Saturday, August 20, 2016

Waxwing Readers

The journal Waxwing is holding a competition that emphasizes the importance of readers by letting them nominate their favourite piece of the last three issues. They call it the Good Bones prize, named for the beautiful poem from issue 9 that went viral. You can vote for any creative writing in the issues - poetry, fiction, translation or non-fiction.

I've spent some mornings reading all the poetry. I thought to include poetry in translation, too, but it seems unfair to choose between a heavy hitter like C├ęsar Vallejo and a relatively unknown poet writing now. Vallejo is a tremendous (and dead) poet. He doesn't need to be made famous. Yes, I appreciate the work of translators, but they had excellent material to start with, and the poets begin with an empty page.

The competition is a smart idea because often people don't read everything literary magazines have to offer. Sometimes, even with my favourite journals, I read the work of people I know then a couple more poems at random or because of their curious titles, then put it aside - partly because there are 10,000 other journals to read.

There's a lot of good poetry in Waxwing. Reading the issues, I was relieved when I got to a poem I didn't like because my list of candidates was growing long. I still haven't decided but here's my short list:

Maya Pridyck "Sometimes a First Kiss Is a Matter"
Nathan McClain "Power Outage Elegy"
Chloe Honum "Lunch Break at the Psychiatric Ward" and "Group Therapy at the Psychiatric Ward"
Jennifer Jean " "Object" and "The Hero of Seymour Avenue"

Check out Waxwing's submission guidelines if you want to participate too. Deadline Aug. 31.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

We came back from a vacation in France this weekend

See France. Ferment France. Eat France. I love France. I didn’t want to leave. French is the first language I tried to learn. I still know the lesson 2 dialogue of my 7th grade French class word-for-word. It’s been completely internalized, for decades. France has bread. France has peaches. France has beautiful cities and green marshes. It has slim chimneys and wrought-iron balconies. Its streets are named after ancient typographers. The French are into splendor. They are into vibrancy. If only I had truly learned French, I would move there. Maybe it is not too late.
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