‘Following the River Exe on a Wednesday Afternoon’ and other poems by Kate Garrett

Some lovely poetry over here, by Kate Garrett. Go take a look!

Poethead

Granny Woman

The men leave us be; at times
like this they take themselves
out to the porch with pipes
and tin cups. Everyone trusts

the granny woman. She knows
best, walks for miles when
there’s a baby coming, brings
her bag along. The bottles

of green-smelling whiskey,
fat leaves smooth and big
as her hand, rolled into jars,
rattle next to mud bases

for the poultice. She eases
the pains away, welcomes
every life into the wild world,
soothes swollen breasts so new

young ones can feed. Now and then
she brews up roots and stems
for some silly girl with a problem.
I’d say the men on the porch

never know much about that.
Some must believe they’re lucky.
They never say anyhow. They don’t see
what we see: the other side

of the granny woman, when she
doesn’t bring joy, calm and a blessing,
when she carries…

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L’Éphémère Review – I’m In It!

“River cayaking course in Ottawa” – Photo by Tomashu via Wiki Free Images


 
So, I mentioned the other day that I have some good news. I’m pleased to announce that one of my pieces has been accepted for L’Éphémère Review’s Issue 11: Jubilee.
 
My poem, LeBreton Flats Spring Day, is live. Feel free to check it out. 😀

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Augur Magazine – I’m Not In It (Yet)

Augur Buzzard in Flight - Matt Edmonds - Via Wikimedia Commons

Augur Buzzard in Flight
Matt Edmonds
Via Wikimedia Commons


 
So. As-you-know-bob, I’ve been submitting to a bunch of journals and periodicals and magazines. My goal, which so-far I’ve mostly been meeting-or-exceeding, is to submit to three places per month.
A while back, I submitted five poems to Augur Magazine which, as a paid market with a huge slush pile, is kind of more at the long-shot end of my particular submissions spectrum.
 
Unsurprisingly, none of my pieces made it through the final cut BUT! One of my pieces DID make it onto their long list, which I am pretty damn chuffed about in and of itself.
I’m taking this long-listing of my work as an encouraging sign, and I’m looking forward to submitting to them again in the future.
 
Gotta admit, though. Getting the news that a different publication has accepted one of my submissions – a poem that is part of my in-progress chapbook manuscript – on the same day that I got Augur’s rejection letter? It softened the blow a little bit. 😉
More on that when the piece goes live.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Rag Queen Periodical – I’m In It!

Blue Topaz - Translucent blue polished gem, rough-cut, on a black surface with a black backdrop - Photo Didier Descouens - Courtesy of Wiki Media Commons

Blue Topaz – Translucent blue polished gem, rough-cut, on a black surface with a black backdrop – Photo Didier Descouens – Courtesy of Wiki Media Commons


 
Hey, all!
I am massively excited to announce that my poem, “My Body Is A Spell”, has been published in Issue Two of Rag Queen Periodical! 😀
 
You can read it here.

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Flash Performance at Sawdust

“Flock of Birds” by Faisal Akram
Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
A flock of dark-winged, white-bodied gulls flying this way and that over a marsh.


 
So! Here we are.
Last night, and despite still being in the process of fighting off a sinus/upper-respiratory infection (I hope I managed not to breath on anybody), I went to Sawdust for their Spoken Word Summer event, featuring nina jane drystek, Nathanaël Larochette, and Barâa Arar.
 
I enjoyed the show. The open mic – in-which I participated – was packed, which was fantastic, the room was full of queerdos, and the feature performers showcased a variety of styles, including sound poetry which is not something I tend to hear.
 
Or participate in.
😀
 
The reason I went to this particular Sawdust event, especially given that I was sick and would likely have skipped it under different circumstances, was because I’d been contacted a scant ten days earlier by the above-mentioned nina jane drystek about taking part in a choral performance of sound poetry based on a Kimiko Murakami piece of concrete poetry.
 
Now, I’ve sung in choirs before. And group performances are at least a little familiar to me, if only as poetry slam team pieces. But I’ve never performed a group spoken piece, and definitely not one that involved pulling and twisting the syllables of an ostinato only three words long.
So I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.
 
Three rehearsals and a flurry of messages later, I and nine other local lady poets (half or more of us queers of one stripe or another, which delights me even more) interrupted[1] the “final announcements” section at the end of the show, taking the stage one by one, to become a flock of birdgirls playing with the theme of “we are here” (Are we here? Here we are!), squashing, stretching, and clipping the syllables, layering the words over each other, passing them back and forth, crescendo and diminuendo turning them into waves, into birds shoaling, letting them echo and fade.
 
It was a fun time. To be part of a storm.
It was neat to see people’s expressions, in the audience, which from where I was standing looked pretty delighted with the whole thing.
I think I would do this again. 😀
 
 
TTFN,
A.
 
 
[1] It was, in fact, planned from the get-go, and the organizers were in on it.

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Forthcoming Book

Woot!
Exciting news from Arielle Twist! 😀 😀 😀

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My (Small Press) Writing Day

So. rob mclennan has a series going called “my (small press) writing day”. The idea being to showcase what a writer’s professional day looks like when they are “emerging”, published through small presses, and similar.
rob emailed me like, five months ago, asking if I’d be interested in contributing a piece.
It took me five months to figure out how to write down what my writing day actually looks like.
Which, to the surprise of nobody, is not at all what the writing days of those big-publisher-supported authors who contribute pieces to The Guardian. 😉
No inspiring views of moving water here, unless we’re talking about the rinse cycle in an industrial washer.
 
You can read about the particulars of my “writing day” here.
 

One of the places where I write. Image is a bank of laundromat washing machines with my spiral-bound notebook, and a couple of colourful pens, in the foreground.

One of the places where I write.
Image is a bank of laundromat washing machines with my spiral-bound notebook, and a couple of colourful pens, in the foreground.

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Queer Femme Poets – Rasiqra Revulva

So I’ve been working on a poetry manuscript for a while now. A series of glosas riffing on the poetry of other queer femmes. Femmes get a lot done with a little, draw inspiration and strength from each other, collaborate with each other, and generally lift each other up. I think the poetic form of the glosa – a style where you take four sequential lines of someone else’s poem and write your own four-stanza, forty-line response poem incorporating one of the lines into the same point of each ten-line stanza (usually as the last line of each stanza, but not always) – works really well, in and of itself, as a metaphor for femme solidarity and mutual inspiration.
To that end: A small series talking about the poets and poems that are inspiring my manuscript.
 

Rasiqra Revulva’s “Cephelopography” (Words On Pages Press, 2016)
A disembodied hand holds a copy of the chapbook. The chapbook is abut the size of a CD case, with a shimmy champagne-silver cover. The cover image is words typed over each other, some upside down and backwards. The title and author’s name are in small, red type at the bottom of the cover.


 
Some Thoughts About This Book: I picked this book up at VERSeFest. I’d gone to see Kama La Mackerel, and it turned out that Rasiqra Revulva was stepping in at the last minute, because another performer – Di Brandt, Arc’s poet in residence – had needed to cancel. Rasiqra Revulva is a mixed-media artist whose poetry, in performance, includes reverb, looping and other effects. With “Cephelopography“, this means she’s able to make it sound like she’s performing her piece under water. The book itself includes interactive poetry (Ezra’s Final Dive), visual poetry, and poems that play with queerness, race, religion, and gender.
 
Which Poem I Chose to Gloss and Why: I love “Free the Niquabi” and “Mimic: Passing”, but I chose to gloss “Night of Power”. What I got from this poem was a willingness to take a big risk, even though risks don’t always pay off the way you want them to. I also got a lot of “Religious Seeker” from it, maybe because I left one faith for another when I was in my teens. Which is what I wrote about, when glossing this poem. (It worked out better for me than it did for the protagonist in “Night Of Power”).

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Bywords.ca – I’m In It! :-D

So, okay, yes, my submission to Room Magazine’s Queer Issue got rejected. (Alas! But also: Hey, fellow 98% of people who submit to Room, I just joined the club!)
BUT the poem to-which I alluded earlier is now up and published and I can therefore crow about it and post links all over the place, and so here we go. 😀
 

“Compass Rose” drawing by Seamus McGill


 
I am delighted to announce that my poem, Compass, has been published at Bywords.ca (and I admit I am weirdly chuffed that it’s up the week that VERSeFest kicks off, even though I know those things are not at all related).
Bywords.ca has published my work before, back in May 2011, and was both one of the first times my poetry got published AND one of that last times I sent my poetry out until this past December.
Oh, and kittens? It’s a paid market. \o/
So, y’know. Send them your stuff!
 
 
Cheers,
A.

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Queer Femme Poets – Avery M. Guess

So I’ve been working on a poetry manuscript for a while now. A series of glosas riffing on the poetry of other queer femmes. Femmes get a lot done with a little, draw inspiration and strength from each other, collaborate with each other, and generally lift each other up. I think the poetic form of the glosa – a style where you take four sequential lines of someone else’s poem and write your own four-stanza, forty-line response poem incorporating one of the lines into the same point of each ten-line stanza (usually as the last line of each stanza, but not always) – works really well, in and of itself, as a metaphor for femme solidarity and mutual inspiration.
To that end: A small series talking about the poets and poems that are inspiring my manuscript.
 

Cover of Avery M. Guess’ chapbook
“The Patient Admits”
An out-of-focus image of a white person with shoulder-length hair who is wearing a black tank top and a veil(?) over their (her?) head.
Title and author’s name appear to the right of the image.


 
Some Thoughts About This Book: First off, I won this book in a draw. The author did a give-away and I was the lucky recipient. It felt pretty great to win a thing. 😉
Second, like a lot of poetry written by femmes – or maybe like a lot of poetry written by queers – this is poetry about trauma survival. About incest survival. So, y’know, there’s a content warning for the whole chapbook.
There’s a repeating form that moves through the collection, a series of poems with titles that go “In Therapy, The Patient Is Asked To Define: []” and the [] is a particular word. The poems consist of a definition coined by the author, the use of the word in a sentence, and then an acrostic on the word that relates to the definition and/or experience described in the sentence.
I really like them.
The way the definitions are so personal. They way they do or don’t dovetail with the sentence the words are used in. How the author has embedded a poetic form – one that typically gets taught to kids in primary school – into this new structure that, I think, gives it a much sharper form while also linking the whole poem through the inclusion of this specific form, and its content, to the reality of “this is something a child had to endure”. It’s like the poems, themselves, are having body flashbacks.
They’re fucking brilliant.
 
Which poem I chose to gloss and why: So maybe it’ll come as a surprise to you that I didn’t choose to gloss one of the “In Therapy” definition poems. Instead I chose to gloss “The Patient Attempts to Explain Cutting”, which is a series of couplets each one building on the last. I chose it because of how well the imagery conveys the building pressure under the skin.
I took two of the couplets and built (or tried to build) a poem about how I have used self-harm to center myself or to cope with feelings and experiences around un/worthiness.
I have to admit, the poem I wrote feels like it might be two different poems that have been haphazardly sutured together. A finished draft that might need to be split and started again. We’ll see.
 
 
Cheers,
A.

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