Sundry Strings

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed this week (a hundred emails and bucket of envelopes every day will do that to you), so while there are plenty of things I’ve wanted to post about — including our new Poet Laureate, who I love even though I think it’s about damn time for Marvin Bell to get the nod — I just haven’t had the energy.

One of the things I wanted to talk about was the reading the other night, which reminded me that there is no such thing as poetry — there are only poetries, and just because we all string our lines on a page and read melodramatically, that doesn’t mean we’re all pursuing the same beast.

Another thing is the poetic gimmick and one of my favorite books from ’07, Matthea Harvey’s Modern Life.

Another thing is a really short essay by Tony Hoagland on poetic obsession, and man how I wish I still had one.

And there are other things, too, but my to-do list for today includes reading the 92 submissions that have piled up in the email “possibilities” queue, which means something like 380 poems that are worth paying attention to.  So for now, one reminder, and a neat note.

Reminder:  The deadline for the 2008 Rattle Poetry Prize is two weeks from today.  So if you’re sitting on your hands trying to decide what to send, the clock is ticking, my friend.  August 1st is a postmark deadline, but it’s not like April 15th, and the post offices aren’t going to stay open till midnight just for us.  Maybe next year.

Neat Note:  One of our poems became a meme last weekend, running through a few social networking sites, so that in the space of 72 hours more than 18,000 people read Brett Myhren’s “Telemarketer“.  Judging by the comments, most weren’t self-ascribed “poetry fans,” but were moved nonetheless.  It’s a deceptively simple poem, speaking to a whole host of hard-to-describe emotions we all feel as we hunt for intimacy in the new world.  Who says there isn’t a place for poetry within it?

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