Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Cactus Wins and Other Feral Poetry Adventures

Ceramic art: Orion James Photo: Robyn Beattie
Surviving summer? I am blessed to live on the coast with just enough of a breeze to keep us comfortable, or no breeze at all when sitting at ER with my middle child. He survived an encounter with a cactus, but let’s just say the cactus won. Traveling at high speed on his mountain bike at a fork in the trail, he hesitated, swerved, and landed with cacti clinging to his forearm, chest, neck, stomach, and hip. He even managed a cactus earring.

In this age of perpetual documentation, we have photos and video footage of him removing his jewelry and stretching his earlobe out like taffy a couple inches before the cactus let go. It took three of us with tweezers to remove as many of the spines as we could. I ended up with a plethora of minuscule spines in my fingertips, fickle jumpers all too happy to defect to the country of me. My son is mercifully on the mend, healing all those welts after taking off the temporary cast they put on his arm to support his wrist (it was simply pressing--in the monstrous heat--the remaining spines further in, right?!).

And by mosquito-ringed lamplight after the day’s traumas have settled, I’ve been participating in the Write Like You're Alive Zoetic Press challenge to draft a poem a day during the month of July. I thought I could get back in the saddle in March during National Poetry Writing Month, but I got as far as one poem. Too much emotion too close to the surface. I feel blessed to be in a more even and happy place (it helps to have seven months between now and losing my mother). I’m proud to have written twenty-five new poems this month! Zoetic Press will be publishing an anthology soon, culling one poem from each one of us twenty-five poem finish-line-weary writers, and I’ll post a link when it is live.

Upcoming Poetry Reading

I’m reading this coming Saturday, August 4 at Bookshow in LA as part of Zoetic Press and Drunk Monkey’s Reading Extravaganza for a night of reading, rumination, snacks and wine from 6-8 p.m. I’d love to see you there!

Representing Zoetic Press:  Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, Laura Reece Hogan, Tania Pryputniewicz, and Wendy Zimmer.

Representing Drunk Monkeys: Kevin Ridgeway, Joe Iraggi, Mathieu Cailler, and Ashley Perez.

Bookshow is in Highland Park
5503 N Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Here’s the link to full bios for the readers: Zoetic Press and Drunk Monkey's Reading Extravaganza.

America, We Call Your Name Anthology

I’m also thrilled to announce that the poem I wrote while teaching my Election Blues: The Gift of Agency in Poetry class, "An Iris for Hillary," is forthcoming along with approximately 125 poems in America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance and Resilience published by Sixteen Rivers Press 2018 with foreword by Camille T. Dungy. The anthology is available for pre-order; for more information about pre-order options, visit Sixteen Rivers Press (official release date, September 4, 2018). I’ll be participating in events and will post once I have dates and times and can’t wait to read the work in this collection; you'll find an absolute trove of poetry luminaries. Here's a partial author name cloud until I have the book in hand to do my usual word-a-poem cloud for you! I tried to keep it to just one name per alphabet letter…I tried…

Elizabeth Alexander     Frank Bidart     Lucille Clifton     Natalie Diaz     Emily Dickinson     Chiyuma Elliott     Molly Fisk     Susan Griffin     Seamus Heaney     Yusef Komunyakaa     Ursula K. Le Guin     Ada Limon     Grace McNally     Pablo Neruda     Sharon Olds     Irma Penida     Adrienne Rich     Kay Ryan     Evie Shockley     Wislawa Szymborska     Susan Terris     Ocean Vuong     Charles Wright     Matthew Zapruder     and many more….

Here's a link to a post about the making of the cento, An Iris for Hillary: Poetry Meets Tarot Synchronicity: Crafting Centos and Leaning On Your Beloveds.

Heart Fig by Robyn Beattie
Next Poetry Class: SDWI

My next class poetry class runs on Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 10-12 noon at San Diego Writers, Ink, on the theme of Museums. We write a bit on the spot and then dive deep workshopping one another’s poems. I send you home with submission targets and a worksheet loaded with exercises to keep you busy until we meet the following month. 

Drop-ins welcome; bring a friend! What better way to get to know someone, friend or lover? Come on out, put our class on your map as your first ever poetry date. To sign up, more information here: Second Saturdays: Poetry Draft, Craft, Submit!

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