First: my third review for the Volta, of Aram Saroyan's Complete Minimal Poems, is online. This is some of the most fun critical writing I've done this year: minimal poems are an appealing canvas upon which to splatter some ideas about politics, poetics, and art. Plus, this review assignment introduced me to one of my new favorite poems. Here is the poem:
There's more reading into this poem than reading it, which appeals to me. And it looks so symmetrical and pleasant in the typewriter font in which it's intended to be rendered. It's compact in form and expansive in connotation, like a fluffy little emoji cloud over a wide Midwestern horizon. I think about it often, maybe even every day.
(Also Aram Saroyan-related: I saw a man with a tattoo of "lighght" last month at the Pitchfork festival, and then that man turned out to be Zachary Schomburg, and then I saw him read this poem that I love a lot while an extremely loud metal band played nearby, which was obviously very appropriate.)
And secondly, here is the thrilling conclusion to the email I sent last month: I was a finalist for the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, which was an incredibly cool honor. (You'll find me pictured there, with my enormous grin and my bright blue shoes.) I've rarely seen such a diverse group of poets present such stylistically different— yet consistently excellent— poems, one after the other. I'll be submitting a poem again next year. I'll be attending no matter what. Consider this a very early invitation to join me there.
I'm told eventually there will be video of me reading "Baba Yaga on Palmer Square" archived from cable access TV. In the meantime, I made an audio recording of it for you: almost like being there.
Here's the poem that won the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, in PDF form. It's worth your time to read. And if you were there and I haven't yet thanked you in person, know that I am so grateful.
And so: thank you for reading. In the spirit of "sky / every / day," tell me about something tiny and beautiful that gets stuck in your head. These are always my favorite emails.
Yours in houses and in clouds,