“when voices detach themselves,” by gary lundy / review, interview, poems

“Poetry is at its basic level language at play. I try not to dictate the rules of that play.” gary lundy



gary’s style is an engaging cross between the spontaneity of artistic improvisation and a steady flow of interior monologue. His often fragmented word-play, draws us inescapably into his haunted world. His is singular voice that pulls us up by the heartstrings as he scrutinizes his life, his loves, and the ragged edges of longing. He is exquisitely open in his explorations of grief and vulnerability, facing the discordant notes head on. I think what impressed me most about gary’s writing is a virtuosity unpretentious and honest.  Recommended.

when voices detach themselves is the first of two chapbooks by gary lundy published by Is a Rose Press, which focuses on “poetry, experimental writing, hybrid, and more.”  when voices detach themselves was published in 2013 and the second, heartbreak elopes into a kind of forgiving was published in 2016. These are among several of gary’s published collections. The others are detailed in his bio, which closes this post.

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*****

when voices detach themselves, when I imagine
I am listenting to their speakers sudden impact of
invisibility, of having lost the way, even through
insistence attempts to sidestep a bouncing young
noise. can it be. that through thought i confirm
my being. yet does it too proceed the thought.
can it not outlast loss.

in another location two people unwind their
bodies from the previous nights encounter, move
to opposites sides of the room.

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: I’m sure you’ve had many questions from your students, readers, and interviewers over the years. Is there any question about poetry in general and/or your poetry specifically that  you wish someone would ask and what would be your answer to that question?

GARY: In my experience people don’t tend to ask questions about poetry. Certainly many want to tell me what poetry can and can’t be. From the admonition that this or that word is overused and should be avoided, to “we have a moral obligation to protect the world from bad poetry.” This last one came after I refused to talk about those poets who didn’t inspire or compel, etc. From a well known poet who we had gathered to meet and greet, if you will.

I love poetry, even those pieces or books that don’t generate for me interest. I love language and words equally. Poetry is at its basic level language at play. I try not to dictate the rules of that play.

JAMIE: Your style is certainly engaging and rather singular, improvisational and fragmented like the voices about which you write in when voices detach themselves. Did it arrive one day in a flash or is it something that evolved and is perhaps still evolving? 

GARY: Thank you. For this particular book I returned to poems I’d written a few years earlier and then left behind. When I reintroduced myself to them i realized that in their fragmented way they fit together. So I listened and then the book was reallized.

My writing practice is pretty consistent in that I usually write every day. But I don’t begin with a sense of where the writing is going to go. That is, I have little interest in dictating where the words lead. Rather, I’ll jot something down, a fragment or phrase and then what’s on the page begins to dictate direction.

Naturally, when I first began to explore writing poetry I followed those dictates of teachers and peers. I worked to write the poem expected, the poem of rules. I also wrote specifically out of or from my life experiences. It was a good practice to be sure.

However, eventually I began to understand that such writing, for me of course, was more a group writing than writing as it came to me. My life did not seem to fit easily into the formulas I’d been encouraged to use. Perhaps because I hadn’t really begun to recognize my queer identity, but my world was not constructed within easy narrative or linear structure. Rather, it was filled with false starts, disconcerting interruptions, and a sense of loss and failure. I began to listen to that rather than any central sense of self. Naturally this is an ongoing and delightful adventure in discovering where the writing wants to go. 

JAMIE: You write about the discordant notes in life, the fears, the jolts that come out of nowhere, the losses, and the distancing that seems to happen between lovers and friends, and the way expectations and outcomes don’t necessarily jive … all the aches and pains of life, the vulnerabilities. Is there healing for you in the writing, in the naming? Is your hope – expectation – that there might be some healing for the reader?

GARY: This is an intriguing question. When I write I have little expectation past the writing as it unfolds. Certainly, when I return to what has been written, especially after a few months or years, I suppose there is some kind of healing; although, I’d prefer insight. A few years ago I moved to Providence, Rhode Island, to be with a lover and friends. It was a good experience; however, it was also not so good. After I returned to Montana I reread my first full length collection, heartbreak elopes into a kind of forgiving. I was preparing to give a reading and hadn’t really thought very much about the poems. However, as i read through the pieces, all written before my move, there were warnings throughout. I could see that however it came, evidently I knew I shouldn’t make the move. The poems were written a couple years earlier. Curious to be sure. While I try to pay attention to such meanings in my poetry, unfortunately, for the most part I miss them consistently.

I have no expectation for my reader, nor of even having a reader. I am convinced that if there is a reader they will find their own sense of what’s going on in the poem as they listen to the poem. While writing certainly and clearly assumes a reader, I don’t. I write for the pleasure of writing, and, perhaps, to keep me in some way grounded.

JAMIE: I suspect you’ve been writing since high school and college and I know you have quite a body of published work.  What’s up next? 

GARY: Well, to get some few pieces published in magazines and journals; perhaps land another book or two. But foremost is simply to continue writing, and reading, to continue learning about those facets of my compound and complex sense of self and world.

POEMS

as i have to do i bring this to a more personal
level. certainly in my writing part of the task has
been to find a form that not only expresses what
i have lived. but the stories of what i can live. feel
certain that every marginalized person has this
task. or remains subordinate and enslaved. yet
as i struggle with the how of actualizing this. or
getting to the story not in unremarkable and
familiar narrative. i realize how troubling and
difficult it is.

i apologize for loading you down with images.
just excited to get closer to present. and maybe
a future.

****

as out of remarkable past
a slight look aside peripheral desire
another over written story lies
indeed it may only be overdue bills
envelopes stacked against the south wall
last years dishes long the growing mold

****

you came to me later after other women had
taught me their possibility and mine while men
kept warning their usual mantra it is a mans
world but it isn’t after all and a reality exists
outside even their peripheral gaze even outside
their understanding a desire full of exception and
expectation for a different kind of language a
different kind of life where ego shrinks to the size
of a pea and life become quite suddenly more
about more than usual

gary’s poetry is shared here with permission

© gary lundy

RELATED:

reading the signs can be terrifying, gary lundy, Cutbank, The Literary Journal of the University of Montana


gary lundy has published five chapbooks, the two most recent, and still in print, when voices detach themselves (Is A Rose Press, 2013), and at | with (Locofo Chaps, 2017), and has two book length collections, heartbreak elopes into a kind of forgiving (Is A Rose Press, 2016); and each room echoes absence (Foothills Publishing, 2018). He has published his writing throughout the US as well as in Canada, Czeck Republic, and Israel. Most recently his poems have appeared in Fence, Meta/Phor(e)/Play, Cutbank: Weekly Flash Prose & Prose Poetry, Setu: Western Voices Special Edition, and Alexandria Quarterly.

gary was raised in Denver, Colorado. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth Century American Poetry from Binghamton University. He taught English at SUNY-Oswego, St. Paul’s College, and for twenty years at the University of Montana Western. gary, now retired, is queer and lives in Missoula, Montana.



ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

 

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay (writer, director, producer) to Receive Voice of Influence Award at PEN America 2019 LITFEST

DuVernay at the 2010 AFI Film Festival and SAG “BreakThrough” Filmmakers Party courtesy of Mariemaye under C BY 3.0

“Creativity is an energy. It’s a precious energy, and it’s something to be protected. A lot of people take for granted that they’re a creative person, but I know from experience, feeling it in myself, it is a magic; it is an energy. And it can’t be taken for granted.” Ava DuVernay



PEN America just announced that groundbreaking director, producer, and activist Ava DuVernay will receive the Voice of Influence Award at the organization’s 2019 LitFest Gala in Beverly Hills. She will join previously announced LitFest Gala honoree songwriter Diane Warren (Artistic Expression Award) at the 2019 LitFest Gala on November 1, 2019 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

“We are honored to recognize the unparalleled work that Ava DuVernay has done throughout her career, which constantly reminds us of the true purpose and power of storytelling,” said Michelle Franke, executive director of PEN America’s Los Angeles office. “We admire the rigor with which her work has explored the lesser-heard, all-too-often suppressed voices of history.

Michaelle Franke continued, “PEN America is proud to stand with leaders like Ava, who challenge and inspire us, and whose contributions further our mission to protect and celebrate creative expression and who use their words to transform the world.”

For more information on the PEN America’s 2019 LitFest Gala, visit HERE.

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Ava DuVernay in 2015 courtesy of usbotschaftberlin / Public Domain

Winner of the Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody Awards, Academy Award nominee Ava DuVernay is a writer, director, producer and film distributor. Her directorial work includes the historical feature film SELMA, the criminal justice documentary 13TH, and Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME which made her the highest grossing black woman director in American box office history. Based on the infamous case of The Central Park Five, her current project WHEN THEY SEE US recently garnered 16 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Director and Writer for a Limited Series nominations for DuVernay.

Currently, she oversees production on the fourth season of her critically-acclaimed TV series QUEEN SUGAR and her upcoming romance anthology CHERISH THE DAY for Warner Brothers Television. Making history as the first African-American filmmaker to win the Best Director prize at Sundance for her micro-budget, self-distributed feature MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, DuVernay continues to amplify the work of other people of color and women of all kinds through her non-profit film collective ARRAY, named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies.” DuVernay sits on the advisory board of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and co-chairs the Prada Diversity Council. She is based in Los Angeles, California.

This post courtesy of PEN America and Wikipedia

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

“Love After Love” by Derek Walcott, text with a reading by Linton Kwesi Johnson

“There is the buried language and there is the individual vocabulary, and the process of poetry is one of excavation and of self-discovery. Tonally the individual voice is a dialect; it shapes its own accent, its own vocabulary and melody in defiance of an imperial concept of language, the language of Ozymandias, libraries and dictionaries, law courts and critics, and churches, universities, political dogma, the diction of institutions. Poetry is an island that breaks away from the main.” Derek Walcott, The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory: The Nobel Lecture



The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

– Derek Walcott, Collected Poems, 1948-1984

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this video reading. 

Derek Walcott, VIII Festival Internacional, 1992 courtesy of Jorge Mejía peralta under CC BY 2.0 license

DEREK WALCOTT Sir Derek Alton Walcott, KCSL, OBE, OCC (1930 – 2017) was a Saint Lucian poet and playwright who was awarded the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. His works include the Homeric epic poem Omeros (1990), which critics view as Walcott’s major achievement.

Walcott called himself “an elated, exuberant poet madly in love with English.” He was influenced by modernist poets such as T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.

Walcott had a sense of himself as a poet from his early youth. In the poem “Midsummer” (1984), he wrote:

Forty years gone, in my island childhood, I felt that
the gift of poetry had made me one of the chosen,
that all experience was kindling to the fire
Interview: “Derek Walcott, The Art of Poetry No. 37”, The Paris Review, Issue 101, Winter 1986.

At fourteen, Walcott’s first poem, a Miltonic, religious poem, was published in The Voice of St Lucia, the local newspaper. He was condemned by a Catholic priest for his Methodist-inspired poem, which the priest considered as blasphemous. By nineteen, Walcott had self-published his first two collections with a loan from his mother, who paid for the printing: 25 Poems (1948) and Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949). He recovered the costs and repaid his mom by selling copies to his friends.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

 

Joy Harjo’s Opening Reading as Poet Laureate, September 19, Will be Live-streamed by the Library of Congress; Joy Harjo reading “Remember”

Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

“I’ve always had a theory that some of us are born with nerve endings longer than our bodies”  Joy Harjo, In Mad Love and War



Harjo photographed by the Library of Congress in 2019, upon her nomination as Poet Laureate

Joy Harjo will give her inaugural reading as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19. The event will take place in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. A book signing will follow.

The program is free and open to the public, but tickets are required and there may be special restrictions. For more information and to secure tickets, visit this event ticketing site HERE.

Harjo’s reading will be live-streamed on the Library’s Facebook page and its YouTube site (with closed captions).

Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the first Native American to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate.



The official seal of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation by Muscogee Red under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The nation descends from the historic Creek Confederacy, a large group of indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. Official languages include Muscogee, Yuchi, Natchez, Alabama, and Koasati, with Muscogee retaining the largest number of speakers. They commonly refer to themselves as Este Mvskokvlke (pronounced [isti məskógəlgi]). Historically, they were often referred to as one of the Five Civilized Tribes of the American Southeast.



The historic reading marks the beginning of Harjo’s laureateship, which traditionally launches the Library’s 2019-2020 literary season. This year, it is also part of the Library’s new National Book Festival Presents series, featuring high-caliber authors, their books and related Library treasures.

Photo courtesy of Joy Harjo. Photographer: Karen Kuehn

In addition to reading from her repertoire of poems spanning a 40-year career, Harjo, who is an award-winning musician, also will perform with bassist Howard Cloud and keyboardist Robert Muller.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed Harjo the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in June. Hayden says that Harjo’s poems tell “an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.”

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 9, 1951, Harjo has written eight books of poetry, including Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (W. W. Norton, 2015); The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton, 1994), winner of the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and In Mad Love and War (Wesleyan University Press, 1990), which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her most recent book of poetry is An American Sunrise was published by W. W. Norton this month.

Joy Harjo’s memoir, Crazy Brave (W. W. Norton, 2012) won the 2013 PEN Center USA literary prize for creative nonfiction. In addition, Harjo has written a children’s book, The Good Luck Cat (Harcourt, Brace 2000), and a young adult book, For a Girl Becoming (University of Arizona Press, 2009).

AWARDS: Harjo’s many literary awards include the PEN Open Book Award, the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

Harjo has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her collection How We Become Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001” (W. W. Norton, 2002) was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its Big Read program. Her recent honors include the Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers (2019), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation (2017) and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets (2015). In 2019, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

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If you are reading this post via an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view it.



This post is courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, Amazon, Wikipedia, The Poetry Society, my bookshelf, and Joy Harjo.

The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center fosters and enhances the public’s appreciation of literature. To this end, the center administers the endowed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry position, coordinates an annual season of readings, performances, lectures, conferences and symposia; sponsors high-profile prizes and fellowships for literary writers; and offers a range of digital initiatives to further its mission and reach. For more information, visit.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton