Wash a penny, rinse it, slip it under your tongue and walk out the door. Copper is the metal of Aphrodite, never ever forget this, never, don’t forget it, ever. Drink a little orange juice outside and let some of the juice rest in your mouth with the penny. Oranges are the fruit of Aphrodite, and she is the goddess of Love, but not fidelity. Go somewhere outside, go, get going with your penny and juice. Where do you want to sit? Find it, and sit there. What is the best Love you’ve ever had in this world? Be quiet while thinking about that Love. If someone comes along and starts talking, quietly shoo them away, you’re busy, you’re a poet with a penny in your mouth, idle chit chat is not your friend. Be quiet so quiet, let the very sounds of that Love be heard in your bones. After a little while take the penny out of your mouth and place it on the top of your head. Balance it there and sit still a little while, for you are now moving your own forces quietly about in your stillness. Now get your pen and paper and write about POVERTY, write line after line about starvation and deprivation from the voice of one who has been Loved in this world.
"…and a few broke into tears."
Years later I’m standing before a roomful of young writers in
a high school in Texas. I’ve asked them to locate an image
in a poem we’d just read—their heads at this moment
are bowed to the page. After some back & forth about the
grass & a styrofoam cup, a girl raises her hand & asks,
Does it matter? I smile—it is as if the universe balanced
on those three words & we’ve landed in the unanswerable. I
have to admit that no, it doesn’t, not really, matter, if rain
is an image or rain is an idea or rain is a sound in our heads.
But, I whisper, leaning in close, to get through the next
forty-seven minutes we might have to pretend it does.
"And one more thing, as a long-term and unrecovering practitioner of the prose poem (which I disapprove of, and find indulgent, and feel helplessly drawn toward), the sonnet is the finest and most perfected little cage for a poem…To say what’s what and who’s who. Henri Cole used the term ‘violent concision’ and the sonnet is that form of violence, and concisely, because there’s this metallic cage you can rattle the bars of, but you can’t get out of. Just as it should be: a place where you can’t go on and on. In prose you must go on and on, and, in a prose poem, you have to account for the leaps and the white spaces and the deletions in a different legislative world. Sometimes when a student can’t write, I suggest writing a blathering, indulgent, bubbling, frothing, mess of a prose poem. And then you put on the rubber gloves, put your hand down into it, and get out a sonnet. Like the time in the middle of the night that I dropped my only set of car keys down the toilet at a rest stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike…Yes, how to retrieve, and even if you don’t have rubber gloves, you’ve got to get the key, or you’re not going home." — Lucie Brock-Broido
1) I Love Your Fate / Anthony McCann
2) The Route as Briefed / James Tate
3) Trances of the Blast / Mary Ruefle
4) Reply All / Robin Hemley
5) The Narrow Circle / Nathan Hoks
6) The Best American NonRequired Reading 2013
7) Mystery & Manners / Flannery O’Connor
8) Things That Are / Amy Leach
9) Portable Chekhov
10) Goat in the Snow /Emily Pettit
11) Grave of Light / Alice Notley
12) plus tiny purple notebooks / old lady candy / I heart a good story notecard / tuberose perfume / set of 20 letterpress labels that say “a little happy” / tons of my favorite pens / the new Poetry mag & Zoetrope mag / and Stumptown Coffee Whole Bean (not shown). Amen.