Monthly Archives: September 2010

Daedalus, After Icarus

by Kehinde Wiley

Daedalus, After Icarus

Boys begin to gather around the man like seagulls.

He ignores them entirely, but they follow him

from one end of the beach to the other.

Their footprints burn holes in the sand.

It’s quite a sight, a strange parade:

A man with a pair of wings strapped to his arms

followed by a flock of rowdy boys.

Some squawk and flap their boney limbs.

Others try to leap now and then, stumbling

as the sand tugs at their feet. One boy pretends to fly

in a circle around the man, cawing in his face.

We don’t know his name, or why he walks

along our beach, talking to the wind.

To say nothing of those wings. A woman yells

to her son, Ask him if he’ll make me a pair.

Maybe I’ll finally leave your father.

He answers our cackles with a sudden stop,

turns, and runs toward the water.

The children jump into the waves after him.

Over the sounds of their thrashes and giggles,

we hear a boy say We don’t want wings.

We want to be fish now.

(This poem originally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of OCHO.)

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Currently Reading: FATA MORGANA by Reginald Shepherd

by Hyun Ju Park

“Your body of brackish water, / black, opaque, impossible to see through / to the bottom, swim across to shore: /I’ve been drowning in my sleep too long, when will I stop comparing you?” – Reginald Shepherd

Regarding The Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin

“Some of us, white and black, know how great a price has already been paid to bring into existence a new consciousness, a new people, an unprecendented nation. If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our know.

If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own – which it is – and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.” – James Baldwin

The other day I mentioned to a friend how excited I was to have finally received my copy of The Cross of Redemption by James Baldwin in the mail. My friend – an incredibly intelligent, compassionate, and astute person – calmly confessed that he didn’t know who James Baldwin was. I mentioned a few titles hoping to jog my friend’s memory and he replied, “Oh. Well, I don’t read many poems.” This was a valuable moment for me.

We can never take James Baldwin’s contributions for granted. We cannot afford to assume that everyone knows what he did (and continues to do) for us. Fortunately, Randall Kenan (a brilliant novelist & essayist in his own right) has brought us The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin. This is our opportunity to re-learn & re-read Baldwin’s intellectual contributions to our continued struggle.. this is our chance to introduce those contributions to people around us.

Making the MFA Work: Christian Gullette

by Jose Rivas

Continuing our series on life (and work) after the MFA, here’s a brevity by Christian Gullette, a recent graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. Most recently, a poem of his was chosen as one of the winners of Knockout Magazine’s Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize. When not writing his own poems, Christian serves as the assistant poetry editor for The Cortland Review:

I think the artistic and academic value of my MFA was priceless. I feel like I really grew as both a creative and analytic writer in ways that would have taken much longer on my own. I went into my degree with the mindset that it was purely a craft degree and to put any other burdens on it would be setting myself up and the degree unfairly. It’s ultimately about the writing itself. I always distanced myself from the expectation that one pays to inherit automatic entree into a world one’s teachers spent decades creating for themselves sometimes poem by poem. For me, it was about learning to write the poems I wanted to write, and that was all.

Rememberin’ Miss Lucille

by Margaret Bowland

“they ask me to remember / but they want me to remember / their memories / and i keep on remembering / mine.” – Lucille Clifton

Excuse Me While I Slip Into Something More Comfortable…

by Terry Richardson

In case you haven’t noticed, the blog has a new blog. Since it’s been around for more than two years now, I figured a make-over was in order. Since I started writing this blog in 2008, I’ve attended & graduated from the MFA program at Rutgers University-Newark, taught undergraduate writing courses, worked as an office manager at a high school, and – most recently – become a high school English teacher. And if you take a look at my published work, you’ll see that my poetry has gone through quite an evolution as well.

Change is everything. And, more importantly, I think I look good in green.

The Wedding Dress In the Dream Signifies…

by Margaret Bowland

Apparently, a wedding dress in a dream means that emotional harmony has been restored… which is to say, that after my first four weeks of teaching 9th & 12th grade English, I’ve gotten to the place where I can happily do my job & still make time to read (a few) poems, jot down notes in my journal, and update my blog.

I’ve missed you.

Fortunately, my poetry has been doing a bit of the work for me. In the last few weeks, two of my poems have appeared in Esque alongside work from Franz Wright, Cole Swenson, and Evie Shockley.

Also some of my poetry has been accepted for publication in LineBreak as well as Weave Magazine. I’ll let you know when those issues are available for you perusal.