withholding. It does a thousand other things too... It is clever and seems to unfurl like the smartest tendril-question of a vine, testing the outer reaches of imagination, going into them. This garden that within my figured mind seems to want to open new small horizons for my joy after last night's storm, this garden is slightly white maybe green if I wish to color it and it waits for someone to step inside, its pacificity is unappealing. A dead corner a life that descends without caring to cellars full of meaning now that death with its effusions has declared its own importance. And within the effusion a small dream insists on being remembered—I am peace it nearly screams and you don't remember my solemn shores! But the garden is quiet—paradise, by a trick of fate, isn't anything that you seek outside of me, I who am the renunciation; it announces me first painfully then cautiously in its creation the firmament I sought. Read more of Rosselli's poems here. Subscribe to jubilat here. Amelia Rosselli (1930-1996) is one of the most important experimental Italian poets of the twentieth century. Her poetry collections include Variazione Belliche (1964), Serie Ospedaliera (1969), Documento (1976), and Impromptu (1981). Diana Thow holds an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa. She lives in Berkeley and is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2015 at The Best American Poetry
Before coming to the MFA program at UMASS Amherst, I worked at a rural public library. One of my tasks was to periodically weed through books in the children's room that no longer circulated. In one afternoon, I looked up the meager statistics of the presidential biography series, swept each and every one off the shelf, deleted their records from the catalog, aggressively stamped "DISCARD" on their endpages, and stacked them in no order on a book sale cart in the basement, to be sold for a dime. This is standard procedure for every book we deleted, but the thrill of this act has stuck with me and now when I am feeling so tired of this mess we’re in I try to remember The Day I Deleted The Presidents. Another cure for feeling hopeless in the face of patriarchy is reading defiant/revolutionary writings and knowing that they are being read and shared by others. “Native of Heaven” by Emily Hunt appears in the first pages of jubilat 26 and is that kind of poem you want broadcasted everywhere. At the request of Emily Pettit, jubilat's incredible and very wise Publisher, Hunt went on to make a video of "Native of Heaven" in which a recording of the poem plays over a procession of presidential portraits, much like the ones found on the covers of those dusty, unread biographies I was so ready to be done with. Being glared at by these textbook portraits of men while listening to Hunt's poem is amazing. Emily Hunt: Native of Heaven from jubilat on Vimeo. It’s a challenge to divide our attention away from what we accept to see everyday, and to instead listen and engage with the unseen voices that chip away at dismantling the messed up systems in our brains and in our daily lives and in the rotten, groping powers that lust for even more control. I feel such gratitude for this poem's ability to place the reader right here in our complicated, disastrous reality and to simultaneously incite reconceptions of the future. I feel it all— protest against the patriarchy, inexhaustible sorrow and dismay at what has happened and what has failed to happen, awe and respect for Hunt's ability to voice this looming reality alongside the particularities of daily experience. All while wielding lyrical lines and direct political address with great agility. "Native of Heaven" as understated poetic manifesto dismantles and subverts historically exclusive, presidential speech. It is the kind of poem we need, and I'm so glad to share it here. — NATIVE OF HEAVEN by Emily Hunt What if we had a female president right here on the ground in 2014. Would they make jokes about her blood on SNL? Or compare her shocking term to the spacious cycle of a lily? Would hate or pity win? I guess I don't want to do it but I would like dental insurance. I care about my skull. What if when I got my check it was a... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2015 at The Best American Poetry
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Apr 27, 2015