“To the Accused:” New poem published online

I’m posting this short blog entry a day early this week, as I wanted to let you know that The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly has published a new poem of mine on their website! It’s titled, “To the Accused,” and will be featured on the home page all this week.

If you had a chance to catch my interview with crime poetry editor/poet Gerald So a couple weeks ago, you know what crime poetry is and what he’s been doing over at The 5-2.  I’m proud that he liked my poem enough to share it with his readers.

To read my poem as well as hear me reading it, click HERE…I hope you like it!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

National Poetry Month: Catching up with crime poetry editor Gerald So

NPM-2005-WhiteFresh from making an appearance yesterday at Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo event (Rhyming Picture Book Month), today I’m doing a 180-degree turn and interviewing writer and poet Gerald So, the editor of the 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly. All month long, Gerald is hosting the “30 Days of the 5-2” blog tour which features poetry, discussions, and other info each day of the week – including this interview!

If you were around last April, you may recall I interviewed Gerald last year as part of my National Poetry Month celebration, so I thought it would be interesting to check in with him a year later and see how things have been progressing. You may not think crime and poetry have much to do with each other…but read a few of the poems that Gerald has published on his site as well as in one of his eBooks, and you just might change your mind!

First…a little bit about him:

Gerald So-Think-160Robert B. Parker’s Spenser stoked So’s interest in crime fiction and poetry in 1993, while So was a student at Hofstra University.  He helped found Hofstra’s literary magazine, Font, earned his M.A. in Creative Writing from Queens College/CUNY, and taught English at Hofstra for six years before turning to writing full time.

A member of the Academy of American Poets, his poems have appeared in Nerve Cowboy, Barbaric Yawp, Defenestration, Yellow Mama, Gutter Eloquence Magazine, and other provocatively-named venues.  So has served as Short Mystery Fiction Society president (2008-’10) and Thrilling Detective fiction editor (2001-’09). After developing the online crime poetry journal, The Lineup, he published an ebook of his own poetry, We Might Have.

His personal blog is My Life Called So.

So Gerald, get us up to speed as to how The 5-2 has been going over the past year: have there been any changes, or any new writers you’ve discovered? And how has the response been to The 5-2 eBook you published last year?

It’s hard for me to consider the whole year at a glance. Now 2/3 through its third year, I build up the site week by week, so most of the writers are new to me. Publishing this often, the site has a chance to change along with the world, the kind of change we don’t realize at the time, but that is clear when we look back.

I’m pleased with the response to the ebooks. It’s important to me that poetry have a place in ebooks along with prose.

What makes a good “crime poem?” What is it that you look for?

I leave myself open to each poet’s take on crime. I look for evidence of crime driving a poet inevitably to write. I don’t see strong poems as similar in any particular way except powerful execution. Weak poems, on the other hand, fail in their execution.

Has the subject matter changed over the past year or so? Do people tend to write more about fictional events, or real life?

Again, I’m less aware of gradual change, but I consciously try to bear witness to life with the site. I like all kinds of poems, but my favorite deal with real life.

What kind of response do you get from folks who are just discovering the 5-2? Are they shocked at the genre of “crime poetry,” or do they appreciate it for what it is?

Some are surprised. Some don’t get it, but that’s true of any creative writing. Every reader interprets and responds to it differently. That’s part of its value.

30Days52-2014-128ltWhat do you think is the most unusual or surprising thing that people discover about crime poetry?

I think people are surprised how well they can, unfortunately, relate to it. Who among us has never been, or felt, wronged?

You told us last year that the genre is growing…how far has it come, and where do you see it heading?

That’s another difficult question to answer from my week-to-week perspective, but I do hope poetry about crime is more accepted each day.

Would you mind sharing one of your poems?

Here’s one first published on the website Lunatic Chameleon in July 2005:

“Four Minutes”

I stopped breathing
for four minutes at
four hours old,
cutting oxygen to my brain
and sapping strength from
half my body:
not so much I’d never walk
or run or write, but enough
so I couldn’t catch the kids
who called me “retard”
and bloody them
until they stopped.

– Gerald So, all rights reserved
published with permission from the author

Wow, talk about packing an emotional punch! Thanks so much for sharing that, Gerald – and for your time. I’m looking forward to seeing what new poems you publish in the coming year! (And for those of you interested, I’m honored that a new poem of mine, “To the Accused,” will be published on the 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly two weeks from now, May 5-11. I’ll be sure to share the link once it’s up!)

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2014kidlit_progpoemRemember, Irene Latham’s 2014 Progressive Poem continues all month long! A different poet adds a line to the poem each day, and pretty soon we’ll have a complete poem!  Today it heads over to Amy at The Poem Farm, but you can follow along by checking in with each of the following contributors:

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show–Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

Poetry Friday: “Mistaken Identity” and other Poetry Month happenings

NPM-2005-WhiteNational Poetry Month continues, and there’s so much going on in the Kidlitosphere it’s hard to keep track of it all. Blog posts come and blog posts go, and I try to read as many as I can…but there’s just no way I can get to all of them. One post I’m glad I didn’t miss helped me write today’s poem.

Earlier this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect, former National Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis shared a new poetic form he calls the “homophoem,” a poem designed with homophones in mind. (If you don’t know what a homophone is. it’s two or more words that share the same sound, like ate and eight or carrot and carat) The concept is that the last word in the poem is a homophone which acts as the ‘twist’ of the poem.

Kate Coombs and Charles Waters both wrote some incredible poems for the challenge, which they shared on the blog, and this is my contribution:

poetryfridaybutton-fulllMistaken Identity
(A conversation in two voices)

No bull,
I’m not a cow,
it’s true –
I don’t eat hay,
I have no moo.

But what about
your horns and hooves,
and all the grass
you like to chew?

My parents
have two horns –
they do!
They both
have hooves
and eat grass, too!

Are you an ox?
A yak? A ewe?
Please tell me!
Give me just a clue!

Who am I?
Why, I am zebu!

Zebu?
Zebu?!?

 I never gnu.
.

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

But wait, there’s more! Michelle Heindenrich Barnes is celebrating her blog’s FIRST birthday by hosting Poetry Friday today at Today’s Little Ditty, so head on over to get all the links and info – and maybe some cake and ice cream before it’s gone!

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2014kidlit_progpoem Have you been following Irene Latham’s 2014 Progressive Poem? As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, a different poet adds a line to the poem each day, and by the end of April we’ll have a complete, crowd-sourced poem!

This past Tuesday, I added my line, and today the poem heads to Linda Kulp at Write Time. You can follow along by checking in with each of the contributors, listed below!

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show–Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

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#MMPoetry – we have a winner!

MMPoetry2014_logo_full

If you haven’t checked out all the children’s poems that have been produced in just the past couple weeks, you can still log on and see all the incredible poetry that has been created this month.

Just last night, the polls closed on the final matchup between J.J. Close and Samuel “The Lunchbox Doodler” Kent – and congratulations to Samuel for winning the tournament! Click the graphic and you can read both poems!

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RhyPiBoMo banner

I’m very happy to be part of Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo event this month (Rhyming Picture Book Month). All month, she’s encouraging writers to create rhyming picture books (and she’s assembled a team so large and decorated, I have no idea what I’m doing amongst them!) I’ll be guest blogging on April 26, discussing the benefits of collaboration – so please be sure to join me then!

To see all the posts and learn more, click the calendar below for the daily schedule:
RhyPiBoMo calendar - updated

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The day after I guest-blog at Angie’s, I’ll be interviewing writer and poet Gerald So, the editor of the 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly. (I know – quite a segue going from kidlit to poems about crime!)

30Days52-2014-128ltI interviewed Gerald last year as part of my National Poetry Month celebration, and I thought it might be nice to check in with him a year later to see how things have been progressing. You may not think crime and poetry have much to do with each other…but read a few of the poems that Gerald has published on his site as well as in one of his eBooks, and you just might change your mind.

I’m also honored that Gerald has chosen a poem of mine to publish in May, so I’ll be sure to share that link once it is posted!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Crime and Poetry revisited

As part of my month-long celebration of National Poetry Month this past April, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gerald So, webmaster and editor of the Poems on Crime blog, The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly.

5-2-V1-Cover-165It was enlightening, to say the least, learning about this unusual genre of poetry and reading some of the poems that had been published both there as well as in So’s previous eBook series, The Lineup: Poems on Crime.  The different styles of poetry, the unique voices of those writing it, and the varied crimes that served as material for these poems serve to bring poetry to a new audience.

I hoped my interview, likewise, would help bring the poetry audience to the genre.

Having said this, it’s my pleasure to share with you one of my poems that was accepted for publication in The 5-2.  Entitled “Flight,” the poem is a short vignette of ‘flight’ that has been suddenly…stopped. You’ll see what I mean when you read it HERE.

A little different from my children’s poetry, yes?  Hope you liked it, though.  I encourage you to check out my interview with So if you hadn’t had a chance to read it yet – and I’ll be back this  Friday, June 7, with my weekly Poetry Friday offering!

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Did you like this post? Find anything interesting somewhere in this blog? Want to keep abreast of my posts?  Then please consider subscribing via the links over here on the right! (I usually only post twice a week, on Tue. and Fri., so you won’t be inundated with emails every day!)  You can also follow me via Twitter or on Facebook.

Crime and Poetry: An Unusual Relationship

30Days52-13If you have never heard of “crime poetry,” you’re not alone. It’s a narrow genre, but is gaining in popularity. With April being National Poetry Month, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this type of poetry and the people who read, write, and publish it.  I couldn’t think of a better person to talk to than editor, publisher, and poet Gerald So.

Robert B. Parker’s Spenser stoked So’s interest in crime fiction and poetry in 1993, while So was a student at Hofstra University.  He helped found Hofstra’s literary magazine, Font, earned his M.A. in Creative Writing from Queens College/CUNY, and taught English at Hofstra for six years before turning to writing full time.

Gerald So-Think-160
Gerald So, “The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly” editor

A member of the Academy of American Poets, his poems have appeared in Nerve Cowboy, Barbaric Yawp, Defenestration, Yellow Mama, Gutter Eloquence Magazine, and other provocatively-named venues.  So has served as Short Mystery Fiction Society president (2008-’10) and Thrilling Detective fiction editor (2001-’09). After developing the online crime poetry journal, The Lineup, he published an ebook of his own poetry, We Might Have.

His personal blog is My Life Called So.

Gerald, before we talk specifically about what  your blog series, The 5-2, is all about, can you please describe the genre of “crime poetry?”

In 2006, my friend Anthony Rainone wrote an article for Mystery Scene Magazine #99, “Raven in a Trenchcoat: Hardboiled and Noir Poetry,” examining classic and contemporary poetry through the lens of crime. Crime poetry is not a new genre to my mind, but a way of reading with an eye to the wrongdoing and transgression that has fueled much poetry.

Some of those literary journals in which you’ve been published have some pretty – uhh, ‘interesting’ – titles.  (For those who don’t know, ‘defenestration’ is the act of throwing someone out of a window.)  What do you say to people who question the literary value of this type of genre, or claim it’s glorifying violence?

I have no intent to glorify violence or sensationalize crime. Anyone who reads my work or what I accept for The 5-2 will see that much of it reacts to crime, often ultimately condemning it. Crime is simply a subject that interests me in fiction and poetry. It may be taboo to some, but to others, that forbidden air is all the more reason to explore it, to tap into something that hasn’t been tapped.

Defenestration, by the way, is a humor magazine that has nothing to do with throwing people out windows. They just like the sound of the word.

Whew, thanks for clearing that up! 

Now, you were a fiction editor at Thrilling Detective magazine in 2007 when author A.E. Roman suggested you combine your love of poetry with the drama of the crime stories you were editing; what type of poetry had you been writing up until then? And what did you think of the idea of combining poetry and crime?

Disappointment was and is a common theme in my poetry. I often choose to face it with humor so as not to be consumed by it, but I can easily relate to what victims of crime, or sometimes criminals themselves, feel. So when Roman approached me, I could see the concept growing into something. If I got in on it, I could ensure that the material didn’t glorify crime, as I said, but simply witnessed crime.

Lineup3a-s

Speaking of crime and poetry, Edgar Allan Poe was certainly a pioneer in melding beautiful words and imagery with horrific scenes and action…would you say he helped create the genre of “crime poetry?”

Definitely, just as he pioneered detective fiction. His poetry and others’ in the same vein intrigue me because, unlike fiction, it isn’t necessarily made-up.

You mentioned ‘others’…what poets do you feel helped develop this genre, and who would you say are the best, or your favorites?

That’s tough to answer because I see crime in all periods of poetry when I look for it. There have always been poets whose only recourse from being wronged was to write. Recently, I think of Sharon Olds, who has written many poems about her abusive father. On a different note, in the final issue of The Lineup, I reprinted “Prayer for the Man Who Mugged My Father, 72”, in which Charles Harper Webb reminisces about his loving father and imagines taking revenge on his assailant. The material is all there, needing only to be organized into a genre.

The eBook that was created, The Lineup: Poems on Crime, was published the following year; what was the reception to it? 

The Lineup was an annual print chapbook series. I’ve only recently converted the back issues to eBooks. It was well thought of in the crime fiction community. I would have loved for it to make more inroads, but printing on demand was too expensive to publish as frequently as we wanted or distribute copies in the quantities we wanted.

Lineup4-smSo now The 5-2 has taken The Lineup’s place…why? How are the two different, and how is your approach to The 5-2 different?

When I closed shop at The Lineup, I still wanted to provide an outlet for crime poetry. A blog lets me publish more frequently, keeping the concept in the public eye and including accompanying audio/video.

On The Lineup, I worked with three co-editors on each issue, each having equal say in the selection of poetry. We had as good a working relationship as you can hope. With The 5-2, it’s just me and occasional guests editing a week at a time. The Lineup accepted new and previously published poetry to establish the concept. The 5-2 accepts only original work.

By the way, why “5-2?” In police code, that could be anything from a missing person to a domestic disturbance to a fire alarm, depending on what town and state you live in.

The name refers to the fifty-two original poems published on the site each year, but the echoes of police code and precinct jargon are intentional, too.

Finally, what do you think surprises readers unfamiliar with crime poetry the most? And what are your plans for The 5-2 for this year?

Readers are often surprised how well they can relate to the material. Not everyone is into poetry at first, but everyone can unfortunately relate to crime, to feeling hurt, betrayed, violated. I have no grand plan except to pick poems that move me each week for as long as I can.

We Might Have-PJP

Well, thanks for taking the time to shed some light on this unusual poetic genre, Gerald…and best wishes with The 5-2!

Thank you for your interest, your voice talent, and your poetry. 🙂

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that our nation’s Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis, had a poem included in The 5-2…and a really good one it is, too:

PAWNSHOP ON ALAMEDA, DOWNTOWN L.A.

Pat tells me he’s not sure what inspired the poem, although says it could have had something to do with his recurring thoughts about the LA riots from several years ago, or possibly that he was thinking of his daughter, who attended USC, in Watts.

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NOTE:  All month long for National Poetry Month, all sales proceeds of Gerald’s eBooks will be donated to the nonprofit American Academy of Poets to support poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. 

If you’d like to learn more about Gerald’s blog and books, click any of the graphics – they’re all linked to his site.  And if you don’t want to miss any posts here at ‘Triple-R’, be sure to subscribe!