Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I think I’m over the hump of what the hell is going on with Teresa Ballard. The surgery is minor and I meet with the surgeon on Friday and they are not doing the actual operation until next week but I’m fine. Nothin’ to see here folks...

Except that it is almost May Day and I will have giant puppets in my front yard, children running through my flowers and a parade—they will be a parade. All my friends will march and I will watch with Em and her mom. My girls will be on stilts or sun runners. It is my favorite day.

In poetry news, Valzhyna Mort is making me incredibly jealous. She is on the cover of the new Poets & Writers. I can’t wait to read her new book but I swear to god, if she tried to published the manuscript “A Factory of Tears” through the normal venues of sending to a first book contest---it may not have seen the light of day.
But maybe I’m wrong. Am I cynical to believe that we offer foreign born writers more freedom with poetry?

10 comments:

Sandra said...

I don't think it's your imagination; I have a similar instinctive reaction to Mort's work, even before the P&W piece (I've heard her read a couple of times). It feels uncharitable to criticize someone with her background. But maybe that's the exact problem; the work is only being considered in context as "foreign," and therefore exotic.

Pam Hart said...

Similar thoughts about Ilya Kaminsky, whose work is strong, but has given me pause at times in that his background too seems to garner him added attention.

LoveandSalt said...

I don't know for sure about the foreign vs. domestic angle, I'm sure there is some of that. But the process of publishing a book by submitting to contests is madness. Yeah, I've been really lucky. And I'm grateful. But if you step back and look at the whole picture, this contest setup is nuts. I understand that presses need some way to filter, focus, and pay for all that poetry they get. But geez I'm tired of the endless pagaent parade, the talent contest, swimsuit, and God Forbid, Miss Congenitality. (I meant to say that.)

Ana Božičević-Bowling said...

Not sure if being foreign-born is a "plus" - I haven't really felt it to be so :). If anything, you must work harder to prove you're not just the audience favorite in poetry's "special olympics," prove you've earned to write about your, to some inevitably exotic and loaded, experience, and that you're not just "pimping your nationality" in order to live as poster-poet for a country for a poetic season or two. But one can fret along the same lines about giving the impression of pimping one's gender, sexual orientation, motherhood, tragic childhood...the list never ends. In some ways foreign-born poets are held back -- many poetry contests accept only submissions by "American citizens" (leaf through P&W and witness). The only solution, and the most liberating one, is to judge poetry as just - poetry. It sinks or it swims. Valzhyna Mort, by all I've read and seen, is the real thing -- a true poet, electrifying and original. Her is simply the case, I think, of cream rising to the top...

early hours of sky said...

I do agree with you Anna and I like her work very much. I however, do find it troublesome that it seems like sometimes the publishing houses are looking for "something to pimp" whether it be sexuality, culture or whatever.

What was written about in P&W felt more about that than the work and that bothers me a great deal.

Ana Božičević said...

Yes, you're right about that, Teresa.

Healing vibes to you!

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Molly said...

This is me whining: where are yooooooooooooooooooooooou?

Radish King said...

Happy birthday, T.
love,
Rebecca

LKD said...

I miss you.