Jess answers: “What will I allow in my poetry?”

September 9, 2013 Comments Off

 What will I allow my poetry?

This question is positive and therefore I want to answer it first. But, I can’t.  Instead,  I feel the need to define what I WILL NOT allow in my poetry first.  Of late, I haven’t been letting myself into poetry.  If you are familiar with my early work it is very confessional. Very personal. Very close. I read it now and know I am a completely different person.   And, so I have not allowed myself to become too close to a piece of work.  Which, I think, in the end, has created this interesting balance. A hyper-personal poet then turns into a hyper-ew-get-away poet who makes up words and tries her damnedest to – well – stay away from the HER in poems. 

As a general rule, I try to stay away from wordy poems, or poems with long, meandering line lengths.  I like short, fragmented poems that combine language that seeks to be image.  More over, works that separates from reality in someway is extremely important.  Both in content, form and function.  Anyone can read or watch a well thought out image created by someone else.  Rarely are readers and viewers able to be the co-auteur of something they are reading.  That’s what I’ve always loved about poems. They are partnerships between two people, the reader and the writer. A well written, well-read poem is magical.  Life altering.  *More words here to punctuate the feeling of flying or falling down a flight of stairs*

In the last year or so, I’d tried to stabilize many areas of my life.  What I’ve been thinking of late is that stabilizing anything in my life is just another way to justify not writing. I think things like:  I have to join a gym. Buy a laptop.  Take a walk. Make a cake. Watch every episode of Arrested Development, twice. Then watch every movie starring Jason Bateman. Then, then then -  oh yeah! - I have housework to do. I have to pull weeds in my backyard.  Seeds. Mulch. Car wash. Laundry. Nap. SERIOUSLY! I’m pretty sure the only reason Peter and I ever married was because I didn’t want to finish a series of poems. How in the hell is this stabilizing anything?

So, what I really need to define is myself as a human.  Do I consider myself to be first a writer, then everything else?  Or, do I identify with being a fabulous person with great hair first? If so, how do those people behave? Are they the same person? Why do I care about either one of those people?  And, when I go to bed at night, is it the restful sleep of a happy, sane, well-rounded Jess?  Or, the restless sleep of a sad not-writing Jess?  I guess the only thing to do is answer the damn question “What will I allow my poetry?”

It’s not, unfortunately, a question I can answer today. I have to upload my video!

Memorize a Poem!

April 30, 2013 Comments Off

Eric tries to recall all the words to Le Fuite de Lune, by Oscar Wilde. Then he swears.

Memorize a Poem!

April 30, 2013 Comments Off

Jess reads a poem by Thom Gunn, and reminds Eric that he’s really slacking.

Vlog Poets| Week 9| Eric| Non Poetry Reading

April 16, 2013 Comments Off

Longest video yet!

Week 9: Reading List| The Vlog Poets

April 16, 2013 Comments Off

n which Jess rails against Stephen Meyer for being a horrible cash cow birthing writer.

Also, there’s some poetry in there.


Eric’s edit of Jess’s Poem from Last Week!

April 8, 2013 Comments Off

2013: The Death of the Gods

The Internet is empty: fill it with food to be eaten,

Imperfect quotes, dramatic shots. Tossed ponytails.

A spoon stirring coffee. A cat, midair

Between loveseat and ground.


Small moments at good angles. 

Boorish illumination.

Walking Dead. Famous people. 


Humanity is perfect on Instagram. 


Shiny hair.

Majestic vistas.

Glorious filters. 

A dog. Other dogs. Cats.

Watch The Voice.


Strange hats, eyewear, headbands, necklaces,

A handmade feather boa from

The leather lingerie designer in Prague.


Life is photojournalism and cinema verite. 


Civil War Photographers posed dead soldiers

In grotesque configurations.

George Barnard. Alexander Gradner.

Matthew Brady. 




Spring – Jess edits Eric’s Poem from Last Week

April 7, 2013 Comments Off


Springtime is the storytime of earth
each sound delivering a piece the world:

My dog is snoring.

The refill tag on the propane tank under the grill
rattles and scratches –

the air moves around it.

The strike and strike and strike of the clover
against the surrounding grass too slight to be recorded.

But this story is reprinted every year

And will be told after,
birth and death and birth.


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