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Betsy Andrews to Read at IUSB This Wednesday!!

 

Mark your calendars! Betsy Andrews will be reading this Wednesday—October 1, 2014—at Indiana University South Bend, hosted by 42 Miles Press and the English Department.

Betsy Andrews_IUSB ReadingBetsy Andrews_The Bottom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Betsy’s poems are powerful and passionately-driven. They are urgent and accelerate the reader forward through their pages, their images, their truths, to a consensus of central issue and potential solution. They are largely ecological and political in their focus. New Jersey is a book-length poem that focuses on the New Jersey Turnpike, while The Bottom focuses on the anticipated environmental impact of Bush’s re-election. Her next book-length poem will focus on the air element and the many creatures involved (birds, planes, etc.), and she plans for subsequent poems to focus on the remaining elements, earth and fire. Her poems—and her reading!—should not be missed.

Her reading will take place at 7:30pm on the third floor of Wiekamp Hall (on the Bridge)—again, on Wednesday, October 1—and the reading is free and open to the public! Please also stick around after for a brief Q&A, small reception, and book signing.

Also, if you are interested in reading more about Betsy’s work, click here for a link to my review of The Bottom, and click here for my interview with Betsy about her writing life, research habits, influences and what she’s working on now.

 

BETSY ANDREWS is the author of The Bottom (42 Miles Press), winner of the 2013 42 Miles Press Poetry Prize, and New Jersey (University of Wisconsin Press), winner of the Brittingham Prize. Her chapbooks include She-Devil (Sardines Press), In Trouble (Boog Press), and Supercollider, a collaboration with the artist Peter Fox. She is also executive editor of Saveur magazine.

 

 

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Analecta Publication

Saturday evening, in conjunction with Jim Daniels’ reading, was the IU South Bend student writing awards and the first reveal of the 2012 Analecta.

Since I was unable to attend, I just picked up my copy, and I’ve spent the past hour or so flipping through it, reading it, admiring it. This very well might be my favorite Analecta yet!

It’s also exciting, because I was a part, however small, in this year’s publication, since I was one of the Assistant Editors, along with a few other very awesome people, and I was also published (I included the poem below)! It’s a great feeling to have multiple roles in such an admirable annual project…

Thank you to Jeff Tatay for your awesome work and dedication to this year’s Analecta. I’m sure there are many others out there who are as excited about this year’s edition as I am.

*

Poisonous Snakes

1.

You, you remember
those earlier days

when you walked along
a more putrid river

surrounded
by chamomile and violets

where the moon

hung itself

in the trees.

The new moon became
the funeral

you walked into.
You dreamt many times.

2.

You remember how, once,

your legs somersaulted

without you,

as though filled with wind,
as if they
were predetermined
amputees.

You wandered into someone else’s backyard
without them,

as if it would help stop the bleeding,
as if it would somehow tell you

you have somewhere else to be.

And when you awoke,

you walked into a woman’s yard,
hanging laundry.

Admired
the childlike size of the clothes,

the smell after washing
still suggesting illness.

3.

The rain had pelted through
the scarecrow’s body,

limp on his pole.

She placed his clothes on the line,
she said, to keep them from molding –

(while the scarecrow lay limp
on the desert rock,

he with a torn mouth,
his body –

the tan-to-brown S shape
that then suggested

poisonous snakes.)

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Jim Daniels at IU South Bend

Tonight, Jim Daniels appeared at the IU South Bend English Department Student Writing Awards and performed a reading.

Unfortunately for me, I was unable to attend the reading. Call it an example of how a writer must lead a double-life, split between the artistic edge of experiencing poetry and functioning within the “real world” and/or workforce.

However, I still wanted to share in the excitement. While I may have not gotten to see and hear Jim Daniels recite his own work, buy his books, meet him or get the books signed by him (siiiigh), I can at least still appreciate his writing!

Here is a link to one of my favorite examples of How a Poem Happens.

Here are two videos, the first of Jim Daniels reading from From Milltown to Malltown, and the second of Daniels reading from Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry.

And finally, here is one of my favorite Daniels poems.

JIM DANIELS

Taking the Leap

My faith had gone to the dogs.
Dogs will eat their own vomit
if you let them. That’s faith.
They swallowed my faith,
and I’m not sure they kept it down.

Fifteen, drunk, I fell back through the plaster
to avoid my mother’s kiss. She’d jumped
off a chair in front of me.

*

She’s eighty now, and blind.
My son, fifteen, forgot to take out
the garbage last night. I’d offered
to help him earlier, but he declined.
Declining is the slant here.

I’d tap dance through hell
to get a smile out of him.
Is he drinking yet?
I can still jump off chairs.

I’d jump off a chair to surprise my mother
if she could see me, if I could be sure
she would not fall.

*

Fragile and faith get rewound, refined,
redefined. My dog Prince once chewed
Jesus off the cross. Oh, we all had a laugh
over that. Helluva way to get resurrected.

We never gave my son faith in God
so he has not lost it. Just his faith
in us. He smiles a little when he’s lying
but he’ll cure that tick soon.

*

I edited that part out—about me being drunk—
for the family oral history. Just a cute little tale
of a man-boy not wanting to kiss his mother.

Last time we embraced was after he ran away
then came home. I’ve told him to run away
many times since. Even though that night
the porch light glowed and I sat there waiting
for him to leap back into our lives
and may have even prayed.

*

She pulled me out of the wall.
My ass covered in plaster dust.
Everyone admired the empty tomb
except my father who stuck his fingers in
to assess the damage.

My mother got another shot
in her hip last week so she can keep
that wheelchair in the garage.

*

It was hard throwing Jesus away,
even a chewed-up Jesus. No way
was he going back up on that cross.

My son, fifteen, forgot to take out the garbage.
Last week, a girl sprayed him with perfume
as a joke. He wouldn’t come near me. Sat alone
in the back seat as I drove him home.

We’re in freefall here. We’re tearing the walls
back to the studs. We’re excavating for relics.
We have no evidence. We’ve stopped taking pictures.

What did my mother see then? Why wouldn’t
I let her kiss me goodbye?

I’ve got enough sight left. The dogs
bark outside in the cold. Their breathe rises
in the street light and disappears.

He tells me he’s heard all my stories,
though I know that’s not true. He broke a chair
last week just sitting down.

My father sealed up the hole, though you could still see
the faint outline of where I fell.

He barges into my room without knocking, but won’t open
his door to talk, tries to shut it on me.

We fight about the basics—sleep, food, time—
we stick with what we know. My father hit me
for the last time when I was fifteen

and I’m sure I deserved it. Just an open hand
to the cheek. My son jolted away from my hand
on his shoulder on Christmas day

but opened all the gifts. We’ve got baby Jesus here
in the house of unbelievers. All I can say is
sometimes a good story can keep you going

a long time. I tap danced through hell
and even Satan applauded. I lifted
my guardian angel’s robe

and saw nothing underneath. Jesus escaped
out of a hole in the wall. My mother
got her sight back. She threw away her walker,

she sang, dancing with me like back
when I was little and laughed, thrilled
to be in her arms.

We lost our wings a long time ago, my son,
so take me in your arms, catch me
as I fall.

*

from Pleiades 31.2 (2011), Eds. Wayne Miller and Phong Nguyen

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