11.02.2006

Bright Sides

I want to take a moment to look on the bright side.

The bright side is where I spend most of my time. Although I can be a bit of a complainer and I do feel obligated to shed light on inequality, I think it's now as important as ever to remind myself and others that there is a bright side, and it's a good one.

We've blogged a lot about the problems in the poetry world, particularly in terms of publishing and the ethics involved. It's true that these discussions are important and necessary to have, yes. I'm not negating anything that has been already explored or expressed in these posts, but I want to remember that there are people out there doing amazing work and helping other artists get their work into the world.

And ultimately, shouldn't this be our goal? To create and support as many new and emerging voices as we possibly can? Aren't our lives made richer by the diversity of expression in American poetry rather than the limitations of its reach? Yes. We should constantly decry the inappropriate, the unjust, and the unworthy, but there is equal responsibility for us to celebrate th innovative, the outreaching, and the up-and-coming.

So leave a comment and tell me about a fantatic book you've read by a new author, or a great journal you think is lifting off and making a difference, or a press pursuing new work of value—whatever that means—and look on the bright side with me.

13 comments:

  1. Chances are, I'll buy anything with Stacey Waite's work in it.

    I'll second the need for some words from the brigher side.

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  2. I admit to be biased because he's my friend, but I heartily recommend Robert Thomas's Dragging the Lake.

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  3. A writer who I'm dying to read now is Frannie Lindsay. Her books are Lamb and Where She Always Was. I saw her read here, and I was riveted. I have never felt so uncomfortable (in a good way) at a reading in my life as I did during hers...I didn't have any cash on me at the time or I would have bought the books then...

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  4. I enthusiastically recommend A Public Space. I picked up the second issue last week, and every page--the poetry, the fiction, the essays, the artwork--is worth looking at. I'd say more than that, but my daughter suddenly needs the computer for a book report. (She recommends the Junie B. Jones series.)

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  5. "Into the Wild" is a great story I'm reading about discovery of the human soul in the soul of the world.

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  6. Montgomery, that book kept me up nights & inspired me something fierce to pick up my pen & write. I'd love to hear what you think of it.

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  7. Hi Charles: great idea!

    I'd like to mention a terrific poem, "Roadside Special" by Betsy Ratallack, a poet I had never heard of, in BAP 2006 (gasp!). She was born in 1957 and published her first poem in 2004. The piece in BAP is about all the junk cars and boats her husband collects, and it is just a hoot. I hope she will have a book soon.

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  8. Enter Invisible, by Catherine Wing.

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  9. My Other Life by Tony Gloeggler (Jane Street Press)

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  10. I always--always--teach chapbooks in my fall poetry classes. The students (most of them) have never heard of chapbooks before, and I love turning them on to a range of fresh new writers. And Charlie, I can't wait to get a copy of your new chap: are you going to post an order form or something? Soon?

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  11. Kate Greenstreet's case sensitive is an amazing book -- one of the highlights of my reading this year. And her series of first book interviews has been consistently interesting online reading. Daisy Fried's work I'm happy to have read this year too.

    To follow up on Ron's comment, I'm also really excited by the quality (in both the writing and the production) of the chapbooks being published by so many small presses. I know this isn't a new development, but I just got hip to it this year, it seems....

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  12. Josh Bell is a great poet--which is kind of a known fact, since _No Planets Strike_ has been out for a while now. (You haven't read it? Read it.) His new work is kicking ass as well, even if it isn't making the official rounds yet.

    Seconds on Frannie Lindsay, whose poems (and greyhounds) make me smile even in the abstract reference.

    I don't know either person beyond having fallen in love with the work, and following up accordingly. I feel very lucky that the online poetry community allows those kind of connections to happen.

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  13. Charles, sorry to jump in sort of sideways here, commenting on comments, but I have to agree with Montgomery and Erin about Into the Wild, it has remained heavily in my thoughts since I read it. You might consider following it up with Elizabeth Gilbert's The Last American Man. I am taken with the idea that we physically need to be in natural surroundings, at least for periods of time, to be well and restore ourselves.

    - Kelly in Nebraska

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