Posts Tagged ‘poem’

You should read this: Hallelujah for 50ft Women

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Content note: discussion of sex essentialism.

If you know me at all, then you know I like a good women-only space. I’m currently teaching on the brilliant all-female fiction writing course Write Like A Grrrl!; Making It Home was an almost entirely all-female endeavour; and although I love working with folks of all genders, there’s something a bit special about getting a room full of self-identifying women together and seeing what they can achieve.

For that reason, I am pretty excited to have a poem in the brand new Bloodaxe anthology Hallelujah for 50ft Women, which is edited by the [in]famous female performance troupe Raving Beauties. It’s a pretty stunning looking book, as I’m sure you’ll agree — I’m loving the purple colour, and the typefaces!

The theme of the book is ‘women talking about their relationship(s) with their bodies,’ and my poem, ‘High School,’ is kind of about body dysmorphia, kind of about female competition, but also kind of about the fact that I knew a bunch of really bitchy girls when I was a teenager. I was pretty gobsmacked that it got picked, and even more gobsmacked when I saw it included alongside such truly legendary poets as Lucille Clifton, Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, Sharon Olds and Grace Nichols. Also in there are Warsan Shire, who’s everywhere at the moment and seemingly exceptionally cool, and Patricia Lockwood, of the brilliant — and mega-viral — poem Rape Joke.

I’d really encourage you to buy this book for the truly wide-ranging variety of poetic voices therein. The poets in here are some talented women and their work deserves reading. However, I feel I must apologise to my trans, genderqueer and non-binary friends for some of the content from the introduction. I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be read as essentialism, but I did feel a bit queasy about the “all women have c*nts” overtones in there. I mean, yay for female bodies, and yay let’s not be squeamish about them! But had it been my introduction to write? I’d've been underlining the important fact that not all women’s bodies look or behave in the same ways, or have the same bits.

Happily, I believe the poems themselves make it only too clear that women’s bodies are all different, and all awesome — in fact, they’re awesome in their differentness to one another. Have a read! You might well discover a new favourite female poet!

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Featured Poem, ‘When There Is No Other Way,’ by Melissa Fry Beasley

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

top of the world

When There Is No Other Way

I have come
with the same heat
as the sun,
same cold as emptiness.
I am those before me.
This soil is my ancestors
and I am made of secrets,
things we become
when the light has gone.
Black and blue
like butterflies on fingertips
or birds eating some dead thing.
Men are made of consequence.
The world will give you reproaches,
but not relief.
We have risen from that
fearful bed,
the slime of it
clinging to us still.
Strong hands will close
reluctantly into fists
when there is no other way.

Melissa Fry Beasley is a Cherokee poet, artist, and activist from Oklahoma. She is proud to have red dirt running through her veins. She is the Literary Editor of Churn: an art, music, & fashion magazine. You can find her work in print and online in numerous publications including Indian Country Today, Working Effectively With Aboriginal People, Big River Poetry Review, Dog On A Chain Press, Yareah Magazine, and others. She has a blog at http://melissafrybeasley.wordpress.com/, and you can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, ‘Fun With Therapy’ by Heather Bell

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

self-ish

Fun With Therapy

The problem with poets is we like
to sound more interesting than we
are. The poet goes to therapy and says
she has been skinning herself

alive. How interesting! How probable and
dark! The poet writes long letters

to the therapist in which she says

her skills are in high demand, such as

tilting men, finger to head, toppling
them over. Poets like to take it too
far,

disease themselves. No one is ever truly

that lonely, the therapist tells
her. The poet

writes a list of possibilities: tomb
herself into

the house like a pharaoh, disappear. The
moon

is a supermarket, she says. The cat
refuses to come
home. How beautiful and weird! How
humble of

her to acknowledge she has gone off the
deep end,

so early in the game. Here she sees a
sky of clouds in the blot. There she
sees knuckles and a wad of flesh. The
therapist evaluates

the situation like it is a police report:
woman’s face is a tight shiny surface of
worry. Woman’s hands keep moving over
this disappointment. Woman

says she hasn’t told the truth for years
and we have to believe her.

Heather Bell’s work has been published in Rattle, Grasslimb, Barnwood, Poets/Artists, Third Wednesday and many others. She was nominated for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize from Rattle and also won the New Letters 2009 Poetry Prize. Heather has also published four books. Any more details can be found here: http://hrbell.wordpress.com

Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, ‘Most Fateful Day: A Ghazal’, by Susan Chast

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Autumn Apples

Most Fateful Day: A Ghazal

A hiss echoed from its spiked tongue and you thought
That the snake had not lied to you in word and in thought?

Watch it slide away and take the apple along too
Neither giving it to you nor to God as we thought

Your tell-tale teeth marks are in it too, along with my own—
Seeing our DNA together, the snake will know that you thought

We’d be together in Eden or in jail and– no matter how much
We pay for it–happiness follows this ability to have thought.

But doubt is quite difficult. I liked it much better
When fate was determined and we need not have thought

About all of the options, the leaves of the trees, whether
To beat you or to love you. I wish I had thought

This before, dear Lady, I opened my mouth to your pleases
And caresses and most seductive scatterings of thought.

Susan Chast’s work has been workshopped at dVersePoets and Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. One of her poems was recently published in the first issue of Nain Rouge Magazine. She blogs at Susan’s Poetry, and you can find out a bit more about her in this interview at Poets United.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, ‘Pre-Genesis’ by Daniel Dowe

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Secret Garden

Pre-Genesis

Seven grey and rainy days
And no one to say It is good.
The backyard smells swampy
The mosquitoes are forming posses
And sunlight sends postcards saying
Wish you were here.
Meanwhile we wait for a change
For brighter and clearer and knowing.
These days, though, do fit my waiting mood.
For waiting is neither light nor dark
But somewhere in between
A dim room before the switch
The refrigerator as the door unsticks
The filled mailbox while the hinge squeaks.
Answers and arrivals have strong color—are vivid and loud
But waiting is like these seven grey and rainy days
And now I invite the sunshine and the changes in,
So God and I can say, Let there be light.
And my mud is like Adam’s, ready for a bite of knowledge.

Daniel Dowe is a high school English teacher with a Ph.D. in English and American Literature. He is from a big family. He likes old movies and red wine and talking.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, ‘King Water’ by Kevin Cadwallender

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

River Clyde in New Lanark

King Water

King Water opens himself
Tips his transparency into the day
Doodles a river on the landscape
Blots lakes and spills oceans.

Apologising for his absence
In desert and in drought,
Offers no explanations
His smile dangerous,
Tidal, sweeps us away.

Greeted like a god
He takes our worship,
Our need, and ignores it.

Moving off ,
Head in a cloud.
His memory only
Returning when he is gone.

He takes us for granted
And we take him if we can.

Kevin Cadwallender is an enigma wrapped up in a mystery except on the days when he is a puzzle shrouded by questions. He lives and writes in Edinburgh often at the same time. Google him!

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!
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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured Poem, ‘Breadth’ by Michael Conley

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Ocean Sky

Breadth

After the air miles
have all unravelled
behind you
and you have settled
into your new country,
visit the coast.

Crouch barefoot
at the shoreline
and lower both hands
into the water
until your fingertips
are eight small sea stacks.

Imagine me
doing the same
until the ocean
that separates us
has become an object
that we are both holding:

a new blue bedsheet
that we are unfolding
together in your room.
Watch the waves
bunching dutifully
about your ankles:

each one is an echo
of my beckoning
arms

Michael Conley is a 27 year old teacher from Manchester. He is currently in the final year of an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has been published in a variety of magazines, including Cadaverine, Sentinel, Bewilderbliss and Words Dance. Favourite writers and influences include Kurt Vonnegut, Selima Hill, Elizabeth Bishop and John Berryman.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem, “Casebook” by Roddy Shippin

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

red carpet

Casebook

The last king, by the entrails of the last priest, in the conservatory.

The speaking clock, by the candlestick, in the director’s cut.

The bull, by the horns, in the china shop.

My honey, by the light of the silvery moon, in June.

The mourner, by the waters of Babylon, in high tide.

The hospital, by the Conservative, in the bill.

The author, by the post-structuralist, in the library.

Roddy Shippin is a young (though greying) Edinburgh-based writer/call centre lackey. He’s had poems on the Poetry Scotland Open Mouse and a handful of stones, as well as various incarnations of the St Andrews student writing society (Inklight) journal. He probably spends more time thinking about snooker than is technically necessary.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured poem: ‘My Granddad Buries King at Souter Lighthouse’, by Jake Campbell

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Souter Lighthouse

My Granddad Buries King at Souter Lighthouse

I can see him pulling
up at Souter. Beam
of the lighthouse scanning
the bonnet of his Escort Estate
as he opened the boot, lifted out
the rug-rolled corpse, delicate
as a pile of firewood.

Wellying the spade
into the grass, I imagine others
passing along Coast Road
after nightshifts
and engagements in car parks
will have seen him:
mosquito to England’s neckline.

The radio might have been on,
the passenger door ajar as ‘Golden Brown’
sprinkled out of the stereo.
Three feet down, he’ll have wiped
his brow with a shirt sleeve,
dug the spade in like a flag-pole,
lifted the corpse of King
into a pore
of earth.

Refilling the hole would have been
the easy part, the headstone
the problem. Rolling the rock
over the mud blemish, he must have cursed
the stupid mutt for dying

Back in his car, slipping the gearbox
into third as he growled up Lizard Lane,
the sun opening over the North Sea
like a tangerine, he’ll have begun singing:
‘Golden brown, texture like sun,
lays me down with my mind; he runs…’

Jake Campbell was born in South Shields in 1988. His debut pamphlet of poetry, Definitions of Distance, is due from Red Squirrel Press in May. Last year, he won the Andrew Waterhouse Award from New Writing North and graduated from the University of Chester with distinction for his Creative Writing MA. Having thus far avoided the ‘real world’ (whatever or wherever that is), he tries to present the semblance of being a professional writer in order to keep his parents off his back. Follow him trying to do that at: jakecampbell1988.blogspot.co.uk

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!