I went back and forth a lot about making a poetry instagram. I didn’t want to be a cliche instagram poet, obsessed with hashtags instead of content, and I didn’t want that to be the end-all-be-all of my writing career. But I also have a lot of thoughts and feelings about how the distribution of art doesn’t effect the art itself. My father, while in art school, was told he couldn’t do a project on Norman Rockwell because “Rockwell isn’t an artist; he’s an illustrator.” History took my dad’s side–Rockwell is celebrated for good reason.
I have this argument a lot with people who scoff at genre fiction. I point out that Shakespeare’s plays were for the common people, Dickens got paid by the word, and my beloved Ulysses is basically self-insert Odyssey fanfiction. Nothing is high-brow, except post-humorously. The canon, as I’ve asserted over and over, is largely bullshit.
People need poetry. And the way they get it isn’t in literature classes or at fancy readings, most of the time. It never has been. In 2018, people get their poetry on instagram and facebook, in the backs of coffee shops at open mike nights, and in books they pull off the shelf at target. And maybe I’m going out on a limb, but Rupi Kaur and r.h. sin and Nayyirah Waheed and their like might just be the post-modern beat poets. Elitists might slam them because they’re part of pop culture, but they do what writers should do: they connect with people. They put the business of being human into words we can understand. That’s what I want to do.
I don’t want to be a poet who fades into obscurity and is only read by other poets. I want my words to reach all different kinds of people. So even though I have zero graphic design skills, I’m plugging away at etaft_poetry and trying to carve out my little corner of the internet.
Maybe life would have been easier as a beat poet (aside from the whole bros-who-murder-together part of it). But 2018 is almost over, and as I read and write, I’m realizing where poetry is going. One of those places, I guess, is instagram. Who am I to judge?
Anyway, find me here: https://www.instagram.com/etaft_poetry/?hl=en
Trick question. Writers are never writing. At most, we’re sitting with documents open, cold tea by our side, and Twitter open on our phones. But we also go through dry spells where even that is too much. Life becomes a void of reruns of The Office and we figure we should have majored in accounting. Not that this is about me or anything.
…I haven’t even been able to write creative non-fiction, these past few months. And that’s just putting the chaotic dumb-assery that is my life on paper.
What I am doing while not-writing has been reading. Not even that much. Mostly it’s been Netflix–my new thing is BBC Nature documentaries. David Attenborough is getting her through. Anyway, I’ve been a little all over the place, but here’s my quick and ill-thought-out reviews of the reading I’ve gotten done.
Eve’s Fall Reads 2k18 (and Her Half-Baked Opinions On Them)
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
- Jackson is a QUEEN and this, her last novel, is my favorite of her stuff so far. No ghosts, no demons, just the best and creepiest narrator I’ve ever read. I’ll stan Merricat Blackwood forever and always. Twist is relatively predictable, but in that fun way where you feel cool for figuring it out. Tone is spooky, writing is gorgeous as always, and I finished it the day I bought it.
- A side note: The Haunting of Hill House is on Netflix, and it’s definitely worth a watch. Like most successful interpretations of literary works, it doesn’t try to transpose the novel tot he screen, instead paying homage but tweaking characters, mostly going a different direction with plot, and moving the setting to modern day.
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
- Okay, okay, but I bought it at an airport so I could have something light and non-anxiety-inducing to read, and y’know what, it was fun? Obviously it’s not high art, but it was fun and made me want to be rich and living in luxury instead of crammed in the middle seat on a transatlantic flight. Made me realize stories without dragons that are just about people and families and romance and social lives don’t always bore me (unless they’re written by Austen. Ooh. Burn.) and I should stop being a baby about them.
- Took me literally all summer to read, but glorious. So many Christian themes (which I resisted). Seamus Heaney is stellar, and I’m making my way into classics without kicking and screaming (too much). The Odyssey should really be next, but we’ll see.
I’m currently returning to my security blanket, which is Terry Pratchett. Of all the Discworld I’ve read, I literally never picked up the very first one, so right now I’m reading The Color of Magic. I’m intending on making this a winter where I study Gaeilge and read for pleasure, so expect lots more raving about pop scifi and horror. And potentially some linguistic rants so my roommates don’t have to listen to me talk about the roots of Irish to be verbs.
A final note: sometimes life is really fucking hard. Sometimes you need a medal for getting up in the morning and showering and eating a Nature Valley bar or whatever. Maybe you don’t read a lot. Maybe you don’t write at all. It’s good enough. All you have to do is keep breathing.
Find some of my undergrad work in plain china. Shoutout to Abby for submitting our campus lit mag, and shoutout to the girl I was kissing at the time. (and find me a girl to kiss now.)
I’m in Visitant again and couldn’t be happier. Here is “Pandora,” a poem about a girl I told myself absolutely not to sleep with…and who I absolutely slept with a few months later. The art attached is stunning, and I’m so very happy to share “Pandora” with you.
My latest publication is in Visitant, an absolutely lovely online journal that puts so much thought and care into the presentation of their pieces. Everything is laid out so beautifully, and I’m so happy “between the lake and the mountain” found a home there.
Because it was written in my creative writing 101 class, I’ve dedicated it to the professor who taught the course, and who went on to become one of my writing mentors. It is about my home, a place I will always hearken back to. The dedication, to a professor I love, in Minneapolis, of a poem about the home I love, in western New York, shows me that in every time and every place, there will be joy.
Here’s a link! https://visitantlit.com/2018/08/14/between-the-lake-and-the-mountain/
I’ll be in Visitant again on September 11th, this time with a..love poem? lust poem? Not sure. Check it out for yourself when the time comes!
First things first, I have two poems coming out in Harbinger Asylum’s summer issue! (https://transcendentzeropress.org/ here’s a link to their website, and you can follow ’em on Twitter at TZPress1). I’m excited because I’m getting “The Wingmaker” reprinted, as it first appeared in Murphy Square, which was the lit mag at my undergrad. The other poem is called “Annotations.”
My next piece of exciting news is that in September, I’ll be joining the team at HungerU, which is an initiative by Farm Journal (here’s another link https://www.hungeru.org/). For two months, I’ll be traveling the US, educating college students on food justice, doing communications, media, and contact with press. I’ll definitely be blogging about it, so watch out for that.
Until then, I’m working in a warehouse and writing when I can. Catch some Illuminaria updates, along with hopefully more creative nonfiction soon.
…to update y’all on Illuminaria.
Yeah. Because it still exists.
I started a readthrough and just cringed. There’s a shaky foundation holding up a solid cast of characters and story, but the world (which has some form in my head) needs to be fleshed out more, in particular the history. Now that I’m not painfully burned out, I have the space and time to do that, so catch me in a coffee shop designing the Rysh school system.
Tidbit: the world as we know it in Illuminaria is in the 20th century of its first age (an age being five thousand years). It’s at 8 billion people, all of who live on four continents. They’ve discovered magic…and colonialism.
Writing again feels good. I also have poetry coming out in Visitant this summer, and am back at the submissions game. I’m still elated from “The Lighthousekeepers.”
Expect more creative nonfiction, too! It’s a good way to take a break while still keeping my writing muscles limber. Next up is “The Barack Obama Service Plaza, the Cliffs of Moher, and That Time Abby Wouldn’t Let Me Steal a Bus.”