20 years later: in Chicago Reading, Teaching, Podcasting: Poet Life, Pt 1

This weekend I'm talking to some undergrads in the new U of C Creative Writing Department about the practical processes and pitfalls of getting their work out into the public. And how to advocate for their personal brand and value in a moment where late late capital could care less about poetry--probably because it's the least likely thing to be the source text for a good Nextflix original. 

We talked there best placed to find out who's taking work (Entropy), how to assess a journal without breaking the bank, spreading kindness in poetry, journals to aim for (Thrush, Sixth Finch, Fence, Prelude, etc), ignore (______), what to do when someone's digital mag disappears with your work on it for good, how to budget for worthwhile submission fees and raise hell when $5-$35 is standing between them an a waiting public. We talked about the rising cost of doing business in academia (the writing (or other) PhD, and (thusly) why all MFA programs should be scott-free and provide support. Awesome students and I hope some of them will be generous enough to out their minds into the institution of writing along with their work cause we could use it.

Asked how to make ends meet and live the life of a poet I drew this diagram:

The import of the black hole.

Which I would have done like this, except I didn't fly all the way out here to sew confusion and worse:

Love your trap.

Love your trap.

I promised I'd update this blog with some questions to think about and some worthwhile recommendations--and will. Keep eyes peeled and we'll have more by the weekend. 



Read at the great 57th St Books, new work and old, fulfilled a promise I made to myself to scream during one poem, and had the best lit discussion Steven Made of the Chicago Review. Look for  pod of that talk or my own lo-fi recording, 

More to come, lots more. But its been a tight few days, My gratitude to the U of C is bottomless and especially to Bill Hutchinson for making it all happen. Many thanks to Anselm Berrigan, Dina Hardy and others who gave me some insight to carry with.  

Below find a video trailer I make for the event, Thanks to Julia Madsen for some great editing advice. 

A Promo Trailer for a poetry reading & discussion at the University of Chicago





The Deleuzian Addressee: Anti-epistolary poem archived at Project Muse

Sometimes the kindest thing an academic resource can do with your avant-garde poem is explain (in this case to the poet) something about how it works.

Such is the outcome of Project Muse's abstract to "Japan," an anti-epistolary poem of mine generously published by the Colorado Review (if you don't subscribe, you should!) and later in my first collection Traces of a Fifth Column (Inlandia Books, 2017).

In “Japan” a speaker wrestles with the ambivalence of missing someone while relishing a return to the self in their absence.“Japan” takes the form of a postcard or a letter, but is in fact an “anti-epistolary” poem: it explores the expressive space that opens up when a text regards its addressee as a collection of Deleuzian attributes, rather than as an individual
— Project Muse, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/625884/pdf


Dear Japan, Dear Ambient Author, Dear Oh, Dear Transfiguration Boy, Dear Chemical Girl, Dear Fiber of My Fire, Dear Big Red Scarf, Dear Halloween Buoy,

Desire and lists. The idea of me—that hash-marked outline that universally precedes me by mere moments—writes this to you. I trust it to say everything I want to say, although rarely in the order I would hope to say it. Burn yourself without burning yourself. After all this disturbing time I’ve learned to like California.

Make me into your—.

I am contumbled lists: immobile butterfly building, hand town, hand-to-hand town, butterfly more building than. I am recursion, something says.

I am captions: My afterimage shortcuts through a hungry wind farm, unharmed. Deciduous neon messages on white grass. The earth’s first words. Semi-organic things we’ve used for shelter. Still life with red gems, supermoon, and blood-fiction.

[See the rest of this poem on the Colorado Review Website or at the Project Muse link below!]

Thanks for putting a workable definition around
anti-epistolary CR & Project Muse!

Maisto, M. "Japan." Colorado Review, vol. 43 no. 2, 2016, pp. 151-151. Project MUSEdoi:10.1353/col.2016.0068