Thanks for Reading

Hello Readers,

My stance on poetry has always been an emphasis on words rather than works. The words drive the motion of human empathy, not the poet and certainly not the poetic persona. It was with that in mind that I sign all my poems ECW, rather than my full name. In a sense the initials represented a version of anonymous that I could use to separate the words, my poems, from the works, my ego. In doing so I felt I granted them a sense of freedom from myself, an otherwise fatally young unpublished novice of the trade.

It has been almost a year since I granted this site its own domain name, a stray burst of ego I felt the poems deserved. I retired the original “ACallToVerse” blog in favor of a more extemporaneous name, a name that would be effortless and rooted in value. The change paid off.  I went from 13 followers (many of them duplicate emails and ex-boyfriends) to over 100 friends and strangers, many of you poets and artists yourselves. The great joy of your company has both inspired me to write with more gusto and attend to the website with more care. Without you I would be simply a quiet light in a bright city.

I told myself I would need to write an ‘About the Author’ page on the once I got 100 followers. I now have over 100 and I have procrastinated and waited to find the right words. So while I endeavor to craft some kind of personal statement, I first wanted to say thanks for reading. Your participation in this site has given me hope for the present and future of poetry, and for that I am eternally, digitally grateful.

About the Author Page coming soon.

Until then, here’s a picture of me in a teacup. (My fiancé and I just had a whirlwind day-trip to Disneyland)

IMG_1920       IMG_1922

(I’m all squinty, it was rather sunny)

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Poem 143

The Sum: Our Tangled Quarks

She sat straight up scolding—

I don’t need a man to have a baby

and it was so violent—just then

So much hate I felt seared to hear her justice

Divorce, single mother, two sisters

She hadn’t needed a man for anything {y}et

Even //sex{x}// the carnal compromise: science

rendered a sham. I can be who I am,

without a man

and fill the school halls with pupils

all of them genderless and skirted.

When did we get so angry—when did our wombs

sound the siren cry for justice. For mother-ness

In the infinite fatherless; our almighty insolence.

Together, a single entity, inseparably strong—

for without: the remainder of mother sans father—Was god.

I am no idol // no creator of life undaunted.

I {reclined to disagree} needed someone, everyday

to catalog my minutia, to record my human incidents.

someone every/day to suggest pizza for dinner—

movies-on-demand—someone, who would

pry when I stumbled in headlong-midnight

fear the worst when I pocket-vetoed voicemails.

I needed someone, who so happened to be a | man.

But it was quantum randomness that suggested us

together; an epiphany of skin that bound our nuclei.

And for that I was never angry

—ECW

Poem 142

thoughts on adoption

So graciously they came to flight

the hopeful helpless thunder feet

a wonder peril of sweetest destiny—

Hush the yellow breath of youth.

My mother was a dandelion;

a child of spring who—white tipped—

fall time scattered her loveliness a-gail.

& we were seed babies, the loneliest

of kinfolk. Trilling about in the southbound

winds, propellors. By night we

saught the dog star,

untangled leo’s mane,

unbuckled orion’s belt.

& we were happy—to be swept away

by high breezes / to root ourselves

amid gardens, beside blessed blooms

our hearts cracked open to reveal

a green gnawing to grow & like the mums

among us we were trimmed / pruned / fertilized.

But I wonder of my mother—a capricious weed.

If someday too I’ll flock my seeds

to be forgotten.

—ECW

Poem 141

We overcame our mothers

when we were sixteen and without child.

I watched the summers flutter on

A luna moth counting myself lucky

to hit the bulb again and again

to fall away unscathed once more—

We overcame our mothers.

In the back truck-beds of red

Pick-up grinds, where we bade

The same prayers and were protected.

Then we grew up—suddenly,

I was tonguing baby names

Out of joy instead of dread.

I am grateful, for us, to be twenty

To be hopeful for our wombs

To be lovely and plump with miracle.

We overcame our mothers; I hardly

felt the triumph, barely knew the ruse

that when we overcame our mothers,

we lost the our sovereign youth

—ECW

Bookmaking: Titling Your Collection

 

Books

My biggest struggle in creating the book was the title. What would I call such a massive representation of self? I had been tongueing several poems in a chapbook for submissions, which I was calling With Skepticism, but that was not a fair representation of me, nor was it a good reference for poems that might be several years old. I wanted something that would be good for all levels, something complex enough to carry the collection yet simple enough to give instant recognition.

I chose Lucid Dreaming.

Then I looked into the steps of lucid dreaming and bent them to be more pleasing to the eye. Those became the 10 chapter headings that made the sections for the work.

You could choose anything: The stages of a tree, the layers of the earth, the counties in your home-state, obscure eras of history, types of birdcages, parts of the hand. Anything. As long as it gives a representation of your writing. And not just your poems.

Once there, revisit that list. I talked about this a little last time, but this is where you get to really tackle those poems. I placed my ten title pages on the list, giving each section about 5-6 poems. Remember you will need blank pages and title pages too. That mapped out the space for me.

Since the document is all mixed up (to allow for signatures) you will need to determine what goes on each page ahead of time to keep everything in order (if you don’t care, skip this step—randomness is next to godliness).

The title was important because it was me. It was everything I was writing about, it was all represented in some way. The darkness, the silliness, the bright and the obscure. I could find a niche for all my oddities, which helped me organize the poems later.

Why title?

Well, there’s nothing wrong with ‘collected poems’ but it feels old-worldly, post-humus and serious. If that represents you, then sure. But if not, then take this opportunity to control your work.

In this space I talk a lot about poet-intent and authorial-control. When the poem is in the universe, all control is forfeit. We know that. There aren’t posters featuring your work with a sound bite of you yelling from a speaker box to help the readers understand. You are meaningless, and so is your intended takeaway. So act with intent now. Edit! Revise! Swap with a Friend! and please, above all, Title! Title your work, title your collections, title so that we know you didn’t forget to.

Titles are like underwear.

Yes, you can go out without them and have a pretty good day, but they make you feel better and have been proven to be pretty hygienic. If you never wear underwear, you may want to consider a lifestyle change, if you always wear weird underwear with complicated ribbons and bows and bells and charms you may want to consider a career change (just kidding). But seriously, they are important, titles anyway.

Titles:

Set the tone,

Focus the content.

Aid in understanding

Polish the look of a piece,

Address the reader indirectly

Give a starting point

(and last but not least)

Allow for the addition of information that either did not fit in the piece or does not belong in the piece as it stands.

We see this all the time, poems that are made better (or worse) by a title that has nothing to do with the poem. But for better or worse we are in tune more with the content now that we have been gifted with the insight.

Poems that are stellar with their titles:

“this is just to say”

“in a station of the metro” – which makes the couplet into a haiku

“the love song of j Alfred prufrock”

—I’m a bit of a postmodernist, but the list goes on. Even Whitman’s “Song of Myself” which could not have been edited more or contain more contend, was improved with the title.

I’ll conclude this rant with a thought. Poems titled or not, are you comfortable with your life’s (so far) work being summed up with a generic verb like collected or selected? If not, then title things now, when you can, and when you are long gone and famous, people will honor you with the words you chose to designate yourself, paying respect to your authorial intent.

Keep Writing and I’ll be back soon for more on the bookmaking process!