THIS IS PROBABLY THE WORST TIME-
to launch a Substack. We have three new poetry titles at our fresh squeezed lemonade stand and also Ashley Cowger’s wild collection of short stories On the Plus Side. And we’re warming the wax to bind three others by Matthew Graham, Camille Newsom (debut chapbook!), and Suzanne Burns.
I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT LANGUAGE DISTURBANCE BECAUSE..
as someone who calls their dad on mother’s day, I love contrary language. How it disrupts expectation and adds one layer of texture. But as Lear says to Fool, contradiction and juxtaposition are not irony. What Hamlet was trying to say is that there’s still another six layers to build into the poem or story.
And it’s cheating to use plot for texture, although exciting at times. But I am talking about language. Those August insects are singing for love. They are living and singing and dying for love’s mad pilgrimage.
Yes, mad pilgrimage is a reference to Tennessee Williams’ letter to his crush. I’ve been thinking how fiction is to nonfiction the way that poetry is to theater. There’s the whole three-quarter profile thing where one line doesn’t lose its connection with the other lines while still letting the reader make personal eye contact with it. There are troubling lines that upstage (or downstage) other lines. There’s definitive motion as a way to imply motive and urgency. You know, walk running or write running while wheeling your arms.
You can read my essay Auditioning for Your Next Poem as soon as I finish living it.
Thank you for the love,