Poetry Files. Loathe, Love, Lathe. Alain Ginsberg. What is in a name?

Loathe, Love, Lathe
Alain Ginsberg
What is in a name?

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet:
And what makes a rose but petals and a stem?
Water to make it grow or water to make it die,
To drown or dehydrate is the same by any other name
And no one asks what a rose’s parents would say if they
Chose to be a lily or peony or hydrangea and death by any name
is still finality or the beginning of something entirely new
and I hope at my funeral no one asks if my parents meant for this
when I do not know if they even meant to make this mess
that I blossomed into, and what makes a rose but petals and a stem?
Thorns and I do so forget about violence until my blood is out
Again and I am trying my best not to see myself as a heap but
What is my name except something to wear?

Continue reading “Poetry Files. Loathe, Love, Lathe. Alain Ginsberg. What is in a name?”

Four Questions with Lucy. A. Evans ( @pixietruffle )

Lucy A. Evans

1. Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)

I’m Lucy. A. Evans, a 47 year old poet from rural mid-Devon. I started writing poetry as a hobby in 2013 as a way of reversing years of having develped a polysyllabic and dusty prosaic dialect that suited the haughty academic pursuits of my twenties and thirties. I’d hoped it would help me become a good fiction writer, but I fell in love with poetry and have no immediate desire to write anything else.
I tend to write about unfairness. One way or another, most of my writing is about how brutally unjust the world has been to me and the best of the poeple that I know. I write about my quarter of the human condition from within that framework. My poems are about how I react to injustice and how I’ve been unwittingly unfair in my life to significant others. My sexuality, my battles with all forms of conformity – gender included, my fights for others, my ongoing tirade against human beings letting their gut bacteria speak for them, all of these themes are ultimately about unfairness.
In a previous guise, as PIxie Truffle, I performed burlesque and later standup. I tend to tart up my writing with a little flamboyant wit. All injustice and no comedy makes my world a dreich place to hang out.

2. What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?

Self promotion is on my mind right now. I had promised to go scooting around the country promoting my pamphlet this year. We’re in March and I’ve hardly been anywhere. This is largely due to a bad turn of health. The same has led me to deactivating Facebook for an unspecificed amount of time. I remain on Twitter. I find the latter is equally febrile at times but less obnoxious in its familiarity and therefore easier for me to remain unaffected by the hideous urge to scroll myself into crisis. Last time I did this with Facebook, I was away for three years. This time, it will be days only. Ultimately, I have entered into an agreement to promote myself. For that I need my author platform. Ideally promoting and writing are a part of the same process and ought to be fairly organic. Would that anxiety didn’t exist.

3. What projects are you working on at present?

I set myself a one, three, and five year target in May last year at the behest of my then mentor Wendy Pratt. By the back end of that month I had surpassed my three year target, when Eyewear publishing Ltd accepted my pamphlet submission. So this year I’m going to concentrate on my one year goal from last year which is to pepper journal submissions and start to build an author reputation. I was named by Bunbury magazine as one of the best kept secrets in poetry last year. That’s only because I came at poetry with impatience and with too much early ambition. Being accepted for a pamphlet from someone as magnificent as Eyewear was incredible given my lack of a publishing history. It made me have to grow up fast as a writer. Wendy helped me do that. So now I feel it’s appropriate to do things the right way.

4. What does poetry mean to you?

Imagine three poets in a snooker hall. I’m one of them, Scout Bolton is another and Dean Rhetoric is the third. He’s been watching me and Scout push balls around the table for an hour now. As snooker players, we make great poets. Nevertheless we are down to the last three colours; blue, pink, and black. I am first up. Dean is flabbergasted to discover that by some quirk of the universe, he’s able to to see when I line up to hit the blue. He’s amazed to discover that I perceive blue the way he perceives pink. That is to say, the sensation I experience when I see blue is identical to the one he has when he looks at pink. Naturally I fluff my stroke and Scout steps up to pot the same ball. The same oddness of happenstance occurs again to Dean. He suddenly sees through Scout’s eyes and determines that she experiences the colour blue as the same sensation that Dean has when he looks at black. I see colour of the ball as he sees pink; Scout sees it as he sees black. Heaven only knows what I would see through Scout’s eyes or through Dean.
So, what is the colour of the ball we are trying to pot? The answer is, of course, blue. It scarely matters what we see, it only matters what we agree to call that idiosyncratic phenomeological experience of the colour of the ball. It’s therefore possible, nay likely, that we all perceive everything completely uniquely.
Take for example this sentence: I put my foot on the chair. Name all of the differnt types of chair that there are? Also, I have two feet, or possibly I own a severed limb of someone else. It’s a near impossibility to convey exactly what it means for me to put my foot on the chair. But you don’t need to know all the details. It’s enough I know I put my foot on the chair to understand the meaning. Language is a game of truncation.
Language is also appallingly utilitarian. It has to be. Poetry takes that drab functionality and offers a way into experiencing the phenomenon of each writers unique world, as closely as possible given the limits of the language. It does this despite the utility of functional language. Whereas prose tends to rely on the utility of truncated archtypes. Using poetry we make a new world. Prose constructs what’s already there.
But the act of construction is madness itself. Sidestepping the obvious to let people in, in language leads to momentary insanity. Often times it’s horrific and it’s beautiful at the same time. I’m talking of the writing process, of course. At least, it’s this way for me. I should add to this, that it therefor becomes an enormous honour to be let into a poet’s world. You’re literally recieving an invitation to construct a fragment of their consciousness from within the laboratory of your own. How beautiful is that?


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Poetry Files. TW. Our Own Soft. Katie Clark. Cinnamon Whiskey.

Our Own Soft
Katie Clark
Cinnamon Whiskey

everyone told me the winter would be bad but
no one said it would be cold all of the time.

it hasn’t been over forty degrees in over five months
and the lake keeps freezing and thawing and i’m less for it.

for now, it’s 10pm and twenty degrees and my friends are all smoking
cigarettes shirtless outside for the second night in a row.

it seems unfair now to live the life i wanted at fourteen,
but here we are.

my 9th grade self keeps drunk texting me things like
“get home safe,” and “can you buy me fireball,” and

i can see her sitting cross-legged in a circle in someone’s
upstairs bedroom in borrowed pajamas with a red cup

and someone is telling them all what it was like to
have sex with a boy named jack or rob and

she’s asking me what it’s like but i’d rather her remember it
this way: small, but significant and eventual.

i don’t want to tell her what’s coming, that the first time
will scar because she won’t say yes, that it won’t be

the last time, that sometimes it’s not fact, it’s
whoever gets there first and says their version louder.

she shouldn’t have to know that sometimes it’s not fair to
have a body, that no one tells you how to know

whether or not you wanted it if you didn’t scream or push,
that sometimes the absence of yes is a dry mouth.

i don’t want her to see this part, but she has to
to know why the time by the water mattered so much

the river salt and that kind mouth. right now,
i don’t think she knows it won’t be jack or rob,

that it will be those long smooth legs draped over
our lap like folded laundry on a Tuesday morning, simple and

happening. this will be the real start.
soon, she’ll know how love will make her unknown to herself

and she will be glad for it, grateful. everything will change
and it will end, and it won’t, and she’ll live.

but for now, i say, “thank you,” and “no,”
kiss her goodnight.

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