I heard about a professional poet who was fired for her poetic rumination on the irrelevance of poetry the other day. I didn’t dig too deeply into the full story; I wanted to avoid taking away from the poetry of that brut fact—a profession, arguably founded on the two-faced angst of expression, closing ranks when foundational angst is expressed, does feel pretty two-faced, to me. The clickbait writes itself: from rumination to ruination—and you won’t believe what happened next.Wild Words, HEQ #5 (Read more…)
This is a piece that came to me in a flash a couple of days after I saw that tweet and a couple of days before Gabi’s deadline for the fall issue of Hex Enduction Quarterly, whose poetic theme (“back to school”) I’d known about since the summer but did not think I had much to say about; I was pretty sure I was skipping this cycle too, just like I skipped the summer cycle.
I’d reached out to Gabi after attending a public reading she’d organized for HEQ-affiliated and adjacent writers at Hing Hay Park a couple of days before my birthday–a classical time to think about one’s place in the order of things. I took a zine and felt inspired, so I wrote to HEQ to tell them as much. Gabi encouraged me to share my stuff.
I sent her the link to the section of this website where that piece now lives and her response was delightful: “I enjoyed my foray through both your sites and felt uncertain and intrigued, which is a good thing.”
Uncertain and intrigued–that could easily describe my relationship to my own thoughts and writing most of the time as well. Gabi invited me to send something unpublished for the summer issue but I didn’t feel ready, so I encouraged Christine to send something instead. She sent two things–they published both! I was so pleased to have nudged the orbs ever so slightly in that direction.
And I could have been satisfied with that, except Christine kept nudging me back. She often tells me that I should write a book and I often ask her “about what,” which she finds bizarre coming from someone who tends not to shut up about a whole lot of things. Uncertain but intrigued–the inconjunction that keeps me going, yet leaves me stuck. I’ve been trying to work on that for a while.
I’ve been working on getting over my hesitations by making sense of my hesitation marks–the traces of my detours and my doublings back, my false starts, my abrupt stops, and the widening gyre of my burnouts. That’s what the many writing challenges I’ve given myself on instagram (#twentytwenty) and have archived here are about. Looking backwards to see further afield.
It’s a daily struggle. I have HEQ #5 in my hands and I’m still uncertain. But Gabi’s encouragement (“this rules”) and Christine’s nudges and the wide web of collaborators that’s captured me keeps me sufficiently intrigued to persist in looking forward.