In our second episode, we stuck with a theme: monsters! One of two themes for Print 8, reading the submissions for Monsters has been anything but a nightmare, and the four poems we discussed on this podcast are examples of how broadly the theme was interpreted, just like we hoped…
Present at the Editorial Table:
Kathleen Volk Miller
PBQ Box Score: 4=0
In our second episode, we stuck with a theme: monsters! One of two themes for Print 8, reading the submissions for Monsters has been anything but a nightmare, and the four poems we discussed on this podcast are examples of how broadly the theme was interpreted, just like we hoped.
Kristin Bock’s “Compound” and “Matchmakers” alone are great examples of diverse submissions. We had a hard time unpacking “Compound,” its densely mysterious and complicated, but we really enjoy work that doesn’t feel like work. And “Matchmakers” is simply–a blast. Her first book was winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award; we’ll be watching to see what she does next.
Cristina Baptista’s “Monster” has imagery that called us in and called us back. Listen to us read and talk about it, but then—trust us–listen to Cristina read it—you’re going to want to experience this poem at least twice. And then, trust us, you’ll want to follow her on Twitter @Herds_of_Words
But wait until you hear this: Cristina recently created a collection of poetry about her experience as a 38th Voyager—one of 85 people in the world selected to travel (in Summer 2014) on the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan, an 1841 wooden whaleship that is the last remaining one in the world. She also served as a documenter of the Portuguese immigrant experience aboard whaleships, during this Voyage. See, told you you’d want to follow her!
Jennie Malboeuf’s “The Part of My Father Will be Played by Jack Nicholson” calls up the always-fun classic, “The Shining.” With brothers, bear suits, and blood, how could we say, No. We’re betting you won’t either, and that you’ll want more. Jennie’s poems can be found all over the web, but here’s two pick’s for you: the very cool anthology that is the Montreal International Poetry Prize (warning: you’ll stay on their site for awhile), and these two (plus audio!) at The Cortland Review.
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Come stand in the garden. Let the soft rain rinse you. Line up with the others. Hold
hands. Now, kiss. Imagine your mind is a blue rose, a blue rose rinsed clean. Hide in the bushes. Wait for the little black stars to squeak by. Step on them. Stamp on them. Some will feel like urchins and under your feet. They will whisper terrible things. Step on them harder. They will cry out. They will have your mother’s voice. Run. Catch the stars and squeeze until they burst. They will be slippery. Their black oil will leak into the earth. Now your hands are dirty. They’re filthy. Go back to your spot in the garden and stand like a flower. Do not move until your skin becomes blue and clean and cold. Take off your dress. You are dirty inside. Open your legs to the rain. Your mind unfolds like a blue rose. Hold hands. Now you’ve been bad. Very bad. Today you will not eat. Today you will stamp on the little black stars until your feet are raw. The stars will squirt and whimper. They will sound like your father crying in the shed. Step on him. Make him cry harder. He is dirty. Your mother is dirty. Come to me. Come to us. Open your legs. Let us rinse you. My brain is as big as a car. My brain is as big as mountain range. I will bend my fat red brain over you like a blood-soaked rose. I will sing to you and wash you and starve you and love you like no other. Now go back to the garden and plant yourself where you belong.
Where does your monster sleep?
In a cage too small for him.
What does your monster’s heart look like?
Like a child’s teacup, small and full of blood.
What color is he?
Green, of course.
What does he eat?
Basically, nose to tail.
Good. He’s healthy then?
Yes, he takes ratfish liver oil—from a 300 million year old chimeric fish, half-skate half-shark. It lives at the very bottom of the sea and has a face like a rat. Legend has it Norwegian Vikings would hang a ratfish up by the head and the liver oil would drip from its long tail. They named the elixir “Gold of the Ocean” and considered it to be a very rare and precious gift. There are many other fish oils on the market, but he prefers this one.
Excellent! He should make some fine little monsters. One last question—does he have any issues?
Well, only if you count his fear of snow globes.
Oh c’mon, snow globes?
Yes. They remind him of his childhood. His father was a snowman and his mother was an icicle. It snowed each and every day. His father cried tears of fire for they begat a daughter named Wendy, who, after fifteen years of unforgivable acts of kindness, was sent to live among the moose.
Forget it. My monster’s not like that at all.
Where the cut has dried over,
you find red crystals in your hair;
like colored sugar from a child’s cupcake,
lost Valentine glitter, crushed
stained glass beneath your heel
in the monastery. I first saw
you outlined against that window, triptych,
you blotting out San Sebastian’s image
all mass and shadow, an absorbent dark sponge,
stealing his wings for your own.
The Part of my Father Will Be Played by Jack Nicholson
Big white teeth. My brother
reminds me he isn’t Irish.
But the brows are the same.
Horned and intense, he’ll do
a plum job.
In this scene, something isn’t
right. The lighting is strange;
the furniture that was there
is now here. Or gone entirely.
Someone is standing in
the background that wasn’t
just before. And that yawn sounds
like a door closing (or opening).
Everything looks normal but
one thing has blood on it.
I didn’t mention the scariest
a man in a bear suit.
You can’t help but like him,
he commands attention
with broad arms or bright eyes
when seated. His face looks
crooked in the wrong direction
when you glance together in the mirror.
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