A poetry mixtape

large_550_tmp_2F1408396883978-ucvv0g3o1beghkt9-dbaa4373a4d6c57ad31daab7538ec363_2FLITA45-034_CoverMorning High was the B-side track on Lizzie Mercier Descloux’s “Fire” single. Lizzie reads Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Matinée d’ivresse” in French as Patti Smith reads it in English. Composition by Bill Laswell. Click here to listen.







Artist Jill Kroeson’s “I Really Want to Bomb You” features Fred Smith from Television on Bass. And that’s perhaps the least interesting thing about the song! Trigger warning? Click here to listen.








“Purple Lips” was the second song on 1981’s Drama in Exile. Oddly, the song does not appear on 1983’s re-recorded release of the same name. Click here to listen.







The Outer Darkness is the third volume of Sun Ra and his Arkestra’s Space Poetry series, a collection of previously “lost” Sun Ra recordings. “The Outer Darkness Part 2” is read by Arkestra keyboardist June Tyson. Click here to listen.

Anne Carson and Floating Gender

Photo source: Hammer Museum

Anne Carson is a Gemini. The sign of Gemini is represented by The Twins and ruled by the planet Mercury. Mercury is the heart of the word mercurial, a term used to describe people who are erratic and unpredictable. Gemini is also an air sign, and air is the element that rules thought patterns and communication. It is said that people born under the sign of Gemini are natural writers and teachers, albeit a touch difficult to follow.

Anne Carson is a poet, writer, multi-linguist, professor of the classics, a feminist and a genius.

In a Paris Review interview with Will Aitken (no date listed), Carson reflects on gender:

“I guess I’ve never felt entirely female, but then probably lots of people don’t. But I think that at different times in my life I located myself in different places on the gender spectrum, and for many years, throughout my thirties which is when I did that pilgrimage, I didn’t have any connection to the female gender. I wouldn’t say I exactly felt like a man, but when you’re talking about yourself you only have these two options. There’s no word for the “floating” gender in which we would all like to rest. The neuter comes up in the unbearable poem, the neuter gender, but that doesn’t really capture it because you don’t feel neuter, you feel just wrong. Wrong vis-à-vis the gender you’re supposed to be in, wrong vis-à-vis the other one, and so what are you?”

Artemis. Source: Lactating Fountains of Italy


Eileen Myles – An American Poem


I was born in Boston in
1949. I never wanted
this fact to be known, in
fact I’ve spent the better
half of my adult life
trying to sweep my early
years under the carpet
and have a life that
was clearly just mine
and independent of
the historic fate of
my family. Can you
imagine what it was
like to be one of them,
to be built like them,
to talk like them
to have the benefits
of being born into such
a wealthy and powerful
American family. I went
to the best schools,
had all kinds of tutors
and trainers, traveled
widely, met the famous,
the controversial, and
the not-so-admirable
and I knew from
a very early age that
if there were ever any
possibility of escaping
the collective fate of this famous
Boston family I would
take that route and
I have. I hopped
on an Amtrak to New
York in the early
‘70s and I guess
you could say
my hidden years
began. I thought
Well I’ll be a poet.
What could be more
foolish and obscure.
I became a lesbian.
Every woman in my
family looks like
a dyke but it’s really
stepping off the flag
when you become one.
While holding this ignominious
pose I have seen and
I have learned and
I am beginning to think
there is no escaping
history. A woman I
am currently having
an affair with said
you know  you look
like a Kennedy. I felt
the blood rising in my
cheeks. People have
always laughed at
my Boston accent
confusing “large” for
“lodge,” “party”
for “potty.” But
when this unsuspecting
woman invoked for
the first time my
family name
I knew the jig
was up. Yes, I am,
I am a Kennedy.
My attempts to remain
obscure have not served
me well. Starting as
a humble poet I
quickly climbed to the
top of my profession
assuming a position of
leadership and honor.
It is right that a
woman should call
me out now. Yes,
I am a Kennedy.
And I await
your orders.
You are the New Americans.
The homeless are wandering
the streets of our nation’s
greatest city. Homeless
men with AIDS are among
them. Is that right?
That there are no homes
for the homeless, that
there is no free medical
help for these men. And women.
That they get the message
—as they are dying—
that this is not their home?
And how are your
teeth today? Can
you afford to fix them?
How high is your rent?
If art is the highest
and most honest form
of communication of
our times and the young
artist is no longer able
to move here to speak
to her time…Yes, I could,
but that was 15 years ago
and remember—as I must
I am a Kennedy.
Shouldn’t we all be Kennedys?
This nation’s greatest city
is home of the business-
man and home of the
rich artist. People with
beautiful teeth who are not
on the streets. What shall
we do about this dilemma?
Listen, I have been educated.
I have learned about Western
Civilization. Do you know
what the message of Western
Civilization is? I am alone.
Am I alone tonight?
I don’t think so. Am I
the only one with bleeding gums
tonight. Am I the only
homosexual in this room
tonight. Am I the only
one whose friends have
died, are dying now.
And my art can’t
be supported until it is
gigantic, bigger than
everyone else’s, confirming
the audience’s feeling that they are
alone. That they alone
are good, deserved
to buy the tickets
to see this Art.
Are working,
are healthy, should
survive, and are
normal. Are you
normal tonight? Everyone
here, are we all normal.
It is not normal for
me to be a Kennedy.
But I am no longer
ashamed, no longer
alone. I am not
alone tonight because
we are all Kennedys.
And I am your President.

Eileen Myles, “An American Poem” from Not Me, published by Semiotext(e). Copyright © 1991 by Eileen Myles.   

Kate Jayroe – Black Blooded Hen

Read this amazing short shorty called “Black Blooded Hen” by one of my favorite writers, Kate Jayroe, at Shirley Magazine.

And after that, check out this 5 question interview with Kate at NANO Fiction. I think it’s my favorite interview ever. Ever!!!

Embarrassing old stories: Sea Shepherd

Once upon a time I wrote a story about Celine Dion the Anarchist for a college writing class. I still think it’s a miracle that they let me graduate. Here it is.

 Read More »

Stephanie Wong Ken – Face

Stephanie Wong Ken’s short story “Face” is my favorite of her works. I’ve read it so many times I’ve lost count. I’m so excited to see it not only published by Cosmonauts Avenue, but also awarded their Inaugural Fiction Prize!

Read “Face” at Cosmonauts Avenue, and keep your eye on Stephanie Wong Ken.

She also does the best Drake karaoke.

PSU MFA Alumni Reading with Sara Jaffe

Dryland, by Sara Jaffe (Tin House Books)

On December 4, I’ll be reading at the Portland State MFA Alumni reading with special guest Sara Jaffe (author of Dryland), as well as alumni Matthew Robinson (author of The Horse Latitudes), Karolinn Fiscaletti, Michael Magnes, and Lynn Otto at Blackfish Gallery. Sara has a really cute baby.

420 NW 9th Ave. PDX.