Photo by Sarah Perry Photography
I’ve known Carrie Murphy since 2011, when my DIY feminist press Birds of Lace published her chapbook Meet the Lavenders. Through Twitter we became online pals who shot the shit on everything from television to poetry to fashion, and eventually ended up on a short poetry tour together in 2012. This fall marks the release of her second collection of poetry, Fat Daisies (Big Lucks 2015), a whipsmart collection that interrogates white privilege, late capitalist consumerism, waste, and the gaping void of modernity—with wry humor, non-didactic feminism, and firm sincerity, natch. You can read two poems from the collection here; you can also take a selfie with Fat Daisies and enter to win a massage, a box of beauty/self-care supplies, and a copy of her first book Pretty Tilt!
I interviewed Murphy about Fat Daisies and her poetry in general: how to be a feeling, living person in this world that seems to turn every living thing into a consumable commodity.
Gina Abelkop: Where did Fat Daisies begin: did it begin to emerge during the writing/editing of your previous book, Pretty Tilt, or sometime else entirely?
Carrie Murphy: I started writing these poems during National Poetry Month in 2012. I was doing a poem-a-day to get myself writing again, living in a tiny apartment in Alexandria, VA, functionally unemployed, and basically miserable. Continue reading
Image via Angry Little Girls, Lela Lee.
I wrote/recorded (click here to hear) the following in reaction to recent events. Also, our fabulous Weird Sister Soleil Ho wrote a related post (which you should also check out if you haven’t already)…
[Procedure: Have an actual Asian female poet silently mouth “take my face take my voice take my face take my voice” throughout this entire audio recording]
Are you a cis-white male poet who’s been rejected over and over for the same shitty poem? Do you want this same shitty poem to be selected for the Best American Poetry anthology?
Then look no further–just adopt an Asian female voice! Continue reading
I want to mourn Yi-Fen Chou, the Chinese American woman poet who doesn’t exist. Her recent achievement, notable for the fact that she is not real, is snagging one of the 75 highly competitive slots in The Best American Poetry 2015. Ingeniously, she was formulated as the Stepford edition of the modern writer of color: a version of us who is white in all but name, who will never know the pain of having her name “bungled or half-bungled” by a well-meaning literary editor MCing her reading; who will never find any reason to celebrate spotting another Asian woman writer from across the vast AWP Bookfair complex; who will never be inconvenient or angry or vocal. Instead of being a real person—which is always so messy, so loaded with the things that make good poetry!—she is a mask, her name peeled off by someone who probably can’t pronounce it at all. Continue reading
The following is an interview between Amy Berkowitz and me for her new book, Tender Points (Timeless Infinite Light), to be published this month. A narrative fractured by trauma and named after the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, this book-length lyric essay explores sexual violence, gendered illness, chronic pain, and patriarchy through the lenses of lived experience and pop culture.
My body is washing dishes and it’s in pain. My body is on hold with California Blue Cross Blue Shield and it’s in pain. My body is dancing and it’s in pain. My body is Skyping Beth and it’s in pain. My body is taking a shower and it’s in pain. My body is riding BART and it’s in pain. My body is politely saying no and it’s in pain. My body is reading a book and it’s in pain. My body is at work and it’s in pain. My body is writing this and it’s in pain. My body is walking to meet you and it’s in pain. (127)
The Grey Bird, (Coconut Books, 2014), with emojis by Carina Finn and translations by Stephanie Berger, is one of the most exciting books I’ve read in a long time. Here’s why:
1. Collaborative work is better reading than solo projects.
Sometimes when I read a book by a single author, I want to write in the margins and create another poem/work, offering editing suggestions, and/or just plain letting them know how much I loved a certain line. When you have more than one lens involved in a work, you can see more than a single consciousness’s approach, and it often seems “better” than what I would imagine would have been created on one’s own. If I had just seen Finn’s emojis or just read Berger’s text, I am not sure I would have been as entranced. It’s the combination that works and is brilliant.
Finn’s emojis on their own:
Berger’s text on its own:
Is that a poem or just a bunch of food? Continue reading
The speaker in Sarah A. Chavez’s first collection of poetry, All Day, Talking (dancing girl press, 2014), is in mourning. This mourning primarily revolves around the speaker’s friend, Carole, but there’s also a longing for a past life—the life the speaker had when Carole was alive. There’s an identity Chavez’s speaker tries to resurrect for herself throughout the poems, one whose mantra could easily be carpe diem. Identity is an important concept for Chavez—she’s a scholar of Chican@/Latin@ & Native American literature and culture and a self-proclaimed “mestiza.” On her website, she has two bios to choose from (“Keepin’ it Real” and “Longer, More Professional”), indicating her investment in the idea of multiple or mixed identities. The poems in All Day, Talking show a speaker trying to build a new, independent sense of self after the loss of a loved one. These poems are loaded with concrete detail, so as the speaker reminisces about Carole, about her former life, the reader does, too. Chavez doesn’t give us every single detail, but she doesn’t have to. The bond between the speaker and Carole evokes the feelings of friendship and love that, if we’re lucky, we each get to experience in this life. Continue reading