Laboring over what I will read at tonight’s poetry reading with Alexandra Mattraw and Tereza Kramer, I have finally come up with an order, made up mostly of the poems that I rarely read with a few standards there as marked by the asterisks.
Canticle of Idols
Voz: Sweet Child, p. 13
Voz: Mamá, p. 41
Funktified Hail Mary, p. 59 *
Voz for her, p. 67Scenes in the life of a lesser angel p. 83
Sing: Selection from “Piece of Clay” as sung by Marvin Gaye
Wishing tree House of Ribbons
The disappearance of fireflies Boogeyman Dawn
Appalachian scenes in a family’s life Boogeyman Dawn
The mouths of babes Boogeyman Dawn
GED Boogeyman Dawn
Pillow letter * Boogeyman Dawn
The Little Swift * House of Ribbons
BACKUP POEMS: All that time, waiting to bloom and Retirement from House of Ribbons
The Voz form was created for Canticle of Idols. They weave through Psalms over the course of 6 stanzas, 5 with 5 lines each and the 6th with 3 lines and a closing “Amen”. There should be a series of 3 poems, for a beginning, middle and end, but there is always a missing piece, an opening. All in all, 29 lines (not including stanza breaks) + 3 for the beginning, middle and end (and in the case of Canticle of Idols, both feminine and masculine divine/human trinities) with 1 left for the divine. In my head, at the time, in made up 33, the Jesus-year, and I used that conversation between Jesus, feminine humans and the universal divine to serve as dividers for the text, one which talks a great deal about the relationship between the sacred and the profane, femininity, identity, the corporal and spiritual, family history, secrets and revelations. So for tonight’s reading, I’m going to read the full Voz poems with one or two others from Canticle. They are not rousing poems, generally. They don’t have the emotional rise and fall within them, at least not so overtly, that some of my other work has, but I’m interested in reading them today and seeing how that goes.
After Canticle, I am planning to transition into my newer work and the new book, which comes out at the end of this month. I will be reading with a focus on children (desire, loss, and hope). That’s the arc within this selection of poems. I generally read from the military poems as well, but this time, I have decided to focus on my work with and hope for children with just one love poem thrown in for a bit of slight relief from the heaviness of the selection (“Pillow letter”).
I will be reading from Boogeyman Dawn, which comes out at the end of this month, and my third manuscript, tentatively titled, House of Ribbons.
As for the Backup Poems, I always have a few poems standing by, just in case I change my mind about the mood in the place, the mood I want to set. The two poems above have lightness and beauty even in the hardship within them. They carry a glow within the shadow places. I think that is how I feel today, that even in the hardship, there is light.