I decided to participate in an interesting blind reading experiment and send a poem I found hidden away in an unusual spot to Remixt, a collaboration between 9 editors to create miniatures collections of 3 poems each, all of them drawing from the same blind submisions pool. Interestingly, this poem was chosen twice, in Issue 2, edited by Jennifer Stephan Kapral, and in Issue 7, edited by Holly Lyn Walrath, where they are presented with very different poems, images, and editorial remarks, leading to surprisingly different experiences.
Experiments in collaboration are some of the most interesting, so I was excited to see what would become of a blind reading of the pool. How would it work? How many poems would be repeats? How diverse would the collection be? As to the latter answer, the magazine’s head, Julia Rios, wrote an editorial about the diversity of poems selected and the submission pool at large. I am surprised to be the only self-identified disabled poet in the collection, as I know a lot of disabled poets, but I’m always interested in the statistics of submissions and pleased by the transparency represented here.
This is another one of my “secretly Middle-earth” poems — close readers of Tolkien’s text will see Minas Ithil(become the menacing Minas Morgul) as the spired city that fits inside one’s collarbone (there is a popular belief we carry grief inside specific places in our bodies — I chose the collarbone because mine dislocate on the regular, and the ribcage for the same reason, you could fit a very small tower between a subluxed rib); Minas Tirith, Osgiliath, Armenelos, one of the unnamed great pre-Conquest cities of Umbar (ok so maybe that’s headcanon that Umbar had one of the world’s greatest libraries), and the Silent Street in Minas Tirith.
I continue to write Tolkien poems that explore the shadow-side of his apocalyptic backdrop even as I find myself half at a loss as to explain why. I have now snuck Tolkien poems into FOUR editors’ hands, some poems more subtle than others, partially to prove that the legacy Tolkien has left us is deeper than the superficial films and hobbits at their teatime, and the legacy is worth reclaiming and making our own. Some parts of Tolkien’s universe have a mythic universality that can speak for itself even when readers don’t know it’s there. As a writer deeply attracted to the apocalyptic, Middle-earth is full of apocalypses and world-ending cataclysmic disasters that make for great poetry fodder. For readers of my blog, it’s a bit of an easter egg — I try to ensure my poems stand on their own well without knowing what, exactly, I’m talking about.
I’ve been given a late October release date for my Strange Horizons poem “My Heart Is Set On Wandering” and have a short story acceptance I will announce when the contract is signed! (It’s a personal policy not to announce until contract, because shit happens.) I’ve also been told “The Lessons of the Knife” should be for sale at some point in the near future. I’m still waiting for an ebook edition of “Myriad Lands” for you ebook readers, but I promise you’ll hear all about it when the ebook is available!
Finally, my wife India and I continue to labor away to bring you our first fully-fledged romance sometime in January. The God of Small Things has reached first edit and is the story of Ganymede, Prince of Escapes, and his tumultuous time with Dionysus, learning to live up to that name. For fans of Dionysus of the Downtown, this is the prose world of the poem. We’ve commissioned our cover artist, Dorian Kelly, whose unique visual style will fit the weird upside down world of the gods wonderfully. Go pay him money to draw things! More updates on that story as warrants.
I hope you enjoy the poems in these weird, wonderful issues as much as I do, and can’t wait to share the next thing. Happy reading!