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.
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”).