Welcome to Episode 18 of the PBQ’s Slush Pile! This episode is extra special because we had guest, Erika Meitner, winner of the National Poetry Series and professor at Virginia Tech. She is currently working on a “documentary poetry project” on the 2016 Republican National Convention…
Present at the Editorial Table:
Kathleen Volk Miller
PBQ Box Score: 3=0
Welcome to Episode 18 of the PBQ’s Slush Pile! This episode is extra special because we had guest, Erika Meitner, winner of the National Poetry Series and professor at Virginia Tech. She is currently working on a “documentary poetry project” on the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland for Virginia Quarterly Review.
All of the poems we’ll consider on today’s episode were submitted by Maureen Seaton: “West Ho,” “West Ho 2,” & “Love in the Time of Snow.” Maureen Seaton currently lives in three states of art—Florida, New Mexico, and Colorado (ocean, desert, mountain range)—all bordering on our next-door neighbors, the world.
We start with the “West Ho,” and Tim points out that the poet’s use of specific facts ultimately aids the piece. The wonderful descriptions of sunshine from Jersey to Colorado warms us up to this poem.
We go on to discuss “West Ho 2,” a seeming counterpart. This poem brings nods to the Jersey accent, and leaves us wondering who Lizzy Tish is. The “constellation of places” keeps us “tawlking” about this one for a bit longer than “West Ho.”
We were all a little intimidated by the French in “Love in the Time of Snow,” but Erika reads for us using her “Jersey French.” We love the historical allusions in this poem, and Jason, who grew up in a military family, recounts for us the story of Lafayette in the Revolutionary War.
You can listen to Maureen read her poem “Hybrid” at the University of Miami here, and at a POG reading with collaborator Sam Ace here.
Listen to find out which poems we accepted and comment on our Facebook event page or on Twitter with #WestHo!
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Colorado ties with Texas for 6th sunniest
state in the USA. Who cares? The sun’s
not racing against itself, why should it?
I will not be buried in Elizabethport nor
one of the Oranges like the rest of my clan.
My body will not be flown home in a crate
to be clucked over by who knows which
Irish relatives. The way the sun rises here,
clanging its huge cowbell, easing the East
right out of you, you’d think everybody’d
be tinted silt and rouge and worshipping
The Bright Solar Prince of the Solar Palace.
(Who?) I’m but one who recently drifted
from old New Jersey, the 27th sunniest state
where the sun shines 56% of the time. Don’t
underestimate the operatic trill and maw
of this western sun as it blazes over you
and laughs behind the Rockies. It will draw
you to it and sear you like a steak, Jersey
girl, Golden Guernsey, little pail of milk.
West Ho 2
I also live in the state of New Mexico, the second sunniest state, and in Florida, the eighth. I live in three places but I don’t have three faces. This is not exactly a metaphor, yet I can see the metaphor coming at me, a satellite in the hard dark sky.
Deputy Azevedo placed Dexter’s head in an evidence bag and took it out to his cruiser:
the last words I read as I fell asleep last night.
Here in Colorado everyone skis obsessively on Sunday. People break their legs and arms and sometimes their necks.
I’m feeling a little Jersey today.
Don’t get me talking about dogs or coffee.
There are no real characters in this poem, only those who have escaped from Totawa.
Lizzy Tish, for example.
Lizzy will not be buried in Totowa nor Newark nor Hoboken. Her musical body will be laid to rest somewhere on the plains of Colorado.
Personally, I both do and don’t believe in the efficacy of death and dying.
Eggcream, potsy, stoop, stickball.
These are some of the words a Jersey girl might remember while under the influence of the Colorado sun.
Her musical body will be buried in Boulder Valley under the lid of a baby grand piano, her soul accompanied into the afterlife by a flashmob of multigenerational percussionists.
Love in the Time of Snow Poem
People who live here
speak very little French.
Lafayette, nous voilà!
they sometimes say.
famous Hero of Two
Worlds, (our world et
le monde de Lafayette)
never skied much past
the bunny slope and
few remember him slip-
ping bourbon in cocoa
in fact, few remember
him at all—it’s still
historical as hell here,
a veritable winter love-
fest de la révolution,
hippies and nobles lug-
ing down the Rockies.