For this cut up, I pulled couplets from the Winter 2004-2005 issue of Ploughshares. Although there were a number of excellent poems in the issue, I did find it particularly challenging to find lines that fit together well -there seemed to be a lot poems that employed the past tense, relied heavily on dialogue, or tackled subject matter and images that really weren’t meshing with my first few chosen couplets. I did have two other couplets I really liked, but ended up dropping them due to differences in tense or tone.
This cut up poem is based on couplets from the 2013 Triple Issue of South Dakota Review. For this one, I choose to use exclusively couplets from writers of color who appear in this issue. Ironically, one of the contributors in that issue is Yi-Fen Chou, the pseudonym of Michael Derrick Hudson, who regularly posed as a Chinese American writer in order (in his mind) to have a better chance of getting published. He revealed his ruse once one of his poems was accepted and published in a volume of Best American Poetry — a scandal which led to a very important discussion about identity, race, stereotypes, and representation in literary publishing.
Sometimes we falter, even with the best of intentions. When I last posted, almost two years ago, I fully intended to keep writing and posting to this blog on a regular basis. Alas, I fell far short, slipped into the old habits of neglect and distraction, and did not stay firm to the resolution to write and blog more often.
So I’m trying again.
There seems to be something of a zeitgeist happening (see Donna Vorreyer’s post)– many of those of us who once actively blogged about poetry and literature in the 2000s are finding ourselves coming back to the blog form. Increasingly Twitter and Facebook feel too ephemeral, too dysfunctional, and too distracting. There, we find ourselves tempted to write for immediate response and popular validation – weirdly, for me at least, the blog form feels less of a public performance and more of a space of private reflection — a place where one can wrestle with ideas, sometimes to find answers, sometimes simply to start making sense of the many pieces we’ve gathered.
Most of what I’m interested in writing and blogging about hasn’t changed that much. I do have some projects and interests which will likely show up. Aside from poetry and technology, I’ll be spending some time talking about writing prompt creation (and how I’ve started coming up with ways to create random prompt generators) as well as cut up poetry (I lost a lot of old literary journals and around 30 books to water damage and mold — which I only discovered recently when I emptied my old storage unit in Los Angeles and hauled everything back to my new apartment in Vancouver, WA — so I’ve started working on a set of art projects to find a use for the pages and parts that are still usable). I’m still fond of British crime and detective tv shows, still interested in the occasional K-Drama and J-Drama, and still watching the occasional anime series. These too might find their way into blog posts. As well as whatever thoughts I have about the computer game(s) I’m currently playing.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to start again and hope to engage and interact with a larger dialog about writing, art, and how we make sense of the world.