Two new(ish) poems are up on Milk Sugar

You can read them here. To be honest, those poems are almost old. I wrote them last fall after reading a LOT of Sierra DeMulder and spending an unfortunate amount of time on the freeway. If you don’t live in California, I envy you.

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MY POEMS ARE UP ON PANK

You guys, I’m so excited right now. I want to celebrate and buy you all chocolate cake. This is my first pretty major accomplishment as a poet, and I’m so so honored to have my work published in PANK. Such an awesome, awesome litmag.

If you want to read my poems, click here . There are three of them and they even come with voice recordings! You get to hear what I sound like (a thirteen year-old girl)!!

That’s it. Check them out. I write about kissing and criminals, my mom, and Velveeta. Yummy stuff.

I love this one.

Before I write, I warm-up by reading and jotting down lines I love, or by imitating them (Ilya Kaminsky style!), but this whole poem struck me.

“Dysecdysis”
by: Stevie Edwards

The raw morning of
troubled molting–
we say our eyes are cloudy
and ready, say good
riddance. We rough,
we slough and
slough our bodies,
lesions of tender
unskinned. The snake
doctor says this
incomplete shedding
is a symptom of
deeper illness. I can smell
my love making
coffee because this is
what love does
in the morning. We are
nothing, incomplete,
I wish into the scruff
of his beard, rub
his bald head for
luck or love. He
silently slices open
a melon, not quite
ripe but still
food-I take it
in my mouth.  He
says this taking
without joy marks
the beast in me.
I rear my raw
neck back, ready
to strike like
the beast I am.

Sneak Peek: Alex Dimitrov’s BEGGING FOR IT via The Rumpus

In “Sensualism,” Dimitrov writes, “A mosquito presses into my skin / with such cruelty I mistake it for love.” The poem explores the craving for wanting something intricately whole; this need intensifies and the speaker metaphorically allows the mosquito to use his body for fodder. He compares life to a film in pre-production. The poem “Bloodletting” explores the realness of violence and feeling; Dimitrov passionately argues that our actions possess viewership and consequences, and that we must allow ourselves to bleed, to let live: “If you can’t show red, why bother filming? / The scene where the boys undress / and color the river with sex / is useless, like bloodletting”

The full review will be up May 29th!

Is anyone here an Amy Gerstler fan? Let me know if you are, because I’m writing an essay on her life’s work. Amy’s great. At first I loved her. And then I became disenchanted because her poems were so enchanting and I wasn’t sure I liked the concepts of her later work, but then I read Bitter Angel and it was so, so good, so now I’m in love with her again and am willing to tango with her supernatural/mythic vibes.

Other good books I’ve read lately:

Megan Falley- After the Witch Hunt
Lauren Zuniga- The Smell of Good Mud
Karyna McGlynn-I Have to go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl

And as far as fiction goes, I’m almost done with American Gods. And I’m super ambivalent about it. Because really, it was my vacation read. And once that vacation turned more into a stresscation and gradepaperscation, I abandoned it and then returned to it out of empathy with a very blank protagonist, and now I’m like 600 pages deep with 100 to go. What can I say. I hate not finishing books.

What’s on my to-read list:

Stevie Edwards-Good Grief
Allison Benis White-Small Porcelain Head
Maria Semple-Where’d You Go Bernadette
William David-Wheat Belly
 (AS IF I need anything else to inform me that everything I have eaten my entire life is poison! )
We Have Always Lived in the Castle-Shirley Jackson
Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar-Kelly Oxford

And well, basically A TON more, which you can check out on my Goodreads. Are we Goodreads friends yet? Why not. Let’s be.

Other news..

I’m going to be Poetry International’s assistant social media coordinator, which is great, because I’m a social media junkie.

I’M GOING TO BE PUBLISHED IN PANK MAGAZINE IN JULY. Um, this is probably the greatest accomplishment I’ve had with my poetry thus far besides getting into a Masters program. PANK is an AMAZING magazine. I am so honored. And HAPPY.

I have “re-decorated” my blog. Because I felt like it.

I am turning 23 in less than two months.

I recently discovered I like pistachios a lot.

I really hate these list-y things.

That’s probably it.

xo,
Gina

Volume 1 of The California Journal For Women Writers

It’s here! For more information about the journal, click here.

 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, click here 

I’m super happy and proud to be a part of this collection of prose, poetry, and flash fiction. My poems: “Destroyer,” “To Feel Whole Again,” “The Perks of Anti-Regret,” and “Swim To” will be featured in this volume. To quote Jennifer Carter:

Viscera combines the creative work of women from all backgrounds and paths in life. These are the stories of our mothers, our sisters, our daughters. They have been woven together to create a collective voice full of hope and vitality.

Very awesome. I’m buying a copy today.

Poetry Review: Sierra DeMulder’s “New Shoes on a Dead Horse”

So, I recently read Sierra DeMulder’s new book, New Shoes on a Dead Horse and just totally fell in love. I loved The Bones Below, but Sierra really matured and brought her readers some epic new material.  As you can tell, I look up to strong female poets like her and like Mindy Nettifee because I love their voices. I love what they have to say and how they say it. 

I went ahead and wrote a review that I’ll be submitting to The Rumpus. Check it out, for now:

(photo via Sierra DeMulder’s tumblr/by Cole Sarar and if you want to see more Sierra pics by Starfive, click here )

Winning just about every national poetry slam competition there is, Sierra DeMulder’s words and poetic swagger have won untouchable real estate in my bookshelf. DeMulder’s newest book, New Shoes on a Dead Horse re-defines confessional poetry; in fact, it pushes it aside and claims there is more to each and every picture. New Shoes is epic; it’s honest, raw, innovative, and it is filled to the brim with heartbreak and a dark freedom. A much more personal and mature achievement since The Bones Below, New Shoes on a Dead Horse focuses on human nature and its defects, the evidence of living, and the pangs of being alive. Every single poem reaches a loud climax; there is ringing of truth in every syllable.

DeMulder’s poems hysterically reflect different relationships (personal and general), our worst fears, and what hurts.  In poems such as “The Perm” and “The New Kitchen,” DeMulder highlights the before and after of her parent’s divorce. In “The Perm,” she writes: “I am making my mother drive home / from the salon over and over and over,” to stress the old memory of the first time her mother defied her stubborn father with a drastic change in hair style. Later in the book, DeMulder describes her mother’s new kitchen, the one she uses post-divorce: “The dishes match- / something I can tell comforts my mother.” Both poems quietly offer sadness observed and lived, the kind that stains families and leaves them broken. Other tendencies, such as jealousy and self-destruction are painted fearlessly; DeMulder masters the provocative and truthful heartbreak. “On Watching Someone You Love Love Someone Else,” written in second person, deals with envy and torment by exposure to an ex-lover who has found someone else: “Does he fall for her features like rearranged furniture? When / he kisses her, does she taste like new paint?” The poem reads like a story we have all lived. In the end, although (you) have lost, although (your) pain is real and radiating, (you) must be reduced to a happy, stable figure. Happiness itself is investigated in poems such as “Fentanyl,” and “The Genius Complains about his Boss,” where depression, suicide, and the lack of confidence in self-existence are loudly discussed. Sierra DeMulder’s second collection of poetry has many arms and legs; although she addresses a gorgeously accumulated list of problems within ourselves and society, she does so masterfully, and with a young, fearless guerrilla girl voice.

The manner in which DeMulder puts her poems together creates a symbiotic relationship between content and form. Married to free verse, she is no formalist, yet all of her poems are confined by a sense of structure and tightness. Most of her poems are structured by couplets, tercets, or quatrains. However, the poet’s words and lines have a way of tidiness to them that still allow free movement; Sierra does not abuse the various structures and carefully constructs each line, each stanza, accordingly. In “Love, Forgive Me,” DeMulder structures her stanzas into tercets, creating a neat poem that is juxtaposed with its heavy content: the deconstruction of soul-mates. Poems such as “On Watching Someone You Love Love Someone Else” and “The Genius Goes to the Art Museum” are written in prose format; a heavily disputed form of poetry that begs the question of boundaries. In this case, the space of the page works for the poems. DeMulder has a knack for one-liners; this can be attributed to the way she reads her poems on stage. She has a powerful stage presence, and it naturally lends itself to the page, where it creates dynamic flow. “This is the dumb cousin of love making” is a line from “The Genius Considers the Pros and Cons of Pornography,” a witty line that makes Sierra the poet that she is. What could have been divided into couplets, the poem gorgeously spills and moves with precision.

Sierra DeMulder’s second book of poetry is a powerful accomplishment, a must-read for anyone who loves writing that is real and in-your-face good. New Shoes on a Dead Horse spray paints anything and everything we have been anxious about in a succinct turbulence. Sierra moves you, shakes you, and leaves you feeling so much. Good poetry is carefully created to do just that.

Grape Juice is the Sweetest Juice! (a poem by Mindy Nettifee)

All preachers’ daughters know this.
After small lifetimes
of tasting it doled out in thimbles,
after pretending to understand it
as some sort of stand-in for pre-crucifixion toasting,
some faux wine hired to re-enact savior blood,

all it takes is the hottest day of the summer,
in an old church thick with mildewed hymn books.

All it takes is the Mildreds and the Rubies
and the Irenes to turn their backs long enough
for you to slip through the swinging kitchen door.

If you can get to the fridge door unnoticed.
if you can use your entire body weight to pull open the door,
its rubber seal sticking with Sunday school popsicles and ancient Tang.

If you can unscrew the lid without dropping it:

one big swig
from the Welch’s grape juice glass bottle
will make your head swim,

will teach you things about holiness,
they didn’t want you to know

There is News

1. The semester is almost over. Which is sad, because that means only two and a half more years to go till I have to face the real world. Then again, there is always the PhD program, right? I can hide behind cal grants and books forever!

2. A few weeks ago, The Rumpus published my review of Jericho Brown’s book of poetry. It’s the same one I wrote for the Poetry International blog, but I decided since I already had this thought-out essay, why not try and submit it elsewhere? Call it lazy; I call it opportunistic.  I’ll be working on some more poetry reviews over the winter break. You can see my review here.

A few days ago, I was informed that The California Journal of Women Writers has accepted four of my poems: “Destroyer,” “The Perks of Anti-Regret,” “Swim To,” and “To Feel Whole Again”. I’m super proud and excited to be getting more and more of my work out there. I’m a little bit nervous about “The Perks of Anti-Regret” because it’s about my dad’s cancer and a dead-end relationship with a really close friend from high-school. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to keep it, but I sent it off before I even really thought about it, so who knows? Maybe I’ll get some good feedback from cyber space. In any case, the first issue should be available online super soon!

This is me reading

This is me reading “The Economy is Really Bad” and finally wearing those heels I bought last year

This last weekend, Poetry International had its bi-annual release (kind of) party at La Gran Tapa in downtown San Diego. There was an open mic, but more importantly there was sangria. A lot of sangria.

4. It’s only been a week and I’m finished with season one of Walking Dead. Oh, and I’m totally hooked. Mischa and I have been discussing our fantasy plans if the zombie apocalypse actually happens, like, which of our household items would we use to smash zombie brains? (the sink, table leg, lamp). Also:

Me: Why do zombies HAVE to eat humans?

Mischa: Because they’re zombies.

Me: Why can’t they eat grass or something?

Mischa: Because  then they would be weird, dead lawnmowers.

5. The people I intern with at Poetry International always have either wraps or baklava from this Lebanese cafe called Mama’s in North Park whenever I’m in the office. I’m always a little bit jealous, so instead of awkwardly asking if they could grab me some lunch, I just went with Mischa this weekend to check it out. Not only are their wraps freaking so good, their baklava tastes like honey, cinnamon, sugar, carmel, and about 300 calories worth of sweet dreams. Um, I’m in LOVE, you guys. I ate one at the cafe and then bought four more.

Seriously. If you live in San Diego, you need to go and get Mama’s baklava. And then give some to me.

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