Friday, August 12, 2016

Rejection Cento #2 (The Adroit Journal)

Prose Poem Refraction of Peter LaBerge's Poetic Taste, Summer 2016

I was stuck in the promise of forgetting that comes / like the first figs of the season. / My I was impossible & so was / its new fallen shape, / having fled the monasteries / of the wrong thought, / with every kind of name for hope, or luck or pleasure / calling, that I would be called, and that the call  / (call it a map, / measured in polarity, the game of mockery in a final yes or no) / it sounds like you’re saying home. Home, yes. I long ago abandoned the notion / to nowhere. Afraid to move, afraid  / the point of imagining yourself / here is orbiting a knowing. My beard has / but to gather all the terrible selves and minutes, white shirt unbuttoned like a thesis, / hovering over each for an answer. / I won’t wait for the remembering to start / out into the restless, changeable world. / I reach my hand in the lake / & the cave flooded with never. / Each small interruption, I savor. / Nettles in a puddle of water / in the light. Hundreds of miles away, / weathered glass in the creek—how one time / the time it was—that shadow geography / over a dim creek bed. Everything looks blue to make it worth the work ahead. / Beneath the canopy, I lose my sense of direction. / The feeling was of being beyond. / Like the sky I’ve been too quiet? Everyone’s forgotten I’m here? I’ve tried all the usual tricks? / And doing it again (?)  / I’ll tell you what your “about” shall be, / punctuation turning sense to query— fallacy from my mouth. This is a sacrificial act. Always / stupid, they’ll say. These useless maps. Goddamn sun, question why, again and again, / burning is never a metaphor, not even for itself, / and place a mirror beside me.  

Note: At times, I have changed the punctuation of these lines (one from every poem in issue 17 of The Adroit Journal), but I have not changed the words themselves. If we don't have punctuation as a minimal, interpretative happenstance of subjectivity, then what do we have?  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I'm Doing "Rejection" Centos! (The First One Included Here)

I've recently been through a large stretch of rejections (we've all been there, right?), so I figured I'd do something productive instead of stewing about it. I decided to make a cento (one of these) with one line from every poem published in the online journals I've submitted to.

All art (and all art appreciation) is subjective, as the saying goes, but there are of course rubrics, expectations, political concerns, nepotism, cosmic alignments (karma?), etc, that effect the choice of what gets published and what doesn't. Skill is a consideration, sure, but I don't think it's safe to wager that craftsmanship counts for more than 1/2 of the reason to publish something. A lot of it comes down to editorial highlight, i.e., what an editor wants to showcase for whatever reason vs. something else. Which isn't bad, really, just...problematic.

Is this all because I feel somewhat slighted that none of poems were chosen? Partially, of course! I wouldn't be a writer if I didn't feel slighted that my precious work isn't precious to others!

And yet the problem remains: subjective fields of vision persist in all editorial/curatorial situations. So to shed some (subjective) light on editorial practices of certain journals which have little oversight (this basically means that very few people are involved in deciding what to publish and there isn't much/little connection to a larger institution, like a university [though of course university-linked/established journals probably stick too much in general to an established, even somewhat antiquated sense of what makes "quality" writing--but that's a concern for another day]), I'm doing these centos. And I promise to each protester ahead of time: this is in no way, shape, or form an indictment on any poet or editor in any journal I' m making these centos from. I wouldn't even be submitting if I didn't generally appreciate much of what they publish.

Anyway, if you've gotten this far and still care to see the little salad I've made out of stolen crops, read on.

This first one is from Sixth Finch. Since the issue was published so quickly, I was able to make a cento quickly after the rejection. The poems the lines are taken from are linked to each line below, if you can't tell because of something with your computer/device.

Refraction of Rob MacDonald’s Poetic Taste, Summer 2016

in the habit of helping everyone  

how clear how exactly nothing

(Perhaps more to come? We all love making a soup of failure, right?)