Thanks, everyone, for your positive responses to yesterday’s post, both online and off! I’m happy I could help generate such a conversation!
To clarify: The post was partially tongue-in-cheek, and the name of the awards was supposed to be silly and over-the-top. The $20 award was absurdly low by design. My point is this: If we feel the range of national awards or in-print anthologies doesn’t fully represent the communities of poetry we love, we, as editors and readers and poets, have the right to create new awards. And the prestige they receive is a function not only of the creator’s proclamation, but the degree to which they reflect contemporary poetry’s range and vibrancy. I’m certainly not uniquely qualified to create such awards or anthologies, but I will—that part of my post wasn’t ironic. You could create one too, just as David did several years ago when he started Best American Poetry. There was a need then—one that still exists today—except that today, there are so many more publishing poets.
I was also serious about nominations—please continue to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks to everyone who sent names and titles to me already! For the official 2011 winners, please see the Coconut website and/or facebook page sometime around the end of January.
Back to Coconut, I can now reveal one more secret: We’ll also be publishing Serena Chopra’s first full-length collection in 2013! Serena’s chapbook Penumbra is due out any day from Flying Guillotine. Here’s a poem from it, called “Force and Stress”:
Force is that which stole your saw and tasseled its blade from my throat—a change in motion— stationary objects are unproductive. From everyday experience you know that if a door is stuck (stationary), you apply force to open it (get it in motion). To apply motion towards reset, structural geologists use the term stress, or the amount of you I find parched in my edges. The magnitude of stress is not simply fibrous. Not wild flower bouquets to hidden blades. Not the mystery of the purpose of depending on skin. Not to keep you out. The magnitude of stress is not simply us, but also relates to this door. Locked edges. For example, if you are walking barefoot on the beach, your feet lifting and folding sand, the weight resets the water’s fine composition of her shell-bits and fossil. However, if she would not let you sigh into her welcoming edges, if she clawed you from the shore and made you tread— You’d spit in her hair. Or journey to her gut and stomp up phantom clouds of dust.
Now about me: My most recent book, Reveal, is just about read to go to the printer and will be available at the Coconut/Bloof booth at AWP. Please pick up a copy? SPD will have it too—hopefully by early spring. I’m also finishing up my next manuscript, Change Machine, which will have two sections: “Heads” and “Tails.” I plan to submit it to publishers just after New Year. Anyone interested in looking at a copy when it’s ready?
Also, Reb Livingston just posted “Black Friday Weekend” prices on No Tell Books, including mine (and hers, and Lea Graham’s new book, and all the others).
Also, I ran into Gina Myers a couple of hours ago at Criminal Records, a terrific Atlanta independent cd store. Is it true that cds will soon no longer be made? Wouldn’t that put an end to the artistry (visual/object and conceptual) of the album? Will all music be reduced to singular points, released as each song is produced? Will everything, including books, dissolve into the netherweb? I love technology, but—as was discussed recently elsewhere on this blog—I tremble at the potential loss of the physical book. & music that can be exchanged from hand to hand.
Special thanks to Jamie Iredell, Heather Christle, and Brandi Homan, who haven’t received as much space as I’d planned to give them this week. Lots of others too—it’s such a great time to be a poet.
Thank you, readers, for this week, which has been really magical for me. Most of all, thanks again to David and Stacey for this chance to share my thoughts.